Cats have been domesticated for thousands of years, and their popularity as pets has only grown in recent times. The diversity of cat breeds is a testament to how much humans have interacted with and selectively bred these animals.
The question “how many cat breeds are there?” is not a straightforward one to answer because different organizations recognize different numbers of cat breeds. However, we can use the most widely recognized sources to give us an estimate.
International Cat Association (TICA) List
The International Cat Association recognizes 71 cat breeds across five categories: Persian, Oriental, Siamese, Shorthair, and Longhair. These categories are based on physical characteristics such as coat length and body shape.
However, it’s important to note that TICA does not include some popular cat breeds like the Bengal or the Sphynx.
Cat Fanciers’ Association (CFA) List
The Cat Fanciers’ Association recognizes 44 cat breeds. This organization uses similar categories as TICA but also includes some rare or newly developed breeds like the Lykoi (also known as werewolf cats) and Minskin cats.
Again, it’s worth mentioning that CFA doesn’t recognize all of the same types of cats that TICA does.
Fédération Internationale Féline (FIFe) List
Fédération Internationale Féline – or FIFe – recognizes 48 different kinds of felines under six primary standards: semi-longhair/Siberian; shorthair/British; longhair/Persian; foreign type/Oriental shorthair; siamese/Thai tone point; hairless/Sphinxes.
Smaller associations may define more specific groups beyond those defined by larger organizations. For example,the Dwarf Cats Society identifies four types – Bambino,Foldex,Napoleon,Munchkin– which aren’t identified by TICA or CFA.
In general, there are around 70 to 80 different kinds of felines worldwide who suit the particular descriptions laid out by the most respected feline breed organizations. With a little effort, however, it’s likely that you might find other less-known breeds that have yet to gain acceptance from groups like TICA and FIFe but nevertheless have their unique features.
All cats make fantastic pets, so if you’re looking for one it’s always best to focus on getting an animal with a personality and lifestyle suitable for your home rather than focusing exclusively on finding a rare breed.