Should I buy a kitten with FCKS? Picture

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There are no guarantees that when you buy any kitten it will live a long and healthy life. Of course, it is the hope of every breeder that our kittens will have long lives and will not suffer from any unforseen illnesses, but there are always risks. A kitten with FCKS who lives to 12 or 13 weeks and does not seem otherwise less strong or healthy than its siblings should not necessarily have any less life expectancy than any other kitten, but it would be foolish to assume that there are no more risks with a kitten that has a deformity like this. Many FCKS kittens grow out of the condition, and I have not heard of many who reach 'saleable' age who do not live perfectly normal lives, as long as they are not obviously compromised. If the breeder has told you that the kitten has FCKS then that is a good thing, since they are not trying to pull the wool over your eyes, and you are going into this with your eyes open. NEVER by a kitten with FCKS, or a recovered FCKS kitten or cat for breeding. You are asking for trouble. It is also highly inadvisable to buy or keep a breeding cat from a litter where siblings have had FCKS: breeding is risky enough with the things we don't know about without increasing the risks with something you do know about.

Some guides:

If the kitten -

  • is the same size as its siblings
  • is active and energetic
  • has no detectable signs of illness or deformity (e.g. a heart murmur or kyphosis) other than a flat chest
- then it has every chance of leading a normal life.

If the kitten -

  • is significantly smaller than its siblings
  • does not play as actively as the other kittens
  • has any other condition in addition to the obvious flat chest
- then the chances are that it may not have a long life, and could involve you in vets bills and early heartbreak. However, this is not a reason NOT to take the kitten. Every young animal has a right to love and the warmth of a loving home: with the breeder it may not get the time you could give it (because they probably have several other cats), so even though its life may not be very long, you could give it the special love and attention that will make its life special and happy.

The most immediate problems you should encounter are when it comes to neutering. The heart, though it sounds OK, may be slightly damaged, and that means that spaying/neutering, when the cat needs a general anaesthetic, is a risk time. Talk to your vet about it if you are in doubt, provide him/her with the information leaflets from this website, and take every precaution possible before and during surgery (e.g. risk-minimizing anaesthetics such as Propofol/Rapinovet; full anaesthesia with intubation rather than just 'injection' anaesthetic; pre-operative anti-histamine to guard against vaccine reaction; a veterinary nurse monitoring the heart with a stethoscope throughout the operation (a heart monitor does not pick up on changes in heart sound, only a faltering or erratic beat, by which time the damage has been done). All these things may be more expensive, unless your vet (like mine) does all these things as standard, so be aware of this before you buy the kitten). If the cat comes through neutering fine (and most do), then you should not have any more unusual expenses that you would not have with any other cat.

A 'flattie' is special: it will have had extra special love and attention from its breeder, and will probably be a much more affectionate pet as a result. The breeder may also feel much more attached to the kitten, and will look for a special home for him. If you are prepared to give one of these special kittens a home, then you will be a special owner too.

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