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Home > Cats > 10 Small Exotic Cat Breeds That Are Legal to Keep As Pets (With Pictures)

10 Small Exotic Cat Breeds That Are Legal to Keep As Pets (With Pictures)

savannah on the couch

If you’re looking for a wild-like cat, but aren’t thrilled about the idea of a tiger living in your house, you might be on the search for small exotic breeds that you can choose from. Some of the breeds we have to explore might require permits, while others only look the part.

One thing is for sure—these cats are stunningly impressive with their fierce, primal appearance. Don’t let their looks fool you. Some of these cats are lovable lap cats like any you would find in anyone’s home. Let’s take a peek at these top 10 picks.


The 10 Small Exotic Cat Breeds

1. Chausie

Chausie Cat
Image By: Tania, Wild_Shutterstock

The impressive Chausie was created by mixing the Abyssinian with wild jungle cats. Its impressive muscular structure and intense eyes offer a very exotic look, thanks to their wild cat cousins’ help.

Chausies have a high prey drive, so they don’t work well with smaller pets. However, they tend to adore their humans and hate being left alone. Aside from needing constant company, these cats can be very adventurous and playful.

If you buy from a breeder, Chausies typically range from $1,000 to $2,500 per kitten.

2. Bengal

Image Credit: Irina_kukuts, Pixabay

The elegantly wild Bengal cat is the product of mixing domesticated cats like the Egyptian Mau with the Asian Leopard cat. These kitties have a solid form with beautiful spots, mimicking a traditional leopard in the jungle.

Bangles are known for their highly charismatic personalities. They are brilliant and extremely active. Because of their boundless energy, they require appropriate outlets, so they don’t become destructive. A healthy Bengal needs space to run, play, climb, and claw at their leisure.

If you purchase a Bengal, you can expect to pay in the ballpark of $1,500 to $3,000 per kitten.

3. Savannah Cat

Image Credit: Lindasj22, Shutterstock

Savannah cats are large domesticated felines that are ever-growing in popularity. There are various lines of this breed, all of which vary slightly in looks and personality. These cats were developed by crossing a Sevral with many common household cats.

Savannah cats adore water, so you might find one accompanying you to the shower or trying to play in your dishwater. These cats are incredibly loyal and attentive—noticing everything around them with speed. They can even walk on leashes pleasantly if you train them well.

If you’re looking to buy a Savannah kitten, you’ll dish out between $1,000 to $16,000 and beyond.

4. Ocicat

ocicat outdoors
Image Credit: Agarianna76, Shutterstock

While the Ocicat looks quite exotic, there is no actual evidence of wild cats in their gene pool. Only domesticated cats show up when you divvy out the lineage. But that doesn’t stop them from stealing hearts with their intense looks and unique characters.

Ocicats are incredibly social and interactive, even with unfamiliar pets and houseguests. They might shock you with their ability to catch onto concepts and even learn a few tricks. Because of their intelligence and desire to learn, they exhibit dog-like behavior—perfect for people who aren’t as keen about cats and their independent attitudes.

If you buy an adorable Ocicat kitten, expect to pay between $500 and $1,200.

5. Toyger

Image Credit: Kutikova Ekaterina, Shutterstock

The newly developed Toyger is a special breed designed to look just like a Tiger—only toy size (hence the name.) However, this kitty actually has no wild roots to speak of, bread with the Bengal and ordinary tabby cat. Thanks to selective breeding, breeders were able to develop all of the rugged looks owners crave.

Toygers tend to be very social with their humans and can get along swimmingly with other pets. This cat breed is another that is very trainable on the leash. So, you can take your little guy or gal out for a night on the town.

A Toyger kitten typically costs between $1,200 and $3,500.

6. Pixie-bob

Pixie Bob Cat
Image Credit: Felicia Heisterkamp, Shutterstock

The Pixie-bob cat looks interestingly like a wild Lynx or bobcat. There is some speculation on the origin of this breed. But commonly, breeders associate the mixture of a typical barn cat with a bobcat, historically speaking. All pixie-bobs have the classic bobtail, which makes them completely unique.

Pixie-bobs are generally lovable and docile—not aggressive or high strung. They love lounging around the house in their favorite napping spots but won’t turn down playtime if the mood strikes.

If you buy a Pixie-Bob kitten, you’ll pay somewhere between $1,800 to $3,000.

7. Fishing Cat

Fishing-cat-Prionailurus-viverrinus_Shutterstock_Vladimir Wrangel
Image Credit: Vladimir Wrangel, Shutterstock

Fishing cats are a breed of wild cats found in Southeast Asia. They’ve undergone no domestication, so they aren’t traditional pets, but experienced big cat owners might keep them. They have powerful bodies and primal instincts, making them well-equipped for life in the wilderness.

However, that doesn’t stop people from trying to domesticate these animals. If you’re interested, you should know that only highly experienced people with the right living circumstances should own one of these creatures. They’re very unlikely  be traditional house cats.

You have to have special permits or licenses to own a Fishing cat, and they certainly aren’t legal in every state. But if you check local laws and jump through hoops to get permission, expect to pay between $1,000 and $20,000—depending on age and quality.

8. Geoffrey’s Cat

The Geoffrey’s cat is a wild animal native to South America. These cats haven’t been domesticated with other breeds, although they are commonly kept as pets. In fact, because they’re so endangered, they’re encouraged to be kept in captivity so breeders can expand the population.

These cats are nocturnal hunters, so they are most active when you sleep. Because of their wild roots, they won’t act like traditional house cats. In many areas, a permit or license is required before owning one.

Geoffrey’s cats are very uncommon and endangered. However, you can get lucky and find one of these gorgeous specimens. Expect to pay between $7,000 and $10,000 for one kitten.

9. Abyssinian

Image Credit: tsapenkodg, Pixabay

The graceful Abyssinian is a distinctive breed with a ticked tabby coat. It is speculated that this breed started in Ethiopia, and it is one of the oldest cat breeds in human history. But even still today, it stands as one of the most popular breeds worldwide.

The Abyssinian is a very energetic but docile cat. They tend to gravitate towards humans very well, presenting curious demeanors. These cats absolutely adore climbing, so if you have one in your home space, make sure to have lots of places high up above where they could hang out.

The adorable Abyssinian cat costs in the ballpark of $500 to $1,200 from a reputable breeder.

10. Egyptian Mau

egyptian mau on white background
Image Credit: MDavidova, Shutterstock

The Egyptian Mau is a highly energetic, wild-like cat with impressive features—like their signature gooseberry green eyes. This kitty is the only naturally spotted domesticated cat breed.

Early socialization is crucial for these cats. They tend to be very gentle and mild—even skittish of newcomers. While they might not take so kindly to unfamiliar faces, they form solid bonds with owners. This breed might work best in a kid-free home that is quiet and relaxed.

If you want to own an Egyptian Mau, expect to dish out between $800 to $1,800.


Final Thoughts

So now you see the vast selection of small exotic breeds that you can choose from. All of these special kitties have their own style and personality. Each of them is beautiful in its own right, including those you cannot personally keep as a pet.

Always keep in mind that if you’re selecting a genuine wild animal, this comes with great responsibility. So, make sure that you have the experience necessary to take on the challenge if you so choose.

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Featured Image Credit: Kolomenskaya Kseniya, Shutterstock

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