Saturday 31 May 2008

Long Hair Siamese Cat

balinese catA Long Hair Siamese Cat is a Siamese cat but is classified as another breed by some cat associations. This cat is a Balinese cat if the cat is purebred and registered with the CFA.

If the UK's GCCF registers the cat she will be a Siamese cat or more accurately fall within the classification of Siamese cats and be given the name "Balinese cat (longhaired Siamese)".

TICA register her as a Balinese pure and simple. While continental Europe's major cat association FIFe calls this cat a Balinese and classifies her within the Siamese & Oriental category.

To all intents and purposes the cats are the same. A long hair Siamese cat with points outside the classic point colors of seal, blue, lilac and chocolate is a Javanese with the CFA. Yes, it is confusing.

It could be argued that a Siamese cat with any number of point types including lynx or flame (a soft red color) should all be Siamese cats. However the cat associations like to differentiate the breeds and/or create more breeds. There is probably a fair amount of influence exerted by some breeders who have a position within the CFA and TICA who vote for a cat breed that they are developing. It is very much self interest orientated.

Photo: copyright by audioeric. The cat is called Sally. Thanks.

Balinese cat history and Siamese cat history are naturally intertwined.

From Long Hair Siamese Cat to Balinese cat history

Types of Siamese Cats

Photo: Helmi Flick

To the question, "What types of Siamese cats are there," the answer is, an infinite number. Sounds strange but it is true. You would need to classify Siamese cats by conformation (body shape) and by coat color and pattern. The bigger class is body shape.
Body Shape 

As I have said in other posts (and I apologize if you have seen something similar in another post), the Siamese cat look/appearance used to be exclusively the traditional looking Siamese. Things were simpler in those long lost days more than one hundred years ago, in the years following the first importation of the first Siamese cats from Siam in the late 1800s. The history of this breed is interesting. There is a large body of Siamese cat lovers and breeders who have stayed loyal to the original and genuine appearance. However from the mid 1900s onwards cat breeders developed a far more delicate (some say more elegant) looking cat with the same pointed coat colors and patterns. This became a more "contemporary" looking Siamese cat. I have called this cat the Modern Siamese.

Bearing in mind, as I have said, that many breeders stayed loyal to the old appearance, that left the cat world with 2 types of Siamese cats. However as breeding is an imprecise business and as not all breeders breed strictly to the breed standard or don't wish to show their cats, a large number of cats fell in the middle ground between the two ends of the spectrum. These cats that are less "extreme" than the Modern Siamese but less "cobby" (stocky) than the traditional Siamese, are called "Classic" Siamese. As there is no clear demarcation between the three (it is more a continuous stream) it is fair to say that there is an infinite types of Siamese cats. If you wanted more certainty you'd say there are three types of Siamese cats in terms of body shape. Traditional -- Classic -- Modern. 

Picture in the public domain. This is a traditional Siamese.

Coat colors and patterns 

That leaves the coat colors and patterns to classify. This depends on whether your talking purebred Siamese or not. For the sake of simplicity I'll confine myself to purebred registered cats (pedigree cats). The coat types depend on the cat association. The biggest and perhaps most influential, the CFA limit the pointing to 4 classic types, seal (the original, see heading photo), blue, chocolate and lilac. They also do not accept the Traditional Siamese. The CFA then accept 4 types of Siamese cats. Incidentally, they reclassify a Balinese with non-conventional pointing such as flame or lynx pointing as a Javanese cat, just to complicate matters. TICA have not such restrictions. The accept both the Modern Siamese and the Traditional (called the Thai). 

As to coats they divide this up into 2 categories one is for the traditional colors mentioned above and the other for other more contemporary colors which would include lynx pointing for example or the flame pointed Siamese cat (you'll love these pictures - and see this post too). That makes a far larger number of types of Siamese cats. I'm not quite sure of the exact number, the combinations are almost endless. Click here to see a post on pointed coats (this post has some interesting Helmi Flick photos of glamorous pointed cats) and on this link for more on Siamese cat coloring.

 You can further extend the types of Siamese cats by bringing into the equation the Balinese which is a semi-long haired version of the Siamese (the GCCF do this - see below). The Balinese is also breed as traditional and modern. So, it kind of gets a little confusing. The plethora of types is due to cat breeders desire to breed new types of cat. This is human nature. There comes a time however when you have to stop and the CFA are it seems to me (I have no connection with them) good at this as they tend to limit the breed types to much lower level than the more adventurous TICA. Both CFA and TICA are USA based. Incidentally, the major registry/cat association in the UK, the GCCF has a different classification process for Siamese cats. They classify as, "self pointed" (meaning solid point colors such as seal), tabby pointed (this would include lynx pointing and it also includes tortie tabby), tortie pointed (pointed cat with tortoiseshell effect) and they include the Balinese as a Siamese type cat. Types of Siamese Cats to Traditional Siamese cats

Blue Point Siamese Cat

Blue Point Siamese cat
Blue Point Siamese cat - photo copyright Red~Star and reproduced under a creative commons license granted by the photographer

The blue point Siamese cat is one of the four classic Siamese cat colors and allowed by the Cat Fanciers Association. Funnily enough the cat heading this post, Pearl, who is 17+ years old (I hope she is OK still as 17+ is a good age for a cat) is a Traditional Siamese cat and astonishing as the CFA do not recognize the traditional Siamese cat. They only recognize the Modern Siamese. Fortunately the TICA (The International Cat Association) do now, after some considerable lobbying, accept and register the Traditional Siamese but sadly call this cat a "Thai". The cat breeders who breed the Thai might not agree that the Thai is a Traditional Siamese cat, however.

I think that there are too many cat associations pulling in different directions. There needs to be a firm co-ordinating leadership at the top (just my thoughts).

Still, it really won't matter to Pearl. You don't have to be a purebred cat accepted by the cat registries to be a great cat. Pearl is a classic looking traditional Siamese, nicely proportioned. Some cat breeders called them "Appleheads" (rounded head).

The history of the Siamese cat tells us how cat breeders developed the Siamese from a cat similar the type (appearance) above (although the first imported Siamese cats were the original seal point Siamese - a dark brown/black point).

The color "blue" in the cat fancy describes a dilute black (see cat coat color dilution for some genetic stuff). It is more a blue/gray color. There are four purebred grey cat breeds that have to be this color to be accepted as a purebred cat. A color point outside the CFA palette is the Lynx point Siamese.

There is a post on pointed cats here. And another post on the dilution of cat coat color here.

blue point Siamese cat
Here's another Blue Point Siamese cat, which I show on another posting somewhere. This photo is copyright Barb Henry and the cat's conformation or body shape is probably more inline with the classic Siamese, which is in between the gangly Modern Siamese and the Traditional. However, there is no clear demarcation in the spectrum of Siamese cats from Modern to Traditional. Perhaps this cat is more Classic/Modern?

Finally, here is a close up of the face of a blue pointed Siamese:

Photo by Flickr photographer: iampeas

From Blue Point Siamese cat to Siamese cat history

Friday 30 May 2008

Siamese Cat Drawing

Siamese cat drawing
Siamese cat drawing (it's actually more than a pure drawing) - the cat is a Flame Pointed Modern Siamese cat - drawing copyright Arna published here under a creative commons license generously granted by Arna.

There are some talented artists out there in the wide world and some of them very generously let other people publish their work under a creative commons license. The Siamese cat is particularly suited as a subject for a drawing. The drawing above is of Jasper who is a "colour point shorthair". His color points are red or "flame". Jasper is actually a Modern Siamese cat but the CFA register cats outside the conventional range of colors of seal, blue, lilac and chocolate as color (colour) point shorthair cats. Of course the CFA is based in the USA. Jasper may be living in the UK (but see below). The GCCF run the show in the UK.

The GCCF categorize Siamese cats into different groups to the CFA. There is a group for "self-pointed". These are the classic pointed Siamese cats. The points being including, blue, red, caramel, lilac and cream. Another group is "tabby pointed" and "tortie (tortoiseshell) pointed". Finally there are the Balinese cats which are long haired Siamese cats.

It looks like the artist who made the Siamese cat drawing is using a US term so may be living in the US - she is actually living, it seems, in Canada as their business is located there. The artist is Arna one a team of two involved in making cartoons (the other is John). Their business is called dancingmonkeys (a fine website). Jasper is doing the classic grooming routine.

Siamese cat drawing
Siamese cat drawing copyright Arna - I am guessing and if Arna sees this she may correct me. It would seem that she has two cats, the one in the foreground in this drawing is of Jasper, he has the long body and svelte shape and head shape of a Modern Siamese. The cat in the background seems to be a grey cat, could be a purebred and if so might be a Russian Blue or Grey/blue British Shorthair.

As I have gradually built this page I have come to realize how talented John and Arna are. I planned to find a Siamese cat drawing by another artist or artists but why bother? John and Arna are too talented to move on from.

Siamese cat drawing
Here's another Siamese cat drawing (if I am correct on this). Actually it's more than a pure drawing as are the others on this page. Copyright Arna. These two are clearly very comfortable together. I am guessing again but the cat on the left is the Siamese cat, mentioned above.

Siamese cat drawing to Siamese cat breeders

Thursday 29 May 2008

King Cheetah Pictures

king cheetah
Photo reproduced under creative commons license copyright moo sa - Female king cheetah at Tshukudu Game Lodge S. Africa.

King Cheetah Pictures are popular because this is a very rare wild cat. It was thought that the king cheetah was a different species of big wild cat (back in the 1920s when they were first noticed) but it is now know for sure that the distinctly different pattern (more marbled than the pure spotted pattern of the cheetah we are familiar with) is due a simple naturally occurring genetic mutation.

Genetic mutation are quite routine and have been seized upon by domestic cat breeders to create new cat breeds. Typical examples are the American Curl, the rex cats such as the LaPerm and the rarer dwarf cats; there are others. See them all on the main website Picture of Cats.

king cheetah
Photo copyright jurvetson - note: I am not sure that this Flickr photographer has the copyright to this photo - sorry but I think that I have seen it elsewhere. If I am wrong I apologize and please tell me.

There been few live sightings of the King Cheetah and most evidence of this cat's existence comes from skins and stuffed cats etc., pretty disgusting for me, a cat and wild life lover. As far as I remember there is evidence of about 38 king cheetahs since the 1930s or there abouts. Extremely low numbers but of course more could have existed but not seen. They seem, now, to be confined to game reserves and the De Wildt Cheetah and Wildlife Trust breed this cat.

I prepared a page on this cat on the main website where there is more detail and a large format quality picture as well.

king cheetah
Photo copyright coschda

The pictures in this posting are from amateur Flickr photographers. Thanks for sharing them under the creative commons license that you grant.

King Cheetah Pictures to Cheetah habitat

Tuesday 27 May 2008

Cheetah Food Chain

photo copyright World Resources Institute Staff and published under a creative commons license.

The Cheetah food chain is a short one, on the face of it. But before I mention it we must remind ourselves that the Cheetah is an endangered species. The Cheetah habitat has shrunk severely over many years and in the area where there are the most Cheetahs (Namibia) she is hunted and killed by farmers because she is forced to live on farmland. The situation is terribly dysfunctional.

Food Chains
The term "food chain" indicates a straight line transfer of fuel (biomass) from one animal to another in the form of a chain of events, usually the eating of one animal by another until the top predator is arrived at. Perhaps a more accurate depiction of the events is in the form of a network (food network) as there is in fact more going on that is at first apparent in part because consumers will consume from various sources forming an interconnected network of events.

A food chain starts with a primary producer and usually ends with the top carnivore.

Cheetah Food Chain
The Cheetah hunts and eats small to medium sized mammals such as gazelles, springbok and impala. The Cheetah will also catch and eat young zebra and wildebeest. See what cheetahs eat.

Although the Cheetah is "outranked" by all other large predators in his habitat, he has no predators (equal top of the chain) because of his speed. A Cheetah relies on speed to survive so will avoid injury. Injury in a fight wold result in the Cheetah losing the one advantage he has over all other large predators and so would make survival far more perilous. This is why the Cheetah gives up his kill to scavenging predators that he could possibly see off. It's risk/reward formula. It is more sensible in survival terms to give up the kill and kill again.

Gazelles eat coarse plants and leaves that are easy to digest. Plants and leaves are primary producers. They are able to make their own food from sunlight using the process of photosynthesis.

The Cheetah food chain starts with the primary energy source - sunlight. Here is a rather crude diagram depicting it (free to use):

Cheetah Food Chain to Cheetah habitat

Monday 26 May 2008

Dog Allergic to Cat

Pollen - once source of a dogs allergic reaction photo copyright massdistraction

A dog allergic to a cat? Yes, just as humans can be allergic to cats, dogs can be allergic to cats too. I am slightly allergic to a stray boy cat that pops in for food. It is the first time that I have sensed this. It is quite uncomfortable. I've only got to look at him, almost, and I start to feel itchy. I always wash after touching him.

Dogs allergic to cats cannot rationalize the problem like humans and as far as I can see there is not much one can do about it that is really effective. First though, if your dog is scratching it may be due to a wide range of sources. A dog may even be allergic to us as we produce allergens in the form of skin particles. Cat allergens are skin particles and/or dried saliva left on the after grooming.

It may be difficult to track down the source of irritation. There is the question as to whether you tackle the problem from the dog end or the source end (i.e. pro-action or reaction). I would have thought that prevention is better than cure so tracking down the source is important.

Potential sources other than your cat could be for example, the food he eats. It may be due to the type of protein in the food. You could try different types of dog food. Apparently the type of grain in the food can (rarely) be a source of allergic reaction. Food allergy generally, seems to be relatively rare, however. Mold spores is another possible source. I guess you'd know if you have a mold problem as it is very visible. If your dog is itching and you have mold somewhere in or around the home the two could be associated.

Cat allergens have a long life and can be present in the home for long periods attached to furniture etc. My research indicates that the best way to deal with cat allergens is to wash them off the cat, but most cats will find this unpleasant (some cats like water however - Bengal being one example). If this is done regularly (once monthly) it may assist. I'd certainly try and see. It could be a good way of testing the source. Wash you cat and see if your dog does less scratching.

There are products on the market that seal the cat dander to the body, preventing contact with it. I don't know how effective these are but I would have thought not very effective. There is quite a big market in hypoallergenics including breeding hypoallergenic cats (Allerca pets). One product is Danderseal®. It doesn't seem to be widely available and is limited it seems to the North American market (USA and Canada).

Another product is Allersearch X-Mite®, which neutralizes allergens in or on the carpet. You sprinkle it on and hoover it up - no idea how effective it might be. This also seems to be exclusively a US product.

As cat allergens are airborne a free standing air filtration unit may help. BlueAir are good quality but more expensive than some. There are lots on the market. If you can hire them (probably) it may be wise to hire for a week and "suck and see". If your dog improves you would have found at least one potential source. I'd have thought the testing process could be carried out for each potential source to gauge the reaction.

The cause could be pollen (a seasonal allergy). If your dog scratches seasonally then I guess it could be pollen. Your vet can carry out a test if this source is indicated. If it is not pollen it could be due to the vastly increased number of insects flying/walking around during the warmer seasons. An insect bite can cause an allergic reaction from the insects saliva deposited in the skin.

If you can't track down the source you'll have to treat the symptoms with drugs such as antihistamines such as Benadryl®. Once again I am nor sure how effective they are for pets and I'd be extremely careful (get vet advice). Another symptom reducer would be steroids (possible long term side effects - I'd personally avoid these).

The best route is obviously prevention, which will take more time to resolve and requires running tests. Dog allergic to cat might be dog allergic to something else.


Dog Allergic to Cat to Home page

Sunday 25 May 2008

Animal Clones

animal cloning
Photo copyright imranchaudhry published under a creative commons license fully complied with. This is an image of an image it seems to me and the original might not be the copyright of imranchaudhry - please advise.

NEWS AND OPINION: Animal Clones and particularly pet cloning is in the news again. We do like to play around with science don't we and fool ourselves into believing that it is for the good of humankind? I think we need to spend more time and expend more energy on some basic issues like human and animal rights the world over before we play God with pets. We need to get back to some basic and sound thinking on real and pressing matters. Animal clones are being used for medical research but it has now been proposed that animal clones are produced as a replacement for a pet that has died. This post deals with this aspect of the process.

We know that animal cloning is about money, profit. As I have said elsewhere it is hard enough to reconcile cat and dog breeding with ethical and moral behavior, never mind cat and dog cloning. And I am not some rampant animal rights activist. I just like to think of the welfare of animals as opposed to making money out of them.

Why the production of animal clones as a process of pet replacement is wrong in my opinion:
  1. It prevents the naturally hard wired and natural cycle of birth death and grieving after death.
  2. Animal cloning of pets might prey on vulnerable (and I guess wealthy) people who cannot accept the death of a beloved cat or dog. We shouldn't feed this vulnerability but make ourselves stronger.
  3. Animal cloning is simply about commerce and profit at the expense of animals.
  4. It is a classic and perfect example of how we are going in the wrong direction as a world. The world is dysfunctional. It is driven by self-interest (as is cloning), with little committed, common purpose.
  5. It produces another pet when there a many hundreds of thousands perhaps millions of cats (and dogs) that need re-homing
  6. The process of cloning is experimental and causes a lot of animal cruelty
  7. Cloned pets will not on my assessment be the same as your previous pet. She may look the same but will she have the same character? How can you replicate the character? This is surely impossible.
  8. Animal and pet cloning is a reflection of our obsession with appearance and fear of death. We would be happy to have a look-a-like replacement for our dead pet but she won't be the same pet.
  9. One major player in the pet cloning business is the disgraced South Korean scientist and cloning expert Hwang Woo-Suk. He is seeking foreign investment for a new business. As an aside, South Korea is a country with a lack of respect for cats. In some parts of S. Korea they eat them. Not a good place to conduct animal experiments.
  10. Animal cloning shows the worst of us. It treats our fellow creatures as products no different hardly than a washing machine. When it breaks you replace it. When your pet dies you replace it.
  11. Animal cloning is dressed up as scientific research for the betterment of humankind. It is a fraud.
  12. We need to get closer to nature to be in balance with life and animal cloning draws us further away from the natural order of the world. This is not an old-fashioned concept. It is possible to be scientifically advanced and progressive while still respecting nature.
  13. It runs counter to nature. When you do things that are unnatural there may be apparent gain but there will always be a natural downside that cancels the perceived upside out.
  14. Animal cloning sits somewhere between the manufacture of a Japanese animal robot and cat breeding of the poorest kind.
  15. People who truly love their pets will not take up the offer of a cloned pet. It is only those who have too much money, not enough sense and who are highly consumer orientated that might - the wrong type of person to be involved in the pet keeping world in the first place.
  16. How many cats and dogs die in the production of one successful clone and in any case how successful are cloned cats and dogs. Apparently, 99% fail. We don't hear about what happened later. How long do they live? How healthy are they? It is probably too early to tell.
  17. It is another example of humans' arrogance and inflated sense of worth resulting in a profound lack of respect for our fellow creatures. Can we please start to respect other animals? It will make life better on this planet.
Fortunately, it seems, that 80% of people don't agree with pet cloning (src: HSUS). Recently a past Archbishop of Canterbury called the world "broken". The production of animal clones as replacement pets is, I submit, one symptom of a broken world.

  • HSUS
  • San Francisco Chronicle

Animal Clones to cat pain

Saturday 24 May 2008

Cat Food Taste Testing

man eating cat food
Nick Zamora eating cat food at Thanksgiving. photo copyright neekatnite

For Marks and Spencer Cat Food Taste Testing is best carried out by a human. One of their senior food technologists, tests M&S cat food and checks for taste, texture and look (M&S don't employ cats, yet). M&S have brought out an organic cat food range. As the quality of food improves, for humans, the spin off is that cat and dog food improves afterwards. Some cat food is simply lovely to look at and smells great to me.

In fact on occasions, when I have got cat food on my fingers I have instinctively licked it off! I'd forgotten that it was cat food. I'd done my own Cat Food Taste Testing. But and this is a big but, are we qualified to judge a cat's food?

After all wild cats (and domestic cats are still essentially wild cats) love the look, taste and texture of a barely dead rodent. How can an M&S Chicken and Vegetable Terrine (yes, for cat) match that or get anywhere near that in terms of texture and taste?

Are we turning our cats into human beings in terms of their preference for food? One day in 10,000 years cats will eat at table with us using a specially adapted knife and fork. In one million years time the knife and fork won't need adapting.

In domesticating the cat (or in the cat domesticating himself), the wild cat began to live like a human. In the USA cats are kept indoors full-time. This forces cats to live on human terms, forsaking the natural urges of the wild. I don't like this as it is unnatural. Is the taste testing of cat food one more step in the humanization of the domestic cat? We are trying to turn the cat into a companion animal that wholly meets our requirements. In other words, we are modifying the animal so that she fits in better.

Declawing is one example. A lot of people like domestic cats but just want to change them a bit. It's a bit like a human relationship. People sometimes try and change their partner's ways and routines to fit in better with theirs - it never works - it can't. But with a cat we can impose a change.

So with declawing, we want that new sofa and that cat, so we're going to have to declaw the cat. What about not buying the sofa? What about having cats test taste M&S cat food. Why aren't M&S supplying ground down frozen rat? You wouldn't need a human taste tester for that (financial saving) and the cats would/should love it.

Cat Food Taste Testing to Home page

Friday 23 May 2008

Healthy Green Cat Litter

The more Healthy Green Cat Litter is compacted sawdust. My experiences tell me that compacted sawdust is much better despite not clumping. It is also healthier for the cat, which is something that I hadn't considered until I read an article at

Clumping clay litter produces dust when moved. This dust can settle on the cat, which can then be licked off when she grooms. Also during use the dust can be inhaled. Even humans inhale it when cleaning out the litter tray. The dust apparently contains silica which may be carcinogenic. The dust may also clump inside your cat after being ingested.

Compacted sawdust also produces dust but I guess it's less dangerous. Compacted sawdust litter is relatively Healthy Green Cat Litter as it can be composted after use or burnt. It is also more absorbent in my experience and reduces odor more effectively. The litter tray requires far less cleaning as it stays naturally cleaner for far longer (almost indefinitely in fact).

If you combine compacted sawdust litter with a box type litter tray (a tray with a lid) you keep nearly all the litter in the tray during use (no spillage). Some granules are carried out by the cat between their toes, however!

Instead of commercial litter you can use newspaper as it is absorbent but I am not sure about this as I don't see it as that effective. If you live in a house or on the ground floor in a flat I'd let your cat out under controlled conditions or into an enclosure. She can then go to the toilet outside on earth, the most natural way of all to go to the toilet.

Healthy Green Cat Litter to Home page

Thursday 22 May 2008

Cats vomiting

cat vomitingCats vomiting is something that we don't sometimes pay enough attention to as cats sick up hair balls not to infrequently and grass that they have eaten sometimes. It's almost part of being a cat so we get used to it as normal.

This might be a dangerous approach if your cat is being regularly sick for no apparent reason. There is anecdotal evidence that the following can cause cat vomiting (upchucking as it is called in the USA sometimes).

If the dry food is made up of very small pieces a cat can swallow it whole without masticating it. This might make her sick. Dry food is not as good as wet but more convenient. On a separate issue I have taken my cat more or less off dry food (or I give her much less and she is now more active and has lost weight).


Cats vomiting can, on perhaps rare occasions, be an early sign of having contracted Dry FIP. FIP is a nasty viral infection that often proves fatal.

Food that has grain (I am not sure why cat food manufacturers put grain in cat food other than to make it cheaper to manufacture) can cause cat vomiting for some cats. Some cat food doesn't have grain in it. You'll need to check the ingredients, which could be easier to read.

Another possibility is a benign stomach tumor. This is probably operable but if left too late it might not be. It is easy to become a little complacent about cat vomiting. This is understandable but there might be an underlying cause that is serious requiring urgent treatment by a veterinarian. Get her down there if the vomiting is abnormally regular.

Photo reproduced under a creative commons license (the picture has been cropped as allowed under this license). Photo copyright Maggie Osterberg

Sources: breeder experiences

From Cat vomiting to cat health

TIBS Lightning Fund

I have made an earlier post about the TIBS Lightining Fund. TIBS is the International Bengal Society and they are organizing funding the testing of Bengal cats to research the genetic causes of HCM (Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy - heart disease in layperson terms) in Bengal Cats (finding genetic "markers" so the cats can be screened in the future). This disorder would seem to be of growing concern for Bengal cat breeders and cat fanciers.

HCM is found in many cat breeds and mixed breed cats. It is present in some cat breeds more than others. Maine Coons (perhaps the most popular cat) are known to have a problem and now it seems Bengal cats are going down the same path.

On an update about the TIBS Lightning Fund, is it true that the fund has the money to carry out tests but not enough cat breeders coming forward to have to donate blood from an HCM positive cat? This seems to be the case. It wouldn't surprise me as breeders will naturally be concerned about their cats being known to test positive for HCM, which leaves them with a damaged breeding program. As I have said countless times before it is difficult to reconcile good cat breeding and commerce, the two clash.

It is clear though that the research is vital to the betterment of the Bengal cat breed as a whole so Bengal cat breeders who have cats who have HCM have a duty to the breed to come forward. It's really about long term thinking versus short term financial gain. The long term strategy is always the best way.

TIBS Lightning Fund to Bengal cats

Wednesday 21 May 2008

Dog chasing cat

swan chasing dog
photo copyright jgrantmac

People looking for a dog chasing cat picture will in fact see the above, a swan, hissing like a cat, chasing a dog. Confused? Actually this is a serious post but I like the picture.

Sometimes cat breeders let other cat breeders keep their stud cats (I guess for a fee). Sometimes breeders have other animals like dogs. This means the breeder is who is going to "loan" the cat to the new breeder with dogs has to decide if it it safe to do so.

Stud cats are sometimes (often?) kept in outside cages for practical reasons. Or indoors permanently. Will the new breeder be as diligent as the other in looking after the cat? Will the cat get out and be attacked by dogs? These are considerations for a breeder who will be saying goodbye for a time to a much loved cat. Although cat breeding is a commercial enterprise breeders form close relationships with their cats.

I read a sad story of a cat breeder's huskies killing a Bengal cat that had been loaned for breeding purposes. The cat was able to get out and the dogs chased and killed the cat - extremely distressing for both the breeders. This was more than a dog chasing cat scenario.

Whether a dog chases a cat depends largely on the upbringing of the dog; whether they are well socialized with cats and other pets and humans. Clearly good early socialization will be necessary if you are considering mixing cats with dogs. Some dogs are great with cats.

However, it would seem that some dog breeds are more likely to attack a cat than others because of the long term breeding program associated with the breed of dog.

For example the Siberian Husky has been described as a "keen and efficient hunter and killer". This dog breed apparently cannot be trusted with other animals (non canine animals) including cats unless the dog has been brought up with a particular cat and even then they have, it seems, been known to attack the cat for no reason. Conclusion (if this is correct): don't mix cats with Siberian Huskies or perhaps any type of Husky as you're likely to get a dog chasing cat situation with a very sad end.

On the other hand some dogs are considered safe around cats (provided they are properly socialized) and these are for example Great Danes, Cavalier King Charles, Shih Tzu. I am sure there are many others.

The Great Dane is not considered dangerous despite her/his size and is friendly towards other animals including cats (as a breed trait). The Cavalier King Charles can even act like a cat sometimes, cleaning paws in the same way for example and finding high places to perch on.

The Shih Tzu requires socialization to become totally trusting with other animals but is not dangerous it seems. Conclusion:- a cat breeder or anyone else for that matter should think long and hard before letting another person who keeps dogs, look after her cats. And remember in the USA lots of cats are declawed so she can't defend herself. Plus they are often kept indoors permanently which means they may try and escape at the new home. The dog chasing cat scene can be amusing for some but deadly for others.

Source: Siberian Husky Breed Club, Me

From Dog chasing cat to Dogs with cats

Tuesday 20 May 2008

F1 Bengal declawed and indoors

F1 Bengal declawed and indoors is exactly what happens sometimes and I for one just don't see this as fair and right.

I just read a story about an F1 Bengal cat, which are one generation from the wild Asian Leopard cat - plenty of wild blood then - very active and inquisitive. And what has the breeder done - declaw all four feet! That is rank brutality and I'd be surprised if the cat is not damaged emotionally.

But wait, what does the "buyer" of this cat do - keeps him indoors all the time. Poor cat. What does the cat do? He tries and succeeds in getting out. What does the human do - go bonkers looking for him (and the cat is not in a good state to survive on his own having been declawed). For me (and many will disagree and that it OK) this is a highly dysfunctional situation.

No one seems to be happy in this situation created by us.

F1 Bengal declawed and indoors to Bengal cats

Monday 19 May 2008

Savannah Cats for sale

Savannah cat - photo copyright Helmi Flick - the best cat photographer and one of the best cats.

Savannah cats for sale are becoming more and more popular. According the popularity poll on my website they are currently the 9th most popular cat. That is a fantastic result for Savannah cat breeders as this is a very special cat that requires a special human keeper. The Savannah is a large domestic cat, the largest registered by TICA on my reckoning and slightly larger on average than a Maine Coon. The wild parent of the Savannah, the Serval, is of course larger and is sometimes tamed to become a domestic cat (of sorts) herself.

Personally I have always thought the Savannah the most exotic and impressive of domestic cats to look at in terms of presence - large and athletic and bigger than many a true wild cat. You can see how this cat compares to wild cats in weight.

You'll find many more Savannah cats for sale in the USA than the UK or continental Europe but things are gradually changing I sense. The number one breeder worldwide is A1 Savannahs featured on the main website.

In the UK there are one or two breeders. One that ranks pretty high on a Google search is Strawbell Pedigree cats. They breed Bengals and Savannahs. At the date of this post they have Savannah cats for sale. This cattery make the point that the Savannah (as all cats in fact but perhaps the wildcat hybrids more so) requires a high protein diet. A lot of the cheaper cat food has a rather low level of protein and lots of water!

They also make the point that any change to the diet from the cattery diet should be introduced slowly to avoid upset. I think I'd try as much as possible to minimize change having just adopted a Savannah cat to allow the cat to settle in more smoothly. Cats like stability so a change of home (and diet) takes getting used to. I certainly wouldn't feed a dry food diet as it contains too much carbohydrate (Strawbell Pedigree cats disagree with me on that). In short it will have to be superior cat food that is as natural to cat as is possible. You might even consider a raw diet cat food but that needs care and skill but the rewards would be high (here's some more on a raw diet).

Another cattery in the UK with Savannah Cats for sale is Salama Savannahs, one of the first, they say, to breed Savannahs in the UK. They are TICA registered and started in 2003.

Although the Savannah is substantially larger than a much rarer purebred cat, the Sokoke, they are very similar in appearance and both have a very flexible spine which bends when they are sitting on their back legs. Flexibility in the back gives both these cats the ability to run fast and be particularly athletic. Savannah breeders sometimes breed Bengal cats as well.

Savannah Cats for sale to Sokoke cat

Cat Ragdoll rescue

Ragdoll cats
Cat Ragdoll rescue - not for these gorgeous cats photo copyright Helmi Flick of course.

If you are looking to adopt a purebred cat, Ragdoll rescue may be the way forward. Firstly, the Ragdoll cat is a fine cat. She is a large cat, one of the larger domestic cats. She is better suited to the full-time indoor life, which seems to be "the way" in the USA. I go on about indoor cats, I know, but it would be much better if, while humans are trying to make the world less hostile to the domestic cat, we allowed our cats out in outside enclosures. I just don't see it as natural and fair to keep a cat imprisoned.

Ragdolls are not totally placid cat furniture however. Although probably better suited to indoor living they are as inquisitive and as "naughty" (in the nicest possible way) as the next cat. And they shed and need frequent grooming (so fairly high maintenance really).

Cats are naturally inquisitive, hence the 9 lives idea. Their inquisitiveness gets them into trouble. When you block that natural instinctive desire to find things and to explore things by making the cat's environment completely bland as it will tend to be if keep indoors all the time, you take away a large part of the cat's life.

If the argument for imprisoning a cat is that it is dangerous to let her out (the only argument), then we shouldn't breed and keep cats until we can let them out without it being too dangerous.

Back to finding a cat and Ragdoll rescue. I've built some pages on rescue on the main site. There are a number of purebred rescue routes . You'll find a number of Yahoo Groups on the page linked. Yahoo groups require a bit more work because you have to join Yahoo and then the group. Then you have to email people and read emails to keep in the loop but I sense the rewards are there for those who do it.

Another indoor cat is the Persian (maybe this is a major reason why this cat breed is popular in the States). There are also a number Persian cat rescue routes both in the USA and the UK.

Ragdoll Cat
Cat, Ragdoll rescue - no not this one - loved and photographed with equal passion by Tom Poes photo copyright Tom Poes reproduced under creative commons license.

As for finding a cat and Ragdoll rescue here are some rescue operations:

The first is based in the UK and is called The United Kingdom Ragdoll Cat Community. It was founded in 2004 so it is well established. It gets listed top of the pile in a Google search - well done guys particularly Darren Farrow who looks after the website - nice work. This is a "real" website, active and full of real and interesting information.

If you are having difficulty coping in caring for your Raggie and are living in the UK, I'd definitely recommend this charity as the first port of call as they look very organized. In fact they are able to assist whatever the breed of cat as they can call upon a network of contacts in the cat rescue world.
The next is:
The British Ragdoll Cat Club ,which was founded in 1987 (very well established). This is an active club with 600 or more members. As part of their services they provide a rehoming and rescue service. Another must see site if you're looking to adopt a purebred cat, Ragdoll rescue through this club is a good option.

For the USA the best method is probably to use the general web portal site as a lot of rescue centers are "affiliated" to this business by advertising their cats through the Petfinder website as they have the technology to do this. One such rescue operation using Petfinder is Ragdoll Rescue USA. This seems to be a fairly small or perhaps growing group of volunteers and they need more helpers (foster homes).

Since making this post I have another on Ragdoll cat rescue on the main website - it contains some more links.

Cat Ragdoll Rescue to Ragdoll cats

Cat Rescue Homes

Cat rescue homes - photo copyright fofurasfelinas - a fine photographer - fofurasfelinas is involved in cat rescue but I don't know if these cats are rescue cats. It's just another fine photograph from her.

If someone is searching the internet for Cat Rescue Homes they probably are searching for one of three things (a) a rescue center (operation) in order to see if they can adopt a rescue cat (b) to see if they can get involved in fostering a rescue cat themselves or (c) the whereabouts of actual foster homes were rescue cats are cared for until placed with new keepers by a rescue operation.

I have decided that the most likely is (a) and make this post on that basis. I have, even though I say it myself, been very careful in preparing some pages on rescue operations in relation to purebred cats generally and rescue operations serving a particular cat breed.

It is very sad that they exist at all. You'd have thought that a purebred cat which would have been carefully bred and "sold" (lets say a change in keeper) for a high price would be cherished by her new carers. This is not always the case. The reason is probably the fault primarily of the breeder. Why?

Well it is she or he who selects the new keeper. The only suitable keeper is one who adopts for the life of the cat whatever happens (but subject to the terms of the contract between cat breeder and buyer, as this may have a term which allows for the buyer to return the cat under certain circumstances). If the new keeper is not the right person this is the fault of the cat breeder (although I am sure it is difficult to be sure that the new keeper is the right person).

If the cat becomes ill after adoption then it will be the responsibility of the buyer or seller depending on the contract and implied terms (and common sense). Some illnesses have a certain life span and incubation so it is possible to ascertain where the cat caught the virus or developed the disease.

The point, though, is this. On the basis of practicalities, what ever happens after handover it is likely in practice to be the responsibility of the buyer. And if she or he has not the highest of responsible natures, then under the difficulties of an ill purebred cat the buyer may abandon the cat to a rescue center. The truth is that both are equally involved in the creation and maintenance of a vulnerable and fine fellow creature. Both are ultimately equally responsible and the primary responsibility rests with the breeder as she/he initiates the process. It must be her/his concern to avoid her cats ending up in cat rescue homes.

I sense that the vast majority of breeders are good and diligent people. That by itself is not enough. The wider issues must be born in mind. The cat is of primary concern. The cat's health is paramount. It doesn't seem like it always is, though.

Here is a list of links to pages on this website of cat rescue homes (rescue centers) both in the USA, UK and other countries. Although nearly all the information relates to the major cat fancy countries, the USA and UK. All contain comprehensive lists of cat rescue homes and locations. Often rescue operations look after the cats in their care at volunteers homes who act a foster carers until a long term adopter comes along. One final point. I don't the know the percentage of purebred cats in rescue homes but it is probably a small percentage. However in a better world there should be no cats never mind purebred cats in cat rescue homes.

  1. Purebred cat rescue
  2. Persian cat rescue - USA
  3. Persian cat rescue - UK
  4. Savannah cat rescue
  5. Bengal cat rescue
  6. Abyssinian cat rescue
  7. Siamese cat rescue
Cat Rescue Homes to Siamese cats

Cat Inbreeding

This is a follow up to an earlier post on cat inbreeding. We noted that cat breeders practice inbreeding at least sometimes, perhaps a considerable amount of the time to breed in the best appearance and I hope the best character. The downside is that you also breed in the defects associated with recessive genes that would otherwise go unnoticed. What happens in the wild?

Inbreeding is rare in the wild. Wild animals avoid inbreeding in a common sense way by dispersal. Moving away from the population from where they were born. In scientific terms it is called "natal dispersion". This means travelling to a place away from where the animal was born to a new place to reproduce. The change being on a permanent basis.

It seems that the reasons for dispersal are (a) inbreeding avoidance (b) competition for resources- looking for a less competitive environment and (c) competition for mates. (src)

We don't have to look far for the benefits of inbreeding avoidance. For humans marriage to close relatives (in the West at least and most countries) is forbidden and often illegal. We agree as humans that we shouldn't inbreed. In fact inbreeding avoidance is practiced naturally by humans. In terms of sexual attraction we tend to avoid people carrying similar haplotype (a genetic system). Tests (albeit controversial) indicate that we can smell the difference in the genetic system so body odor plays a significant role in choosing a partner. I guessed we knew that but didn't know that is was associated with identifying the genetic makeup of the person and avoiding inbreeding.

Cat Inbreeding to Abyssinian cats

Sunday 18 May 2008

Learning to build websites

SiteSell Hosting

Learning to build websites takes time. I'm still learning but I only started 10 months ago. In fact I learn something new each day. But it's more than just about learning to build websites. You have to make sure that what you say on the site is of a high quality and that means knowing your subject. And you also have to build quite a large website (that's my own view).

But the most important factor of all in this process is to know how to get your website seen by the search engines. Because without it being seen and listed in the first one or two pages of the search results, you are pretty well wasting your time.

Sounds a bit daunting doesn't it? But you know there is a website hosting company which holds your hand, so effectively, throughout the process that you not only get seen by the search engines you can earn money while you're building the site. Sounds like utopia doesn't it? It just happens to be hard reality and I know because I've been through the experience.

I am typing this on a Google Blogger sub-domain to the main website, I started to build the site about 10 months ago. It is in construction. It is not highly monetized - I've just put some Adsense on the site and it makes about $180 per month, which I give away to help cats. Man, I love cats.

My target is about $1000 per month - yes, a long way to go but it's great fun getting there and I earn while I do it and the amount I earn goes up as I progress, which is very motivating.

SiteSell Hosting

Learning to build websites can be fun if you do it with SBI. The President is Dr. Ken Evoy. He participates in the forums, which are the best on the internet. He is very open and his mentality has filtered down throughout the company making it very friendly and helpful. If you follow what he teaches you are guaranteed to succeed even if you start from scratch.

SBI is not a restrictive formulaic type method. There is lots of freedom as long as you follow the basic SEO (search engine optimization) techniques. Take this Blogger site for example. It is part of my SBI site (look at the URL - web address - in the bar at the top of the page). This gives you freedom to use Blogger's ease of use and SBI's fantastic SEO power. That is one example; there are a lot of features that you can employ at SBI to make your site successful.

Yes, it costs $299 normally for each year (SBI runs promotions - currently one at $100). But you know, great though the promotions are you can make 5 to 10 times that figure in the first year, so who cares about the subscription. One well known SBIer made $2,000 in his first 6 months and another top SBIer makes $100,000 per year from Adsense alone (he has a site that is Alexa ranked about 50,000). It can be done but not by jumping on the nearest freebie website hosting business and starting without thought. Try Learning to build websites the SBI way and genuinely succeed.

This is not a boast but this site as you can see is Alexa ranked about 200,000 and getting better. It gets about 2,000 unique visits and about 8,000 page views a day. And I got there in 10 months. And it is all thanks to SBI and Dr. Ken Evoy. When I started I didn't have a clue. Everything that I have learned I have learned from the SBI team.

Get started Learning to build websites and earning at the same time.

Learning to build websites to home page

Saturday 17 May 2008

Cat Inbreeding

Cat inbreeding for cat breeders must by force of necessity be part of the process of developing purebred cats that are sufficiently of the right type (appearance). It happens a lot and cats become ill sometimes because of it. That is part of the breeding process. Close breeding creates the situation where it is possible for defective mutated recessive genes to come to the fore and produce disease.

A case in point might be the Bengal cat. Does this breed suffer from cat inbreeding? Such a fine looking cat but they have a predisposition towards contracting HCM, a heart disease. And importantly, the Bengal cat breed started off with a relatively small number of cats, such as as Tory of Delhi, Millwood Finally Found, Centerwall ALC, etc. Apparently lots of Bengal cats have high inbreeding coefficients (20%). Even if a breeder uses 0% inbreeding over 4-5 generations the process will result in cats with 20% inbreeding coefficients over the entire pedigree of the cat. Does this mean that the Bengal cat is relatively inbred? In other words outcrossing at this stage in the development of the breed fails to lower the coefficient it seems. (see a critique of Jean Mill, the much lauded founder of the Bengal Cat breed).

Some cats have a higher number of foundation cats. An example is the Norwegian Forest Cat, apparently. In contrast, the Burmese has been developed from one cat it seems, Wong Mau. It would seem that the important thing to prevent cat inbreeding is to ensure that at the beginning there is good number of foundation cats.

Turning to wildcats, an interesting question is whether inbreeding happens in the wild (i.e. is it natural to inbreed). If so cat breeders could argue that all they are doing is what happens naturally. What happens naturally, if one agrees with the evolutionary theories of Charles Darwin, must be done in the interests of survival of the individual and if the survival of the individual depends on the survival of a group you would have thought that cats would take action to protect the group as well.

As genetic diversity breeds better health and health aids survival it would seem plausible that cats in the wild do not naturally mate with close relatives. It does happen though when the population is very low. This happened with the Cheetah population. There are only about 12,500 Cheetahs left in the world and at one time it would seem the population was lower to a point where cat inbreeding took place leaving the current population having a very similar genetic makeup to laboratory bred animals that approximate cloned animals.

A similar problem exists currently when low populations of wild cat species are isolated in small pockets of remaining habitat. Although the overall population may seem sustainable the forced inbreeding occurring in the low population zones results in poor survival due to inbreeding.

Some say that cats can distinguish related cats through scent and on that basis are able to preserve health by not mating with close relations. Others disagree. We know that cats use their sense of smell to recognize territory. Even the age of a cat's spray (marking out territory) can tell another cat whether the cat is still around by the deterioration in the smell due to its age.

We also know that cats mate freely and the sheer numbers help preserve the species. My gut feel is that cat inbreeding does happen in the wild but not as a first choice but only out of necessity.

Update: A post about inbreeding depression and genetic frequency - click here.

Update 18th October 200: In an interesting article in the Times newspaper on 18th October we can see parallels with inbreeding in humans in the UK. Yes, this sounds surprising but it is happening. The current Immigration Minister is concerned he says about the number of marriages between first cousins in some families. In these communities there is a higher than average proportion of physical disability amongst children. The risk of disability amongst these communities is 4.7% he says. This is double the average. This reinforces on a very simplistic level the reasons behind the marriage laws in the Western world and why I think similar rules should be in place in relation to cat breeding. I know that this flies in the face of current practice but why should we apply different rules to cats or other animals? Cat keepers have a duty towards and a responsibility for the welfare of our cat companions. A cat breeder's responsibility is higher still because she/he brings the cat into the world.

Update 17-3-09: See some more on this subject in relation to a recent story from the Daily Mail: Inbreeding Makes Pedigree Cats Diseased.

See Purebred Pedigree Cat Breeding

Cat Inbreeding to Abyssinian cat

Animal Welfare

Photo copyright Feral Indeed!

I'd like to honor 3 fine and famous women who are beautiful inside and out involved in animal welfare.

The first is Doris Day. She has had a life long love of dogs which extends to all animals. She is the president of her charitable foundation, the Doris Day Animal League. She has Sir Paul McCartney and his ex-wife Heather Mills as advisory members of the board. I doubt they attend meetings together. I'll admit I quite fancied Doris. She had (might still have) a gorgeous figure. She seemed so sweet and nice on the screen and it seems she is actually sweet and nice. Although we are all human and she can't be nice all the time.

One thing I particularly like is that they describe their mission as working to improve the lives (my words) of "non-human animals". This is very enlightened and I would have thought goes against the grain a bit in the USA which is a deeply religious country. Religion can clash with Darwinian evolution and the reference to "non-human animals" is all about natural evolution and saying that we are no different than the other animals on this planet except that we do more damage.

The appearance of famous and beautiful women is interesting to the vast majority. The trouble is it is usually the wrong kind of interest. This makes it difficult for beautiful women when they are older. It can be more difficult for beautiful women to be taken seriously. It seems that most top celebrities have plastic surgery of some kind. This makes it difficult those who are more concerned with more real issues such as Doris Day. We don't see pictures of her now. It may be that she has not had plastic surgery (great for her) and doesn't want the press making ridiculously inane comments about this. We love you Doris. And for me is it is because of what you are and not how you look.

Talking of looks and animal welfare, Brigitte Bardot was and very much still is, gorgeous. She has completely rejected the idea of plastic surgery which for someone so beautiful would seem difficult. She must have known that the press would jump on this and make disparaging remarks about her appearance (even at the age of 73) when all she wants to do is to help our fellow creatures (i.e. stop humankind hurting other animals). I applaud her massively. She is a fine example to all young women and the girlie magazines should have her on the covers. She has recently helped achieve a ban on the importation into France of seal products from Canada. Well done Brigitte.

Now nearer to home, Celia Hammond. Another beautiful woman inside and out. She was a famous model at the time of Twiggy and the swinging 60s (David Bailey comes to mind immediately). She has dedicated the last 40 years of her life to animal welfare and improving the lives of cats, a person who thinks like me but she has done so much more than almost anyone else to actually help cats. It's not just talk, it is pure action and plenty of animal welfare.

Her recent mission is to rescue the Olympic site feral cats. She succeeded but the canny Blackjack, a medium long haired black moggie has not been tracked down. He is too frightened of humans and too smart. I don't know how she deals with the national obssession with appearance. She is beautiful but will inevitably get comments about her appearance, when once again the focus of discussion should be about what she does and thinks. One day human kind will grow up and get real.

Animal Welfare to Abyssinian Cats

Friday 16 May 2008

F2 Savannah Cat

F2 Savannah cat Motzie. Image: public domain.

There are links below to plenty of F2s! Whatever the generation, what a cat; the look on this cat's face is so alert and intelligent.

The F2 Savannah Cat is one of the largest domestic cats if you place no restrictions on your assessment of size in terms of cat associations recognition (except for the Serval which when domesticated or tamed is the largest or of course the F1 Savannah cat - see e.g. Magic). The F2 Savannah is probably the most "impressive" looking domestic cat of them all. This is a complete giant of a domestic cat and I don't use the word in the sense of large as this cat is not that large. No, I mean in the sense of the wow factor.

There is quite a lot of talk on the internet about the Ashera GD, Life Style Pets Inc. hypoallergenic cat that looks like an early generation Savannah. People say she is! There is talk of the best Savannah catteries supplying Life Style Pets Inc. (Allerca cats) with their cats. One importation into the Netherlands of an Ashera was stopped and made the news. The airport authorities thought it might a wild cat (it is partly!). Update: the Ashera GD is a F1 Savannah cat and Savannah cats are hypoallergenic but no science is available on this.

As you probably know the Savannah is a wild cat hybrid, crossing a Serval with a domestic cat. The F2 Savannah is second generation. They are high input cats (meaning you'll have to give a higher than normal level of attention), alpha type cats. I'd read the page on this website about the Savannah if you are thinking of adopting. It may pay to read about her character which is similar to the Bengal cat character another wildcat hybrid.

Wild cat hybrids at F2 level bond well with their human keeper but demand attention apparently (read about Helmi Flick's thoughts on the Chausie another wildcat hybrid). There are legal requirements too (I've mentioned this on the Savannah page). Laws change and there is currently I think a bit of a shift in opinion by the legislators against the wildcat hybrids in the USA. In the UK they are still wildcats technically. The first thing I'd do is check the legal position before you do anything else.

F2 Savannah Cat to Abyssinian Cat

Thursday 15 May 2008

Siamese Cat Coloring

Flame Point Siamese Cat – photo ©bonsaibutterfly

Siamese Coloring depends on whether your talking about the Traditional Siamese cat, the Modern Siamese cat, a type in between and whether the cat is purebred or not and whether you're concerned about complying with cat association standards. 


There are many lovely Siamese cats that miserably fail cat association standards and have slightly dodgy pointing etc. These are Siamese mixes, non-purebred. These cats commonly have the classic seal pointing (dark brown, black looking). The original Siamese cat imports to the West were seal point. Most people seem also to keep the Traditional Siamese. Sometimes the pointing is not pure (broken).


But you've really got to start at the top and that is the Cat Fanciers Association's breed standard. The CFA doesn't recognize the original type of Siamese cat, the one we know. For them the Siamese cat is the super slender and long cat with a thin head. This cat, if she is a show cat, is allowed to have 4 types of Siamese cat coloring (pointing). They are the classic pointing colors of seal, blue, lilac and chocolate. 

See a chart on this page (opens to the main website and the traditional Siamese - scroll down). Interestingly, The International Cat Association (TICA) who have recently decided (wisely) to recognize the Traditional Siamese, place (as far as I can see) less restrictions on pointing color. So their standard on the Thai (Trad. Siamese) is both traditional and modern in the opposite way to the CFA (Modern conformation, traditional pointing). 

TICA recognize both the Traditional (called the Thai now) and the Modern (called the Siamese). For the Thai there appears to be no restriction ("appropriate for color class") and for the Siamese the rule is "all pointed colors". I tend to limit the discussion on cat associations to the USA as there are conflicting views worldwide as to breed standards and cat breed classification. Plus the US is by far the largest domestic cat "market". 

However, a quick check on the UK premier registry (GCCF) tells me that they allow a wide range of Siamese cat coloring. They list self-pointed - meaning solid color pointing as opposed to broken pointing (tabby), tabby-pointed (the agouti gene having an impact on the pointing), tortie-pointed (tortoiseshell affected pointing). 

The self-pointed cats under the GCCF standard would appear to cover a very wide range including, but going beyond, the classic 4 allowed by the CFA (above). You can see a posting about pointed cats generally (not restricted to the Siamese) by clicking here. More Siamese cat coloring - click this link to see more of Whitaker (heading this post) a gorgeous Flame Point Siamese cat and this link to see a Lynx Point Siamese cat

Both wouldn't be allowed by the CFA, both would be allowed by TICA as Thai cats. The Flame Point could be a show cat. The best place to see the Modern and Traditional is on the main website. Click these links for the Modern and Traditional Siamese cats. Siamese Cat Coloring to Abyssinian Cat

Wednesday 14 May 2008

Cat Vaccinations

Cat Vaccinations can kill. Obviously they are for the benefit of the cat (often a kitten) as they protect the cat from harmful infection. But a quick look at how they work informs us as to why a vaccination can have the opposite effect.

Another word for vaccination is immunization. Vaccination works by priming the body's immune system and making it more effective. This is done by injecting the disease for which immunization is sought into the body. That sounds crazy but if the injected pathogen (bacteria or viruses) is live but weakened or dead then they do not make you get the disease but simply trigger your immune system to make it more ready and able to deal with the infection should it come along.

Sometimes however a negative reaction can take place. This after all should not surprise us as kittens are quite fragile and we are injecting them with a virus!

I don't know of the numbers of cat vaccinations gone wrong but they are probably low but significant enough to take note of. Cats can get cancer from vaccines or simply catch the disease from the vaccine. Vaccines can induce life long health problems and kill. These are not that uncommon. A lot of discussion has taken place as to where to inject the vaccination to minimize cancer in the area or minimize the danger from vaccine induced cancer. I am using the word "can" here as clearly most often the benefits of cat vaccinations far outway the detriments.

Why are cat vaccinations routinely given then? Vets recommend a yearly booster. Well if I was being a bit cynical, I'd say a factor was money, the pharmaceutical companies and bread and butter income for the veterinarian surgeries . Vets make a lot of their income from vaccinations and they are in business. When you mix health with the need for profit you don't always get the the right answers.

Most cat keepers follow the vets advice as they don't know better - fair enough. The next time your at the vets ask him/her how many bad reactions cats have to vaccinations. I'd also stay around the vets surgery after a vaccination to make sure all is well. If not you can go back quickly.

In my opinion an older cat doesn't need boosters if she has had vaccinations for many years.

Here is some more on cat vaccination recommendations.

  1. Wiki (on vaccinations)
  2. Breeders (on negative effects)
  3. Myself from general knowledge
From Cat Vaccinations to vaccination recommendations

Monday 12 May 2008

Lynx Point Siamese Cats

Lynx Point Siamese Cat
Lynx Point Siamese Cats - photo jade-rabbit

In the cat world you will find a wide range of appearances of any one type or breed of cat. In the example of the Lynx Point Siamese Cats the range will be particularly wide because there is more than one type of marking called "Lynx Point" and more than one type of cat called a "Siamese Cat".

There are officially 2 types of Siamese Cat (and a spectrum in between). One the one hand you have the Traditional Siamese, now called a Thai by The International Cat Association (TICA), the only American association as far as I am aware to register what is the original Siamese cat. Siamese cat history is interesting for its development to the Modern Siamese (or contemporary Siamese). The modern is skinny with a pointed head and the Traditional has a look that we expect to see in a cat (more rounded and normal). In between we have the classic look.

The cat above is traditional in conformation and very handsome. As for the pointing you can see more photos on pointing generally by clicking on this link. There are at least two different types of Lynx pointing (a) seal lynx pointing which is the classic seal point broken up by the tabby gene. You can immediately see the lynx point because of the classic "M" marking on the forehead and (b) blue lynx pointing, which is a dilute form of the lynx. When black is diluted by a modifier gene it becomes blue. The tabby markings become more dilute as a result and a little blue. The pointing is obviously softer.

The cat above has the lynx markings, totally undiluted. I suspect that he/she is not one of the classic purebred Lynx Point Siamese Cats (wrong? - please tell me) but a fine cat nonetheless. As I said at the beginning there is a wide a range of cats that do not fit the breed standards and wouldn't win prizes but are great cats.

Photo copyright Helmi Flick

Above: This cat is not a Siamese (guess that is obvious) but is shown here to illustrate the Seal Lynx point pattern. You can see the same marking on the legs and face as the cat heading this post. The body color though is more inline with the breed standard I suspect.

Lynx Point Siamese Cats to Home Page

Sunday 11 May 2008

Progressive retinal atrophy (PRA) in Bengal cats

Progressive retinal atrophy (PRA) in Bengal cats in something that has only now (somewhat late in the day) come to my notice. I have just seen an article on Tufts website referring to the Sept. 2007 conference. This posting is not a "knock the Bengal Cat" post. I love all cats. The natural instinct for breeders and those involved in the cat fancy is to be quiet about problems. This is natural to protect business.

The problem of HCM in Bengal cats would seem to have been dealt with quietly. Breeders realize, though, that it is for the best in the long term to discuss the difficult subjects, openly. They do in fact discuss breeding issues on forums such as Yahoo Groups. It is essential to do so for the welfare of the cats. It is not compatible with good cat breeding (an ethical approach to breeding) to knowingly or recklessly breed cats that might have an inherited disorder that shortens the life of the cat and has a negative impact on their welfare and/or the breed generally.

It is with surprise and sadness that I have discovered that the Bengal cat breed suffers from two heritable disorders. I have made posts on the first disorder, HCM. Read this for basic information on HCM and this for HCM and the Bengal Cat. PRA also affects Abyssinian cats.

The other is what Tufts calls is a "novel" version of this disease. As I understand it "novel" means distinct or unique to the Bengal Cat as this disease affects other cat breeds. This disease is caused by gene mutation. Different genes in the Bengal cat have mutated to those in the Persian cat, which has a version that starts early in the cat's life and the Abyssinian has a version that is "late onset".

Progressive retinal atrophy (PRA) in Bengal cats is mid term so it starts neither early or later in the life of the cat. The Tufts speaker said that in at least 10 Bengal cats the mutated gene can be traced back to a common ancestor 3-6 generations earlier.

I presume that there is ongoing work on this. I have not heard of Bengal Cat breeders talk of this disorder except once. Progressive retinal atrophy (PRA) in Bengal cats causes the cat to go blind I understand. Ask about this when adopting a Bengal cat (or indeed a Persian or Abyssinian).

Progressive retinal atrophy (PRA) in Bengal cats to Bengal cats

Retinal Atrophy
Progressive retinal atrophy (PRA) is a group of genetic diseases seen in certain breeds of dogs and, more rarely, cats. It is characterized by the bilateral degeneration of the retina, causing progressive vision loss culminating in blindness. The condition in nearly all breeds is inherited as an autosomal recessive trait (the section in grey is a Wikipedia® verbatim copy of a part of a larger article)

There have been 2 studies (there may have been more subsequently). One took place in Sweden, the other England. The Swedish cats inherited the disease through an autosomal recessive gene the English cats a autosomal dominant gene.

The English type has been classified as rod-cone dysplasia. This type of PRA has an early onset of severe vision loss. It is caused by a defect in the gene for cGMP-phosphodiesterase, which leads to retinal levels of cyclic guanosine monophosphate ten times normal (the section in grey is a Wikipedia® verbatim copy of a part of a larger article)

The Swedish PRA disease can progress slowly allowing the cat to adjust and masking the condition as cats do so well in using other senses (see blind cat and blind cat dignity). The disease caused severe vision loss.

Cat breeds affected: Abyssinian, Bengal

Progressive retinal atrophy (PRA) in Bengal cats - Wikipedia
Click on this link to see the Wikipedia® License src: Wikipedia® published under GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2 or any later version, November 2002 Copyright (C) 2000,2001,2002 Free Software Foundation, Inc. 51 Franklin St, Fifth Floor, Boston, MA 02110-1301 USA - - no other conditions to the license are added.

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