Persian, exotic shorthair, Burmese and Himalayan cats share a particular skull morphology. Its facial structure is shorter and wider than that of other feline breeds. Consequently, their nasolacrimal duct is smaller, which entails certain disadvantages for their well-being.
This circumstance triggers certain inconveniences, the most severe being the brachycephalic syndrome or congenital obstructive disease of the upper respiratory tract. In the following lines we delve into the symptoms and the treatment of these anomalies.
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Brachycephalic cats, breeds and characteristics
Flat-faced cats owe their peculiar features to genetic selection, the result of selective breeding that has historically pursued purely aesthetic purposes . In fact, Persian cats are globally appreciated and have been used to create a multitude of breeds with their particular sweet and affectionate stamp.
However, in view of the respiratory pathologies and the problems associated with them suffered by these specimens, many experts agree that their breeding and selection should be limited .
Let’s see which are the main breeds of brachycephalic cats and their main characteristics.
The persian cat
Worldwide known and loved for its tender gaze, the Persian is a cat with compact lines and long, dense hair. It is believed that it comes from the crossing of the Turkish Angora with the Pallas cat, a native of present-day Iran.
Its characteristic beauty lies precisely in its flat face and its large eyes, which are very expressive. Being a brachycephalic breed, you should not neglect the daily hygiene of their eyes with physiological saline or chamomile to prevent the skin from oxidizing due to continuous tearing and developing dermatitis.
- Characteristics of the Persian cat
The exotic shorthair cat
This breed is the short-haired version of the Persian cat. Therefore, it shares with her the robust corpulence and the short legs and tail. Its distinguishing feature is that the upper part of the nose must coincide with the lower eyelid . In turn, the jog should be located in the middle part of the eyes.
Like the Persians they are calm specimens that appreciate domestic life, they are affectionate and easy to train.
Also known as the Sacred of Burma, due to its origin in ancient Myanmar, it is a feline with semi-long hair and a slender as well as muscular body. Its most outstanding peculiarity are its eyes of an intense blue and the white spots , like gloves, on its legs, on the tip of its tail and on the ends of its ears.
Halfway between the Persian and the Siamese, it is less flat than the Persian but requires the same care to ensure its full well-being. Due to its playful, patient and curious nature, it is an ideal breed for families with children.
- Complete information on the Burmese cat breed
The himalayan cat
The result of the crossing of Siamese and Persians, this brachycephalic breed with a more or less flat nose is born. It has inherited the color point pattern of the Siamese and its penetrating eyes, while the Persian comes with its abundant and long cloak. They are docile and affectionate cats that appreciate the company of humans.
Brachycephalic cat health problems
The fact that the nasolacrimal duct of these specimens is shorter than that of the rest of the breeds has two clear consequences: a continuous tearing that requires extreme eye hygiene and their soft palate forces them to be kept away from stress and high temperatures.
- Symptoms of stress in cats
The narrowing of the nostrils or nostrils and the shortening of the trachea justify the prohibition of airlines to travel with these breeds . Their morphology makes them especially susceptible to heat stroke, a situation that is aggravated by stress and heat, inherent in traveling in the hold of an airplane.
Brachycephalic syndrome manifests itself in shortness of breath or noisy breathing, coughing, and intolerance to physical exercise. They are cats that tend to pant when exposed to exercise for a certain time.
To these signs of discomfort are added other disorders (gastrointestinal, eye, dental and skin) that we develop below:
- Ocular dysfunctions are due to the obstruction of the tear ducts that prevent tears from draining internally. This continuous dripping oxidizes the skin, showing it a brownish hue. You should clean your eyes daily using physiological serum, chamomile or specific solutions to prevent injuries in this area.
- Cranial deformations lead to dental conditions over time that can only be prevented with careful and regular dental hygiene. To do this, you must use a suitable toothbrush and a low-fluoride toothpaste (specific for cats).
- Excess secretions lead to dermatitis in the folds of the face. To avoid this, these folds, especially those in the nose area, must be sanitized with an antiseptic solution once a week.
Not all brachycephalic cats have to show all of these symptoms. Therefore, the veterinarian must prescribe a personalized treatment . The most used resource is usually surgery in order to correct malformations of the nares and soft palate.
Some cats appreciate the application of artificial tears, especially when they reach an advanced age, and all of them, regardless of their age, should follow a low-calorie diet to prevent obesity at all costs, since it would anticipate brachycephalic syndrome or it would aggravate it .
In short, we could say that brachycephalic cat breeds must pay a certain price for their peculiar beauty. Therefore, if you are the owner of one of these felines, do not neglect the care it requires or expose it to an excessive level of activity, and even less if it is to high temperatures.