How Many Cat Breeds Are There In The World?


Whenever someone sees a cat, it’s not that uncommon for them to say, ” Wow, look at the pretty orange cat!”. Or even, “Oh look! A calico cat!”. we usually identify cats by their coloration rather than by a specific breed. The problem is that certain colors and patterns are found in many different breeds of cats.

Unlike dogs, where it’s easy to identify the specific breed (Chihuahua, Husky, German Shepherd, etc.), cats aren’t so easy to identify, except for one or two breeds (Persian or Siamese, perhaps). Although there aren’t as many breeds of cats as there are breeds of dogs, knowing what breed your cat is can help you learn everything there is to know about him.

According to the person you ask, there are between 45 and 73 different recognized breeds of cats worldwide.

In this article, you’ll find out exactly how many cat breeds there are, as well as the most common breeds. You’ll also discover some ways to identify your cat’s breed so you can learn a little more about its history and characteristics.

How many cat breeds are there in the world?
Before we answer this question, we need to explain three things. The first is that in answering this question, we are only talking about domesticated cats, that is, cats that are generally kept as pets.

The second thing we need to explain is that when we talk about recognized breeds of cats, most of them are considered purebred. What is the difference between a pedigreed cat and a non-pedigreed cat?

Pedigreed and non-pedigreed cats
Pedigreed cats are bred to have certain characteristics based on a breed standard. Essentially, pedigreed cats are bred by humans who control the cats that are bred to have certain appearances and characteristics because of their genes. Most pedigreed cats are purebred.

Non-pediatric cats are kitties that are raised without human intervention. They are allowed to breed with cats of their choice and may not have the appearance of a particular breed. Other terms for non-left-handed cats can include combination breeds and moggies.
No clear consensus
The third thing we need to explain is that when it comes to determining how many breeds of domesticated cats there are in the world, it depends on who you ask. There are a few organizations that determine the number of cat breeds, but they can’t agree on a number.

This is probably partly because there are a lot of non-pedigreed cats that have characteristics of more than one breed. But there are also attempts to cross specific breeds of cats to create a new breed, which can lead to discrepancies in the numbers.

Some organizations also consider cats that differ in coat color and length from a particular breed standard as separate breeds. For example, the Cymric cat is a Manx cat with a different coat length, but some organizations list it as a separate breed. Because of these discrepancies, we will examine each organization individually.

The Cat Fanciers’ Association
The Cat Fanciers’ Association (CFA) is the most trusted organization when it comes to our feline friends. It recognizes 45 select breeds of cats. But it also recognizes that about 95% of the cats that are kept as pets are not purebred, so there may be more than 45 breeds.

The 45 breeds recognized by CFA are considered to show cats and may be shown in CFA-sponsored cat shows. Of the 45 recognized breeds, 42 are eligible to compete.

Among the recognized breeds are the Maine Coon, Persian, Siamese, and Sphynx cats. The lesser-known breeds of cats are the Korat, Lykoi, and Toybob.

International Cat Federation
The Fédération Internationale Féline (FIFe) recognizes 48 pedigree cat breeds. It is a similar organization to CFA and recognizes most of the same breeds. However, FIFe does list some breed variations separately, even if they have nearly identical characteristics to another breed.

For example, some consider the Cymric to be a Manx cat with a longer coat. The breed standard for both is also the same. But despite similar characteristics, because of different claims about the origins of the two breeds, they are listed separately by FIFe.

TICA also recognizes non-Germans as a separate class when it comes to participating in TICA-sponsored shows. Also included in their registry are newer breeds that are still in development, such as the Serengeti cat and the Highlander cat.

Can new breeds of cats be included in the registry?
New breeds of cats are being developed and added to the registries. Generally, these are experimental breeds or hybrid breeds created by mating two cats of different breeds to create a cat with certain characteristics.

For example, the Serengeti cat is a relatively new breed that is a cross between a Bengal and an Oriental cat. It has been around since 1995. TICA recognizes this cat as a “new advanced breed,” but CFA still does not recognize it at all.

The addition of a new breed of cat to a registry is not the result of simply creating a cat of a new specific breed. Each organization has different requirements as to what must happen for a new breed to be added to its registry. The requirements usually include how long the breed has been in existence, how many breeders are breeding that particular cat, how many cats are showing, etc.

Expect Delays
Whenever a new breed is added, it takes a lot of time and research to determine the origin and lineage of the breed. And most registries will not add a new breed of a cat when only a few examples of that breed exist. It can take several years, even decades, before a new cat is added to a registry.

But as mentioned earlier, this is one of the reasons why there are differences in the number of recognized cat breeds. Also, there are probably many breeds that are not yet recognized. The total number of cat breeds may be closer to 100.

What are the most popular cat breeds?
Of the recognized purebred cat breeds, the most popular are the Maine Coon, Ragdoll, and Persian. The exact ranking of popularity of these cats varies around the world, but these are just a few of the most commonly owned and registered cats.

According to CFA, Ragdolls were the most popular breed in 2020, followed by exotics and Maine Coons. The Persian cat, one of the most popular cats in the world, finished fourth on their list. Other popular breeds include British and American Shorthairs.

Other popular cat breeds include the domestic shorthair and domestic longhair. Domestic shorthair cats are so popular that it is believed that there are over 80 million of them in American homes.

Domestic shorthair and domestic longhair cats are unselected “breeds” of cats that are described by the length of their fur. They are not specific breeds at all, but rather mixed-breed cats whose actual genetics and ancestry are unknown. If you take in a stray or adopt from an animal shelter, it is more than likely one of these two varieties.

How do I know which breed my cat is?
Unless you have a purebred cat, it can be difficult to determine which breed it is. If your cat is not a purebred, it is most probably a domestic short-haired or long-haired cat. In some cases, it is possible to look at your cat and spot certain characteristics of different breeds of cats, such as coat color, ear shape, tail appearance, etc.

You can always look up these characteristics on the Internet to find out what breeds your cat looks like. You can always look up these characteristics on the Internet to find out what breeds your cat looks like. But here’s the catch: some characteristics are common to several breeds of cats, so it can be hard to be sure.

If you want to know what breed your house cat is, the best way to do that is to get a cat DNA test. You can purchase a kit online, in which you collect your cat’s DNA (usually through a cheek swab), then send the test back and receive the results. You can also have a veterinarian perform a DNA test on your cat.

Final Thoughts
Aside from the easily recognizable Persians, Siamese, Maine Coons, and Sphynx, many cat breeds are not as universally recognized as dog breeds. We know that there are between 40 and 75 recognized cat breeds, but there are probably many more that are still in development or are not recognized.

Moreover, many domestic cats are a mixture of several different cat breeds with a long ancestral lineage. They may have characteristics of several different breeds. But if you want to know the history of your cat’s breed, you can always have a DNA test done to get to know your feline friend a little better.

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