Categories: hydrocephalus

Picture of cute bat cat. Ethical?

Right away I must say that this cat is exploited. Lucy is called The Bat Cat by her owner and she has 25k followers on Instagram. She is another one in a long line of online cat celebrities because of her strange appearance. The picture that I have created is a screenshot from a video.

Weird hairless cat suffers from hydrocephalus and is exploited. Screenshot from video on Instagram.

Lucy is a Sphynx cat which is not that unusual but sadly she suffers from a rare condition for cats called hydrocephalus. Apparently spinal fluid accumulates on the brain. Her owner Zilla Bergamini, 44, says that she was born with the condition and that it put pressure on her brain when she was a kitten. She is also called the ‘Hydrocefalus Nude Kitten’ by Zilla.

However, Zilla says that her life is ‘basically normal’ at present. She is very small. It is not clear to Zilla if she can breed from her. She has come into heat so she is not spayed.

Comment: I realise that I am going to badly upset Zilla by criticising her but I have no choice if I have a conscience. If hydrocephalus is an inherited disease why is Zilla thinking of breeding offspring from Lucy? Have I missed something? In humans the disease can run in families. Online research indicates that the gene that causes it is autosomal dominant with variable penetrance (BMJ Joirnals in reference to humans getting it). Therefore common sense says that Lucy should be spayed as soon as possible but perhaps it is just me who thinks this?

I hate being critical but I am compelled to make another point. Her owner calls her ‘Hydrocefalus Nude Kitten’ as mentioned. This is exploiting a serious medical condition combined with a second inherited condition: hairlessness. You would not do this if a person had these conditions. It is like the old Victorian freak shows of old when people where entertained by people suffering from rare conditions which made them appear very unusual. It is cheap voyeurism. I thought we had progressed from those days.

Link to Lucy’s Instagram pages. Links to outside websites can break. If it has happened, I am sorry.


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Michael Broad

Hi, I'm a 71-year-old retired solicitor (attorney in the US). Before qualifying I worked in many jobs including professional photography. I have a girlfriend, Michelle. I love nature, cats and all animals. I am concerned about their welfare.

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  • I'm with you Michael. It’s bad enough to be amused about this poor girl, but inviting others to be and considering breeding her is unconscionable.

    • Thanks Albert. I wrote this as I read about it and discovered the bad news. I did not start with the intention of criticising her but had to.

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