Are you confused about the difference between a purebred cat and a pedigreed cat? Don’t worry. You’re not the first.
Simply put, a purebreed cat (or purebred cat as it is sometimes called) s one that has the same breed of feline all through its lineage like a Siamese cat, or a Korat cat. But wait. It can also include crossbreeding.
This now brings us to the pedigree cat or pedigreed cat.
A pedigree cat is one that has its lineage recorded so that it could have different cat breeds through its genetic pool.
Let’s take the Bombay cat as an example. This feline is a purebred, but if you were to dig far enough back into its family “litter box” you’d find the genetics for the Burmese and the American Shorthair cat. Both these breeds were used to produce the “new” breed of the Bombay cat.
The only way you can “rightfully” call your feline friend a “purebreed” is to have it certified by the Cat Fanciers Association.
Is My Rescue Cat a Purebreed?
Most shelters are overflowing with cats, and yes, some may even be purebred, but how would you know?
The first step is to see which registered purebred your cat mostly resembles. This can be easy if it has distinctive features like those angular features and startling blue eyes of the Siamese cat breed. However, determining a specific breed can be a difficult piece of kibble to crack.
Unless your rescue cat was brought in by a person who knows for sure that the feline is indeed a purebred and has the documentation to prove it, or the shelter went into a breeder’s facility and removed the animals, all you know for sure is you have a cat that looks like a purebred.
DNA Testing & Cats
There once was a time when DNA testing was only performed by forensic scientists or to determine a biological father. However, we live in a time of technology and with that advanced science comes the ability to DNA our pets.
If you need to know what your BFF is genetically made up of, you can purchase a DNA kit.
These tests range in price, collection techniques, and, of course, accuracy. According to UC Davis Veterinary Medicine, the accuracy is about 90% based on two factors;
- The quality of the DNA sample used.
- The quality of the database used to test the sample.
Buccal swabs (cells are taken from the inside of the cheek) using a special brush are effective and usually provide enough DNA material for the 170 tests needing to be performed. Cotton swabs can also be used, but be aware that if they stay wet too long and bacteria begin to grow on the sample, it will be inaccurate or destroyed entirely. Blood samples are excellent, but they have to be done through a veterinarian.
The quality of the database used is also significant when determining DNA. These tests match your cat’s lineage based on statistical analysis, so each “finding” will be reported as a probability, not an exact match. If your cat’s “profile” is not in the company’s database, it will automatically go to the next closest match.
Some kits only have a small database to test the sample against, so your results may be limited.
Why Doesn’t My Cat Look Like it’s Cat Breed Profile?
Pet parents may be shocked when their cat’s genetic makeup is totally different than its physical appearance. However, we shouldn’t be surprised. DNA in animals is not much different than our own – we may not closely resemble anyone in our immediate family, but if we were to do a deep dive, we may find a great, great, great relative that could be our twin.
According to science, appearance is controlled by a very small set of genes which contain both recessive and dominant genes, how the variants of these genes mesh, will determine your cat’s appearance. For example, if your cat has a dominant blue eye gene, he will most likely have blue eyes. But there could also be a recessive long hair gene, even if your cat has short hair.
This means through genetic testing, what you once thought was a Siamese cat, may very well contain Himalayan DNA (and other long or short hair cat breeds).
Purebred Cat, Purebreed Cat, Pedigreed Cat or Moggy – Does it Really Matter?
Whether your pet is a purebred cat, a pedigreed cat, or a complete moggy, what does it really matter? The advantages of having a purebred cat or a pedigreed cat are you will know what to expect in terms of appearance, personality, and genetic health issues.
On the other paw, there’s also something to be said about the surprises that come with a moggy.
Either way, choose a cat that fits your lifestyle so that you can be the best pet parent possible to your new kitty cat.