Tuesday 12 February 2008

Bengal Cats and HCM

There may be a growing problem with Bengal Cats and the disease HCM. HCM is a heart disease that kills. I have already discussed this topic once. This is an update.

This is obviously a potentially very serious situation. As it stands (at 12-2-08) Bengal cat breeders don't know enough about the prevalence of this disease. Not all Bengal cat breeders (or cat breeders of other breeds) test for the disease. In those cases they may, unknowingly, be selling cats with the disease. It would also mean that they are breeding more cats with the disease and thereby propagating the disease.

It is only natural that cat breeders will be reluctant to tell others (including other breeders) that their cats have been tested as HCM positive. Such a statement could severely damage their cattery business and livelihood. But, surely the only responsible thing to do in the long term is to test and tell?

In doing the right thing, there will be great long term gains. Burying the problem will produce short term gain and long term ruination of the business.

An interesting point is that Bengal cat breeders buy quality breeding cats from fellow breeders. In doing so, if they insist on HCM test results for the cat being bought (and her parents - perhaps going back further) that would put a certain rigour into the breeding programme. Indeed a responsible breeder would, I would have thought, insist on such a test certificate.

The test should be carried out regularly, obviously (perhaps every 6 months or a year). This a further financial burden for cat breeders who don't get rich in the cat breeding business. Lots of breeders are hobby breeders with one litter at a time, which is probably best anyway for the cats and customers. The expense may cause resistance to test.

Failure to deal with HCM rigorously and at a high moral level would ultimately damage the Bengal Cat breed as it would become associated with HCM a nasty heart disease that kills.

As the disease is inherited it can potentially be controlled by creating breeding lines that are free of it.

Bengal cats, that were due to be sold to a customer and who have been tested and found to have HCM are going to be a burden to the cattery. They will be lovely cats as good as the bext cat, but financially untenable for the breeder. This means the breeder looking after the cat until she/he dies naturally of the disease. Or would the breeder euthanize the cat on financial grounds? You can see how bad this disease is for cats and humans unless dealt with properly. Bengal Cats and HCM needs to be dealt with openly.

There are more posts (11) on this subject, which can be seen here.

Photograph copyright & by G!Z
I selected this photo as the problem is bigger than a bout cat breeding and I didn't want to put a photo of a cat on this page to avoid an association that was unfair.

From Bengal Cats and HCM to Cat Facts

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