What are the International Feline Associations?
To support breed development, international feline associations 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.
The World Cat Federation (WCF) is the largest of all international feline associations. It was established in 1998 in Rio de Janeiro by three clubs and its headquarters is located in Essen, Germany.
WCF has over 540 member clubs from 18 different countries, and this number continues to grow. Each member of WCF, regardless of whether they are clubs or federations, operate independently. However, they all adhere to the same breed standards and rules when it comes to shows, kennel registration, and training of judges and stewards.
Judging in WCF is done according to the rules of the European ring, and generally, it is open for all to see. Each day, only one grade can be given, and exhibition organisers must obtain a free licence from the WCF office at least one month before the event. Judges are required to renew their licences every three years.
Finally, the WCF is actively involved in political life and provides consultations to the European Parliament in Strasbourg on animal legislation.
CFA – Cat Fanciers’ Association
The Cat Fanciers Association (CFA) originated in the United States in 1906 and became officially recognized in 1919. The majority of CFA members belong to clubs based in the United States, Canada, and other nations.
Pedigrees are distributed centrally and according to the feline organisation’s “one country – one club” policy. A single CFA database records all animal and show achievements. Judges are licensed and evaluations are conducted openly without explanation. CFA judges can be assessed by a club’s chairman to obtain more information, and WCF judges may serve as Guests Judges within their region.
FIFe – Federation Internationale Feline
In 1949, a French woman named M. Ravel established an international cat organisation called the United Nations Organization of the Cat Fancy. This organisation brought together cat lovers from 26 countries and worked together to develop a charter, a list of recognized breeds and colour variations of cats, breed standards, exhibition rules, and the procedure for training experts.
In 1981, the organisation was registered in Geneva under a new name, Federation Internationale Feline (FIFe), and its statutes were re-registered in Luxembourg in 1998.
FIFe is now comprised of 42 national feline unions from 40 countries in Europe, Asia, and America. Its activities include setting uniform standards for cat breeds and rules for cat shows and competitions. FIFe also holds meetings where representatives from the various national unions develop general guidelines for new and old cat breeds. While each national union has the autonomy to maintain its own register and issue certificates for noble cat breeds, they work together to maintain FIFe’s standards.
TICA – The International Cat Association
TICA is a renowned feline organisation that was established in 1979 and has become one of the largest in the world. It is situated in the USA and is constituted by its individual members rather than clubs. However, members can join hands to establish clubs to organise exhibitions and promote their principal organisation. TICA adopts an open American-style assessment process, during which there is no description of the feline. The judges make their decisions based solely on the external qualities of the animal, without any prior knowledge of the feline’s championship titles. This ensures that the judgement is always unbiased and fair. TICA’s experts are highly respected worldwide in all feline organisations.
WFF – World Felinological Federation
The World Felinological Federation was established in 2004 with the goal of uniting feline organizations and nurseries, and enhancing the positive aspects of all international systems. The WFF has introduced special schemes for recognizing the evaluation and documentation of these organizations. The WFF stands out from other associations as it combines both American and European rings for judging, while also providing a description and diploma to the owner after examination. Moreover, titles from other systems such as CFA, CFF, FIFe, TICA, and WCF are acknowledged.
Do I need to buy a pedigree cat?
Deciding to adopt a cat with a quality certificate recognised by feline associations depends on personal preferences. Even if a kitten lacks a pedigree, passport, or other necessary documentation, it can still make a great companion. Its appearance or behaviour may differ from breed standards but may please the owners more.