International Cat Care is delighted to hear that the Flemish part of Belgium has ruled to ban the breeding of Scottish Fold cats.
As a charity we have already taken a stand and said these cats should not be bred -we have known since the 1970s that breeding Scottish Fold cats is ethically indefensible.
The Scottish Fold’s ear-shape is due to abnormal ear cartilage which is not rigid enough to support the ears in an upright position. The gene that causes the cartilage problem in the ears also results in defective cartilage in joints, and abnormal bone development elsewhere in the body (known as osteochondrodysplasia). The result of this is crippling arthritis. This has been confirmed by a number of scientific studies and, depressingly, Scottish Folds develop this painful condition so reliably that they are even used as a model for research on human arthritis.
Cats with two copies of the gene causing osteochondrodysplasia develop arthritis at a very early age, with lesions and bone abnormalities evident from just 7 weeks of age. Some cats develop a severely deformed skeleton, including short, wide limbs and a short, inflexible tail. Those with only one copy of the gene have arthritis that progresses more slowly, but still from as young as 6 months. As a result of the arthritis, these cats will have trouble jumping, and even moving. Every-day life will be painful for Scottish Folds. All this suffering occurs because we humans continue to breed them, because we like the way they look.
Shortly after the breed was introduced in the 1970s, The Governing Council of the Cat Fancy in the UK removed it from its list of recognised breeds because of the deformity and suffering evident in the cats. Likewise, the Fédération Internationale Féline, an international cat fancy society, has banned the breed. However, banning the registration of the breed by such organisations does not mean that people are not breeding them. Scottish Folds continue to be bred in most countries
Many people will not realise the severe health problems endured by Scottish Folds, and just how miserable life can be for them, which is why International Cat Care is working hard to raise awareness, and urging cat lovers not to purchase this breed. By decreasing the demand for Scottish Folds, the aim is to reduce the number bred, as a starting point. Even if you own a Scottish Fold cat and believe that it is in good health, the facts are undeniable: all Scottish Folds go on to develop arthritis of varying degrees. Please join iCatCare in spreading the message that these cats are suffering, because of continued defence of, and support for this breed. It is important to remember that cats are very good at hiding their pain and so can ‘suffer in silence’ for their entire lives. However, the evidence from scientific studies and veterinary experts is undeniable: many if not most cats of these breeds are indeed suffering.
How you can help
International Cat is encouraging owners and breeders to become ambassadors for feline welfare by speaking out against detrimental breeding. As cat lovers, we need to press for responsible buying and responsible breeding, and urge people not to buy or breed these breeds with poor health and welfare. A cat’s welfare should be the most important consideration when breeding and buying cats, not its looks. Please help us to spread the message and put an end to this suffering.