Are Abyssinian cats vocal and talkative?

Yes, they are talkative but there are two ways to answer the question: the conventional and the unconventional way. The conventional answer pretty clearly states that Abyssinian cats are talkative. Gloria Stephens, a cat show judge and a person with considerable knowledge of the cat breeds, describes the Abyssinian cat as an individual that "loves to talk with people in a euphonic voice". Fair enough.

Abyssinian cat
Abyssinian cat. Photo: Helmi Flick.

A pretty distinct and clear answer. The unconventional answer comes from me but of course I defer to Gloria Stephens. However, I don't think that you can say with certainty that Abyssinian cats are talkative. Firstly, it depends on the individual cat because even within a cat breed there will obviously be variations between individuals as to personality and personality has a bearing on whether the cat is talkative or not.

Secondly, the amount of vocalisations that a cat makes depends upon the environment in which they live. If you have a tremendously loving human caretaker in a close relationship with an Abyssinian cat, the cat is liable to be quite talkative to that person. It's simply an extension of their relationship.

Thirdly, cat breeders normally focus on the appearance of the cat they are breeding and their behaviour comes second. You never hear of cat breeders selectively breeding for a cat that is talkative. It is not on their radar to declare to themselves that a particular cat is very talkative and therefore to put that cat in the breeding line to ensure that offspring and their offspring are going to be more vocal. To the best of my knowledge, they don't do that. They don't focus on a tendency to vocalise because they are fully focused on the appearance which takes precedence over everything else.

The Siamese cat is known to be vocal with a particularly characteristic voice as it happens. But even with the Siamese there is variation. The point that I'm labouring on explaining is that Gloria Stephens makes a definitive statement about Abyssinian cats being vocal but I wouldn't go that far. I would answer in a more cautious way because I don't think you can brand an entire cat breed with the description that all the cats in the breed are talkative and vocal.

The cat: humankind's most interesting friend

The dog is often referred to as "man's best friend" so perhaps it is fair to say that the domestic cat is "humankind's most interesting friend". We have to drop the word "man" nowadays because of equality policies, rules and in all fairness to be honest. It's about time the word was dropped. In 2003 Linda P Case said that the cat had surpassed the dog in total numbers as a household pet in the United States.

Ginger tabby domestic cat
The domestic cat. Photo: in public domain.

I'm not sure that we know that for certain. I've always considered the number of cats and dogs to be very similar in America and indeed in the UK and other developed countries. In less well developed countries the dog surpasses the cat because the dog is utilitarian i.e. working animals.

In the West it is also more common for people to share their lives and their homes with two or more cats at the same time. And it is known now very clearly that cats provide a range of benefits to their human carers, the most important of which are emotional and psychological. Domestic cats are perhaps more important than people realise in society today.

The domestic cat is probably a distinct species today. Some people refer to the domestic cat is a subspecies but I would call the household cat a species in the same bracket as the African wildcat, the Chinese desert cat, the European wildcat, the jungle cat, the sand cat and the black-footed cat. They are described as the "domestic cat lineage" in terms of the taxonomy of the cat family by two distinguished authors (the Sunquists).

The cat, although similar in terms of status with the domestic dog, has an entirely different relationship with their human caretakers and co-specifics within the human society. Doctor Bradshaw says that the cat is barely domesticated which means that they have retained to a large extent their independence, certainly of mind and their ability to hunt effectively. So although they develop enduring bonds with humans they have a necessity to express these innate desires.

Perhaps in another 1000 or 2000 years of domestication they will have lost this mentality and at that time they will behave more like a domestic dog. Domestic cats are somewhat of an anomaly in that they are beloved members of the family as well as being feral in far too great a number. This is only due to human carelessness. It is a great shame that humankind has been so careless in the domestication of the cat.

This was never envisaged at the beginning of domestication of the North African wildcat about 10,000 years ago. It wasn't part of the deal. And feral cats are the cause of so much argument among people as to how to deal with them and invariably there is a large section of society who want deal with them in an inhumane way. I am referring to the politicians and administrators of the continent of Australia as a sharp example.

The cat is a member of the order, Carnivora. This includes a diverse group of animals all of which are predators. They are named because of their carnassial teeth. These are at the back of the jaw where the human molars are. They have a shearing action a bit like scissors to tear flesh from the bodies of the animal that they've killed.

Cats evolved during the Eocene epoque. This is about 54 million years ago. Many of these animals were tree dwellers. They had long slender bodies and short legs with a long tail.

About 30 million years ago the miacids split into two groups: the viverines and the miacines. The former are now known to be the oldest ancestor of the domestic cat whereas the latter are the ancestors of the dog, bear, raccoon and weasel. The viverines branched into two primary lines. One of these lines produced several very large prehistoric cats including the sabertooth tiger. The other line included a small cat, Dinictus, which later evolved into several distinct cat species. The evidence suggests that Dinictus is the main ancestor of all cat species alive on the planet today including our beloved domestic cat.

Is this Bengal cat really pink or is this photo-editing?

I want you to tell me in a comment. I have not had a proper comment on this website for a decade!! Or that is what it feels like. I believe that this Bengal cat, bred in Penza, Russia, has a pink background colour to their coat but it is not as pink as we see despite the fact that I have photo-edited the image myself to reduce the pink tint. But if I do it more the hand and wall colour starts to look wrong.

Pink Bengal cat with glorious spots
Pink Bengal cat with glorious spots. Photo: Sergey Kurenkov.

Bengal cats just don't have pink coats. It's just not right. It's never been seen it before. And I'm not sure what the genetics are to produce this colour. It is entirely unnatural for a cat to have a pink coat! That's obvious because a coat is meant to provide camouflage and pink is not camouflage. In fact, it is the opposite to camouflage because browns and greens are the colours of the landscape.

Russian cat breeders tend to do some extraordinary things. They love their cats and there are quite a few cat breeders in Russia. In the West we don't get much of a chance to discuss Russian cat breeder and their cat fancy. I think we are missing out.

Another nice thing about this cat is the brown doughnut spots are a kind of rusty-brown which integrates well into the pink background. However, I wonder whether this rusty-brown appearance is because the image is photo-edited slightly pink.

If there is any genuineness about the pinkness of this Bengal cat then I would have to say that this is a unique cat, in which case there should be a lot of people talking about it but there are not. The picture comes from a Facebook page concerning the breeding of cats, the members of which are breeders and a lot of them are from Russia or Russian satellite states as I understand it.


Calico cat rescued after being trapped under roof-mounted solar panels

This is a novel way for a domestic cat to be stuck in a high place. Trees are the favourite but I think that this is the first time a cat has been trapped under solar panels on the roof of a neighbour's house. The cat was meowing and concerned local residents called the RSCPA who in turn called the local firefighters who responded quickly. This was definitely a case for professionals with experience of working in high places. Apparently the firefighter who captured her persuaded the cat to move to one side which released her. 

Calico cat rescued after being trapped under roof-mounted solar panels
Calico cat rescued after being trapped under roof-mounted solar panels. Photo: RSPCA

Calico cat rescued after being trapped under roof-mounted solar panels
Released and captured. Photo: RSPCA

She is microchipped. It was scanned by the RSPCA who discovered that she lived nearby. She raced off hopefully directly back home. It is common for inside/outside cats to climb onto neighbouring roofs and travel across them to neighbouring gardens. They love the high vantage points. They are unafraid.

The cat's name is Rocket. The firefighters are with the South Wales Fire & Rescue. The location is: Dinas Powys house in the Vale of Glamorgan.

Resting domestic cat has traffic bollards placed around her for safety reasons

from Cat GIFs via Gfycat

The video is amusing and meant to be but I'll take a serious approach. This is a practical example of how you respect the cat. Respecting the cat is a rather amorphous concept. What does it mean in practice? Well, this, as mentioned, is an example in practice. I know it was done for entertainment purposes. But respecting the cat really is about allowing the cat to behave naturally and respecting their innate behaviours and the drivers behind it. 

It is allowing the cat to express themselves and taking charge of that responsibility. It means that the person takes charge of the relationship and ensures that their cat has the freedoms that they need within the limitations of safety. 

The first step in respecting the cat is to understand domestic cats and in order to understand domestic cats you have to understand cats in general and the domestic cat's wild cat ancestor. I preach (!) that people should love their cat as a family member but treat the cat as a cat. 

What that means is you don't treat your cat as a little person because that can result in feline behavioural problems and problems in the relationship between cat and person. It's a lot to do as well with expectation management. 

People need to have the right expectations when it comes to their cat and their cat's behaviour. I am sure that there are many homes were people adopt cats expecting something and the cat delivers something else and there is a gap between expectations on delivery which causes disappointment which in turn can lead to a cat being given up somebody else or a cat shelter. 

The only way you avoid expectation disappointment is by understanding domestic cats before you adopt them. It means doing your homework. I know this is incredibly tiresome and utterly boring but you've got to do some work on it before you take that big step. 

And it is a big step because there cannot be failure. It has to be a successful relationship. There are no other options. This is for the life of the cat.

Son and daughter kittens copy their mom when grooming


Pretty clear that the kids are copying the parent. And kittens learn a lot this way: observational learning. It's cute when they are in sync like this. It is another example of synchrony or synchronicity. 

Does Royal Canin Calm work?

Yes, Royal Canin Calm does work. I can verify this because I have tried it out on my cat. He does not need calming but I wanted to try it out because on occasions he can be a little bit hyperactive and I wanted to see whether this took the edge of his behaviour. It did.

My cat chilled out!

However, I do not let him eat Royal Canin Calm exclusively. Far from it, in fact. I mix a little bit in with his standard dry food which he grazes on during the night so this calming dry food is only a relatively small part of his diet. Despite that relatively small amount it still has an effect.

I can clearly see the difference. He looks a little bit more chilled out and perhaps it is fair to say that he sleeps a bit more. This is exactly how I like him so I will probably continue with this mix of standard dry cat food which for me and him it is Hills Oral Care.

Clearly it is going to depend on the individual cat as to how this product works and I suspect that in some cats it won't work as well as in other cats. However, it is definitely worth a try if you're cat is noticeably anxious. And it certainly is applicable in times of general stress such as when fireworks are being set off or when moving home.

How does the product work? They say they use hydrolysed milk protein "which contains a peptide that regulates stress, and L-tryptophan, which can increase serotonin (the happy hormone) levels.

How do peptides regulate stress? There is an online study which appears to be on the subject. It is called "Stress peptides sensitise fear circuitry to promote passive coping". The study is completely unintelligible to me!

Another study published on the Eureka Alert website which came out of Northwestern University Medical School and San Diego State University says that "a peptide found in the brain and in the body can reduce both hormonal and behavioural manifestations of stress."

They say that in people who are depressed there are abnormal levels of this peptide. This discovery may help doctors diagnose and treat depression and other stress-related illnesses.

In what appears to be an animal test, they administered the peptide prior to exposure to stress and it significantly reduced levels of corticotropin or ACTH , (by 50%), a hormone that plays a major role in controlling the body's response to stress.

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