Some Unusual and Rare Cat Breeds

Some cat breeds are so rare and new that they are barely known. Here are a few examples:

KHAO MANEE

KHAO MANEE This rare breed, believed to be the original royal cat of Thailand, is solid white with one golden eye and one blue eye, or both eyes blue (which can cause deafness); it was sent to the United States in 1999 to Colleen Freymuth for breeding in the West.

OJOS AZULES

OJOS AZULES

This cat, whose Spanish name derives from its blue eyes, traces to New Mexico, where a tortie American Shorthair had eyes of such a spectacular deep blue that it was deemed a spontaneous mutation. (Normally that kind of blue is only found in white or colorpointed cats.) Luckily, mating to other cats even without this color eyes produced kittens with the blue eye gene; care is being taken to keep the trait going. Some Ojos Azules have heterochromatic eyes, meaning there is an extra color, such as amber, immediately surrounding the pupil. The fur comes in many color combinations, with a tendency toward white spotting on paws or the tip of the tail. There are both short and longhaired versions. Mating two Ojos Azules may perpetuate a genetic defect tied to the eye color: cranial and other deformities, and possibly stillbirth. A marker for carrying the abnormal gene is a tail with a flattened tip; still, it is advised to crossbreed Ojos Azules with non-blue-eyed cats.

PEKE FACE

PEKE FACE

The Peke Face, which originated as a mutation of the Red Persian, is a Persian with an exceptionally flattened face. It also has unusually long legs, and usually red or red tabby fur. The jaw and nose of the Peke Face are so truncated that it is difficult for such cats to breathe and eat. Even the tear ducts are compressed, leading to a tendency to have teary eyes. Some breeders have attempted to continue the line, but British cat associations refuse to recognize the deformed cats as a show breed.

SAFARI CAT

SAFARI CAT

The Safari Cat is the result of matings between domestic cats and the wild Geoffroy’s Cat. Virtually no cat association acknowledges it as a show breed. It is large with spotted fur, tabby markings on the face, and a fairly wild appearance. The color varies, depending on that of its parents.

SELKIRK REX

SELKIRK REX

This Rex variation cropped up as a genetic mutation in Wyoming in 1987: A curly-furred kitten named Miss Pesto was mated with a Persian and some of her kittens had long, curly fur. Breeding one of the males with his mother perpetuated the trait. It is a longhaired, heavy-bodied Rex, with curly, wooly fur (some call it a “sheepcat”) and a stocky build. The Selkirk has a mixed ancestry: British/ American Shorthair, plus Exotic Shorthair and Persian. The Selkirk gene is dominant, which helps distinguish this breed from the other Rexes. Selkirks may come in any color, including shaded and colorpointed.

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