How many cat breeds do you know? Persian, Siamese, British Shorthair, Maine Coon are the ones who are known by most people who have, at least, heard something about cats. Not as much as with dogs, huh?
But how many cat breeds are there? Well, it’s not an easy question to answer, as there are many organizations, currently giving their up’s and down’s for recognizing, or not recognizing new cat breeds.
The largest cat registration body in the world and the most popular one in the United States, the Cat Fanciers Association (CFA), recognizes 40 cat breeds, as for now.
Similarly, the most popular organization in Europe, Fédération Internationale Féline (FIFe), but is not well known in the US, recognizes 43 distinctive breeds.
That does not mean FIFe recognizes 3 extra breeds as there are some differences in the lists by those two organizations. For example, FIFe recognizes American Curl Longhair and Shorthair versions as distinctive breeds, while CFA says a “no no”, they are the same breed, just two versions.
Another large body – The International Cat Association (TICA) currently recognizes 60 cat breeds to compete for the championship title in shows. Besides that, they have 13 more breeds on a “kinda like” waiting list. That is, they are on different stages of recognition. When and will they be recognized remains questionable, though.
There are many larger and smaller cat registration federations, associations, and similar. We cannot look at all of them, we already stated three most dominant ones, but the overall is that the majority of those clubs and organizations recognize breeds in the range between 40 and 60, some going up to 73.
Will we see new cat breeds in the future?
We certainly will, but some time must pass before that. CFA state that the potential new breeds should have valid, long term breeding program (so they do not register and disappear), as well as the potential new breed must be a valuable addition to the list of all cat breeds.
In short, CFA won’t register new breed just because. If we take a look at the history of recognizing new breeds, we won’t see more than few in the latest years, a vast majority being approved during 1980s or 1990s.
So, it is slowing down, but there are still many enthusiasts who work new breeds, and even if they are not recognized by leading organizations, they still do believe those cats should be recognized as distinctive breeds – and they act like they are. And whereas appropriate, it’s just a matter of time they are becoming ones.
On the other hand, probably it will take quite some centuries before (and if) we will see so much variety in cat breeds, as we do in dogs.