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Thinking of getting a pedigree or purebred cat? Take a look at our advice first and find out what you need to think about before committing to a pedigree breed.

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.



What’s the difference between a purebred or pedigree cat and a moggy or non-pedigree?

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.

How do I know if a cat is a pedigree?

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.

Remember, if you are buying a kitten use the Kitten Checklist which will help you to find out things that could affect your kitten’s future health and wellbeing.

Download the Kitten Checklist

Do purebred or pedigree cats have more health problems?

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:

  • Brachycephalic breeds (flat-faced breeds such as Persians) have been bred to have a very short muzzle length and a ‘squashed’ appearance to their face. This can cause breathing problems, along with eye disease and dental disease which can cause pain and discomfort
  • breeds with no tail (such as bobtails and Manx cats). Having no tail is a severe genetic defect and as a result can cause damage to the spine, nerves and increases the risk of developing arthritis at a young age
  • short breeds (such as the munchkin cat). Their short legs are a genetic defect which can lead to painful arthritis and cause problems with their general mobility
  • breeds with folded ears (such as the Scottish Fold). This is an inherited genetic defect that affects the cartilage in the ears (causing them to fold over). This defect also causes problems with the cartilage in their joints leading to severe and painful arthritis

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.

How can I choose a healthier pedigree?

If you do decide to get a pedigree cat, make sure you do plenty of research first into potential health problems. We’d recommend:

  • considering a moggy as they will have more variation in their genetics and be less prone to specific health conditions associated with purebred cats
  • avoiding breeds with extreme features as they often have severe health problems
  • looking for a breeder who is part of the GCCF or a similar organisation that has rules about health and welfare
  • making sure the cat’s parents have had any necessary testing to ensure they don’t pass on inherited diseases to their kittens

How long do pedigree cats live?

There’s no exact lifespan of a pedigree cat. However, some may be prone to health problems that can shorten their life expectancy so it is worth keeping this in mind.

Generally speaking, a moggy is likely to live longer on average than a purebred or pedigree cat.

How much do pedigree cats cost?

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.

Are pedigree cats more expensive to insure?

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.

Do exotic or wild hybrid breeds make good pets?

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:

  • very keen hunters, so often need even more time to play and be active
  • often much closer to their wild genetics than a domestic cat so their temperament may be closer to that of a wild cat
  • thought to be even more territorial than other breeds of cat which can cause greater problems with other cats in the home, or neighbourhood cats
  • very active cats. Often their wild ancestor will have a very large territory to explore meaning they would be active most of the day. This isn’t possible in a domestic home, as if they were allowed to roam free they’d likely seriously upset the local wildlife and cause problems hunting prey much larger than a domestic cat’s usual choice
  • often unable to be let outside to roam free so will need a purpose-built run

We would not recommend getting a hybrid breed. Moggies make much better family pets and don’t require the same extreme levels of care.

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