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  • Valérie Mounier

What is a purebred cat?

Mis à jour : avr. 26

First of all, what is a pet cat? This notion is defined in contrast to the notion of working cat and the notion of breeding cat.


There are still cats that work on farms. They are sturdy cats, usually domesticated cats in common language. They are usually found in our countryside, protecting the farm surroundings from all undesirable animals, especially rodents.


On the other hand, breeding cats are essentially pedigree cats, which are born in catteries and give birth to pedigree kittens. They are often shown in shows where they can be rewarded with titles for their beauty. They are cats that do not go outside or have access to a secure outdoor; they live mainly in medium-sized Catteries in France.

Pet cats, whether purebred or stray, are the ones sharing our daily life, in cities and countryside. They have supplanted the dog in recent years in France.


What is the difference between pedigree/purebred cats and those without?

To be a pedigree/purebred cat, the cat’s breed must be recognized in its country of birth and the cat must have a pedigree. The pedigree is a document that is issued by official state recognized and international organisations. It is a certificate of genealogy which is the only document certifying the cat belongs to a breed.

What about a kitten without pedigree from two parents with pedigree? Well it will have the appearance and characteristics of a purebred cat but not recognized as such.

In France it is the LOOF that issues the pedigrees. In other countries, they are issued by breed clubs affiliated to large cat organisations such as FIFE, TICA and WCF.


The number of breeds has increased considerably over time. The first breed recognized as a pedigree cat was the Persian at the end of the 19th century and many breeds have appeared since the 1970s. Nowadays, the number of breeds is continually increasing and varies from country to country. The recognition of a breed goes through many steps. A new breed is the result of selection work over several years by introducing physical characteristics that appeared spontaneously or by selecting a specific criterion over several generations.


When a breed is recognized, its standard is written and breeders then work towards the defined ideal for that breed.


The breeds in France according to the LOOF:

74 breeds are currently recognized in France by the LOOF. The 10 most popular breeds in France in 2019 are:

  • Maine Coon

  • Sacred Birman

  • Bengal

  • British Shorthair

  • Ragdoll

  • Persian

  • Chartreux

  • Siberian Cat

  • Norwegian Forest

  • Sphynx



In the next article, I will present the British Shorthair breed in detail.


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