Motivation of Owners to Purchase Pedigree Cats, with Specific Focus on the Acquisition of Brachycephalic Cats

Plitman, L and Cerná, P and Farnworth, M J and Packer, R M A and Gunn-Moore, D A (2019) Motivation of Owners to Purchase Pedigree Cats, with Specific Focus on the Acquisition of Brachycephalic Cats. Animals, 9 (7). p. 394.

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Abstract

Selective breeding of domestic cats (Felis catus) has resulted in a variety of temperaments, body shapes, facial features and, in particular, coat types and colours. There are now over 70 recognised cat breeds, created over 150 years. Many cat owners select their cat for features that appeal to them, so cat breeders primarily focus on these aesthetic traits, changing cat features to their concept of beauty or appeal. Unfortunately, these changes can impact heavily upon cat health and welfare, as inbreeding and breeding for extreme physical conformations has become prevalent. Particular concern focuses on brachycephalic (BC) cats with wide flat faces (e.g., Persians and Exotic Shorthairs). Using a questionnaire for cat owners, we identified marked differences in how owners went about acquiring their cats when we compared owners of BC cats, pedigree (P), (but not BC) cats and non-pedigree (NP) cats; 1367 responses (BC n = 85, P n = 400, NP n = 882). Owners of BC cats were less likely to undertake significant research before buying their cat (e.g., not looking into management requirements or potential health problems associated with the BC face-shape and/or Persian coat) compared to P owners. Once owned, they did not consider their cat as healthy (especially related to eye and skin conditions) compared to P owners. BC owners were also less likely to recommend their breed to others, possibly reflecting poor health experiences and/or management issues.

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