A cat with a longish coat with darker colouring to points with blue eyes and white feet.
Health and welfare issues
Some young Birman cats show evidence of impaired kidney function on blood tests – the significance is not certain but some may go on to develop kidney disease.
Polycystic kidney disease (PKD) has also been reported in the breed.
Recently, an autosomal recessive inherited congenital syndrome of hypotrichosis (lack of hair) and short life-span (kittens typically dying by 8 months of age) has been identified as a deletion of the FOXN1 gene in the breed, and a genetic test is available. It has been estimated that over 3% of Birman cats in France may be carriers.
We have limited the information about inherited disorders to those conditions that are known and proven to exist within a breed. For many breeders and many conditions, insufficient information may be available at this time to know whether any particular breed is necessarily free of any particular condition.
In general, pedigree breeds use a much smaller gene pool for breeding than domestic cats and therefore have a higher risk of developing inherited disorders. In addition, a number of ‘newer’ pedigree breeds are derived from matings between one or more ‘older’ breeds, and in these situations perpetuation of inherited problems that were seen in older breeds is likely within the newer breeds.
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