Wednesday 30 April 2008

Taunton cat hospital

cat in surgery 

Cat at veterinarian surgery - this is not at Taunton cat hospital - photo copyright Mirandala Taunton cat hospital is one of two cat hospitals in the United States that is searched for on the internet much more than others. The other cat hospital that is searched for is Houston Cat Hospital. The Taunton hospital does not have a website, which is strange considering that it is popular and it is very easy to build websites these days. If they ask me I'll do one for them for free. I reckon that I could build a website for them in about 1 hour that was found by Google within the day. Anyway, this is the location:-


 This is the phone number: Phone: (508) 824-2287 I have little in the way of details about this cat hospital, but am pleased to promote it. I have just noticed that Louise Collins DVM seems to be the chief veterinarian at the hospital. They care exclusively for cats, have boarding and grooming. They feed with Purina, Hills and Royal Canin and accept Mastercard and Visa payments as far as I can see. If I am wrong I apologise. Taunton cat hospital to Warrior Cats - they need care from time to time!!

Houston Cat Hospital

cat hospital picture
Photo copyright cattoo

The Houston Cat Hospital is a searched for term. There are many cat hospitals, of course. But only two come up when doing a keyword search that stand out from the rest. The other is Taunton Cat Hospital but they do not as far as I can tell, have a website. The Taunton referred to is the one in the USA (MA).

The The Houston Cat Hospital is located at:

11169 Westheimer Road
Houston, TX 77042

View Larger Map

As you can see from the map it is near the Royal Oaks Country Club and about 8 miles or so from the center of Houston. The road that the hospital is on appears to be a major road running east and west from the center of town.

If you go to their website you can print off a coupon and get a 10% discount on your first visit.

It's a really simple website but it does the business and gives them a web presence.

Houston Cat Hospital to Warrior Cats (they need hospital treatment living in the wild as they do!)

Tuesday 29 April 2008

Abandoned Cats

stray cats
Stray cats photo copyrigth J i J y

Abandoned Cats seem to be on the increase in the UK. The Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA), the country's biggest animal charity says that the number of pets abandoned has increased by 25% in a year.

We know that (in the UK at least) we have become a throwaway society. It is often not financially viable to repair things. This is in part due to cheap imports from China. Perhaps the mentality that we have developed over inanimate objects has rubbed off on our behavior towards pets including cats.

Cats were the biggest victims of this worsening situation. There were 7,347 abandoned pets. Half were abandoned cats. As cats are relatively easy to care for it is disturbing that they form the vast majority of abandoned pets.

The current figure for the number of people keeping cats is about 9 million (6.5 million people keep dogs)

It shocking to read of the circumstances under which people abandon their cats. To give up a cat is one thing. Sometimes there will be a good reason, often there isn't. However, some people who give up their cats simply dump them. The reasons are equally concerning. One person bought a new sofa and the sofa was more important (she didn't want it scratched). If you have a cat you must expect some damage to possessions and so what, they are only possessions. Another said that she had bought a new carpet and the cat didn't match the color. Now that is arch consumerism.

I really think that too many people keep cats who shouldn't. It is these people who are irresponsible and don't neuter and spay their cats and then abandon them. This causes a lot of suffering for the cat and creates a problem for us generally in a growing feral cat population, which appears to be worse in the USA.

It seems that some people dump their cats when they move. It's just so callous. I have personal experience. My tuxedo cat, Missie, found me in London about 15 years ago. She had been abandoned by a neighbor of mine who had moved. She was reluctant to leave the small front garden of the house where she lived despite being locked out and it being very cold. Eventually she came with me and stayed.

Some people when they abandon simply, for example, put the cat(s) in a plastic refuse bag and leave them with the rubbish. Is the increase in abandoned cats an indication that society is getting worse?

Abandoned cats to Stray Cat

Monday 28 April 2008

Cat Scratching

Abyssinian Cat
Photo ©polandeze

Two bits of news about cat scratching (there are, I am sure, many more) tell us a bit about ourselves and our relationship with cats.

The first concerns a B list actor named Adrian Grenier. He was at a party and the host's Abyssinian cat (probably the most popular cat at the moment - the cat above is an Abyssinian) joined it. He said, "It belongs to my friend". I don't like this statement, if it was one he actually made. He uses "it" indicating an inanimate object possessed by humans. I don't think we possess cats, we keep them, care for them as they depend on us. We agree that arrangement. He also uses the word, "belong", to reinforce this misconception and one which causes a lot of problems for domestic cats.

If we all thought of cats as equal and fellow creatures the situation regarding the feral cat populations and the treatment of cats would greatly improve.

Adrian then says, "the cat wanted more attention and attacked all of us". Where did he get the idea that the cat was seeking attention and that the cat was attacking them to get attention? Perhaps the cat was simply defending him/herself from a violation of his space. Cats do not scratch and attack people to seek attention. It's not even logical or sensible and cats do everything in a natural and therefore logical (in terms of nature) manner. Cat scratching is normally defensive.

It is clear that this cat was upset and defensive probably by the invasion of people for the party. The cat may lack proper socialization skills. If so it is because he/she was raised/breed incorrectly - a human failing. The keeper of the cat should have intervened and ensured that the cat had more space and felt secure.

Adrian tried to calm the cat down and put his head near the cat (at a time when the cat was agitated). Wrong I am afraid. That probably made the cat feel even more insecure. A strange person approaching very close. This is scary. And frankly dangerous (for the human). Cat scratching is OK on hands etc. but near the head can mean damaged eyes. That was careless of Mr Garnier.

Everything that went wrong regarding this Abyssinian cat was due to the people involved but the story sends out the wrong message about cats. It implies (incorrectly) that cats are bad, unpredictable, can cause injury etc. Cats are highly predictable if we understand them and we owe it to ourselves and the cats to understand them as we agreed to live with them and keep them. If we cannot do this correctly then lets not keep cats and lets stop breeding cats.

In another story about cat scratching a women was driving along with a cat on her lap. The cat "scratched" her. It may well have been that the cat was using his/her claws to climb up to her. But when we hear the phrase, "a cat scratched someone", we assume the cat attacked that person. This is incorrect, often. It just so happens that cats have claws where finger nails are for humans. These are useful tools for survival. You cannot blame a cat for using them naturally.

Anyway after the driver got scratched, she crashed into a "power" pole causing the pole to topple and cause disruption. Who caused this problem, the cat or the human - be objective and honest answers in the comments section, please?

Cat Scratching to Abyssinian cats

Sunday 27 April 2008

Swiss Cat Fur

Swiss Cat Fur is still being produced in large quantities in Switzerland despite a new Swiss law which addresses the much neglected matter of animal rights. The Swiss federal government's actions are contradictory.

On the one hand they are demonstrating to the world that the government is enlightened enough to grant rights to animals that are normally only granted to humans and on the other they seem to be doing nothing about the production of Swiss cat fur. The cat fur trade in Switzerland seems to be in fine shape. There is high demand and a plentiful supply of free fur. This is because the feral cats of Switzerland are caught, killed (how?, probably without any controls as in food production), skinned and made into yet more consumer objects such as cardigans and blankets. Do people know that these products are made out of cat fur? I doubt it.

When the Swiss people in this despicable business run out of feral cats to kill (they were once a domestic cat), they pop across the French/Swiss border, it seems, and kill some of those too. They ship them back to the slaughter house and keep skinning.

How can this be right? The new laws cover social animals. There are many tens of thousands of domestic cats in Switzerland that live with their human companion in harmony - an extremely social situation; why aren't these laws protecting the cat? Their animal rights laws cover such things as ensuring that people who keep dogs attend a course (paid for by the keeper) on how to keep dogs.

These new laws come into force on Sept 1 2008. They may be difficult to enforce. It would though be easy to enforce a ban on the cruel Swiss Cat Fur trade as they must know where these businesses are.

Swiss Cat Fur to Home page

Saturday 26 April 2008

Warrior Cat

warrior cat
Norwegian Forest Cat as warrior cat

Norwegian Forest Cats. This cat breed likes water so they might belong to the RiverClan - photo: copyright gari.baldi under Creative commons license.

I had a cat who was a warrior cat. She was also a forest cat - half Norwegian Forest Cat. She died at the hands of mankind by a car whilst crossing the road to go in the woods and fields that were so attractive to her just as is was for Rusty in the Warrior Cats book. Her name was Missy and I miss her terribly. She is with Starclan. She would have been well received as a true warrior cat of great and athletic skill.

If she was (and she may have been when she went into the forest) a true Warrior Cat in the fashion described in the book, she would probably have been a member of Windclan as she was loyal and a bit nervous but a fantastic runner and climber. She was made to climb.

We took her to the Cotswolds (a very nice area in England with old fashioned yellow stone and quaint houses) with us on holiday and within moments of arriving she was on the roof of the house having climbed out of an upstairs window. She calmly walked along the crest of the roof, not a care in the world.

A feral cat is essentially a warrior cat and in truth has a very tough and a short life of about 3 years, a tiny fraction of the life of a domestic cat living with a person (about 15 + years). A feral cat is neither a wild cat nor domesticated. She has to live in that in between land, between mankind's world and the wildcat's world. The in between world is a hostile world. Humans put them there but don't like them and kill them. Yes, many hundreds of thousands and indeed millions are killed by lethal injection each year because the rescue centers are too full.

Moonlight scene
A very Warrior Cats looking scene, the forest, the moonlight - photo coyright Guacamole-Goalie

The Warrior Cats book series describes cats that have genuine domestic cat characteristics, of course. Rusty is a ginger cat. Ginger is solid red in cat fancy language. Ginger is diluted red. See Faolan a ginger Persian of great distinction. Bluestar is a blue/grey cat. This is diluted black. A classic cat breed that is blue/grey is the Russian Blue or the Chartreux. These cats have to be this color and no other color. The British Shorthair classic color is also blue/grey but you'll see her in a wide range of other colors too.

Graypaw is also called Graystripe. A gray stripe indicates a tabby cat. Tabbies come in a wide range of colors. The classic brown is the most useful for camouflage and the most common therefore as it aids survival. The Amerian Bobcat has a brown tabby coat as does the Scottish Wildcat.

Sandpaw is a ginger and white cat and a great hunter. As mentioned ginger is diluted red (solid) and the white (solid and white) is introduced by the Piebald gene which masks the diluted solid color.

Tigerclaw is a classic brown tabby. If you look at his face he has an "M" on his forehead, the mark of a tabby cat and he has stripes. Tabby cats are used in the creation of a toy Tiger cat the Toyger.

The three writers (now four) who are "Erin Hunter" are cat lovers and it shows, although one Victoria Holmes prefers horses and dogs (but still of course likes cats). She is the ideas person and Cherith Baldry and Kate Cary do the writing. Cherith currently lives with Sorrel a tortoiseshell and Bramble a dark brown medium haired tabby (if the picture is accurate he looks a bit like a Maine Coon but I know Bramble isn't).

When Kate was a child her father gave her a black kitten and she has lived with cats ever since. Here are some pictures of black Persian cats. The cats described by the authors are mixed breed cats.

If you're part of a WC forum try visiting the Warrior Cats page and vote for it (only the top 30 or so are listed for voting and the top 10 are listed based on votes received). It is a kind of meeting place for Warrior Cats to vote and promote their favorite RPG website.

Warrior Cat to Warrior Cats voting page

Friday 25 April 2008

Cat Intelligence - a discussion

Cat intelligence has interested people for a considerable time as has the intelligence of dogs. Who is the smarter and are they smarter than a chicken?

Sphynx cat considered smart
Sphynx cat considered smart. Image: copyright Helmi Flick

Recently humankind has gradually become aware of the intelligence of other animals on the planet. Some cats are more intelligent than others it seems, but this is anecdotal evidence. Often cat breeders writing about the cat they breed will understandably promote their chosen cat breed by describing it as more intelligent than others.

RELATED: An interesting infographic which looks at cat intelligence from a different viewpoint. Click the link to read it please.

An interesting article in a newspaper, the Penny Illustrated (UK) dated 1st June 1912 asks the question, "Does your cat or your dog think? If so, do they think in the same way as you do?"

The article refers to published research work at the time by Professor Thorndike of Columbia University, called "Animal Intelligence". The professor approached the question from the standpoint of experimental psychology (experimental testing of actual cats and dogs etc.).

Cats, dogs and chickens were placed in cages and they had to get out without assistance by means of certain devices that they had to manipulate having learned to do so by trial and error. The motivation was food outside the cage.

The professor found that the cats became agitated and calmed down after 10 mins. They worked out how to get out and when out they ran! "By dint of biting and scratching they end by discovering the method of opening the door and release themselves". They were more interested in getting out than eating the food (makes sense to as it's more important to get out and away than remain near people who want to cage you up).

Dogs apparently behaved better. They were calmer and more "attentive to their nourishment". Dogs showed less desire to escape. They succeeded in quickly learning the opening mechanism. They "showed no desire to run away as the cats do" once they had got out and got the food.

As for the chickens they "showed great agitation" when shut up in a cage. "They succeeded much less often than cats and dogs" to escape.

The professor concludes:

"According to these results the dogs appeared most intelligent, the cats near to them, and the chickens far behind"

Are cats really less intelligent than dogs? It would seem that if it is a straight contest as to which can solve problems or learn relatively complex tasks then the dog wins. Dogs are certainly more trainable and yet some cats are dog-like and trainable to (but to a lesser extent). These are usually the wildcat hybrids such as the Bengal and Chausie. But there are different types of intelligence. In any event cats are individuals (less socially aware) while dogs are pack animals and will look up to and learn from the alpha animal (the human normally). That is probably why they are trainable (or at least in part).

Amongst cats some are probably a bit smarter than others. My research indicates that the wildcat hybrids tend to be smarter probably because the brain has been trained to be sharper to survive in the wild.

A ranking has been carried out by Animal Planet which although rather unscientific it seems does give some indications, which I would think cat fanciers would agree with. At the less intelligent end are cats like the Himalayan, Exotic Shorthair (Persian/American Shorthair cross) and Persian. These three are all Persian based cats. These cats are docile and passive. Perhaps they are uninquisitive, which will limit learning by experience. Cat intelligence is hard to measure.

At the smarter end there is the Sphynx. I can agree this. They do behave in more inquisitive, active and interested manner indicating intelligence. Other smart cats are the other skinny cats such as the Oriental Shorthair, Balinese, Javanese, Turkish Angora. The Bengal also falls into this group too.

The full list of the smart cats:

* Bengal
* Colorpoint Shorthair
* Havana Brown
* Javanese
* Oriental Shorthair
* Siamese
* Sphynx (top cat)

In the middle ground (average cat intelligence) we have:

* American Shorthair
* Birman
* Bombay
* Abyssinian
* American Curl
* American Wirehair
* British Shorthair
* Cornish Rex
* Cymric
* Maine Coon
* Manx
* Ragdoll
* Scottish Fold
* Snowshoe
* Somali

Just below the Sphynx level (the top rank cat intelligence) we have these cat breeds:

* Burmese
* Chartreux
* Devon Rex
* Egyptian Mau
* Japanese Bobtail
* Korat
* Norwegian Forest Cat
* Ocicat
* Russian Blue
* Siberian
* Singapura
* Tonkinese
* Turkish Angora
* Turkish Van

This list must be taken with a pinch of salt however. As to random bred cats, by far the most common cats, these cats probably vary in intelligence just as humans do. This variation must apply to the individual cats that are purebred too.

I am sure that there are random bred cats that are as intelligent, if not more intelligent, than Sphynx cats. We should be open to variations in character and intelligence amongst individual cats.

Cat Intelligence to Sphynx Cat

Thursday 24 April 2008

History of Cat Litter

History of Cat Litter - what has this picture got to do with cat litter? Read on. These are Fullers cleaning woolen cloth with a mixture of what we now call Fullers Earth and water. The picture is copyright free as it was made in 1770. These ladies are making what was probably a boring job as interesting as possible by chatting while working (look at their open mouths).

The History of Cat Litter is in fact much like the history of the creation and growth of many businesses but it was a damn good idea. Mind you it was an idea that was destined to be formulated at some time or other.

Apparently the story starts in 1948 just after the second world war, a time of opportunity and growth. Mrs Draper used sand as litter for her cat(s) in those days. Sand was the material most used for litter boxes at that time. So litter was being used but in an informal manner, it seems. She wanted something better if she could find it and spoke with Mr. Lowe a neighbor who was in the industrial absorbent business with his father having recently returned from a tour of duty in the US Navy during the war.

We must at this juncture thank Mrs Draper for having the foresight to see Mr. Lowe. Mrs Draper must have thought that he might have something that could do the trick. In other words she probably had the idea that what he sold might work well. It did.

One of the industrial absorbents Mr Lowe sold was Fullers earth, a clay product. Fullers earth is a mined substance. There are two types but the term is used for similar materials. The term "Fullers" originates in the term "fulling". Fulling is a step in the process of woolen cloth making, in which the cloth is cleansed to remove oils and dirt etc. It was originally cleansed by people who pounded the cloth with their feet. In doing this they kneaded this clay product mixed with water into the woolen cloth. These people were called "Fullers". By far the biggest production of Fullers Earth is in the USA.

Back to cat litter. Mr Lowe provided Mrs Draper with some of his Fullers earth. It worked better than sand as it was absorbent. Mr. Lowe saw an opportunity and offered it to the local pet shop. Initially it was offered free of charge but it seems soon caught on and people were prepared to pay. The rest is history as they say.

Mr. Lowe through his efforts over many years sold and refined the product and turned what he called "Kitty Litter" ® (now a ubiquitous name in the USA but not in the UK - we don't use the word "kitty" here) into big business. His business is called Edward Lowe Industries, Inc. which he sold in 1990 for $210m.

These days the business has moved on and although Mr Lowe's product (i.e. the clay based litter) is probably the most popular, sawdust compacted into absorbent capsules are in my opinion superior although they are not clumping. The failure to clump is far outweighed by the cleanliness of the wood product and its superior odor killing properties. The litter tray stays clean with the wood product but becomes quite dirty with the clay product.

There is just one glitch. How environmentally friendly is the wood product? Is the sawdust a by product of another manufacturing process or are trees cut down for it? The latter would be unacceptable in the modern world.

From History of Cat Litter to Cat Facts

Wednesday 23 April 2008

Cat History

cat drawing cartoon.
Cat History - A cartoon from 1oth March 1894 by Louis Wain who I understand was a well known artist of cats in the form of cartoons as above. In fact Louis Wain was a famous artist and a cat show judge plus he was the second President of the National Cat Club, which was formed in 1887. These images are copyright free from my understanding of the complex copyright laws which I have checked. If I am wrong please tell me.

Some more cat history in the form of newspaper articles about the domestic cat for the Penny Illustrated. These are transcribed verbatim as there is no longer copyright. They provide an insight into how we have changed. Siamese cat history is informative and interesting.

28th May 1887

An early form of cat hoarding by a Countess no less. I have reassessed this. I don't think she was a cat hoarder.


At Hammersmith, last Monday, the Countess de la Torre appeared to answer the adjourned summons for disobeying an order made by Mr Curtis Bennett to abate a nuisance caused by the accumulation of cats in the rooms she occupied in Lille-road, Fulham. Evidence was given by Dr. Egan, who said the nuisance was not abated in her rooms for a number of days. The Countess had since left the house. Mr. Bennett said she was liable for a heavy penalty, 20s a day, but as she had left the house he would not fine her for each day. He, however, hoped that she would not be brought before him again. He then fined her 60s., with 2s costs, to be paid in fourteen days. The Countess said she intended to appeal. Mr Bennett said there was no appeal.

20s = 20 shillings=about £1.70p. Cat hoarding is an illness. The Countess was known to take in stray cats. She was a true cat lover and being known as a cat lover she acquired cats, people came to her. She was not in fact a cat hoarder. Her problem was that she didn't have the correct premises to do what she felt needed to be done. She appears to have been living in a flat. In an article written in 1885 she was doing the same thing and had 21 cats at that time apparently.

Cat History to Home Page

Tuesday 22 April 2008

Cat History

Modern Siamese Cat
Cat History - Modern Siamese Cat - photo copyright ©Creativity+ Timothy K Hamilton. The Siamese cat referred to in the text below of 1894 didn't look like this. She would have been a Traditional Siamese.

Reading about cat history tells us quite a lot about ourselves. A domestic cat's life is bound up with ours. The development of the domestic cat tell us about our own development. And in understanding our own development we understand ourselves better.

The cat fancy has only be around for about 140 years or so. It has changed out of all recognition. It started in England, UK. I have a page on the main website, which set out a "timeline of events from the beginning of cats to the present, charting the dates of origin or discovery of the domestic cat breeds we now have in the world. It is a page about cat history from a slightly different standpoint.

This short post though is part of a series of posts on newspaper articles from 1861 to about 1913 so it covers the period of the beginning of the cat fancy. They are a series of transcripts from The Penny Illustrated newspaper of the time or the Times archive. The Penny Illustrated newspaper was published between 1861 and 1913.

All the articles are about cats and cat history, what else!

10th March 1894

Crufts Great Dog Show

Mr.Charles Cruft, of 325, Holloway Road, delighted the dog-fancying world the other day with a magnificent Dog Show at the Agricultural Hall, characteristic heads of which were reproduced at the time in the P.I.P. by Mr. Louis Wain. The same Artist furnishes us with some amusing types of Mr. Cruft's leviathan Cat Show at the Westminster Aquarium on March 7 and 8.

Pussy had to vie at the Aquarium with the admirable new Fisheries Exhibition, and came triumphant out of the ordeal. The classification of the cats was absolutely bewildering to the uninitiated, as Mr. Cruft, in his liberty, provided no fewer than seventy-five classes, in which prizes from five pounds to thirty shillings were awarded, while the number of special or extra prizes reached the unprecedented total of about fifty. There were classes for long-haired cats and short-haired cats, old cats and young cats, tailless cats and cats with tails, for cats shown singly and cats shown in teams, for male cats, she cats, wild cats, and even for Siamese cats, the latter variety being the rarest variety of all; but Mr. Cruft somehow forgot to offer a prize for the familiar shrew-cat, the plague of many households......"

Cat History - Commentary:
  • One shilling in old money was worth one thwelth of a pound i.e. 12 shillings to the £
  • Crufts Dog show is the biggest in the world (I believe) but he only does dogs now!
  • The Siamese is no longer the rarest domestic cat. Read about the history of the Siamese cat in detail.

Cat History to Home page

Maine Coon Cat Facts

Here are the most important facts as I see it: 

Size - Perhaps the first thing that comes to mind when you think about this cat breed is her size. This is a major factor in this cat's popularity. By my reckoning (at that of most others) the Maine Coon is the biggest domestic cat breed. But it is not quite as straightforward as that. This is because if you work out the largest cat breed by cat association you are bound to include the Savannah under TICA, for example. And the Savannah rivals the Maine Coon for size. If you bring into the equation the first-generation Savannahs as I think you must for the Savannah as people like first generation wildcat/domestic cat hybrids, then the Savannah is the biggest cat breed under TICA. See more analysis on this page on the sizes of the breeds. 

Huge Maine Coon silver tabby with black feet
Huge Maine Coon silver tabby with black feet. Image in the public domain.

History - Another important element in the makeup of this cat is her history, particularly for Americans. The Maine Coon is a natural cat. That's a stand out plus factor in the modern world of the cat fancy when there seems to be an increase in the number of hybrid cats born out of a desire in the cat fancy to create another cat. It is possible that the beginnings of this cat in the USA originate in the importation of the Norwegian Forest Cat from Norway with the Vikings. 

That is the classic story anyway and it makes some sense as they are very similar cats. Indeed, they may have been identical but cat breeders would have had to separate them if they were to be two distinct breeds. Any difference may be to do with selective breeding rather than natural evolution. If I am wrong, please tell me by commenting. 

 There are though a gazillion stories about how the Maine Coon came about. Some outrageous some more based on common sense, which are preferable. She is basically a hardy barn cat developed into a purebred stunner. I honestly think sometimes though that we have screwed up with the breeding.

Health - The wonderful pluses about this truly handsome cat (probably the best domestic cat breed if one was honest) is spoiled at least a bit by the health issues. It seems that purebred cats have more health issues than mixed breed cats. That may be because we talk about them more but it is probably true as the inbreeding and line breeding required to produce fine looking cats with the right attributes for that breed carries a downside, the manifestation of and breeding in of defects (sometimes). A lot of cat breeds including moggies, I am told, suffer from heart disease. 

Humans suffer from it too, but to what degree? And I have never seen or heard first hand of a mixed breed cat having a predisposition to heart disease but that is the case with a number of purebred cats (but not all purebred cats) including the Maine Coon. If it is a number of purebred cats that are predisposed to this disorder then it must be due to breeding. 

Other purebreds that can contract HCM (a heart disease in which the heart muscle of the left ventricle thickens lessening the efficiency of the heart and causing illness) are the British Shorthair (another great and popular cat) and the Bengal cat (once again a very popular cat). Is this condition linked to popularity in some way? Other health issues are a hip disorder causing lameness. This is more prevalent apparently than the heart disease. Gum disease is also mentioned but this affects many cats. 

But it may affect Maine Coons more than others. It can be hard sometimes to get good information because (and this is completely understandable) cat breeders have a tendency to not be completely candid about defects in the breed with which they are concerned for commercial reason. 

Spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) and patellar luxation also afflict this breed.

Character - Common sense tells us that all domestic cats and even wildcats are going to have similar characters. Their main characteristics are hard wired. There are differences from individual cat to individual cat which can mask any differences between breeds, which tend to be talked up by breeders to distinguish one breed from another. A well socialized Maine Coon will have a nicely balanced character. I don't think you'll have a problem provided your behavior towards your cat is appropriate. 

A couple of points are worth raising. She may be smarter than average (a legacy of her semi-feral heritage?). She likes water (or some do) as well. This also seems to be a legacy of cats used to fending for themselves (e.g., wildcat hybrids). Read more here. When you watch judges handle the best cats at the shows and see how tolerant the cats are it confirms how fine the character is of a well brought up.

Appearance - What can you say but compliment the beautiful coat that this cat has. Very touchable. Very strokable. There is a huge range of allowable colors and patterns. Are there any restrictions? - there seems not, but the CFA lists out the colors so I guess it is not a completely open situation. You very commonly see this cat in a tabby coat, but a very well-defined coat and special version of this much loved and practical coat type. 

Great tail and great ears too (love the tufts at the top of the ear and the "ear furnishings"). Oh, and the hair growing between the toes, love that too (see above). 

Popularity - As at the date of this post (2008 and this could change a bit over time). The Maine Coon is the second most popular cat, just fractionally behind the Abyssinian (another balanced all round cat of natural origins). As at 2022 the MC is third most popular by one major poll. The breed maintains its standing.

Go to the home page and vote to see the rankings (when you vote you are taken to the rankings for all the cat breeds). You can also go to the breeds categorization page to vote and see the top 10 most popular breeds. Maine Coon Cat Facts to Maine Coon Cats

Monday 21 April 2008

Himalayan Cat Facts

Here are some pertinent and succinct Himalayan Cat Facts as I see them anyway. I've tried to stick to the major points and keep it as concise as possible:


The Himalayan is just like a Persian cat with the pointed coat and pattern of a Siamese Cat. This is because this purebred cat breed is a hybridization of the Persian and the Siamese. I am going to make a presumption here and say this must mean the Traditional Siamese, which has a more rounded face.

Because the Himalayan is so close to the Persian in appearance, conformation and character it is debatable whether she should have been a different breed. After all, the cat associations allow some cat breeds to have any type of color and pattern coat (e.g. the American Bobtail to name but one). It must have been a political decision to keep it separate from the Persian.

In order to achieve the colorpoint Persian (the UK name for this cat breed) there had to be a lot of selective breeding including interbreeding (this I think is inbreeding). Inbreeding is good and bad. It fixes a trait, the good ones and it throws up the bad traits more frequently. What happens to the cats with the bad traits? Apparently one of the difficulties in the breeding program was ensuring that the Himalayan had the right face and was not a long faced long haired cat.

Being a cross with the Siamese, the Himmie or Himmy is going to be a little more lively than the Persian who is known for her quiet demeanor. She is very much a people orientated cat.

She is as sweet natured as the Persian. It may be that this cat breed is sometimes too gentle as I have read that the Persian (and I presume therefore the Himalayan) can have litter box problems due to stress.


The Himmie is a very handsome or pretty cat. However, it depends on your viewpoint as to whether you are talking about the Traditional face or the Modern faced cat. The Himmie like the Persian can be seen with the same face as the "Ultra Persian", the Persian cat that has been developed over many years from the traditional. The Ultra has a squashed face. She has to have a squashed face these days (she didn't before but judges liked it) because the breed standard says so. The same rules apply to the Himalayan.

You'll see this cat bred with both types of face and the range of faces in between. On the Himalayan cat page of the main website you can see mainly Traditional Himalayan cats because they live with Dani Rozeboom and she breeds traditional cats and photographs them beautifully. And because I prefer the look of the traditional cat as in fact do the substantial majority of visitors to this website - see the poll results on this page (just scroll down a bit).


Himalayan Cat Facts cannot ignore the nitty gritty bits about this breed. The health issues surrounding the Persian apply equally to the Himalayan, which means, PKD (kidney disease that is fatal) and tear duct overflow (tears than don't drain away from the eye through ducts but instead drain over and down the face causing staining and requiring constant daily washing).

PKD is present in all cat breeds but more so in Persian cats and breeds that have used Persians in their development. It is inherited through a single sex related dominant gene (autosomal dominant). All cats of this breed should be scanned using ultrasound at aged 9-10 months to see if the kitten is affected or not. If the test proves positive the cat should be removed from the breeding program (this is called culling - it does not mean killing in cat fancy language).

That's the uncomfortable stuff. I wonder if breeders will now gradually drift back to the more traditional appearance over time to remove this unfortunate deficiency that simply need not be in existence. Tear duct overflow is a man made condition. Read about the development of the Persian and the flat face by clicking on this link.

It must be said to be fair that most breeders will do their best to avoid these problems and the author of the CFA article on this breed says it is possible to breed an Ultra Himalayan whose tears drain normally. One last health issue; apparently this cat can also suffer from a disorder called PRA (Progressive Retinal Atrophy).

Apparently, cataracts have been observed in this breed due to an inherited gene(s). Both eyes are affected. A single gene is believed to be the cause.

As is the case for the Persian cat, the fur can be inordinately long. She is high maintenance. If you can't give some time to grooming and cat care I wouldn't take on a Himalayan cat.


The range of point colors for this breed is as follows:

  • chocolate
  • seal
  • lilac
  • blue
  • red
  • cream tortie
  • blue-cream
  • lilac-cream
  • chocolate-tortie

  • seal lynx
  • blue lynx
  • red lynx
  • cream lynx
  • tortie lynx
  • blue-cream lynx
  • chocolate lynx
  • lilac lynx
  • chocolate-tortie & lilac-cream lynx

This comes from Wikipedia - Martha Stewart the well known American television personality lives with seven Himalayan cats..........more Himalayan Cat Facts......

Himalayans are a popular cat but less popular than the Persian. In the popularity poll (scroll down the page when you arrive). She is outside the top 10 but about mid-range in popularity. The Persian is in the top 5 most popular cat breeds. Himalayan Cat Facts - Update at 18-6-08: This breed is ranked about 10th in popularity based on the website's poll. Further update: at 1-8-08 the Himmie is ranked 8th in popularity.

The Himalayan cat is a well established cat having been registered with the CFA since 1957. The Bengal cat was created in the mid 1970s so wasn't even a twinkle in the eye Jean Mill the Bengal founder at the time.

Himalayan Cat Facts to Himalayan cats

Hurting Cats Fearing Cats

frightened fearing
Hurting Cats Fearing Cats. What has this picture (copyright wander.lust) got to do with that? Two things for me. One it portrays a feeling of impending doom warranting fear, which is in tune with this post. Two it is a damn good photograph.

Hurting cats and fearing cats is not that unusual. Why do some people hurt cats? Or go even further and kill cats or are cruel to cats?

A lovely saying (I have it forgotten verbatim) which I can remember the gist of comes to mind.

It comes from the philosophy of Native Americans, who occupied North America before Europeans arrived in the 1590s. In simple terms they said that what we fear we kill.

If you water this down a little it is so true. If we are frightened of something we are liable to become defensive towards that person or the situation. Defensiveness turns to aggression. Isn't this the classic fight or fright response? We either run from frightening things or we fight them. Aggression can so easily lead to killing or if not killing then something unpleasant.

I am convinced that a lot of the cat's ills are due to a fear of cats. Fearing cats is a very common condition. Mankind is generally fearful anyway. A lot of what we do is based on an underlying fear. We are all scared.

Cats are designed to a be killing machine and even the humble domestic cat has some pretty fearful weapons. Cats are obligate (they must) carnivores. They need to eat meat. They need to kill animals to get meat.

In fearing cats many people are defensive towards cats. They behave incorrectly towards the cat. A cat is instinctive and reactive and will respond in a way that the human finds undesirable as a consequence. The problem then has commenced with the human's inappropriate behavior. We generally have created many of the problems concerning the domestic cat.

On this theory, it must be the case that Chinese and Koreans (and it seems people from other Far Eastern Countries) either fear or have a distrust of the domestic cat. This may be why some people from these countries treat the domestic cat so appallingly. Of course people from the West also are able to treat cats badly but not to the same extent.

A recent comment to a post I made some time ago reinforces this. The visitor said that she thought cats were aloof. She preferred dogs. She thought cats should be stir fried. I thought cats should either run a mile from her or be aggressive towards her to defend themselves.

So is the Chinese cat meat trade based on this cycle. Human is fearful of domestic cat. Human behaves badly towards cat. Cat reacts defensively. Human kills cat. Human eats cat?

What we are frightened of we kill. Hurting Cats, Fearing Cats go hand in hand.

Hurting Cats Fearing Cats to Cat Meat Name and Shame

Understanding Cats

two cats
Understanding cats - This is another fine photograph by probably one of the best cat photographers anywhere (the best, I think, is Helmi Flick). The photograph is copyright (Flickr Name) foturasfelinas. Her real name is Giane Portal. She says in the caption below this picture that in order to understand a cat you must realize that he has his own gifts, his own viewpoint and even his own morality. I read this as saying that cats have their own feelings, which many times are based on the same or similar principles and causes and effect as ours. When you look at this picture do you see an angry cat? If you do you might be frightened of cats. We must never allow cats to falsely reflect our own anxieties.

Understanding cats is something that you would have thought all cat breeders would be good at. This is not the case, I feel. The vast majority will though be well versed in a cat's ways. But do they get into a cat's head?

I wonder if the very nature of cat breeding is an obstacle to understanding cats. In order for a cat breeder of purebred cats to produce cats that are desirable she has to ensure that her cats are as much of the correct "type" (appearance) as possible with reference to the breed standard.

She can only do this if she breeds closely, meaning line breeding or inbreeding. If you breed from a good looking cat you want all the good characteristics from that cat in your cats. This means breeding from a narrow number of fine looking original cats. That kind of breeding is liable to bring out the good and bad of the particular cats concerned. You increase the chances of a recessive gene that carries a negative characteristic making its presence felt when you line breed. Yet all cat breeders must breed this closely.

What happens to the cats that are inevitably produced that are well below standard? Strictly speaking they need to be "culled" to ensure that the poor quality is weeded out thereby gradually eliminating the carriers of the poor genes and strengthening the narrow gene pool in which breeders work. This way you gradually improve the breeding stock.

The problem as you can see is that the breeder has to be ruthless enough to remove cats. Culling in this instance does not necessarily mean killing. I expect, cat breeders find homes for cats that are not desirable but this can't be the case all the time. Some cats get killed I am sure.

When you kill cats it seems that you are beginning to treat animals in your charge in a way that distances you from their feelings. They become objects, a product. It is this which is one of the root problems with cat breeding, which by the way I support, provided breeders see the wider issues.

Cats are driven by the same feelings as humans (remember we are animals in the true sense too - no we were not created by God in the garden of Eden, sorry. Apparently 80% of North Americans believe that God created mankind). When a cat is bad tempered you may think that she is just plain bad tempered. But the common sense reason is that there is some underlying cause. Cats are reactive and natural. Perhaps she doesn't like something in the home she lives in. This may be making her upset, nervous. When we as humans are anxious and nervous we can become aggressive and depressed. This makes us behave less well than we otherwise would. The same applies to cats.

If we want to understand cats we need to understand ourselves and remind ourselves that cats are very similar to humans physiologically and in may areas psychologically. That is why they are used in animal testing experiments but that is another story.

From Understanding Cats to Animal Testing

Sunday 20 April 2008

Bobtail Cats

There are a number of bobtail cats, cats with very short tails or indeed without tails at all. A good example of the former is the American Bobtail or the Pixiebob and the latter the Manx or the Kurilian Bobtail.

We know that human nature drives us to ever develop and explore things, to try and make things better. This applies often to areas such medical research or scientific discoveries. Sometimes we tend to go too far in a particular direction. In other words we are not sure when to stop. The reason for the drive is either commercial reasons and/or shear inquisitiveness, the need to improve and to know. This drive is valuable - most often but it can work against us and against other species on the planet.

Cat breeding has developed a lot it seems over the last 30 years or so. There seems to be a constant desire to create new breeds. Bearing in mind the above this is to be expected. The cat associations or at least some of them control this by disagreeing to register new breeds that are "created" these days by hybridization, taking two existing cat breeds and mating cats from those breeds to form a new cat breed.

I think that it is wise of the CFA for example to put a restraint on this form of development of cat breeds. The CFA disagree with wildcat/domestic cat hybrids. These are popular cats but there are some people who disagree with the direction cat breeders seem to be going in by producing "exotic" cats.

Bobtail cats are another slightly contentious area as the bobtail or lack of a tail is caused by a genetic mutation. The mutated gene that causes the short tail can also cause other "defects". In the Manx is causes "Manx Syndrome", which is a shortening of the spine.

It troubles me a bit then when cat breeders of dwarf cats (another genetic mutation with some potentially secondary problems) consider producing a dwarf cat (the Munchkin, the founding dwarf cat) with a bobtail. In this instance we would be combining two cats with genetic mutations each of which some people would consider detrimental

OK - such a cat would look very cute. But in the interests of cat welfare I believe that the majority of cat lovers and cat fanciers would disagree with such a breeding program as a step too far.

Photo: This cat appears to be a Bobtailed Siamese cat possibly the offspring of a natural mating between a bobtailed cat and a Siamese or simply the emergence of a recessive genetic mutation causing the shortened tail. Photo is copyright KaCey97007 . Siamese do have a kinked tail (very faint). Is this an extension of that "defect"?

Bobtail Cats to Manx Cat

Saturday 19 April 2008

Domestic Wild Cat

Mixed breed cat
Domestic Wild Cat - His name is Jack and he is wild, wild, wild...! He is a great and fine and yes in some people's eyes humble Moggie mixed breed cat but he is wild at heart. Photograph copyright Helmi Flick

So you're thinking of living with a Domestic Cat that is also a wild cat. This breed of cat has gained in popularity over the preceding 20 years or so. The whole thing probably started with the Bengal cat the first domestic cat/wild cat hybrid that set the ball rolling. Jean Mill was responsible for that. I think she has recently retired.

The main points to note about the Domestic Wild Cat are these:
  1. The SBT Bengals or 4th generation onwards are only just domestic wild cats with about 12% wild blood. They are really true domestic cats although very athletic and alert.
  2. It is the first and second generation fillials that are the domestic cats that have a high percentage of wild cat in them and which will as a consequence behave more like a wild cat. They are big and demand good management. You'll need space, time and money. I wouldn't go down that route unless you're really ready for it and have the means in terms of time and finance. This is for the sake of both you and more importantly the cat. Examples of these cats are the Savannah, Safari and Chausie.
  3. You can go a step further and live with a true wild cat in the States. These are small to medium sized wild cats such as the Serval. They might be small to medium in the wild but in the home they are big. It is a big step to consider living with such a cat and in addition to the points made a 3 above you've got the legal issues and restrictions surrounding the ownership of a wild cat. That means checking the law of the State concerned and building enclosures on a big plot of land etc. In the UK you just don't even think about these things. It is simply illegal as far as I am aware unless you run some kind of zoo. The Bengal is not uncommon though in the UK (my neighbour lives with a Bengal and I made a video of him, he is called Daniel).
  4. One last very important point. The humble mixed breed Moggie so commonly encountered in the world is a Domestic Wild Cat at heart. She is a direct descendant from the wild cat. She decided to live with humans. She is not far from the wild cat still. And you can see that all the time in her instinctive and natural behavior. The way she catches wildlife and eats it despite being fed by you. Her hunting skills are still there. Her eyesight, hearing and sense of smell is very special. She is a killing machine....
Domestic Wild Cat to Mixed Breed Cat the "Household Pet" to use cat association language.

Types of Domestic Cats

Above: this is darling Faolan a Traditional Persian Cat of awesome appearance. He lives with Dani Rozeboom who runs the cattery Yeri Shaes in The Netherlands. Dani's partner is Rick. The photograph in copyright Dani Rozeboom. Dani is a fine cat photographer.

Types of Domestic Cats is another search term sometimes used and it does make me think. On the face of it there is only one type of domestic cat - the domestic cat. But the domestic cat can be categorized in various ways. The method of categorization dictates the type of domestic cat.

For example there are mixed breed and pure bred cats. There is only one mixed breed cat but he or she has an infinitely variable appearance. The number of purebred cats varies. It depends on which association you're talking about. The Cat Fanciers Association say that there are 41 (I think it still is). TICA say there are more. There are more North American cat associations with slightly different views. The Europeans (GCCF and FIFe) categorize differently anyway and have less de-marked cat breeds. It's all very complicated.

If you categorized by origin of a purebred cat, you could subdivide between wildcat/domestic cat hybrid, natural cats and domestic cat hybrids. An example of the first would be the Chausie (Jungle cat/Abyssinian) or the Savannah (Serval/Domestic), an example of the second would be the Norwegian Forest Cat (mankind didn't intervene until about 1930) and the third would be the Exotic Shorthair (Persian/American Shorthair). There many more examples under this categorization. In this form of categorization you are dividing up Types of Domestic Cats into their respective origins.

Another way to find different Types of Domestic Cats is to divide by size and weight. The vast middle area of domestic cats are of average weight, about 9 lbs. But some are larger and heavier such as the Maine Coon, the largest domestic cat registered with the CFA. The wildcat/domestic cat hybrids mentioned above are heavier than the Maine Coon especially at the first generation level. The smallest domestic cat (as a cat breed) is the Singapura. You can see a breakdown of domestic cat by size by clicking on this link.

A third way of categorizing cats is by coat type. Coat types cut across cat breed boundaries. The associations dictate which cat breed can have which type of coat. Sometimes they say that the coat can only be of only one color and texture. In that case it is to preserve the original appearance of a naturally occurring cat such, for example, the Chartreux a grey cat breed.

Sometimes the cat associations are generous in allowing a cat to have an almost infinite number of coat types such as the Maine Coon or Persian. But in both these cases the pointed coat is disallowed in the States. The pointed Persian is called a Himalayan.

So, you've got tabby cats and calico cats and hairless cats etc. These are various Types of Domestic Cats that can be found in a wide range of cat breeds. Of course you can find all these coat types without restriction in mixed breed cats. If you click on this link you'll see a list of postings on the cat coat types.

These probably are the main methods of categorization that come to mind.

Update 11th Jan 2010: Another way to categorise domestic cats into "type" is by reference to say: I discuss this kind of categorisation on this page: Different Cat Breeds.

Yet another way is to categorise by cat body types or head shape.

Types of Domestic Cats to Home Page

Friday 18 April 2008

How Old is My Cat

Old cat
Old Cat. The photographer "Steve took it" (photograph copyright "Steve took it") says he is 20 years old making him 93 in human age. A long life.

How Old is My Cat is a question that cat owners ask themselves sometimes. I actually don't know the exact age of my cat because she came to me from under a stationary car on a cold street in west London in November 1993. At the time I was living in Notting Hill Gate.

I always thought that the method for calculating a cat's age was to multiply by 7. If that was true my cat would be 105 and I don't think that is correct because she is pretty fit, eats well, likes her prawns and tells me what to do.

So I guess the formula of times 7 is a bit unsophisticated. A more accurate method is provided by the Cornell University of Veterinarian Medicine (who could be better qualified?).

The author on the Cornell site says this. Old age starts to show itself at about 7-10 years of age.

Here's a chart based on the Cornell advice:

Cat Age Human Age
1 16
2 21
3 25
4 29
5 33
6 37
7 41
8 45
9 49
10 53
11 57
12 free bus pass61
13 retirement and pension65
14 69
15 73
16 77
17 81
18 85
19 89
20 93
21 97
22 letter from the Queen 101

That makes my girl about 73 or so. She may be 77 or even more are she was at least, I believe, one year old when she found me.

When I write this post I think of a concerned cat lover who had bought some Modern Siamese cats from a breeder and all her cats died before the cat age of 10. I think some vets in the USA (am I wrong? - tell me please) consider 10 a reasonable age for a cat. I always thought late teens was the target. You can now answer the question, How Old is My Cat....... Your cat should live to the human equivalent of old age, which is about mid 80s these days or 18 in cat time. I wonder if female cats live longer than male cats as is the case for humans?

 Old cat - beautiful but sad photo - by by YanivG (Flickr)

How Old is My Cat to Senior Cat Care

Healthy Cat Weight

fat cat
Fat Cat photograph copyright

A Healthy Cat Weight is a growing concern for people who care about cats including veterinarians. Vets are seeing more overweight cats than before. This is probably partly or perhaps mainly because people are getting fatter. People are getting fatter because the world is getting richer and cat afford better food, which tastes better and encourages eating. Eating can be pleasurable. People accept being heavier than before and pass that mentality to their cats.


Obesity in cats it seems affects (in the USA at least) about 50% of cats in the age range 2-10 years (src: Elizabeth Hodgkins DVM "Your Cat"). Information on weight be it high or low is useful in diagnosis of illness. Obesity in cats is much more common than underweight cats in the United States. It is said that obesity is the "leading nutritional malady" as reported by USA veterinarians1.

Although lack of exercise is a major factor in a cat becoming obese, dry cat food encourages eating as is contains high levels of carbohydrates and therefore discourages a Healthy Cat Weight. Dry cat food needs carbohydrates in it to make the manufacturing process work. Cats that eat a dry cat food are more likely to be overweight and be less active. Elizabeth Hodgkins DVM argues that dry cat foods create swings in blood sugar levels which can cause sluggishness and a lack of desire to play. This translates into putting on weight to a greater extent than enforced inactivity due to being locked indoors permanently, which is the case for a large percentage of cats in the USA (much less in the UK and Europe).

It is thought that being overweight can increase the chances of contracting diabetes. Elizabeth puts the relatively high levels of diabetic cats (2.5% of the population on her rough estimate) down to the effects of the high carbohydrate levels in dry cat cat food. Rarely diabetes in cats can be accompanied by other diseases such as Cushing's Disease and Hyperthyroidism.

If you want to read more about cat food click here. And here you can see my initial assessment of the best dry cat food in the United States. And here is a page answering the question: how many calories does a cat need?. Finally, read more on cat obesity.

All manufactured cat food, if one looks at it a bit cynically, it designed to be eaten and liked as that is how the manufacturers make their profits. It is hard sometimes to know exactly what goes into cat food. The list of ingredients are written in terms that sound strange such as "ash" and "moisture". In wet cat food cats love the jelly and are not sure about the rest; what's in the jelly? I personally don't see a great level of transparency in the cat food market. Dry cat food is very convenient and suites modern life (I mean modern human life) but it does not suite modern cat life. I agree with Elizabeth Hodgins in that it discourages a Healthy Cat Weight.

thin cat
Thin cat - photo copyright *mangu*. Of course not all unhealthy cat weight is overweight. But excess weight is more common than underweight particularly in the Western countries. This cat is probably a feral cat in an Eastern country. I feel for this cat - a tough life.

Checking for a healthy cat weight

So we have a general problem with finding a Healthy Cat Weight. There are a number of websites that tell you how to check a cat's weight. I am not sure we need this information. We can tell when a person is thin, normal or overweight. In fact we can fine tune that and very accurately measure a persons weight against a norm just by looking at the person. Of course this doesn't apply to people who have a weight perception problem but that is a small percentage of people. Or is it in fact? Going back to the argument in the first paragraph of this post people are drifting towards an acceptance of being overweight.

So if your cat looks overweight she is. You can feel the fat around the neck and rib cage for example. There should be a thin layer of fat over the ribs.If the fat around the ribs is more than thin then the cat is deemed to be overweight by the experts. A cat of correct weight should have a lean body1. When viewed from above the cat should have a "slightly hourglass appearance" and an indentation at the loin area.

As a guide average sized male cats should weigh in the order of 9-12 pounds and females about 7-9 lbs. That said, in my personal experience there is a distinct tendency for veterinarians to pigeon hole all cats into generic weight categories. This seems wrong to me. As is the case for people, some cats are naturally bigger than others. Some are naturally small. Some cats will have a propensity to be a bit heavier etc. These individual differences should be taken into account and accepted. Yet you see charts and the like listing weights for cats as if they all have to be within certain limits.

I favor a more practical and common sense approach. We all know when we and our cats are overweight. There is one factor that needs to be factored in. Although the vast majority of cats are mixed breed cats without a pedigree there is a growing number of purebred cats.

Although most purebred cats are in the middle ground for weight and size, in other words they weigh the same as a mixed breed cat, some are smaller and some bigger.

I have built a page of the average weights of all the cat breeds. The weights are set out as minimums, averages and maximums. The purpose of the page is to ascertain the largest cat breed but may help in ascertaining a Healthy Cat Weight as well.

Sources other than stated as as numbered:

1. The Cat, Its Behavior, Nutrition & Health by Linda P Case

Healthy Cat Weight to Cat Facts - cat food

Thursday 17 April 2008

Senior Cat Care

Old cat
Senior cat care - Old cat - photograph copyright junku-newcleus under creative commons license kindly granted by the photographer. The name is his Flickr name.

My cat is a fighting fit but slightly fat 15-16 year female Tuxedo Moggie of great distinction. She is built like a brick and sh*t* (excuse the language) like a trooper, a sure sign that she is healthy. You can learn quite a lot about the health of your cat companion cleaning the litter. Senior Cat Care is something I know a bit about from first hand experience.

But seriously for a minute it can be quite worrying living with an older cat. We know that their average life span is around the late teens. Mind you some breeders of purebred cats think the late teens is unattainable. If fed and cared for properly it is certainly attainable. As a cat nears the end of their lives it gets hard for human and cat alike. Mentally I am (or indeed have) prepared for my cats death and I feel sad when a think of it, very sad as I will miss her terribly.

It is good to know that generally cats like humans are living longer. That means a need for greater awareness of the needs of the older cat to allow for proper Senior Cat Care.

Old Cat
Senior Cat Care - Old Cat - photograph copyright emdot and reproduced under creative commons license.

So what are the special needs of the older cat? The needs stem from the changes that take place in a cat as she gets older. An older cat will be less flexible, and if she is overweight that is an obstacle to flexibility too. As a result, her grooming is less effective and parts of her body may not be groomed. These parts are the difficult areas to get too such as the lower back and hind quarters. The best way around this is to give your senior cat daily grooming sessions. Maybe even twice or three times a day for shortish sessions.

This is great for several reasons. Your cat will like it, usually, and if she doesn't there may be something wrong physically. A vet's check up could be in order. So, she'll like it. You'll like it. It will slow you down for a bit. It will allow you to get closer to your cat. And it will allow you to inspect her while grooming to check for symptoms that give an indication of an illness. As cats get older their immune systems become less effective (I can vouch for that in terms of my health!) so it is wise to watch out for signs of illness.

You don't have to be a veterinarian to recognize if something looks wrong as it is usually common sense. The hard part is deciding what is wrong. We leave that to the vet of course. So senior cat care can have a silver lining.

Older senior cats have less elastic skin and stiff or arthritic joints. The skin's blood circulation is less effective leaving the cat more open to infection. The arthritic or stiff joints might mean a change to some of the practices that you have in place for the placement of the litter and the food. My cat has difficulty climbing onto my bed so I am about to build some steps. She also has greater difficulty using the cat flap so I have to open the door for her. I think that these little things should be observed and acted upon especially if you are not around a lot to deal with them on an ad hoc basis.

Old cat
Old cat photograph copyright Terry Bain and reproduced under a creative commons license.

Senior cat care should extend to a routine inspection of her teeth. Dental disease is fairly common in senior cats in part due to the food we give them. Dry cat food is not the answer. Not only are diseases of the gums and teeth bad per se they also make eating less enjoyable and sometimes difficult. This may lead to a loss of appetite and weight loss. A sore mouth due to gum disease needs treatment obviously.

Loss of appetite may also be due to a partial loss of smell as we all know that cats decide what to eat by the smell of the food. Good cat food is, I think, hard to come by. I would argue, on the basis of having read Elizabeth Hodgkins book, "Your Cat", that dry cat food is not as good as wet. I cover these aspects at the cat food section of the cat facts page of the main website..

The things that affect us in old age affect cats to such as loss of memory ("senior moments") and personality change (grumpy - I can empathise).

I think it important for all cats but particularly senior cats that stress levels are reduced as much as possible. Cats like routine so allowing a well run-in routine to continue wherever possible is a big plus for a older cat.

One obviously important part of Senior Cat Care is exercise (and that applies to us both). Older cats sleep more and sometimes eat more. Obese cats are on the increase. This is our responsibility although sometimes it can be difficult to deal with. I make an effort (but it is relatively easy for me as I am retired) to play with my girl on the lawn perhaps a couple of times a day for say 10 mins at least. She loves it. She asks me to do it and I can check up on her condition such as breathing and general muscle tone and joints when playing with her. She passes on all fronts at present thankfully.

This post does not cover all the "angles". See your vet for the truly medical stuff.

  • Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine
  • Myself

Senior Cat Care to Home Page

Wednesday 16 April 2008

Cats with Squirrel tails

Cats with Squirrel tails are not hugely uncommon. Squirrels let their tales droop at the top - real cute I think but not so good perhaps if you are in the show cat business. Squirrels also have plumed tails.

The Squitten is a mutated cat with defective and shortened forelimbs that looks a bit like a squirrel particularly when the cat has a plumed tail. These are squirrel tailed cats I presume.

There is one cat, an extremely rare cat, that has a squirrel tail plus. This is the American Ringtail cat. The tail can fold over in the shape of a ring. In the Ringtail cat the tail is very much like a Husky dog's tail and is due to a benign genetic mutation. By benign I mean the mutation does not cause other nasty disorders.

If cats with squirrel tails are not Squittens they are probably cats with the usual genetic make up (i.e. the tail is not due to a genetic disorder) but the cartilage in the tail is probably a bit less stiff so the tail flops forwards at the end when held high. Although it may be due to a recessive genetic mutation.

Although the term might just mean cats with plumed tails (bushy tails).

Two cats with cartilage that is different and which affects different parts of the anatomy are the American Curl, with Curly ear flaps and the dwarf cats, with short legs. Both conditions are due to genetic mutations.

Cat Spraying Elavil

This post has been refurnished, relocated and republished elsewhere!! If by some strange chance you happen to visit this page and would like to read the article please click on this link.

Tuesday 15 April 2008

Sex and Cat Breeding

The female sex and cat breeding go together as they should. Cat breeding is about raising babies into adults. It is very similar to human child rearing. It requires all of the skills a good human mother can bring to the process. I guess women are drawn to cat breeding for that reason.

Writing this short post is difficult as it could be perceived as sexist. It is not meant to be. When ever a person refers to the sexes in anyway it can be seen as sexist. But that shouldn't stop people talking about the different skills each sex brings to the table.

In the cat fancy women naturally predominate. But this is not to say that a lot of men aren't involved either. I read somewhere that at one time men were thought of as sissy if they were involved in cat breeding. They would not be thought of in the same way if they were involved in say horse breeding. It could be that cat breeding is essentially a female domain where men enter at their peril :).

The point I am making is this; there is a relevancy in discussing cat breeders' sex and cat breeding. Women have their skills and men have their skills. Men generally see the bigger picture and are less cautious. They can also be more aggressive. They need to be to get the bacon in! This makes men more suitable some would say (and some wouldn't - and this is the possibly sexist bit) to top level management. Moving and shaking requires a bold approach. Sometimes things need to change and cat breeding is going through a process now where it needs, in my humble opinion, some firm direction and management to change it for the better and set it up for the future.

In the USA cat breeders are under attack by the relatively rich organisations such as HSUS and PETA. There is a perception problem that cat breeding does not sit comfortably in a world where there are too many cats that are abandoned and then euthanized. It doesn't really matter if the cat breeder are not to blame for this problem. The two situations don't co-exist comfortably.

To get to the point. I don't know who runs the CFA and TICA and the other large cat associations in the USA, but it is probably women. It may be time to look at hiring a proper company executive to move things forward boldly to unify and build.

Another point, there appears to be too much disagreement amongst cat breeders, pulling in different directions. Women are more individualistic, that is why they prefer cats to dogs and why men prefer dogs to cats (the pack animal instinct in men). This individualism may be hurting the cat fancy. Sex and cat breeding is an issue but at a level different to the one suggested by the title of this post.

Now, no unpleasant comments please.

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