We all know about the wild cats such as lions, tigers, cougars, leopards and even jaguars, but there's a whole world of small and big cats out there, especially a bunch of rare cat breeds that you've probably never heard of!

Cat species evolved into a distinct family (Felidae) roughly 25 million years ago. Since then, they've expanded all over the world and have evolved to match their environments. They still retain some things in common, however – just like your fluffball at home, very few of the wild cat breeds can taste sweetness. They are all obligate carnivores – they do not simply favor meat, they can't subsist on anything else. Besides lions, very few cats display any sort of strong social behavior, though some do hunt together or form loose colonies. It's no wonder our domesticated kitties are such arrogant, individualistic souls!

Scroll down for our pics of the most unusual rare cats below. From Asian to African cats, this list will surely broaden your perspective on felines!

(h/t: fnordsensei)
#1

Canada Lynx (Lynx Canadensis)

Canada Lynx (Lynx Canadensis)

The main thing that characterizes the Canada Lynx is its huge snowshoe-like hind paws, as you can see in the photo. Interestingly, this Lynx is a very specialized hunter, mostly praying on, you guessed it, the snowshoe hare. 

Les Piccolo Report

BillieCoran
Community Member
6 years ago

Look at the size of those paws!

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#2

Sand Cat (Felis Margarita)

Sand Cat (Felis Margarita)

This timid cat is perfectly adapted to live in the deserts of Africa and Asia. The sand cat can live without water and endure the very harsh temperatures of the deserts by hiding in burrows during the daytime and hunting after dark. 

adremeaux Report

PatriciaCrétier
Community Member
6 years ago

So cute!

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#3

Pallas Cat (Otocolobus Manul)

Pallas Cat (Otocolobus Manul)

Pallas Cat (Otocolobus Manul)

Though the Pallas cat, or Manul, is about the same size as a house cat, its dense and fluffy fur makes it look incredibly round and stocky. Titled as the most expressive cat ever, Manul even stars in a couple of viral memes. 

Oscar Carlos Cortelezzi Report

BillieCoran
Community Member
6 years ago

Such beautiful animals. Near endangerment due to hunting :(

PeterClark
Community Member
6 years ago

pretty kitty, but look at those teeth

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lemonhead
Community Member
6 years ago

when someone wakes you up in the morning!!!

olemann77
Community Member
6 years ago

At the first pic im like.. NTAWWW! Cuddle? On the second pic i retract my hand quickly.

AdrianNash
Community Member
6 years ago

He looks like that crazy old badger from the Fox and the Hound

jessicamarchese
Community Member
6 years ago

The derp is real.

Madelyn Arevalo Escobar
Community Member
1 year ago

cooool

Melissa Woods
Community Member
1 year ago

Needs to be #1. So big and beautiful 💖💖💖💖💖💖💖💖💖💖💖

Cats4Life
Community Member
6 years ago

Yarr.

MonicaCanhascheezburger
Community Member
6 years ago

Tree floof

ALEXIS CISNEROS
Community Member
1 month ago

yeeeeeeeess

Christina Lopez
Community Member
2 years ago

The second one is a total mood XD

Marion Sund
Community Member
4 years ago

last pic: get yo fat butt outta here

KittyJoann “/ Bill Worshipper /” The Artist
4 years ago

this is an adorable lil floof.

Neha Jawale-Bhorge
Community Member
5 years ago

ooooh... very expressive.. keep off my land you...***..

Irene Walton
Community Member
5 years ago

so beautiful, how and why would someone kill them?

Trick Eye
Community Member
5 years ago

This face expression is priceless!

AleishaMaree
Community Member
5 years ago

That is the cutest thing ever!

karenw.
Community Member
5 years ago

snagglepuss

f@temeh
Community Member
6 years ago

oh it's very angry!؛)

AnnieRitaDelRosario
Community Member
6 years ago

Eh! What did you say?

NuniksGayatri
Community Member
6 years ago

please live forever...

PhyllisSteging
Community Member
6 years ago

The first pic looks like it's half bunny. The second one - now that's a scary look!!!

Kikkaio
Community Member
6 years ago

ecco, questo è molto meno affascinante come gatto.

AnabelleClendening
Community Member
6 years ago

rawr

NormaKantrowitz
Community Member
6 years ago

Strange

EllyEssenberg
Community Member
6 years ago

Look at those fangs.

lollipop1021
Community Member
6 years ago

This one looks a bit creepy, but that's my own opinion

DianePeters
Community Member
6 years ago

I think these are almost too adorable to be real.

EKaiComia
Community Member
6 years ago

**heavy breathing***

BiljanaJevremović
Community Member
6 years ago

<3

JennieSvensson
Community Member
6 years ago

Just love them! <3 They're so incredibly cute :D

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#4

Black-footed Cat (Felis Nigripes)

Black-footed Cat (Felis Nigripes)

Known as the smallest wild cat in Africa, the Black-footed cat is extremely fierce when protecting itself. There's even a San legend saying that Black-footed cats can kill giraffes by puncturing their jugular vein. 

Philladelphia Zoo Report

LisaNíChárthaigh
Community Member
6 years ago

It would be nice to see his/her black feet though :)

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#5

Caracal (Caracal Caracal)

Caracal (Caracal Caracal)

The first thing you notice looking at a Caracal is, of course, the beautiful tufts of hairs on its ears. These tufts are actually used for communication, as it is observed that these cats often shake their head to flick the tufts at other Caracals. Besides flaunting the tufts, these cats also purr, meow, and hiss, just like any other kitten. 

Tambako the Jaguar Report

Cats4Life
Community Member
6 years ago

Draw me like one of your french girls

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#6

Clouded Leopard (Neofelis Nebulosa)

Clouded Leopard (Neofelis Nebulosa)

The Clouded Leopard is an inhabitant of forests spanning the foothills of the Himalayas. Known for its distinct coat markings that make for perfect camouflage, Clouded Leopards are also the most talented climbers of the feline world. 

Lillian King Report

DonelleGlatt
Community Member
6 years ago

Oh my goodness. I wanna hug this gorgeous cat.

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#7

Pampas Cat (Leopardus Pajeros)

Pampas Cat (Leopardus Pajeros)

The Pampas cat is one of the most secretive felines - little is known about their ecology and behavior. So little, actually, that the biologists can't even decide if it's a diurnal or a nocturnal animal. 

L8 PHOTOS Lucas Leite Report

Gabriela
Community Member
6 years ago

Is it Rowan Atkinson?

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#8

Jaguarundi

Jaguarundi

The Jaguarundi inhabits various habitats - from tropical rainforests to deciduous ones to deserts and thorn shrubs. However, unlike most of the cats on this list, Jaguarundi mostly hunts in the daytime. And though they're pretty secretive, it has been observed that they are very cautious of traps. 

Joachim S. Mueller Report

BarbraRichman
Community Member
6 years ago

I love seeing these pictures of cats I had no idea existed! I love cats and think they are wonderful!! I'm betting there are even more cats that we don't know about . . .

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#9

Leopard Cat (Prionailurus Bengalensis)

Leopard Cat (Prionailurus Bengalensis)

The most unexpected fact about the Leopard cat is that it was domesticated at least 5,000 years ago in Neolithic China, though other felines later replaced it. And you might also be surprised to learn that the Bengal cat is actually a cross between a Leopard cat and a domestic one. 

Zaharil Dzulkafly Report

Cats4Life
Community Member
6 years ago

SOMETHING JUST TOUCHED MY LEG

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#10

Fishing Cat (Prionailurus Viverrinus)

Fishing Cat (Prionailurus Viverrinus)

The Fishing cat is one of the more unusual felines out there - it lives in swamps and wetlands, catching its prey by swimming long distances, even under water. Though hunting these cats is prohibited, their future is uncertain due to human activities altering their habitats. 

Attis1979 Report

SaraCollins
Community Member
6 years ago

Where's his rod?

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#11

Serval (Leptailurus Serval)

Serval (Leptailurus Serval)

The slender Serval cats are truly the catwalk models of the feline world - they have the longest legs of any cat, relative to its body size. Besides its beautiful characteristics, Servals are also very efficient hunters, scoring 15-16 kills in a 24-hour period.

Vearl Brown Report

samanthaiza
Community Member
6 years ago

he's judging.....you

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#12

Bay Cat (Catopuma Badia)

Bay Cat (Catopuma Badia)

The Bay cat falls into the Endangered animals' list as it is estimated that there are fewer than 2,500 mature individuals throughout their habitat. The Bay cat is also known for its enigmatic behavior - camera trapping surveys during 2003-2006 yielded a single picture with the Bay cat in it. 

Abujoy Report

BillieCoran
Community Member
6 years ago

Does NOT look happy to be caged! :(

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See Also on Bored Panda
#13

Kodkod (Leopardus Guigna)

Kodkod (Leopardus Guigna)

The Kodkod is the smallest felid species native to the Americas. This tiny wild cat is also pretty rare as its population might comprise just around 10,000 mature individuals. Though the Kodkod is active both during day and night, it ventures out in the open only under cover of darkness. 

Andy Whittaker & Aque Fortuna Report

Cats4Life
Community Member
6 years ago

like a kitten !

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#14

Ocelot (Leopardus Pardalis)

Ocelot (Leopardus Pardalis)

The Ocelot's association with humans dates back to Aztec and Incan civilizations, where this cat played a significant role in their cultures. Like many other felines, Ocelots are occasionally kept as pets, with Salvador Dali being the most famous Ocelot pet keeper. 

Jonathan Truong Report

KandyLeeHaldeman
Community Member
6 years ago

"He remembers me!" Sterling Archer

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#15

Wildcat (Felis Silvestris)

Wildcat (Felis Silvestris)

The Wildcat branches out to two different small wild cat species - the European Wildcat and the African Wildcat. The European species has a longer coat, a bushy tail and are a bit bigger than the African ones who sport short coats and a tapering tail. Interestingly, these Wildcats prefer to stay out of the trees, mostly choosing burrows as their dens. 

Lviatour Report

Cats4Life
Community Member
6 years ago

Looks just like a house cat!

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#16

Asian Golden Cat (Catopuma Temminckii)

Asian Golden Cat (Catopuma Temminckii)

The Asian Golden Cat is a native inhabitant of the northeastern Indian subcontinent, Southeast Asia, and southern China. However, since its habitat spans some of the fastest-growing countries, they are threatened by habitat destruction and deforestation. 

wikipedia.org Report

SirChrissyAlexander
Community Member
6 years ago

What a beauty.

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See Also on Bored Panda
#17

Chinese Mountain Cat (Felis Bieti)

Chinese Mountain Cat (Felis Bieti)

The Chinese Mountain Cat is endemic to China and lives on the north-eastern edge of the Tibetan Plateau. Until 2007 when camera traps pictured a wild specimen, Chinese Mountain Cats were only known by the six individuals living in Chinese Zoos. 

wikipedia.org Report

JannaGalère
Community Member
6 years ago

Looks like it has escaped from a Dr Seuss story

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#18

Margay Cat (Leopardus Wiedii)

Margay Cat (Leopardus Wiedii)

The Margay, a native to Central and South America, is a solitary nocturnal cat. This wild cat is a very skillful climber and spends most of its time hunting and resting in the treetops. It is also known that margays sometimes mimic the voice of their favorite prey, pied tamarin, which is rather unusual for a predator. 

Zippo Report

JolijnNjamin-GeurtsvanKessel
Community Member
6 years ago

I feel so lucky that I once got to see this rare animal in the wild, especially since they mainly live in the trees and rarely touch the ground, beautiful!

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#19

Flat-headed Cat (Felis Planiceps)

Flat-headed Cat (Felis Planiceps)

The Flat-headed cat is another specimen on our list that is fond of fish. Native to the Thay-Malay Penninsula, Borneo, and Sumatra, this little cat lives in wetlands and hunt their prey in rivers. Not only do the Flat-headed cats love their fish, but they are also known to wash their snacks just like raccoons do. 

Gary Albert Report

IraAjah
Community Member
6 years ago

it look in between cat and rat o.O

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#20

Rusty Spotted Cat (Prionailurus Rubiginosus)

Rusty Spotted Cat (Prionailurus Rubiginosus)

The Rusty Spotted Cat is one of the smallest wild cats. It is native to India, Sri Lanka, and western Nepal, where it stays in deciduous forests and grasslands. Since 2016, its global wild population is listed as Near Threatened as the Rusty Spotted Cats are affected by the loss and destruction of their prime habitat. 

Colin Langford Report

TinaStevens
Community Member
6 years ago

Such beauties, all of them.

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#21

Andean Cat (Leopardus Jacobita)

Andean Cat (Leopardus Jacobita)

The Andean Mountain cat, a native to the high Andes, is traditionally considered a sacred animal by indigenous Aymara and Quechua people. Though little, this cat is very hardy and well-adapted to live in arid terrains of high-altitude Andes. 

Jim Sanderson Report

PaulaMedinaEspinosa
Community Member
6 years ago

This cat is so cute! This picture doesn't do justice to it

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