Why does the CFA list 45 cat breeds while TICA lists 73?

As stated in the title, at November 2023, the Cat Fanciers’ Association (CFA) accept and register 45 cat breeds while the other North American premier cat association, The International Cat Association (TICA) accept and register 73 cat breeds. Why the difference?

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Firstly, I will list the differences. The first list below is of the breeds that TICA accept but the CFA don’t so they represent the extra breeds registered by TICA. The second list are those that the CFA accept as listed on their website but which TICA don’t. Note: any omissions please tell me in a comment. 🙂

Cat breeds that TICA accept but the CFA don’t

  • American Bobtail Shorthair
  • American Curl Longhair
  • Australian Mist
  • Balinese
  • Bengal Longhair
  • British Longhair
  • Burmilla Longhair
  • Chausie
  • Cymric
  • Donsky
  • Kurilian Bobtail
  • Kurilian Bobtail Longhair
  • LaPerm Shorthair
  • Maine Coon Polydactyl
  • Minuet
  • Minuet Longhair
  • Munchkin
  • Munchkin Longhair
  • Nebelung
  • Oriental Longhair
  • Peterbald
  • Pixiebob
  • Pixiebob Longhair
  • Scottish Fold Longhair
  • Scottish Straight
  • Selkirk Rex Longhair
  • Snowshoe
  • Thai
  • Toyger
  • Savannah

Cat breeds that the CFA accept but TICA don’t

  • Toybob
  • Colorpoint Shorthair

The reason for the difference

Looking at these lists, I would state that TICA accepts a lot more cat breeds because of the following reasons:

They accept wildcat hybrids such as the Chausie and the Savannah. Both TICA and the CFA accept the Bengal cat which is also a wild cat hybrid but well established and at fifth filial level the cats are highly non-challenging and like a domestic cat.

TICA accept breeds that the CFA simply don’t accept such as the Munchkin. It would appear that the CFA don’t accept this breed because of the two notable health problems from which it can suffer. But it goes deeper than that because many of the breeds that TICA accept have inherited health problems. The reason why the CFA don’t accept this dwarf cat is because it is exactly that; a dwarf cat. The reason for its existence is a very dramatic genetic defect causing dwarfism and the CFA don’t like to support that kind of breed. Once again, that’s a bit surprising because the Scottish Fold has folded ears thanks to a inherited genetic mutation. If breeders breed the Scottish Fold carelessly by mating two Scottish Folds they produce a cat which is incredibly unhealthy so arguably there is little difference between the Munchkin and the Scottish Fold in this regard.

And thirdly, TICA accept breeds and register breeds which some might argue are questionable such as they register both the American Curl and the American Curl Longhair. In other words, they have created two breeds out of one. One breed being shorthaired and the other being longhaired but both being the same breed. This accounts for quite a few extra breeds.

And fourthly, with respect to the Maine Coon cat, TICA except the polydactyl Maine Coon cat while the CFA don’t.

TICA also accepts the Toyger which is a domestic cat selectively bred to look like a toy tiger. The CFA don’t and I don’t know why because it appears to be a perfectly acceptable cat breed. My guess is that the Toyger is a bit of a failure of a breed as the cat does not look like a toy tiger!

The Snowshoe is accepted by TICA but not the CFA. I don’t know why. It might simply be a cultural difference.

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Cultural differences

My research indicates that while both organisations share the same goal of preserving and promoting purebred cats they have a different approach quite clearly towards breed recognition and standards.

The CFA was founded in 1906 and is the oldest and best established cat association. They have a stringent process to recognising new breeds. Arguably more stringent than TICA which likes to push the boundaries a bit.

My research indicates that the CFA like their breeds to demonstrate a stable and consistent set of physical and behavioural characteristics before they are accepted.

TICA was established in 1979 and therefore it is a much younger cat association. They have a more inclusive approach to breed recognition perhaps because their philosophy is to encourage breed diversity and innovation. They are more likely to accept more experimental breeds.

That said, things change. This is an evolving area and new breeds can be developed and sometimes existing breeds can fade away. For example, at one time, they now well established and highly popular Maine Coon was almost made extinct because it was so unpopular! And the Chartreux, France’s purebred cat, almost became extinct after the Second World War. There had to be really good efforts to resurrect this breed at that time.

Note: there’s a whole bunch of dwarf cat breeds about 13 in all including the Munchkin which are all hybrids of the Munchkin and which, as you can see, are not accepted by either of these premier associations located in North America. Also, the genuine miniature cats fizzled out for health reasons.

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