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A breed of mutant owl-like cats made popular by Taylor Swift and Ed Sheeran should be banned because their genes...

A breed of mutant owl-like cats made popular by Taylor Swift and Ed Sheeran should be banned because their genes make them prone to arthritis, according to campaigners.

Scottish fold cats are known for their adorable floppy ears and prominent whiskers that make it look like they are smiling.

But experts have warned that the genetic mutation which causes the breed’s appearance could make the animals vulnerable to health problems.

Veterinary internal medicine specialist Dr Richard Malik of Sydney University said breeding the cats is ‘cruel’ and ‘ethically indefensible’.

Scottish fold cats are known for their adorable floppy ears and prominent whiskers that make it look like they are smiling.Taylor Swift, pictured above left, has one named Olivia Benson

It is thought that the cartilage abnormality which causes their ears to fold forward could also cause joint problems.

The Scottish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SSPCA) is calling for the SNP government to ban breeding of the animals.

SSPCA chief superintendent Mike Flynn told The Times: ‘It is common for the breed to suffer from serious health problems.

‘The cartilage and bones do not develop properly, which leads to arthritis and other painful joint diseases that can cause reluctance to move, abnormal posture and gait, lameness and short, misshapen limbs.’

‘We welcome any change to legislation to prevent the breeding and sale of Scottish fold cats.’

Experts have warned the genetic mutation which causes the Scottish fold breed’s appearance could make the animals vulnerable to health problems

SSPCA chief superintendent Mike Flynn said it is ‘common’ for the Scottish fold breed, pictured above, to suffer from health problems

A Scottish Government spokesman said: ‘There is currently no breeding ban on the Scottish fold cat or restrictions on cat breeding in Scotland.

‘However, we are currently considering the issue of pet breeding as part of an ongoing review of pet welfare.

‘The Scottish government would encourage anyone breeding any type of animal to avoid breeding from any individual animals with genetic problems likely to give rise to ill health.’

A Scottish Government spokesman said: ‘There is currently no breeding ban on the Scottish fold cat or restrictions on cat breeding in Scotland’

It is thought that the cartilage abnormality which causes Scottish fold cats, pictured above, to have floppy ears could also create joint problems

Swift’s┬ácat is named Olivia Benson – after Mariska Hargitay’s sex crimes detective character from NBC’s Law & Order.

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