Ben Simpson-Vernon (Ben the Vet) has some strong but well considered views on what purebred cats he would avoid if he was considering adopting a purebred. He’s keen to point out that he would have a different opinion if he were adopting a rescue cat who happened to be purebred. Whereas he would not buy a Bengal cat, he would quite possibly adopt a rescue Bengal cat if one was available which is very unlikely.
The video from Ben’s TiKTok page explains his thinking about four cat breeds he dislikes.
I’d like to add my brief thoughts.
Bengal cat aggression
In the early days of this breed going back to the 1980s approximately the CFA breed standard mentioned the possibility of this breed being aggressive and the guide was that an aggressive Bengal cat at a cat show should be disqualified. That requirement has disappeared from their current breed standard. It did indicate the concern in the cat fancy about this cat’s character.
At one stage the CFA refused to accept the breed. And yet they accepted the Scottish Fold, an inherently unhealthy cat. The CFA administrators are a strange lot with a contradictory Maine Coon breed standard.
Perhaps they have selectively bred out this character trait over the years. But there is some Asiatic leopard cat DNA in there somewhere and it affects character. But at F5 (five generations from the wild) it is quite minor. Ben thinks otherwise and he has first-hand experience both personally and from other vet colleagues.
To be fair on the breed he is assessing character in a stressful environment. This will bring on aggression. That said he is comparing the Bengal cat behaviour with the behaviour of other cats mainly non-purebred, and he thinks the Bengal tends to be more aggressive than the others. That, I think, is the point he is making.
He rejects the Persian because of their inherited health problems. This is undeniable. It is well known. The Persian has lost some of its popularity over the years as people have become more switched on to cat health. It is a breed that reigned supreme among the CFA breeds for donkey’s years, but their popularity is waning although it remains in the top 3.
Ben is against this breed because the genetic mutation which produces the folded ears can affect other parts of the body. The ears fold because the cartilage lacks its usual stiffness. The Germans call the creation of this cat breed and the Persian ‘torture breeding’. That does not need explaining. It kind of sums up the problem with these breeds.
I wonder if Taylor Swift regrets adopting her Scottish Fold? I think she made a mistake buying a Fold because she is iconic and an influencer. Celebs have a responsibility to encourage legends of followers to do the right thing.
Ben just prefers cuddly cat coats which is the simple reason why he rejects the Sphynx. That said the feel of the Sphynx is different but nice. They are warm because they lack the insulation of a coat. They lose body heat more rapidly than conventional domestic cats. Notably Ben does not criticise the breeding of this cat with a defect. Fair enough. The Sphynx has many fans because of their intelligence and endearing character. You just have to do more maintenance because the coat picks up dirt due to its oiliness. And their ears become dirtier than normal because there is no ear hair to protect the ear canal.
I have mentioned a couple of problems. There are others such as not being allowed to go outside in the sun except for a short time to avoid sunburn. People should be aware of these drawbacks. Appearance is not the only criteria for selection.
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