Although I have said it before a few times, in the light of the recent discussion on the cat breed mashup, I think it is useful to remind ourselves that there are 36 wild cat species¹. Amongst these species, within a group of small cats, is the domestic cat with the scientific name of felis silvestrus catus.
Nowadays, when scientists distinguish one wild cat species from another they employ DNA testing. In the current classification of the species scientists have decided that all domestic cats are effectively the same from a DNA standpoint. It makes no difference if the cat is feral, stray, domestic moggie, fancy cat breed, Russian, Egyptian, American, English, Japanese or anything else. They are all the same species of cat: felis silvestrus catus.
Surely that puts the cat breeds into perspective? When scientists do DNA testing on the cat breeds as discussed in the Cat Breeds: Its a Mashup page, they are analysing fine differences between the breeds to decide which region they might have come from or if there is a commonality between certain breeds. Yet, these differences are not sufficiently great to allow any one cat breed to be separated out as a different cat sub-species or species.
As we have discussed in the comments, the cat breed is a human creation. It is a manufactured product of the human imagination. A cat breed is not the product of nature. Nature has a reason to make animals: better survival. The driving force behind the cat breeds is entertainment. They are the product of a human hobby.
Many cat breeds are less able to survive than the moggie. The super long haired contemporary Persian, the most popular cat breed according to the CFA, should be a full-time indoor cat because its fur is unnaturally long “Their long flowing coats require an indoor, protected environment….” (CFA profile)
- This is what is currently agreed but the classification of the species is work in progress and the figure varies. There are more than 36 cats listed in the drawing on this page.