What Is A Pedigreed Cat?

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Cute, red kitten is sleeping

Are you wondering what makes a cat a pedigreed cat? Do you want to know if your cat is pedigreed cat? Do you want to learn the difference between purebred cats and pedigreed cats?

Key Takeaways

Pedigreed cats are purebred cats that have been bred for specific desirable traits.

Pedigreed cats come in a range of different shapes and sizes. There are currently more than 70 official pedigreed breeds.

Pedigreed cats have written documentation of their purebred ancestry.

Pedigreed cats are those that have purposely been bred to possess specific physical characteristics or breed-related behavioral traits. Pedigreed cats have parents that are the same breed—one that is officially recognized by a cat registry, for example The Cat Fanciers’ Association (CFA), The International Cat Association (TICA), or The Governing Council of the Cat Fancy (GCCF).

Some pedigreed cat breeds developed naturally, originally starting as small colonies in isolated areas. The cats were all left to develop similarly, mainly due to the environment they were exposed to, combined with their own unique genetics. Other pedigreed cat breeds were purposefully developed by humans, using older natural breeds and/or breeding cats that were born with genetic mutations that cause unique colors, coat types, or other physical characteristics.

Today, there is a heavy component of human intervention, even with pedigreed cats that developed naturally. Cat breeders make specific breeding choices and follow written breed standards to produce kittens with defined breed characteristics.

Also Read: Which Personality Type Does Your Cat Have?

Why Are Pedigreed Cats So Popular?

Man holding two Canadian sphynx kittens

Pedigreed cats are carefully bred to retain consistent physical and temperamental characteristics.

Pedigreed cats are often considered unique and rare due to the years of breeding that have contributed to them developing into the cats we recognize today. Some breeds are sold for great sums of money. Lots of owners and breeders enjoy “showing” their cats in cat shows where they are judged for their appearance and given awards.

If cats win awards this gives them celebrity status in the cat world and can make them even more valuable. Pedigreed kittens from a show winner for a particular breed can be sold for thousands of dollars.

Non-pedigreed cats, called mixed breeds or “moggies,” are much more common as they can be literally any mix of any cat breed. They are usually referred to as domestic short-haired, domestic medium-haired, or domestic long-haired depending on the length of their coat.

Also Read: 11 Best Indoor Cat Breeds For Homebodies

Downsides Of Pedigreed Cats

American Curl cat

Smaller gene pools mean pedigreed cats can sometimes pass on genetically linked inherited diseases from the parents to the kittens.

Due to the numbers of pedigreed cats being relatively small, the gene pool of each breed is therefore limited, too. This allows for the distinguishing features and traits that people know and love.

The downside is that if there are any health problems or genetic disorders present then they are readily passed on through the generations. Most breeds can pass on inherited disorders, and the more common ones for each breed are usually well-known and documented. Breeders can test their cats for certain genetic disorders prior to breeding them to avoid passing health issues on to kittens.

Also Read: The 9 Friendliest & Nicest Cat Breeds In the World

The standards for each breed are available on websites such as CFA and  TICA.

Popular Pedigree Cats

Most cat breeds only came about relatively recently. Some ancient cat breeds that developed naturally have been around for hundreds or even thousands of years, but cats haven’t been domesticated as dogs have. Humans started intervening with cat breeds about 150 years ago, and this was when most types of pedigree cats began to get distinguished, but it has been a long process.

Below is a list of popular pedigree cat breeds.

#1 Abyssinian

Abyssinian

Each individual hair of the Abyssinian’s ticked coat has alternating bands of lighter and darker color.

Breed Overview
Abyssinian Origin:
? Where this breed was first established.
Abyssinia (Ethiopia)
Abyssinian Height:
? The typical adult height among individuals of this breed. Height is measured from the top of the head to the bottom of the front paws.
8''-10''
Abyssinian Adult Weight:
? The typical adult weight range of this cat breed.
6-12 pounds
Abyssinian Life Span:
? The average lifespan of the breed. While life expectancy is fairly consistent across all cat breeds, some breeds tend to live shorter or longer than others.
14-17+ years
Abyssinian Group: Medium-sized short-haired
Abyssinian Price: $200-$1,000

Abyssinians are short-haired cats that likely originated in Southeast Asia. The Abby’s ticked coat can be cinnamon, blue, or fawn in color. Abyssinians are very active and affectionate.

#2 Bengal

bengal cat licking paw

The Bengal is a hybrid breed that was originally developed by crossing domestic cats with the wild Asian leopard cat.

Breed Overview
Bengal Origin:
? Where this breed was first established.
United States
Bengal Height:
? The typical adult height among individuals of this breed. Height is measured from the top of the head to the bottom of the front paws.
13"-16"
Bengal Adult Weight:
? The typical adult weight range of this cat breed.
6-15 pounds
Bengal Life Span:
? The average lifespan of the breed. While life expectancy is fairly consistent across all cat breeds, some breeds tend to live shorter or longer than others.
12-20 years
Bengal Group: Large shorthair
Bengal Price: $1,500 - $3,000

Bengals are short-haired cats with richly colored coats that have attractive marbling, rosettes, stripes, and/or vivid spots. They are very inquisitive, agile, and active.

#3 Birman

Birman cat

Birmans always have blue eyes and four white paws.

Breed Overview
Birman Origin:
? Where this breed was first established.
Burma
Birman Height:
? The typical adult height among individuals of this breed. Height is measured from the top of the head to the bottom of the front paws.
8"-11"
Birman Adult Weight:
? The typical adult weight range of this cat breed.
6-14 pounds
Birman Life Span:
? The average lifespan of the breed. While life expectancy is fairly consistent across all cat breeds, some breeds tend to live shorter or longer than others.
12-16 years
Birman Group: Medium sized longhair
Birman Price: $400 - $1,000

Birmans are long-haired cats with all-white feet in a point-color pattern. They are loving and affectionate. Although the breed’s origins are shrouded in mystery, the beautiful cats may have originated in Burma.

#4 British Shorthair

British shorthair cat on a cat tree

British Shorthairs are often blue, but they can be other colors, too.

Breed Overview
British Shorthair Origin:
? Where this breed was first established.
United Kingdom
British Shorthair Height:
? The typical adult height among individuals of this breed. Height is measured from the top of the head to the bottom of the front paws.
11"-14"
British Shorthair Adult Weight:
? The typical adult weight range of this cat breed.
8-18 pounds
British Shorthair Life Span:
? The average lifespan of the breed. While life expectancy is fairly consistent across all cat breeds, some breeds tend to live shorter or longer than others.
12-16 years
British Shorthair Group: Medium-to-large shorthair
British Shorthair Price: $300-$5,000

These cats have short-haired coats which are very thick and smooth. They often are blue but can be other colors, too. British Shorthairs started out as street cats, but humans refined them into their current form today. They are chilled out and tranquil and are known for getting on well with people.

#5 Burmese

Burmese

The Burmese breed was created in the United States by crossing a small walnut-brown female cat that came from Burma with Siamese.

Breed Overview
Burmese Origin:
? Where this breed was first established.
Burma/Myanmar
Burmese Height:
? The typical adult height among individuals of this breed. Height is measured from the top of the head to the bottom of the front paws.
8"-10"
Burmese Adult Weight:
? The typical adult weight range of this cat breed.
8-12 pounds
Burmese Life Span:
? The average lifespan of the breed. While life expectancy is fairly consistent across all cat breeds, some breeds tend to live shorter or longer than others.
12-16 years
Burmese Group: Medium-sized short-haired
Burmese Price: $450-$3,000

Burmese are short-haired cats that are usually very muscular and athletic. They can be sable, blue, platinum, or champagne. They are very friendly and affectionate.

#6 Cornish Rex

Cornish Rex

All Cornish Rex trace their roots back to one kitten born with a genetic coat mutation in a litter of barn cats in Cornwall, England.

Breed Overview
Cornish Rex Origin:
? Where this breed was first established.
United Kingdom
Cornish Rex Height:
? The typical adult height among individuals of this breed. Height is measured from the top of the head to the bottom of the front paws.
12"-14"
Cornish Rex Adult Weight:
? The typical adult weight range of this cat breed.
6-9 pounds
Cornish Rex Life Span:
? The average lifespan of the breed. While life expectancy is fairly consistent across all cat breeds, some breeds tend to live shorter or longer than others.
9-13+ years
Cornish Rex Group: Small to medium-sized shorthair
Cornish Rex Price: $800-$1,300

Cornish Rex are short-haired cats with unique coats that are soft and have a crimped effect. They are very active and can be energetic but also love attention.

#7 Devon Rex

Devon Rex

The Devon Rex breed is the result of one stray kitten born with a genetic mutation in Devonshire, England, in the 1950s.

Breed Overview
Devon Rex Origin:
? Where this breed was first established.
United Kingdom
Devon Rex Height:
? The typical adult height among individuals of this breed. Height is measured from the top of the head to the bottom of the front paws.
12"-14"
Devon Rex Adult Weight:
? The typical adult weight range of this cat breed.
6-9 pounds
Devon Rex Life Span:
? The average lifespan of the breed. While life expectancy is fairly consistent across all cat breeds, some breeds tend to live shorter or longer than others.
10-15 years
Devon Rex Group: Small to medium-sized shorthair
Devon Rex Price: $600-$2,000

Devon Rex are similar to their Cornish cousins—they are also shorthaired with a crimped coat. They come in many different colors and are described as having a “pixie” look and a personality to match.

#8 Maine Coon Cat

Maine Coon Cat

Maine Coons are one of the largest cat breeds, with some males weighing 20 pounds or more.

Breed Overview
Maine Coon Origin:
? Where this breed was first established.
United States
Maine Coon Height:
? The typical adult height among individuals of this breed. Height is measured from the top of the head to the bottom of the front paws.
10" to 16"
Maine Coon Adult Weight:
? The typical adult weight range of this cat breed.
9 to 20 pounds
Maine Coon Life Span:
? The average lifespan of the breed. While life expectancy is fairly consistent across all cat breeds, some breeds tend to live shorter or longer than others.
9 to 15 years
Maine Coon Group: Large Longhair
Maine Coon Price: $400 to $2,000

Maine Coons are majestic, long-haired cats. They are very large and come in many colors and patterns. These gentle giants are very active.

#9 Norwegian Forest Cat

Norwegian Forest Cat

Norwegian Forest Cats, known as Skogkatts, lived and traveled with the Vikings, providing vermin control.

Breed Overview
Norwegian Forest Origin:
? Where this breed was first established.
Norway
Norwegian Forest Height:
? The typical adult height among individuals of this breed. Height is measured from the top of the head to the bottom of the front paws.
9"- 12"
Norwegian Forest Adult Weight:
? The typical adult weight range of this cat breed.
12-16 pounds
Norwegian Forest Life Span:
? The average lifespan of the breed. While life expectancy is fairly consistent across all cat breeds, some breeds tend to live shorter or longer than others.
14-16 years
Norwegian Forest Group: Large long-haired
Norwegian Forest Price: $900-$1,500

Norwegian Forest Cats are sometimes confused with the Maine Coon, but this is a completely separate breed that developed naturally in Scandinavia. They are very hardy and well-built, with a thick, heavy coat that requires a lot of maintenance. They are very fit and affectionate.

#10 Oriental

oriental cat

The Oriental comes in many different solid and patterned colors that are not found in the Siamese breed.

Breed Overview
Oriental Shorthair Origin:
? Where this breed was first established.
United Kingdom
Oriental Shorthair Height:
? The typical adult height among individuals of this breed. Height is measured from the top of the head to the bottom of the front paws.
8"- 10"
Oriental Shorthair Adult Weight:
? The typical adult weight range of this cat breed.
6 - 12 pounds
Oriental Shorthair Life Span:
? The average lifespan of the breed. While life expectancy is fairly consistent across all cat breeds, some breeds tend to live shorter or longer than others.
12-15 years
Oriental Shorthair Group: Medium-sized short-haired
Oriental Shorthair Price: $400-$2000

The Oriental Shorthair and Oriental Longhair are similar to Siamese cats but without pointed color markings. Orientals come in lots of different colors, and are very vocal and affectionate.

#11 Persian

Persian

The Persian cat loves to relax at home with their favorite people.

Breed Overview
Persian Origin:
? Where this breed was first established.
Iran
Persian Height:
? The typical adult height among individuals of this breed. Height is measured from the top of the head to the bottom of the front paws.
8"- 10"
Persian Adult Weight:
? The typical adult weight range of this cat breed.
8-15 pounds
Persian Life Span:
? The average lifespan of the breed. While life expectancy is fairly consistent across all cat breeds, some breeds tend to live shorter or longer than others.
14-15 years
Persian Group: Medium to large long-haired
Persian Price: $1300 - $3000

Persians are longhaired cats with cobby bodies and luxurious, thick coats that come in lots of different colors. The Persian has a round head with a small flat nose. They are quiet, calm, and affectionate.

#12 Ragdoll

Ragdoll

Ragdolls love cuddles; the breed even got their name from the way these cats go limp in your arms.

Breed Overview
Ragdoll Origin:
? Where this breed was first established.
United States
Ragdoll Height:
? The typical adult height among individuals of this breed. Height is measured from the top of the head to the bottom of the front paws.
9"-11"
Ragdoll Adult Weight:
? The typical adult weight range of this cat breed.
10-20 pounds
Ragdoll Life Span:
? The average lifespan of the breed. While life expectancy is fairly consistent across all cat breeds, some breeds tend to live shorter or longer than others.
12-15 years
Ragdoll Group: Large-sized long-haired
Ragdoll Price: $1200 - $2300

Ragdolls are longhaired cats. They have full thick coats with color at the points. They are very easygoing, placid, and loving.

#13 Russian Blue

Russian Blue cat

In addition to a silvery-blue coat, Russian Blue cats always have vivid green eyes.

Breed Overview
Russian Blue Origin:
? Where this breed was first established.
Russia
Russian Blue Height:
? The typical adult height among individuals of this breed. Height is measured from the top of the head to the bottom of the front paws.
8"- 10"
Russian Blue Adult Weight:
? The typical adult weight range of this cat breed.
10-14 pounds
Russian Blue Life Span:
? The average lifespan of the breed. While life expectancy is fairly consistent across all cat breeds, some breeds tend to live shorter or longer than others.
10-16 years
Russian Blue Group: Medium-sized short-haired
Russian Blue Price: $1000 - $1700

Russian Blue cats are shorthaired with a dense and thick coat that is blue with silver tips. This breed naturally originated in Russia, where they were known as long ago as the 1800s. They are very peaceful and graceful.

#14 Siamese

Siamese cat

The Siamese comes in four pointed colors—seal, chocolate, lilac, and blue—and always has blue eyes.

Breed Overview
Siamese Origin:
? Where this breed was first established.
Thailand
Siamese Height:
? The typical adult height among individuals of this breed. Height is measured from the top of the head to the bottom of the front paws.
8"- 10"
Siamese Adult Weight:
? The typical adult weight range of this cat breed.
8-15 pounds
Siamese Life Span:
? The average lifespan of the breed. While life expectancy is fairly consistent across all cat breeds, some breeds tend to live shorter or longer than others.
15-20 years
Siamese Group: Small to medium-sized short-haired
Siamese Price: $600 - $1200

Siamese are short-haired cats with wedge-shaped heads. They have slender, tubular frames with color at the points (ears and face, legs and tail). They can be chocolate, seal, lilac, or blue.  Siamese cats are need a lot of attention and very vocal, but they also very affectionate.

#15 Scottish Fold

Scottish Fold

The Scottish Fold breed was developed from one kitten born with a genetic mutation for folded ears in a litter of barn cats in Scotland.

Breed Overview
Scottish Fold Origin:
? Where this breed was first established.
United Kingdom
Scottish Fold Height:
? The typical adult height among individuals of this breed. Height is measured from the top of the head to the bottom of the front paws.
8"- 10"
Scottish Fold Adult Weight:
? The typical adult weight range of this cat breed.
6-13 pounds
Scottish Fold Life Span:
? The average lifespan of the breed. While life expectancy is fairly consistent across all cat breeds, some breeds tend to live shorter or longer than others.
13-15 years
Scottish Fold Group: Medium to large short-haired and long-haired
Scottish Fold Price: $1000 - $2000

The Scottish Fold’s ears fold down in a forward position. They have big eyes and they come in many different colors. This breed is very loving and gentle.

#16 Sphynx

Sphynx

The Sphynx originated in Ontario, Canada, when someone discovered a hairless kitten born with a genetic mutation.

Breed Overview
Sphynx Origin:
? Where this breed was first established.
Canada
Sphynx Height:
? The typical adult height among individuals of this breed. Height is measured from the top of the head to the bottom of the front paws.
8"-10"
Sphynx Adult Weight:
? The typical adult weight range of this cat breed.
8-16 pounds
Sphynx Life Span:
? The average lifespan of the breed. While life expectancy is fairly consistent across all cat breeds, some breeds tend to live shorter or longer than others.
13-14 years
Sphynx Group: Medium-sized hairless
Sphynx Price: $1800-$3000

Sphynx are hairless cats. They have large ears and are very agile. They are friendly, loving, and very energetic.

New Breeds Of Cats

Aphrodite Giant Cat

Some cat fanciers create new breeds by crossing two or more purebreds, or breeding domestic cats with small wild cat species.

New breeds of cats are not very common but they can occur in a few different ways.

  1. Natural New Breed: These are developed when a genetic mutation occurs in the domestic cat. Small groups are started from one cat that was born with the genetic variation, which was then passed down to the offspring and so on.
  2. Mixing Two Existing Breeds: This is done when breeders purposely mix two breeds with desirable characteristics. Breeders can also breed domestic cats with wild cats to create hybrids. Some registries don’t recognized hybrid breeds.

Also Read: 10 Cat Breeds That Live The Longest

What Is The Difference Between A Purebred Cat And A Pedigree?

These two words are often confused. Purebred refers to characteristics, appearance, and typical temperament of each breed, which is outlined by breed standards—written guidelines that are used to describe and identify the ideal specimen of a breed.

A pedigree is the written record of breeding, which shows all of a cat’s known and documented ancestry with parents and grandparents of the same breed, and any show titles won by the cat’s relatives. A cat look purebred, but without a documented and written pedigree it would not technically be a pedigreed cat.

Also Read: 8 Lovable Cat Breeds With Short Legs

Pedigreed Cats: Final Thoughts

Pedigreed cats come in all sorts of shapes and sizes. Choosing a pedigreed cat might enable you to select specific features or desirable behavior traits that you would like to have in a pet. Due to the smaller gene pool they are bred from, it does increase the risk of them carrying and being affected by genetic diseases. Pedigreed cats can also be extremely expensive.

Also Read: New Cat Owner Checklist

Frequency Asked Questions

Are pedigree cats better than normal cats?

Pedigreed cats have predictable and desirable behavioral traits have been selectively bred over the years for each breed. Pedigree cats are more likely to be affected by genetic diseases as they are bred from a smaller gene pool. They also tend to be more expensive to buy and insure.

What is the most popular pedigree cat?

Persian cats are one of the most popular breeds. They are well known to be placid and laid back and very affectionate. They have endearing features including small round faces and short noses which lots of owners find irresistible. They are also one of the oldest breeds of cats.

How do I obtain my cat's pedigree?

If you want a copy of your cat's pedigree you need to contact the breeder of your cat. They can apply for a duplicate Application for Registration (which is also called a blue slip) and this will be sent to the breeder who will pass it on to you.

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About Dr. Emma Chandley BVetMed PGCertSAS MRCVS

Emma graduated from the Royal Vet College in London in 2011. An expert in cat behavior and nutrition, she also has a keen interest in surgery. Emma went on to do a post-graduate certificate in small animal surgery and was then awarded advanced practitioner status in the same discipline.