Surely you have heard the term “Down syndrome cats” lately. If you are a very active person on social networks, surely you have noticed that lately some cats with different physical characteristics than the rest of their kind have been appearing.
And if you have done some research, you must already know who these kittens are: Grumpy Cat, Monty, or Maya. Surely with some of these names, you have come across in your research and they have become famous on networks.
They became influencers precisely because of their physical differences, which they associated with Down syndrome.
You may have also learned that Grumpy Cat, an influencer cat who died not more than a year ago when she was only 7 years old, only suffered from dwarfism; and that Monty and Maya were only carriers of a different trait as they did not have a nasal bridge and their eyes were separated.
Both cases are genetic anomalies that have nothing to do with the Down syndrome that humans suffer from.
And if you do not know much about this, we invite you to continue reading this post, so you can learn a little about it. So you can find out if Down syndrome really occurs in cats.
Down syndrome in cats – Is it true?
We can say that Down syndrome in cats does not exist. But why is it not true? Well, Down syndrome is a genetic alteration that is only possible in humans and primates.
And this has a scientific explanation. It is that Down Syndrome is caused by a trisomy on a specific pair of chromosomes. See also Inflammation: Types, symptoms, causes, and treatment. See also Dog Allergies: Symptoms and Treatment | Most Common Food Allergies…
As we know, human beings have 23 pairs of chromosomes (46 chromosomes in total). Down syndrome occurs when there is a trisomy in the 21st pair, which means that there is an extra chromosome in the 21st pair.
On the other hand, cats have a totally different genetic distribution than humans.
Cats have only 19 pairs of chromosomes (i.e. 38 chromosomes in total), so it is impossible for them to suffer from this type of genetic alteration, Down Syndrome.
In simpler words, cats do not carry enough chromosomes in their genetics for a case of Down Syndrome to occur in them. Scientifically, it is not possible.
The truth about “cats with Down syndrome”.
While it is true that when a human suffers from Down Syndrome, they may experience certain delays in their growth. They may also have some specific physical characteristics by which it is possible to recognize them as carriers of a genetic alteration.
These people usually have wide-set, slanted eyes, a flat nose or short hands. That said, they are wonderful people, full of life and intelligence, who can do anything they set their minds to.
And because of these peculiar characteristics, there are many people who believe their cats have Down syndrome because of their physical appearance.
However, the fact that your cat presents these very similar characteristics does not mean that he suffers from this syndrome.
These particularities can appear in your cats for other very different reasons, for other pathologies. Pathologies such as inbreeding can cause in cats some physical and mental anomalies, or even influence the cat’s way of being.
Apart from inbreeding, there are other conditions or syndromes that can be diagnosed in cats. These can cause these characteristics in their appearance and behavior very similar to those caused by Down Syndrome. These are:
- Cerebral hypoplasia: this is a neurological condition that causes cats to be born with a poorly developed cerebellum, with an immature cerebellum.
- Klinefelter’s syndrome: this syndrome is caused by a genetic alteration where the male cat is born sterile because it has three sex chromosomes in its genetic material.
- Distal polyneuropathy: this condition causes in cats a decrease in reflexes and muscle tone or the total absence of these. producing weakness or paralysis in cats.
- Feline dysautonomia: feline dysautonomia is a condition capable of affecting the cat’s autonomic nervous system. This can cause disorders in the cat’s digestive system or eye discomfort.
- Genetic causes Actually, the causes of these genetic alterations in general are not yet known.
So, if your cat has some different characteristics in its physical appearance or even has strange behavior, it does not have Down Syndrome.
Influencer cats with “Down Syndrome”.
Yes, as you read, there are famous cats on social networks that are attributed to this syndrome, although it is clearly not what they have.
But, Monty, Maya, and even Grumpy Kitzia (the said new successor to Grumpy Cat) have become true stars of social networks. These two have millions of followers on popular networks such as Facebook and Instagram.
Maya (Instagram: @meetmayacat)
His followers were attracted precisely by his strange physical appearance. However, their owners attest that, apart from their appearance, their lives are very normal, and their behavior is totally in accordance with that of other cats. See also Inflammation: Types, symptoms, causes, and treatment. See also Parvo in dogs: What Every Owner Should Know About Parvo in Dogs
It goes without saying that the owners of these kittens made a lot of economic profit from the physical differences that they have, and also from the personalities of these cats.
But they also created several campaigns in order to raise funds and to create awareness and sensitization about these diseases and pathologies. Also, in favor of adoption.
In addition, they have also published books, clothing lines, and special accessories for animals.