Today there are many breeds of cats. The Cat Fancier’s Association (CFA) recognizes 41 different breeds. Other North American associations recognize many additional breeds, including the exotic crosses between wild and domestic cats. There are more breeds recognized overseas and some that are still in development. Cats may be divided into two categories: the popular house cat of unknown ancestry, or the purebred, (a pedigreed cat), intentionally bred for certain desirable qualities and usually eligible for exhibition in the show ring. The various cat associations have prepared written standards so that judges might compare the qualities of competing cats with the appropriate breed specification. A large number of purebreds do not meet the standards and, therefore, may be obtained at lower prices. However, they may still be registered and make excellent pets.
The majority of pet cats are mixed breeds. They almost never resemble the standard of any cat breed. However, 4-H has acknowledged the desirability of all cats by allowing household pets to be shown. Unlike purebreds, they are not judged according to a written standard, but on the basis of physical condition, cleanliness, presentation, temperament, and attractive or unusual appearance. Throughout the world, cats of unknown lineage comprise the vast majority of pets, and most of them are mixed breeds. They are, without a doubt, the most popular cats of all.
|Khao manee Cat|
Cat breeds are divided into three types: Natural, man-made (hybrid), and spontaneous mutation.
• Natural: A natural breed was created by nature, but refined and stabilized through selective breeding. Some natural breeds such as the Abyssinian have been in existence for hundreds of years.
• Man-made: Man-made breeds, or hybrids, are created by the purposeful crossing of two or more breeds to establish a third breed. The new breed’s results range from having its own distinct appearance such as
the Ocicat, to being almost identical to one of the foundation breeds, such as the Oriental Shorthair. An example of a hybrid showing equal characteristics of both foundation parents is the Tonkinese. It is interesting to note that Siamese have been a foundation for more new breeds than any other cat.
• Mutation: A mutation is a spontaneous change in the gene structure resulting in an unusual feature. This feature may attract the attention of breeders who then develop that feature, creating a new breed with
uniform standards. Some of these breeds are relatively new, such as the Rexes and the Scottish Fold, while others have been around for so long they are now considered natural breeds, such as the Manx or Japanese