Dedicated to the preservation of Silver and Golden Persians

Project S.O.S. is focused on bringing awareness to a crisis with CFA's Silver and Gold Persian Division.  Our Silver Persian history tells us that about 10 years ago, Himalayans (first cousins to the Siamese), were bred to Silver Persians by one or two Persian breeders who also bred Himalayans in hopes of gaining better type. The resulting CPC (Color Point Carrier) offspring were then sold to and used in several other breeding programs that innocently started the current CPC crisis. Because of these breeding practices, the CPC 3000 registration numbers have infiltrated and devoured nearly all Silver and Gold breeding programs worldwide. Project S.O.S. provides and constantly updates a list of catteries worldwide that still have some non-CPC cats but this list is quickly diminishing.

New people coming into the Division are not being properly mentored and told about this hidden issue so they do not have the opportunity to make an educated choice as to whether or not they want to work with CPC lines. To this day, many Silver breeders do not look at a pedigree before they purchase new breeding stock and even more breeders are completely unaware of their bloodline's CPC status.

Most of the pure lines are being consumed by the CPC 3000 registration numbers so there is an urgent need for dedicated Silver and Gold Persian breeders to take on the responsibility to preserve the remaining pure bloodlines, support the breeders who have kept their lines clear of Himalayans and CPCs, and encourage new breeders to breed away from the Himalayan/CPC lines. It is only through this change in direction that the Division can be saved and brought back to its roots of true Persian ancestry.

Project S.O.S. is not about a group of cats being better than the other;
it's about preserving Silver Persian lineage and history.
 
CFA Website

~ NEW ~  Color Genetics of Silver and Gold Persians: There are many theories surrounding the color genetics of Silvers and even more so with Goldens. Many of the theories that were presented in past years have been shown to be out of date as new genetic probabilities are discovered. This link is to a page with the most up to date information currently available but as time goes by, this too will probably need to be readdressed. CLICK HERE FOR GENETIC INFORMATION


Silver Persian History: There is no official record of when Silver Persians were accepted by CFA, so it is assumed they were among the original colors of Persians being bred when the association was organized in 1906. The first recognized Silver Persian was a cat named "Chinnie" who was born in 1882 and is known as the "Mother of Chinchillas." There are no known pictures of Chinnie, her mate Fluffy, nor any of their offspring. The earliest picture found is of their famous grandson, Silver Lambkin. Lambkin was shown in London's famous Crystal Palace in 1888 (see image left). Persians are considered to be a foundation breed to CFA as one of the first breeds to be registered.

Himalayan History: Himalayans were first developed in the United States in the 1930s by crossing Siamese with Persians by breeders Virginia Cobb and Dr. Clyde Keller and are credited with breeding the first longhair cat with Siamese markings. After five years of breeding, a kitten named Newton’s Debutante was the first official Himalayan. They're research was published in the September 1936 edition of "Journal of Heredity" (see image right). After completing their research, Keller and Cobb abandoned their breeding program but some years later breeders from around the world worked to establish the Himalayan as a new breed of cat within CFA. All Himalayans and their solid color, non-pointed  CPC (Color Point Carrier) offspring carry a 3000 CFA registration prefix because of their Siamese ancestry.

From the CFA website: "In 1984 the Persian Breed Council had the following question on their ballot: "Should the current Himalayan Breed be accepted as a Division of the Persian?" The question presented on the Himalayan Breed Council ballot, on the same subject was: "The Himalayan Breed should: A) Remain as is   B) Become a new division of the Persian Breed."  Both breed councils voted against the proposed change, and yet the CFA Board of Directors elected to move the Himalayan into a division of the Persian breed."

Exotic History: Having Exotics in Silver and Golden Persian pedigrees is quickly becoming an additional threat to the already limited Persian gene pool. Exotics were created from breeding American Shorthairs and Burmese to Persians resulting in a cat with the physical structure of the Persian but with a short, plush coat. Most Exotics carry the longhair gene and as a result, breeding two shorthair Exotics can result in longhair kittens called Longhair Exotics. Although the resulting kittens look like their pure Persian cousins they are registered as Exotics and have a 7000 CFA registration prefix to alert us to their American Shorthair and Burmese ancestry.

                    

Registration Numbers: In 1958, CFA initiated a coding system for identifying registered cats. This system of registration consists of a coded prefix which indicates the cat's breed, color and sex. Years later, when CFA first merged the Himalayan and Persian breeds in 1984, the number 3 was added to the prefix of all cats of Himalayan heritage. This was to distinguish the two breeds so that those who did not want to work with Himalayan lines could do so by simply looking at the registration number. This code is referred to as a 3000 prefix.

The CFA 3000 prefix is not just concerned with the colorpoint gene; it's about all Siamese alleles and ancestry. Many different genes can be carried undetected as recessives for an infinite number of generations which is why the 3000 prefix is in place: to alert us to a cat's Siamese heritage even when DNA testing shows the color point gene has been bred out.

Each feline registry has its own set of criteria from which they work: CFA is an ancestral registry, meaning cats are registered according to their inheritance whereas other registries, such as TICA and several other feline registries, register cats by their physical appearance alone. This difference in registration practices can cause a great deal of confusion when trying to distinguish the ancestry of a bloodline so when a pedigree contains cats from a mixture of different registries extra research needs to be done; this is where Project S.O.S. can help - just send us an email and request our free pedigree research assistance.

Most of the current Silver and Gold Persian bloodlines have been adulterated with Siamese genes thus producing offspring with a 3000 registration prefix and although cats with the 3000 prefix look like ancestrally pure Persians, their pedigrees tell a different story. To date, the Silver and Golden Division that has been overtaken by CPCs. Breeders in other Divisions do not want Himalayans in their bloodline unless they breed specifically for Himalayans, Chocolate or Lilac Persians; only then are CPCs seen as having any true value in a breeding program.

 

Pure Persian Silvers and Goldens have Persian CFA registration prefixes:
Persian Chinchilla Silver & Persian Shaded Silver.......................
0130, 0131 and 0132, 0133
Persian Blue Chinchilla Silver & Persian Blue Shaded Silver.......
0128, 0129 and 0156, 0157
Persian Chinchilla Golden & Persian Shaded Golden..................
1170, 1171 and 1172, 1173
Persian Blue Chinchilla Golden & Persian Blue Shaded Golden...
1074, 1075 and 1076, 1077
 
Color Point Carrier (CPC) Silvers and Goldens have Himalayan CFA registration prefixes:
CPC Chinchilla Silver & CPC Shaded Silver.......................
3030, 3031 and 3032, 3033
CPC Blue Chinchilla Silver & CPC Blue Shaded Silver.......
3028, 3029 and 3056, 3057
CPC Chinchilla Golden & CPC Shaded Golden..................
3070, 3071 and 3072, 3073
CPC Blue Chinchilla Golden & CPC Blue Shaded Golden...
3374, 3375 and 3376, 3377

Exotic (Longhair, Shorthair & Exotic CPC) Silvers and Goldens have Exotic CFA registration prefixes:
Exotic Chinchilla Silver & Exotic Shaded Silver.......................
7730, 7731 and 7530, 7531 and 7732, 7733 and 7532, 7533
Exotic Blue Chinchilla Silver & Exotic Blue Shaded Silver.......
7728, 7729 and 7528, 7529 and 7756, 7757 and 7556, 7557
Exotic Chinchilla Golden & Exotic Shaded Golden..................
7726, 7727 and 7526, 7527 and 7772, 7773 and 7572, 7573
Exotic Blue Chinchilla Golden & Exotic Blue Shaded Golden...
7402, 7403 and 7802, 7803 and 7412, 7413 and 7812, 7813

For a complete list of breed color prefixes, see the CFA website: http://cfa.org/Breeds/BreedColorPrefixChart.aspx


The qualities of having the correct CFA registration numbers is becoming rare in the Silver/Golden Division. Once the "pure" lines are gone and all Silvers and Goldens are CPCs, they will be lost forever. Silvers and Goldens are the only Persians with green eyes so no combination of Persians can be used to recreate them. Therefore, with preservation in mind and one eye fixed on the future well-being of the Division, an effort is being made by Project S.O.S. to preserve the history and purity of Silvers and Goldens for future generations. By supporting Project S.O.S. and bringing awareness to the plight of the Silvers and Goldens, there is hope that Silver and Gold Persians will be brought back to the purity of what they once were - the jewels of the Persian Division.

Statistics: Silver and Gold Persian registrations have been on the decline over the past several decades along with a dramatic decrease in the percentage of "pure" Silver and Gold registrations; this means that the gene pool is getting smaller. For the year 2014, statistics clearly show the percentage of "pure" Silver/Gold cats registered compared to more than three times as many CPC Silver/Gold cats (registration statistics provided by CFA).

Over the past 10 years, the Silver division has suffered the loss of nearly all colorbred lines. Now the division is faced with the pending loss of its ancestral purity as new breeders are being coerced into having their breeding programs take on a Himalayan/Siamese heritage. Without a dramatic turn around in current breeding and mentoring practices, all Silver and Golds will be CPCs and the "pure" Silver and Gold Persian lines will be extinct in a few short years.

 

The Future: The most important aspect of Project S.O.S. is education and opening the lines of communication between all Persian breeders as well as educate new breeders as they come into the Cat Fancy. To rebuild the Silver gene pool, breeders are urged to work together and establish new "pure" lines. If no suitable "pure" Silver non-CPC out-crosses can be found, the use of solid and smoke Persians should be explored to expand the gene pool. Smokes already have the inhibitor gene which is paramount to the Silvers and although the green eye color of the resulting offspring will most likely be lost in the first generation, it can be regained when the resulting kittens are bred back to a Silver with green eyes.

With so many Silver and Gold CPCs in breeding programs today, pointed cats of these colors are being produced in larger numbers than ever before so there is a push for a new color division to be formed in foreign cat registries for blue eyed Silver and Gold Point Persians. Once these new colors gain popularity, it is only a matter of time before they are brought into CFA as part of the Himalayan Division thus solidifying the Siamese heritage of the Silver and Gold CPCs.

New Breeds: Combining different breeds of cats to create a new breed is nothing new to the Cat Fancy. Currently recognizing 41 breeds of cats, some of the most beautiful and diverse breeds in the Fancy were created from using foundation breeds, like Siamese and Persians. The Siamese, a cat of elegance and beauty, has been used the most frequently to create new breeds in CFA taking its unique bone structure and coat pattern to new heights of refinement and glory.

Breeds of Cats Derived from Siamese:
CFA officially recognized the Siamese breed in 1906 but their roots can be traced back to the 1800's. The Siamese has been used to create the following 10 distinctive breeds of cats within CFA (click on name for more information and pictures of each breed):

  • Balinese – Natural mutation of the Siamese cat; a long-haired Siamese
  • Burmese - descended from a specific cat, Wong Mau, was brought to San Francisco, CA, and bred with Siamese
  • Colorpoint Shorthair – colors aside from traditional Siamese colors; originally developed by crosses with other shorthair cats
  • Havana Brown - resulted from crossing a chocolate point Siamese with a black cat
  • Himalayan - longhair breed derived from crosses of Persians to Siamese and pointed domestic longhair cats
  • Javanese – a longhair version of the Colorpoint Shorthair
  • Ocicat – a spotted cat originally produced by a cross between Siamese and Abyssinian
  • Oriental Longhair – a longhair version of the Oriental Shorthair
  • Oriental Shorthair – Siamese-style cat in non-pointed coat patterns and colors, including solid, tabby, silver/smoke, and tortoise-shell
  • Tonkinese – originally a cross between a Siamese cat and a Burmese

Breeds of Cats Derived from Persians:
First discovered in the Middle East in the 1600's, Persian cats were first recognized by CFA in 1914. With its sweet temperament and long, flowing coat, the Persian is one of the most popular breeds of cat. Although there are many theories and legends surrounding the use of Persians to develop certain breeds, the following 7 are confirmed and recognized by CFA as having Persian heritage (click on name for more information and pictures of each breed):

  • Burmilla - a silver cat that is the result of breeding Chinchilla Persians to Burmese
  • Exotic - a shorthair cat with the physical structure of a Persian - the result of breeding American Shorthair and Burmese to Persians
  • Himalayan – a longhair cat with Siamese markings and blue eyes - the result of breeding Persians to Siamese
  • Longhair Scottish Fold - a longhair version of the Scottish Fold with Persians in their foundation
  • RagaMuffin - the result of Ragdolls bred to Himalayans, Persians and domestic longhair cats
  • Ragdoll - the result of (possibly) breeding Himalayans, Persians, Birmans, and Burmese; semi-long coated cat with blue eyes
  • Selkirk Rex - a cat with curly long hair that resulted from blending several breeds including Persian, Devon Rex and American Shorthair

 

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