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Showing posts from February, 2008

Cat Coats Hairless

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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). 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 Shynx, 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 muta

Cat Scratching - New Approach

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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 possession

Cat Heart Disease

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Cat Heart Disease - Human heart Photo shows heart wall - Illustration by Patrick J. Lynch Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 License - I added the arrow and label to show the heart wall. 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 . 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 a healthy B

Traditional versus Modern Cats

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Traditional Siamese Cat 1960s copyright by The Fabricators of Useless Articles .Published under creative commons . 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 Ameri

Bengal cat Origins

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Bengal Cats - photograph copyright Helmi Flick. 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&qu

Bengal Cats-HCM-Update

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Photograph of Bengal kittens copyright Helmi Flick - to my knowledge their is not connection between the cats illustrated and HCM. 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 s

Cat Licking Displacement Activity

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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

Cat Food-Rice-Taurine

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Photograph copyright Eirik Newth 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). 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 Cat s. The research article says that despite the fact that manufacturers s

Cat Teeth Dry Food

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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 th

Blind Cat Dignity

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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 . Fr

Bengal Cats Heart Disease

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Marbled Bengal Cat - photograph copyright Helmi Flick - no association with this cat and heart disease that the author knows of. Heart disease in Bengal cats seems to be a growing concern. 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. 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). HC

Bengal Cat and Taurine

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Superb Marbled Bengal "Lucky Strike" - photograph copyright Helmi Flick (photographed at a German cat show in 2006 (this added in response to a comment - see below). There is no connection between the cat above and the heart conditions discussed in this article as far as the author is aware. 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. 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 th

Blind Cat

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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 stil

Cat Coats White

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White Cat Photograph copyright Hilali 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). 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. It's actions are wide ranging as can be seen. That's why it is said to have "variable expression". It is called "recessive white" someti

Cat Coats Pointed with White

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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:- Seal Tortie Point with White. Photograph copyright Helmi Flick Seal Tortie Point with White. Photograph copyright Hel

Bengal Cat Smelly Poo

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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 feces (No.2s) are more potent than the feces 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. 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 al

Odd-eyed cats

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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 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 l

Bengal Cat Character

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Photograph copyright Helmi Flick 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 outstand

Don Sphynx Munchkin Hybrid

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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. 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. 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 rec

Prevention of Cruelty to Cats

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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

Cat Coats Pointed

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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

Killing Cats Cooking Cats

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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 kill ing 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. The

Killing Cats Hammer

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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

Scottish Wildcat

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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) Felis 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

Cat Coats Tortie Torbie and White

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Brown mackerel torbie with white - photograph copyright Helmi Flick 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 spottin