CPCs: Let's Be Accurate

Published September 2006

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The pointed gene is recessive. A cat needs 2 genes, one from each parent, in order to be a pointed cat.

CFA Registration Protocol

In CFA, when a Himalayan cat is bred to a non-pointed cat, all offspring are colorpoint carriers (CPC) and are given a special 3000 prefix registration number to indicate that they are CPCs.

Once a cat is designated a CPC, all subsequent generations of cats produced from the CPC are also designated as CPCs. However, if the CPC is never bred to another Himalayan or CPC, not only will it never produce a pointed cat, statistically, half of its offspring, while designated as colorpoint carriers, will in fact, not be carrying the colorpoint gene.

The CPC designation really doesn't mean the cat IS a colorpoint carrier... it means it has the POSSIBILITY of being a colorpoint carrier.

The truth is that unless a CPC cat has a Himalayan parent, or has produced a pointed offspring, it was impossible to tell whether a CPC actually had the colorpoint gene... until recently.

DNA Test For the Pointed Gene

In January 2005, the Veterinary Genetics Laboratory at the University of California (Davis) announced a DNA test for the pointed gene.

With the advent of a DNA test for the pointed gene, cat registries may want to consider differentiating between cats who have been tested and proven to actually have the pointed gene and those cats tested and proven to not have the pointed gene.

Signifying through a registration number which cats are actual CPCs and which are not would be helpful to breeders in making breeding decisions.

The breeders working with pointed cats would better be able to choose which cats to retain in their breeding program to accomplish their goals.

Similarly, breeders wishing to avoid producing pointed cats, but who are content to use a cat with pointed in its background, would be able to consider bloodlines that they would not have considered previous to this new DNA test.

Proposal

Currently, in CFA, any non-pointed Persian with a Himalayan in its background has a 3000 Suffix registration number.

While cats proven to be colorpoint carriers would retain this numbering system, a cat carrying the CPC number that is DNA tested and proven not to actually have the pointed gene could revert to the appropriate number for its color but with an added letter to denote that it does have a pointed cat in its background.

Those cats that test positive for the pointed gene retain their 3000 CPC numbers, possibly with an added letter to note that they have been tested positive for actually having the pointed gene. 

Requirements

Because anything affecting the actual registration information of a cat needs to have checks and balances, recommended procedure would include:

  • Microchipping
  • Cheek swabbed by a license veterinarian

Knowledge Is Power

Any information a cat registry can officially record about an individual cat can benefit all the generations of cats that follow.

Providing more information for breeders to use in building their breeding programs can only have a positive affect on the future of their breed.

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