The Governing Council of the Cat Fancy (GCCF) is a cat registry, established in 1910 and the largest organisation that registers pedigree cats in the United Kingdom. It was formed from a small number of cat clubs which were registering cats at the time when the modern cat fancy was in its first stages. It is considered to be the original prototype for cat fancy registries. It is an independent body with no membership, but has around 150 cat clubs affiliated to it, including specialist breed clubs and area clubs covering particular regions. The GCCF became an incorporated company on 5 November 2010. It licenses cat shows put on by its affiliated clubs with about 135 shows per year. Pedigree cats shown at these shows can gain the titles Champion, Grand Champion and Imperial Grand Champion. The word Champion is replaced by Premier for neutered cats. The showing of non-pedigree cats (often referred to as Domestic shorthair and Domestic longhair) is also popular at GCCF shows.
The GCCF also co-ordinates its own show: the Supreme Cat Show, which is famous for being the world's largest cat show and the feline equivalent of Crufts. Special awards of UK and Supreme Champion can be gained at this show only.
The GCCF offices are based in Bridgwater and are staffed by twelve people who deal with registrations, publications, show processing & title claims, agendas & minutes and correspondence from breeders, exhibitors, Clubs, Breed Advisory Committees and the general public. They also deal with complaints and breaches of rules, which can sometimes result in disciplinary action and even suspension from Cat Fancy activities. The GCCF is a member of the Cat Group and the World Cat Congress.
The GCCF has set up its own charity: The Cat Welfare Trust, which uses funds raised through the GCCF to find ways of improving the welfare of cats. To date the trust has granted thousands of pounds into key research projects in ringworm vaccination, the feline genome and chronic gingivo-stomatitis in cats.
The top three most popular cat breeds registered in the GCCF are the British Shorthair, the Siamese and the Bengal. The GCCF registers around 30,000 pedigree cats each year, and currently recognises the following breeds;
- Maine Coon
- Norwegian Forest Cat
- Turkish Van
- Turkish Vankedisi
- Asian (including Bombay and Burmilla)
- Tiffanie (Longhaired Asian)
- Cornish Rex
- Devon Rex
- Egyptian Mau
- Russian Blue
- Thai Lilac/Thai Pointed
- Oriental Shorthair (Several different varieties, including Havana)
- Foreign White
- Oriental Longhair
- Oriental Bicolour