Or, What Is A CPC? By Carissa Altschul
In CFA, each cat is assigned a unique number at the time it is registered. This number, known as the registration number, serves two purposes. First, it identifies each cat. Second, it identifies the breed and color of that cat.
The registration number is composed of two parts. First, the breed and color identification. This part is the first four numbers of the registration number (followed by a dash). This is also known as the registration prefix. Second, there are 6-7 numbers that follow the dash. These numbers that follow have been incrementing since CFA instituted this system, and are currently around the 160000’s. The numbers after the dash are unique; they are only assigned to one cat and one cat only. The numbers preceding the dash are not unique.
This article will discuss the meaning of the 4 numbers that precede the dash in reference specifically to color-point carrier Persians. It is not intended to fully explain all the possible permutations of the numbers – for that, one should reference the CFA Breed Standards.
When CFA first merged the Himalayan and Persian breeds, they chose to use a special way of registering all Persians with Himalayan ancestry. That “special” way was devised so that those who did not want to work with Persians with Himalayan ancestry could avoid doing so by simply looking at the registration number of a cat before they chose to use it in their breeding program.
It is very easy to tell if a cat has a Himalayan in its ancestry by looking at the registration number. If the number starts with a “3”, then the cat has a Himalayan behind it. It doesn’t matter if the Himalayan is the parent, grandparent, or great-great-great-grandparent. Whether the Himalayan is one or twenty generations behind the cat in question, the “3” will be present at the start of the registration number. No matter what that cat is bred to, all of its descendents will also carry the “3.” (Unless, of course, that cat is bred to another breed, such as an Exotic. For a quick reference, all exotic registration prefixes start with a “7” – including longhair variants.)
The “3” does not mean that the cat in fact carries the gene to produce a pointed Persian (Or Himalayan-Persian). It just means that a pointed Persian (or Himalayan-Persian) is in the pedigree somewhere behind that cat.
These cats are collectively referred to as “CPC’s,” which stands for “color-point carrier.” The name itself is a bit misleading, as the number doesn’t guarantee actually carriage of the color-point gene, but that is the term that is currently in use. There are also known sometimes as “3000-number series” cats, referring to the 3 which starts the first part of the registration number. (The first 4 digits).
Breeders who do not have 3000 number cats call their Persians "Pure Persians." That is simply a term used to describe cats that do not have Himalayan ancestry. Those with "pure" Persians do not wish to ever have a cat with Himalayan ancestry. While the CPCs (3000 numbers) can be every bit as competive as "Pure" persians, as a whole, those cats with 3000 numbers tend to bred by people who do not show, or who show very rarely. As a result, most 3000 numbers are not competitive in the show ring. CFA registers nearly 3 times as many CPCs, or 3000 number Persians, than "pure" Persians. Yet, when one looks at those cats that are winning, the "pure" Persians are winning more than 10 times as much as the 3000 number Persians.
The numbers speak for themselves. If you are wanting to breed for Himalayans, it is best to look for a cattery that is actively showing and winning in CFA with their Himalayans or CPCs. This way, you are far more likely to find your purchase to be capable of winning in the show ring (or of producing show cats.) If you are not wanting to breed for Himalayans, it is best to look for a cattery that is actively breeding and showing (and winning, of course. I should note that by "winning," I mean producing Grand Champions and/or Regional and National Winners), as well as inquiring to make sure the lines are not 3000 numbers. You could also research pedigrees online to see registration numbers before you contact a cattery. One of the best resources to research pedigrees is http://www.catpedigrees.com.
It’s not quite as simple as just changing the first digit of a Persian registration prefix to a 3. For example, the registration prefix of a black Persian male without a Himalayan ancestor is 0108. The registration prefix of a black & white Persian male without a Himalayan ancestor is 1108. To simply change the first digit to a “3” for both of these colors if they had a Himalayan ancestor would make them both become 3108.
CFA has chosen to assign the numbers like this. If the non-Himalayan ancestor number starts with a “0”, then the first two digits are replaced with the digits “30.” If the non-Himalayan ancestor number starts with a “1,” then only the first digit is replaced with the “3.” Therefore, a black male Persian of Himalayan decent would have the registration prefix of 3008, and the black & white Persian of Himalayan decent would have the registration number of 3108. This way, the registration numbers are still unique for each color, and now it also indicates ancestry.
In the case of blue-eyed white 3000 number series cats, there is a little more complication. White is actually a “mask.” That is, the white gene actually covers up whatever color the cat is. The cat genetically can be any color “under” the white mask. That includes pointed. When a pointed Persian is “masked” with white, that white cat will always have blue eyes. Breeders of these cats will call them “white-points” to express that they are, in fact, a pointed cat. However, CFA does not make distinction registration-wise, between a blue-eyed white CPC and white point. Both cats appear physically to be the same. The white gene can cause blue eyes, or odd eyes. The pointed gene also causes blue eyes. It is not the same gene. However, a blue-eyed white CPC and a white-point would both be registered with the prefix 3000 (male) and 3001 (female).