Home » Why the ‘Taylor Swift’ cat is banned in Flanders: “They are in pain from the beginning to the end of their lives”

Why the ‘Taylor Swift’ cat is banned in Flanders: “They are in pain from the beginning to the end of their lives”

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Scottish Folds cats, like Taylor Swift’s two, are banned in Flanders. — © Tom Palmaers – EPA EFE

A cat nursery in Dilbeek has been banned from breeding because it bred Scottish Folds. These are cuddly kittens with folded ears, but they are prohibited in Flanders. “They are in pain from the beginning to the end of their lives.”

Monday, February 19, 2024 at 8:02 PM

Meredith Grey, Olivia Benson and Benjamin Button: that’s the name of the three cats Taylor Swift has. Two of the animals – Meredith and Olivia – are so-called ‘Scottish Folds’. Extremely cuddly kittens with folded ears. However: the breed is prohibited in Flanders.

A grower from Dilbeek experienced this. He had his license revoked because he was still breeding Scottish Fold cats. In addition, the person traded kittens younger than 12 weeks, some animals were sick and far from all the cats’ chips were registered correctly.

The breed has been on the banned list since 2021. “With good reason,” says Nadine Buyts, professor of pet genetics (KU Leuven). “These fall ears arise as a result of a genetic abnormality of the cartilage and bones of the animals.”

This abnormality not only translates into folded ears, but also into joint pain. “That leaves them in pain for a lifetime. Moreover, the deviation is ‘dominant’. This means that carriers of the gene develop the abnormality, so you cannot simply be a ‘carrier’. There is also a very good chance that they will pass it on to their offspring.”

For the time being, the Scottish Fold is the only breed on the Flemish blacklist. The professor currently sits on a scientific committee that, on behalf of Minister of Animal Welfare Ben Weyts (N-VA), is examining various dog and cat breeds to determine whether or not to expand the blacklist. Because for years there have been calls that many breeds should be on that list.

According to Professor Buys, many ‘problem varieties’ have become a problem due to the choices made by breeders. For example, the pug with an ultra-flat snout is a fairly recent ‘invention’, previously that breed had a more ‘normal’ looking snout and scent apparatus. “Or take the hip problems, now almost synonymous with ‘German Shepherds’, which is a result of breeders who bred for certain positions of the hips. We think it would be more useful to encourage breeders to loosen breed standards somewhat and to focus on genetic diversity to eradicate such disorders.”

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