11 years ago I registered my cattery name, with the purpose and focus to mitigate HCM in my beloved breed. I had experienced the suffocating loss of two pet Sphynx to this insidious disease, and I pledged to spend my life fighting for, and protecting this breed in honor of my departed boys.
September 26th, 2020 Dr. Kathryn Meurs of NCSU shared with me the incredible news that she had finally identified a mutation in Sphynx responsible for about 60% of the HCM cases we see in the breed. Along with many other breeders I submitted my DNA samples the moment the test was developed and am eagerly waiting for all of my results.
Health has always been my top priority, and while I share in everyone’s concern and uncertainty while we all wait with trepidation, hope shines through. I am so grateful for this additional tool, and feel an ever stronger resolution to defeat this disease. Please don’t mistake my positivity for naivety, I know I will be affected by this gene in my breeding program. This has always been an occult and complicated disease, and this new tool allows us to bring it out of hiding, if only slightly. But I am encouraged at the prospect of breeding out this gene altogether from my program, and I’m ready to get to work!
I have always maintained a somewhat unusual transparency in my breeding program. I have always tried to embody my personal vision of a perfect breeder. Some may view this as zealotry, and frankly that’s probably kind of accurate, but I will not reel in my passion. My inception in the breed as a grieving pet owner likely plays a role in shaping my ideals of breeding ethics. I know many sphynx breeders and enthusiasts espouse these same ideals, and we are in this fight together.
So, with transparency in mind, I pledge to share all of my results when I receive them, for each of my cats. I believe it is the right thing to do. I cannot dictate what other breeder’s choose to do, nor would I want to, but I can stand up for those who might be reticent to share. I can show that my love for my breed, and my gratitude for this new tool, supersedes any concern I have for what others might say. I can support the honesty and transparency in other breeders, and celebrate this new journey that we will all experience in our respective programs. I can be a voice for pet owners, and support their right to be privy to test results that might affect their cats or future adoptions. The Sphynx breeding community has a history of weaponizing this disease against one another, and we have been given an opportunity to change that destructive, divisive pattern this time around.
I am also committing to paying for every kitten I have ever produced to be tested (except in the case the results of the parents can unequivocally determine the results of the offspring). I will do so in a staggered fashion so I don’t delay breeder’s getting their results, and I will share those results as well. I will follow the recommendations of Dr. Meurs in regards to breeding and will not breed two heterozygous cats together, and I will spay or neuter any homozygous positive cats. I will DNA test every kitten I produce moving forward (except in the case the results of the parents can unequivocally determine the results of the offspring), and I will share this information with prospective adopters prior to their adoptions.
I am grateful for all of the breeders who have been tirelessly devoted to improving our breed. I owe you EVERYTHING, because you all share the incredible honor of preserving and protecting this breed, and this breed is my world. I am grateful for all of the breeders who came before us, who dreamed of this day and who passed on to us the responsibility of doing right by our breed and the people who love them.