People might hate me for writing this. It is deliberately irreverent.
Purebred cats are riddled with genetic disease; the longer established they are the greater the number of diseases. They aren’t even the real thing – we made them up. Many people talk about purebred cats (and dogs for that matter) as if nature created them that way. Wrong, we created them. The same people believe that moggies are inferior — second class with no class. Wrong, they can look superb and are healthier.
All domestic, feral and stray cats are a single subspecies of the North African wildcat; it makes no difference that the cat is a moggie or a pedigree.
Moggies are cats in their natural, healthy state whereas pure breeding is genetic manipulation devised by amateur genetic engineers for their amusement. Blame Harrison Weir, the founder of the cat fancy. He started it.
All of today’s so called cat breeds were created in the last 150 years. They are not even the real thing because the real “cat breeds” are not breeds at all, they are moggies that are more genuine than the cat breed. Confused? The Real Turkish Angora or Van are paradigm examples.
In 19th century England, eugenics – improving the genetic quality of humans – was all the rage, encouraging upper class Dr Frankensteins to mess around with dogs and cats and then to tell the world what a wonderfully “pure” breed of animal they had created.
Purebred cats are arbitrary. Some people fancy messing around with genetics and playing God – hence the name “cat fancy”. At one time in the early days of the cat fancy any new breed was up for grabs. Nowadays the cat fancy has reached saturation point. There is no room for a new creation. The cat creating God is redundant.
Many purebred cats were made from a couple of moggies. Many were declared purebred cats because they happen to live in a country. These were named after the country of origin. These days there is little or no connection between the breed and country of origin – example: Persian, which has no connection with Persian cats, genetically. Anyway Persian cats don’t even come from Iran.
“Purebred” can mean “inbred”. ‘Purity” of genes does not equate to good or excellent. In order to “refine” and retain the distinguishable appearance of each cat breed breeders have to mate cats from the same breed. If they “outcross” (mate the cat with e.g. a moggie) foreign genes are introduced which both alters the appearance away from the desired standard and all of a sudden makes the cat no longer purebred unless the cat fancy allows it, which I guess they are sometimes reluctant to do.
It is said that the whole of the Singapura cat breed – the world’s smallest breed – is based on 4 cats (if that number is wrong, think very small number).
In the dog world the same rules (and worse) apply and 60% of golden retrievers die of cancer and 33% of King Charles spaniels have skulls that are too small for their brains (think how that feels). As for cats…
It is estimated that over 37% of Persians have PKD1 (polycystic kidney disease), a breed that accounts for nearly 80% of the cat fancy….and they have the famous “tear duct overflow” because their heads are a funny shape as if someone punched their face.
The more the cat fancy “refines” a cat breed the more they distance the cat from naturalness and health and in any case when “refinement” concerns appearance it is based upon subjective judgments about aesthetics. What one person thinks is refined another thinks is rat-like – I am referring to the modern Siamese which is only distantly related to the real thing.
We didn’t really need cat breeds as they cost the lives of moggies who need homes.