Gene editing could allow for hunting instinct to be removed from cats

cat cinnamon
Cinnamon. Credit: Kristina Narfstrom, University of Missouri-Columbia via National Human Genome Research Institute

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The days of the family cat dragging the bloodied carcass of its prey into the home may be numbered, a leading veterinary scientist has said.

Feline behaviour expert Dr John Bradshaw said domestic cats could become genetically engineered to remove their hunting instinct, as modern owners become increasingly horrified by the primitive habit. The Bristol University academic said the domestic cat’s propensity to hunt is probably determined by only 15 or 20 genes, meaning that, once identified, these could be edited to yield more emollient animals.

“The distaste we have towards blood and flesh and death – most people don’t like it,” he told the Cheltenham Science Festival. “If people become more offended by cats bringing prey into their home then fewer people will want to have cats.”

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He argued that cats should be prevented from taking wild prey that they did not need to survive, but that the pets were also often unfairly scapegoated.

“People who don’t like cats are always going to blame them,” he said.

Read full, original post: Cats could have the hunting instinct ‘edited’ out of their genes

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