Help Precious Breath, A Story of Breath and Beauty 09/15/2022 By Kerry S Precious, who has taken the title of Duchess in her foster’s household, needs your help to be able to breathe! She is an exotic shorthair with brachiocephalic features and an inverted nose (double whammy!) This is due to purposeful breeding practices that try and get desirable cosmetic traits of a big-eyed, “flat-faced” or “grumpy cat” look. Flat-Faced cats are a brachycephalic cat. What is a brachycephalic cat? Brachy means shortened and cephalic means head, so to break it down, brachycephalic means shortened head and in brachycephalic cats this is because the skull bones are far shorter than the average, healthy cat. As the face and nose are more pushed in, their anatomy and soft tissue is altered which causes a wealth of physical problems. Flat-faced cats first became popular in the 1950’s when a kitten was born with a genetic mutation that gave them a flatter face. Over time this became very desirable so more kittens were bred with this feature in mind. This extreme practice of breeding cats has become far worse as of late with the attempt of making them look more flat-faced, but this comes at the cost of their health and quality of life. Essentially, she was bred not to breathe and then left at a shelter when her health problems became too great. Her nostrils are extremely small and when she tries to breathe in through the nose, the nostrils collapse, and minimal air can move through the already tiny nasal passages. Because she has to breathe with her mouth it makes eating, grooming, drinking water, activity, and even purring very difficult. These difficulties lead to full body acne from not being able to groom, kidney issues from being dehydrated, and overall limited quality of life. The Duchess just wants to play but she is not able to because she gets out of breath. It is heartbreaking to watch. We could not let her suffer in a shelter. We were compelled to help her. Thankfully, the University of Minnesota veterinarian surgeons can make her nasal passages bigger and remove tissue blocking the nasal passages. This is a “life-changing” surgery but could cost up to $3000 dollars, which is A LOT for a rescue organization. Fortunately, we have funds designated for emergency care that allow us to take on special cases such as this. And the U of M also discounts services to help non-profit rescue organizations. Any support we receive will not only help Precious with this surgery but other flat-faced breeds who we do corrective surgery on and keep saving animals like her and those with health needs. Despite Duchess Precious’s challenges, she is the sweetest, leather chair-loving, bird-watching, bed-stealing, and brush-loving cat and we hope we can help her live like royalty! Pet Haven regularly takes in pets that need non-standard and emergency medical care who are often left behind in shelters. We believe in high-quality medical care and partner with veterinary medicine professionals to provide this care. We are grateful for our partnerships and the ability they provide us to care for cats like Duchess Precious! If you would like to give a gift of support to our non-standard and emergency medical fund please gift to Phoenix Fund in honor of Precious! Thank you!