Domestic cats and dogs may have to be vaccinated in the future against Covid-19 to protect people

This is a quick note but one worth making nonetheless. I think I can predict that in the long term, perhaps in about 18 months to 2 years time, governments in various countries, perhaps predominantly in the West, will be thinking about vaccinating companion animals as a second phase protective measure against Covid-19.  This is because there is a concern amongst some scientists that animals may create a reservoir for mutant variants of the Covid-19 virus. As the virus is zoonotic it can theoretically and actually be transmitted from animals to people and this must apply also to companion animals. Danish mink farmer with white mink due to be euthanised. Photo per credit Perhaps because of the general panicked nature of governmental responses to the coronavirus pandemic, not enough work has been done on this aspect of the spread of the disease. In addition nobody wants to alarm anybody which may lead to companion animal abuse. In fact, in China, at the outset of the pandemic, there were

Dwelf cat

Dwelf cat
Dwelf cat - copyright the artist Belinda Woodruff.

This cat is one of the Dwarf cats. All are founded on the Munchkin, the best known of the dwarf cat family. The Dwelf cat is a hybrid cat, a cross between the Sphynx, the Munchkin and the Highlander or the American Curl.

Dwelf kittens photo by and from Nancy Raber of Lecrislin Cattery

The Sphynx is an intelligent cat and a cat that may look a bit strange to people outside the cat fancy but this a great cat in fact (see a post on intelligent cat breeds). The Munchkin is a solid looking cat. Both the American Curl and Highlander have curled ears.

Elf cat
This is an Elf cat not  a Dwelf

(The result is a cat that looks like the Elf cat illustrated above. I had used this picture before Nancy provided me with the Dwelf kittens picture above. The picture immediately above is of an Elf cat, a kitten in fact, which gives some idea what a Dwelf cat would look like if a photograph were available. His name is Kessler. The Photo of Kessler is©copyright Kristen Leedom. See this interesting cat at and at and you can contact the creators of this breed from the websites.)

The Dwelf cat is a hairless cat with short legs and curled ears. A very similar cat is the Elf cat. The Elf is also a hybrid cat. A cross between the Sphynx and the American Curl. The difference then is the length of the legs.

The only difference in name is the predix dw, being short for "dwarf".

OK, you can read about some genetics on the dwarf cats on this page: dwarf cat genetics. And although dwarf cats are generally healthy, there are some health issues connected to the genetics (such health issues are not restricted to dwarf cats - see genetic diseases in purebred cats).

As this cat carries three mutated genes that produce dwarfism, curled ears and hairlessness, what about the other two genes, the curled ear gene and the hairless gene? Well according to Robinson's Genetics for Cat Breeders & Veterinarians there are no "reported anomalies" associated with the gene that produces curled ears in the homozygous form. This page says a bit more about curled ears: American Curl kittens.

As the hairless gene this I believe is known to be benign (i.e. no associated anomalies).

So the only associated health issues for the Dwelf cat accompany the dwarfism (see above) it seems therefore. The Dwelf cat is still work in progress and can be registered with the Dwarf Cat Association. This breed is also recognized as an experimental cat breed by TICA we are told.


However, in the TICA 2006 Genetics Committee semi annual meeting the recognition of the Dwelf cat was discussed. Interestingly it was stated that the applicant (author) to TICA had already registered one Dwelf cat. The committee were unclear as to how this had happened.

It would seem that one concern was that the Dwelf's appearance due to a combination of 2 genes that affected the cartilage. The Dwarfism gene affects the growth of the tissue (hyaline cartilage) in the long bones (the legs) while the gene that changed the shape of the ear flaps affected the elastic cartilage of the ears. These are different but they grow from the same embryonic stem cells. How would these two genetic mutations interact?

Secondly, there was concern about the proliferation of breeds (my interpretation). There was a proposal to recognize the Minskin another dwarf cat and the Dwelf was a curled eared Minskin. The committee felt that they were being asked to accept a breed that had as part of its make up another unrecognized breed.

In a comment that is enlightening to outsiders to the cat fancy, the committee proposed that TICA does not recognize new cat breeds that do not show new mutations. The objective is/was to stop the proliferation of breeds such as rexed cats and polydactyl cat breeds. The Dwelf cat does not have a novel mutation. That would seem to be the end of recognition of the Dwelf cat. I don't know what happened about the Dwelf cat that was registered.

Dwelf cat to dwarf cats and miniature cats.


There's a standard adult male Dwelf at HoBBiTcaTs Cattery now. :-)
Michael Broad said…
A belated thank you for commenting, Nina.

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