We know it and now scientists have confirmed it: snub-nosed cats (heavily shortened muzzles) are vulnerable to breathing problems. Cat purchasers should be very clear on this.
Scientists at the University of Edinburgh conducted a questionnaire survey involving 1000 cat owners in which they reported that their cats with flat faces – the contemporary Persian and Exotic Shorthair being the two iconic breeds with this abnormality – have breathing difficulties particularly after exercise and while asleep. They report that their flat faced cats make abnormal breathing sounds.
The scientists impliedly criticise the cat associations for setting breed standards which promote breathing problems in the Persian and Exotic SH. Other breeds such as the British SH and Himalayan can also have flattish faces
They write in their conclusion:
“Attention should be paid to breed standards which promote increased brachycephalia in cats which has the potential to negatively impact upon their welfare, and potential buyers of brachycephalic cat breeds should be made aware of the risks of their conformation.”
Note: brachycephalia means rounded heads which also means, in cats, flat faces.
For the Cat Fanciers’ Association to promote through their breed standard flat faced cats with breathing problems goes against what they state on their website.
For example they say:
No other organization does more for the health and welfare of cats than The Cat Fanciers’ Association….(this can’t be true…)
…our dedication to present the most beautiful cats in the world to the public, and our quest to constantly do the “right thing” – (neither can this be true because encouraging the breeding of cats with “built in” health issues is not doing the right thing and is unethical).
I think, too, that you will find that the CFA has an overall objective which requires that cat breeders affiliated to them produce healthy cats. The breeders can’t do this and win cat show competitions because the breed standards by which judges gauge a cat’s quality dictate that they breed Persians and Exotic SHs with breathing problems.
Read the study report if you like here.
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