Sunday 25 May 2014

Egyptian Mau Outcrossed To Feral Middle Eastern Cats

We are told by the secretary to a Cat Fanciers' Association sanctioned show (Golden Triangle Cat Fanciers all breed cat show) in Canada that the Egyptian Mau cat was so rare 20 years ago that problems developed in the breed because the gene pool was too narrow.

What the person is referring to, I believe, is that if the foundation cats are few and all future cats of the same breed are bred from these few foundation cats you can get inbreeding and with inbreeding you can get health problems because recessive genes that have health consequences come to the fore. The Bengal cat has few foundation cats causing health problems in the breed such as HCM and Bengal Nose (I would argue that but many will disagree with me).
Egyptian Mau at a cat show  - not the cat show referred to in this post.

When inbreeding becomes a problem breeders have to outcross to a totally fresh cat or cats that are not part of the breeding lines to introduce fresh genes into the breeding programmes. These cats are carefully selected. I suppose it must make the concept of "pedigree" somewhat redundant even though the offspring are no doubt referred to as pedigree cats.

In this case, the lady in question, show secretary Nancy Grandison, tells us that the solution to the narrow gene pool with respect to this popular cat breed, was to find a healthy population of feral cats in the Middle East - I hope she means in Egypt where there are many feral Egyptian Mau cats - and to import some of these cats back into the country and use them as breeding cats.

Photo by April Spreeman.

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