Did you know that the beautiful Scottish Fold felines have their distinctive folded ears due to natural dominant mutation in the Fd gene? Or that Manx cats, a breed originating from the Isle of Man, have a small stub instead of a tail due to a naturally occurring mutation?
Well, some of the genetic anomalies can result in very interesting differences in physical appearance. Just think of Instagram’s supawstars like Midas the cat taking the internet by storm with its four ears, or the deceased Grumpy Cat whose ‘grumpy appearance’ was due to underbite and feline dwarfism.
So this post is about the tricks of nature that resulted in unusual and occasionally even wholesome genetic surprises in the animal kingdom. After you’re done with this post, be sure to check out Bored Panda’s previous feature about unique-looking pets!
This blue-eyed kitten’s face was precisely divided into two halves: a gray half and a black half, and everyone was surprised when they first saw him.
Genetic mutations which lead to alterations in the physical appearance of cats are designated as body-type mutations. According to Basepawsin the wild, mutations that lead to the unusual appearance of cats would often quickly disappear from the population because unique-looking individuals would fail to breed in large numbers.
But in domestic cats, some of these body-type mutations like folded ears can be considered an attractive feature, and so breeders select them and they perpetuate within the domestic cat population. Having said that, it’s important to highlight the fact that such mutations, even if considered attractive, are not always healthy for our pets and can have a huge impact on a pet’s health.
Among many genetic mutations found in cats, the ones that alter ears are especially appealing in breeds. Think of the internet’s beloved folded ears, which is a trait associated with a natural dominant mutation in the Fd gene. Basepaws writes that the mutation is specific to the Scottish Fold breed, whose ears are folded forward and down to different degrees of folding. However, this gene is also associated with cartilage defects such as swollen feet and a thickened tail. The mutation is harmful in homozygous form (Fd Fd) and it’s why breeders breed folds only with non-folds to avoid homozygous fold offspring.
Able was born with a birth defect leaving her with no joints in her back legs causing her to walk like a crab and Percy was born with deformed back legs so she walks on her two front legs. They are becoming best of friends.