There has been a bit of controversy over the last three years concerning Cat breeds. To finally come to a resolution regarding what the
"Definition of a Breed" is the Cat Fanciers Association (CFA) board has met to discuss and resolve issues in this area.
The CFA has given The Breed Councils three opportunities for input as to what they feel the issues surrounding Cat breeds are. For the most
part, the response was that they wanted continued support for the individual Cat breeds to be unique to their own breeds. For the most part,
this has been an unwritten foundation within the CFA.
The breed definition report has been adopted by the CFA board in a 2/3ds majority vote and is accepted by 80 percent of individual breed
councils. Generally, there are no real changes in what the board considers standing standards. They are essentially leaving the status quos.
What they have done is to make formal the process of introducing new breeds while maintaining the integrity of existing breeds as recognized
by the CFA. Overall the outcome of this contentious debate is that boundaries have been set for new breeds to be recognized while not affecting
current standards and definitions.
When all is said and done it must be decided upon what constitutes a definition of a cat breed. From the CFA's point of view, as represented in
their votes, a cat breed is "a group of domestic cats (subspecies felius catus) that the CFA has agreed to recognize as such. A breed must have
distinguishing features that set it apart from all other breeds."
Cat breeds are thus being protected from continuing out-breeding and maintaining the current set of standards recognized by the CFA. New entries
into the breed categories need to demonstrate that their breeding efforts conform to the "distinguishing characteristics" aspect that the CFA has
Recognized cat breeds
Given the definitional process that the CFA has adopted cat breeders need to know what the standing of the CFA breed recognition standard is.
Currently, the CFA recognizes 39 pedigrees for showing in the Champion Class. It currently recognizes one breed in the Provisional Class (LaPerm)
and one breed in the Miscellaneous Class (Ragamuffin.)
Cat breeds that want to be recognized as valid need to follow a fairly rigorous process set forth by the CFA system. A potential breed for
recognition must pass through each of the aforementioned classifications before it may be considered for inclusion.
The miscellaneous class
Cat breeds in this class are strictly at the consideration stage. The individual can be registered and is showed so that judges and those with
solid credentials can decide which characteristics will be needed to define the breed. These characteristics have just now been elevated in
defining a breed so this phase of the process becomes a bit more critical. Cat breeds were a bit fuzzy in the past and taken as an understanding.
Now out-breeding will need to work to an as yet set standard for their entry into the process and acceptance into the Provisional Class.
The provisional class
This particular class is for the refining of the cat breed. The breed is such that it is considered valid by most but not quite ready for the
Championship Classification. Currently there is one cat breed in this category called LaPerm.
Cat breeds in this class are at the show level. They are a recognized breed and compete with regard to standards, color and sex. This class
meets all the requirements set forth by the CFA board and includes the breeds that are meant to be protected as unique. Cat breeds aspire to
this level and its recognized protection.