Can Cats Have Down Syndrome?

Do cats be diagnosed with Down syndrome? Veterinarians get asked this question more frequently than you believe. The most common reason for asking this is when their pet seems to behave and look abnormal and in a way which resembles Down syndrome.

Cats with strange facial characteristics and behavioral peculiarities are now popular within social media circles. They claim to have “Down syndrome cat,” certain pet owners have set up social media accounts for them, thus advancing the idea that Down syndrome can be present in cats.

Can Cats Have Down Syndrome?

Internet chatter aside the fact that cats do not get Down syndrome. Actually, they don’t.

The first thing to know is Down syndrome is a condition that affects 1 in 700 babies born to humans to the U.S. each year. It happens when the foetus’s genetic material copy incorrectly, which results in an additional 21-chromosome chromosome (or partial of chromosome 21). This is also known as trisomy 21.

The way chromosomes work is to organize the DNA inside every cell into bundles, aiding cells in passing the genetic material they have when they divide. A chromosome 21 that is not present (or partial chromosome 21) results in a variety of birth defects, giving those with Down syndrome similar physical characteristics.

Based on the National Down Syndrome Society the people who suffer from Down syndrome are more likely to have any or all of the following characteristics:

  • Muscle tone is low
  • Small size and
  • A slant upward to the eye
  • An incredibly deep, single fold across the central part of the palm

It is important to remember that people who have Down syndrome don’t have the same appearance.

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