©VIARD M/HorizonFeatures/Leemage

Brussels bans hybrid and “fold” cats

The Brussels-Capital Region has heeded a request from animal rights organisations and imposed a ban on certain types of cat. In the case of hybrid cats, cat that are cross bred between domestic cats and wild cats, this is because they are not suited to living in captivity. In the case of breeds such as the Scottish fold that have folded down ears this is due to health issues. 

A hybrid cat is a cross between a domestic cat and a wild cat. Some breeds of cat such as the Bengal are in fact hybrid cats.

The Brussels regional Secretary of State responsible for animal welfare Bianca Debaets (Flemish Christian democrat) told VRT News that “This is a trend that has come from the United States. There domestic cats are crossed with wild cats. We know that their behaviour is not suited to them being kept in captivity. The amount of space they have is too limited. This is why these kinds of cat, for example the Bengal cat, may no longer be bred or sold in Brussel.       

Fold cats such as the Scottish fold such also be banned. "We know that these animals are cross-bred to ensure that their ears grow into a special shape. This is absolutely detrimental to the development of these cats. They suffer bone defects especial around their paws. They endure a great deal of pain which is why we are banning them in the Brussels-Capital Region.  

Although hybrid and fold cats may no longer be bred or sold in Brussels those that already have such a cat as a pet have no reason to worry. The can simply ask the regional environmental service for an exemption that will be valid until their pet passes away.  

A list of the breeds of cat that are effected by the new rules will be published of the regional environmental service’s website (in Dutch and French). 

©VIARD M./HorizonFeatures/Leemage