THE CAT FANCIERS’ ASSOCIATION (CFA), the world’s largest registry of pedigreed cat, has announced the most popular cat breeds for 2019, according to the number of cats that were registered throughout the year. The association officially recognises 45 pedigree breeds and companion/household “non-pedigree” cats.
The most popular breed in 2019 is the Ragdoll, an affectionate plush breed with big, beautiful, blue eyes. Developed in the 1960’s, the Ragdoll maintains their dominant position in CFA largely based on their popularity in China, with a 25 percent increase in registrations over the previous year.
Landing in second place again this year is the Exotic. This breed was developed in the 1960’s to resemble the Persian, meeting the Persian standard in every way with one very special exception: the coat has a thick, dense, plush, short coat and gives them a soft, rounded, teddy bear look.
An ideal breed that produces a quiet, sweet, peaceful and loyal companion.
Rounding out the top three is the British Shorthair which CFA officially recognised in 1980. This breed was first prized for its physical strength and hunting ability.
It is one of the oldest English breeds and can trace its ancestry back to the domestic cats of Rome.
While Persians are the most popular breed within the United States, they come in fourth place worldwide again this year.
Persians, recognised in 1906, and are known for their luxurious, long coats and big, expressive eyes. The breed was named for their “country of origin”, but hieroglyphic reference as early as 1684 BC shrouds their exact beginnings.
The fifth most popular breed, the Maine Coon Cat, is a “gentle giant,” weighing from 5kgs to 20 kgs (or more).
They are known for their sturdy, rugged appearance which includes a shaggy coat and a long, well-furnished tail.
The Maine Coon Cat evolved through nature’s own breeding program developing characteristics by following a “survival of the fittest” evolution.
With an increase of over 50 percent in registration from 2018, the delightfully silly, curly-coated, Devon Rex comes in sixth place.
Man had no hand in developing this natural mutation discovered in Devonshire, England in the 1950’s – but man did step in and make it possible for the breed to survive and flourish.
Another of CFA’s “original six” breeds, the American Shorthair, comes in seventh place. The breed originated from cats following settlers from Europe to North America. Records indicate that even the Mayflower carried several cats to hunt the ship’s rats.
Breeders selectively bred these cats by acquiring the finest examples to preserve the all-around working cat’s structure and to refine the beautiful face, the easy-going disposition, and the striking colours present in today’s breed.
The Abyssinian, one of the world’s oldest known domestic cat breeds, resembling paintings and sculptures of ancient Egyptian cats, comes in as the eighth most popular breed.
Recent studies by geneticists show that the most convincing origin of the breed is from the coast of the Indian Ocean and parts of Southeast Asia. Abyssinians were imported to North America from England in the early 1900’s.
As the ninth most popular breed this year, Sphynx are still considered to be exceedingly rare and unusual. The foundation of this breed, found worldwide, are naturally hairless cats produced by Mother Nature.
Breeders in North America and Europe have bred the Sphynx to normal coated cats and back to hairless cats for over thirty years. The purpose of this is to create a genetically sound cat with a large gene pool and hybrid vigour.
The 10th most popular cat breed whose lineage can be traced back to folded-ear barn cat found in Scotland.
The tenth most popular cat breed is the Scottish Fold, whose lineage can be traced back to one common ancestor, “Susie,” a folded-ear barn cat found on the McRae farm at Coupar Angus in the Tayside Region of Scotland, Northwest of Dundee.
The Scottish Fold was recognised in 1978, but due to the rarity of the fold, and since not every kitten is born with folded ears, it is very hard for the supply to keep up with the demand.
Some 95 percent of the world’s cat population is rescue, stray, or household “non-pedigree” cats. In CFA, these family felines join Companion Cat World (CCW), which is quickly becoming one of the most popular class of cats in the fancy. CCW cats receive a membership card, are highlighted in an online gallery, and can attend shows to compete and “Meet & Greet” their fans.
THE CAT FANCIERS' ASSOCIATION
The Cat Fanciers' Association was established in the United States in 1906. The CFA is currently the world's largest registry of pedigreed cats and known as the most prestigious pedigreed cat registering association.