Sunday 1 April 2012

Criticising The Cat Fanciers' Association

The Cat Fanciers' Association needs to be criticised. I don't want to do it. In the interests of Persian cats in the USA and elsewhere I will do it on this page. I am speaking on behalf of the contemporary Persian purebred cat with the brachycephalic short head.

Other cat breeds that follow the CFA breed standard that requires a cat that suffers from flat head syndrome, brachycephaly, are the shorthaired Persian known as the Exotic Shorthair and the pointed Persian, called the Himalayan. The Burmese in American also has head shape problems that can affect health in a serious manner.

The breed characteristics or phenotype of the contemporary Persian, Exotic SH and Himalayan demand a brachycephalia short head that is big and round with a short, broad nose. The elements of the face should be in vertical alignment. I'll quote the CFA breed standard just so you know exactly what I mean:

"HEAD: round and massive, with great breadth of skull. Round face with round underlying bone structure.....When viewed in profile, the prominence of the eyes is apparent and the forehead, nose, and chin appear to be in vertical alignment."

In the most extreme cases the "upper part of the nasal plate is higher than the level of the lower eye-lids" (The Welfare of Cats, edited by Irene Rochlitz ISBN  978-1-4020-6143-1).

I discuss the health and subsequent welfare problems associated with this breed standard on this page: Persian Cat Health Problems.

The CFA breed standard for these cats is almost an act of criminal conspiracy to cause animal cruelty. I am a bit surprised that no none has considered prosecuting the esteemed Cat Fanciers' Association under animal welfare laws.

Also, as I understand it, the overall, underlying CFA breed standard insists that breeding should not produce unhealthy cats. This is in conflict with the breed standards of these three cats. In defence the CFA say that "it is possible to breed a beautiful Persian with a very short nose that breathes and tears normally".

I like the phrase, "it is possible". It is possible to fly to the moon but very few people have achieved it. The same applies to the creation of a totally healthy ultra type Persian cat.

Recommendations: (a) change the breed standard but do it over time so that there is a gradual shift back to normal characteristics without the CFA losing face (b) show cats that are over bred should be excluded from cat shows (c) cat show judges should be advised to make subtle changes to their judging criteria to start a shift away from the success of extreme bred cats (d) unhealthy cats should be penalized or excluded from cat shows (e) medical examinations should take place at cat shows and breeders given due notice. The notice period should be generous to allow change.

See: 19 Years of Persian Cat Experience - this neither supports of goes against what I have said.

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