Sunday 2 March 2008

Pedigree Cats with HCM

Pedigree cats with HCM should not be pedigree cats. A pedigree cat is one that can demonstrate a parentage of purebred cat that satisfies the cat association concerned. I other words she has a well documented history from father/mother and grandfather/mother etc. I don't live with a pedigree cat and my research proved fruitless but it seems to me that when you register your cat with an association you don't have to declare whether your cat has HCM, an inherited heart disease. Also, it seems that there is no requirement to test for HCM at regular intervals, which is important as it doesn't show up early on in the cats' life. Would it not be a good idea to make testing negative for HCM (meaning free of HCM) a prerequisite for registration and continuing registration of all cat registries/associations. This would force breeders to better control the spread of HCM, but privately. I say privately because a website that recorded the results of HCM testing for Bengal cats has been threatened with legal action unless an incorrect entry was removed. This website's register is open, a good thing in one sense obviously, but many breeders are too frightened to openly declare negative tests for fear of ruining their business. A private method would result in more testing it seems and a gradual eradication of this killer disease from the breeding lines. The end result would be less Pedigree Cats with HCM. Am I talking nonsense? If so please tell me. I have written this on a commonsense basis and I am not that familiar with the registration process. I think the cat associations have made things horribly complicated in so many areas. From Pedigree Cats with HCM to Cat Facts


  1. It's a nice plan, but not possible. HCM usually doesn't show up until a cat is middle aged. For breeding and showing purposes, a cat needs to be registered in kittenhood.
    Also, we want cats to be registered even if they're sick. The registration establishes the cat's pedigree. Scientists who study genetic diseases in cats need pedigrees to be able to conduct their research.
    I agree that all breeders should test their breeding cats. Because too many breeders refuse to do it unless they're forced, official organizations should require testing. But we still want them to have registration and pedigree information

  2. Thanks for this. I'm not sure if you'll see this post but would one way around the problems that you rightly brought up be to allow registration but not the showing of cats whose parents or grandparents have been tested positive with HCM?

    There has to be more control from the associations to make the breeding of cats more acceptable to the public. There are too many long standing genetically caused diseases that have taken hold to a large extent.

    I am thinking of the cats first and the cat fancy as well. It is for the long term good of both.

  3. i like you're thinking, but don't agree with this plan either. a very small percentage of pedigreed cats are actually shown. i don't think that prohibiting breeders from showing would be an effective method for getting them to test their cats.
    also, it's to the cats' benefits that ALL cats are registered. take this as an example. let's say i buy a cat from an unethical breeder who doesn't test for hcm. now imagine that one of my cat's siblings develops hcm years later. i don't know the people who own my cat's brother. the breeder doesn't notify me that my cat's close relative has hcm because the breeder is unethical anyway. but the owner of my cat's brother might post something on the internet about that cat getting hcm. because both our cats are registered, i can know that the hcm cat is closely related to mine. that might prompt me to take my cat to a vet and have it tested for hcm. without that family history information, i might never do that. most people don't test their cats for hcm unless there's a reason.
    i think a better way of forcing breeders to test is for the breed clubs to require hcm testing. breed clubs don't register cats. they have no control over registration or pedigrees. but breeders who want to sell cats belong to breed clubs. if a breeder doesn't belong to a breed club, there's probably a reason. it's much harder for breeders who aren't a member of their breed club to sell cats than it is for breeders who are members in good standing. to be a member of a breed club, a breeder has to agree to a code of ethics. it seems simple to me that requiring hcm testing should be part of every breed club's code of ethics. breeders who don't agree to test their cats can't belong to the breed club, and buyers will be warned to stay away from those breeders.
    also, hcm happens in every cat breed. there are other diseases that are prevalent in some breeds but not others. if each breed club develops specific rules based on their breed's specific needs, we might be able to wipe out even more diseases.
    at least this is what i would like to see happen.

  4. Thanks for your very useful and informative comments. We agree that there should be a structure in place which makes HCM testing and recording obligatory or as near as possible obligatory.

    This can only be done at a higher level than just by the breeders getting together and doing it voluntarily.


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