Cats have been associated with humans for at least 9,500 years, and are currently the most popular pet in the world. Cat owners know both how sweet and how mean they can be, but the cat world is more than squealing over kittens. Genetics and selective breeding have created some distinctive and unique cats, and here are what the list author believes to be the 10 strangest cat breeds.
10. Devon Rex
The Devon Rex breed of cat has only been around since the 1960’s. They have been genetically proven not to be related to the Cornish or German Rex breeds. The strange thing about the Devon Rex is the fact that they have very little “guard hair”, the stiff, coarse, waterproof hairs present on most furred mammals. They have mostly “down hair”, or soft, fine undercoat fur. The Devon Rex is especially unique in that their down hair is curly. They also have rather large eyes, and large, low-set ears. Devon Rex cats are active, playful, and friendly, and enjoy being perched on peoples’ shoulders, like parrots. They are also very intelligent, and can be taught tricks, such as fetching and walking on a leash.
9. Scottish Fold
The Scottish Fold (or Coupari in Canada), has a dominant genetic mutation that causes the cartilage in their ears to have a fold, sometimes even up to two or three folds! This makes their ears flop forward, giving them their distinctive appearance. The more folds the cat’s ears have, the closer to the head the ears will lie. The Fold’s ears look straight and normal at birth, but will begin to fold after about 21 days. Scottish Folds are generally friendly, cuddly cats, and don’t mind other pets. They also like to sleep in the “Buddha position”: sitting with their legs straight out and their back straight up from the hip, like a human.
8. Japanese Bobtail
Japanese bobtails are born with a rabbit-like puff tail, and some will even hop like rabbits, rather than running! In the year 1602, the Japanese government demanded that all cats be set free, to help protect the valuable silkworm fields from rodents. Buying and selling cats was illegal at the time, so Japanese bobtails were street cats. Bobtails come in many colors, but the most popular is the calico, or “mike” in Japanese. Most people have seen at least a version of the bobtail. The famous “Maneki Neko” or “beckoning cat” is a good-luck charm, consisting of a Japanese bobtail sitting on its haunches with one forepaw raised. Tying into the next breed on the list, odd-eyed bobtails are now quite popular in Japan. Having “silver and gold” eyes (actually blue and amber-yellow), the heterochromatic kittens are much more expensive, but don’t have the same legends surrounding them as the Khao Manee.