The International Cat Association (TICA) is the world’s biggest registry of cat breeds and recognises 58 different breeds. The Governing Council for the Cat Fancy (GCCF) is the primary registry in the UK and recognises 36 different breeds.
The vast majority of cats found in the UK and around the world are of no particular breed and are known as moggies, or domestic shorthair/longhair.
Whereas breeds of dogs have been developed over hundreds of years to have the very different types seen, cat breeds are a more recent addition. This means that the different characteristics are not as marked as in dogs (consider the Chihuahua and Great Dane!).
Some cat breeds have been developed by breeding cats with genetic abnormalities (such as the Sphynx with no coat, the Scottish Fold with deformed cartilage of the ears and the Munchkin with short legs). Other breeds have been bred progressively more and more extreme, such as the angular shape and elongated nose of the Siamese or conversely the non-existent nose of the Persian.
Unfortunately, many of these animals can suffer from a decreased quality of life (e.g. chronic pain, skin problems and breathing difficulties) due to the deformity which has been deliberately bred by humans. It is better to choose a cat whose conformation is similar to that of the ‘standard’ cat to avoid these problems.