A cat whose ancestry is formally registered is called a purebred cat, or a pedigreed cat. A purebred cat is one whose ancestry contains only individuals of the same breed. A pedigreed cat is one whose ancestry is recorded, but may have ancestors of different breeds.
The list of cat breeds is quite large: most cat registries actually recognize between 30 and 40 breeds of cats, and several more are in development, with one or more new breeds being recognized each year on average, having distinct features and heritage. Owners and breeders compete in cat shows to see whose animal bears the closest resemblance to the "ideal" definition, based on breed type and the breed standard for each breed.
Because of common crossbreeding in populated areas, many cats are simply identified as belonging to the homogeneous breeds of domestic longhair and domestic shorthair, depending on their type of fur.
Some original cat breeds that have a distinct phenotype that is the main type occurring naturally as the dominant domesticated cat type in their region of origin are sometimes considered as subspecies and in the past received names as such, although this is no longer supported by feline biologists. Some of these cat breeds (with their invalid scientific names for historical interest) are:
- F. catus anura - the Manx
- F. catus siamensis - the Siamese
- F. catus cartusenensis - the Chartreux
- F. catus angorensis - the Turkish Angora