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Can cats have down syndrome?

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 
We got in a cat today that doesn't look like any other cat I have seen. It has a huge front head, and it's eyes are set far apart. The skull is solid, but almost seems harder than normal. We were checking it out, and come to the conclusion it looks like it has down syndrome. The person who found the cat also said it walks sideways?

I am really curious if anyone has heard anything like this.
post #2 of 21
I'm not 100 % sure but I don't think they can have it. There are some breeds that have those physical characteristics you mentioned....except for the walking sideways part.
post #3 of 21
Is it a normal cat other than all that stuff?
post #4 of 21
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Is it a normal cat other than all that stuff?
It's body seems pretty normal. It was really clean for being a "stray" cat too. It likes to be scratched underneath the chin. That's normal.

I wish I had a picture of her/him so you could see what I am talking about. Of course one of the days I don't have my digital with me.
post #5 of 21
not to my knowledge. i believe down syndrome is a genetic disorder associated only with humans. genetic disorders do occur in animals though (just not downs). so it could have some genetic abnormality. i wish i had a picture. i am curious to see what the extent of the kitties features are affected. can it still eat/see/hear normally? has it been seen by a vet about it's legs?
post #6 of 21
I do know that cats can be born with microcephalia and hydrocephalia.
Perhaps this cat is hydrocephalic?
post #7 of 21
Cats can also have cleft palate and it can affect how far apart their eyes are, if they survive. It's also possible the cat has some hydrocephalic disorder, like someone else mentioned.

In general, though... I don't think genetic disorders are as well described and studied as cats as they are in humans.
post #8 of 21
My vet has a cat that looks like that, very wideset eyes and a flat face. The cat also seemed to have dry skin, oily fur, and was overweight too. Behavior was normal though, very sweet kitty. If I see the kitty out again during a future visit I'll probably ask.
post #9 of 21
Thread Starter 
I will try to swing by my work tomorrow and take a picture. I really need to get to the bottom of this in the next few days. It's very important. I seem to remember a kitten coming through the shelter with simular features.

I think this cat is okay because like I said it's around 2 years old and has survived this far.
post #10 of 21
Well, Down's syndrome in humans is caused by having three of Chromosome 21 instead of the normal two. The extra dosage is what causes the problems. So since cats don't have the same chromosomes we do (both numberwise and what is on each chromosome), I would think that they wouldn't have the exact same disorder that humans do, but they could very possibly have something that might as well be the same thing. A kitty version of Down's, you might say. I don't know if it ever really happens, but theoretically it might be possible.
post #11 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by strange_wings View Post
My vet has a cat that looks like that, very wideset eyes and a flat face. The cat also seemed to have dry skin, oily fur, and was overweight too. Behavior was normal though, very sweet kitty. If I see the kitty out again during a future visit I'll probably ask.
You could be seeing some breed characteristics, too.

Doesn't anyone remember biology class in high school, or college... Down Syndrome is trisomy 21, meaning three copies of chromosome 21. I'm not sure how many chromosomes cats have, but there is probably a syndrome that causes more than two copies of any certain chromosome in cats, but it wouldn't be analogous to Down Syndrome...
post #12 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sandtigress View Post
Well, Down's syndrome in humans is caused by having three of Chromosome 21 instead of the normal two. The extra dosage is what causes the problems. So since cats don't have the same chromosomes we do (both numberwise and what is on each chromosome), I would think that they wouldn't have the exact same disorder that humans do, but they could very possibly have something that might as well be the same thing. A kitty version of Down's, you might say. I don't know if it ever really happens, but theoretically it might be possible.

Oh, you beat me to it! Sorry!
post #13 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by Godiva View Post
You could be seeing some breed characteristics, too.
None at all, she's a DSH mix. The space between the eyes was really noticeable at that, not just slightly wide, at least an 1 1/2". I was suspecting some sort of birth defect or possibly born premature if that would cause face deformity and/or other health problems too.
post #14 of 21
Down's is a human chromosomal disorder, and doesn't occur in cats...I think you just have interesting looking DSH.
post #15 of 21
It just occured to me that maybe you should ask your vet to check this cat over.
The vet clinic I used back in Seattle had one of the most unusal cats I'd ever seen. He was a clinic resident named Joe.

I asked about his breed and unusual looks and they told me it was due to massive reconstructive surgery after he'd been hit by a large truck.
Which is also how he became the clinic resident cat.
post #16 of 21
The walking side ways could also be some sort of vestibular issue - might have the Vet check that out!
post #17 of 21
Does the cat look similar to the cat at the top of this page? (Warning, images may be disturbing to some):

http://www.messybeast.com/freak-face.htm
post #18 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by okeefecl View Post
Does the cat look similar to the cat at the top of this page? (Warning, images may be disturbing to some):

http://www.messybeast.com/freak-face.htm
Awww... Those are some disturbing images which is a shame as the article itself is actually very interesting and I found the pictures too hard to concentrate on it
post #19 of 21
My RB cat BC had a twin that I was also supposed to adopt, but at three days she was pts as having a very severe case of hydrochephaly.

We (the vets and I) were also fairly certain that BC had brain abnormalities which resulted in his very nasty behavior.

Those pictures are indeed quite disturbing and thankfully, I've never witnessed more than a few abnormal cats and none as severe as some of those pictured.
post #20 of 21
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Does the cat look similar to the cat at the top of this page?
Yes! More like the one on the right, but this cat we have at the shelter is really cute. However I am not sure that what the cat in the picture has is what this cat does. That is usually a terminal condition, we just had to put a pug to sleep that was 2 months old because of the same condition. So when I see this cat, it's older. An adult. So somehow he made it through life okay. Ugh..He really stole my heart. I put him on the vet check book, but there is nothing medically we can do for him if he needs it. We are just set up to spay and nueter animals. Once in awhile remove a leg or an eye if needed.

Anyway I will be going to the shelter when I drop my dog off at the groomers. I will get my picture then and show you all.
post #21 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by okeefecl View Post
Does the cat look similar to the cat at the top of this page? (Warning, images may be disturbing to some):

http://www.messybeast.com/freak-face.htm
Wow I didn't even know that some of those things were possible Those poor kitties
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