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inbreeding cats - questions re: ethics and health issues

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
I had a 10-month old Siberian kitten that just got very sick and died. FIP was suspected but autopsy was inconclusive. I was looking at his pedigree certificate yesterday out of curiosity and I noticed that not one but *both* of his parents were the direct products of incestuous pairings (their fathers were bred with their daughters).

I know that breeders often make inbred pairings, but pairing together *two* cats who were the result of inbred pairings!!!???

How much of a problem is this, from an ethical perspective and also the possibility that serious health problems could be caused in such inbred kittens? Am I over-reacting, or is this a really big deal?

Thanks for any help!
post #2 of 9
I don't really have any answers for you but I don't think you are over reacting. You probably paid good money for that kitten and it died. And if it died as a direct result of in-breeding, I think that you should contact the breeder and ask for them to replace your kitten with one who was NOT born from inbred parents. I don't understand why a breeder would pair up 2 inbred cats to breed. I also don't understand why any breeders would inbreed at all.

BTW- im sorry you lost your kitten.. RiP..
post #3 of 9
I'm very sorry about your kitten. Does your breeder offer a health guarantee? I think I would contact them, if you haven't already, at least to let them know what's happened.

I don't breed cats, but as far as the decision to breed your kitten's parents, I think a lot would depend on if those two cats were from the same lines. Even if they were both linebred, if they are from different lines, the resulting kittens should be more genetically diverse than either parent... Right? I'm sure someone with experience in working with cat genetics could offer some insight.

RIP little kitty.
post #4 of 9
FIP is not genetic. It is a corona virus mutated usually by environment. Most cats have or have been exposed to corona in their life as a fact of life. But certain circumstances and sometimes a complete unexplained case can cause FIP. There is no definitive cause for FIP and no genetic relationship has been made. Most breeders will say the higher the numbers in household, the more stressed ect the more likely FIP develops. I have also been told by some old breeders a person is likely to see it sometime in their breeding career and it usually happens when a kitten is 6-9 months.

However, there are some holistic research ideas out there as well. Have you visited Dr Addies site? Also, many vets misdiagnose FIP. There are other issues that mirrior it and if the necropsy was inconclusive its hard to say.
I am not saying your vet was wrong by any means or your situation and I am truly sorry for your loss .

Now for inbreeding. A cat shouldn't be linebred that close on both sides and I know of few breeders that do nor should it be done.
The one thing I would ask is if parents were HCM scanned as linebreeding shouldn't be done especially that close without health tests and HCM is a possibility of linebreeding. Inbreeding and linebreeding are needed and done to set type in Siberians because we are a young breed and the Russian continent is HUGE and therefore type is so varied its not even worth discussing. But a breeder without showing experience, genetic knowledge and a mentor shouldn't be doing this and even then that close is completely wrong. I don't linebreed because I don't feel I have sufficient knowledge to do so in my lines. After 5-6 generations and health tests, I might on one side for a particular litter but then its not likely. None of my cats are linebred but some have common ancestors 5 generations back.

So my questions are: did your contract state FIP was a covered illness, are you getting a replacement kitten and you do need to wait some time to get a new kitten.

BTW the Siberian per some studies show the Siberian has the largest gene pool to date. My personal goal is to widen the gene pool and still stay true to type even if it mean more pet kittens.

My advice: read your contract, clean the house throughly and find out total number of cats and conditions (referrals and vet references as well as former pet families) work well. Its a better shot than knowing nothing at all.

I am a Siberian breeder and have placed into homes that have lost kittens to FIP and HCM but thankfully thus far haven't had the problems myself but I have 2 males and 3 females in my program in a 6 bedroom house who aren't caged and kept clean. There are many more like me and thats all I will get my cats from. I also look for a good diet and not overvaccinated as immune system issues can arise from those above.
post #5 of 9
In response to cat genetics:
Linebred cats do make strong type and I have one girl here who is linebred (gg grandfather to gg granddaughter) but wouldn't put her with a related male.
Breeding linebred cats together does make them more diverse but they still can carry genetic drift and should be throughly health tested for genetics and problems prior to breeding.
post #6 of 9
moonandstarkatz: Actuarally there is a genetic part in FIP. cat can be genetically predisposed to develop FIP, but of course it has to be infected with FECoV in order to develop FIP. It's recommended that breeding cats that produce several offspring that develop FIP shoult be retired due to this genetic factor.

iweitzen: Inbreeding is always a sensitive issue since breeders often use it to create strong type in their cats, but inbreeding can also affect the health negatively. Inbreeding means a loss in genetic variation. This is exactly what breeders want to have when it comes to type, you want as little variation as possible in order to get as well typed and even typed cats as possible. Sadly a loss of genetic variation increase the risk for recessive defects/diseases to pop up AND what's not as obvious is the weakening of the immune system. The more genetic variation -> the stronger the immune system gets.

Even if you breed an inbred cat with an unrelated inbred cat of the same breed you have to count on the offspring getting less genetic variation than it would if you would breed non-inbred cats with each other. This because a breed is a closed population and you only have a certain number of alleles within the gene pool. When you cross-breed you theoretically get as much genetic variation as possible.

So inbreeding isn't an easy subject at all...
post #7 of 9
http://www.cfa.org/articles/health/FIP.html is a good article I came across. bottom line, we still don't know much and according to research inbreeding itself is not a factor for FIP development from corona virus.
post #8 of 9
Originally Posted by moonandstarkatz View Post
http://www.cfa.org/articles/health/FIP.html is a good article I came across. bottom line, we still don't know much and according to research inbreeding itself is not a factor for FIP development from corona virus.
Of course inbreeding is a factor in the cases where there's a genetic predisposition. The whole cheetah population is ver inbred and extremely sensitive when it comes to FIP.

If we inbreed cats that are predisposed to develop FIP (cats that genetically are weaker) we'll get more cats with the same genetic weakness. Breeders use inbreeding in order to establish good type, we can just as easily establish genetic susceptibility for FIP by using the very same tool. It's not realistic to think we can wipe out the Feline Enteric Corona Virus but it is realistic to breed sound (avoid breeding genetically predisposed indivuals), reducing stress and keeping our cats in general good healht.

There's a great report on what's happening on FIP research here.
post #9 of 9
You do find that in pedigrees, however if they were watching they should have never paired a breeding like that IMO - one side would have been ok, not both. In the early stages of a breed (like the rex) you would find it close for awhile to set in certain things, then outcross and bring it back.

You can bring in both good and bad traits. If too many bad traits show up - then these cats should not be bred again.
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