Book Preview: The Recipe for Fancy-cat Starts With a Moggy


This is another of those old posts that I had to rewrite into a book chapter. Hope you like it!


Fancy-cats are the beautifully groomed felines you’ll see at a show. The other 80% of the world’s cats are unpedigreed (but equally beautiful) moggies.

Once upon a time, there weren’t any fancy-cats. And most moggies were striped tabbies. Today’s fancy-cats are sometimes tabbies, but fanciers prefer to build a cat breed on some unique feature.

Like floppy ears.

This works for the Scottish Fold–Internet celebrity cat Maru’s breed.

It’s a good example of the pleasures and perils that happen when you turn a moggy into one of the most popular breeds in the cat fancy.

What are cat breeds?

Short answer: For many centuries, people across the world collected moggies whose appearance attracted them. When the cat fancy arrived in the Victorian era, it brought these enthusiasts together. They formalized the various looks into pedigreed breeds.

Details: Any dog in the street might be a mutt, with quite a mixture of canine purebreds in its background. That’s because humans have bred dogs for various purposes since mid-Neolithic times, while mongrels happened on their own.

Cats have followed a completely different path, with street cats eventually ending up as prize-winners. Continue reading

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