Wednesday 18 March 2009

Is Cat Registration Worth It?

How valid is cat registration? Is cat registration worth it? Purebred cats need to be registered with a cat association to provide the cat's owner with evidence that the cat is a purebred cat. Really, the situation is quite complicated. This is because there is a subtle difference between a purebred cat and a pedigree cat and would expect very few people outside the cat fancy to know or be bothered to know the difference. The point though is this. Unless the rules that govern whether a cat is purebred and indeed pedigree are enforced precisely and the whole thing is managed professionally, the entire purebred cat scene/business will come tumbling down, much like the banks. We thought the banks were a kind of institution, almost a public service. We thought that the people who managed the banks were "professionals". They were but being professional does not mean being good, moral and proper etc.

As I say on the Moggie cat page of the website, if we are to say that we live with a pedigree cat we will need to prove at least 3 generations of the cat have been registered with the cat association in question. The CFA wording is this: A Certified Pedigree will be issued only when three or more generations of ancestry are registered or recorded with CFA. A Certified Pedigree will be issued on an individually registered cat only, not on a litter. {I have taken liberty to quote verbatim for the sake of accuracy}.

Rather confusingly, a purebred cat need not be registered unless we want to prove the cat is purebred in which case we need to prove that the cat in question has parents and grandparents to three generations of the same breed. And of course the breed in question has to be a recognized cat breed. That would normally be achieved by a pedigree registration, it seems.

OK, these rules seem pretty good and thorough. But we don't need to register with the established cat associations. There are, though, what appears to be lesser or what one breeder has called "private registration groups". These organisation exist, it seems to me to get a cat registered for sale and to avoid the more sensible and stricter established cat association registration process. In America the established cat registries are the CFA, TICA and ACFA. The CFA (the largest) charges $20 for certified pedigree, 3 generation registration.

One "fringe" registry is the NORTH AMERICAN PUREBRED CAT REGISTRY. Their requirements for registration are:
  • All purebred cats can be registered.
  • They will register any cat that is already registered with another registry using the registration papers that are already supplied (what is the point?).
  • Even if the purebred is not registered with another registry the cat can be registered provided either (a) if the person is 100% certain of the cat's breed a form needs to be filled out as best as the applicant can ("fill out the information you know and put unknown on the places you do not know") and (b) if the person is not sure about the cat's breed he or she should, "send a side view picture with the application". Is that it?!
  • They charge $10 (attractively half price).
Clearly, the standard is dramatically lower. It is non-existent, in fact. This would seem to be a license for unscrupulous breeders to sell to innocent individuals a cat that is claimed to be purebred when it is not. This weakens the whole process of purebred cat registration and undermines the cat fancy generally, surely. No one seems to mind except perhaps the innocent buyer.

One experienced breeder says that a breeder (and a buyer, I would say) should insist on TICA or CFA registration and for shipping out of the country and if shipping or selling a Bengal or Savannah, TICA regisration is probably essential. Note, he used the word, probable. He was not sure about ACFA registration. Too vague for me.

Is cat registration worth it? Yes, but only if it is with a major and established cat registry with rules that apply a proper standard.

Is Cat Registration Worth It? to Collective Responsibility of Cat Breeding

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