Cat with Down syndrome – human imagination or a real issue?
If you are an active user of Instagram and Facebook, you probably saw a photo with cute inscriptions where “cats with down syndrome” were shown. These cats in the names of Monty and Maya were so loved by many users and conquered the heart of the cat audience.
Monty is a cute pet who was taken from the cat shelter by a young couple from Denmark. He lived in the shelter for a long time and was not very different from other cats. Unless he had an unusual appearance, he didn’t have a bone that forms the shape of his nose. And when you look at Monty, you get the impression that he doesn’t have it at all and there is a huge space between his eyes.
But the cat so conquered the heart of the couple that they could not leave him in a cattery (they knew that he was unlikely to be adopted by anyone).
Monty began to go to the toilet anywhere, but not in his cat litter. The owners began to think that it would pass and he would adapt so much (marking his territory). But the situation got out of control and the owners began to think about giving the unusual pet to another family.
Fortunately, the guys decided to bring Monty to the vet to rule out the version that the cat’s behavior is a consequence of illness. But as it turned out, the veterinarian confirmed the fear of spouses and diagnosed them with Down syndrome in a cat.
It turned out that Monty is one of those Down syndrome cats that are rarely born. This story ended with the adoption and advice that helped the owners to treat Monty correctly and adjust his behavior in the house.
Let’s find out – can cats have Down syndrome really?
We know that Down’s syndrome is a disease, or rather a chromosomal abnormality, which is typical for the human species.
It is a rather common genetic mutation that is characterized by the appearance of an extra chromosome in 21 pairs (it is often called “trisomy 21”). Children with Down syndrome have an unusual appearance, which experts can determine in the mother’s womb using ultrasound diagnostics.
The short characteristic of a person with Down’s syndrome
- short stature;
- the flattened nose bridge and a mongoloid incision of the eyes (flat face type);
- short, wide limbs/one transverse and deep wrinkle in the palm of the hand (instead of the lines along which we look at our destiny);
- ears are not large and round;
- fingers short and curved inward;
- additional folds in the neck area.
Down syndrome is not only external characteristics and differences. Such people are often born with heart pathologies, they have reduced immunity and mental retardation (but not in all cases).
Everything has long been proven with people, what about cats?
In fact, as we said above, it is a “trisomy of 21 chromosome pairs”. Humans have 23 pairs of chromosomes and cats have only 19, so it is logical that feline Down syndrome is fiction and not a proven diagnosis.
We don’t mean that members of the cat family cannot have chromosomal abnormalities (extra chromosomes in their genetic code). Most likely, these diseases (gene mutations) have different names and are expressed in a different way.
But still – Can cats be born with Down syndrome?
No, they can’t. At least this is the opinion of most veterinarians around the world. They don’t accept the term “feline down syndrome” and believe that it can be offensive to people with this disease.
Most likely, people wanted to define or name Down syndrome cat symptoms that are similar to the external characteristics of people with the same syndrome:
- flat profile and wide nose;
- the shape or position of the eyes on their face;
- heart muscle problems;
- short limbs or difficulty in moving.
The so-called “kitten down syndrome” can be a manifestation of any other deviation. And it may not be of genetic origin.
Everything people call “feline down syndrome” can be the result of an injury or illness of a pregnant cat (here you can add problems during childbirth). Accordingly, her kittens will have certain defects or physical imperfections.
It’s great when people don’t leave such animals that have external flaws. As the experience of Monty and Maya shows, their appearance was more than attractive, otherwise how to explain the 200 thousand audiences and the army of subscribers on Instagram?
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