Pedigree and purebred cats are often loved for their looks, but a lot of owners don’t realise that some of the most ‘picture-perfect’ breeds come with a lot of extra needs until they already have them. We’d recommend doing your research before getting a pedigree cat as some breeds often have health and behavioural needs that moggies might not have.
The main difference between pedigrees, purebreds and moggies is their breeding. Pedigrees and purebred cats are usually bred from specific cats who meet ‘breed standards’ and are bred to look a certain way. Moggies, however, have evolved from years of natural selection and come from a wide gene pool. This means that a narrower gene pool is more likely in pedigree cats and this can be associated with extra health problems.
Moggies come with a range of coat colours, coat lengths and personalities without the additional needs (or price tag) of a pedigree breed. We’d always recommend considering adopting a moggy instead of buying a specific breed.
For a purebred to be classed as a pedigree they need to be registered with a breed association, such as the Governing Council of the Cat Fancy (GCCF), Felis Britannica (FB) or The International Cat Association (TICA). These organisations all provide certificates and other proof of a cat’s pedigree and parentage. Organisations such as the GCCF also adhere to certain welfare standards.
Because of the smaller gene pool, some pedigrees are more likely to have certain inherited diseases or problems associated their conformation.
This can also be the case where a genetic defect has been deliberately bred into a particular breed to have exaggerated features, or a particular feature has been bred for that causes the cats significant problems. Some examples of this include:
We would not recommend getting any of the above breeds due to the painful conditions they develop directly as a result of these defects. If you are looking at specific breeds, choose one without exaggerated features.
It is important to remember that cats with extreme breed conformities are primarily bred for looks. Therefore, we need to be mindful about supporting breeding trends that lead to much lower welfare for cats, that serves no purpose other than to make them look ‘more pleasing’ to us humans.
Many other purebred cats are prone to health issues such as heart disease, eye problems, skin problems and other painful conditions. Make sure you do your research before choosing to get a specific breed.
If you do decide to get a pedigree cat, make sure you do plenty of research first into potential health problems. We’d recommend:
Owning a pedigree can prove to be quite expensive. A registered pedigree can cost anything from £200 to well over £1,000 depending on the breed. Then you also need to think about all the other costs associated with owning a cat, such as food, toys, bedding and vet visits – you’d have these costs with a moggy, but without the very high initial cost of buying the cat.
On top of their set-up costs, you also need to be aware of any costly health conditions your pedigree cat may develop. Make sure you research the breed and any health conditions, and how much these could end up costing you.
We’d always recommend insuring your cat so you are covered if they become unwell. Pedigrees usually cost more to insure than a moggy. This is because they are likely to have additional health needs which can be costly to treat.
Remember to read the fine print of your insurance policy and be sure of what they do and don’t cover. Find out more about insuring your cat.
Exotic or wild hybrid breeds, such as Bengals, Chausies and Savannah cats, are bred from a mix between a domestic cat and a wild breed (such as Servals). Cats Protection does not support the breeding of these wild cat hybrids. Not only is the direct breeding of a wild cat with a domestic cat very unethical, especially for the domestic cat involved, but it also produces breeds which have very complex needs compared to moggies or other domestic cat breeds which leads to cats with high-level needs being kept in environments where these needs cannot be reasonably met.
While Cats Protection does not advocate the breeding of wild cat hybrids, the Bengal breed is more common within the cat-owning society. Many Bengals now are very unlikely to have one wild parent, which means they are further removed from the needs of initial generations of hybrid cats. However, Bengals still have additional needs owners need to seriously consider before getting one of these breeds.
Hybrid cats are:
We would not recommend getting a hybrid breed. Moggies make much better family pets and don’t require the same extreme levels of care.