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Vets and animal welfare organizations are launching the ‘campaign’ this weekDo not buy a cat with a short nose‘. They do this to draw attention to the health problems of these animals. Because of their flat nose, cats with short snouts suffer from all kinds of serious health problems and complications.
Often owners do not realize this properly, because they are not aware of the problems. The cats themselves don’t show much of it.
A good example isn’t always set at cat shows either, because cats with short snouts still regularly win prizes.
Problems occur mainly with certain breeds of cats
The most famous cat breed with a short snout is the Persian cat. But other breeds such as the Exotic, British Shorthair, British Longhair, and Selkirk Rex also suffer to a greater or lesser extent from a very short nose and skull.
The most extreme is the Peke Face Press. Short-snouted cats have a much shorter skull than the average European domestic cat. Their heads are also flatter. According to Marianne van Hagen, veterinary animal care specialist at Utrecht University’s Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, there is therefore not enough space, for example, for respiratory parts, eyes and teeth.
This can cause spontaneous eye inflammation, tear duct blockage, leading to infections and tooth infections.
Cats show few signs of pain or discomfort
Cat owners are often unaware of the health problems associated with breeds with short snouts, and according to experts, they are not always aware that their cat has health problems.
If cats have difficulty breathing, they are less active and sleep more. When they suffer from painful problems with their teeth, they swallow their food in one go. For owners who don’t pay attention, cats’ suffering often remains hidden in this way.
Cat shows don’t pay much attention to it
Cat shows also seem to pay little attention to the health problems of short snouts.
CASA visited a Mundikat Association show in Värsefeld last month. Persians with short and exotic snouts have won awards in various subcategories. Based on snapshots of the winners, Dier & Recht’s Marjan van Hagen and Kelly Kissen report that these cats have extreme appearance characteristics that may cause them to suffer.
In response to Casa, the owners say that their cats are healthy.
Mundikat President Marcel Frank said that a lot has improved since 2000. Breeders will take all kinds of measures, and the breed standard of the International Federation FIFe includes more stringent requirements to protect the health of short-muzzled cats.
However, it is frustrating for breeders that there are no clear government guidelines in the Netherlands regarding what cats must meet. According to the legislation, animals cannot be bred if this could have harmful consequences for the offspring. But it is not specified how long a cat’s nose should be allowed to reproduce, for example.
According to the Mundikat president, breeders are at the mercy of the NVWA. While breeders who are members of the Cat Association must meet all kinds of conditions, this does not apply to many breeders who sell kittens via online platforms. According to Frank, the problems with these cats are much greater.
Guidelines are being tightened, but when?
The NVWA and the Department of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality said in their response that clearer guidelines for breeders of cats and other animals are being worked on. But it is unclear when they will arrive.
European Veterinarians (FECAVA), vets from the Royal Netherlands Veterinary Society, veterinarians and animal welfare organizations Dier&Recht, DierenLot, Hondenbescherming and Sophia-Vereeniging will start the campaign this week.Do not buy a cat with a short noseTo attract the attention of potential buyers to health problems.
For this report, we contacted both the Dutch Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority (NVWA) and the Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality (LNV). You can read both responses via the links below.
Dutch Food Safety Authority
Read the Dutch Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority’s response here (.pdf)
Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality
Read the Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality’s response here (.pdf)
Casa has previously been interested in the health problems suffered by short-snouted animals. Watch the report below and Read the text of the linked file for more information.