The Cat Fanciers’ Association currently recognizes 41 pedigreed cat breeds, and among those you will find a variety of temperaments and appearances. Some of the most interesting breeds to admire are those that originated in foreign lands, or those that have strikingly unusual features. These exotic cats are not only beautiful, they also make great pets. Below are some unique breeds to consider.
While the exact origin of the Abyssinian remains a topic of discussion among breeders, these cats mostly likely came from England by way of the Indian Ocean and parts of Southeast Asia. Despite the Abyssinian’s somewhat wild appearance, the breed is very intelligent and people-oriented.
Perhaps one of the most exotic looking cat breeds, the spotted Egyptian Mau is smart, friendly, and affectionate. However, they like things on their terms and feel most comfortable with their people.
This adorable, teddy bear-like cat is the result of crossbreeding the Persian with various shorthaired breeds. This produced a cat that looks nearly identical to the Persian with the exception of the Persian’s long, high-maintenance coat. These peaceful and loving cats are very popular and make excellent pets.
The Ocicat (pictured above) truly resembles a wild animal. Well-muscled and spotted, this breed may look ferocious but in fact has a very amiable temperament. These cats become absolutely devoted to their owners.
Oriental cats represent a diverse group of felines that have their foundation in the Siamese breed. These cats can be found in over 600 color, pattern, and coat length combinations. Curious and intelligent, they thrive on human interaction and love to play.
This ancient breed takes their name from their country of origin -- these cats were supposedly passengers on desert caravans from Persia and Iran. Today, the Persian is the most popular purebred cat, with a long and luxurious coat, signature pansy-like face, and extremely sweet disposition.
Siamese cats have captured the hearts of cat lovers since they were first exported from Thailand in the late 1800s. Their exotic appearance is highlighted by deep slanted eyes and large triangular ears. An affectionate, intelligent, and communicative cat, the Siamese makes a great companion pet.
These cats originated on the streets of Singapore, and retain an exotic Asian appearance. This breed is usually smaller than other shorthaired cats, and their confident and curious personalities mean that they like to be involved in the lives of their owners.
The Somali has a wonderfully exotic appearance with a muscular body and a full plume tail. These cats have the brains to match their beautiful looks; they are alert, playful, and actively engaged in whatever they do.
There’s no cat quite like the Sphynx. This lovable and energetic breed is usually completely hairless, or else has a fine layer of peach fuzz type hair. This unusual physical attribute means that Sphynx cats are often tolerable to allergy sufferers.
More on Cat Breeds
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Easiest Cats to Care For