How many breeds of cats are there?

I’m sure many guardians of domestic cats have wondered how many breeds of cats exist across the globe. This answer is not simple, because best cat flea collar according to the classification criteria, the total number varies considerably.

It is necessary to emphasize that all the information we are going to present is limited only to the domestic cat (Felis silvestris catus), so all the wild cat breeds are left out. Even so, the variety that has been registered will surely surprise you.

About the cat and its domestication

While it was believed that the first pockets of feline domestication emerged in 2000 BC in Egypt, new studies refute this idea. In 2004, a cat fossil was discovered next to a human corpse in a grave on the island of Cyprus. Incredibly, these geological remains are 9.5 billion years old.

Thus, the wild African cat (Felis silvestris lybica) is placed as the basal precursor of all domestic cat breeds we know today. It is suggested that this domestication happened as a result of a symbiosis: humans needed to get rid of rodent pests and the prey cats to hunt.

From this ancestral association, over the years the different cat breeds have emerged, with specific morphological features resulting from human genetic selection. It should be noted that, however different they may be externally, two individuals of different breeds can reproduce with each other and are therefore considered to be of the same species.

How many cat breeds are there?

As we have already said, the overall number of cat breeds existing today depends to a great extent on the source consulted. Here are some indicative numbers:

  • The International Cat Association (TICA) estimates that there are a total of 71 standardized breeds.
  • The Cat Fanciers’ Association (FCA) puts this number at 44.
  • A total of 43 breeds are recognized by the Fédération Internationale Féline (FIFe).
  • Finally, the lowest value is held by the Encyclopedia Britannica, with a total of 15 official domestic cat breeds.

As you can see with these figures, the disparity between federations is absolute. This numerical chaos responds to different classification criteria. For example, some of these entities do not recognize as their own breeds those that do not have a differentiated pedigree, that is, an effectively registered family tree.

In other cases, some entities choose to include several types of felines in the same race. An example of this are some of the colorpoint cats (with extremities and face of one color and the rest of the body of the other), which can be catalogued separately according to their origin or in the same “mega breed”.

Are there any new cat breeds?

The answer to this question is a clear and resounding yes. For example, in 2018 the FCA introduced two new breeds: the Lykoi cat and the Khao Manee. However, these classification systems usually remain unchanged over the years, as it takes a lot of source evidence for a variety of domestic cat to be considered a breed in itself.

This little variation also responds to a protection of the pets and the search of the animal welfare over the novelty. Many of the domestic cat breeds share certain genetic traits, which may show potential to be related to certain diseases or simply have not been sufficiently explored.

This is why these federations take great care in promoting cross-breeding and genetic selection to produce different breeds. We must not forget that animal welfare is above all else.

Thus, we have been able to verify that the number of cat breeds on Earth is not at all fixed, since it depends on a series of classification criteria imposed by the very association that registers the variety of these animals. In spite of all this, we can affirm that the number of feline breeds is quite inferior to that of dogs, since the latter figure is around 350 different breeds.

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