Sunday 31 August 2008

Run over a cat or dog

Photo by The Wiseguy - see base of post.

What do you do or should you do when you run over a cat or a dog? This sounds awful but it is a reality, it does happen quite frequently and it does pose some dilemmas.

It goes without saying that we must stop and try and help. This can be difficult in itself. Some time ago I saw a squirrel in the road that had been very recently hit and was in the middle of the road alive and struggling. I couldn't just drive around this animal as cars behind would eventually drive over it so I stopped in the middle of the road to stop cars behind driving over the squirrel.

The next problem is dealing with a badly injured animal of any kind. This can be difficult on a number of levels particularly if you are the kind of person who will stop and help (i.e. a concerned person and/or animal lover). Anyway, I braced myself and using a newspaper I had bought I scooped up the squirrel and placed it in the bushes beside the road to either recover or die. That's it. Not much. The whole thing was slightly traumatic and I walked past the spot some time later but no squirrel.

So, the first problem is, can we deal with the gore, the blood, an animal in pain and difficult to deal with? The cat or dog maybe aggressive because of the pain or may run off. Do you chase the animal and check? Lets say you run over a cat or dog, you stop and the cat is lying there badly injured. What do we do? Are we safe to stop in this road? Will cars behind allow you to walk into the road if the cat is in the middle of the road? This can be a dangerous procedure. Also, how do we know which home he/she comes from (see below)? I guess we check if the cat is still alive. Can we be sure that we can check this properly. No not really.

He died on the road, hit by a car. This video is in memory. The YouTube video maker is Camo4x4s

So, we need to find a vet. Where is the nearest vet? Will they see you immediately? The cat is bleeding, where do you put the cat in the car? Are you one of those people who have immaculate cars all the time? Is this more important than helping a cat that is bleeding? To some it might be surprisingly. Many people wouldn't even stop.

So, we can't find the home and we find a vet, which has taken about 30 minutes. We get to the vet and get seen. The cat can be helped, she has a broken leg and is in shock and bruised but will recover. You stay while the vet does his work or do you go at that point? I guess not.

Now what? Maybe the veterinarian will know the answer. If you don't know where the home is the only thing to do it seems is to take the cat to a local cat shelter or home to your place. Where is the local cat shelter? Probably miles away. Maybe vets have procedures at this point.

I wouldn't be surprised if a veterinarian simply said it was best to euthanize the cat even though she could be saved. Or even if you could get her to a shelter what would they do? They are often overrun with stray cats it seems. Would they take care of an injured cat requiring expensive follow up medical treatment? I doubt it; she's probably end up being euthanized or am I talking nonsense?

The key is to be able to find the person who keeps the cat for them to take over but that could be all but impossible. I think what I would do first is this. Find the nearest house/flat/apartment and find someone to talk to (this may not be possible). Eventually you might and probably will meet someone who knows who keeps the cat in question. From that starting point we have help.

These are the moral and practical issue but what about the law? I read that in the UK (and USA?) that is we run over a cat or dog, in the case of a dog we are obliged to report the accident to the police. If not it may be a criminal offense. But the same is not the case for a cat. Is this true? Can this be correct? If so it seems bizarre and an anomaly in the law.

Lots of questions then, that have to be answered quickly as no doubt when the accident happened you were going somewhere in a rush. Conclusion: if we run over a cat or dog I think that we should stop, make sure the cat or dog is in a safe place or take the cat with us (if possible), and if possible go to the nearest house or home and ask questions as to who keeps the cat or dog and if that doesn't produce an answer ask about the nearest vets etc. and go from there. The local knowledge will help us through the moment more efficiently (i.e. get help more quickly) in my opinion and therefore help the cat. I think we should reschedule the day to accommodate this as well. It's the only way to do the right thing and do it properly.

Run over a cat or dog - Photos - heading page: kitten living dangerously in Turkey, where according to the photographer, you see cats killed on the roads simply left there to be flattened by traffic. Life is more dangerous for domestic cats and feral cats in places like Turkey. Photo published under a creative commons license = Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs License.

Dead cat: by salmannas creative commons license = Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs License. This cat was left to die I suppose.

Run over a cat or dog to Home page

Saturday 30 August 2008

Russian Blue Kittens

Russian blue kittens
Russian Blue Kitten photograph by Sensual Shadows Photography

Before you go in search of Russian Blue Kittens have a look at these and have a look at some Russian Blue adult cats too and read about this cat breed. I've also built a page in which I discuss the breed standard in a general kind of way, nothing too technical, which may interest potential buyers of Russian Blue kittens as it also contains a large format slide show of a lot of cats of this breed to get a feel as to how they appear and what they should look like under the breed standard. Click on this link to see a large slide show.

All pedigree cats have a breed standard, a target that governs what breeders should aim for. There is, obviously, quite a wide range of looks that all comply with the standard as the wording is quite widely drafted and there are never any diagrams or pictures to guide (which has always surprised me). Your kitten should of course be within the parameters set by the breed standard to be true Russian Blue but more importantly the cat breeder must give you documentary evidence that the kitten is a cat of this breed. If you don't get that you might as well adopt a rescue cat.

Russian blue kittens
Russian Blue Kitten photograph by t0msk. The CFA breed standard says the eyes should be a vivid green. This is a fine photo of a lovely kitten but I am not sure the eyes are exactly the correct color or is it the reflection of the carpet?

The Russian Blue Breeders Association, based in the UK (but the advice is good for any country) state that the breeders must provide a pedigree certificate of three generations for the cat in question and the document must be signed by the breeder. In addition the breeder must produce a transfer document that is evidence of transfer of the cat from the breeder to the new owner, which is signed by both parties and sent to the Governing Council of the Cat Fancy (GCCF) the premier cat registry in the UK. Similar rules will apply in different countries I am sure. If the new owner is thinking of showing their new cat and chasing rosettes and prizes the transfer of ownership (don't like ownership) needs to be registered with the GCCF at least 21 days before the show. Some kittens are bought with breeding in mind and some not; the registration of the kitten will note this difference.

So we've got the transfer and pedigree docs, what is next.....vaccination documents. All breeders will vaccinate their kittens. I have built a substantial page on the issue of cat vaccination recommendations as they have changed over the years as veterinarians have come to realize that vaccinations can be dangerous to cats - it's all about risk whether they are given or not.

The next thing and the most important thing is the health and character of Russian Blue Kittens from which you select. It is hard it seems to me to be sure that your selected kitten will be healthy. Some cat breeds are healthier than others. I have not found any hidden genetically linked health problems associated with this cat breed (that doesn't mean there isn't though but I think it unlikely - some breeds do have predispositions to certain diseases - see cat health problems). That leaves the question whether the particular Russian Blue Kitten selected is healthy. All that can be done to assess the situation. That means an assessment of the breeder's facility and attitude plus observation of the kitten (signs of upper respiratory infection - URI - for example or cat ear mites as another example). Is everything clean and organized?

Russian blue kittens
Two week old Russian Blue Kitten photograph by Sensual Shadows Photography

Next - character. I guess observation over a number of visits will solve this one. The breeder will or should ensure that the kitten is "socialized" meaning used to people and other pets so when he/she is re-homed he settles in and is not too nervous or aggressive. Character, bottom line, is more important than appearance, and health is more important than both. For example, a breeder in Scotland, Dushenka Russian Blues, says that all their kittens are born in the breeder's bedroom, which naturally gets the kittens accustomed to humans. A lot of cat breeders are "cottage industries," small, at home, businesses (c.f. kitten or puppy farms - don't buy from a pet shop). This is good and bad, I think. It means the bad ones can start up easily but it also lends itself to well breed and socialized cat, at least potentially. Socialization is very important and breed standards refer to it indirectly by insisting upon cats that are nonaggressive. Show cats are very placid and happy to be handled, they must be to win shows. So the best show cats not only look great but are great.

Kittens and cats take time to settle in (in my experience at least 6 months) so a very pleasant calm environment is pretty much essential for our new Russian Blue Kitten. Food is also a factor. Cats get used to a certain type of food and a sudden change could prompt things such a diarrhea and litter problems (i.e. problems for the new owners). So, the breeder should tell you what type of food she feed her Russian Blue Kittens. This should be continued with any change being gradual.

Russian blue kittens
Russian Blue Kittens - photograph by hlehto

My preference is quality wet food and some human food such as fish (if she/he likes fish) or chicken. Dry cat food can contain too high a carbohydrate content. It is convenient for the human but essentially unnatural for the cat but in modest doses it is probably OK (i.e. used as part of the overall diet). There are lots of links on this site about cat food (this takes you to all 15). The ideal cat food should mimic the kind of food a wild cat eats but this is complicated as raw meat is not enough, cats will need supplements such as Taurine, a vital ingredient.

Neutering or spaying is pretty well essential if you do not intend to breed from your Russian Blue Kittens or Kitten. Some breeders I believe do this and some insist on the kitten being fixed as part of the purchase contract.

Russian blue kittens
Russian Blue Kittens - photograph by hlehto

Since writing this page I have built a spreadsheet that I call Russian Blue Breeder Worldwide List. There is a page that has the same spreadsheet in larger format. It is here: Russian Blue Breeders. Here is the smaller format version (it is long):

That's about it (in outline). Oh, except for one thing. The GCCF publish a code of ethics. I think it helps of we remind ourselves of some of the more outstanding points (this is a shortened summarized version).

1. Cat owners should think carefully before getting a kitten......
2. Cats must be provided with warmth, comfort, exercise, adequate food and water (at all times). Cat should be kept in at night for safety.
3. Cats should be groomed regularly and checked for parasites
4. We should see a vet when our cat looks ill.
5. Cats as pets (not breeding cats) should be neutered and spayed.
6. Breeders should sell to selected people who it is believed will care for their cat and if not due to unforeseen circumstances the breeder should offer to rehome the cat(s) sold.
7. Owners shouldn't sell to pet shops or large scale sellers or give away a cat as a prize.
8. Breeders should act with integrity and honesty and not misrepresent the health and pedigree of the cat.
9. If a breeder sells to a cat breeder advice should be available and breeding should not have a negative impact on the cats' health.
10. Owners should identify their cat. There are 2 ways, cat collars are potentially dangerous and microchipping for pets can carry health problems (these are my comments and not part of the code).
11. The seller breeder must provide the documentation referred to above (the docs referred to above may not be complete - please refer to the GCCF)

Russian Blue Kittens to Home page

Russian Blue Kittens - Photos: These are published under a creative commons license of 2 types. The Sensual Shadows Photography ones are licensed under this license = Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs License. The others have been cropped as allowed under this license = Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike License. Thanks for the permission. I have provided links as well which are not required under the license.

Odor Control Cat Litter

From personal experience over decades the best odor control cat litter is wood based. For me there are essential 2 types of cat litter:
I presume the wood based litter is made from wood chippings. I hope so as I'd be upset to think they chopped down trees to make it. It is a soft wood, probably pine. Very fine particles of it are compressed into miniature "logs". When the cat urinates on it, it expands and absorbs it. It is the best, no doubt, for absorbing urine. There is absolutely no smell and no mess. Although as it doesn't clump it takes a bit of technique to take out the used and leave the unused.

Earth based litter clumps, yes, so it is easier to remove from the litter tray but the absorption is less good and the clump is wet as is the surrounding area sometimes. This translates into a more difficult cleaning up job as the litter tray itself becomes stained. With wood based litter the tray does not become stained and there is therefore much less ongoing maintenance of the tray itself. This offsets the slightly greater amount of work needed to separate out the used and unused wood based litter after use.

The main point is that the extra absorption qualities means it is a better Odor Control Cat Litter. One other thing. I use a covered litter tray to stop the wood litter being pushed out onto the floor and I put the litter tray and cover in another low level tray that is considerably larger to collect any litter that is walked out by my cat. The cover also helps to keep any residual odor in and they are not that expensive to be honest.

No.2s will smell in any cat litter unless it is covered by the cat. Sometimes mine doesn't cover it so I do it for her until the litter is removed, which should be at least once a day. Some people recommend more often but daily seems about right to me.

Odor Control Cat Litter to Home page

Photo: Clay based cat litter - clumping cat litter but not as good as an Odor Control Cat Litter - wood based. Photo by BrittneyBush under a creative commons license Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs License

Clouded Leopard Population

The Clouded Leopard Population currently stands at:

  • An estimated number below 10,000 world wide of mature breeding cats (src:
  • Below 10,000 mature breeding cats (src:
  • Bornean Clouded Leopard: 5-11,000 in Borneo and 3-7,000 in Sumatra. I am not sure how this figure squares up with the above figures as this is apparently a different species (figures src: Wikipedia)
Important note: figures obtained on the Internet are not always reliable as one author produces figures and other authors use the same figures rather than going to a different source to verify. I couldn't find any other sources for this data proving it is not that well researched. This doesn't surprise me as the people who are best placed to assess the Clouded Leopard Population (business) are not necessarily interested in the preservation of this wild cat.

It should be noted that the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species™ does not quote a figure. This organisation is best placed amongst all to be able to assess population size as they are in the business of assessing population size. However, they do say that the population is declining. I don't how they are able to assess this cat in respect of survivability in the wild.

The above figure could well be suspect, please be aware.

The low population is due to:

Clouded Leopard Population - Illustrations:
  • Drawing of Borneo Clouded Leopard published under a Wikimedia Commons license and in any case the copyright for the image has expired due to passage of time. Source: William Jardine's The Natural History of The Feline.
From Clouded Leopard Population to Cheetah Facts

Traditional Doll Face Persian Cat

Here's one of the best photographs of the Traditional Doll Face Persian Cat. He is a Traditional Orange (Solid Red) Persian Cat. His name is Faolán - the photograph is copyright Dani Rozeboom. You can see more of him here:

Traditional Doll Face Persian Cat
Faolán - all Persian boy cat - copyright Dani

Please respect copyright

Friday 29 August 2008

Do cats dream

That's my girl but she has nightmares.

The answer is a resounding yes to the question, "do cats dream?" And it doesn't take a scientist to confirm a layperson's observations.

Cats are hard wired to sleep a lot because they are efficient hunters and don't have to work for endless hours getting the food in. Grazing animals are almost the opposite speeding it seems all their waking hours eating. Apparently owls are also efficient hunters and also spend a lot of time sleeping.

Domestic cats don't have to do any work whatsoever to get the food in except ask for it. Sure that can some persistence sometimes but relatively speaking it's easier than hunting. Domestic cats therefore can sleep even more than wild cats.

Cats sleep for 13-16 hours daily and are apparently 3rd in the sleeping championships coming after the opossum (a solitary nocturnal animal the size of a cat) and the bat.

A lot of the time it's cat naps. You can see that they are dozing but can become fully alert and awake at a moments notice. They can doze for great lengths of time. It's extraordinary how they can do this. Then they'll fall truly asleep into a deep sleep for what seems quite a short time. When theirs paws start paddling and their whiskers start twitching you know its dream time during the rapid eye movement (REM) phase of their sleep.

This is the phase of sleep when my cat (above) sometimes, but mercifully rarely these days, has nightmares. I know she has nightmares as she twitches a lot and then cries out and wakes with a start. Sometimes I gently wake her to avoid the discomfort of a nasty dream.

I must be the same nightmare each time and I firmly believe that it originates from the first few months or first year or so of her life before I found her as a stray. She is also sensitive about being touched on her rump and this may be linked to the bad experience as well which recurs in her sleep.

As I said it doesn't take much to see that the answer to the question, "do cats dream? " is a positive Yes.

Do cats dream to home page

Do cats dream - Photo: if you want to use it go ahead but please credit me (Michael at Pictures of and if you can, please provide a link to this site - thanks.

Persian Kitten

Persian kitten
Persian Kitten photo copyright Helmi Flick

Before considering buying a Persian kitten for sale I am sure visitors to this site are also considering which type of Persian cat to buy or maybe the better words are 'keep' or 'adopt' as I don't think cats are an object that we possess like an inanimate object bought in a shop (although legally they are considered objects to possess).

Anyway, a Persian kitten looks simply gorgeous and there are two on this page. The little guy in the bowl looking like a Teacup cat (but he is not as he is a kitten and small for that reason) is what some people have called an Ultra Persian. These Persian cats have the flat face. This is created by selective breeding. It does not come naturally, the face has been transformed. The flat face is bred into these cats under the guidance of the breed standard, the most influential of which is the CFA (Cat Fanciers Association) breed standard. I discuss this and the other breed standards in relation to the face of the Persian cat on this page: Traditional Doll Face Persian Cat.

The other Persian Kitten on the pink background will develop into a Traditional Persian cat (Doll Face Persian). The face is more normal and balanced. Which one do you prefer and which Persian kitten are you going to buy when you go looking for Persian kittens for sale?

White Traditional Persian kitten
White Traditional Persian Kitten - Cristalline - photo copyright Dani Rozeboom

One thing that might make up your mind is the health of your newly adopted kitten. Most people prefer to adopt a cat from a healthy cat breed. A poll I am running on the main website ( tells me that almost 60% of people think that a cat breed's health is very important. Some cat breeds are more healthy than others. Mixed breed cats are the healthiest by and large.

It is probably fair to say that the Traditional Persian is more healthy than the Ultra or more extreme faced Persian mainly because of Tear Duct Overflow (see Persian Cat Health Problems) if nothing else.

I prefer the Traditional Persian as you probably guessed as this cat is more natural. Nature is better at breeding cats that people.

From Persian Kitten to Home page

Feline Hyperesthesia

tuxedo cat
My cat - yes overweight. I've fought that for 16 years


I think that my cat may have a very mild form of Feline Hyperesthesia but I can't find anything on it in any of the reference books I use. Clearly this condition is not well known or veterinarians and physicians don't know that much about it. I have had to rely on the Internet exclusively for the answer, which I don't normally do as the information can sometimes be less than completely reliable.

My cat's skin on her back ripples when I talk to her (very gently always) and when I touch her lower back. The skin also twitches sometimes when touched towards the lower end of her back. I don't know if this is a disease. It has only started to happen over the last 6 months or so as far as far as I can tell. She has no fleas or mites etc.. She is on the face of it in good health and I am with her all the time. She is groomed 4 times daily. She is overweight. This is mainly because she is nervous and defensive so is more static. The nervousness may give the clue as anxiety may be a factor in the cause of this disease.

The disease - the symptoms

Anyway back to Feline Hyperesthesia. The word "esthesia" means the capacity for sensation and feeling (Mirriam Webster's Medical Dictionary). Hyper in medical terms means above normal or excessive (Medterms). That should tell us that the disease is a condition under which the cat feels sensations to an excessive degree. But is this what it actually is? The disease is also known as "rolling skin syndrome", rippling skin disorder" or "twitchy cat disease" and there may be an overlap with feline psychogenic alopecia ( (see Feline Endocrine Alopecia - a behavioral problem more than a hormone problem, it is thought).

Full blown Feline Hyperesthesia is more than a heightened sensitivity. The symptoms include:
  • biting the tip of the tail or attacking the tail
  • sensitivity to touching
  • dilated pupils
  • twitching of the tail
  • running around wildly
  • symptoms can look like epileptic fits
  • rippling skin as mentioned above
  • looks like crazy behavior but cat is distressed
  • loud meowing
tuxedo cat

Picture above: My cat having a nice time in the garden. She is a tuxedo cat. In the top picture she is looking anxiously upwards at the balcony of a flat above. This is testament to her underlying nervousness. If anyone wants to use the photo feel free to do so and if you give a link back to this website that would be nice.

The Causes

The causes of Feline Hyperesthesia are, it seems, simply unknown or there may be a number of possible causes. Some think it might be due to low grade food. Well that can be eliminated fairly easily and tested. Mind you high grade cat food is hard to come by. The better answer perhaps is that it is caused by an underlying health problem or behavior related which will need careful diagnosis based on blood and neurological tests. Possible causes are:
  • toxins such as flea treatments or something eaten
  • itching due for example to parasitic allergies may be confused with this condition
  • brain disease such as brain tumor or infection
  • a diet rich in unsaturated fatty acids and lacking vitamin E caused by feeding our cats with an unbalanced diet of say red tuna. This would be an unbalanced home made diet that may cause a disease called Yellow Fat Disease.
  • over vaccinating
As for my cat if she has a very mid form of Feline Hyperesthesia it might be caused by behavioral problems due to her nervousness (or at least this may be an underlying condition that contributes). She was an abandoned stray cat that I found in London near to where I lived. I believe she had a difficult early life that made her nervous. In other words she is emotionally a little disturbed, she occasionally has nightmares and cries out and wakes up.

So my theory is that this condition is a bit like Feline Endocrine Alopecia which is also probably more likely to be due to over grooming and over grooming is caused by behavioral difficulties due to anxiety and stress for example. The stress need not necessarily originate in the owner but may be underlying as for my cat or perhaps the introduction of a new cat into the household may cause it and sometimes our anxiety about it may exacerbate the Feline Hyperesthesia.

One last thing: this condition may occur more frequently in Siamese cats.

Feline Hyperesthesia to Cat Health Problems

Feline Hyperesthesia - Sources as stated in the text and:
Photos are by me and free for use by anyone but I'd appreciate a link to this website (if possible) and a credit (Michael at Pictures of

Thursday 28 August 2008

Winged Cats

Cat with wings photo by betizuka see below

Winged cats are in the news. We do like a bit of a freak show, paranormal behavior or mysticism don't we? We like to make more of a simple medical condition that actually requires our sympathy and acceptance. It almost reminds me of the Elephant Man.

The latest winged cat was found in China, a somewhat neglected calico cat in need of TLC. I wouldn't be surprised if the Chinese authorities have already come around and taken the cat away as they might think that is has a detrimental impact on the public's perception of China. China has got to look perfect you know. And the Chinese authorities don't like cats, particularly feral cats, they get eaten you know in some parts of China. So maybe someone has eaten the cat on the basis that winged cats have special fortifying and magical healing ingredients (see cat meat). Some people think that cat's fur has healing properties, which adds to cat abuse (see cat fur trade).

The truth is that winged cats probably suffer from a skin disease called feline cutaneous asthenia and that is it. It's a medical condition. When animals or human animals (people) have medical conditions we shouldn't and don't usually parade them around to entertain. Lets leave her alone. Cats don't like lots of unnecessary attention. The condition results in fragile and elastic skin that can sometimes contain muscle, it seems, as the wings can on rare occasions be moved by the cat. Sometimes the so called wings are simply the long and large mats of haired poorly groomed cat, probably a feral cat. Lets move on please to more pressing issues such as the brutal treatment of feral cats in some parts of China. Lets focus on cats' welfare rather than human entertainment at the expense of a cat.

Sorry to be so serious but I just think the whole thing of winged cats is misplaced and a bit ghoolish.

Winged Cats to cat and animal cruelty

Winged cats - Photo: this is published under a creative commons license. Although I am not sure this person who granted the license has the right to grant it - please confirm. Also this is not the cat illustrating an article in the Telegraph newpaper recently. That cat was a calico cat.

Feline Stroke

cat lying down
Healthy Gaia by fofurasfelinas (see below)


The technical term for feline stroke is Feline Cerebrovascular Disease. Let's break that term down. "feline" as we know means that the animal is part of the felidae family of animals, which includes all cats both wild, domestic large and small. "Vascular" means related to blood vessels and "cerebro" means brain in Spanish and Portuguese as a matter of passing interest. The Latin for brain is "cerebrum". The word "disease" is often interpreted in different ways and infers illness. Technically the word describes a pathological condition which in turn means an abnormal structure of an organ or part of an organ of the body as a result of various causes.

So feline stroke is abnormal blood vessels in the brain, which as a result bleed because they rupture (break open). There is another cause as well (see below). Veterinarians call strokes "a cerebrovascular accident". It seems that the concept of cats (and dogs) having strokes is only recently being taken more seriously or at least there is a greater awareness of the possibility.

Types of Feline Stroke

There are, though, two types, both reduce the supply of blood to the brain.

1. One of which is caused by a broken blood vessel(s) and this is called a "haemorrhagic stroke".

2. When there is a reduced blood supply to the brain under other circumstances the stroke is called a "ischaemic stroke". In medicine the term " ischemia" means a restriction in blood supply so "ischaemic" means relating to a restriction in blood supply.

In the former haemorrhagic stroke, the leakage of blood from the ruptured blood vessel can be (a) inside the brain or (b) on the surface in between the brain and the inside of the skull. When the leakage is inside the brain it is called "intraparenchymal haemorrhage". The term "intraparenchymal" means situated within the functional parts of an organ of the body, in this case the brain. Organs are made up of functional and structural parts. The term "haemorrhage means bleeding.

The second type of bleeding ( (b) above) is called a "subdural or subarachnoid haemorrhage". The term "subarachnoid" means under ("sub") the "arachnoid", which is the middle of three membranes covering central nervous system. This membrane is relation to the brain is between the outside of the brain and the inside of the skull. This area is filled with fluid so the space is a potential space.

Symptoms of Feline Stroke

The lack of supply of blood to a particular site of the brain can cause that area of the brain to be destroyed. The symptoms of feline stroke are somewhat different to those of human stroke. In humans we commonly see one side of the face and body paralyzed. Minor strokes can cause other symptoms in humans such as memory loss and slurred speech.

For cats (and dogs) the symptoms are sudden loss of coordination, circling, falling, loss of balance, blindness, spasms of the face and limbs, paralysis. However, as for humans one side of the body is usually affected. Other brain diseases exhibit these signs too.


At present the causes of feline stroke are not that well researched it seems but there may have been, prior to the stroke, an infection (Upper Respiratory Infection or URI) that caused a fever.

Causes of a restricted blood supply - ischaemic strokes (i.e. no ruptured blood vessels) could be:

--kidney disease
--thyroid disease
--heart disease
--high blood pressure
--Cushings disease
--clogging of a blood vessel by fat, tumor fragment, parasites or spinal cartilage

Causes of haemorrhagic strokes could be:

--abnormal development of the blood vessels
--trauma (injury)
--bleeding brain tumor
--diseases that affect blood clotting such as rodent poisons, diseases causing high blood pressure, inflammation of the arteries.

Feline Stroke - Prognosis

In short, the damaged parts of the brain cannot be repaired. The welfare of the cat depends on the extent of the brain damage. The underlying cause needs to be isolated to reduce the possibility of further strokes. Care and help should lead to a decent life provided the damage is not to a part of the brain that results in severe disability.

From Feline Stroke to cat health problems

Feline Stroke - Sources:
  1. Cat Owner's Home Veterinary Handbook by Drs Carlson and Giffin (recommended - quite technical)
  2. (for definition of pathological condition)
  3. (very useful)
  4. (definitions)
  5. (definitions)
Photo heading post:

This cat has not had a stroke she is just dressing up the post. Great picture by fofurasfelinas (a quality cat photographer well known amongst Flickr members). It is published under a creative commons license (thanks). The license is: Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs License.

Wednesday 27 August 2008

American Bobtail cat

Here's one of the best American Bobtail cat pictures by Helmi Flick:

American Bobtail cat
American Bobtail cat - photo copyright Helmi Flick
This is a photograph of "Jessee"

Abyssinian cat

Abyssinian cat
Photo of Abyssinian cat copyright Helmi Flick

Here is a fine photograph of an Abyssinian cat by Helmi Flick, probably the best professional cat photographer. The Abyssinian is a purebred cat of long standing in the cat fancy. It is probably fair to say that there are about ten cat breeds that are at the core of the cat fancy and the Abyssinian is one. The history of this cat is rather uncertain. Without wishing to be unkind, this cat breed was either created (hybrid) by a breeder in the 19th century or was discovered in India, exported to Ethiopia and then re-exported to England where it was refined through selective breeding. You take your pick! "Abys", as they are affectionately referred to, are elegant cats with an active, athletic appearance. There is a limited range of colours which I think marks this cat out from the other breeds. They are very popular and in the top five on my reckoning....see more.

Russian Blue Cat

Here is one of Helmi Flick's great photographs of the Russian Blue cat:

Russian Blue cat
Russian Blue cat - Photograph copyright Helmi Flick

Update: A Russian Blue won the Best of the Best award at the CFA/Iams Championship at Madison Square Garden 19th October 2008. His name is Runner. Full name is Platina Luna Blade Runner. The proud owners/keepers are not cat breeders, just exhibitors. There names are Teresa Keiger and Rob Miller.

From Russian Blue cat to Household pets

Feline Gestation Period

pregnant cat
Pregnant cat - photo by superna

The feline gestation period is the length of time from conception to birth. Conception could be defined as the moment embryonic life begins by the formation of a viable embryo (zygote) through the coming together of the male sperm and female ovum or egg.

The feline gestation period averages 65 days with the range extending from 63 to 69 days all of which are normal. Apparently the gestation period of Siamese cats may be longer at 71 days.

If the kitten is born prematurely before 60 days of gestation the kitten is unlikely to survive.

It may be difficult to tell if our cat is pregnant. Cat breeders of course will have all the knowledge gained from experience to tell. I have a web page on cat pregnancy which expands this page considerably.

Pregnancy testing?

My research indicates that at the time of this post there is no equivalent of a pregnancy test (wrong? - please leave a comment). However at:

---17-25 days veterinarian may be able to feel the kitten (feeling the inside of cat from the outside is called "palpation"). This clearly must be done with care and experience (veterinarian only I would suggest) as it can damage the embryo.

---20 days the heartbeat can be detected

---22-25 days (Drs Carlson and Giffin say it can detect pregnancy as early as 15 days) ultrasound can be used to check pregnancy.

---30-35 days a blood test can confirm pregnancy.

---43-45 days an X Ray can tell how many kittens are in the womb as the skeletons would have formed.

Signs during of pregnancy:

---slight gain in weight

---sometimes there is morning sickness at 3rd to 4th week lasting for 3-4 days. This is due to hormones and distention of the uterus

---pink nipples (35 days)

---near birth - enlarged breasts and milky fluid may come from the nipples.

From Feline Gestation Period to Cat pregnancy

Feline Gestation Period - Sources:
  1. (definitions)
  2. Cat Owner's Home Veterinary Handbook by Drs Carlson and Giffin
Photo published under a creative commons license: Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike License - thank you.

Monday 25 August 2008

Clouded leopard photos

clouded leopard
Clouded Leopard photo by The Brit_2 and published under a creative commons license

Here are three of the best clouded leopard photos. They are selected from Flickr photographers who have kindly granted a right to publish under a creative commons license. Of course they are all taken in zoos as nearly all clouded leopard photos will be; an indication once again of the fragile a position in which we place such beautiful wildcats usually by habitat loss as a result of mankind's voracious commercial activities.

clouded leopard
Clouded Leopard photo by fuzuoko

For me three things are noticeable about this gorgeous wildcat. The spots are similar but much larger than the spots of a some Bengal cats. Their shape and design have the appearance of clouds hence the name.

The other is the size. This is quite a small wildcat in relation the size of other wildcats that we are more familiar with; I mean the big cats such as the tiger, the biggest wildcat. The Clouded Leopard is medium sized weighing 33-50 lbs. At the bottom end of 33 lbs this cat is only slightly heavier than the biggest domestic cats such as the Savannah (F1 or F2) cat a wildcat hybrid. The Maine Coon a domestic cat for hundreds of years can weigh (although unusually) in the region of 25 lbs. So this is quite a small wildcat really.

The third noticeable feature is the extraordinary length of the Clouded Leopard's tail, which you can see in this nice Clouded Leopard photo adjacent by guppiecat. This cat also has very long canine teeth at 2 inches the longest of any living (as opposed to extinct) feline. The extinct Saber Tooth Tiger probably had the longest.

Why is the tail so long? The answer is in the sort of prey this cat hunts, which includes macaques and gibbons, both tree dwellers and fantastic climbers.

The clouded leopard is also a fantastic climber. A domestic cat that is a fantastic climber is the Norwegian Forest cat.

This wildcat has a long tail to help maintain balance. The tail can be as long as the body. Large paws and an extremely athletic body make for excellent climbing skills including running down trees head first. My half Norwegian Forest cat could do that too.

Amazingly we don't know much about this cat. There are perhaps 10,000 in the world (2008). A camera trap recently photographed one in the Borneo jungle of Sebangau National Park in Central Kalimantan. This is jungle that has been logged excessively (another example of habitat destruction without taking responsibility for the wildlife depending on it). The Borneo Clouded Leopard is the top predator in Borneo.

Camera traps (cameraclouded leopard Borneo jungles that take photographs automatically when triggered by a movement sensor) are a good way of researching the population, movement and habits etc. of this elusive and beautiful animal.

I have taken the liberty of reproducing the camera trap photograph here (see adjacent - left). It is probably copyrighted to Oxford University’s Wildlife Conservation Research Unit and Indonesia’s Pangkalan Raya University. Notice the reflective eyes.

If there is an issue in publishing the photo here please tell me and I will remove it. Clouded leopard photos of non captive cats are hard to come by.

The Clouded Leopard has the hardest bite of all the cats
Go to more on the Clouded Leopard
From Clouded Leopard Photos to Cheetah habitat

Clouded leopard photos - Source:
  1. Wikipedia
  2. The Daily Times (of Pakistan)

Saturday 23 August 2008

Feline Endocrine Alopecia

cat hair loss through excessive grooming
photo by whizchickenonabun (see base of post)

Feline Endocrine Alopecia or balding (alopecia) through a hormonal deficiency is in fact more likely to be hair loss through over grooming.

Feline Endocrine Alopecia falls under the heading of feline hormonal skin disease. Bilateral (both sides of the body) and symmetrical hair loss in animals generally is indicative of a hormonal problem. This methodology is carried forward to the diagnosis of hair loss in cats when in fact the majority of the cases are due to excessive grooming. Three well respected sources concur on this (see sources below).

In some cases particularly neutered tom cats and spayed females of middle age balding may be due to hormonal deficiency. However, treatment with sex hormones is not recommended by Drs Carlson and Giffin (see sources).

Dr Turner and Jean Turner VN say that excessive cat grooming can go unnoticed. However it is possible to tell whether hair loss is due to over grooming or hormonal problems by a microscopic inspection of the hairs in the area of hair loss. I guess this is done with a hand microscope of some sort. When the hairs are broken as opposed to "resting roots" and normal hair tips excessive grooming is indicated.

The technical term for excessive grooming is "Psychogenic Alopecia" or essentially stress related grooming (behavioral problem). Hair loss is usually limited to a symmetrical pattern on the lower abdomen, genital area and perineum (the perineum area in males is between the scrotum and anus and in females between the vulva and anus). The cat is not responding to itching (Drs Carlson and Giffin) in the case of Psychogenic Alopecia.

Psychogenic alopecia may occur more frequently in breeds such as the Siamese, Abyssinian and Burmese. Dr Turner suggests that hormonal treatment may help cats with this condition as it may both stimulate hair growth and calm the cats (and thereby reducing stress induced over zealous grooming). It may help reduce skin irritation as well (if the grooming is caused by skin irritation).

A substantial number if cases of self inflicted hair loss can be attributed to flea allergy and ringworm (Dr. Turner). And an allergic reaction can also be the cause of progressive hair loss on the groin and rear legs (Dr Garvey et al).

Drs Carlson and Giffin say that hormonal skin diseases are uncommon but can be accompanied by a skin infection.

From Feline Endocrine Alopecia to Cat Health Problems

Feline Endocrine Alopecia - Sources:
  1. (definition of perineum)
  2. The Veterinarians' Guide to Your Cat's Symptoms by Drs Garvey, Hohenhaus, Houpt, Pinckney, Wallace and Elizabeth Randolph
  3. Veterinary Notes For Cat Owners by Dr Turner and Jean Turner VN
  4. Cat Owner's Home Veterinary Handbook by Drs Carlson and Giffin
Feline Endocrine Alopecia - Photo header
  • This is reproduced under a creative commons license = Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs License fully complied with - thanks for the license.
    This cat is called Scruggs (I believe) and he/she seems to be grooming excessively the stomach area but looks otherwise healthy (except for a bit of excess weight). Perhaps the photographer who lives with this cat can tell us why his belly is bald.

Feline Kidney Disease

cut away of a kidney

Feline Kidney Disease comes in a number of forms. They are discussed here.


The main role of a cat's kidneys is to maintain a stable and constant condition in respect of the cat's body fluids (the homeostatic balance). They achieve this by filtering out and then secreting the unwanted products (Metabolites - for example urea) of the cats metabolism from the cat's blood and then excreting it from the cat in the form of urine (water plus the metabolites). Kidneys also regulate blood pressure, glucose metabolism and the process by which red blood cells are produced by sensing the concentrations of ions and compounds in the blood. "Metabolism" is the range of chemical reactions that take place in the body to sustain life.

drawing of a kidney
Published under a Wikimedia license under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation license, Version 1.2 or any later version. Author: Piotr Michał Jaworski.

Feline Kidney Disease - The diseases

1. Feline Kidney Disease - Infection of the Kidney and Renal Pelvis

The "Renal Pelvis" is marked number 6 on the drawing above.

Pyelonephritis - this is a bacterial infection of the kidney and the urinary collecting system (the ducts and bladder) - the urinary tract. The infection can either arrive at the kidney by way of the bladder (ascending from the bladder) or less commonly the blood. The term Pyelonephritis is made up from "pyelum" meaning pelvis and "nephros" (Greek for kidney or nephro meaning "of the kidney") and "itis", which means inflammation. It can be acute and/or chronic. "Acute" means a sudden start and short course and "chronic" means long term.

{note: bacteria are single celled microorganisms. We can't see them but they are everywhere. For example, in one gram of soil there are 40 million bacteria. There are approx. ten times the number of bacteria cells on and in the human body than the number of human cells that make up the human body. The vast majority are made harmless by the body's immune system (human or cat) , some are not - src: Wikipedia}

The Feline Kidney Disease of Pyelonephritis causes pain in the abdomen and pain in urinating with tenderness in the bladder and the side of the kidney affected (src: Wikipedia). The pain is accompanied by fever and vomiting. The cat is hunched and stiff legged when walking. The urine can be bloody.

When the disease becomes chronic (acute infection does not necessarily become a chronic infection however) the disease spreads in a subtle/stealthy manner causing weight loss and ultimately signs of kidney failure (see below).

2. Feline Kidney Disease - Nephritis and Nephrosis

Nephritis means inflammation of the kidney (the cause is irrelevant). It can be caused by:

  • infections
  • toxins (a poisonous substance produced by a living organism e.g. snake bite, bee sting)
  • drugs (drugs given to treat another illness)
  • poisons (this includes toxins but can be from any source, e.g. rat poison)
  • viruses

The most common type of Nephritis is Chronic (long term) Interstitial (situated between the cells) Nephritis.

Another form of nephritis is Glomerulonephritis (glomerular nephritis or GN). It is the inflammation of the glomeruli of the kidney (glomerulus is the singular - see the drawing on the right hand side of a glomerulus published under a Wikimedia commons license) (the small blood vessels).

This is at the heart of the filtration system of the cat's kidney (and any vertebrate's kidney). The causes could be:

Another form is Amyloidosis, which refers to range of conditions in which amyloid proteins are deposited on organs, including the cat's kidneys and tissues causing disease. Most amyloid proteins are part of the cat's blood plasma (the liquid part of blood in which the blood cells and other substances are suspended).

Nephrosis is a Feline Kidney Disease (and other vertebrates) that involves the destruction of the Nephrons on the kidney (see diagram above No.13). Thus results in loss of function. Nephrotic Syndrome is a condition in which protein leaks through the kidney filtering system and out into the urine. This results in low serum protein (serum= blood plasma with clotting factors removed) and fluid accumulates below the skin and inside the abdomen (because the fluid passes out of the blood stream to the body). In humans the fluid accumulates in the ankles and legs. Diagnosis is not straightforward as these symptoms are present with other diseases.

In humans Chronic Nephrosis causes infections, high cholesterol and clotting blood in the veins.

3. Feline Kidney Disease - Kidney failure

When this happens the kidneys are unable to remove the waste products of metabolism from the body resulting in a build up of toxic material in the cat's body.

When kidney failure is acute (sudden start and short duration) it can be caused by:

  • blockage in the urinary tract
  • trauma (injury) - bladder rupture or pelvic fracture
  • shock
  • blood clot of an artery (renal artery particularly)
  • reduced blood to the kidney due to heart failure
  • poison particularly antifreeze
When kidney failure is chronic (long term) it can be caused by:

  • Nephrosis (see above)
  • Nephritis (see above)
  • infections (FIV and FeLV for example)
  • drugs that are poisonous to the kidney and heavy metals for example such as lead and mercury
  • old age

The signs and symptoms of feline kidney disease leading to kidney failure occur late in the day when up to 70% of the nephrons (see diagram above no. 13) have been destroyed. The symptoms are:
  • high level of urination and drinking (supply plenty of fresh water)
  • apathy (due to poisoning of the cat's body by the retention of the waste products of metabolism - uremic poisoning)
  • sluggishness (due to poisoning of the cat's body by the retention of the waste products of metabolism)
  • loss of appetite
  • loss of weight
  • dry coat - unkempt appearance
  • tongue and gum ulcers
  • brownish tongue
  • ammonia smelling breath
  • vomiting yellowish fluid
  • diarrhea
  • anemia
  • bleeding of the intestine
  • coma (terminal)

Feline Kidney Disease - Managing cats with CRD

Acute kidney failure can be treated (provided the underlying cause is diagnosed and as quickly as possible) and the cat returned to health. Cats with chronic kidney failure usually have damaged kidneys but can live a decent life. It is a question it seems of managing to best advantage the remaining functionality of the kidneys. This is best done through correct diet suitable to a cat with CRD (Chronic Renal Disease). The conventional view is a high quality and low in protein (Hills k/d for example is recommended by Cat Owner's Home Veterinary Handbook by Drs Carlson and Giffin). These doctors also recommend:
  • Vitamin B supplements (to replace loses through urine elimination)
  • sodium carbonate if the acid/base balance needs to be corrected
  • phosphorus binder to lower the phosphorus levels in the blood serum to restore balance

A veterinarian, who I have mentioned several times in other posts is Dr. Hodgkins DVM. She believes that the conventional view referred to above (i.e. a low protein diets) originated in the treatment of CRD dogs. Dogs are omnivores and the diet works. In cats it seems to work less effectively as a cat needs a high protein diet being a carnivore. In addition low protein commercial diets are often in the form of dry food (kibble) which carries its own problems in terms of urinary tract health. For example the cat needs to drink more and if not sufficiently it can cause bacterial infections. Cats eating dry "kibble" are relatively dehydrated than cats eating high moisture diets. IN fact, chronic dehydration through eating dry cat food for a long time can contribute to CRD, Dr. Hodgkins believes.

Dr Hodgkins feels that veterinarians today can do better in the management of cats suffering from feline kidney disease. I think it fair to say (and this I my view only of course) that she is an independent voice. Whereas a number scientists/veterinarians either favor or work for the big pet food manufacturers whose research is geared towards promoting the kind of pet food that make them more profit. I don't want to water down Dr. Hodgkins's conclusions so I would recommend her book "Your Cat". The ISBN number is 9780312358013 18.99.

In short for the proper management of cat with feline kidney disease she recommends/concludes:-
  • better research is need into a diet that manages CRD cats (it is currently biased it seems - my view).
  • the classic low protein diet prescribed for CRD cats is unsuitable as it is unappetizing (eating less as a result) and cats require protein for energy and the repair of the body. This is obviously vital in a sick cat.
  • the concept of lowering protein levels to lower phosphorus levels is incorrect. It is better to maintain proper protein levels in the diet (a wet food diet) and to lower phosphorus levels with added phosphate binders. Dr. Hodgkins also recommends cooked and chopped egg white to the wet food high protein diet (this performs the same function as phosphate binders it seems).
  • antibiotics can be prescribed where a urinary tract infection is a result of CRD or in part a cause of it
  • feline anemia may be present in a cat with CRD
  • kidney transplants are now available at a price
  • early diagnosis is vital in proper treatment and management of feline kidney disease.
For the sake of completeness feline kidney disease can result from congenital (born with) defects (malformed kidneys or obstructions in the urinary tract). Also cancer of the kidney, which is rare in cats can also cause feline kidney disease. These cats will probably be suffering from FeLV as well. And finally Feline Polcystic Kidney Disease is an inherited feline kidney disease that can affect any cat but is known to affect a number cat breeds including (not a comprehensive list):

Update 25-8-08:

A company called Pala-Tech Laboraties™ produces a number of products including Cranberry Plus Chewable Tablets and Cranberry Plus Granules, which are dietary supplements for the maintenance of urinary tract health. The NHS (National Health Service) in the UK did some research on the efficacy of cranberries for the prevention and treatment of urinary tract infections (UTIs) in people and found that there was some evidence that cranberries may decrease the number of "symptomatic UTIs" over a period of 12 months. You decide.

From Feline Kidney Disease to Insurance for Cat health problems

Feline Kidney Disease - Sources:
  1. Cat Owner's Home Veterinary Handbook by Drs Carlson and Giffin
  2. Wikipedia for definitions primarily
  6. Your Cat by Dr Hodgkins DVM
Feline Kidney Disease header photo published under creative commons license = Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs License

Friday 22 August 2008

Feline AIDS

roaming stray tom cat
This roaming stray tom cat, Timmy, is more prone to feline aids but he is healthy at the moment. Snoozing after a human sized meal. Photo copyright Michael


The virus that causes feline aids is related to the virus that causes human aids. The term "AIDS" stands for "Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome". The term "aids" is a commonly used non-technical term. Another more scientific term is "Feline Immunodeficiency Virus Infection" or "FIV" for short.

From the name of the disease we know that feline aids amounts to a deficient immune system caused by a virus. The virus is a "retrovirus". A retrovirus is different to a "normal" virus in that it has to convert (reverse transcription) RNA to DNA before insertion into the host cell. Once inserted it clones itself in the same way a virus does. The transcription process is not that accurate so different forms of the virus are created making it difficult to treat. It is the reason why flu vaccines don't work most of the time on HIV infections (src: Yahoo Answers thanks to ksveb01).

The feline aids virus is a lentivirus. These are viruses with a long incubation period and they are part of the Retroviridae family.

The feline immunodeficiency virus was discovered in California in 1986 (or 1987?). In research work carried out at the University of Florida and released in 2005, a possible link between the feline aids virus and the human version was found. A vaccination designed for human AIDS was found to provide equal protection for cats (src: / The two viruses are breed specific, however meaning that HIV does not produce feline aids and visa-versa.

Feline Aids - How common is it?
In the USA, 1-3% of cats - higher levels in outdoor male cats of 5-10 years of age.

Feline Aids - Signs Symtoms

Initial acute symptoms:

--swelling of lymph nodes, which are part of the immune system. They filter/trap foreign particles
--low white cell count (white cells - leukocytes - are also part of the immune system providing a defense against foreign invading objects)
--skin infections

The disease progresses from the early acute signs (above) to latency (up to 3 years) to the chronic phase, the symptoms of which are:

--general ill heath
--severe mouth/gum disease
--loss of appetite
--loss of weight
--URIs (Upper Respiratory Infections)
--ear canal infections
--URIs (Urinary Tract Infections)

The large range of illnesses associated with feline AIDS (to be expected as the cat's immune system is severely compromised) are also similar to those that accompany:

--feline leukemia
--severe malnutrition (starvation)
--drug treatments that have as a side effect the suppression of the immune system

Testing for feline aids requires care and includes ELISA, IFA and Western Blot Immunoassay testing. This is exclusively a veterinarian's area of operation.

Treatment for feline aids is probably something the layperson knows a bit about as treatment for human aids is well publicized. In short millions of pounds and dollars are being spent on research (you wonder sometimes if the companies involved in research have a vested interest in not finding a cure or vaccine as it is big business). As of the date of this post I don't know of a cure for human aids and therefore the same applies to feline aids.

It seems that FIV cats are involved in animal testing. I am against animal testing but in this instance it would seem acceptable. AZT is used on people. AZT is more toxic to cats and can cause anemia and liver damage in high dosage. Results are it seems disappointing.

The best "treatment" is preventative action. Roaming and fighting toms are more prone to feline aids. Neutering male cats and keeping a degree of control over our cats is the better course of action. An indoor life with a large cat enclosure is probably the best compromise if workable.

From Feline aids to cat health problems

Feline aids - Sources:
  1. As stated in the text
  2. Wikipedia for definitions
  3. Cat Owner's Home Veterinary Handbook by Drs Carlson and Giffin

Largest Feline

Wild cat tamed as domestic cat
Arguably the largest feline of the domestic breeds, the Serval cat a wild cat tamed to behave like a domestic cat. Small enough for that purpose but they are special and require a host of special requirements and care. photograph © Kathrin Stucki of A1 Savannahs

People searching for the largest feline are searching for the largest cat as the word "feline" means belonging to the Felinae family of animals and these include both wild and domestic cats. We need to separate the wild from the domestic as wild cats are generally much bigger than domestic cats, but not always. Some wild cats are very small and some domestic cats are bigger than the some wild cats.

There is a page on the Pictures of Cats website that deals with the largest domestic cat breed. It also deals with the smallest domestic cat breeds as a consequence and makes some comparisons in size between domestic cats and wild cats that are similar in size. There is a complication here as one or two wild cats have been tamed to become domestic cats (Serval - see above and Safari). Also there are a number of wild cat hybrids, the first generation offspring of which are large and semi-wild producing an overlap between wild and domestic cat. The classic wild cat hybrids are the Bengal and Savannah but you can see them all; in fact all the domestic cat breeds illustrated by the best pictures anywhere on the Pictures of cats website.

Largest Domestic Cat Breed

A particularly large domestic cat breed is the F1 (first generation Savannah), probably the largest domestic cat breed (or largest feline of the domestic cat breeds) but not recognized by most of the cat associations:

F1 Savannah Cats

As for the largest wild cats, two come to mind and there are pages on this website on both. One is a man mad wild cat to wild cat hybrid, the Liger:

What do Liger Eat? - this post features the worlds biggest cat or largest feline at the date of this post. If it has changed or I am wrong, please leave a comment.

The other wild cat that is the biggest wild cat breed is the Tiger:

Worlds Largest Cat (breed)

I think that more or less covers all the angles if someone is looking for the largest feline.

Largest Feline to Home page

Thursday 21 August 2008

Cat sitter Los Angeles

Looking for a cat sitter in Los Angeles? Take a tip for a cat lover in London. Over here there is a recent case of a women who went to Australia backpacking. She asked a young man to look after her two cats. I presume she let him stay at the house. He did some cleaning and one of the cats soiled something, don't know how or what. It could have been caused by stress through his presence.

Anyway he lost his temper. Tried to drown them both in the bath. He attacked them for an hour and tortured them. Fur and blood in the bath. Neighbors heard the cats' screams and the RSPCA (the same as your SPCA) came around (very promptly I am pleased to see).

They found the cats on the floor twitching. They survived despite broken bones and hypothermia and wounds. They would have died but for prompt veterinarian surgery.

The man has been prosecuted and been warned he faces a year in jail.

Moral: get a professional cat sitter in Los Angeles that has been recommended or someone you can guarantee is OK. Don't take a chance. And the cats should know this person ideally as some cats will become stressed. Also some cats prefer people of certain sex. It is wise to know which sex!

Cat sitter Los Angeles to home page

Dogs and Cats

cat and dog together
Dogs and cats together - Photograph copyright myriorama under a creative commons license.

Some know it and some don't but dogs and cats can get along fine provided there has been the proper amount and quality of socialization. This has been confirmed and reinforced by research carried out recently by scientists doing research work at Tel Aviv University in Israel.

The number one finding is that dogs and cats can be friends (and some of the pictures show this clearly) provided they are introduced at a young age and the dog is introduced to the cat who is the first to occupy the territory. The cat has to be in place first because dogs get jealous when another animal be they human animal or animal are brought into the family after the dog as the newcomers will inevitably take away some of the attention that the dog was getting.

Dogs and cats together - photo copyright Scott Kinmartin - published under a creative commons license.

Dogs and cats socialized together at a young are learn to communicate with each other through body language. This is particularly good as dogs use different body language to cats so some learning is required. It doesn't come naturally. For example when a cat wags her tail it can mean agitation or aggression while for a dog it is the expression of a friendly emotion. Obviously a form of communication such as body language is extremely useful to the relationship. A lot of humans might learn something from this in fact. This clearly helps them to get along.

photo by fazen under a creative commons license.

An example of a dog learning a cat's body language is sniffing the cat's nose normally a cat to cat greeting (see picture above), when dogs sniff the other end of another dog when meeting each other.

There are endless examples of well balanced and successful relationships between cats and dogs. Now we know how it happened. Although I expect dogs and cats can make friends late in life too under the right circumstances and provided the cat and the dog have generally well socialized characters.

See some of the best dogs and cats together pictures

Thanks to the research authors: Neta-Li Feuerstein and Professor Joseph Terkel

Wednesday 20 August 2008

Feline Pancreatitis

rescue cat
A healthy cat - photo by fofurasfelinas


Feline Pancreatitis is an inflammation of the pancreas causing it to malfunction. The inflammation causes leakage of the digestive juices produced in the pancreas. It is a serious disease and can be life threatening. Feline pancreatitis is rare in both acute (a sudden, bad episode) and chronic (long term, more common in cats) forms. The pancreas is one of the cat's endocrine glands which produce hormones. An example of another is the pituitary gland. It is a small gland close to the stomach and lower intestine.

The main function of the pancreas is the production of digestive enzymes and insulin (the pancreas also produces other hormones). The digestive enzymes produced by the pancreatic gland (a more technical name) are carried into the lower intestine of the cat through the pancreatic duct. These juices continue the digestion of the food after it passes from the stomach where digestion first takes place.

Insulin produced in the pancreas is secreted directly into the blood circulation and transported throughout the body. Its purpose is to enable sugars in the digested food to enter the individual cells of the cat's body. Sugars are a form of energy for the cat when metabolized. In other words insulin helps the cat to utilize the sugars (and other nutrients, amino acids) in the food eaten.

Feline Pancreatitis - Consequences/Signs

Knowing what the pancreas does tells us what happens when it is not functioning properly. If there is an insufficient supply of digestive enzymes the food is insufficiently digested and it is therefore not absorbed into the body adequately. In other words the cat is eating but not getting the full benefit of the food eaten.

This results in what veterinarians call "malabsorption syndrome". The word "syndrome" indicating a range of consequences or symptoms that result from not digesting the food properly. The symptoms are:

---weight loss
---possible anexoria
---possible diarrhea (soft fatty feces)
---not eating due to depression

---a direct symptom of the inflamed pancreas may be a painful abdomen

{note: these symptoms may also be present in other illnesses such as gastroenteritis - irritated stomach or intestine, live or kidney disease. This means that it is difficult to diagnose feline pancreatitis}

The most common symptom for feline pancreatitis may be as a result of a deficiency in the production of insulin. This causes diabetes mellitus (sugar diabetes). Sugar diabetes is a common disease in cats. It is on the increase. It is claimed by Dr Hodgkins a veterinarian in her book, "Your Cat", that a major factor in the increase of feline diabetes is the change in cats' diet to an increase in dry cat food which contains raised carbohydrate levels as the introduction of carbohydrates is needed in the manufacture of the food (see cat food recipe)

In other words the diabetes is not caused by a reduction in insulin but an increase in the intake of sugars forming excess sugars in the blood.

As mentioned above insulin helps the cat use sugars effectively. If sugars are not being used properly the result is higher blood sugar levels (called hypoglycemia). This excess sugar is excreted in urine. Increased urination results in increased drinking of water to compensate a symptom of sugar diabetes.

--Click on the link to see a full list of symptoms of feline diabetes.
--Click on this link to see more on feline diabetes
--Click on this link to go to low carbohydrate cat food

Feline Pancreatitis - Causes

These are generally unknown or the experts are still unsure. In humans there are a range of causes such as alcoholism (ethanol), drugs, trauma, mumps, gallstones, steroids, malfunction of the autoimmune system and Hyperlipidaemia. The last one means a high fat content in the blood. This may be a underlying cause in cats or a potential risk factor ( This indicates that a diet high in fat may be a contributing factor.

Other possible causes are:

---as for humans, drugs may contribute or cause feline pancreatitis
---toxins (poisons that may exist in the area such as insecticides or contaminated water)
---bacterial infections
---an underlying disease
---being overweight may contribute

Feline Pancreatitis - Treatment

This is not targeted but "supportive". This means the cat cures herself while we help that process through supportive actions including a suitable diet - obviously a case for seeing the veterinarian.....

From Feline Pancreatitis to cat health problems

Feline Pancreatitis- Sources:

  • Cat Owner's Home Veterinary Handbook by Drs Carlrson and Giffin
  • Wikipedia (human pancreatitis)
  • The Veterinarian's Guide to Your Cat's Symptoms by Drs Garvey, Hohenhaus, Pinckney, Wallace and Elizabeth Randolph
  • - Janet Tobiassen Crosby, DVM
  • Veterinary Notes For Cat Owners by Dr Trevor Turner and Jean Turner VN
Photo: The cat is called Lua, the first cat (techically) of fofurasfelinas. She is a healthy cat and a feminine cat.

Featured Post

i hate cats

i hate cats, no i hate f**k**g cats is what some people say when they dislike cats. But they nearly always don't explain why. It appe...

Popular posts