Most people barely know about regular cat breeds — and have no idea that exotic cat breeds even exist. The truth is that many cat breeds are extremely rare, or are mixed with cats that are found in the jungle.
Though many exotic cats require licenses to own, some of the most exotic cat breeds out there can make great pets for the right owner... and more surprisingly, might even be able to be found at your local animal adoption center.
If you want to check out how unique these animals can be, check out this list of the coolest exotic cat breeds in the world.
Considered to be one of the oldest cat breeds in the world, the Egyptian Mau is most closely related to the felines who kept pharaohs company during the time of Ancient Egypt. They're known for being intelligent, graceful, and incredibly expressive pets.
In terms of cool factor, there's something absolutely awesome knowing that your cat's ancestors had ancient roots. These are one of the more common exotic cat breeds out there, and also one of the more well-known.
Though this is still one of the more common-yet-exotic cat breeds on this list, the Cornish Rex is still a head-turner nonetheless. After all, it's one of the only short haired cat breeds in the world that also happens to have curly fur.
In many ways, these quirky cats resemble their more common Siamese relatives. They're inquisitive, playful, and drink up attention like it's water.
Also, if you're looking for a hypoallergenic cat breed, the Cornish Rex is your best bet. They produce very little dander, don't shed, and are as allergy-friendly as possible.
Much like the Egyptian Mau, Japanese Bobtails are an ancient breed that has existed in Japan for centuries.
These cats are called bobtails because their tails are naturally short, stubby bobs — much like what you'd expect to see a rabbit have. Because of the shortness of their tails, they often look like have pom poms attached to their butts.
Japanese Bobtails are extremely friendly and love attention from strangers. That being said, this is one of the more vocal and active exotic cat breeds on this list. If you're not cool with hearing lots of meowing, or if you can't get this cat to exercise, you might be in for a bad time.
If you want exotic cat breeds that could win beauty pageants, the Somali cat is it. These breathtakingly beautiful cats always have a regal air to them, and look like mixes between a fox and a feline.
That being said, they aren't nicknamed "Fox Cats" for nothing. These critters are mischievous and very playful — and some are even known for playing tricks on their owners.
Most people can tell the Manx apart from most other exotic cat breeds out there — primarily due to its tail, or lack there of. While Japanese Bobtails have a little stubby poof at the end of their bottoms, the Manx doesn't have any tail at all.
Because they don't have any tail, people often call Manx cats "Rumpies" or "Stubbins." Their legs are also longer in the back than in the front, which makes them look like they hop when they walk. It's as close as you can get to a real life cabbit.
Manx cats are known for being very gentle, very playful, and also pretty picky about who they like. So, if you're lucky enough to be the Manx's favorite, you can expect a cat that can play fetch with you and also greet you with a high pitched trill.
Havana Browns are one of the most unusual exotic cat breeds out there — primarily because it's the only breed of cat that is completely brown! Its chocolatey coloring is extremely rare to find at all, even if it's just a dark brown spot on a calico cat.
Most unusually, these cats also have a totally brown nose, as well. There's no pink to be seen, even on their paw prints.
Personality-wise, they're extremely friendly cats, often to the point that owners have to look out for their wellbeing. If you're lucky enough to adopt one, you'll never be able to find a gentler and more affectionate buddy.
Now, we're going to start getting into the seriously exotic cat breeds. Bengals are bred to look like little tigers and typically have the big personalities to match their head-turning appearance. They get their unusual patterns from the Asian Jungle Cat, one of the ancestors used in making the breed.
This rare and exotic cat breed, unlike others you'll see, is totally domesticated, though. So, while they are rambunctious, they are totally legal to own. That being said, they typically are only found at specialized cat breeders, and owning one will often set you back as much as $1200.
No, it's not a grey tabby; it's a Dragon Li. This is one of the rarest exotic cat breeds in America, with only four registered cats in the entire country. However, in China, this is one of the oldest and most popular breeds in the nation.
Folklore surrounds Dragon Li cats, and many believe that they are descendants from mountain cats. They are so revered, some even will hold weddings for them. They're very good mousers, are gentle around people, and are known for being one of the most intelligent exotic cat breeds in the world.
This is one of the most popular exotic cat breeds made from lineage of an actual wild cat. They're called Savannahs, and they are a hybrid between a domestic cat and a jungle cat called a serval.
Most Savannah breeders also will also divide the breed down by how far away from a pure serval they are. F1 Savannahs are 50 percent wild cat, 50 percent domestic. F2 Savannahs are 75 percent domestic, 25 percent wild, and so on.
This breed of cat is very energetic, and grows up to be very large. They also can be walked on a leash like a dog, and love to play fetch. If you want a cat that has dog-like personality perks, this is a great cat breed to get.
This massive, three-foot long cat is one of the only non-domesticated exotic cat breeds that's totally legal to own in many states. They are energetic, hyperintelligent, and enjoy being walked on a leash. However, they are skittish around humans they don't know.
Unlike legal cats, they also are cool with playing fetch, and may also "play pounce" on their owners. Unless you want a flabby serval, you'll need to play with them and encourage a lot of exercise.
Toygers, as the name implies, are one of the only exotic cat breeds that looks like a tiny tiger — stripes and all. They're rapidly becoming a favorite cat breed among people who love the look of a wild animal, however, they have yet to be recognized by many cat breed associations as a legit breed.
That being said, it's only a matter of time until this still-developing breed gets the love it deserves.
Ocicats are supposed to look like baby ocelots, and while they're totally domestic in heritage, they definitely look as wild as can be. They're playful, intelligent, and extremely muscular cats that love to play fetch and get into cute, cuddly trouble.
They're just so cute. We can't help but love exotic cat breeds like this.
While many exotic cat breeds are supposed to look like crosses between cats and wild animals, Chausies are a cat breed that was legitimately developed between a domestic cat and a real wild cat. That's why they look like little lions.
Weighing in at 35 to 40 pounds, Chausies are huge for a domestic cat size. They also can be very hard to tame, particularly if they regress into a more feral state. So, you might want to avoid getting this breed if you're new to pet ownership.
One of the last exotic cat breeds we'll cover is the Pixie Bob — a cross betweeen a bob cat and a domestic cat. This cat breed, much like the Chausie, is not one that's a wise choice for beginner cat owners.
However, if you love big paws, stocky builds, and adorably short, stubby tails, this super active, strong cat breed might make a good companion. Just, you know, be careful with these cats, as they can get loud and aggressive if upset.