The breeding of a pedigree cat, favoured by celebrities together with Ed Sheeran and Taylor Swift, must be banned says an animal charity over issues for its long-term well being.
With their large eyes and misshapen shortened ears, the recognition of Scottish folds has elevated dramatically within the final 12 months maybe because of their nearly cartoon-like look and newfound web fame.
However welfare charity Cats Safety says the breed suffers from various well being issues because of the genetic dysfunction which is behind its distinctive look.
Whereas A-listers together with singers Ed Sheeran and Taylor Swift typically share pictures on social media of their beloved feline mates – with the UK chart-topper even having arrange an Instagram account known as The Wibbles for his – Scottish folds have additionally turn out to be more and more in style with different pet homeowners within the final 12 months as cat lovers look to purchase pedigree breeds.
Cats Safety’s 2022 report says that 38% of felines purchased within the final 12 months had been pedigrees because the pattern to ‘store’ somewhat than rehome continues – whereas Scottish folds are estimated to now quantity round 110,000.
Regardless of being largely unknown a 12 months in the past, with only a few numbers in a position to be counted, their reputation has soared to now make up nearly 1% of the UK’s cat inhabitants, provides the charity.
Writing within the annual report, Cats Safety veterinary officer Dr Sarah Elliott defined: “Potential cat homeowners seem motivated to hunt out pedigree cats, typically with uncommon and strange bodily traits. This has little question been fuelled by the optimistic social media consideration these cats typically get pleasure from.
“The impact of breed-related well being issues has obtained widespread publicity within the canine world however many cat lovers stay largely unaware of comparable issues in feline breeds.
“One instance is the Scottish fold, a breed that has grown in reputation in recent times. These cats undergo from a genetic mutation that’s recognized to trigger vital painful illness because of extreme abnormalities of the bone cartilage.”
These issues, says Cats Safety, can result in points with joints and mobility, which it had additionally highlighted in a earlier report into the regulation of cat breeding and ‘excessive’ cat breeds.
That report defined: “The intentional inbreeding of those cats has resulted in an inherited defect that causes abnormalities with joints and bone development, an rigid tail and brief, stiff legs. Arthritis is rife among the many breed and plenty of Scottish folds will likely be unable to carry out regular cat behaviours like pouncing and leaping because of painful early-onset arthritis. Lengthy-term ache aid is continuously required to manage.”
There are at present no feline breeding rules in England, Wales or Northern Eire, however Scotland bans breeding cats with poor well being, and this contains Scottish folds.
Cats Safety can also be not the one animal welfare organisation to have known as for extra authorities regulation on the subject of breeding animals with traditional or excessive options.
In 2018 the British Veterinary Affiliation appealed to animal lovers to keep away from pets like Scottish folds alongside bubble-eye goldfish and miniature horses – involved that the web was fuelling a craze and a want for creatures with ‘cute’ options.