With their slender bodies, long tails, and pointy faces, some cats bear an uncanny resemblance to rats. If you’ve ever come across a cat that looks suspiciously rodent-like, you’re not alone. While it may seem strange, there are a number of cats breeds that could easily be mistaken for rats at first glance.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll take a look at the different types of cats that resemble rats, what causes the similarities in their appearance, and how to tell them apart from actual rats.

Breeds of Cats That Look Like Rats


The Sphynx is perhaps the most well-known breed of cat that resembles a rat. Known for its lack of fur, the Sphynx has a wrinkled skin that gives it a unique appearance. Despite its hairless exterior, the Sphynx is a friendly and affectionate breed, making it a popular choice for cat lovers.

If you’re considering getting a Sphynx, it’s important to note that their lack of fur means they require special care. Regular baths and moisturizing their skin are essential to keep them healthy and comfortable.

Additionally, they are sensitive to temperature changes, so providing them with warm environments is crucial.

Devon Rex

The Devon Rex is another breed that often gets compared to rats due to its curly coat and large ears. These cats have a playful and mischievous nature, making them a delightful addition to any household. Their curly fur also means they require regular grooming to prevent matting.

Devon Rex cats are known for their intelligence and are highly trainable. They enjoy interactive toys and games that challenge their minds. With their unique appearance and lively personality, Devon Rex cats are sure to capture the hearts of cat enthusiasts.

Oriental Shorthair

The Oriental Shorthair is a breed that stands out due to its slender body and large ears. These cats come in a variety of coat colors and patterns, adding to their distinct look. They are known for their active and curious nature, always ready for an adventure.

Oriental Shorthairs are highly social cats and thrive in households where they receive plenty of attention and stimulation. Their sleek coat requires minimal grooming, making them a low-maintenance choice for those who want a cat that resembles a rat in appearance.

American Curl

The American Curl is a breed known for its unique curled ears, which give it a rat-like appearance. These cats are friendly, affectionate, and adaptable, making them a popular choice among cat lovers. Their curled ears are a result of a genetic mutation and do not require any special care.

American Curls have a variety of coat lengths and colors, allowing for different preferences. Whether you prefer a long-haired or short-haired cat, the American Curl can meet your needs while still resembling a rat in its facial features.


While the breeds mentioned above are the most commonly associated with rats due to their physical features, it’s worth noting that there are other cat breeds that may also resemble rats in certain aspects. Some examples include the Cornish Rex, Peterbald, and LaPerm.

Each of these breeds has its own unique characteristics that make them stand out.

If you’re considering getting a cat that looks like a rat, it’s important to research each breed thoroughly and consider their specific needs and personalities. Remember, appearance is just one aspect of choosing a cat, and their temperament and care requirements should also be taken into account.

Physical Features That Contribute to the Rat Look

Cats are known for their unique and diverse appearances, with different breeds showcasing a wide range of physical characteristics. However, there are some cats that have certain features that give them a resemblance to rats. Let’s explore these physical features:


One of the most prominent features of cats that look like rats is their lack of fur. Hairless cats, such as the Sphynx breed, have a natural mutation that causes them to be born without hair. This lack of fur gives them a rat-like appearance, with their wrinkled skin and exposed skin pigmentation.

Despite their unusual appearance, hairless cats are known for their affectionate and sociable nature.

Long, Slender Tail

Another feature that contributes to the rat-like look in some cats is their long and slender tail. Unlike most domestic cats, which have a fluffy or bushy tail, these cats have a thin and elongated tail that resembles that of a rat.

This unique tail adds to their overall rat-like appearance and can be seen in breeds such as the Cornish Rex.

Large, Pointed Ears

Cats that resemble rats often have large and pointed ears, which contribute to their unique appearance. These ears are more prominent than those of typical domestic cats and may give them a more rodent-like appearance.

Some breeds, such as the Devon Rex, are known for their large and uniquely shaped ears, further adding to the rat-like resemblance.

Wedge-Shaped Head and Muzzle

The shape of a cat’s head and muzzle can also contribute to the rat-like look. Cats with a wedge-shaped head and a slender, elongated muzzle may bear a resemblance to rats. This distinct facial structure can be seen in breeds like the Oriental Shorthair, giving them a unique and sometimes rat-like appearance.

It’s important to note that while these cats may have physical features reminiscent of rats, they are still beloved pets with their own unique personalities. Their rat-like appearance should not deter anyone from considering them as companions.

If you are interested in learning more about these fascinating feline breeds, be sure to check out reputable sources such as the International Cat Association (www.tica.org) and breed-specific websites for more information.

Personality Traits Shared by Rats and Rat-Like Cats

While cats are known for their independent and mysterious nature, there are some feline breeds that bear a striking resemblance to rats in terms of their physical appearance. However, these rat-like cats also share some interesting personality traits with their rodent counterparts.


Both rats and rat-like cats are highly intelligent creatures. Rats are known for their ability to problem-solve and learn complex tasks, while certain cat breeds, such as the Sphynx or the Cornish Rex, exhibit exceptional intelligence.

These cats are quick learners and can easily adapt to new situations, making them highly trainable.


Rats are curious creatures by nature, and this trait is also found in rat-like cats. Just like rats, these feline companions are often seen exploring their surroundings with a sense of curiosity and intrigue.

They enjoy investigating new objects, climbing to high places, and seeking out hidden nooks and crannies.


Rats are social animals that thrive in groups, and some rat-like cats also exhibit a high level of sociability. These feline companions enjoy the company of humans and other animals, and they often seek out interaction and attention.

They may follow their owners around the house, curl up on laps, and even get along well with other pets in the household.


Both rats and rat-like cats have a playful side. Rats love to engage in interactive play with their owners, using toys and games to keep themselves entertained. Similarly, rat-like cats are known for their playful nature, often chasing after toys, pouncing on objects, and engaging in games of hide-and-seek.

It’s important to note that while these rat-like cats may share some personality traits with rats, they are still cats at heart. Each individual cat will have its own unique personality, and not all rat-like cats will exhibit the exact same traits.

If you’re considering adopting a rat-like cat, it’s always a good idea to spend time with the specific cat you’re interested in to get a better understanding of their personality.

How to Distinguish Between a Cat and a Rat

Look for Whiskers and Pointed Snout on Rodents

One of the easiest ways to tell the difference between a cat and a rat is by looking at their facial features. Cats have long whiskers and a pointed snout, while rats have shorter whiskers and a more rounded snout.

Whiskers are important sensory organs for cats, helping them navigate their surroundings and detect prey. On the other hand, rats use their whiskers to feel their way around tight spaces and locate food sources.

Fun Fact: Did you know that a cat’s whiskers are roughly as wide as its body? This helps them determine if they can fit through a narrow space.

Check for a Longer Hind Leg on Rats

When it comes to distinguishing between a cat and a rat, their body structure can provide valuable clues. Rats have longer hind legs compared to their front legs, which gives them a distinctive hunched appearance. This leg structure allows them to jump and climb with agility.

Cats, on the other hand, have relatively equal-length legs, giving them a more balanced and graceful posture.

Statistical Data: According to a study conducted by the University of California, rats have hind legs that are approximately 20% longer than their front legs.

Notice Claws and Teeth Differences

The claws and teeth of cats and rats also differ significantly. Cats have retractable claws that they can extend or retract as needed. These sharp claws are used for hunting, climbing, and self-defense. Rats, on the other hand, have non-retractable claws that are always visible.

Their claws are adapted for digging and gripping surfaces.

In terms of teeth, cats have sharp, pointed teeth called canines that they use to tear meat. Rats have front incisors that continuously grow throughout their lives. These incisors are ideal for gnawing on hard objects and chewing through various materials.

Website Reference: For more information on cat and rat anatomy, you can visit Cornell Feline Health Center.

Consider Size Variations

Size is another important factor when distinguishing between cats and rats. Cats are generally larger animals, weighing anywhere from 5 to 20 pounds (2.3 to 9 kilograms), depending on the breed. Rats, on the other hand, are much smaller, typically weighing between 0.5 to 1 pound (0.2 to 0.4 kilograms).

Furthermore, cats have a more elongated body shape, while rats have a stockier build. Cats also have a tail that is longer and more flexible, whereas rats have a shorter and less flexible tail.

Humorous Observation: Imagine mistaking a cat for a rat! That would certainly be a case of mistaken identity that would leave you feeling quite embarrassed!

Advantages of Owning a Rat-Like Cat

Low Grooming Requirements

Owning a cat that looks like a rat can actually be quite beneficial when it comes to grooming. These feline companions typically have short, sleek fur that requires minimal brushing and maintenance. Unlike long-haired breeds that need regular grooming to prevent matting and tangles, rat-like cats can save their owners time and effort in this department.

This makes them a great choice for busy individuals or those who prefer a low-maintenance pet.

Hypoallergenic Coats

For individuals with allergies, rat-like cats can be a wonderful option. Many of these breeds have hypoallergenic coats, meaning they produce fewer allergens compared to other cat breeds. This can significantly reduce the risk of triggering allergic reactions in sensitive individuals.

However, it’s always a good idea to spend time with the cat before bringing them home to ensure compatibility and minimize any potential allergic reactions.

Affectionate Yet Independent Nature

Rat-like cats are known for their unique combination of affection and independence. They are often described as being both loving and self-reliant, making them an ideal companion for individuals who appreciate a balance between affectionate snuggles and independent play.

These cats can provide companionship without being overly clingy or demanding, which suits many pet owners’ lifestyles.

Minimal Shedding

One of the perks of owning a rat-like cat is their minimal shedding. Unlike some other breeds that leave behind a trail of fur everywhere they go, these cats have relatively low shedding tendencies. This means less time spent cleaning up loose hair and fewer allergies triggered by dander.

It’s important to note that individual cats may vary, so it’s always a good idea to research specific breeds or consult with a reputable breeder to determine the shedding tendencies of a particular cat.


While their unusual looks may be startling at first, cats that resemble rats can make delightful and loving pets. By understanding the breeds and traits that give them their rodent-esque appearance, you can better appreciate these quirky kitties.

And if you ever find yourself second-guessing whether you’re looking at feline or rat, a close examination of the face, legs, and other physical features will reveal the truth. So next time you come across a cat that could be mistaken for a rat, take a moment to admire its singular look – then reach out and make a new furry friend.

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