Are you scouring the internet after seeing some weird behavioral changes in your pet cat? DOWN SYNDROME IN CATS. Are you worried that your adorable feline has Down syndrome? After a cat named Lil Bub went viral with down syndrome on social media, it might have made some cat owners believe that their kitty cat is suffering from it too.
Well, don’t be!
We know that it is normal to wonder when your pet behaves differently from other cats, but that does not mean your munchkin has Down Syndrome.
Many scared cat parents ask their vets, “Can cats have Down syndrome?” And their answer is always no. But there might be other health conditions that resemble Down syndrome.
In this read, we will clear your doubts, answer all your frequently asked questions related to Down Syndrome, and talk about other sicknesses they might have.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Did grumpy cat have Down syndrome?
Some people believed that Grumpy Cat aka, Tardar Sauce had Down syndrome, but that is not true! She was one of the beloved cats on the internet. She was the meme face, and you might have seen her in at least once.
The beloved grump always looked frowny because she had feline dwarfism and underbite. These two combinations were a result of genetic mutation, that leads to an abnormality of body proportions and growth problems.
Unfortunately, the internet sensation passed away at age seven, on May 14, 2019, after a urinary tract infection. And to this day, people miss this American Internet celebrity cat.
Our favorite cat might be gone from our lives, but her grumpy and displeased expression will live on forever in our GIFs, memes, stickers, and merchandise.
How can you tell if your cat has Down syndrome?
While it is not possible for a cat to have Down-syndrome, because they don’t have chromosome 21, but they might have Down syndrome-like symptoms that are due to illness or genetic disorders.
Some feline parents immediately spot some signs after the kitten is born. Sometimes, it also takes more than weeks to notice symptoms.
When a cat has so-called Down syndrome-like symptoms, he or she might have some distinctive characteristics. Below, he has mentioned some symptoms to look of for:
- Different or a strange behavior compared to other felines (wobbly, bad coordination, clumsy)
- Difficulty walking
- Small, stunted, broad, odd, or unusually shaped ears
- Flat or upturned nose
- Problems with vision
- Hearing loss
- Eyes are abnormally round, wide apart, or too close
- Lack of interest in socializing with other cats
- Motor dysfunction
- Low or poor muscle tone
- Heart problems
- Difficulty in urination or defecation
If your feline buddy has two more of these above symptoms, then you will have to visit your vet and do some genetic tests, which will determine what extra care your pet needs to live a healthy life.
What Causes Down Syndrome-like Symptoms in Cats?
Well, various health conditions cause Down syndrome-like symptoms in feline pets. Let’s take a look at some of the most common Down syndrome-like symptoms below:
- Inbreeding: If a brother and sister cat breeds with each other, then it can lead to one or more congenital defects.
- Infections: If a feline gets infected with the panleukopenia virus, it can cause genetic disorders, behavioral or relevant physical abnormalities that are similar to Down syndrome.
- Toxin exposure: If a pregnant cat gets exposed to toxins, she might give birth to kittens with congenital defects that might affect a feline’s facial structure or her neurological system.
So be wary if your pet cat is going to be a mother soon!
- Face or head trauma: Baby kittens who have experienced face or head trauma might suffer from physical injuries and neurological problems. Thus, they might grow with a different face shape.
Always keep an eye on the kittens and keep the pet houses on the ground!
OTHER CONDITIONS THAT RESEMBLE DOWN SYNDROME
Many other genetic disorders have Down syndrome-like symptoms such as:
- Cerebellar hypoplasia: If your cat has this disorder, he or she might develop metabolic disorders and other symptoms that may be similar symptoms to Down syndrome.
When the cerebellum is smaller than normal or does not completely develop, it can lead to behavior and traits.
- Klinefelter syndrome: In this condition, the male cats who are born with an extra x chromosome might become sterile.
- Distal polyneuropathy: This disorder damages the nerve and causes symptoms like tremors, seizures, paralysis, weakness, clumsy gait, and numbness and pain to the cat’s feet.
- Feline dysautonomia: Last but not the least, the cats with these conditions may have droopy or swollen eyes, gastrointestinal or urinary problems.
Their autonomic system might get affected, and the poor cats might exhibit incontinence, depression, a slow heart rate, loss of appetite, and weight loss.
So, our dear cat owners, keep these things in your mind and take action before it is too late.
IS DOWN SYNDROME IN CATS COMMON?
No, it is not! It is quite rare for cats to get Down syndrome-like symptoms.
Many times, people mistake these symptoms for Down syndrome. If you do more research, you will realize that the cause of these symptoms might be due to trauma, inbreeding, poor health or nutrition, or genetic disorder.
For example, if your furry feline is very clumsy, it may be due to a neurological disorder.
Whatever the symptoms are, as your internet friend, we would suggest you get your kitty examined by the vet.
Can Down Syndrome Be Cured?
As we said previously, cats cannot have Down syndrome, but they might have similar genetic disorders, infections, or illnesses.
In that case, don’t panic!
Take them for appropriate therapy and treatment as early as possible to improve skills and take care of their special needs.
Apart from treatment, your cat will also need your love to battle with their sickness.
Yes, you read it right! The vets are not the ones to help your cat. You can, too!
We have listed some ways to take care of your four-legged feline partners:
The first thing you need to do is accept that your pet is not perfect, and that is okay.
Also, try to see your kitty in a new light and change some of their daily routines.
- Focus on the good rather than the bad:
Note down some of the best characteristics and qualities your pet has! Then, give him or her the unconditional love and care that they deserve.
- Give them a second chance:
Your cat is still normal, happy, and loving. All they want is to thrive peacefully and comfortably with their favorite person!
Our Final Thoughts
We really hope this article related to Down syndrome was informative for you! Down syndrome is only possible in humans. But our adorable feline friends can have similar symptoms too. In a nutshell, if you notice similar symptoms like down syndrome, leave everything and book an appointment with a qualified vet and get your adorable pet diagnosed and treated.
Stay healthy and keep your feline buddy healthy too!