What is European Cat Quality?
In the modern world, there are more than 90 cat breeds according to the FIFE and WCF standards. Many breeds of cats were brought to Europe from the Asian and African region and have their appearance thanks to the work of talented breeders. Some breeds have been bred for more than 100 years, and the youngest breeds appeared in a few past years.
According to Plutarch, the first mention of cats in Europe was in the 1st century when Egyptian cats entered through Italy. These cats interbred with local wild forest cats and domesticated cats from Asian countries, resulting in the creation of modern cat breeds. When Christianity spread, cats were considered demons and and there were “campaigns” against them. But after the plague, people saw the value of cats in catching rodents and they gained a new appreciation.
In British culture, cats were believed to have healing powers and were associated with witches. When moving to a new house, people did not take their cat with them because cats were thought to carry troubles. However, fishermen and sailors believed that cats, especially black ones, brought good luck and ensured safe voyages.
Professional animal breeding requires specific knowledge. Many cat owners take felinology courses to learn how to choose the right pair, what to pay attention to during childbirth, how to care for their cats, participate in exhibitions, and other important aspects.
When breeding, it is important to choose a specific breed and avoid keeping multiple breeds together to prevent accidental crossing. Breeding is only allowed when animals are healthy and free of genetic defects. Approval from a club breeder is necessary for mating and pedigree issuance.
Typically, no more than two matings are allowed per year. Choosing the right pair based on breed-specific colour characteristics is crucial. Vaccinations are a requirement for all animals used in breeding, and each cat must have a veterinary passport. Pedigree kittens are typically given away at three months of age, fully vaccinated, and with veterinary passports. These are all crucial to ensuring the sought after European Cat Quality.
All shows organized by clubs and involving the award of titles must obtain a license to legitimize the titles given at the event. The judging of the animals is restricted to the experts listed on the license. Exhibited cats must have veterinary documentation including vaccination records, and must be at least 10 weeks old.
The judging of cats is based on official guidelines and regulations. The number of points awarded is determined by the title the cat is competing for, with higher titles requiring stricter adherence to breed standards and physical appearance. Experts use a standardized scoring system to evaluate the physical characteristics and breed standards of the animal. An overall perfect cat would score 100 points according to the highest standards set for their breed.
In order to protect animals in the European Union, a specific set of rules has been established. These rules state that cats can travel across borders from a certain age, and must have a passport and a microchip. Breeders are also required to follow international standards for breeding. The purpose of these rules is to improve collaboration between feline organisations and address important issues related to feline welfare and legislation that are relevant to all cat enthusiasts, breeders, and owners.
What is the role of International Feline Associations?
To support breed development, international organisations create guidelines for care, feeding, and behavioural and physical standards for each breed. Exhibitions are crucial events where licensed experts evaluate various factors and award top participants with quality certificates. These events test both kittens and adult cats. Pedigree registries are responsible for managing documentation, verifying pedigrees, and maintaining breeding standards. They work alongside breeders worldwide, register new kennels, and provide necessary information to enhance the breed’s quality.
You can read more about these associations here.