Sunday 20 April 2008

Bobtail Cats

There are a number of bobtail cats, cats with very short tails or indeed without tails at all. A good example of the former is the American Bobtail or the Pixiebob and the latter the Manx or the Kurilian Bobtail.

We know that human nature drives us to ever develop and explore things, to try and make things better. This applies often to areas such medical research or scientific discoveries. Sometimes we tend to go too far in a particular direction. In other words we are not sure when to stop. The reason for the drive is either commercial reasons and/or shear inquisitiveness, the need to improve and to know. This drive is valuable - most often but it can work against us and against other species on the planet.

Cat breeding has developed a lot it seems over the last 30 years or so. There seems to be a constant desire to create new breeds. Bearing in mind the above this is to be expected. The cat associations or at least some of them control this by disagreeing to register new breeds that are "created" these days by hybridization, taking two existing cat breeds and mating cats from those breeds to form a new cat breed.

I think that it is wise of the CFA for example to put a restraint on this form of development of cat breeds. The CFA disagree with wildcat/domestic cat hybrids. These are popular cats but there are some people who disagree with the direction cat breeders seem to be going in by producing "exotic" cats.

Bobtail cats are another slightly contentious area as the bobtail or lack of a tail is caused by a genetic mutation. The mutated gene that causes the short tail can also cause other "defects". In the Manx is causes "Manx Syndrome", which is a shortening of the spine.

It troubles me a bit then when cat breeders of dwarf cats (another genetic mutation with some potentially secondary problems) consider producing a dwarf cat (the Munchkin, the founding dwarf cat) with a bobtail. In this instance we would be combining two cats with genetic mutations each of which some people would consider detrimental

OK - such a cat would look very cute. But in the interests of cat welfare I believe that the majority of cat lovers and cat fanciers would disagree with such a breeding program as a step too far.

Photo: This cat appears to be a Bobtailed Siamese cat possibly the offspring of a natural mating between a bobtailed cat and a Siamese or simply the emergence of a recessive genetic mutation causing the shortened tail. Photo is copyright KaCey97007 . Siamese do have a kinked tail (very faint). Is this an extension of that "defect"?

Bobtail Cats to Manx Cat

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