cat (also known
purebred cat or
pedigreed cat) is one that has been judged to be close to the physical
ideal for its
standard at a
cat show. Not all pedigreed cats are show cats, many are just pets but the
ones with the best conformation and personality are often shown in associations
such as the
CFA and TICA in the US, the GCCF in the UK or the FiFe in the rest of Europe. Uncommonly, a
prize-winning pedigreed show cat can be worth thousands of dollars but most are
loved pets. In order to compare examples of breeds and improve stock, cat shows
are held where judges evaluate the cats according to a breed standard. Pedigreed
cats are often identified with microchip implants.
A common misconception is that all pedigreed cats are less healthy than
random bred cats due to
inbreeding. Not all pedigreed cats are excessively inbred, however; in the past,
this was the case with some breeds, before the modern understanding of genetics
was widely circulated. Currently, breeders take great care to select for the
healthiest animals, which has greatly reduced the incidence of health issues.
Many of the worst, like PKD in Persians and HCM in Maine Coons, have been nearly eliminated due to preventive screening,
long term tracking and study by geneticists.
Breeds have different origins, some are manmade or the result of mutation,
while others are found in nature. Some breeds of cat have been created by taking
a single tom cat or queen with an unusual physical characteristic that breeds true. The entire
Rex breed can be traced back to a single parent animal with an unusual
genetic mutation producing a curly coat. Both the
Tonkinese breeds can be traced back to a single cat, Wong Mau, which was
brought from Burma
in the 1930s. Breeders continually strive to eliminate negative characteristics
that various cat breeds exhibit as the breeds are developed. There is not really
any such thing as a 'purebred' cat since all registered breeds began as random
bred cats. In this case, 'pedigreed' is a more accurate term.
Cat breeders are continually competing to find the 'ideal' of the breed - the
cats that come closest to fitting the breed standard. Because of this, the
physical characteristics of a prize-winning show cat have gradually changed in
some breeds. This genetic shifting is most obvious in the two oldest, most
popular and most distinctive breeds of show cat - the
Persian and the
Siamese. However, some show cats are naturally occurring breeds that are
perpetuated to keep the original look of a cat from a particular region.
Examples are the