There’s been a recent spike in demand for so-called “munchkin cats”—also referred to as “sausage cats” and “the dachshunds of the feline world”—thanks in part to online videos and celebrity influence. While some think the unnatural appearance is “cute,” vets are warning the public that the breed—which is characterized by a genetic mutation that causes stumpy legs—can suffer from a variety of health issues.
According to The Dodo, most of the health issues that munchkin cats are susceptible to result from bone deformities. The genetic mutation, which is a type of dwarfism, can cause the breed to be born with spinal malformations, lordosis and scoliosis, as well as rib abnormalities.
Andrew Prentis of Hyde Park Veterinary Centre in London was disappointed to discover that cats are being bred “to have effectively no legs,” solely for cosmetic reasons. The veterinary surgeon says, “The cat in its natural form has evolved over thousands of years to be pretty well designed and to be very efficient, healthy and athletic.”
The practice of breeding cats, or any animal, to have specific physical features is cruel and irresponsible. No one who has animals’ best interests at heart would intentionally deform them in this way. Moreover, breeders add to the heartbreaking overpopulation crisis. Every puppy or kitten produced by breeders potentially causes an animal awaiting adoption at a shelter to lose a chance at finding a good home—and many will be euthanized. Breeders kill shelter animals’ chance to have a life.
Don’t contribute to this inhumane trend. If you’re interested in giving a cat a home, visit your local shelter and adopt—don’t shop. Do your part: Sign PETA’s pledge to end animal homelessness and never buy an animal from a breeder or a pet shop.