Cat with down syndrome

Cat with Down syndrome

Can cats have down syndrome? It is one of the most controversial issues for cat lovers these days. A group of cat parents believe that cats may have Down syndrome. Another group does not believe it. 

“The short answer is no! cats can’t have down syndrome, but they may have similar symptoms like down syndrome in their behavioral traits and physical dereliction”

In this guide, we discuss the genetic mutation of cats that can occur in down syndrome traits. Let’s read into the next to know the potential reasons for a cat’s physical and behavioral abnormalities.

What is a down syndrome?

Down syndrome refers to congenital physical or intellectual defects of a human. It happens due to a chromosomal defect. A human’s most common down syndrome symptoms include low muscle tone, short stature and a flattened face, flat nasal bridge, reduced IQ, a short & stocky physical frame, and loose joints.

Why do humans have down syndrome?

One in every 700 children in the United States is born with Down syndrome. Usually, a healthy child has 23 pairs of chromosomes in each cell. There a down syndrome affected child has three copies of the 21 chromosomes. Because of having these additional copy chromosomes, a human can have down syndrome. It is also called trisomy 21. 

Can cats have down syndrome? If not, then why?

No, cats have no down syndrome because they do have not a similar chromosome to a human. For example, a human has 23 chromosomes, and a cat has 19 chromosomes. Remember that down syndrome occurs from the abnormalities of the 21 chromosomes. Since the cat has no 21 chromosomes, it is obvious that they don’t have down syndrome. 

What Causes Down Syndrome-Like Symptoms in Cats?

Feline Panleukopenia:

Feline Panleukopenia means the reduction of white blood cells. And due to the lack of white blood cells, a cat can lose their diseases, preventing power and falling into sickness and infections. It is somewhat like the parvovirus of a dog. It can cause symptoms such as Down syndrome in cats. The common symptoms of panleukopenia are vomiting, tiredness and diarrhea. 

Cerebellar Hypoplasia:

When a mother cat is affected by panleukopenia, cerebellar hypoplasia may affect a kitten. It causes intellectual problems because it doesn’t develop the cerebellum incorrectly. 


If your cat got any serious injuries in its head, face or nose, it can cause serious down syndrome like a problem. In this case, the cat may get sick physically and mentally. 

Toxic Chemicals:

Symptoms such as Down syndrome can occur in any cat due to ingestion of toxic chemicals. It is especially true for the kittens if their mother ingests something toxic during pregnancy. 

Genetic Disorder:

A genetic disorder is another potential reason for a cat being affected by down syndrome like diseases. 

The common down syndrome-like Abnormalities in cat

Although the word ” down syndrome ” has become popular within the past few years, the international cat association doesn’t recognize this as down syndrome. However, there have some physical and intellectual inconsistencies in some cats. That is the so-called “Down syndrome in a cat. Here are the common down syndrome cat symptoms that is similar to a human down syndrome. 

  • Upturned eyes 
  • Small or unusual ears
  • Difficulty walking
  • Heart problems
  • Behaviour different 
  • Small or oddly shaped ears
  • Problems with vision
  • Difficulty with elimination 
  • Hearing or vision loss
  • Eyes set abnormally wide apart
  • Motor dysfunction
  • Low muscle tone
  • Flat or upturned nose

What to do with Behavioral Abnormalities in cat?

Remember that down-syndrome like abnormalities never mean that your cat is affected by down syndrome. So, it may not happen from the genetic structure. Keep in mind; that the physical and intellectual fault may occur because of a genetic disorder, neurological diseases and trauma. 

Besides, a pregnant cat may take toxic that can impact the kitten, like a down syndrome. It can distort the appearance of little cats. Also, those who get head, face, nose or face injuries at a very young age can be looks weird at their adult age. 

Care for the cat who has down syndrome like problems

If your cat is suffering from a physical and intellectual disorder, he would be considered a “special needed cat”. A special needed cat requires much care and maintenance. If they are partially disabled, they will not be able to play and roam with another cat. In that case, you have to give him more time. Appropriate treatment should be started for the physical disorder.

Sometimes, the owner has to feed the special needed cat and help with pee and potty. Besides, the owner can arrange several exercises for their physically disordered cat. Similarly, a mentally disordered cat needs additional care. In this case, the owner needs to know how to care for a cat with down syndrome.

Cat with down syndrome for sale

Surprising to hear but it is true that cat with down syndrome is found for sale and buy. Many cat lovers want to adopt them because of their external defects. Special need cat is derived from the owner in most cases. But there has some kind-hearted cat owner they love to adopt or buy a down syndrome cat. And they later take care of this cat, trying to recover

Maya cat with down syndrome

Maya is a cat that born with chromosomal abnormalities. Although most of the guys think that maya has down syndrome but cat can’t have down syndrome. Due to the physical defects Maya has been the victim of many discriminations. Even it was decided to execute him. But fortunately, Maya has fostered by a kind-hearted couple. That couple give her a beautiful life. 


  1. What is wrong with Monty the cat?

Monty is a popular cat on the Instagram account because of her flat and wide nose. According to the opinion of social media, Monty is born without a nasal bone. But No one can be sure whether he was born without a nose bone. Many have speculated that Monty may have had a flat nose for injuries or nasal infection in their childhood.

  1. Can cats have intellectual disorders?

Yes, a cat can have disorders and mental disabilities intellectually. If the mother cat gets sick from any toxic, then it may affect the kitten, leading to their intelligence-based problems. Besides, a cat can be affected by mental disability due to head injuries.

  1. How can you tell if your cat has Down syndrome?

Cats can’t have down syndrome because of the less number chromosome than a human. Where a human has 23 pairs of chromosomes, a cat has 19 pairs. Down syndrome can occur from the additional chromosomal copies of 21pairs since the cat has not had 21 pairs of chromosomes, so they cannot have any down syndrome.

Core note:

There is no cat with down syndrome because they can’t get affected by it. But some cats exist with several down syndrome-like symptoms. The main reasons for getting sick with down syndrome are toxic chemicals, genetic disorders, trauma, etc. A cat with down syndrome cat is considered a special needed cat. And a special needed cat requires special care and maintenance from the owner.

About the author

Megan D

This is Megan D, the loving mom of all cats. She has been working with cat well fair organization as a cat lover since last few years. Personally, she has ownership of a cat shelter for helpless stray cats. Megan loves to research on all breeds of cat and fond of sharing all experience with the worldwide cat-loving human.

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