Melwicker (melwicker) wrote,

Cats and new cat breeds: my opinion

I love cats. I would love to own several cats of different cat breeds.
I wonder if Kansas City Kansas laws would let me own a Chausie or a Savannah cat. If the local laws don't permit people to own cat breeds like the Savannah (which is a hybrid between a wild cat species called the Serval and the domestic house cat Felis Catus), then the laws should be changed.

As for the creation of new cat breeds from new mutations: In my opinion, these breeds should be allowed to thrive only if the mutant genes that create a breed's defining characteristics prove to be harmless to the animal and it's offspring. Curly coats, long hair, and variations in coat color and eye color are all harmless, in my layman's opinion. Rex breeds seem to be healthy, Longhaired breeds are healthy and any variation in coat or eye color do not generally seem to harm cats, apart from the deafness of blue-eyed white cats... which is undesirable but not lethal.

On the other hand, the blue eye color of the new Ojos Azules breed DOES seem to be caused by a mutant gene that is directly responsible for inevitably and immediately fatal birth defects in cat fetuses that carry two copies of the gene, yet it seems harmless to cats that possess only one copy. A cat with only one copy seems healthy and has beautiful blue eyes, but the feline offspring that carry TWO copies of this mutated gene have such severe skull defects that they are born dead. This is tragic, because the gene causes a nonwhite cat of any color to have beautiful cornflower blue eyes comparable to the Siamese eye color.
Clearly this Ojos Azules mutation may be a distorted variant of a gene vital for normal development, if it causes such drastic and fatal changes in a cat fetus. If the tendency towards birth defects cannot be bred out of the Ojos Azules breed, and the Ojos Azules mutation itself was investigated and categorized as a genetic disorder like sickle cell anemia/sickle cell trait, then the Ojos Azules breed cannot be categorized as a breed on it's own, but as simply another rare genetic syndrome.
It would be interesting to see what the function of the normal version of this gene is, and how it plays a role in fetal development.
I certainly regret that the Ojos Azules mutation could not become a new breed because of it's unfortunate tendency to cause birth defects. Perhaps if the mutant gene wasn't lethal in it's homozygous state (homozygous means possessing two identical copies of the same gene) it could be bred true and the Ojos Azules breed would be accepted.
The beautiful eye color of the Ojos Azules cats that only have one Ojos Azules gene would be most desirable. Pity that the mutant gene itself doesn't come without risk.

If there is an absolutely harmless gene that could create beautiful cornflower or sapphire blue eyes in a non-white, non-Siamese cat independent of it's coat color and WITHOUT the inherent dangers that the Ojos Azules syndrome causes, I wish that it would be found and bred true among the cat population. That hypothetical ideal blue-eyes gene that I wish would exist would be far superior to the Ojos Azules mutation and it also might not carry the risk of deafness that the dominant white gene has. Cat breeds
Tags: cat breeds, genetics
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