American Association of Feline Practitioners

Veterinary professionals passionate about the care of cats

2024 Responsible Breeding

2024 Responsible Breeding in Feline Medicine Position Statement

Download - Full Position Statement on Responsible Breeding in Feline Medicine Position Statement 

The AAFP supports the health and welfare of cats, placing overall wellbeing at the forefront of veterinary healthcare for every cat. In regard to the breeding of cats, the veterinarian has the ethical and moral responsibility to advocate for the welfare and comfort of the cat, independent of the breeder/caregiver’s desire for certain breed practices and standards or characteristics. The cat’s health, behavioral, and environmental needs are to be considered for the welfare and comfort of the cat.  

As a consequence of selective breeding for appearance or other traits considered desirable, certain breeds of cats are at increased risk of pathology and poor wellbeing. The AAFP does not support the breeding of cats in which welfare is compromised or negatively impacted. Veterinarians should implement preventive genetic and health testing (eg, echocardiography screening for hypertrophic cardiomyopathy) as part of diagnostics to provide state-of-the-art healthcare. Genetic tests are widely available for certain diseases, as well as coat length, colors, and other traits in various cat breeds. With the help of genetic and other health screening, many inherited disorders in cats can be prevented and eradicated, and support precise and individualized veterinary healthcare.

The AAFP does not support breeding based solely on appearance when health concerns and feline welfare are not prioritized. While veterinarians will continue to provide appropriate healthcare for all cats, the AAFP does not condone the breeding of cats with inherent malformations, such as Scottish Folds and Manx, and any breed with severe brachycephaly or other compromised conformation. The AAFP encourages increased awareness of, and further research into, these breeds and their associated health issues to garner a better appreciation and understanding of the welfare impacts on these cats.

The AAFP strongly supports the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) and condemns the illegal importation of all wild felids. The AAFP opposes the breeding of wild felids (non-domestic cats) with domestic cats and discourages ownership of early-generation hybrid cats on the grounds of both animal welfare and public safety concerns.

In order to educate veterinary professionals, veterinary team members, and clients/caregivers toward these goals, the following resources are available: