Purebred vs Domestic (Mixed Breed) Cat

Once you have decided to share your life with a cat the next decision you will need to make is what type of cat you would like. Purebred or mixed breed. So what is the difference? A purebred cat is a cat who has been bred to meet a specific type (set out by the various cat councils throughout the world, this is known as the breed standard) and who are only mated with cats of the same breed (there are exceptions which we won’t go into that in this article).

Purebred cats meet a specific type. There are slight variations and colours, but they should mostly have the same form. Ears, eyes, body type etc. A moggy is a mixed breed cat of unknown origin; they come in a variety of shapes and sizes and are generally bred by pet owners, are former strays or farm cats (or any other number of places) and don’t conform to a particular breed standard.

Purebred vs domestic


  • You can get a good idea of the temperament of the individual breeds.
  • May have a particular look that you like, be it the long sleek lines of a Siamese or the beautiful long coat and size of a Maine Coon.
  • You know the cat’s history and pedigree.
  • Most breeders offer a health guarantee for a pre-determined amount of time.
  • You are usually able to meet the kitten’s mother and siblings.

  • Can be expensive.
  • Some breeds can have long waiting lists.
  • Some purebred cats can be predisposed to genetic or health disorders.
Domestic (mixed breed/moggy)

  • You are giving a homeless cat a good home. There are more shelter cats than there are homes.
  • Mixed breeds cost much less to purchase.
  • They are readily available.
  • Reduced chances of genetic problems.
  • Mixed breed cats can come in any number of different colours.

  • You don’t always know what you are getting.
  • You don’t always know the history of the cat.


Most of the pros and cons aren’t deal-breakers. If you don’t care about the look of the cat (be it big and fluffy or long and lean, black, grey, white, ticked, long or short-haired) then a mixed breed would be the perfect companion for you. While you can get a good idea of the temperament of particular breeds of cat, I think with careful selection it is possible to find that with a mixed breed cat too if you take your time and do your research. I have always said that purebred cats should be purchased from REGISTERED cat breeders and mixed breed cats from cat shelters. I don’t recommend pet shops (unless they are working alongside shelters) or free to good home kittens. Before you decide on what cat to get, have a serious think about your lifestyle and what you are looking for in a cat.

Questions to ask:

  • Do I want a lap cat who always wants to be with me, or would I prefer an independent cat?
  • How much time will the cat be on his own? If you are out for long periods would you consider adopting two cats?
  • Long or short hair?
  • Do I have a preference for colour or size?
  • Male or female?

If you want a domestic (moggy) and know what you are looking for in a cat then speak to the staff at your local shelter who have spent time with the cats and can narrow down the best ones to meet your specific needs. Not everybody wants a super friendly or talkative cat, or maybe they do, some people prefer more independent cats who will come and hang out sometimes but don’t need to be on or next to you 24 hours a day, other people love having a constant shadow. I don’t recommend adopting a free to good home kitten, for several reasons. It won’t have been health checked; you know nothing about the health status of the mother or the kittens. Most people think a free kitten is a cheap kitten, but by the time you have paid for vaccinations, microchipping and desexing, you will be way out of pocket compared to paying a nominal fee for a cat at a shelter.

What to look for in a cat

Whatever type of cat you decide to adopt, purebred or mixed breed, spend time with the kitten before you make a final decision. Does he seem to be friendly and outgoing? Is he in good health? Sometimes a cat or kitten in a shelter environment can be very scared; however, if you spend a little time with him, he will come out of his shell. It can be a very traumatic experience for a cat being in a shelter, so don’t discount the cat who sits in a corner with his back to you. Once again, speak to the shelter staff, because they often know the cats better than anybody. I can’t say which is better, a purebred or a mixed breed. We currently have a male Singapura and Oriental and a mixed breed girl. I love them all equally. The cat who stole my heart more than any was a black and white domestic by the name of Eliot. She was my first cat and my soul mate.

A lot of people talk about the hybrid vigour of mixed breed cats which is a big plus. Having written in great detail about health issues and purebreds, I know some breeds can be predisposed to certain disorders, just how common they are I really can’t say. With advances in medical screening and DNA testing, it is now easier to have parents and/or kittens screened. So if you do choose a purebred, do your homework, find out if the breed is prone to any particular genetic/medical conditions and if they are, is testing/screening available and ask the breeder if and what guarantees they offer.

Adult cats

And before I sign off, I would like to mention adopting adults who are often the last to find a loving home. You know what you are getting (size-wise), and they do appreciate getting a second chance in life. Kittens are adorable, but there are many excellent pros to adopting an adult cat.


  • Julia Wilson, 'Cat World' Founder

    Julia Wilson is the founder of Cat-World, and has researched and written over 1,000 articles about cats. She is a cat expert with over 20 years of experience writing about a wide range of cat topics, with a special interest in cat health, welfare and preventative care. Julia lives in Sydney with her family, four cats and two dogs. Full author bio

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