Monday, September 25, 2006

GM cats? What is the world coming to.

This morning, as I struggled into consciousness, I heard something very weird on the radio.

In America you can now buy Hypoallergenic cats.

I checked out the website of the breeders and it would seem that these cats are nearly $4000 worth of fluffy, non sneezy itchy cuteness. They claim the cats are not genetically modified, but genetically divergent.

To me the notion of a 'lifestyle pet' seems wrong; surely a living breathing animal shouldn't be reduced to a fashion accessory - but then I got thinking about the reasons for having a pet in the first place. I suppose on one level any animal you choose to bring into your home and care for will change your lifestyle, whether it be pure bred, hypoallergenic or moggie.

I started wondering if our hens were 'lifestyle pets'. After all, we chose them on the basis of their egg colour, a genetic difference that means Omelet lays blue eggs - very fashionable and expensive to buy these days, Scramble lays white eggs, and Margo lays dark brown eggs. At some point in the history of chickens someone selectively bred those birds to produce those egg colours. Am I as bad as the folk who will rush out to buy a non itchy kitten?

Then I pondered the reasons for getting the hens in the first place. We want to eat free range eggs from happy hens who are well treated. What a fashionable notion. What an admirable lifestyle.

Despite this comparison I don't think I have crossed the line into the chicken equivalent of Paris-Hilton-diamond-wearing-miniature-handbag-dog just yet. If I was getting a new cat, I would be getting it from the RSPCA, and I doubt very much if it would be hypoallergenic. In fact if Nicks's last RSPCA cat is anything to go by it would be the exact opposite - a moulting, dribbling, incontinent moggie with a kind heart.


Blogger Christian Briddon said...

As someone who loves cat's but is very allergic to them I can understand why an allergy free moggy would be a good thing.

I think I will wait until there is a cure for me though rather than the cat.

6:29 PM  

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