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Garfield's Law: Cats instinctively know the precise moment their owners will awaken - then they awaken them ten minutes sooner. - Jim Davis

Non-pedigree Cats (Moggies)

Scientific Information

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Subphylum: Vertebrata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Carnivora
Family: Felidae
Genus: Felis
Species: F. Silvestris
Subspecies: F. s. catus

What is a "Moggy"? For those of you who are not British a "Moggy" is an informal name for a Cat - "Mog" or "Moggy" is the singular, "Moggies" is the plural.



The definition of a Moggy is a cat or kitten that does not belong to any recognised breed. It is also an informal name in the United Kingdom for a cat whether the cat is a recognised breed or not (kind of confusing isn't it - that's the English Language for you!). Of dialect origin, from what region of Britain this comes from I do not know! The word was originally a pet name for a cow!

The origin of the word moggy is not a corruption of the word 'mongrel', as many believe. It was first recorded in 1911, and was possibly derived from maggie, margie or mog, all short forms of the female name Margaret. It is thought this was first used to describe an ungainly lumbering old cow, and it may even have been a minor rural English name for any cow; since 'moggy' was used in several 1800s English dialects as an 'affectionate name' for a cow. As rural people flocked to the cities during the latter part of the Industrial Revolution, it seems likely that the cow moggy became maggie, applied as a term of abuse for a dishevelled old woman or older prostitute.

The origin is obviously confused, but as the early 20th century streets of London became filled with very many unhealthy looking stray cats, it would have been natural to apply the term moggy to describe these unfortunate creatures.

In parts of Lancashire, England the word 'moggy' means mouse not cat. A cat was known as 'the moggy catcher'. It has been suggested that this could be the etymology of the word moggy meaning 'cat' - over time the catcher part was dropped from 'the moggy catcher' and so moggy now means both 'mouse' and 'cat'.

In New Zealand the term 'moggy' is popularly assumed to be a reference to the letter M formed on the forehead of tabby cats by their striped markings. However it was most likely introduced by English immigrants.

There are more than 100 million pet cats worldwide. Of these, the vast majority are non-pedigree or crossbred cats; their parentage may be unknown, neither of the parents is a registered pedigree. Up until the late 19th century, people kept cats in order to keep their houses and barns rodent free; looks were not a consideration. However, as every proud owner knows, a healthy, happy Moggy in the prime of its life can be every bit as magnificent in appearance and manner as a pedigree cat.

Because the gene determining short hair is dominant, most crossbred cats are shorthaired, but there is no standard crossbred types. they come in every imaginable variety of coat and colour. Many crossbred cats are tabbies, which is the variety closest to the cat's ancestors among African wild cats. The mackerel or striped tabby pattern is the original, but the classic blotchy tabby pattern is more common. Most rare is the spotted tabby, now being selectively bred in new pedigree lines, these new lines aim to achieve a wild look. Solid colours also abound: black, white, ginger (marmalade), and blue. The ginger colouring is sex-linked, being carried in the X chromosome, and marmalade males outnumber females by about 2 to 1. Conversely, the tortoiseshell or calico pattern of orange and black is only possible in females (with rare exceptions in sterile males). White is common, both on its own and in combination with other solid and tabby colours. Siamese-style points are rarely seen in crossbred cats but can certainly occur.

Apart from colour and coat, crossbred cats differ much less from each other than pure breeds do. Most have the moderate build that is typical of the British and American Shorthairs, being neither slender like the Siamese nor large and heavy like the Persian or Maine Coon. Although random-bred cats from tropical climates tend to have a somewhat sleeker form than others, and those from cold climates are comparatively stockier, they have not acquired the extreme lines that have been introduced into pedigree lines by selective breeding. Wedge-shaped heads and flattened faces are unusual in a crossbreed but can appear if the recent family tree of one of the parents includes a cat with Siamese or Persian genes.

Random breeding means that the non-pedigree cat does not have a definite appearance or temperament. Yet the character traits of the domestic shorthaired cat make it universally loved and admired. Cats are wonderful companions and enjoy being part of a family, but still retain much more independence than domestic dogs. they can adapt to an indoor existence but will make the most of any freedom offered (deliberately or otherwise), for it must be said that the domestic cat is a relentless predator of small rodents and birds. Even when well fed, most crossbred cats will persist in bringing hunting trophies home, faithful to their thousands of years of heritage as pest-control specialists.

The crossbred cat has hybrid vigour, nature's way of selecting the fittest and most successful animals. Crossbreeds have much lower concentrations of undesirable genes. With proper care it is robust and should live a long life. The typical crossbred, if you choose carefully, is a beautiful, intelligent, playful, low-maintenance companion with an independent streak. It will be a devoted and loving member of your household. Who could ask for more?

Advantages of a Crossbreed:

  • Whether you are looking for a kitten or an adult, there is likely to be a huge selection to choose from in your area.
  • You will not need to contact a breeder. They can be obtained from shelters or private homes.
  • You have to pay very little. Most crossbreeds are given away free. A free pet fits with the personal finance needs of many, but make sure you also have adequate resources to care for your cat beyond adoption.
  • Crossbred cats are robust and long-lived.
  • They suffer from fewer inherited health problems than pedigree cats.

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