I am grateful for having amazing Siamese cats in my life, they made it so much better.
But I never thought that I will experience so much heartache as a breeder and owner.
Me and my husband always wanted to own and breed healthy cats. Which breeder doesn’t?
I deeply believed that Siamese and Orientals are a healthy race. And it is and it should be. But we have to do more. How much do we check? Can we possibly check for all? No. Only for the things we know may be an issue.
I tested for PRA, as soon as knowledge about it become available, before it was obligatory. I was lucky that my cats and kittens I bred did not have double set of faulty chromosomes and would never get blind. I tested liver, kidneys, viruses. All I knew or heard could go wrong or was recommended.
Years ago I’ve only heard remotely about TF (tritrichomonas foetus) and giardia (it always happened to someone else, you know, in some other country…) when we got TF! I was open with our struggles here on my blog and, while I had support from the most, I’ve actually also had potential buyers saying – oh, great you are open, I appreciate that, but then they went to buy kittens from people who had TF in their catteries, gave it to others while knowing that they might, sold the kittens with TF and did not care to say that!
Our kitten buyers trust us what we say. If we are silent, they still trust us that we sell them healthy cats. They cannot know about all that can be wrong.
Well, that war on TF we won. Got all clear. A new page, clean cattery, healthy cats, my new import, he and all others scanned four-five times for parasites, healthy, no viruses, nothing. Picture perfect.
Last December I had a young cat who died in a total heart failure. Heard only whispers about cats dying, but no – no heart disease in our race. Pretty cats winning the shows; some have TF, some get put to sleep for heart issues, kidneys or something, it is all silenced down. Now you see them, now you don’t.
A fellow Oriental cat owner had her heart broken recently when her cat died from heart failure. Another one got the sister cat from the first one scanned last week – the same, genetic issue. I really hope that the parents, siblings, half siblings etc get scanned.
I took my Funtes to an ultrasound specialist today, after learning more and more about the heart issues in our race. The issues I did not think were a problem at all. Maybe minor thing, here and there.
And Funtes beautiful heart, sounds amazingly well – picture perfect health, but then, on the screen – just this little thing (I cannot see it, I have no clue how to interpret ultrasound of the heart) – a tiny little thicker tissue, or was it – a thread. Almost nonexistent. No, no stenosis, but it is there! It is there. Almost perfect, but not.
He will never get worse, he will never get sick or unwell, he will never need medicines. He will always be perfectly healthy heart wise. He does not have HCM, or any cardiomyopathy he has a little extra something that will not get worse. That is his diagnose.
But – according to the ultrasound specialist, it is a common thing on Siamese and Oriental, and it is genetic, and it can be worse than in his case. Can I breed on him!? The veterinary was hesitating. No definite no. But no yes either. He would probably not breed on him if he was his cat. It depends on who Funtes is mated with. We talked about how we should scan our race more, breed away the defects! Not be silent about it, raise the awareness!
But we have a litter in Claire’s belly where Funtes is father that is due in 3,5 weeks. I talked to the veterinary and we will take them all to him for a complete heart scan when they are 12 weeks old. You can see already then if they have something or not!
Funtes and Claire are expecting kittens.
If we are lucky, they will not have anything and if healthy otherwise, can be used in breeding. If not, I hope the little fault is as little as on their father and can be a long lived pets with no influence on their lives.
We should heart scan our breeding Siamese and Orientals. We do not have HCM in our race, it is almost non-existing on Siamese and Orientals, but dilated cardiomyopathy that my fellow Siamese/Oriental owners had on their cats is common, and what Funtes has is common. If one in the litter has something, and we know it, we should scan the siblings, offspring, parents, used in breeding. It should become a practice.
And we should always select on health before type. Ethical breeding – we are responsible for the health of our animals and their offspring. We do not know all, but as soon as we learn about the possible problems, it is unacceptable to just close our eyes.
This on Funtes is no one’s fault! And luckily it will not influence his life or health. But it made me more aware of the possible heart problems in our race.
When you know there is something in the lines, or in your cattery – an infection, a virus, a parasite, a disease and you breed on that without curing the cats, or scanning them and just close your eyes and continue – it becomes your fault.