We tend to like pets that look like babies and some breed standards go for that look: round heads and big eyes. Do all breeders understand the consequences of their actions? I am not against dog and cat breeders. I am against people who hurt animals or create animals that hurt. There are several examples. I’ll mention a few here.

The King Charles spaniel is bred for a compact head. The American Burmese is bred for a rounded head. The Persian is breed for a flat face stuck on to a rounded head.

Using MRI scans, scientists have discovered that the brains of King Charles spaniels are squashed into an undersized skull. Brains need to float in fluid to reduce pressure. As the heart beats or a dog is active the brain gets bigger because of increased blood. As there is insufficient room for the brain to expand it is believed that an estimated 15% (at a minimum) of these dogs spend their whole lives in terrible pain. Signs are lethargy, unwillingness to run and jump and quietness (withdrawn). I find the thought of that very distressing Not only is the brain squashed it is deformed.

American Burmese cats can suffer from a condition called Feline Orofacial Pain Syndrome (FOPS). The cat suffers from acute pain in the mouth and face to the point where the cat self-mutilates. This is thought to be inherited. The breeders should know by now what causes it. The American Burmese has other health problems one of which is also to do with the brain. It is called “Burmese Head”. Mercifully the kittens usually die at birth.

On a lesser scale, how much discomfort do Persians suffer from all their lives due to poor breathing caused by a deformed nose? Or the high incidence of PKD (a kidney disease). How much pain does kidney disease cause? I don’t know.

Do breeders ignore the possible consequences of their actions? Are they too involved in creating what they consider to be an interesting looking dog or cat that meets those strange breed standards?

How do the scientists know that these animals feel pain? Well, it is not easy to diagnose. However, there is a similar human condition called Chiari malformation. People who have it describe the highest levels of pain (10/10).

Adjusting breed standards to a more normal appearance is long overdue. That is a minimum requirement. Some would say it is time to stop breeding cats and dogs altogether.

The cat associations annoy me. In some breeds they promote ill-health. This can never be justified. What is very disturbing for me is knowing that right now in the world there are many purebred companion animals in pain because of breeding methods.

Never give pain killers to cats and dogs without veterinary supervision.

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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 didn't realise about the King Charles spaniel how sad :( every one I have ever met has been waggy tailed and happy thank goodness. They normally have lovely personalities.
    I simply couldn't have an animal if I knew their breeding was causing them pain :(

  • Like most other POCers I like a cat to look like a cat! And a healthy normal cat at that, there is nothing more beautiful than a cat's face looking lovingly into your eyes, you can't improve on perfection and I may be biased but I think our two boys, who look very much like the DSH moggies that they proudly are, are pretty damn perfect.

    • All genuine cat lovers like cats to look like cats. It is common sense. We like the cat appearance not the appearance of something else that is man-made.

      • You are so right Michael, man-made can never equal or beat Nature-made and people shouldn't try to do that!
        Cats are perfect as they come.

  • its just so wrong to have a cat that looks like a baby. I mean they are family but they are animals after all

    • Exactly Kylee, they are family but they are cats, they like being cats, they don't want to be babies and worse still are the people who get a cat until the 'real' baby comes along and then that poor cat is either 'got rid of' or shoved into second pace.

    • LOL, yes. A lot (or some) people have cats as baby substitutes. I can't be critical because it is human nature but I don't like it when breeders pander to that desire.

  • It's a shame breeding pets to look like babies, encouraging deformities and people wanting to dress them in baby clothes etc.
    We have a King Charles lives opposite, she's everybody's friend, seems happy and healthy but a little bit daft lol she's terrified of cats!

      • She's called Rosie and we laughed the first time she came face to face with Jozef she waggled her bum and wagged her tail all submissive as he just stared her out, then she turned and ran lol

        • Walt and Jo are real characters aren't they. I can't wait for mine to grow more into their characters - Lilly has really a great character being a bit older and all. I just need to wake up Gigi. Molly is like Red, so similar it's uncanny. I am so happy she is his little sister, it means alot to me.

          Lilly runs TO dogs when she sees them, she runs to people too. She like the action. Red was just aloof and busy all the time outside when not playing with me. I think the Gigi and Molly have a ways to go yet before their characters really settle in. But I can't see either of them running up to dogs lol.

          Yes I have seen dogs who are a little terrorized by cats in a home because the cats can go everywhere and on the bed and eat food on the counter while the dog is stuck down low. But some dogs are quite on equal footing with cats which is nice. I'm glad Rosie didn't just run at him instead. She sounds like a nice not too huge dog :)

  • Me too - I prefer moggies - not cats that look like babies.

    I’ll be honest here though - Gigi was a crazy crazy kitten and after her operation she slowed right down and it was very sad to lose the kitten that was her. If she seemed a bit more active now I might not feel the loss.

    • You're referring to the spaying operation, I believe. The experts play down the change in behavior (laziness) but I wonder about it myself. Everyone advocates neutering cats for health and overpopulation reasons but why can't we recommend it for people for the same reasons?

      I am like you. I prefer moggies because I like cats to look like cats. Some breeds are normal thankfully.

    • Poor Gigi, that makes me worried about spaying kittens too young in America, taking their kittenhood away from them too soon, but you didn't have her spayed so young if I remember rightly.
      Our vets wait until they are at least 5 months old.
      Having said that though, our boyz are 12 and sometimes as crazy as ever, Jozef has been going around with a ball this morning making me laugh as we played 'goal'

      • Sounds like fun - Lilly loves to play football, and Gigi loved it too before. Gigi was spayed at around 6 months I think. Certainly not particularly early.

        I think maybe even it's better early because they get over it quick and carry on actively growing up. Leaving it til later I think it hits them harder and can make for a big change.

        I'm really sad about it. I am not sure she is depressed anymore because for the last 2 months I have been super active every evening and on the weekends - if she wants to interact I always oblige. She seems in an ok mood - seemingly less down and more playful than before. I hope she gets better though.

        • The younger the kitten the more risk of complications from the anaesthetic I think, but that's only my opinion of course and my knowledge about what drugs are used now is well out of date lol
          But I'd never have any kittens neutered so young.
          Do you think it's just Gigi's nature to be quieter than other cats? You'd know if she wasn't feeling well, she seems happy when you are around.

          • I don't know but good question. She was just so tenacious and crazy as a kittne - far more so than other kittens - ironically Molly was still scared back then so to see such a contrast is worrying. Now Molly is normal and playful and Gigi is always sleeping atop the cat jungle or quietly doing things. She used to talk alot more to me. Lately with the exatra efforts she gets in a fun mood when I get home from work, and she stalks the other two from behind the row of plants I made for them. She even gives chase but lets just say she is capable - very much so - but she can't be bothered. It's clearly a motivational thing in my mind.

  • i like cats to just look how they are im not a fan of pedgree ones although i love the look of them esp main coon. I prefer domestic cats.

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