The RSPCA has reported that flat-faced cats are spending longer in their care than other cats, potentially due to their associated health problems.
This includes some breeds of brachycephalic cat waiting over twice as long as non-brachycephalic breeds for a suitable home, with Persian cats taking an average of 68 days to be rehomed.
Other flat-faced breeds that are following this trend include British shorthairs and Birmans, which wait 46 and 40 days to be rehomed respectively. These figures contrast with the rehoming rate of domestic shorthair and domestic semi long-haired cats, which take an average of 29 and 27 days respectively.
The RSPCA believes that this could be due to differing awareness of the health problems associated with brachycephalic breeds.
In order to responsibly rehome these cats, the rescue charity is transparent about their health problems on their adoption website. This includes informing potential owners of the cats’ breathing difficulties, eye and dental problems, and issues with sleep and grooming themselves.
However a breeder may not make new owners aware of these issues, in an effort to improve their chances of a sale.
The RSPCA believes that this could explain why so many flat-faced cats are being surrendered, but far fewer are being adopted.
These statistics have been released as part of the charity’s ‘Save Our Breath’ campaign, which aims to raise awareness of the difficulties that flat-faced cats deal with. As breeders continue to sell these breeds, the RSPCA receives more surrendered cats from owners who cannot afford the treatments associated with the breeds.
The RSPCA is asking that breeders consider the welfare of these cats, rather than breeding them for traits which are harmful to their health.
Alice Potter, a cat welfare expert at RSPCA, said: “Someone who impulse buys a kitten online because they thought their ‘flat-faced’ features are ‘cute’ is far less likely to be given information on the issues because the seller simply wants to make a profit with some kittens being sold for over £1,000 online, or they may not even know themselves.
“This means they are still increasingly popular pets and more are being bred to meet this demand – but the challenging reality of caring for them can mean they end up in rescue centres where they are sadly then often overlooked for adoption.”
RSPCA is encouraging people to write to their local MP on the issue. Their pre-written letter can be found on the Save Our Breath page.
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