The Start of the Bizzibabs PRA Story
A Brave Kitty Named Bizzy
For those unfamiliar with this breed’s origin, the Siamese Cat originated centuries ago in Siam (now Thailand). They are highly inquisitive and very vocal making them a unique and lovable breed. Unfortunately, good eyesight isn’t one of their genetic assets. Siamese kitties are often born slightly cross-eyed, but they are also predisposed to severe vision problems which in some cases lead to blindness.
And that’s what happened to sweet Bizzy who at 2 years of age is now blind from a genetic disorder called PRA (Progressive Retinal Atrophy). Cats with PRA slowly lose their vision as their retinal lens deteriorates. While there is no cure or treatment for it, the atrophy does not show many visible signs and isn’t a painful experience. Affected cats eventually become completely blind.
His owner (Lindsay) started an Instagram account @bizzibabs_pra_siamese when Bizzy was diagnosed blind. Their eye specialist for cats explained that Bizzy had this hereditary disease of the retina (PRA). His retina, she told Lindsay had turned into little stones. Curious to know more about PRA and wanting to know why their young cat who came to them as a sighted kitten was now totally blind, she searched the web for more information and was surprised to find very little about PRA on the internet. Lindsay stated, “We discovered when asking around about PRA in both cats and dogs, the most common response was and still is is ‘What? PRA? No, I’ve not heard of PRA’. So, I decided to do something about getting the word PRA “out there” – to make PRA a common word with all pet owners and future pet owners. ”
Lindsay goes on to say…”Our purpose on IG is not to fight with breeders who don’t test their breeding cats/dogs to establish if their cat/dog is PRA+ (there are DNA tests available) but rather educate people to ask questions before deciding to purchase a kitten/puppy. To say – “Am I buying a kitten/puppy that is PRA+ free?” is important because PRA kittens/puppies will, and this is not maybe, will be blind by the age of 5. We didn’t ask when we bought Bizzy from a SA Siamese breeder and we didn’t ask if Bizzy had PRA+ parents/grandparents or if he was a PRA+ kitten. We didn’t even know that PRA existed. This PRA ignorance needs to change both locally and internationally.”
. . . . . . to be continued. . . . . . .