All cats are beautiful in their own way. Lately thanks to social media and the Internet we have had the opportunity to see many cats with unusual looks. If you remember the story about the Janus cat Frank and Louie that had two faces, you would agree that there are many different cats. Naturally, this poses the question if there can be a cat with down syndrome. Many people ask themselves can cats have Down Syndrome or if this condition is present with humans only.
What is Down Syndrome?
To begin with, what kind of condition is down syndrome anyway? – It is a result of a chromosomal defect that affects humans physically and mentally. This type of disorder means that instead of the regular 23 pairs of chromosomes in human cells, people with down syndrome have 21 chromosomes. Consequently, these individuals have a short stature, a flat nasal bridge, and low muscle tone. Furthermore, many of them have a learning disability.
As opposed to humans, cats have only 19 chromosomes in their cells, which means that it’s impossible to have down syndrome.
Cat With Down Syndrome
Can Cats Have Down Syndrome?
As we mentioned already, cats can’t get down syndrome, so the answer to the posed question is no. However, there are some cats that develop symptoms similar to those from down syndrome. Even so, these symptoms may point to different diseases or conditions. In other words, pay attention to these symptoms:
- Eyes set very wide apart – abnormally
- Flat nose
- Low muscle tone
- Problems with hearing, or a complete hearing loss (if your cat is white with blue eyes it may be the reason why your cat is deaf).
- Dysfunctional motor skills
- Small or short stature
- Heart problems
- Clumsy walking
In case you notice any of these symptoms with your cat it is of prime importance that you consult with a vet. Even though there can’t be a cat with down syndrome, these symptoms may tell us that your cat has a different disorder.
What Causes Down-Syndrome-like Symptoms in Cats?
There are some disorders that are common with cats and show Down Syndrome-like symptoms. The most common disorder that some cats have is cerebellar hypoplasia. This is a neurological condition where the cat’s cerebellum is smaller than usual. Another condition that cats may suffer from is the panleukopenia virus where they may develop various abnormalities.
Often, the cause for such disorders is an intoxication of the mother while carrying the kitten. These toxins may cause deformation of the facial structure and other types of disorders.
It’s impossible for a cat to get down syndrome, which means that there is no such thing as feline down syndrome. However, remember that cats may have other disorders, viruses, and infections. Furthermore, some head traumas or injuries may cause these types of diseases or syndromes, so it’s very important that you pay close attention to your feline. Whenever you notice anything unusual in your cat’s behavior or looks you should immediately take them to the vet and get a professional opinion.