Snowball and curiosity about white cats with different coloured eyes


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We went to Foster-Mum’s today. Snowball looked great for someone just robbed of his family jewels. As you can see from the vid, he’s also extremely calm and obliging to the pawparazzi. He’s also very white and clean looking, compared to when we were prepping him for his move to Foster Mum’s.

Someone also left a message in the TEC youtube mailbox asking why he’s got different coloured eyes. Such questions get my goat sometimes since Google is there for the googling, and just now it was one of those sometimes as I happened to be feeling a little snarky. But then I did not want to turn off a potential sympathiser, so I googled “white cats with different coloured eyes”, and gave the emailer the link. I might as well add it here – it is found on messybeast.com, one of our fav cat stuff sites. I’ll also quote a bit of it, the main gist of the answer to the million dollar Q:

A few years back I was asked three related questions on a newsgroup. This article is adapted from my answer.

– Are white cats, particularly blue eyed white cats, always deaf or is this an old wives’ tale?
– Is deafness linked only to odd-eyed white cats?
– Some blue-eyed whites aren’t deaf – why?

There is an established link between the white coat color, blue eyes and deafness.

(source: WHITE CATS, EYE COLOURS AND DEAFNESS)

Bottomline? Our mantra is

Please don’t breed or buy while shelter animals die

Even before the ugly truth about the heightened occurrences of genetic problems caused by deliberately breeding for white-furred cats and dogs, we also say no to breeding because of the plight we inflict on animals, merely for a whim or fancy – selective breeding in itself is causing genetic problems for these dogs and cats we are supposedly fans and lovers of.

Of course there are responsible breeders, but money makes the world go round after all. So please don’t support puppy mills or kitten mills.

My personal bias against breeding animals for specific traits was reinforced by a website – it was a shelter in the U.S. that specialised in rescuing blind, deaf, crippled dogs of any combination. They also open their doors and hearts to other disadvantaged animals.

The shelter owner found an inordinate number of her rescues were white dogs. Many were puppies. People, and probably breeders, kept leaving white dogs with problems at her doorstep that she took off the address and location of the shelter, because they were overflowing. The stories of the dogs she had were very poignant. Many were white dogs that were bred for profit, ala puppy mills, and given the high odds of blindness/deafness/other issues with white-furred dogs, most white puppy-mill born puppies are destroyed or abandoned. Then there are those who look ok and then developed problems later. All are unceremoniously dumped. And that’s how many of these end up at this shelter. Most are calm, loving, and accepting of their fate – and they had the greatness of heart to resign themselves to their fates. I cried as I read the stories of these crippled angels, and I have been even more bothered by the concept of breeding animals for specific traits ever since.

I can’t provide a link to this wonderful woman’s site as I lost the url when my last webmail provider’s servers crashed.

I can provide more info ref though.

“I was sitting in my office when the phone rang. Upon answering it, I heard a voice say, “How would you like to adopt a deaf dog?””

“In the weeks that followed, I discovered that thousands of deaf pups are born each year. I learned that there are over 60 breeds of purebred dogs that report hereditary deafness. The breeds which report the highest number of deaf pups are the Australian Cattle Dog, Australian Shepherd, Bull Terrier, Catahoula Leopard Dog, Dalmatian, English Cocker Spaniel, and English Setter. (A complete list of effected breeds can be found at the end of this article.)”

“But with deaf puppies, a group of nerve cells in the ear that detect sound begin to deteriorate. This process is usually complete by the time the pup is 6 weeks old, and cannot be reversed or corrected.”

– source: Deaf Puppies, Deaf Dogs: More common than you think

Breeding for specific traits has caused many genetic problems for the so-called purebreeds/pedigree “pet” dogs and cats. People are willing to breed dogs and cats for sale because there are people willing to pay. And, all things being equal, white cats and dogs you buy from the petshop do cost more for a reason – it is very difficult to get a healthy white-furred purebreed baby through breeding, as borne out by genetics.

This is a good read on this issue: Genetics and Animal Welfare

Why the fixation with fur colour or looks of a cat/dog? After all, humans parents don’t discriminate against their own flesh-and-blood.

Ever wonder what happens to the kittens and puppies who are not good enough for sale, whether they are white or normal coloured? How about the ones who are good enough for sale, but outgrew their sell-by date, and stopped being cute?

TEC appeals again: Please don’t breed or buy while shelter animals die

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