The cat associations are out of step with the public in respect of what is the most important cat characteristic. Whereas cat associations prioritize appearance over everything else, the public have informed us in a recent survey, what we probably already knew, namely that temperament comes first and appearance second. It should be noted that, in truth, health trumps everything but that appears not to have been part of the survey.
According to a USA survey commissioned by Royal Canin:
- 87% of the public rated temperament as the most important characteristic.
- 55% rated appearance as the most important.
The same trend applies to dogs. 80% of people select dogs on personality while the next most important characteristic is not overall appearance, but the size of the dog.
Another interesting and pleasing finding is that 40% of cat owners prefer random bred cats (sometimes called “mixed breed” cats) as their favourite in preference to purebred, pedigree cats. We probably already knew that. The downside is that the figure implies that 60% prefer purebred cats. As the number of purebred cats as a percentage of total domestic cats is much lower than 60% in the USA, I have to presume that people hanker after a purebred cat but make do with a moggie.
The survey also confirms what PoC discovered years ago, in its own poll, namely that the Maine Coon is the most popular cat breed in the USA and therefore probably in the world. The Maine Coon ended up streets ahead in the PoC poll, the results of which you can see on this page.
The Cat Fanciers’ Association (CFA) have routinely stated that the flat-faced Persian is the most popular breed based on the fact that the Persian is the most registered with their association. I have always said that the highest number of registrations does not translate to the most popular. All that the CFA registrations tell us is that their members have produced and registered more Persians than Maine Coons. It does not mean all the cats are placed with the public. Incidentally, the Maine Coon is the third ranked for CFA registrations.
Maine Coons are big too. It seems Americans like large companion animals and the Maine Coon size probably gives the breed an advantage.
Of all the cat coat types, the tabby is the most popular. This is interesting but to be expected. The tabby coat is by far the most common and there are three main types: spotted, striped and blotchy. There are also many tabby and white cats and even tabby pointed cats (otherwise known as lynx pointing). I won’t ramble on but there are also tabby/tortie mix cats, called “torbies”.
Returning to the title of this post: the cat associations are managed by members who are cat breeders. Cat associations are clubs for the members. Cat association members breed for themselves. The business end, satisfying the public comes second.