Cats are famous for being independent and free-spirited, so you may even wonder why would anyone want to “register” a cat? Good question – and hopefully this article will help fill in the gaps on this topic.
What Are Cat Registries?
Cat registries are the organizations in charge of keeping records of the genealogies of purebred cats. They’re the ones that issue formal certificates attesting to a cat’s breed and documenting its lineage. These are known as pedigrees.
Cat registries hold cat shows, where registered cats are judged according to detailed breed standards. Titles earned during these shows are then recorded in the cat’s papers and can be used to assess a cat’s potential in a breeding program. Some registries have introduced genetic testing allowing for an even more accurate evaluation of a cat’s potential role in future development of the breed.
Cat Registries, Large and Small
The beginning of modern cat breeding is attributed to a cat show held at the Crystal Palace in London in 1871. In that show, for the very first time, cat breeds were listed and detailed breed descriptions provided.
An organization called The National Cat Club was formed for the purpose of this show. Essentially, it became the world’s first ever cat registry. Thus, the field we know call “Cat Fancy” was born.
The Cat Fancy being the competitive field that it is, it wasn’t long before cat breeders branched out and set up new cat registries. These reflected different views of breed standards or other aspects of breeding and showing cats.
Today there are numerous cat registries in the US and around the world, but four large international registries dominate the arena. Most pedigreed cats will have their papers issued by one of these associations.
Cat Fanciers Association (CFA)
Founded in 1906, the CFA is considered to be the largest cat registry in the world. Its headquarters are in the US and it is predominantly an American association. The CFA is considered to be more conservative than other registries and currently recognizes 44 cat breeds.
The Cat Fanciers’ Association – The World’s Largest Registry for Pedigreed Cats
The International Cat Association (TICA)
Established in the USA in 1979, TICA’s founder wanted it to be a more progressive and flexible registry. It seems to hold true to its mission statement, with recognizing over 55 cat breeds and introducing a formal genetic registry.
Fédération Internationale Féline (FIFe)
FIFe is a governing body that brings together 42 cat registries in 40 different countries. The organization offers a unified registry with established breed standards. Founded in France in 1949, its current board members reside in various countries in Europe.
American Cat Fanciers Association (ACFA)
Not to be confused with the CFA, the ACFA was established in 1955 and currently recognizes 53 cat breeds. It emphasizes the friendly and welcoming nature of its organization and the social aspects of cat breeding.
American Cat Fanciers Association
How to Register Your Cat
To register your cat as a purebred cat and attain its pedigree certificates, you need the help of the breeder you bought the cat from.
In fact, any ethical breeder will sell a purebred kitten either with papers or with special documents that allow you to register the cat with the appropriate association.
Registering a cat involves a fee and once the procedure is through, you will get your cat’s papers in the mail.
What About My Mixed-Breed Pet Cat?
If you want to get into the world of Cat Fancy, you definitely do not need a purebred cat. Most registries allow and even encourage showing and registering mixed-breed cats. All you need is a relaxed and easy-going cat who will enjoy attending cat shows with you.
In fact, if you entertain the thought of ever becoming a breeder, the right way to go about it is by registering and showing your mixed-breed cats. Obviously, beautiful as they are, these cats should never be part of a breeding program and cat registries will require proof of neutering in order for you to show the cat.
Ethical Breeding of Cats
Cat registries aim at promoting ethical and professional breeding of cats. Essentially, they all support educating cat owners about proper cat care, and controlling the population of cats by limiting breeding to established breeding programs carried out by ethical breeders.
You can read more about the ethics of breeding cats here.
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