Genetics Picture

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How do we fight already existing health problems?

Problems in single cats

If a cat is diagnosed with a defect or a disease, which might be hereditary or not, how does one act? One basic rule is to not breed with that cat, but to continue with its relatives as usual. If the same problem pops up again it can be wise to take further action.

If it is a disease KNOWN to be inherited, the actions might look a little bit different depending on how it is inherited. Here are some suggestions in how to handle the problem in some different ways. Please note that this is general recommendations. In specific cases there might be a reason to adjust the actions somewhat.

  • If the disease is caused by a dominant gene, one has to try and find out which one of the parents carrying it, and if other relatives also might be carrying it. And those who have the disease should not be taken into breeding.
  • If the disease is caused by a recessive gene one doesn't of course breed on the sick animal and the parents should also be taken out of breeding, since one knows for sure that they both must be carrying the gene. Possible siblings to the sick kitten shouldn't be sold for breeding, if they are not already sold.
  • If the disease is of polygenetic inheritance one should not breed on the sick cat and one shouldn't repeat the same combination that resulted in the afflicted kitten. Be especially observant on littermates and other close relatives, but do not as a rule take them out of breeding, unless they show any signs of problem themselves. If a cat seems to give a high frequency of afflicted cats, even though he/she doesn't have any problems, this cat must of course be taken out of breeding.