Cats Protection Expresses Concern Over Recent Film ‘Argylle’ Due to Scottish Fold Cat’s Health and Welfare Issues

Cats Protection has joined forces with other prominent animal organisations1 to express concern over the upcoming film Argylle, released by Universal Pictures on 2 February 2024.

The film features a Scottish Fold cat, a breed associated with serious health and welfare concerns, and is anticipated to amplify the breed’s popularity among potential cat owners.

The organisations involved have written to Universal Pictures to consider the potential impact of Argylle on cat welfare and to join the efforts to promote responsible pet ownership, prioritising the wellbeing of animals above entertainment value.

“The impact of using this breed in a Hollywood film cannot be overstated,” said Cats Protection’s Head of Clinical Services Alison Richards.  “All Scottish Fold cats suffer from variable degrees of painful degenerative joint disease and the underlying genetic defect has far-reaching and severe consequences for their health. They go on to develop painful arthritis and it develops it so reliably that it’s being used as a model to study the gene involved in human arthritis. They’re already very popular on social media and with celebrities so we really worry that this film will cause this to surge even more.”

Cats Protection’s concerns align with the ongoing efforts of European veterinary groups to address the critical issue of promoting pet breeds with extreme features in the media.

The charity has also collaborated with classified websites facilitating pet sales, resulting in Gumtree and Preloved no longer permitting the sale of Scottish Folds and other breeds with extreme characteristics on their platforms.

“Our concern is grounded in recent research findings indicating a shift in cat acquisition trends,” said Alison. “In the past 12 months, 42% of obtained cats were pedigree/purebred, including those bred with serious health conditions – a significant increase compared to 17% more than five years ago. While Scottish Folds constitute a relatively small portion of the UK cat population, recent data suggests a rise in interest, with approximately 1% of cats being Scottish Folds (110,000 cats).”

The charity said it also fears that the realistic portrayal in the film of the cat travelling in a backpack and being handled roughly could have a negative impact on cat welfare as it suggests these interactions are acceptable or entertaining.

“Though some cats may appear to tolerate backpacks, the movement on a person’s back is unpredictable and most lack adequate ventilation and space for the cat – leaving them cramped or uncomfortable,” said Alison. “The large window in the bubble backpack featured also means cats don’t have the option to hide when they feel anxious, leaving them feeling exposed and vulnerable.”

To promote good welfare advice, the charity is urging potential cat owners to visit a dedicated page on its website at which highlights its concerns about Scottish Folds and offers help on what to look for when acquiring a cat.

Don't miss out!
Subscribe To Newsletter

Receive top cat news, competitions, tips and more!

Invalid email address
Give it a try. You can unsubscribe at any time.

Why not meow a comment to fellow readers?

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.