Experts urge fans not to follow Taylor Swift in raising floppy-eared cats

Animal protection experts urge Taylor Swift fans not to keep lop-eared cats, because these cats often suffer pain due to genetic mutations.

For fans of American singer Taylor Swift, her pet cat is as famous as her owner, often appearing on Swift’s posts on social networks.

Ahead of Swift’s Eras tour in the UK next month, animal protection experts in the UK urge fans not to follow their idol in raising Scottish Fold cats, because of the characteristics that make them breed. Cats have a cute appearance but is the reason why they often suffer pain.

Singer Taylor Swift and cat Olivia Benson. Photo: GC

Swift has three cats, of which two named Olivia Benson and Meredith Gray are lop-eared cats. This cat breed has a naturally recessive gene mutation that affects the cartilage of the whole body, causing the ears to droop, making them often compared to owls. However, this gene also leads to abnormal bone growth, arthritis and pain.

Paradoxically, Scotland, the homeland of this cat breed and the first place in England that Swift chose to tour on June 7, prohibits the breeding of lop-eared cats. Some other countries, such as the Netherlands, Australia and Norway, also restrict this practice for animal welfare.

Cats Protection, a UK cat welfare charity, says these problems have not stopped the number of folded-eared cats from increasing in recent years. The survey found that of the 10.6 million cats being kept in the UK, 1% were Scottish Folds and 3% of cats bought and sold last year were of this breed.

Earlier this year, the action-comedy film Argylle attracted attention with the appearance of a “cat actor”, a flat-eared cat named Chip from director Matthew Vaughn’s family. The director’s daughter decided to raise this cat breed after watching Swift’s documentary Miss Americana in 2020, a testament to how much influence the singer has on her fans. An organization for cat welfare raised the alarm after the film was released.

Chip the cat in the poster of the movie “Argylle”. Photo: Universal Pictures

“We’re not saying it’s Taylor’s fault for breeding this breed,” said Sarah Elliott, a veterinarian with Cats Protection, noting that for the majority of cat owners, “the breeders don’t say give them information about the genetic mutation. Owners only discover it after bringing the cat home and are often heartbroken when they learn that the pet has an incurable disease and must suffer lifelong pain.”

Swift often expressed her love for her three cats, even claiming that cats were the reason she agreed to participate in Tom Hooper’s musical film Cats even though the film was not highly rated.

Swift’s three cats appear with the singer in many advertisements, even her pet cat Olivia Benson is estimated to be worth $97 million when her owner is worth more than $1 billion. Famous singer Ed Sheeran, Swift’s close friend, also has a floppy-eared cat named Calippo.

Fold-eared cats are often considered ideal pets because they are docile and love to be pampered, according to a recent survey by a cat food company in the UK. However, according to Elliot, owners do not realize that the reason why folded-eared cats are docile and less naughty is because they have to endure pain.

Therefore, the Cat Fancy Governing Council (GCCF), the organization that registers cat pedigrees in the UK, does not recognize this breed. All folded-eared cats in the world are descended from a genetically mutated female cat in Scotland in 1961.

“We do not recognize it because the folded ear gene also causes abnormalities in bone development, stiff limbs and tail, and these symptoms gradually increase with age. We strongly recommend that people should not keep this breed of cat.” “, GCCF stated.

“Please think again and research carefully before getting a cat. Don’t watch TikTok or follow celebrities, but consult a veterinarian or animal charity organizations to get information. The most scientific about the breed of cat you intend to raise”, Elliot said.

Taylor Swift, 34 years old, was dubbed the “country music princess” of the American music industry when she first started her career. She debuted in 2006 and soon reaped many achievements. Besides her good singing voice, Taylor Swift also made an impression with her songwriting talent and is the main songwriter of songs in her career. After 10 albums, Taylor Swift received 12 Grammy awards, 29 Billboard awards and had success with many international tours. Last year, she launched The Eras Tour, which has so far achieved more than $1 billion in revenue, helping Taylor Swift become the only billionaire whose fortune is largely based on music, according to Forbes.

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