Animal charity calls for a ban on Taylor Swift’s favourite cats over concerns about their health 

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Animal charity calls for a ban on Taylor Swift’s favourite cats over concerns about their health

  • Scottish Folds, which have a genetic disorder, could be banned in the future 
  • Welfare charity Cats Protection wants breeding of the cats to be outlawed
  • The cats are highly prone to crippling arthritis at younger age than other breeds

Their tiny folded ears and saucer-wide eyes have made them a favourite with celebrity cat-lovers including Taylor Swift and Ed Sheeran.

But Scottish Folds, which owe their distinctive appearance to a genetic disorder, could be banned if animal campaigners get their way.

Welfare charity Cats Protection wants breeding of the cats to be outlawed because of concerns about their health. It is also unhappy with A-listers for sparking a huge rise in demand for the pets.

Animal charity calls for a ban on Taylor Swift’s favourite cats over concerns about their health 

Scottish Folds, which owe their distinctive appearance to a genetic disorder, could be banned if animal campaigners get their way

The cartilage in the ears of Scottish Folds is abnormally weak due to a hereditary condition called osteochondrodysplasia, which causes defective cartilage elsewhere in their body, especially the joints.

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As a result, the cats are highly prone to crippling arthritis at a far younger age than other breeds.

Pop star Taylor regularly shares pictures of her two Scottish Folds with her 230 million Instagram followers, while Sheeran has created a separate social-media profile for the one he owns.

The Mail on Sunday has found sellers offering Scottish Folds online for more than £1,000 each, as part of a wider trend for pedigree breeds – created by mating cats that have the same aesthetically desirable characteristics.

The cartilage in the ears of Scottish Folds is abnormally weak due to a hereditary condition called osteochondrodysplasia, which causes defective cartilage elsewhere in their body, especially the joints

The cartilage in the ears of Scottish Folds is abnormally weak due to a hereditary condition called osteochondrodysplasia, which causes defective cartilage elsewhere in their body, especially the joints

However, this lack of genetic diversity increases the risk of inherited diseases.

A Cats Protection report revealed that 38 per cent of cats bought in the past 12 months were pedigrees, with Scottish Folds soaring from ‘negligible’ quantities in 2021 to 110,000 – one per cent of the UK’s entire feline population – this year.

‘Our report found that rising numbers of prospective owners want pedigree cats with rare physical characteristics, like Scottish Folds, which can have serious health concerns,’ said Madison Rogers, Cats Protection’s head of advocacy.

Ms Rogers also said the increase in popularity had potentially been fuelled by ‘influential celebrities’.

‘We urge them to be aware of the health problems that occur when a cat has extreme features and to consider their own position as role models,’ she added.

There are currently no feline breeding regulations in England, Wales or Northern Ireland, but Scotland bans breeding cats with poor health, including Scottish Folds.

A spokesman for the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs said: ‘Anyone breeding cats in England must protect them from unnecessary suffering. Failing to may lead to imprisonment, a fine or both.

‘Owners considering breeding cats should seek advice on the risk of inherited conditions.’

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