Herman is an Exotic Shorthair with what appears to be a classic, grey tabby coat who was born with exceptionally large eyes which makes him an “Internet Star”. What I’m saying is that once a cat is born with a physical anomaly which people find interesting and amusing then that cat can become an Internet star. Grumpy Cat is the paradigm example. Grumpy Cat is a dwarf cat with an anatomical defect with respect to her mouth and face resulting a grumpy appearance.
Herman’s outstanding feature is his eyes which gives a startled, bizarre appearance to be honest. I see the interest. I find it interesting myself. But personally I am squeamish about this sort of voyeurism. It is a sort of freak show, harking back to Victorian times when people with anatomical defects were employed by circuses or freak shows to entertain the public. It is not quite that bad in respect of Herman and Grumpy Cat but there is a similarity in the mentality of the people involved, both the owner and the spectator.
There’s no doubt in my mind that the reason why this cat has very large eyes is because of what I would describe as inappropriate cat breeding. The Exotic Shorthair is a short haired version of the contemporary Persian cat. The contemporary Persian and Exotic Shorthair have very flat faces. This is an extreme form of breeding. It is sometimes referred to as “ultra-breeding”.
Sometimes it can go wrong resulting in unforeseen anatomical defects such as an upper and lower jaw which are misaligned, for example. Most flat-faced Persians and Exotics have tear duct overflow and breathing issues. In this instance, for some peculiar reason, the eyes are oversized. In fact, they’re so oversized that Herman cannot blink properly. The eyelids do not cover his eyes even when sleeping. Will that cause health problems? Probably. The eyes will dry out won’t they?
Herman’s owner is 26-year-old Shirley. They live in Copenhagen, Denmark. Herman has thousands of followers on social media already. At the time of the photograph on this page he was five months of age.
Do you think I’m being too serious in gently chiding the breeder and criticising what I would consider to be the exploitation of a cat for the wrong reasons namely that he has a physical defect which does not enhance his health but which is amusing to people?