Taylor Swift’s favorite cat breed Scottish Folds may get banned over concerns for their health
Scottish Folds, which owe their distinctive appearance to a genetic disorder, could be banned if animal campaigners get their way
Taylor Swift has been called out for a particular breed of cat -Scottish Folds- that she owns. Scottish Folds get their distinctive appearance from a genetic disease and animal activists are upset with A-listers for causing an increase in the demand for these animals. In order to protect the cats' health, animal activists seek to ban cat breeding. Besides Swift, many celebrities like Ed Sheeran have Scottish Folds as pets.
The cartilage in Scottish Folds' ears is abnormally fragile due to osteochondrodysplasia, a congenital disease that affects the cartilage in their body parts, especially the joints. As a result, these cats are much more likely to develop debilitating arthritis at an early age than other breeds.
The pop star frequently posts pictures of her two Scottish Folds with 230 million Instagram followers, while Sheeran has made a separate social media account for his pet.
Scottish Folds are being sold online for more than $1,137 (£1,000) each, according to The Daily Mail, as part of a larger trend for pedigree breeds, which are produced from cats with similar aesthetically appealing traits. According to a Cats Protection survey, pedigree cats made up 38% of all cats purchased in the previous year, with Scottish Folds increasing from "negligible" numbers in 2021 to 110,000 - or 1% of all cats in the UK - this year.
"Our report found that an increasing number of potential owners want pedigree cats with rare physical traits, such as Scottish Folds, which can have serious health issues," said Madison Rogers, Cats Protection’s director of advocacy. Rogers also said the rise in popularity may have been fueled by "influential celebrities". "We urge them to be aware of the health issues that arise when a cat exhibits extreme traits and to consider their own positions as role models," she added.
Currently, there are no cat breeding restrictions in England, Wales, or Northern Ireland. However, Scotland prohibits the breeding of cats with health reservations, 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. Failure to do so may result in imprisonment, a fine, or both. Owners considering breeding cats should seek advice about the risk of hereditary diseases."