Warning! Flat faced cats have serious health issues

Flat faced cats have serious health issues

Flat faced cats have serious health issues. Photo: icatcare.org

Think carefully when choosing a cat breed for the family. There is mounting evidence to show that flat faced cats have serious health issues says International Cat Care.

In recent months the issue of health problems in flat faced or brachycephalic dogs has been highlighted to the public by RSPCA’s campaign ‘Love is Blind‘.

Flat faced cats like Persians or Exotic Shorthairs can have all the same health issues as dogs – breathing and dental problems, skin fold infections and problems giving birth to name a few.  These issues can lead to lifelong suffering as a direct result of being ‘designed’ to have a very flat face. 

Amongst the latest evidence is a new scientific paper from the University of Edinburgh1 which concluded that flatter faced cats were more likely to have breathing problems and that the breathing difficulties were also associated with increased tear staining and a more sedentary lifestyle.

Unfortunately, breeds of cat and dog with flat faces are becoming more and more popular, and extremes (of an already abnormal anatomy) can become instant internet celebrities. These breeds and individuals often have large or prominent eyes which are considered by some to be ‘cute’ because they are baby-like.  The flattened face often has an up-turned or down-turned mouth, which gives it a human or cartoon characteristic of smiling or scowling, such as Grumpy Cat.

Claire Bessant, Chief Executive of International Cat Care said, ’It is very depressing to see the life which has been deliberately dealt with some breeds of cats because of a human desire to develop a certain look. I urge cat lovers to speak out and help others to understand that this is not something we should be doing to cats, and not something we should be tolerating. One of the best and most beautifully naturally designed animals – the cat – would not normally have any of these problems; we have created them through selective breeding. We should not be encouraging people to breed these cats by calling them ‘cute’, by being amused at their facial characteristics, or by the fact that they snore – rather we need to understand that this is’

‘We should not be encouraging people to breed these cats by calling them ‘cute’, by being amused at their facial characteristics, or by the fact that they snore – rather we need to understand that this is a human intervention that is wholly detrimental to the welfare of the cats and is simply cruel.’ she said.

Before you get a cat, find out what you need to consider when choosing a cat breed for your family.

References

  1. Farnworth MJ, et al. Flat feline faces: is brachycephaly associated with respiratory abnormalities in the domestic cat (Felis catus)? PLoS One 2016; 11: e0161777. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0161777