Why Taylor Swift kittens are banned in our country: “They live in constant pain from birth” | Domestic

A cat breeder from Dilbeek has lost his license because he bred Scottish fold-eared cats, which are banned in our country. The breed is on the rise thanks to stars such as Taylor Swift, who show off it on social media. Bringing such an animal into your home is a bad idea, says veterinarian Louise Mollaert at ‘De Morgen’. “Scottish Fold cats live in constant pain.”

What’s the problem with fold-eared cats?

“The folded ears they are known for are not just an external feature, but the result of a genetic defect that leads to cartilage damage. This cartilage problem not only occurs in the ears of these animals, but also in the joints, which become completely deformed. This means that fold-eared cats live in constant pain from birth.”

What do you notice about that as an owner?

“Often those pain signals are very subtle, and that is part of the problem. But for example, you will never see a Fold-eared cat sprinting through the house at full speed or jumping to the highest platform of a scratching post. Simply because those animals can’t do that.

Taylor Swift and her almost equally famous cat Olivia Benson. © Photo by Angela Weiss/AFP/Instagram Taylor Swift @taylorswift

“Cynically, this is often sold as an advantage by breeders of those cats. Fold-eared cats are a lot calmer than their peers and will not jump on the table or countertop, for example. Because they are physically unable to do so.”

What can people who have a fold-eared cat at home do to ease their pet’s suffering?

“The most important thing is that they learn to recognize their animal’s pain signals. Then it is a matter of limiting the pain as much as possible through medication. And it is of course very important that these animals are sterilized or neutered, so that more fold-eared cats do not appear.”

To what does the breed owe its popularity, despite the ban on breeding?

“The problem is that breeding and trading them is not prohibited in all countries. That makes it difficult to enforce such a ban. It doesn’t help that they pop up on the social media of someone like Taylor Swift. And of course they look cute.

“British research a few years ago into the popularity of certain dog and cat breeds showed that people are particularly attracted to animals with a round face, large eyes and a flat snout. Like fold-eared cats. But the British Shorthair or dog breeds such as the bulldog or the pug also look like this. “The explanation for this is that the combination of those three characteristics makes an animal’s face resemble that of a baby. However, the same combination often leads to medical problems, meaning that those breeds require more care than others.

The French bulldog (left) and the pug (right).
The French bulldog (left) and the pug (right). © Shutterstock

“Strangely enough, that need for care also appears to be part of the attraction. People like having an animal that they really have to take care of.”

Should all breeds with those specific characteristics be banned?

“I certainly won’t be advocating a ban on British Shorthair cats or pugs. But we must stop striving for shorter snouts in these breeds, just because it makes those animals cuter. We now know that the short snout causes all kinds of breathing problems.

“Growers should therefore do just the opposite. It is perfectly possible to continue breeding within those breeds only with specimens with a slightly longer snout.

“As humans, we have been very successful in molding animals to our wishes. However, we have lost sight of the importance of the animal. More and more people are becoming aware of this, and a change has been initiated. But we should not expect this problem to be solved in a few years. It will be a long-term process.”

WATCH ALSO. The Netherlands decided last year to ban dogs with a flat snout. Veterinarians in our country then urged the government to restrict extensive animal breeding in our country as well