Animal welfare group concerned about featuring health-plagued Scottish Fold cat in Argylle film

A Scottish Fold is the scene-stealing star of the new spy comedy Argylle, but the cat has now become the unexpected poster cat for animal welfare groups due to concerns over the breed’s health concerns.

Director Matthew Vaughn ended up casting his daughter’s cat, Chip, in the film as Alfie and fans are lapping it up. (Reportedly his daughter picked the breed because it’s the kind of cat Taylor Swift also has.)

But groups like Blue Cross UK say they are “deeply concerned” about the breed’s appearance in the movie.

“With significant suffering associated with the breed, we’re worried the film will spark a trend in these cats,” it said on social media.

“Behind their ‘cute’ appearance, Scottish fold cats have significant health issues due to a mutation that affects the development of cartilage, most obvious in the cat’s ear fold,” Blue Cross UK said. “This often leads to severe and painful arthritis.”

The cat is Argylle’s breakout star. Photo: Universal Pictures

Cats Protection and other groups have written to Universal Studios about their concerns.

“The impact of using this breed in a Hollywood film cannot be overstated,” Cats Protection’s Head of Clinical Services Alison Richards said in a statement. “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.”

It should be noted that many of the scenes involving the cat were computer generated.

Still, groups shared additional concerns about the cat appearing at the film’s premier in a “catpack” on the red carpet.

“The cat cannot lie down or hide away from bright lights or attention,” Blue Cross UK added.

The organization asks cat owners to only remove their cats from their homes for visits to the vet or other essential travel and to make sure they are transported in a proper carrier to reduce stress.

Cats Protection echoed those sentiments.

“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,” Richards said. “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.”

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