If you adopt a cat from a shelter or a rescue center today, chances are, the cat is a pedigree because there are very few purebred cats, unlike the thousands of dog breeds available.
There are less than 100 breeds of cats, though the number depends on the groups you ask. TICA, The International Cat Association, recognizes 71 cat breeds while The CFA (Cat Fanciers Association) recognizes only 44. On the other hand, Federation Internationale Feline (FIF) has the shortest list, with only 43.
Here are 15 new breeds, from the most recent to be recognized as the standard to the not yet accepted.
The 15 Newest Cat Breeds
The Highlander and Highlander Shorthair are still experimental cat breeds. However, the Highlander’s creation began in 2004 after crossing two-hybrid breeds, the Desert Lynx and the Jungle Curl.
This breed’s original name was the Highland Lynx before changing to Highlander in 2005. The cats are robust, muscular, have extra toes (polydactyl paws), and unique curly ears-often resembling wild cats. They also have lots of energy and require a little more care and play to release the energy.
Despite the breed’s appearance, Highlander cats are affectionate and people-oriented, making great pets. Interestingly, these cats love water and do not mind getting wet at all; something unheard of in the cat world. They are also intelligent, trainable, and love attention and can show off their acrobatic abilities to capture it.
The Highlander could soon find its way to exhibition and championship arenas because the TICA now recognizes it as an Advanced New Breed.
Unlike the Highlander, Serengeti cat breeds can officially enter championships because they have achieved TICA’s standard status. The Serengeti is a mixed cat-breed, a product of Bengal and Oriental Shorthair breeds.
The first breeding occurred in 1990, meant to resemble a domesticated Serval wild cat. Serengeti kitties have spotty bodies, long legs, and large ears, with the male appearing more prominent than the female.
These felines are super athletic and are famous for their loyalty, energy, and agility. They are equally spirited and capable of forming strong bonds with humans.
3. American Curl
The American Curl cat breed is a result of a spontaneous natural mutation. The most common story is that the breed originated in 1981 from a kitten in Southern California. This kitten had the same type of ears, and it helped create the set of genetics current American Curls possess.
These cat breeds are medium-sized, athletic, and have long tails and have backward-curling ears, giving them their name. American curls also have long tufts of fur, are ardent climbers, and love playing even well into old age. Although they hate cuddling, they are social, loving, and people-oriented.
The Aphrodite cat breed is also known as Cyprus cat and is a giant shorthaired, energetic and playful cat breed. Experts believe that this cat breed started from the mountainous region in Cyprus and could easily hunt large prey animals due to its large size.
The cats are large, have uniquely long hind limbs, and a luxurious, dense coat that would help them climb and adapt to the mountainous conditions. Due to their sizes, these breeds take up to three years to reach full size.
Although the cats have been around for nearly 10,000 years, it wasn’t until 2012 that the World Cat Federation officially started to recognize the Aphrodite giant cat breed. TICA suggests that these breeds are dog-like when relating with humans.
5. Cheetoh Cat
Cheetoh cat breeds are a product of Ocicat and Bengal cats. The first breeding occurred in 2001 when breeder Carol Drymon of Wind Haven Exotics hoped to create a wild-like domestic cat. The first litters arrived in 2003 before the United Feline Organization officially accepted them in 2004.
These cats are super affectionate, social, and love human company. They are also energetic, playful, and good climbers and can enjoy a lap-nap when they are not climbing and playing.
Cheetoh cats are vocal and will let you know when they need to feed, walk, or affection. They can also be destructive when bored or lonely.
Minskin is a new cat breed that developed in Boston in 1998. Paul McSorley created the breed by crossing a Munchin with a Sphynx and perfected it using a Devon Rex and a Burmese cat.
He intended to develop a short-legged feline with fur at the extremities (tail, legs, nose, ears, and face) as a variation on the color pointing found in breeds like the Siamese. People describe this cat as the Corgi of the cat world, as it has sparse hair on the body with the belly remaining hairless.
Minskins are energetic even though they are hardly tall like other cats because of their stocky legs. The first cat was born in July 2000, and by 2005, 50 Minskin species existed. Currently, The International Cat Association is monitoring the breed’s development.
LaPerm gets its name from its incredible perm hairdo-loose, bouncy curls on its body. The first cat developed in The Dalles, Oregon, in 1982 when a brown tabby barn kitty named Speedy gave birth to a litter. However, one of the kittens came out different from the rest, appearing bald, with tabby skin markings and widely spaced ears.
Though bald at birth, as the odd-looking cat grew, her coat became curly. These breeds are intelligent, mischievous and follow their human without being overly clingy. The International Cat Association accepted this breed in 2002.
The Munchkin was one of the breeds that helped create the Minskin cat, though it is also a new breed. This cat is responsible for the Minskin’s short legs.
The Munchkin cats get their name from their dwarf legs and normal-sized bodies, making them dwarf cat breeds. They developed from a natural mutation found in felines in the 1940s. However, it wasn’t until 1983 that cat-fanciers began cross-breeding these cats.
Their breeders officially introduced the cats to the public in 1991. Sadly, many cat registries refrain from acknowledging the breed because of potential health threats (the stout legs result from a genetic mutation, after all). Only TICA recognized the breed in 1995.
9. Tennessee Rex
The Tennessee Rex became the newest breed in the feline world in 2004 through a natural mutation. Franklin Whittenburg from Tennessee had a stray cat that gave birth to kittens, with two of them turning out strange. These kitties had a rexing gene that caused them to have curly furs and satin-like coats.
The Tennessee Rex cat breed is a loving cat, fancies cuddles, and quiet, although it can be vocal when hungry. TICA accepted T-Rex as a registered breed in 2009, although they’ve never reached the championships.
10. Napoleon Cat
Also known and the Minuet cat, the Napoleon cat breed is a recently introduced dwarf cat species. These felines take on the name of Napoleon Bonaparte because of their short stature.
Joe Smith developed the Napoleon cat in 1996 after crossing Munchkin and Persian strain and improved the breed using Exotic Shorthairs. TICA recognized the breed as a Preliminary New Breed in 2011.
This cat is loving, social even with strangers, and energetic, making it require lots of activity to burn some energy off.
11. Ojos Azules
This breed’s name translates to “blue eyes” in Spanish because an Ojos Azule has beautiful deep-blue colored eyes. They date back to 1984 when a tortoiseshell-colored female cat called Cornflower had kittens that featured the same deep eyes it had, proving that the breeders could reproduce the strain further.
However, the gene that causes the blue eye color does not appear to reflect its coat pattern or color. Ojos Azules is still a rare breed today, even though The International Cat Association (TICA) recognized it in 1991.
The Toybob is one of the small cats from the toy cat breeds. However, Toybob cat breeds are not miniaturized versions of larger breeds like the other toy cat species. Instead, they are unique breeds with Russian roots.
These cats’ first documentation occurred in the 1980s by the Cat Fanciers Association. Cat enthusiasts find these cats generous with their affection, good climbers, and content to be lap cats.
Peterbald is a Russian breed and first bred in St.Petersburg in 1994, where it acquired its name. This cat resulted from experimental breeding by Olga S. Mironova, who mixed a Donsky and an Oriental Shorthair.
The cat breed resembles a dog, eats more for a faster metabolism, and is social. It is also bald and prefers warmer weather.
Toyger cats are designer breeds, which means that breeders purposefully developed their body markings by breeding shorthaired tabbies in 1980. They capture a wild-tiger-like appearance because the designers intended to create a domestic cat with a tiger’s look.
However, Toyger cats are loving and affectionate to both other pets and humans despite the tiger-like look. TICA recognized it in 2007, although other registries don’t officially accept it.
The Lykoi has an undeniable werewolf-like appearance, is hairless, and with pointed ears. People refer to it as a “wolf cat” because it has a slender, toned body, wedge-shaped, and bald head like a wolf.
These cats are not generally safe around small animals because they possess a high prey drive. Although people confuse them with Sphynx cats, they do not share any genetic connection.
As hard and long coming up with a new cat breed can be, many breeders are working hard to develop unique and rare cat breeds. And, yes-new cat breeds have emerged, taking the cat-enthusiast’s world by storm.
- Lykoi (Wolf-Cat) Health Problems: 5 Common Concerns
- 7 Cat Breeds with Short Ears
- Do Cats Remember Their Mothers (And Vice Versa)
Featured Image: Philippe Sonderegger, Shutterstock