Are There Too Many Cat Breeds?
Havana Brown cat is one gene variant from a Siamese cat - photo by alasam
Are there too many cat breeds? I ask this because having read an excellent research article about cat breeds and the relationship of their genetics to geographical origin, I discovered that some cat breeds are only one gene variant different from each other in genetic make up. And those different genes govern such things as hair length.
As an interesting counter thought, some cat breeds are in fact subdivided as they have distinct and multiple lineages. Examples are the British Shorthair and Persian. I think this indicates a lack of management by the cat associations.
Anyway, I am talking about the Havana Brown and Orientals. I am talking here, by the way, about the modern long headed and skinny Siamese cat. This is in itself an artificially developed cat breed in my view and the other cat breeds that are so similar to it are also it could be argued artificially created to extend the breed database. It is not far different to the cat food manufacturers making another dry cat food for another type of cat (i.e. creating a wider product range to get more sales).
Should these Siamese "near clones" be simply Siamese cats with alternative coat types allowable under the Siamese breed standard? That might be blasphemous as the Siamese is the Siamese and the only colour is pointed against an off white. So if you can't call a Havana Brown a Siamese should it have been created? I don't know. It should be a subdivision of the Siamese, I think. This is the case in the UK as I understand it.
If these domestic cat breeds were wild cat species they would be the same species. An example is the white tiger being a tiger and not some other kind of wild cat. The white tiger is not even a sub-species.
Clearly different criteria apply in the making of cat breeds to the classification of wild cats (taxonomy). And it is probably fair to say that the classification of wild cats is more scientific than the classification of domestic cat breeds.
It is interesting to think that all the cat breeds of which there are over a hundred (if you count the "fringe" breeds) are all the same species of cat - Felis silvestris catus
Associated page: Cat Genetics