The International Cat Association (TICA) recently announced its 2010 list of the most registered of its 67 breeds, and its top five features two breeds that are taking a walk on the wild side.
The Bengal once again took the #1 spot, with 6,369 Bengal kittens, cats and alters registered around the world. The Bengal originated in 1986 when domestic cats were cross-bred with the Asian Leopard Cat. Today, many generations after the first Bengals were born, there are no wildcat hybrids — they are bred only by mating Bengals with other Bengals.
“I call the Bengal, ‘TICA’s ambassador to the world,'” said TICA President Vickie Fisher. “This breed originated with TICA and it is easy to see why people love it. The cats are smart and exceptionally beautiful.When I judge a show, I can always count on the audience to emit an ‘oohhh’ when I place a Bengal on the stand!”
Number 2 on TICA’s top five list is the Ragdoll, with 4,050 registrations. One of the largest breeds in the cat fancy, the semi-longhair Ragdoll gets along well with children and other pets, including dogs, often living up to its name as it gets carried around the house in a child’s arms.”What’s not to love about the Ragdoll?” said Fisher. “Big, beautiful, docile and a low-maintenance coat.”
The Maine Coon came in at #3, with 2,062 registrations. The Maine Coon, which is not surprisingly the State Cat of the State of Maine, is considered the native long-haired cat of the United States. Breeders have sought to preserve the Maine Coon’s natural, rugged qualities. “Back in the day, ladies took their pies, jams, and Maine Coon cats to the county fairs back East,” said Fisher. The gentle giant also tends to be a favorite with men who profess not to like cats.
The Savannah sauntered into the #4 spot, with 1,024 registrations. The first Savannah was born in 1986, the result of cross-breeding domestic cats with African Servals, and was accepted by TICA in its Advanced New Breeds category. Advanced new breeds can be shown in TICA-sanctioned shows, but they are not fully recognized for championship status.
“People have always had a fascination with the ‘wild cats’ and their exquisite beauty,” said Fisher. “Breeders are working to bring the wild into the living room” through breeds such as the Savannah.
Rounding out the top 5 is the Sphynx, with 1,020 registrations. The Sphynx was introduced by TICA Judge Aline Noel-Garel in 1966 at shows throughout North America. It quickly became one of the most popular breeds of cats as a family pet.
Of the Sphynx, Fisher said, “This is one of those cat breeds that might be considered ‘an acquired taste.’ We laugh because women don’t consider baldness, potbellies and wrinkles to be desirable, but those are exactly what this breed standard calls for.”
Rounding out TICA’s Top Ten are the Siberian, Persian, British Shorthair, Norwegian Forest Cat and Abyssinian.
TICA was founded in 1979 by Georgia Morgan and a handful of cat enthusiasts, with the goal of forming “the most progressive, flexible and innovative cat registry in the world.” TICA currently registers 55 championship breeds and 12 new breeds which are on their way to acquiring championship status.