This post, adapted from one of the facts in my upcoming ebook “50 Facts About House Cats (And Where They Come From),” builds on last week’s post on moggies and fancy-cats.
Purebred dogs get genetic testing, yet no cat registry requires DNA tests to validate identity, pedigree, and parentage.
That’s because geneticists are struggling to identify feline fancy-breeds in the lab.
One problem is that all cats look alike under the skin. Yes, that’s hard to believe, considering all the various feline looks today . . .
. . . but it’s true. Almost all of the genes in these animals are the same.
Another problem for researchers: cat breeding hasn’t been around long enough for clear-cut genetic breed differences to accumulate.
They’re working on it, though. Four different regional genotypes have been found, as well as multiple domestic cat “races.”
This all helps the boffins categorize the forty-plus modern cat breeds.
What are the five informal categories?
Short answer and details are best combined here.
While this isn’t formalized in the cat fancy, a review of scientific literature finds the following (exactly which breed goes where depends on the study; Menotti-Raymond and others, in the source list, used these examples–your mileage may vary):
1. Mutations: A spontaneous genetic change produces an interesting look that cat fanciers develop into a new breed.
- Scottish Fold
- Selkirk Rex