Traditional Cat Breeds

There is a gradual and perhaps growing movement towards a return to a more sensible approach to cat breeding and registration of breeds

A number of recognized cat breeds are, it could be argued, created artificially or have evolved through modern (and I think misdirected) breeding practices. The underlying reason for this is always commerce. I know this sounds cynical but it must be the reason. Commerce is not a bad thing obviously. But in relation to living creatures it can be and usually is.

There are two outstanding examples that come to mind, the Modern Siamese and the Persian cat.
Classic and Modern Siamese

The original Siamese is the one I used to know, a standard looking cat with color points, you know, the classic looking Siamese cat. This cat was until recently no longer recognized by the major cat registers as the breed had evolved into the Modern Siamese a rather fragile unhealthy looking cat with a tiny head. Strange and interesting looking - yes, but normal looking - no, not for me anyway. This is more apparent if you see these cats in the flesh.

This change has been brought about in my opinion by the desire to breed cats that have a "stand out" appearance. Something different. It is the same motivator that drives a car manufacturer to bring in a new car that is "different" and exciting in order to boost sales.

The difference with cats is that she is a living creature. And anyway there are potential health issues when you breed like that. So you get a strange looking and potentially unhealthy cat.

That said there are many who like the Modern Siamese and claim that the appearance is nearer to the true appearance. The history of most of the cat breeds is murky and no on can be certain as to what an original Siamese looked like except that to me the Classic Siamese looks like a normal cat (which is good evidence that she is the original Siamese) and the old books such as the 1911 Encylopedia show this breed of cat as the classic look.

Also it is worth mentioning that all domestic cats originate from the wild cat and there are no wild cats that remotely look like the Modern Siamese.

TICA (the second largest registry) have I believe recently recognized the classic Siamese but had to rename the breed the Thai because the Modern Siamese breeders insisted on it.

PersiansI go on at length about the over breeding of the Persian on my website so I won't go on about it it in detail here.

There are though now 2 types of Persian cat. The recognized one, the Ultra, peeked squashed faced cat with tear overflow and nose problems and the good old normal Persian which is called the Doll Face, which is unrecognized (at least at the full status level) by the major registries (I don't know is some registries recognize this cat).

The Doll Face breeders want of course recognition but it is hard work getting it. The purpose of this posting is to support them in a very small way because as is apparent I am fan of the natural and normal and health.

Pressure needs to be put on the CFA, TICA and GCCF (the major registries) to fully recognise the traditional Persian and treat the breed in the same way as the Ultra. In fact if I was in charge I would change the breed standard of the Ultra, year on year to gradually bring this breed back to normal.

There is no good reason why there cannot be two types of Persian cat - the current Ultra and the Traditional or Doll Face if there is a reluctance (and there is) to rectify a wrong (the overbreeding of this cat)

Siamese:Top photo of Modern Siamese copyright Helmi Flick, second photo reproduced under creative commons copyright KaCey97007

The top photo is a Traditional Doll Face "Orlando" copyright Dani Rozeboom. The bottom photo is an Ultra Persian reproduced under Creative Commons copyright mephistofelicatFrom Traditional Cat Breeds to Cat Chit Chat


Anonymous said…
I am searching for a Bengal Snow Tiger variant. Kittens look pure white with striped tail and curved ears. BLUE EYES. When maturing, they take on the appearance of a stocky Siamese. Do anyone know where I can post pictures to find this type of kitten? Any help/responses appreciated/ Patti 541)312-4429
Michael Broad said…
Hi Patti, if you read this, what I would do is join a Bengal Cat Yahoo Group. There are a number of them and a lot of the contributors and members are Bengal cat breeders. They will probably point you in the right direction.


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