Each year, the Cat Fanciers Association releases a list of the number of cats registered in each of its 41 recognized breeds. And the 2010 top five list contains a few surprises.
It won’t startle anyone that the Persian is holding strong in its Number 1 spot. The elegant, beautiful cat has held the title of CFA top cat since the 1970s.
“Persians are clearly good friends, they want to be with their people. Mine enjoy my lap while watching the [New York] Jets games,” says CFA President Jerry Hanza, who has been a Persian cat breeder for 15 years.
“Of course, they know how beautiful they are,” says Joan Miller, CFA vice president and chair of outreach and education. “Persians are just glorious. Some are so beautiful they can make your heart stop. They enjoy being groomed, which is required for Persians, and often purr while we brush them.”
Holding strong at Number 2 is the Maine Coon, which has been second or third most registered breed since the 1990s. Miller believes that Maine Coons’ easygoing nature and ability to live well with others — including dogs — are factors in their popularity.
Even though Maine Coons are huge by cat standards, with males weighing as much as 20 pounds, they are gentle giants and well suited for families with children.
At Number 3 on the list is the Exotic. “An Exotic is pretty much a Persian cat with short hair,” says Hanza. “[It’s] a good choice for people who like the Persian laid-back personality but don’t want to deal with the grooming.” Exotics come in all the colors of Persians and have the same head and face structure, but their shorter fur, with its fuzzy texture, is much more low maintenance than its long-haired cousin.
The Ragdoll has been in the CFA top 10 since 2006, but it has reached its highest ranking yet at Number 4. The breed’s name came from their laid-back nature and tendency to relax like rag dolls in people’s laps.
Ragdolls come in many colors, and due to some Oriental genes in their breeding origins, all have blue eyes.
One surprise in the 2010 list is the appearance of the Sphynx at Number 5. Since the “naked cat” made its Hollywood debut in 1997 — in its role as Mr. Bigglesworth in the Austin Powers movies — the breed has become increasingly popular.
“They’re interesting,” says Miller. “People either like the look or they don’t. But I will say once you get to know some Sphynx cats, you’ll understand what the fuss is about. They love their people, are very, very bonded. They love attention and are very responsive.” The Sphynx is the most active and energetic of the top five breeds.
In a startling upset, the Siamese has fallen out of the top five. The active, vocal and affectionate cat, with its exotic looks, now ranks at Number 6. The Abyssinian has also been demoted to Number 7.
“Maybe people don’t want all that activity,” says Miller. “But actually, I know these breeds remain popular; it’s just that some others are today more of an interest.”
The CFA list only includes the number of purebred cats entered into its registry. Many people who purchase or adopt “pet quality” purebred cats with no intent to breed them sometimes choose not to enter them in the registry, so the breeds’ true popularity may differ from their rankings in the top breed registry.
[Source: the Daily Pilot]
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