Skip To Content
  • Viral badge

This Vet Is Exposing How Some Of The Cutest Animals Live In Unbearable Pain, And It's Crushing

"We all love these animals, but this isn't cute. It's cruel."

Dr. Cat Henstridge — who is also a member of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons — has been a vet for over 15 years.

And Dr. Henstridge caught the attention of nearly 9 million people when she posted this video where she explains why pets people think are cute are actually not cute at all:

@cat_the_vet

Pets That People Think Are Cute But Are Not! The Scottish Fold Cat. #catthevet #scottishfold #catsoftiktok #vettok #fyp

♬ Angry Cat - Theodoros Popa

She shared how even though the Scottish Fold cat's folded ears might look adorable, they fold because the weak cartilage in them makes them collapse from their own weight. The genetic defect that causes the abnormality of their ear cartilage also causes severe abnormalities of the cartilage of their bones, resulting in severe and painful arthritis. So, people breed these cats to deliberately have this debilitating condition just because their ears look "cute."

@cat_the_vet / tiktok.com

This condition these cats suffer from is known as osteochondrodysplasia.

And, sadly, Scottish Fold cats are just one example of many animals who suffer as a result of being bred to look "cute." Flat-faced dog breeds live with many complications:

@cat_the_vet

Flat faced dogs really suffer for their looks and we have to talk about it. And this only covers a few of their issues! #catthevet #pugs

♬ Miss The Rage (Mario Judah) - HyPerZan

"The pets I see most often who suffer from their looks are the flat-faced dog breeds.  They really are lovely animals with gorgeous personalities, but the vast majority have problems. And what is even more sad is that their health issues are so normalized, like the fact they snore or pant really loudly, that most owners don't realize just how compromised they are," Dr. Henstridge told BuzzFeed.

Flat-faced dog breeds struggle to breathe normally and, despite their faces being flat on the outside, the inside might actually have just as much tissue as a dog with a normal length nose — and this compromises their airways. They also suffer from skin problems, like sweaty, itchy skin folds. And painful dental decay is common because their teeth are jammed into such a tiny space in their mouth.

tiktok.com

"These dogs also often fall asleep with toys in their mouth to keep their head propped up because when they relax, all the extra tissue in the back of their mouth completely collapses and without the toy propping their head up, they would literally suffocate while they sleep."

Spinal issues in flat-face dogs are common, meaning they may struggle to walk or even become paralyzed. Their "cute," bulging eyes just mean they suffer more often from painful eye problems.

tiktok.com

All of the medical issues they face cause their lifespan to be reduced by roughly four years compared to dogs with typically sized noses.

Pekingese dogs are also a compromised breed. Their skulls are flat, meaning they suffer from eye, breathing, and skin fold problems. In addition, they are vulnerable to overheating because of their huge coat and flat faces.

@cat_the_vet

Pets That People Think Are Cute But Are Not, Part 3! The Pekingese. #catthevet #pekingese #cutebutnot

♬ Angry Cat - Theodoros Popa

"When you compare their skeleton to a normal dog's skeleton, you can also see why they suffer from several mobility issues as well."

Flat-faced cats have tiny nostrils that make it hard for them to breathe and they suffer from several dental problems because there is no space for their teeth. Their skulls are misshapen, which may cause brain problems as well.

@cat_the_vet

Pets That People Think Are Cute But Are Not! Part 4! #catthevet #cutebutnot #persiancats #flatfacedcat

♬ Angry Cat - Theodoros Popa

"Their big, beautiful eyes are also vulnerable to problems because they stick out so far and their tears can't drain properly, which can leave them with really sticky, dirty, painful infected skin on the face," she added.

Munchkin cats have a genetic mutation that makes their legs really short. "Munchkin cats can't run and jump and play as well as cats with normal-sized legs because we have deliberately restricted them by breeding them this way."

Their limbs and joints are deformed, which can be extremely painful. In addition, the breed is not recognized by the Governing Council of Cat Fancy in the UK.

Next up is the toad, micro, or exotic bulldog. "Essentially, someone appeared to say, 'Hey, let's take the bulldog with their flat faces and terrible skin and awful health problems and make it worse.'" The breed suffers from elbow dysplasia, hip dysplasia, and horrible arthritis.

"In some countries, breeding this dog would actually be illegal because it would be considered 'torture breeding,'" she added.

Problems with the Shar Pei dog start when they are puppies. "The excess facial skin folds make the eyelids curl inward and rub really painfully on the surface of the eye. A massive amount of puppies have to have surgery really early on in life to tack the skin out of the way," she said.

They also often suffer from additional problems from the excess skin for the rest of their lives. The skin is sensitive, so many suffer from itchy skin allergies and painful infections. "And their small ears have small ear canals, and that, added together with their skin sensitivity, can leave them extremely prone to ear infections and other issues."

This article talks about how the breeding of Shar Peis in the Western world resulted in excess wrinkling of the dogs. You can read more about the history of the Shar Pei here.

Lastly, Dr. Henstridge urges people to rethink buying puppies for sale on websites during Christmas. "No reputable breeder is even going to be selling puppies during this time of year — let alone literally advertising them as presents. They may look cute in pictures, but there is no way these puppies have been responsibly bred and they have almost certainly started out their lives in horrible puppy mills," she said.

Dr. Henstridge hopes her videos help people realize just how much these "cute" animals suffer. "Images and videos of these pets are really popular on social media, but that only increases their desirability and the numbers being bred. It is up to all of us as animal lovers to spread the word about the problems these animals have and to either not engage with any content that features them or comment only to point out how compromised they are. This can seem unkind, but if we don't work together to reduce their popularity, more animals will continue to suffer."

You can follow Dr. Cat Henstridge on TikTok, Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.