Top 25 most beautiful exotic cat breeds, and why they are so special

Top 25 most beautiful exotic cat breeds, and why they are so special

As the heart of many homes, cats earn their place as cherished pets known for being quiet, low-maintenance, and brimming with affection. Yet, a modern shift sees homeowners embracing a new trend of opting for beautiful exotic cat breeds. What drives this choice, and what unique qualities make these felines special?

Exotic cat breeds
Exotic cat breeds. Photo: @mishkingr on Instagram Alexandra Draghici, Agency Animal Picture on Getty Images (modified by author)
Source: Getty Images


Exotic cat breeds are unique feline varieties created through crossbreeding, resulting in distinctive looks and characteristics. Described as a designer breed, they are cherished for their rare markings, distinct personalities, intelligence, loyalty, playfulness, and affectionate nature, making them special companions to their owners.

Cat's nameScientific nameOriginating country
Turkish VanFelis catusTürkiye, Armenian Highlands
ToygerFelis catusUnited States
RagdollFelis catusRiverside, California
Turkish AngoraFelis catusAnkara Province in modern-day Turkey
Maine Coon CatFelis catusMaine, United States
BengalPriionailurus bengalensisUnited States
PersianFelis catusIran, Afghanistan
SavannahFelis catus × Leptailurus servalFelis catus
British ShorthairFelis catusGreat Britain
OcicatFelis catusUnited States
Scottish FoldFelis catusTayside, Scotland
Russian BlueFelis catusArkhangelsk, Russia
BombayFelis catusUnited States, Thailand
Egyptian MauFelis catusEgypt
BirmanFelis catusMyanmar (Burma), France
Selkirk RexFelis catusUnited States
Exotic ShorthairFelis catusUnited States
AbyssinianFelis catusEthiopia, South East Asia
SiberianFelis catusRussia
Norwegian Forest CatFelis catusNorway
SiameseFelis catusThailand
Cornish RexFelis catusUnited Kingdom, Cornwall, England
SerengetiFelis catus × Prionailurus bengalensisCalifornia
HimalayanFelis catusIran, United States, Thailand
Kurilian BobtailFelis catusRussia, Kuril Islands

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Top 25 most beautiful exotic cats

Some of the most beautiful exotic cats belong to unique breeds, while others boast a rarity that adds to their historical significance, making them even more precious.

The list was compiled based on reviews from leading websites, including Forbes, though not listed in their order of importance. Here is a list of 25 of the most beautiful exotic cats.

1. Turkish Van

Turkish Van cat
Turkish Van cats are found mainly in the Lake Van region of eastern Turkey. Photo: Ozkan Bilgin/Anadolu Agency
Source: Getty Images

Originating from Turkey, they embody a unique blend of athleticism and distinct markings, categorising them among unique types of cats. With a white body and coloured head and tail, they showcase a graceful yet robust appearance.

2. Toyger

Toyger seen during a costume contest
Toyger during a costume contest in Kyiv, Ukraine. Photo: Vladimir Shtanko/Anadolu Agency
Source: Getty Images

Exuding the untamed allure of a prowling wild breed, the Toyger captivates with its coat adorned in broken, vertical orange and black stripes. Descended from a striped domestic shorthair and Bengal, they embody the wild elegance of a tiger, exuding friendliness and intelligence in their medium-sized, muscular frame.

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3. Ragdoll

Ragdoll on the floor
Ragdoll on the floor. Photo: Weiquan Lin
Source: Getty Images

Graceful and gentle, the Ragdoll reigns as a blue-eyed beauty atop cat breed popularity. Adorned with a plush, long-haired coat, they enchant with an affectionate and playful disposition. Shedding minimally, these felines, born from a blend of breeds, don striking colourations and a serene demeanour.

4. Turkish Angora

Close-up portrait of a Turkish Angora cat
Close-up portrait of a Turkish Angora cat. Photo: Ulas Koyuncu
Source: Getty Images

Smaller than its cousin, the Turkish Van, the Turkish Angora lacks distinctive eye markings but boasts almond-shaped eyes in blue, green, amber, or odd-eyed variations. Adorned with a regal full-neck ruff, silky coat, and tufted ears, they embody elegance and a rich history, echoing 16th-century European tales.

5. Maine Coon Cat

Two Maine Coon cat siblings
Two Maine Coon cat siblings. Photo: Nina Pearman
Source: Getty Images

Mistaken for a feline-raccoon hybrid, the Maine Coon charms with its burly size and Viking-era roots. Affectionate and easygoing, these giants showcase a thick double coat that requires frequent grooming. Sturdy and rugged, they embody the gentle giant persona, thriving in family environments.

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6. Bengal

A young golden-spotted female Bengal cat walking on the beach.
A young golden-spotted female Bengal cat walking on the beach. Photo: Tomasz Szulczewski
Source: Getty Images

Exuding confidence and energy, Bengals stand out among large cat breeds exotic. From domestic and Asian leopard crosses, Bengals possess a plush coat adorned with striking markings, embodying an active and curious spirit that defines their exotic allure.

7. Persian

A close-up portrait of a blue-eyed Persian cat
A close-up portrait of a blue-eyed Persian cat. Photo: Darek Glina
Source: Getty Images

Evoking the epitome of feline beauty, Persian breeds boast a luxurious, long coat that demands daily care. Hailing from Persia, these quiet and charming companions exhibit coats in various colours. Despite their regal appearance, Persians embrace daily exercise, adding an air of grace to any abode.

8. Savannah

A Savannah cat sits in its enclosure
A Savannah cat sits in its enclosure at the reptile sanctuary. Photo: Sven Hoppe/Picture Alliance
Source: Getty Images

A captivating blend of domestic and serval, the Savannah allures with its unique mix of stripes and spots, making it stand out among big cats as pets. Growing large with slender necks and wild patterns, these felines defy the conventional expectations of domesticity. Friendly and gregarious, Savannahs effortlessly bring a touch of the wild into the comfort of home living.

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9. British Shorthair cat

A grey, fluffy British shorthair cat resting in a woman's arms
A grey, fluffy British shorthair cat resting in a woman's arms. Photo: Westend61
Source: Getty Images

Known as ancient English hunters, British Shorthairs boast a dense blue-grey coat. Sedentary yet easygoing, they epitomise calmness. Adaptable to various companions, this breed, recognised for its hunting skill and strength, brings a sense of contentment to any household.

10. Ocicat

An Ocicat running on a field
An Ocicat running on a field. Photo: Imagenavi
Source: Getty Images

The Ocicat, resembling a mini leopard, captivates with short hair and unique spots. Born from Siamese and Abyssinian mixes, they bring rarity and beauty to the feline world. While relatively rare, Ocicats showcase playful intelligence and stunning aesthetics.

11. Scottish Fold

A Scottish Fold cat on a black background
A Scottish Fold cat on a black background. Photo: Kiszon Pascal
Source: Getty Images

The Scottish Fold exhibits charm and uniqueness with distinct folded ears and round features. Originating from a genetic mutation in the 1960s, this breed showcases various colours. Playful yet requiring minimal grooming, they add a touch of whimsy to any home.

12. Russian Blue

Russian Blue breed with green eyes
Russian Blue breed with green eyes. Photo: @coralineart, @Ankhesenamun on (modified by author)
Source: UGC

Clad in a silver-blue coat and accentuated by vibrant green eyes, the Russian Blue exudes elegance. With origins in northern Russia, this breed nearly faced extinction post-World War II. Intelligent and observant, these felines, with their plush double coat, recaptured their beauty through dedicated breeding efforts.

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13. Bombay

A black Bombay kitten standing in a plant pot outdoors
A black Bombay kitten standing in a plant pot outdoors. Photo: Ed-Ni-Photo
Source: Getty Images

Named after the vibrant Indian city, the Bombay breed commands attention with its sleek, jet-black coat and captivating green eyes. Born from a sable Burmese and black American Shorthair union, they embody a panther-like allure. Playful and curious, these beauties thrive on interaction and playtime.

14. Egyptian Mau

An Egyptian Mau cat on a blue background
An Egyptian Mau cat on a blue background. Photo: Mordolff
Source: Getty Images

Sporting a sleek, spotted coat reminiscent of a leopard, the Egyptian Mau boasts a history dating back 3,000 years, standing among the rare exotic cat breeds. Originating from Egypt, their unique spots, distinct from Bengals, add an exotic touch. Muscular and fast, these felines are a visual spectacle and loving and loyal companions.

15. Birman

A Birman lying on a bed
A Birman lying on a bed. Photo: Nico De Pasquale Photography
Source: Getty Images

As they mature, Birmans captivate with their birth in pristine white, unveiling a spectrum of pointed colours. Their striking blue eyes stand out alongside plush, fluffy coats, defining an exquisite elegance.

16. Selkirk Rex

A female Selkirk Rex Kitten
A female Selkirk Rex Kitten. Photo: Blue sky in my pocket
Source: Getty Images

With a puffy, plush-like coat adorned with unique curls, the Selkirk Rex, born from an 80s mutation, exudes charm. Embodying a comforting presence, this breed is playful and sweet, thriving on cuddles and companionship while showcasing their distinct, delightful curls that set them apart in the feline world.

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17. Exotic Shorthair

Close-up of exotic shorthair cat looking away while lying on a grey background
Close-up of exotic shorthair cat looking away while lying on a grey background. Photo: The Good Brigade
Source: Getty Images

Resembling a feline teddy bear, the Exotic Shorthair, a cousin to Persians, exudes squishy, soft charm. Developed as a shorthaired version of the Persian, they share a similar personality with a round face and coat in various colours. Ideal for busy families, this breed is known for its easygoing nature.

18. Abyssinian

Portrait of a pure breed Abyssinian cat
Portrait of a pure breed Abyssinian cat. Photo: Manuel Romaris
Source: Getty Images

Echoing ancient Egyptian breeds, the Abyssinian stands out with a unique ticked coat and almond-shaped eyes. Smart and playful, these agile cats grace the highest points in rooms. Known for their grace and curiosity, Abyssinians bring a timeless charm to any household.

19. Siberian

A Siberian forest cat on a white background
A Siberian forest cat on a white background. Photo: Agency Animal Picture
Source: Getty Images

Hailing from the frigid taiga of Siberia, the Siberian breed, often described as "dog-like," charms with a long, thick coat. Friendly and affectionate, this breed thrives as playmates for children. Independent yet affectionate, they add a touch of wild beauty to family settings.

20. Norwegian Forest Cat

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A Norwegian Forest Cat in the bush
A Norwegian Forest Cat in the bush. Photo: Terje Håheim
Source: Getty Images

The Norwegian Forest breed, with its waterproof double coat and tabby fur, is built for cold Scandinavian winters. Active and adaptable, they enjoy playtime with scratching posts. Large and almond-eyed, this gentle breed prefers perching to lap-sitting.

21. Siamese

A blue-eyed Siamese kitten lays in the grass, holding a pinecone
A blue-eyed Siamese kitten lays in the grass, holding a pinecone. Photo: Kacy Kizer
Source: Getty Images

Recognisable by their light, silky coats and striking blue eyes, the Siamese breed is an agile and affectionate breed. Originating in the 14th century, they thrive on companionship, requiring mental stimulation through puzzles and games. Easily groomed, Siamese breeds make a mark with their distinct voices.

22. Cornish Rex

A Cornish Rex cat on a grey background
A Cornish Rex cat on a grey background. Photo: Alexandra Draghici
Source: Getty Images

With its super-soft, curly coat and egg-shaped head, the Cornish Rex brings an active spirit to playtime. With a tiny waist and long legs, they love fetching and entertaining themselves. Low-maintenance in grooming, this breed embodies a unique blend of athleticism and independence.

23. Serengeti

A Serengeti cate sat in the garden
A Serengeti cate sat in the garden. Photo: @mishkingr on Instagram (modified by author)
Source: UGC

Created in the 1990s from an Oriental Shorthair and Bengal mix, the Serengeti breed boasts an exotic appearance. With big round ears, bold spots, and a muscular body, they mesmerise with wild-like beauty. Jumping up to seven feet, this breed blends the domestic with the untamed, creating a captivating and distinctive presence.

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24. Himalayan

A flat-faced, blue-eyed Himalayan cat
A flat-faced, blue-eyed Himalayan cat. Photo: Kryssia Campos
Source: Getty Images

The Himalayan breed is born from Siamese and Persian crossings and showcases a luxurious long coat and pointed colouring. Intelligent and gentle, they adore playing and become attached to owners. While mostly docile, they add a playful touch to homes with other cats and pets.

25. Kurilian Bobtail

A Kurilian Bobtail cat on a bathtub
A Kurilian Bobtail cat on a bathtub. Photo: Asasirov
Source: Getty Images

Featuring short or long hair and a signature pom-pom tail, the Kurilian Bobtail embodies cuteness with short, pointy ears. Developed on remote Russian islands, this breed is laidback and love cuddling. Their solid or blended colours make them exotic domestic cat breeds.

What is the most exotic cat breed?

The title of the most exotic cat breed varies, depending on specific criteria. Contenders may include the Savannah, Toyger, and Sphynx if the focus is on appearance. For rarity, breeds like the Khao Manee and Kurilian Bobtail stand out. But each holds a unique charm in the world of exotic breeds.

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Exotic breed ownership legality varies by location and jurisdiction. Numerous places impose strict regulations or outright bans on keeping exotic cats as pets due to concerns about public safety, animal welfare, and potential threats to native wildlife. Check local laws before obtaining one, as violating regulations can lead to legal consequences and negatively impact the animal's well-being.

Are exotic cats friendly?

The friendliness of exotic breeds depends on the breed and interpretation. Breeds like Exotic Shorthairs are generally friendly, whereas those with wildcat ancestry may exhibit nuanced temperaments. Considering individual personalities, upbringing, and environment is crucial in your choice of breed.

The world of feline beauty is adorned with stunning breeds like Bengal, Toyger, and Persian, embodying the essence of beautiful exotic cat breeds. Each breed's unique history and rarity brings a distinct charm. Adding one to your life is a fortunate venture, enhancing the joy of every breed owner.

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