Friday 29 February 2008

Cat Coats Hairless

Cat Coats Hairless looks like an illogical statement as there is meant to be no coat but as you might know, even in hairless cats, there is a coat (of sorts). 

Sphynx kitten
Sphynx cats can have oily skin which smells unless bathed regularly. Picture in public domain.

Often there is a downy coat particularly in kittens and on the muzzle, nose, tip of tail, for example. 

The gene that produces a hairless cat is not confined to the Sphynx cats. I'm talking of the Sphynx (Canadian) and the Don Sphynx (Russian). 

It is possible to think that these are the only hairless cats, which as stated is not the case. The Donsky is more hairless apparently than the Sphynx, perhaps due to the dominant gene producing hairlessness in the Donsky allowing for more efficient breeding. 

Another notable hairless or semi-hairless cat is the Peterbald an associate or relative of the Don Sphynx (same founding cat). This cat breed was created in 1993 (a cross between the Don Sphynx and Oriental/Siamese). 

There have been numerous occurrences of the manifestation of the phenotype (physical attributes) of the mutant gene over the years as it pops up here and there. There is a link with the Rex coat as well. 

The Rex coat is crinkly and curly. Some Don Sphynx kittens have a Rex coat until adulthood. The Don Sphynx whiskers are often crinkly and brittle to the point where they snap off. 

The Rex coat is found on cats such as the Laperm and Devon Rex. The Devon Rexes are prone to baldness (hairlessness) so you can see link between these genetic traits. Sarah Hartwell records the occurrences of hairless cats on her website. 

Here are some recorded instances: 

- Latin America 1830

- Paraguay "Scant-haired cat" 1902

- Mexican Hairless (Mexico) 1932 

- Le Chat Nu (the naked cat) 

- France 1930s? 

- "Cat-Dog", Carolina, USA 1950 

- Paris France - two hairless cats born to Siamese cat 1963 

- Toronto, Canada 1978 

- Toronto, Canada - hairless street kittens 1978

- England - hairless Birman kittens 1981, 1984 

- England - reports of hairless kittens 2002 

- Hawaii - Hawaiin Hairless 

There are other examples and there will be more no doubt in the future, occurring randomly of their own accord. 

The gene that produces the hairlessness is dominant for the Don Sphynx and recessive for the Sphynx. 

The gene for the Donsky (dominant) is labelled "Hp" and the gene for the recessive (Canadian) Sphynx is labelled "hr". 

There are apparently two other recessive genes producing hairlessness (there may be more) and these are the French "h" and the British "hd". 

Thursday 28 February 2008

Cat Scratching - New Approach

cat paws

Cat Scratching is, as we know, entirely natural to a cat. Its purpose is to remove the outer casing of the claw and renew it. The problem arises because the cat is living amongst our treasured possessions. We care about our possessions, we care about our cats. But which takes precedence?

I know I am out on a limb here, but why are we so concerned about training cats to do this and that. Why are we so concerned about cats scratching furniture? If you want to live with a cat buy furniture that you don't care about too much - easy solution. Don't get so involved with "possessions".

The truth is that a cat scratching our possessions is our problem. So, we should be training ourselves to deal with it and not be trying to alter what comes naturally to a cat. It is so much easier to train ourselves to care less about possessions. This is good for us too. The older you get to more you realise that possessions are really very secondary to our wellbeing. In fact possessions often get in the way of living life more fully.

Happiness comes through what we do and who we are with; not through what we possess. So, in the continuing debate on training cats to scratch the right object, perhaps we should look at ourselves. On that subject, it is my belief that too many people treat cats as another possession. Wrong, so completely wrong.

Lets let cats behave as they naturally should. We like cats for what they are. Why change them?

If you don't buy in to this new (common sense) approach then there are some practical steps that can be taken for those new to keeping cats:
  • Buy leather furniture, the best quality you can (softer). Cats don't get the required effect with good quality leather furniture as the claws don't slide through it to remove the sheath of the claws. Your cat may scratch it once or twice and then stop.
  • Place double sided Sellotape on the area where she scratches, that will stop her.
  • Clip her front claws. Do this when she is young and habituate her to it. Do it very carefully to avoid cutting to deep.
  • Buy one old armchair for her to scratch on and the rest leather.
  • Don't smack or criticise your cat for scratching furniture. That will just make her nervous of you and she can't understand as it is normal for her. If you scratched you head and your partner shouted at you and told you to stop how would you feel? Confused and you'd blame your partner for being crazy.
  • If you are that concerned about your possessions don't keep a cat. Don't try and do both. You would be the wrong person to keep a cat. In my opinion all people who keep cats and who declaw them are the wrong people to keep cats. That probably makes about 20 million in the USA alone.
  • You can buy plastic sheaths that stick on the claws (Softpaws). These initially seem a good idea, but are they? A cat needs her claws. I don't think this idea is much better than declawing. How would you feel with plastic stuck to your fingers all the time? We need to feel and touch. A cat is the same.
Cat scratching - a new approach is required.

Photo copyright by Memotions

From Cat Scratching - New Approach to Home Page

Cat Heart Disease

I have made several posts about the Bengal cat and HCM. HCM is a heart disease (there are others such as DCM) that affects Bengal cats and other cat breeds such as the Maine Coon. It seems odd to me that a cat breed can have a marked predisposition to such a devastating disease, a killer. This can only be due to cat breeders getting it wrong. If I'm wrong tell me, please - see Genetic Diseases in Purebred Cats.

Feline HCM. Source: Veterinarian website: MedVet.

Anyway, here's more about this important subject. I have used the human heart as the illustration is available and the cat's heart is very similar. HCM means Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy. In practical terms it means the thickening of the heart muscles. It is an inherited disease (a genetic disease) that affects many animals including humans, pigs, dogs.

Daniel an F3 Bengal cat
Daniel a healthy Bengal Cat
who lives with my neighbour in London, UK. Photo: Michael @ PoC

It seems that in Maine Coon cats the cause of cat heart disease (specifically HCM) could be a dominant gene. But the whole area of HCM is still being researched. We are still very much in the dark about it in relation to its cause in Bengal Cats for example. See also Maine Coon cat health.

Because the heart muscle thickens it is less elastic and the area of the ventricle (the chamber from where it is pumped) is smaller. This means less blood is pumped out of the heart (less efficient) and turbulence can be created. The valves can leak as a result too. This causes a heart murmur. Fluid can build up on the lungs.

Sometimes there are no apparent symptoms and your cat can die suddenly. It develops slowly and your cat can show no signs before 6 months of age. It can be years before a successful diagnosis can be made.

There is no cure, just treatment to ease the life of the cat. The test to diagnose the disease is an ultrasound test (echocardiographic test). See video below:

From Cat Heart Disease to Home page

Wednesday 27 February 2008

Traditional versus Modern Cats

There isn't a Traditional versus Modern Cats debate, but there is, I believe, a large body of people who would, if asked, agree that cat breeding in some areas has gone too far.

I guess everything in business and in life generally has to progress. It is the nature of mankind. When progress relates to technology (machines) mankind does quite well. The things he/she creates generally improves life. Although we do so at the expense thus far of the environment (nature). Nature will always suffer at the hands of man but it will always fight back and win ultimately.

Mankind tends to go too far in every endeavor. He stops just past the point when he should have stopped.

Can breeding is not of course the making of machines. It is the creation of a fellow creature. A creature that I say is of equal value to any other animal (including the human animal). I know Americans tend to be more religious than Europeans and religious people tend to believe that humans are superior because they were made by the hand of God in one act.

This arrogant belief can lead (despite the teachings of the Bible) to maltreatment of animals, including cats.

It can also lead to a distorted approach to our treatment of other animals including the breeding of cats. It can lead to the suspension of respect for the cat as an animal of equality and to do things in breeding that is exclusively for the benefit of the breeder and not the cat.

One such example is the breeding of cats that look interesting to us (meaning in our interest) and to the detriment of the cat (less than good health). I am talking of the Ultra Persian.

The Persian is not meant to look like the animal that has been breed and modified by mankind over many decades. If left alone the Persian would not look like he does today and he would not have tear duct overflow and poor sinuses. He wouldn't have a coat so long he has to live on carpet and not grass and earth for fear of spoiling his coat.

People agree with me, not with my argument perhaps but with the preference I have for traditional cats or to put it in a better way, more natural cats.

Table - Traditional versus Modern Cats - showing voting preferences of visitors to the website:-

Prefer Traditional Siamese: 82%
Prefer Modern Siamese: 18% (153 votes)

Prefer Traditional Persian: 74%
Prefer Ultra Persian: 26% (124 votes)

The preference for natural looking cats extends to the Traditional Siamese. The poll that has been conducted on the website clearly indicates this sensible preference (see above).

Although cat breeders like to think that they have the welfare of cats at heart, this is not always the case (but it is the case often nonetheless). The health of the cat must take precedence over everything a breeder does. Modern Siamese are less healthy than Traditional Siamese. They die younger, on average as I understand it.

Another example is the explosion in the incidence of heart disease in Bengal cats because breeders as expected (and perhaps understandably) kept quiet about it to protect their business.

It begs the question whether one can mix cat breeding and business at all. There should be a Traditional versus Modern Cats debate at the highest level of the cat fancy and the breed standards reviewed to allow breeders to gradually retrace their steps without losing competition titles.

Photo of Ultra Persian at a cat show copyright ~Sage~

From Traditional versus Modern Cats to Home page

Tuesday 26 February 2008

Bengal cat Origins

The Bengal Cat origins are worth studying and thinking about as it tells us a lot about us and what we are doing and why we are doing it. The lives of domestic cats are in our hands. The way we think and behave dictates the wellbeing of the lives of all domestic cats. All the reviews on the beginning of the Bengal breed are very benign (lack proper discussion, are uncritical). Here is a different angle. But please don't misinterpret what I say. Most know that a women called Jean Mill started the Bengal cat breed. She retired from breeding Bengal cats in 2007, I understand. 

She is acclaimed and thought of fondly. Dare one be critical of her? Bengal cat origins began when she first bred a wild/domestic cat hybrid in 1963. She says that she "bought" an Asian Leopard Cat (ALC) from a pet shop (couldn't do that now). I suppose times have changed in attitudes about cats. I hope so. But I don't think one "buys" cats. Do we "own" cats. Or do we keep cats and adopt and care for cats (and they care for us too to a certain and sometimes large extent). 

I am surprised she used the word "bought". I don't know, but it would seem even at that time that it was not a good idea to have a wild cat caged up in a pet shop for sale. Moving on. The ALC she bought mated with a domestic cat she put in the cage with the ALC. This first step in wildcat/domestic cat hybridization was aborted as Jean Mill had to move from her home to an apartment (no space). Moving on to the breeding programme proper. After Jean remarried, she was able to recommence. She says that she "installed.....many zoo-like cages". Was this good for the cats or good for her? Sorry to be a bit critical but a lot of people don't think zoos are a good idea.  

Jean Mill acquired F1 hybrid Bengal cats from a medical research scientist who was doing research into leukemia. The ALC has partial immunity to feline leukemia. I presume that the research was for the benefit of humans. Some people don't like the idea of other animals being used for medical research for the benefit of humans. Cats are not infrequently used in medical research as they have conditions similar to ours. Sometimes the cats are sacrificed (killed) as a result. It seems that Jean Mill was the first cat breeder to think about producing a "tame toy leopard". 

Is it wise to try and produce an animal that we refer to as a "toy"? Does this demonstrate a respect for animals generally? Or does it demonstrate the idea that we are better and different to other animals and have the right to play God with them? Jean Mill then went to India and imported back from that country a feral or street cat with markings that she felt would produce the right offspring when mated with an ALC. I am guessing but an Indian street cat might not, through no fault of her/his own, be that healthy. 

I presume that she had the Indian cat checked out for inherited diseases such as HCM. The trouble is that HCM is due to a genetic mutation and there are many mutations that could be responsible. The science is only now being developed to isolate the genes for screening. The Indian cat mated with the female hybrids (presumed F1 hybrids adopted from the scientist mentioned above). One of the offspring was Millwood Tory of Delhi. She says that the genes from this cat are found in "virtually all Bengal pedigrees". Playing devil's advocate for a minute, what if the Indian cat had a predisposition to HCM? 

I don't know what tests were carried out. In any case at that time the science of screening for a genetic predisposition to heart disease was probably unheard of, or its infancy. Does someone know. If so, please leave a comment. The breeding of Bengal cats has been a worldwide success for us. Has it been the same success for the Bengal cats? From Bengal cat Origins to Bengal cats

Bengal Cats-HCM-Update

Photo: copyright Helmi Flick.

This is an update on the HCM (heart disease) information posted already. To see all the posts in date other please click on this link. As I read the situation, it is only coming to light fairly recently that there is a real problem with HCM in Bengal cats. There seems to be no doubt about that. HCM is inherited. This is well known. 

Clearly, it is vital therefore to know the background of each cat to track the disease. Where the condition is in the cat's background the cat should be spayed or neutered to cut that line of Bengal cats that suffer from this killer condition. That begs the question if there is a database of all the lines of Bengal Cats recording the HCM tests, which should ideally be obligatory. There is not such a database, of that I am sure. I am talking here of breeding cats. 

Every cat adopted by keepers who are not breeding cats should expect their cat to be healthy. This is in the hands of the breeders to organize a comprehensive database. For each Bengal purebred cat there is a database as to parentage (this is what makes the cat a pedigree cat and assures us that she is a purebred cat too). 

 It would seem to be a fairly simple step for the registries to insist that for each Bengal registered there is an absolute requirement to provide an HCM test result. If the cat is HCM negative (free of the disease), the cat is registered (provided other requirements are met) and if positive the cat should not be registered. Is this too simplistic? You have to start somehere and it seems that the situation is not being coordinated. Bengal Cats-HCM-Update to Bengal Cats

Monday 25 February 2008

Cat Licking Displacement Activity

Photo and words: PoC.

Cat Licking has many functions (grooming for one) including as a displacement activity. What is a displacement activity?

When I am talking and under pressure I tend to lick my lips (they go red as a consequence - this doesn't happen that often thankfully). When I am not sure what to do, for example when I am making a post to this website, I scratch my head. These are classic displacement activities. They are activities designed to relieve the discomfort of being unsure.

When you see your cat lick her lips (mine licks her upper lip and nose, exactly as in the picture above), it is a sign that she is slightly agitated because she is in a mild state of conflict torn between attraction and repulsion.

Apparently the big cats do the same thing, but I would advise testing this. Sometimes when I talk to my cat she licks her lips as described. It seems that she wants to understand me but can't until I make exactly the right kind of sounds and motions at which point she stops and does as asked. This is normally to get off the bed, get into the kitchen for some prawns. Other times when a cat is unsure of what is happening and when events might be harmful to her she might lick her nose while deciding what to do.

Sometimes cat licking can be abnormal. Click here to read about that.

Cat Licking Displacement Activity to Cat Facts

Cat Food-Rice-Taurine

It has been argued that cat food with rice affects taurine matabolism. Taurine is vital to cats and a lack of it in the diet can cause DCM (heart disease with dilated heart walls) and eye damage (retinal degeneration). 

Taurine deficiency. Chart in public domain.

Once you have studied cat food you realise that things are not what they seem. I continue to be surprised to see such ingredients as peas (you can see them in the cat food) in sachets of say, prawns in jelly. And rice is commonly added to cat food. 

I'd read the packet carefully. A study by The American Society for Nutritional Sciences (carried out in 2002, a long time ago and having little effect it would seem on the pet food manufacturers) states that "dietary rice" decreases the amount of taurine in "whole blood" and "plasma". I think that this is the article: Dietary Rice Bran Decreases Plasma and Whole-Blood Taurine in Cats. 

 The research article says that despite the fact that manufacturers supplement cat food with taurine, cats are still being diagnosed with a deficiency of taurine. They put this down in part to the presence of rice in the cat food. The presence of rice naturally affects the content of fat, pr0tein and fiber (proper cat food), which in turn could affect the metabolism of taurine. 

 There is also the issue of intestinal bacteria, which could be altered by the presence of rice. This can cause an increase in the degradation of fecal bile acids, which in turn leads to loss of taurine in the feces.

Conclusion: This is difficult, but the more I read about cat food the greater the need to read the packet and find the best. The best is raw, home made with the right supplements. In lieu of that high quality wet cat food without rice could be a good start. 

See Homemade Cat Food (as described by Bengal Cat Breeders). 

Sunday 24 February 2008

Cat Teeth Dry Food

Cat's teeth (tooth:-) photograph copyright sachama

The argument goes that dry food cleans a cat's teeth. This is probably a selling point for the big manufacturers and it looks sensible on the face of it. You know, nice hard crunchy pellets rubbing against the teeth and cleaning them instead of sticky, gluey wet food in jelly producing a beautiful breeding ground for bacteria and the formation of plaque. But one well known veterinarian (Elizabeth Hodgkins) and author disagrees and I am sure that there are many more.

Most cats eat dry cat food because it is convenient for us and we think that cats need to graze (they don't, think wild cats). Despite the massive increase in dry cat food vets still see lots of cases of bad teeth and gums (periodontal disease).

Elizabeth makes a good point. We as humans are not told by our dentist to eat more crisps and hard dry food to keep our teeth clean, that would be laughed at.

Dry food becomes wet food in the mouth anyway and as the constituents are less healthy for a cat (so says Elizabeth), the effect on the teeth is not beneficial. Apparently dry food:

  • Sticks more easily to the teeth when masticated
  • The higher levels of carbohydrates in dry food supports bacteria growth more than for wet food
  • The acid coating on dry cat food can help to damage cat teeth enamel

These elements combine she argues to make dry cat food worse for a cat's teeth than wet.

From Cat Teeth Dry Food to Low Carbohydrate Cat Food

Blind Cat Dignity

Blind Cat Thailand copyright and by AkumAPRIME

A blind cat has great dignity, patience and hearing. Look at this oh so sad boy cat surviving in Thailand. He may get help, probably does, from people. He probably lives on the street. You can see him listening. You can sense him smelling. He looks fairly healthy. When you look at his face it is almost as if he is looking back at you.

Cats are uncomplaining and are very persistent, two fine qualities. My cat nearly always wins the battle of what she eats. She achieves this by sheer persistence combined with patience. I learned from that. There is no reason why we cannot learn about behavior from other animals. We think that we are better and have nothing to learn from them.

Cats have a remarkable capacity to get by, adapt with such a massive disability, with little help, a testament to their survival instincts and innate sensory capabilities.

I posted this because the photograph touched me. I have another post on blind cats.

From Blind Cat Dignity to Cat Facts

Bengal Cats Heart Disease

Heart disease in Bengal cats seems to be a growing concern (as at 2008 - when this was written). This is an additional post on the subject. There are others, click here to see all posts on cat health. The reason why there are several posts is because I gather information progressively. And information is disclosed by breeders piecemeal. I think that heart disease in Bengal cats is of major importance to the entire breed. Bengal cat breeders are rightly proud of their work. 

HCM affects around 20% of male Bengal cats and about 2% of females. No one has explained the difference. It affects about 15% of the general cat population apparently.

Mackerel tabby Bengal cat.

They try very hard to do the right thing for the betterment of the breed as a whole. But they are in a business and it would seem that in the past they may have kept quiet about a growing health problem when it would have been wiser in hindsight to open up on it to ensure the health of cats for the future. The two types of heart disease concerned are HCM (hypertrophic cardiomyopathy) and DCM (Dilated cardiomyopathy). 

HCM is the thickening of the heart muscles. DCM is the thinning, dilating of the heart muscles/wall. Both make the heart less efficient. HCM can present with symptoms (see this post for symptoms). It is a little difficult to find hard facts on this tricky subject; there are some, however. Here they are: - -- DCM is treated by giving taurine supplements and it works (in addition to other drugs - I'll leave that to the vets obviously). This is because the disease is caused (at least in part) by a lack of taurine in the diet. -- It is unclear if taurine can help cats with HCM. 

This is because of a lack of research. And HCM is a genetically inherited disease so on the face of it a supplement may not help. Cats need taurine, without it there will be health issues such as heart disease (DCM) and retina deficiencies for example. -- Bengal cats are dying suddenly without warning of HCM. They can be OK when you go to bed and dead when you wake up. Testing can be done and should be done. -- Cats are carnivores. 

Meat contains taurine. When cooked there is less taurine. Example: Uncooked beef: 362 mg/kg, cooked beef (baked) 133mg/kg, cooked beef (boiled) 60mg/kg. lamb has a slightly higher level of taurine. -- It is not clear as to exactly how much taurine supplement the Bengal cat needs - is it more than other domestic cats? The ALC (leopard) needs a lot more apparently. -- We don't know how big an issue heart disease in Bengal Cats is. We should know. 

It may be that this is a big problem. PETA and HSUS would probably like to use this against breeders. Breeders are it seems paying the price of not dealing with it more openly initially. More to come I expect. From Bengal Cats Heart Disease to Home Page

Saturday 23 February 2008

Bengal Cat and Taurine

Bengal cats need taurine more than other domestic cats - is this true? That is what some say. This posting is not meant to be factual. It is more anecdotal and it is meant to raise a query, some questions if you like to which answers can be sought. In a recent article posted on the internet doctors treated an Asian Leopard Cat (ALC) kept at a zoo. 

Glorious Bengal cat. Photo copyright Helmi Flick.

The cat had a serious heart condition (disease) called DCM (dilated cardiomyopathy). DCM is different from HCM (another, similar heart disease). In DCM the heart muscles become stretched/dilated and in HCM they thicken. In both cases the heart becomes less efficient causing a range of conditions and symptoms. 

The treatment was to give the ALC a taurine supplement in the diet and drugs to help the heart beat stonger and to dilate the blood vessels. Taurine is an essential nutrient for domestic cats and an amino acid. The ALC's broken heart was mended - success. The ALC is the wild ancestor to the Bengal cat. The Bengal cat can suffer from HCM as mentioned above. It is argued that the ALC needs three times the normal dose of Taurine supplement of a domestic cat (1500 mg/kg daily) to maintain health (the domestic cat requiring 500 mg/kg?). 

However, it seems that commercial cat food has, in fact, 1000mg/kg of taurine in it (in dry products). The pet food manufacturers argue that is is better to put in too much (supporting the view that too much is not bad for the cat). The argument goes that as the ALC requires more than the usual amount of taurine and taurine helps maintain a healthy heart it may be the case that the number of Bengal cats suffering from heart disease, albeit HCM and not DCM, can be reduced by giving more Taurine supplement than is currently being given. 

The counter argument is that studies have not established a link between diet and HCM. Breeders often feed their cats raw food, hand prepared, with supplements. So the idea of adding more Taurine sounds useful. It is possible though to make a cat ill if given too much Taurine. So, what is the exact correct dose? It gets more complicated as sometimes breeders will give their cats manufactured food as well. 

This contains taurine usually, confusing the amount given. I said this article would raise questions :). In conclusion the question is, "can an increase in taurine supplement, or the correct amount of taurine supplement (whatever that is), reduce the incidence of HCM in Bengal cats?" Comments gratefully received. 

Here is another post on the subject of Bengal cats and Taurine and heart disease generally. 

Blind Cat

blind cat
Blind Cat photograph copyright riviera 2005 (Flickr)

This is a beautiful photograph of a blind cat. It shows how great sadness can be made beautiful in a photograph. I feel sad when I look at this photograph. Sadness for the unfairness of life and at how harsh it can be. It seems that it was taken in a developing country (mind you some so called "developing countries" are rapidly becoming developed).

I remember seeing a blind cat in a colony of feral cats outside a hotel I stayed at in Italy. The blind cat coped well within the colony using his nose to find the food that we had put out. He ate as well as the other cats and I sense that his life was no shorter as a result of his blindness; I hope not.

Blind cats can cope very well and live happy lives. Cats don't think to themselves, "this is unfair, why me", they just accept it and get on with it. They also have us to care for them if they are domesticated (the cat above seems to be feral and they still cope with their acute sense of smell and athletic abilities). Blind cats may even using the echo of their voice to locate objects. This is a technique being trained to human individuals, which is proving very effective. The person makes a special clicking sound and listens for the echo. When skilled at this, some people can differentiate between the quality of the reflected sound from a wide range of objects, some quite small, such as fruit.

Photo by AkumAPRIME (Flickr)

A blind cat gets around through the use of his memory of the position of objects (so leave them in the same place), sound, the use of his whiskers (which are very sensitive and which can sense the change in air current that flows around objects) and perhaps the best of all, his sense of smell.

Blind cats should be indoor cats or indoors + an enclosure. See another blind cat with great dignity.

Related page: Living with a disabled cat. Charlie three legged cat.

From Blind Cat to Cat Facts

Cat Coats White

Cat coats white is the last in a series on the cat coats. See all the articles by clicking on this link. In previous articles I have mentioned the Piebald gene (White Spotting gene). The gene usually (denoted by the letter "S") produces coats with white "spots" although "spots" is a misleading term. It produces areas of white leaving other areas in a wide range of colors and patterns such as Tuxedo, Tabby, solid colors and others (it is perhaps best to see all the posting to get the complete picture). 

All-white Maine Coon
All-white Maine Coon

 As can be expected if the white spotting works to maximum effect, then the whole of the cat will be white instead of areas of white, either small or large. Accordingly, one of the three genes that produces all white cats is the white spotting gene. Its actions are wide ranging as can be seen. That's why it is said to have "variable expression". It is called "recessive white" sometimes and I suppose because of its variable actions, it is "semi-dominant". 

 The genes that produce white fur cover up the other colors. Note: Albino cats are due to a different effect, the lack of production of color (see below). 

The other gene that produces cat coats that are white is the dominant white gene ("W"). This gene masks all other colors. 

As a result, it is impossible by looking at the cat to see what other genes are present. To use technical language, the gene W is "epistatic" meaning it masks all other color genes. There may be an exception in relation to eye color. The dominant white gene is a simple non sex related dominant gene. The white cat is not due to the presence of a number of piebald (white spotting) genes. 

Russian-bred all-white British SH
Russian-bred all-white British Shorthair kitten. Photo: Альбина Шконда питомник британских кошек Golden Leris nursery Golden Leris. WCF.

The W gene is at a different position on the chromosome to the white spotting gene and is therefore independent of the white spotting gene. Epistatic crudely means that where there is a competition between genes as to what color or type of coat will be seen (for genes involved with coat color), the gene whose phenotype (the appearance) is expressed (the appearance seen) is said to be epistatic. 

The W gene is also associated with deafness as it can affect the cochlea in the inner ear (the fluid filled chamber that converts sound waves to nerve transmissions to the brain). The gene produces blue, orange or odd eyes. If the cat has blue eyes there is a good chance that he/she will be deaf as well. If she has one blue eye, there is a good chance that she will be deaf in the ear on the side of the blue eye. 

As the name of the gene implies this is a dominant gene so if fully present its effects are produced (from genotype - the genetics to phenotype - the physical result). In a survey of 185 cats, one quarter had normal hearing and yellow eyes, 31% had normal hearing and blue eyes, 7% were deaf and had yellow eyes and 37% were deaf and had blue eyes. 

 The third and highly unusual genetic make-up that results in all-white cat coats is the albino. This is complicated genetically so a brief mention is probably best. There are alleles that are known to produce albinism. 

An allele is one member of a pair of genes at a certain point on the chromosome. The alleles concerned are blue-eyes albino, pink eyes albino, Burmese Pattern, Siamese Pattern and full color (ref: Sarah Hartwell). These cats have pink eyes. The all-white cat is more prone to contract skin cancer as the skin more readily absorbs ultraviolet light. This should be born in mind by keepers of white cats in hot climates. Source:
  • Messybeast
  • Robinson's Genetics
  • Me

Friday 22 February 2008

Cat Coats Pointed with White

pointed and white cat
Seal Point with White in a mitted pattern. Photograph copyright Helmi Flick

Cat Coats Pointed with White is another posting in a series that I have made on cat coats. This is the penultimate (I think :).

I have discussed pointed cat coats on this page. When the gene that produces the pointed coat is accompanied by the White Spotting gene or Piebald gene ("S") you have a pointed with white coat. You can read about this gene on this page as it can also have an effect on eye color and cause odd-eyed cats.

Pointed with white cats have blue eyes. See all the postings on cat coats by clicking on this link. A rather rare cat that has a pointed with white coat is the Seychellois.

The White Spotting gene is semi-dominant and its presence is shown in a wide range of appearances ("variable expression"). Here are examples in addition to the header picture:-

pointed and white cat
Seal Tortie Point with White. Photograph copyright Helmi Flick

pointed and white cat
Seal Tortie Point with White. Photograph copyright Helmi Flick

pointed and white cat
Seal and Blue Point with White - Bicolor. Photograph copyright Helmi Flick.

From Cat Coats Pointed with White to Home page

Bengal Cat Smelly Poo

F2 Bengal cat in a garden in the UK. Photo: PoC.

I couldn't resist doing a post about Bengal Cat Smelly Poo. And, no, it's not a spoof. Some Bengal owners may have a "problem", with what one breeder calls, "Bengal Butt". I think you can guess what that means in the context of this post.

But is it true that Bengal cats' faeces (No.2s) are more potent than the faeces from other cats. I would doubt that, but I don't know. It seems that it could be true and if so, what causes it?

The obvious cause is the quality of the food (the stuff that goes in the other end). Cat breeders know all about their cat food.

RELATED:  a fairly comprehensive page on the sensitive stomach of the Bengal cat. The information on the linked page supplements this page.

What comes across from breeders is that raw cat food made up to a recipe is best for Bengal cats, only this takes a lot of time and effort particularly for cat breeders with several cats. I can remember one breeder saying it cured the problem so it's worth a try, but you have to be careful with a homemade raw food diet for cats. A raw diet can also help treat IBD in cats apparently

But raw diets are not necessarily the cure all for these digestion diseases. Click on the next link to read what a Maine Coon breeder thinks of raw cat food.


But according to a Maine Coon breeder, the tiny protozoan parasite Giardia is often the cause of smelly poo and diarrhoea. My research informs me that it affects around 1 in 10 domestic cats to a max. of about 1 in 5 cats in one US state Tennessee. It is quite common. It can be fixed with a pill: Panacur. And there is a test you can buy on Amazon. I would do this before making big changes to diet.


There is the cost too. Mind you one Bengal cat breeder fed a chicken thigh bone sprinkled with taurine (an essential organic acid and a dietary essential additive if feeding raw cat food that is made up). The cat loved it.

Of the USA manufactured cat foods that seem to be good (and this is from breeders but essentially anecdotal) in respect of reducing the problem of Bengal cat smelly poo the following are recommended it seems (2010):
  • Prairie naturals
  • Holistic select kibble
  • Fromm salmon/duck
  • Normal Innova
  • Chicken Lover's Chicken Soup - this is the best by all accounts *******. This is I believe, "Chicken Soup for the Pet Lover's Soul" a product manufactured by Diamond Pet Foods. It doesn't contain corn and Franny Styufy (the cat specialist and author) recommends it. Note Nov 2019: Franny has retired from writing about cats.
Another breeder states that the following food are good for Bengals:
We feed our Bengal kittens and adult cats with: Royal Bengal Adult Dry Cat Food, Purina One True Instinct Natural Grain-Free Formula Adult Dry Cat Food, Royal Canin Kitten Dry Cat Food, and Purina One Grain-Free classic Pate Recipe Wet Cat Food.
It may be the grains in the manufactured cat food (grain is essentially unnatural for a cat) that produces the problem. Other conditions that might cause Bengal butt or Bengal Cat Smelly Poo condition are:-
One breeder says that Bengals have short intestines as a contributory cause. 

See a vet of course. Parasites can be dealt with fairly routinely.

From Bengal Cat Smelly Poo to Bengal Cats for Sale

Thursday 21 February 2008

Odd-eyed cats

Photograph of odd-eyed white cat copyright sophiasue105

What causes odd-eyed cats? The color of eyes of an odd eyed cat are blue plus either yellow, orange or green.

The difference in color is due to a lack of pigmentation in the blue eyes. This lack of pigmentation is due to the same gene that causes a lack of pigmentation in the fur.

There are 2 different genes that do this. There is the dominant white gene "W" (meaning the gene is dominant, which in turn means at least half the offspring will have the phenotype - appearance - directed by the gene), and the semi-dominant white spotting gene "S" which has what is called variable expression.

white cat odd-eyed
White cat odd-eyed photo copyright dashananda. The cat is big, he snores and he is called Murchik.

The dominant white gene produces a completely white cat masking all other color, while the white spotting gene as the name suggests produces a wide range of coat types from small areas of white (e.g. Tuxedo cat) to larger areas (e.g. Japanese Bobtail) to complete white.

The dominant gene produces cats with both blue or odd-eyed cats as described. It can also cause deafness in the cat. White cats produces by the "W" gene and with 2 blue eyes have a higher likelihood of being deaf than those with 2 orange eyes.

With respect to the white spotting gene, this prevents color pigmentation reaching areas of the body farthest from the spine during development. This can be the paws for example. It might be one eye, in which case the eye will be blue. If the other eye is unaffected it will be a different color.

60-70% of odd-eyed cats that are white can hear (Wikipedia). Quite a substantial percentage are therefore deaf. The deafness is caused by the white gene degenerating the cochlea in the ear starting soon after birth.

The cochlea is a hollowed bone in the inner ear that converts sound to nerve transmissions through the air pressure moving a fluid in the cochlea, which in turn moves minute hairs.

In the Thai Cat Palace (an old Thai syle house on Boromarajajonani Road) odd-eyed Siamese cats are apparently breed, the pure white Maeo Khao Mani. They refer to the eyes as "diamond Eyes". Cats with odd-eyes are favored by the Thai royalty (the same attitude can be found in Turkey in respect of the all white Turkish Angora Cat).

From Odd-eyed cats to Different Cat Breeds

Bengal Cat Character

The Bengal cat character is very interesting because of the wild cat heritage. How is this seen in the Bengal cat's behavior? I have made several posts on this subject together with Bengal cat health issues. Here is another post on this popular subject. Bengals have plenty of character both in behavior and appearance. This is what makes them so popular. It is the fact that they are wild cat hybrids which dictates their slightly different character compared to your typical domestic cat including other purebred cats. The higher filials (F1-F3) will have more pronounced characteristics to F5s et cetera.

What I haven't mentioned before is the fact that within a cat breed there is a naturally wide variation in the personal characteristics of individual cats, just as in humans. Sometimes we forget that. We seem to think that a cat is a cat and bundle them all together. It is probably fair to say that individual characteristics are more outstanding than the underlying characteristics associated with a particular breed.

A quick recap on the underlying characteristics: intelligent, dynamic, active, athletic, involved. Caveat: make sure you are adopting a proper Bengal Cat if you want to see these characteristics. There are some bad and many good breeders.


My neighbour has a Bengal cat. He has a classic Bengal cat character. You can see him in a video jumping up at me. It's a short video in which I film him from above. He didn't like his space being encroached upon and attacked me in a nice way. See it here if you wish (this takes you to the main site Bengal cat page).

Some cats can jump much better than others and the Bengal is an outstanding athlete. They can jump vertically to substantial heights. They like to be high up sometimes, perched looking down.


The wildcat/domestic cat hybrids are usually more assertive. This must reflect the need to be assertive in the wild to survive. Obviously this is manifest in the early generation offspring (F1-F3) but less so at SBT level. But it would seem that the Bengal in her activity and energy is perhaps a little more assertive (demanding) than you typical moggie, for example.

Normal cat:

They do of course have all the lovable characteristics of a domestic cat; lap cat, crashing out after all that activity, plenty of sleep as well. In fact they are (if well socialised) a lovely soft domestic cat.


We know they like water a throwback from their Asian leopard cat wild ancestor. I have discussed this. But it has occurred to me that this could present dangers in a human habitat for the cat. Toilets often have bleach in them. Hugely dangerous for an inquisitive Bengal. I would take precautions against the potential for injury there.

As they like to jump into baths and showers, sometimes, it would seem that that could happen when you are in it, which means hot water, which your Bengal won't know about as she thinks all water is at ambient temperature. This would be another area where great care needs to be taken to protect your impulsive Bengal from getting scolded.


Bengal cats have slightly different voices. All cats make a range of sounds and in fact it is through the tone of our voice and the general sound of our voice that we can communicate with our cats. This cuts two ways and Bengals are adept at communicating to us with a wide range of sounds and tones.

Another wild/domestic cat that has a notable voice is the Savannah. They have their own way of hissing (mimicking a snakes hiss to ward danger off). They are also assertive.

From Bengal Cat Character to Home page

Wednesday 20 February 2008

Don Sphynx Munchkin Hybrid

dwarf cat hybrid

This sweet looking cat is (as I understand it) a brand new domestic cat breed. His name is Willow and he is a cross between a Don Sphynx (a Russian Sphynx cat) and a Munchkin (the founding breed of dwarf cats). He has no breed name that I know of. When I get it I'll post it. All the dwarf cats have the Munchkin cat as a founding cat in the development programme.

Willow is 4 months old.

dwarf cat hybrid
Here is a picture of Willow a Don Sphynx Munchkin Hybrid.

Here is a picture that shows the comparison between the dwarf cat "Willow" and the normal leg length cats, his long legged 1/2 brothers.

dwarf cat hybrid

Apparently the coat feels like a soft warm shammy leather. I have felt the coat of a Sphynx and it feels really nice in fact. It's is nice to see what is happening in the dwarf cat world. Being a brand new cat breed it will take many years before it is recognised by the registries. The Dwarf Cat Association are using their best efforts to get their various dwarf cat breeds fully recognized.

You can see all the dwarf cats by clicking on this link.

The photographs are copyright the breeder, Mike, and are embedded links from Webshots a website that works on the basis of allowing visitors to embed code from the site into other websites.

Prevention of Cruelty to Cats

The prevention of cruelty to cats in the USA is carried out by the SPCA (Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) and in the UK you just add the word "Royal" to the beginning (sorry guys but ours sounds better, one of the benefits of having a Queen).

It may be the case that the RSPCA not only sounds better but is actually better. I'm not sure. I saw a video on a USA cat breeder's website about the SPCA. The organisation was being criticized for its policies. Commentators on the video said the policies were far too harsh and unfair and in fact commercially motivated. In other words the SPCA was going in to places such as rescue centers and assessing the place as unfit to care for cats (or dogs) and taking away all the animals. Where appropriate they sold the cats (or other animal). This allowed them to raise funds as some of the animals were valuable.

In the UK we never hear of the RSPCA doing similar things. That doesn't mean that it's not happening but my gut feel is that it isn't. As far as I am aware the RSPCA is well funded by donations and quite a valuable organisation. They don't need to resort to other means to raise funds in their work of prevention of cruelty to cats.

There is a growing need for cat rescue centers in the USA it seems. We don't have the same cat population explosion (if that is a fair comment) in the UK. Of course we have feral cats but the population doesn't seem to be rising day in and day out. As far as I am aware, far lower numbers of cats are euthanized each year and more cats re-homed in the UK.

In Pasedena, California, USA, the cat shelters are swamped. There seems to be an increase in the number of cats entering shelters but not an equivalent increase in the numbers of dogs.

The shelter management say this is due to an increase in cat "ownership" (I don't like the idea of humans owning cats), with the corresponding increase in unspayed and uneutered cats.

As some cats (but far less in the USA than the UK) are left to go out unsupervised and dogs aren't, this allows cats to breed by mating with other cats that haven't been neutered either. The offspring become strays and feral and bingo you've got a problem as cats can breed quickly.

If you take a single breeding pair of domestic cats they can produce 3 litters each year totalling an approximate 14 cats in the year. If all survive and there are an equal number of males and females, in five years there will be 65,536 cats (Desmond Morris - Cat Watching) - provided they start breeding after one year of their life. You can see how easy it is for the problem to escalate.

The answer, some say, is legislation to force people to spay and neuter cats. Others say it is down to education and "outreach". I presume this means reaching all sections of the community. My thoughts are that a tougher approach needs to be taken for the welfare of cats. A feral cat's life is blighted from the outset. If he doesn't die early, naturally, (2-3 years) he'll be killed by us as soon as possible and let us remember that we, in effect, put him there in the first place.

Perhaps the actions of the SPCA (if they are true), in their prevention of cruelty to cats, are in part due to the increase in animal "ownership", which brings with it a greater number of irresponsible owners and therefore a need to take harsher steps (i.e. it's a reaction to a perceived problem).

Photos: top copyright .imelda. Bottom copyright bearska_No_1. The picture is of a cat called BooBoo at an RSPCA .

From Prevention of Cruelty to Cats to Home Page

Tuesday 19 February 2008

Cat Coats Pointed

cat pointed coat
Seal Point Ragdoll Cat photograph copyright Helmi Flick

Pointed cat coats mean Siamese cats to most people
. The classic Siamese pointing color is seal, which means a color approaching black or shades of it to the layperson's naked eye. The seal pointed cat is the most ancient of the pointed cats, as I understand it. The "points" referred to are in fact the extremities of the cat, the face, feet, tail.

There are many types of points from a variety of solid colors (undiluted) to diluted colors and Tabby (Tabbie) points. The tabby point occurs when the solid seal color of the point is broken up by the tabby pattern. When the pointing is a tabby pattern the cat is called a "Lynx Point". Of course it is possible to have a lynx point that is diluted (Blue Lynx Point).

The Flame Point Siamese helps understand the actions of the genes in pointing. A Flame Point is essentially an orange cat. The pointing gene affects the production of a chemical which in turn affects the production of pigmentation. When two genes (homozygous state) of the pointing gene are present a red cat is turned to a pointed cat, pure white at birth (partial albinism). As the extremities cool after birth they turn the color of the cat (red/orange) forming the points. As the cat ages the pointing becomes less distinct. The pointing gene affect eye pigmentation too - hence blue eyed Siamese cats.

Ragdolls, Birmans, Tonkinese and Balinese are examples of other cats that have coats that are also pointed. Other breeds such as the Siberian and Exotic Shorthair have a wide range of acceptable coat colors and patterns including the pointed coat. You can explore them on the main site.

Sometimes pointing is called the Himalayan Pattern. Pointed cats are born all white as the gene that produces the pattern is heat sensitive (the gene produces white or lighter fur when the temperature is warm and darker fur when cold). As the womb is warm the color is white. When the ambient temperature is cooler (after birth) the pointing forms. But as the extremities of the cat are cooler than the central areas it is the extremities that turn dark making the cat pointed.

The contrast between the points and other areas lessens as the cat gets older. This is because the non-pointed areas darken slightly. The points also lighten up as the cat matures. Here are some examples:

cat pointed coat
Seal Point - photograph copyright Helmi Flick

cat pointed coat
Seal Lynx Point - photograph copyright Helmi Flick

cat pointed coat
Red Point - photograph copyright Helmi Flick

cat pointed coat
Cream Point - photograph copyright Helmi Flick

cat pointed coat
Blue Point - copyright Helmi Flick

cat pointed coat
Blue Lynx Point - photograph Helmi Flick

  • Beth Hicks
  • Cat Fanciers
  • Siamese Planet
From Cat Coats Pointed to Home Page

Killing Cats Cooking Cats

Killing cats and cooking cats is one way to kill cats.
There are many. They all make me sick to the stomach and they are all wrong morally, ethically and fundamentally.

Mark Twain:

"Of all the animals, man is the only one that is cruel. He is the only one that inflicts pain for the pleasure of doing it."

"I am not interested to know whether vivisection produces results that are profitable to the human race or doesn't...The pain which it inflicts upon unconsenting animals is the basis of my enmity toward it, and it is to me sufficient justification of the enmity without looking further."

Mahatma Gandhi:

“The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated”

Some people defend the killing and cooking of cats as no different from the killcat being cookeding and cooking of farm animals. This is poor thinking. Of course the Chinese and Koreans don't even attempt to justify why they partially kill cats (for flavor) and cook them. They just brick wall us.

The difference between killing farm animals for food and cats for food is this. Farm animals are raised for food. We have a social contract with cats that we care for them and they are our companions in return. It is symbiotic; to mutual benefit. The contract does not extend to killing them in a brutal manner and eating them. Further, when farm animals are killed it is done in a controlled manner designed to inflict minimal pain.

When the Chinese kill cats for cooking they do so in a truly barbaric manner and in a totally uncontrolled way without any thought for the cat. They also do it with the help of their children thereby brutalising their chidren. Shame on those who do this. {note: not all Chinese or Koreans behave like this}. You disgust me and many many others.

Photos: I always provide full credit and copyright notices and always make sure that I have permission before publishing pictures. Not this time. I found these on the 'net. I am justified in using them. If the photographer thinks otherwise tell me - I'd welcome the comment.....

From Killing Cats Cooking Cats to Home Page

Killing Cats Hammer

Big companies are killing cats in animal testing; I have discussed that. Rescue centers are forced to kill cats on a scale that can only be described as mass slaughter. It is a scale that is quite staggering in its enormity. Yet I sit and type this and talk about it and am powerless to stop it.

There is another way to kill cats, by the actions of ignorant and ill-educated individuals scattered over the planet in developing countries and modern countries, behind closed doors and in back gardens and with any means at their disposal.

These are individuals such as referred to in a story I picked up on the internet; I've forgotten where from now (I think it was actually from a Flickr member). Anyway it happens a gazillion times each day. Right now a cat is being hit and beaten to death in agony and it makes me scream inside.

This is the story. A family had lots of cats (this sounds like a family at the poorer end of the spectrum both financially and in terms of education). When one of the cats did something that displeased the father (e.g. something entirely natural for a cat such as bringing in a bird) he would fetch a hammer from the tool shed and hit the cat until dead (it hurts typing this). Neighbors knew about it but did nothing. We don't do we. Of course his son (or one of them) learned from this and hit a neighbor's cat over the head with a hammer and killed the cat. He thought is was normal - he would wouldn't he. At that point the neighborhood sat up and took action.

Eventually the cats were taken from the family and the usual rather low level punishments took place.

There's more than one way to kill cats but it's always the same perpetrator either directly or indirectly - mankind.

Bob Dylan's A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall

Oh, what did you see, my blue-eyed son?
Oh, what did you see, my darling young one?
I saw a newborn baby with wild wolves all around it
I saw a highway of diamonds with nobody on it,
I saw a black branch with blood that kept drippin',
I saw a room full of men with their hammers a-bleedin',
I saw a white ladder all covered with water,
I saw ten thousand talkers whose tongues were all broken,
I saw guns and sharp swords in the hands of young children,
And it's a hard, and it's a hard, it's a hard, it's a hard,
And it's a hard rain's a-gonna fall.

Top photograph copyright Kaworu Koneru
Second photo down of an abandoned cat with a mouth tumor. The kind of cat referred to in the story above copyright Celladoor

Monday 18 February 2008

Scottish Wildcat

Scottish Highlands
Scottish Highlands

The Scottish highlands are the habitat of the Scottish Wildcat is marked in dark green on this map - author jrockley (published under Wikimedia® creative commons license license = Attribution-ShareAlike License)

Scottish wildcatFelis silvestris grampia is in the news and for good reasons, the best reasons. This time it is not more doom and gloom, but news that something is being done about one of the very few large wild animals that we have in the UK. When I mean large I mean large by UK standards. I can't think of many wild animals that are larger (deer, wild boar - not sure if they exist and foxes, which are persecuted appallingly by the upper classes in Britain).

In my post on the Scottish Wildcat on the main website I said it was thought that there were only 400 left due to more persecution (and disease) by good 'ole mankind in all his ignorance. By 1860 they were extinct in England and Wales. But they survived by retreating to Scotland where there is a lower population of humans. They are not, though, found south of the Highlands and are only found in certain areas.

It is now thought there could be several thousand but little is really known about the Scottish Wildcat so the Scottish National Heritage are making arrangements to conduct a survey with the assistance of the public to assess the distribution and population of Felis silvestris grampia.

There are a number of myths surrounding this cat. Some thought she could attack and kill humans despite being the same size as a large domestic cat. Indeed she looks remarkably like a domestic cat except for the way she/he walks (for me a wild cat swagger) a thick set neck, jowly look and shorter tail. But then some domestic cats are similar. You can see how the transference from wild cat to domestic cat took place. Her coat is a tabby coat resulting from the presence of the Aguoti (A) and Tabby (Mc & mc and T) genes. Tabby is the most common mixed-breed coat as it is probably the best coat for survival as it is most effective for merging into the background.

Scottish wildcat
Scottish wildcat
This cat is certainly very good at hiding, preferring to hunt at night and rest during the day. As to preferred habitat they like the woodlands and moorlands and the margins between the mountains and the moorlands. Apparently research has indicated that this cat has habitat preferences that depend on the area because in the east of Scotland the preferred habitat is"marginal agricultural areas with moorlands". And in the west they favor rough razing and moorland. They avoid high mountainous areas and areas where there is intensive agriculture, the latter because understandably they like to avoid us.

The Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) will tell us more as to population size, the current position being unclear. In a questionnaire of 1983-87 the results indicated that their range was an area north of the Central Belt of Scotland. Another survey in the 1990s concluded that their range was limited to the north-east of Scotland and the eastern Higlands. As to estimates of population density estimates are:
  • 30 per 100 square kilometers (Deeside)
  • 8 per 100 square kilometers (Ardnamurchan)
A further survey in 1995 suggested as many as 3,500 Scottish wildcats over 5 months old in Scotland.

The SNH survey, due to report as at March 2009, will help to decide if it is necessary to introduce voluntary (perhaps compulsory - my thought only) neutering and spaying in the areas where the wildcat is found. This is because the Scottish wildcat mates with domestic cats, which obviously weakens the pure blood of the wild cat. This is a major concern to environmentalists in Scotland. More at last is being done to protect a national treasure.

The map below marks out Scottish wildcat sightings:

Map Channels: free mapping tools

Source: Times Newspaper
Photographs: copyright Nick Lawes

From Scottish Wildcat to Scottish Wildcat main site.

Cat Coats Tortie Torbie and White

Brown Mackerel Torbie with White Cat
Brown mackerel torbie with white - photograph copyright Helmi Flick

Brown Classic Torbie and White Cat
Brown classic torbie and white on an Exotic Shorthair cat photograph copyright Helmi Flick.

Cat coats tortie torbie and white is one of a series of posts on the cat coat colors. You can see them all if you click on this link.

The term "torbie" refers to a coat that is a mixture of tabby and tortoiseshell. There are posts on the tortie (tortoiseshell - this is about the black tortoiseshell) coats and the torbie (tabby and tortoiseshell mixed). You can read those first if you wish.

I have also discussed the action of the Piebald gene or White Spotting gene to produce white when I posted an article on the Tuxedo Cat, so this post is a simple extension or representation of those earlier postings.

Obviously in the case of cat coats that are tortie or torbie and white the areas where there is color is either the tabby pattern or the torbie pattern. The extent of this pattern is dictated by the white spotting gene during the growth of the embryo. For tortoiseshell cats without white there is a mosaic of orange (signified by the letter O) and black colored hairs (o). The presence of white fur causes the orange and black to make up patches.

An added area of potential confusion or complication, is to "overlay" (my term, not a technical term) a tortie and white coat with a dilute effect and I have discussed dilution in another article. This effect is seen in the Exotic Shorthair cat below.

It may help if I look at an example:

Black Tortie and White cat
Black tortie and white. Photograph copyright Helmi Flick. You can see how the black tortoiseshell coat has been restricted in its spread over the body by the white spotting gene. The areas farthest from spine are affected, the paws, the chest and belly.

Blue tortie and white. In this picture of an Exotic Shorthair cat, you have multiple genetic actions and effects on the coat. The coat would have been a tortoiseshell but for the actions of the white spotting gene causing the white areas (no color pigment areas) and also the actions of the modifier genes which dilute the color.

Blue Tortie with White cat
Blue tortie with white. Photograph copyright Helmi Flick. Blue is dilute black.

cat torbie tortie
Brown spotted torbie with white. The tabby pattern is the form of spots hence the term "spotted" and the tabby pattern is mixed with tortoiseshell and white. Photograph copyright Helmi Flick.

cat torbie tortie
Silver Classic torbie and white. Photograph copyright Helmi Flick. The term "classic" refers to the classic tabby pattern, which is the pattern that is blotched and not spotted.

cat torbie tortie
Silver classic torbie and white. Photograph copyright Helmi Flick.

Thanks to Beth Hicks - the cat coat descriptions are hers. And to Helmi once again for her fine photographs. These photographs are protected by copyright.

From Cat Coats Tortie Torbie and White to Cat Facts

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