Cats are very curious and intelligent creatures. They are the most loving pets. Cats rarely suffer from genetic disorders. However, sometimes they might suffer from hereditary deformities affecting their mental and physical health. You might have heard about cat down syndrome. Many pet owners claim that their cats have down syndrome. However, cats do not suffer from down syndrome.
Some cats suffer from structural or functional abnormalities resembling down’s syndrome. However, these genetic abnormalities are uncommon. Therefore, if you are a pet owner, there is no need to worry about your cat developing down’s syndrome.
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WHAT IS DOWN SYNDROME?
To understand this condition, it is better to figure out that what is down syndrome. Down’s syndrome is a genetic abnormality of chromosomal level. It occurs in human babies, and they are born with an extra 21st chromosome.
We also know this condition as trisomy 21. Chromosome 21 is an autosome that controls many facial features of the fetus. They are not sex chromosomes. Therefore, the gender and gender-related functions remain normal in the newborn.
The life expectancy of these patients is lesser. They do not survive. Usually, the fetuses are stillborn or die during mid-pregnancy. However, if they survive, they face both mental and physical disorders.
Patients with down syndrome have the following features:
- a flat, broad face
- small ears
- squinting eyes
- The tongue bulges out and
- facial muscles have poor muscle tone
- They cannot speak properly
- Mental capabilities not normal
WHAT CAUSES DOWN SYNDROME?
The gene pool of an offspring is a mixture of both parents. There are 46 chromosomes in a human. These 46 chromosomes are half from the mother and half from the father of the newborn. When new cells form in a baby, there are 46 chromosomes contributed by both parents.
In babies with down syndrome, the chromosomes cannot separate during meiosis. Because of this separation failure, the 21st pair gets an extra chromosome making a trisomy.
This trisomy causes physical and mental abnormalities during fetal development. This trisomy can occur in all cells of the body. Sometimes, there are some normal cells; this condition is called Mosaicism.
There are many genetic disorders in which chromosome number increases. However, we cannot classify them as Down syndrome. Down syndrome only occurs because of trisomy at autosome 21.
WHY DOWN SYNDROME DOES NOT OCCUR IN CATS?
Cats can have some structural and functional abnormalities because of chromosomal aberration. However, they cannot have down syndrome. Down’s syndrome is a chromosomal aberration occurring in autosome 21.
Cats do not have 21 autosomal chromosomes. The cats contain 38 chromosomes, out of which only 19 are autosomes. So there can be chromosomal abnormalities but, in cats, we do not call this down’s syndrome.
Cats can have physical and mental abnormalities because of chromosomal aberrations. Some of these are known, while other symptoms are difficult to identify. The cats that are said to have down’s syndrome contain features like:
- broad, round eyes
- stunned and droopy ears
- button-like flat-nose
- poor body coordination
- wobbly walk
- sit and communicate in weird ways
- impaired vision
- poor muscle functions
TECHNICAL ASPECTS OF DOWN SYNDROME IN CATS:
There are some logical reasons cats cannot suffer from down syndrome. The primary reason for this is that cats do not have 21 autosomes. They have 19 autosomes. Therefore, they cannot have trisomy 21.
The second reason is that not all behavioral and psychological changes show genetic disorders. Cats are creatures with unique habits. Sometimes, it’s just a different individual characteristic of your pet. These strange characters can be both physical and psychological.
Usually, genetic disorders result from inbreeding generations over generations. If you have a pet cat with a known pedigree, you can find out the cause of genetic diseases. If you are a pet breeder and want to avoid these syndromes, avoid inbreeding.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS:
- Can cats develop downs syndrome later in life?
Down’s syndrome is a genetic condition, and it usually occurs in humans. Cats can have genetic abnormalities, but you cannot name them as down syndrome.
If your cat shows some signs of physical and psychological abnormalities, there can be multiple causes of this. For example, these signs can occur because of malnourishment, trauma, or any toxicity in cats.
- Are there any special needs if my cat shows signs of abnormalities?
The individual needs of a cat suffering from down syndrome vary according to its features. However, for a cat diagnosed with Down’s syndrome-like symptoms, they need proper nourishment and care.
These cats usually suffer from hearing and vision loss. They cannot communicate their needs properly. Therefore, it is necessary to take care of their nutritional and psychological demands. You must pay more attention to your cat’s behavior.
- My cat has a flat face and physical features, like a kid with Down’s syndrome. What diseases does it have?
Cats do not suffer from Down’s syndrome. If you see the genetic abnormality in your cats, it does not mean it suffers from Down’s syndrome. This disease is unidentified in cats. There is no specific name for this disease in cats yet.
- Can all canines have Down’s syndrome?
No, all canines do not suffer from Down’s syndrome. Only those animals can have Down’s syndrome in which there is the 21st pair of autosomes. However, the chances of these genetic disorders are still low.
Down’ syndrome occurs in animals like chimpanzees, tigers, gorillas, etc. However, cats and dogs do not suffer from Down’s syndrome.
Down’s syndrome is a disorder that occurs in humans. It is a genetic anomaly that takes place because of trisomy 21. It affects both the physical and mental capabilities of the patients. Usually, the fetus having such genetic abnormalities does not survive. However, if they are born, they have both structural and functional disabilities.
Cats can have genetic anomalies that result because of chromosomal aberrations. However, they cannot have Down syndrome since they do not have autosome 21. The cats having down syndrome-like features may have other genetic anomalies.
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