Cats were domesticated over 10,000 years ago. Some of the most exotic-looking breeds are closely related to their ancient ancestors. Many exotic cat breeds were purposely bred to resemble lions, bobcats, or even leopards. Each of these beautiful cats has its unique personality and physical characteristics. If you have ever dreamed of owning your own tiger or cheetah, one of these exotic felines may be the perfect fit for you!
The Bombay cat resembles a black leopard with its black satin coat and striking gold eyes. This rare breed gets its name from the city of Bombay, which is also called the land of the black leopard. Bombay’s are characterized by their short, shiny black coats and golden eyes. They are intelligent and curious and enjoy being entertained by cat puzzles, cat trees, and toys. They are social cats and get along well with children and other animals.
9. Kurilian Bobtail
The Kurilian bobtail cat developed naturally on remote Russian islands. With their medium to large size and short bobbed tail, this breed may remind you of a wild bobcat. They can be seen sporting a tabby coat pattern or come in various solid coat colors. Their coat can either be short or long. Despite their wild-like appearance, the Kurilian bobtails are friendly and make wonderful family pets.
Also called the Canadian hairless cat, this energetic and intelligent breed was discovered in 1966 in Ontario, Canada. The Sphynx cat’s most apparent and exotic feature is its lack of fur. A Sphynx may be completely hairless or have fine hair over the extremities or its entire body. Due to their lack of fur, they require indoor living. This unique and elegant breed is highly social, affectionate and makes a lovely companion.
7. Egyptian Mau
The Egyptian Mau is one of the oldest breeds of domesticated cats. Cats that greatly resemble this breed have been found in ancient Egyptian tombs. They have a beautiful spotted coat that can be either silver, bronze, or smoke colored. Considered one of the most athletic cat breeds, the Mau requires daily exercise and playtime. They are very loyal and form close bonds with their owners but can be dismissive of newcomers.
6. Scottish Fold
The Scottish Fold is named after its uniquely folded ears and Scottish farm cat ancestry. Their large, round heads and golden yellow eyes give them an owl-like appearance. Their short, dense coat comes in various coat colors and patterns. The Scottish Fold’s easy-going demeanor allows it to adapt to almost any living situation. From a large family to a single owner, the Scottish Fold will feel right at home.
Like the Egyptian Mau, the Abyssinian is also one of the oldest known cat breeds. Cats resembling Abyssinians were found mummified in Egyptian tombs, the same as the Mau. The breed is known for its athleticism and curiosity. The Abyssinian has a “ticked” coat that alternates from dark to light on each hair shaft. Their coat colors are brown, red, blue, and fawn. This exotic-looking breed may remind you of a miniature cougar. However, unlike cougars, Abyssinians make excellent pets.
4. Turkish Van
A large cat with a distinct white coat and a colored head and tail, the Turkish van is one of the rarest breeds of cats in the world. These elegant cats have long silky coats and lavishly fluffy tails. They can have amber or blue eyes and are commonly seen with one eye of each color, giving them an even more unique look. Occasionally a Turkish Van may have a patch of color between its shoulder blades. This patch represents good luck and is called the “Mark of Allah” or “the thumbprint of God.”
True to its name, the Ocicat was purposely bred to resemble the wild ocelot cat. The breed’s spotted coat is eye-catching and can come in various colors. They are larger than your average house cat but highly social and enjoy human companionship. Ocicats are intelligent and can quickly learn many tricks and commands. They do well with other pets and children, but due to their social nature, they don’t enjoy being alone for long periods.
The Bengal cat is a more modern breed characterized by its bold, marbled coat. This breed was developed in the 1990s by crossing the Asian Leopard Cat with other shorthaired cat breeds. The goal was to create a cat that looked like a leopard. Their exotic coat may resemble a leopard, but the Bengal’s personality is quite the opposite. They are independent cats but friendly and enjoy human companionship. They are not lap cats but enjoy hours of playtime with their humans.
The Toyger is another newer breed of cat discovered in the 1980s. The breed was created by crossing a Bengal with a striped domestic shorthaired cat. As the name indicates, it was specifically bred to resemble a tiger. Their striped coat is dense but soft and always a brown shade. This medium-sized cat is muscular and active. Toygers require substantial enrichment and interactive play to keep them happy.