What makes a cat a cat? Alert, adorable ears? Luxuriously soft fur? Those enchanting meows and purrs?

But what about cats that don't exhibit such iconic, cat-like characteristics? Can a cat be a beloved kitty without, say, a tail? Or the ability to meow? These seven amazing cat breeds will erase any stereotypical ideas you may have about what it means to be a cat.

1. American Bobtail

Did you know? As the name suggests, the American Bobtail has a very short "bob" of a tail, usually one to four inches long.
Special trait: Many American Bobtails possess a penchant for travel. That's why they are a popular breed for long-distance truckers.

american bobtail cat breed

Photo Credit: "the amazing tiger : santa barbara (2009)" by torbakhopper via Flickr. License info.

2. Sphynx

Did you know? Sphynx cats are essentially hairless. Experts believe a genetic mutation originally caused this unusual characteristic.
Special trait: Wrinkles! The lack of hair exposes all the delightful wrinkles kitties have under their skin.

sphynx cat

Photo Credit: "Gaya" by totte71 via Flickr. License info.

3. Manx

Did you know? The Manx is the only breed of domestic cat that does not have a tail. At all.
Special trait: Manx cats are often described as "dog-like" and they LOVE to play.

manx cat

Photo Credit: "Lucy's Nap" by A.Davey via Flickr. License info.

4. Scottish Fold

Did you know? The Scottish Fold cat has ears that fold forward, giving him an almost earless look.
Special trait: Scottish Folds are generally calm, adaptable and loving — and they're known for especially loving their families!

scottish fold cat

Photo Credit: "Scottish Fold (折耳猫)" by Tom Thai via Flickr. License info.

5. The Japanese Bobtail

Did you know? This short-tailed breed is native to Japan and is one of the oldest-known breeds.
Special trait: Japanese Bobtails are athletic, intelligent and energetic. They even excel in agility.

japanese bobtail cat

Photo Credit: "Japanese bobtail cat nap" by Petful via Flickr. License info.

6. Chartreux

Did you know? These beautiful blue French cats sometimes purr or chirp, but they are unable to meow.
Special trait: Chartreux cats are noted for having beautiful "smiles," which are a result of the breed's distinctive facial shape.

Chartreux cat

Photo Credit: "Hedy" by Leo, The Soundmonster! via Flickr. License info.

7. Devon Rex

Did you know? These adorable alien lookalikes sport an array of unique physical characteristics, including large ears and curly coats.
Special trait: Devon Rex cats display endless enthusiasm for life and are known for their gregarious personalities.

devon rex cat breed

Photo Credit: "She found the cushion" by Frank Jania via Flickr. License info.