Episode 31: The origin of cat breeds

December 1, 2020
dvm360 Staff

On this episode of The Vet Blast Podcast, Adam Christman, DVM, MBA, is joined by Kash Kuruppu, DVM, who discusses the history of cat breeds and the significance of DNA testing.

Cats are survivors and their breeding history is quite fascinating, according to Kaushalya Kuruppu, DVM, chief veterinary officer of Basepaws. “Cats domesticated themselves alongside humans because they realized humans had food, and they would help catch mice and other rodents. We realized cats were useful to us, so we kind of co-evolved together,” she says.

On this episode of The Vet Blast Podcast, Kuruppu offers insight on the origin of cat breeds and explains why DNA testing can be beneficial for cat owners and veterinarians alike.

Unlike dogs, which have clear breeds, cats bred themselves, Kuruppu tells Dr. Adam Christman. In fact, about 95% of all cats are mixed breeds, she says. It was only about 200 years ago when the cat breeds we know now were created. "This was done artificially, as it was us humans that took the features we liked of cats….and we bred them and established these breeds we know of today, like Ragdoll or Siamese,” she explains.

When it comes to better understanding cat breeds, DNA testing is the way to go, says Kuruppu. DNA testing can help cat owners and veterinarians understand cat breed behaviors and genetic predispositions. “Ultimately, by understanding and going deeper into DNA behaviors and things that cats need, we can give them a lot better care as veterinarians and as cat owners.”

“I think we have an opportunity to learn as much as we can to help them thrive in our home environment. We did bring them indoors, so we should give them what they need to thrive and not just survive.”

Listen below to learn more about the history of cat breeds, the importance of DNA testing, plus some of the dangers of hybridization.