Friday 31 October 2008

Munchkin kittens

Munchkin kittens - This is an offspring of "Milton" a fine solid Cinnamon, longhair, male Munchkin dwarf cat. Milton is a TICA Champion. This cat is a chip off the old block. Photo published with the permission of Terri Harris. Photo copyright Terri Harris. You can see Milton one of this cat's parents and a lot more on the Munchkin on this page: Munchkin -- founding dwarf cat. You might like to read this page and click through some of the links before thinking of adopting Munchkin kittens. First things should be first. What is a Munchkin cat? A lot of us might know that the Munchkin is a dwarf cat or a small cat. There is, of course, a difference between a dwarf cat and a small cat. A dwarf cat is a normal cat with abnormally short legs due to dwarfism. A small cat, such as a miniature cat or a teacup cat is simply a very small cat. A cat breed that is not is neither a miniature cat nor a teacup cat but which is a the smallest cat breed is the Singapura cat. What gives Munchkin kittens their short legs? This is caused by a dominant genetic mutation. Sometimes the presence of mutant genes can result in defects in a cat that go beyond the the outstanding characteristic that distinguishes the cat from others. The classic case is the Manx cat. The gene that makes the tail short or eliminates the tail can also produces some health concerns: see Manx cats health. In the Munchkin and for all dwarf cats there are potential health concerns caused by the mutant gene, but dwarf cats are generally healthy. See dwarf cat health issues. The Munchkin is the founding member of the dwarf cat family of which there are at least eleven (11). Yes, a large number. All of the dwarf cats have been breed from the founding cat the Munchkin. This is the full list of 9 dwarf cats with Munchkin genes in them (the link to the Munchkin is above): Bambino -- a cross between a Munchkin and a Sphynx Dwelf -- a cross between a Munchkin, Sphynx and an American Curl Genetta a cross between Munchkin, Bengal, Savannah, Domestic Short Hair and Oriental SH Minskin a cross between Munchkin and Shynx, Devon Rex and Burmese Knooks a cross between a Kinkalow and La Perm Lambkin a cross between a Munchkin and Selkirk Rex Napoleon a cross between a Munchkin and Persian Skookum A cross between the Munchkin and LaPerm. Appearance - short legs and curly coats and an interesting origin to the name Kinkalow A cross between the American Curl and Munchkin - curled ears short legs You might like to see pictures of them and read about these rare cat breeds before going further? Click on this link to read about dwarf cats and miniature cats generally. And if you want a short cut to see all the dwarf cat breeds (bar one that I hadn't seen before, Fantasy cats) before buying Munchkin kittens, here is a video on the dwarf cat breeds. The video contains one deliberate error (actually it was not deliberate just what could be called "brain fade"). The first cat, the Elf cat, is not a dwarf cat - sorry: From Munchkin kittens to Home

Cat (Siamese) and Ferret - they love each other - photo by _schadenfreude has been around for ages and never filled its potential. How can I say that? The domain name is impossible to buy now. It's been impossible to buy for a long time. Yet is Alexa ranked 400,000. With a domain name like that and the time the site has been on the internet the Alexa ranking should be much better. Alexa is an company that measures traffic to a website.

I'd expect the domain name to be worth lots more than the website. People search for the website. I guess that they do this to look at cat breeds and find information about cats.

Well, if I say it myself and I will, Pictures of is much better. The photographs are by Helmi Flick and the best amateur photographs of cats in the world and the facts are very carefully researched. The facts are not regurgitated "facts" but real information carefully thought out. And if you disagree you can tell me by leaving a comment. That will be fine. I am open to criticism. And the Alexa ranking of Pictures of is 116,000 at Oct 2008. The lower the number the better the site by the way. is number 1.

Sure, things could and will change. But should do better and probably will after this post! One last thing. All the money made at Pictures of goes to cat charities and it made over $700 dollars in October 2008 on adsense alone. to Pictures of cats home page

Thursday 30 October 2008

Ocicat cat

I have called this page "Ocicat Cat" because the name of this cat breed does not necessarily indicate that we are talking about a cat breed. Below is a beautiful photograph of two young Ocicat cats by Helmi Flick. And great cat wrangling by Ken Flick. Ken and Helmi work internationally: see International Cat Photography - shooting in Japan.

Ocicat cat - photo copyright Helmi Flick

One interesting thing about this photograph is that both of these charming cats are licking their noses. This is displacement behavior. See cat licking displacement activity and cat licking behavior. In brief it is the cat equivalent of us scratching our heads when we are thinking and not sure what to do. Or we bite our nails for the same reason. It just takes away from the slight anxiety and/or confusion of the situation.

There is no doubt that there is a similarity in appearance between the Ocicat cat and the Bengal cat and indeed other so called Exotic cats such as the Savannah. But the similarity is somewhat superficial as the Ocicat is wholly domestic in heritage being a triple cross between the Siamese, Abyssinian and American Shorthair. Although originally the the Ocicat was the result of mating a Siamese with a hybrid Abyssinian (in 1964) the Silver Tabby American Shorthair was introduced later into the breeding program. The Bengal cat, as we know, is a wildcat hybrid, so even SBT cats have some wildcat in them, which shows. However, at a glance the difference between these exotic cats can seem a little confusing.

Ocicat cats have spotted tabby coats. This is due to the presence of the agouti gene. The CFA breed standard calls the cat a large well spotted agouti cat of moderate type. This means a body shape that is balanced and not extreme in any way (i.e. a normal shape that we are used to). The presence of the agouti gene is signaled in the classic "M" mark on the forehead. See the thumbnail picture on the right. This leads to a very large format picture if you click on it or click here.

Prevention is the best medicine for your pet's health.Ocicats are intelligent and are perhaps more predisposed to being leash trained, for example. Apparently, they make good travelers and can respond to vocal demands. Although most cats will actually respond to the right signals. There behavior will not be the same as the wildcat hybrids which tend to behave in particular ways, sometimes what might seem weird ways.

On health, I have not seen any documents that report genetic defects for this cat. This is possibly because of the wide gene pool from which this cat has been created. Some cat breeds are known to have predispositions to genetic diseases carried in breeding lines due to selective cat breeding. See Genetic Diseases in Purebred Cats.

Ocicat kitten playing with a large dog
Ocicat nibbling a large dog

Above pic: friendly and charming play showing how well cat and dog can get on if socialized. Photo by thisisforever

The Ocicat cat although very glamorous looking are as domesticated as the standard Moggie. See much more on this cat breed including history on this page: Ocicat. If you'd like to read about what it is like living with an Ocicat cat try this fine submission from a cat breeder, Sue Threapleton (UK): The Ocicat.

Ocicat cat to Home page

Photo of kitten with dog published under a Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs creative commons License.

Wednesday 29 October 2008

Birman kitten

Here is a fantastic picture by Helmi Flick of two Birman kittens that are just entering adulthood. Both these pictures are links to much larger versions.

Birman kittens cats
Birman cats/kittens. Photograph is copyright Helmi Flick. Helmi says that on the top is BumbleBe Degas Dancer, a 6.5 month old Seal Tortie Point Birman Female. On the bottom with Bumblebe Degas Dancer's paw on her head is BumbleBe Dore', a 6.5 month old Blue Tortie Point Birman Female.

And here is another great Helmi Flick picture of three Birman kittens:

Birman kitten
Birman kitten - Photograph copyright Helmi Flick

If you are looking to buy a Birman kitten you might like to read this post and go to more on this page: Birman cat (more great pictures and a full description plus history and some top breeders).

The Birman is a pointed cat an unusual feature, white feet. Colorpointed or the Himalayan longhair cats have the genotype aacscsll. aa represents the non-agouti gene (homozygous), cs the pointing gene and l the long hair gene.

The Birman is a Colorpointed cat. These cats are not just longhaired Siamese cats as the body conformatoion is different, more cobby. Colorpointing is heat sensitive. As the Birman has long fur providing better insulation than a Siamese cat this has an impact on the quality of the pointing. The Colorpoint cats have a "clearer" body color which produces a greater contrast between the body and dark points.

Cat breeders say the Birman has "gloves" on their feet (maybe it should be socks on the hind feet and gloves on the foreleg feet?). The gloves should be as shown in the pictures above, confined to the feet, otherwise they would be knee length socks! The socks cannot go beyond the hock of the hind legs. There are some question marks as to what causes the gloving. It has been shown that the white gloving is caused by a dominant gene. The gloving could therefore be due to the familiar white spotting gene (S) or a different gene as yet identified (it seems to me). The limiting of the white spotting to the feet could be due to the presence of polygenes.

Without meaning to be critical Dr Ross D Clark (editor) in the book Medical, Genetic & Behavioral Aspects of Purebred Cats, says that certain genetic lines can show up with weak hind legs or nasal obstructions. This may have been dealt with as the book was published in 1992. Other genetically linked conditions that have been associated with the Birman are, epibulbar dermoids (British Birmans 1 in 150), fine eosinophilic granules (no health issues) and hip dysplasia (occasionally found in the Birman cat).

For show cats the standard is high and cats will be disqualified if they don't have those gloves on all four paws that define the breed. Cross eyed cats and cats with kinked tails are also disqualified. The original Siamese cats had kinked tails. They were considered desirable in Siam (Thailand). The head of the Birman should not look like a Siamese or Persian. I am referring to the traditional Siamese.

From Birman kitten to Home page

Birman kitten - genetics: Robinsons Genetics 4th ed

Why people abandon cats

I find this extremely sad - photo by Animals Abused & Abandoned

One big reason why people abandon cats is because their cat is not going to the toilet in the cat litter. Yet cats will almost automatically use a cat litter if it is in decent condition. This is because it will be the best thing in the home in which to go to the toilet and cats look for appropriate spots to urinate.

So, if our cat is not using the litter provided, either she is ill (e.g. cystitis which makes you want to go very urgently - this is a human disease as well - this is a Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease) or the litter is unattractive and unsuitable.

If the litter is clean (cleaned at least once a day), large enough (make it large) and well sited (quiet and perhaps covered) all should be well. It also depends on the home. If the home is not clean and our cat has already gone to the toilet outside the litter this encourages our cat to think that the litter is the home or the home is a suitable area.

I prefer wood chip litter. It is not clumping but has excellent odor absorption and it is easy to scoop out as it is relatively dry after use. Clumping litter can be wet after use and it stains the litter tray. Wood chip litter leaves the tray much cleaner so there is less cleaning of the tray to do. A clean tray will encourage use of the litter.

I have never had a problem with my cat using the litter tray except once as mentioned when she had cystitis. This was brought on by eating too much dry food and stress. She urinated in the shower and bath (she is so sweet) and sometimes in the corner of the room during this short phase of illness.

A change of diet and my lifestyle rectified the problem and she has been fine since. So the reason why people abandon cats is the behavior of the people not the cat - sorry for that. The people who are considering abandoning a cat should look at what they are doing very objectively and try to rectify. It may not be the people but cats are reactive so if a cat is exceptionally nervous causing urinating outside the litter we should, I think, adapt our lifestyle to accommodate that to make the home as calm as possible. Persians can be nervous and have litter problems for example.

Some more:
Why people abandon cats - photo of abandoned cat: published under a Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs creative commons License

Tuesday 28 October 2008

Cat people are independent people

photo by Mathieu Struck

Cat people are different to dog people. Although there is bound to be a lot of middle ground where the person's personality makes him/her suitable to like both cat and dog.

The reason why cat people are different to dog people is because cats are different to dogs. Both see their human owners are parents but the dogs live in packs with status playing an important role. The dog therefore sees a family as a pack and the head of the family as the top dog. Looking at it from the human's point of view the kind of person who wants to have a family is the kind of person who fits into society, accepts society, plays by the rules, has a career and is a group animal. This person will also prefer a dog as the dog thinks along the same lines (i.e. a dog needs a pack or group in which to thrive).

Turning to cats. Although they bond and look to the person as the surrogate parent they are more independent. They don't come to heel and there is no hierarchy or social status. They are individuals doing their thing. This suits the people who keep cats as they tend to be the same, less group orientated, less career minded perhaps and more individual. Cat people are independent people.

Cat people being what they are are less likely to have families. They are also more likely to have less money. This is because they are less interested in playing the company career game. Obviously as mentioned this is not a black and white thing with clearly demarcated boundaries.

This explains why, in the United States, 67% of dog owners are married compared to 61.8% of cat owners. In addition dogs are more likely to be found in larger families (bigger packs). 52.6% of dog owners are in families of 3 or more while only 47% of cat owners are in families of three or more.

83% of dog owners and 64% of cat owners made a trip to the vet at least once per year. Cats owners have less money. That is my theory. For the reasons mentioned.

There are 81.7 million cats and 72.1 million dogs in the USA. Dogs and cats can get along fine if socialized to it. Source for the above figures: U.S. Pet Ownership & Demographics Sourcebook, visit

Photo: published under a Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs creative commons License

Monday 27 October 2008

Are lethargic cats ill?

Are lethargic cats ill? No, not necessarily. Although lethargy is often a common sign of illness, alone it is far from conclusive.

The key is to be aware of our cats normal movements (including bowel movements!), activity patterns and of course eating habits. When we add lethargy to a change in usual behavior that continues for say 12 hours or so we reach a situation where a visit to the veterinarian could and should, perhaps, be considered.

Typical additional symptoms and signs of illness might be lack of appetite, vomiting, poor breathing, diarrhea and gums looking pale.

Once we have decided things don't feel right we need, I think, to monitor our cat closely and without delay (when we consider it time) to visit the vet.

I've built two pages that might help:

Cat Health Problems lists a pile of potential health problems from the serious diseases to illnesses that we might treat ourselves

Cat Illness Symptoms is the other side of the coin and sets out symptoms of a range of illnesses and points to the possible cause.

Sunday 26 October 2008

York cat

What is the York cat? Why is it called the York cat? And are there any pictures of this recognized cat breed?

Yes, lots of questions but I am surprised that as a cat breed recognized by the World Cat Federation the only form of description that I can find is the breed standard and Sarah Hartwell's.

Anyway, I shouldn't whinge. This is an experimental cat breed so is yet to receive full recognition. The breed seems to be distinguished by the fact that it has been developed from domestic medium/long haired cats without a pedigree and the colors allowed are very restricted to chocolate and lilac solids or these colors with white (see cat coats solid and white for a general discussion on this).

The York cat is a medium/large cat. The head is a little small in proportion to the body. I think the Bengal cat has the same appearance in relation to head size. This cat has large ears and eyes medium in size and oval in shape. The coat is medium in length, glossy and silky with the usual undercoat. There should be no evidence of tabby markings except for ghost markings in kittens younger than 10 months old.

I have no idea why the cat is called the York cat. Sometimes the place of origin is a factor in naming such as the Russian Blue, Maine Coon, Norwegian Forest Cat, Devon Rex etc. If that is the case York is in England and it is ancient town founded in AD 71 by the Romans. My guess is the breed is named after the town in England or being a chocolate cat the breed may be named after the Yorkie chocolate bar! This is a well known chocolate bar in the UK that is manufactured by Nestlé®.

Myanmar is in breach of CITES

Animal body parts for sale in the Burmese town of Tachilek. The photographer says that the photograph was taken quickly before being told that no photographs were allowed. Tiger penis and Clouded Leopard skins were on sale. A dried tiger penis can be worth $6,000. Photo by 9.81 meters per second squared.

Unsurprisingly Myanmar is in breach of CITES. Surprisingly Myanmar does have animal welfare law. The law is the The Animal Health and Development Law. It would be a relatively simple step to incorporate CITES - the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora into the local laws of Myanmar. It could be linked into the above law.

Why hasn't this been done? And why is the international community not enforcing the terms of the convention against Myanmar? The country is wantonly and arrogantly ignoring open trading of CITES listed species including the wild cats listed in Appendix I, the most endangered species.

See CITES in relation to cats.

WWF surveys indicate that body parts from 1,200 (yes 1,200) species were found to be on sale. The wild cat parts belonged to the Tiger, the Clouded Leopard, the Marbled Cat, Leopard Cat and the Asiatic Golden cat, all most endangered species of wild cat listed in Appendix I. Non-protected wild cat parts were also on sale. The greater number of parts come from the rarer species however.

As I have said on this page, Burma is well placed geographically to trade in the body parts of rare wild cats as it neighbors countries where the parts are used in medicine (e.g. China).

There is simply no point in having an international convention unless the members of the convention who comply with it enforce the terms against those who are in breach. Will this happen before these wild cats are extinct in the wild? Do we care? I like many other people have little faith. In some ways CITES undermines the preservation of wild species because it gives the impression that something is being done when it isn't.

As Myanmar is in breach of CITES lets see, please, some real on the ground down to earth action that is not perverted by commercial self interest and corruption.

Saturday 25 October 2008

Shoot a cat dead in Michigan?

You shoot a cat dead in Michigan? What is going to happen? The person, a neighbor who allegedly shot a cat from 3 feet with a rifle may well find out. The County Sheriff's Department said it could lead to animal cruelty charges and careless use of a firearm. How can this be careless use if a firearm? 3 feet away and shoots a cat? The cat was called Ben and he was kept by Irene Sawyer and her daughter. The alleged shooter lived not far away and it seems that Irene tried to stop him. The place?: Ypsilanti Township:

View Larger Map

The person who saw it said the person had scooped the cat up into a garbage bag afterwards. No rhyme or reason for this.

Well, a lot of people hate cats (see i hate cats). A lot of people love cats. The world is divided. Strange. The world is divided in many ways, however.

In the state of Michigan, if the perpetrator is charged and convicted it would be a felony (not all states classify such a crime as a felony). He could face a sentence of a fine of not more than $5,000 and/or imprisonment of not more than 4 years. Yes 4 years. See the law here. Don't shoot a cat dead in Michigan? Don't even consider it. Better - learn to love cats. If you hate them it must be based on incorrect information/training or irrational behavior.

Shoot a cat dead in Michigan? to Cats and the Law

Iriomote wildcat

The Iriomote wildcat is yet another endangered wild cat. How many endangered wild cats are there? (I'll find out). Most wildcats are endangered as far as I can see. This cat is a Japanese wild cat or to put it another way, the cat lives on a Japanese island. The full name is Iriomote yama-neko.

Iriomote wildcat

Above photo:  published under Wikimedia® creative commons license license = Attribution-ShareAlike License. Author is 岐部 博 (Hiroshi Kibe) ja:User::katuuya. This is a stuffed cat at the Japan National Science Museum, Tokyo, Japan.

This wild cat's habitat is a relatively small island south of the Japanese mainland:

View Larger Map

So how endangered is this wildcat, the size of a domestic cat? According to the Red List (IUCN) this is the position:

CR stands for Critically Endangered (CR), facing an extremely high risk of extinction in the wild. Why?

The island habitat would seem ideal. The habitat is subtropical rain forest. Iriomote is the largest of the Yaeyama Islands at 289 square kilometres. How big is that? At nearly 300 square kms, if the island were square it would be about 17 kms by 17 kms. Small, yes, but there are less than 100 Iriomote wildcats on the island. Can a population that small successfully breed without inbreeding and failing health?

It would seem that the reason for the dwindling population of this wild cat is not clear. Except to say this. The meat of this cat is considered a "delicacy" on the island. Got an idea where this cat is going? But the inhabitants of the islands (a small 2,000 at a maximum) are proud of this cat. Perhaps not everyone is equally proud.

Some people say that the traffic kills some of the cats. Yet there are few roads and no doubt few vehicles. The truth is we simply don't care enough to preserve some (perhaps any) wild animals. The Iriomote wildcat preys on small animals. There is a question mark as to whether this cat species is a separate species of cat or as a subspecies of the leopard cat. The cat is known as the mountain cat to some of the islanders.

Iriomote wildcat to Home Page

Friday 24 October 2008

16 year old girl drowns cat

A 16 year old girl drowns a cat in London by throwing the cat into the Thames from the gangway of a famous warship, HMS Belfast. This happened at 6 am, 9th Feb.2008. She had been drinking beforehand. This is where it happened (off Tooley Street):

View Larger Map

The cat was the ships cat called "Kilo". He was adopted from a famous rescue center for cats and dogs, Battersea Dogs & Cats Home. This is totally senseless and pointless. The girl has been found guilty. Although the report doesn't say it she would have been prosecuted under the Animal Welfare Act 2006. The offense is animal cruelty. The maximum sentence is 51 weeks and/or £20,000 fine but she is likely to get 6 months imprisonment it seems (see penalties)

Update 21-11-0: This girl has been found guilty at Camberwell Youth Court of animal cruelty and given a 9 month supervision order. This is getting off relatively lightly. I said that the cat drowned. This is not strictly true as Kilo the cat was not seen again having been thrown into the river. The Thames is a large river with steep built up sides with little chance of escape from it. So Kilo is presumed drowned.

16 year old girl drowns cat to cats and the law

Japanese domestic cat

Japanese Bobtail cat - photo copyright Helmi Flick - see a large version

The Japanese domestic cat is seen as the Japanese Bobtail cat, at least the purebred version. But do all Japanese cats have short tails? The answer must be a definitive no, particularly as the best stray cat photographer in the business, MAR, has let me publish some of his photographs on the website; see stray cat picture - these are all Japanese cats and no bobtails (or at least very few). Apparently, you can see stray cats in the forest of Yanbaru and in sub-tropical Okinawa and also Tokyo's commercial Ginza district and an island called Teuri off northern Hokkaido.

OK, so what about the Japanese domestic cat? Japanese people have kept domestic cats for centuries. People have speculated that the domestic cat came to Japan around AD 540. Imaizumi Tadaaki, a Japanese guy (I presume) writing for, says that the domestic cat was introduced into Japan at the same time as Buddhism. The idea was to use cats to protect the Buddhists' texts from being damaged by mice and rodents.

He says that, genetically, the indications are that the domestic cat was introduced to Japan from China. China having been introduced to the domestic cat from India. I am not sure about this. India in the 21st century still regards the domestic cat with suspicion and there a few cat companions in Indian households today (see cat lovers in India). There is no history of the domestic cat in India as there is, for example, in England.

Apparently, the first written evidence of the presence of the Japanese domestic cat in Japan is in the diary of Emperor Uda (867-931). The cat was brought from China and was black. Further written evidence of the presence of the Japanese domestic cat can be found in ancient records concerning Emperor Ichijo (980-1011). The cat's name was Myobu no Otodo. This means "Chief Lady-in-Waiting of the Inner Palace".

Further evidence is in a drawing of a cat by Toba no Sojo (1053-1140). The drawing is of three cats with normal length tails. At this time, almost 1000 years ago the Japan domestic cat was, it seems, becoming more commonly encountered.

In the 18th century due to a genetic mutation cats with short tails become more common (this idea conflicts a little with the conventional view that the Japanese Bobtail cat was around from the 5th century). It seems that the short tailed cat became synonymous with Japan over the intervening 200 years. An area, in Japan, where they seem to have been more common was Naniwa (Osaka).

Imaizumi Tadaaki calls the Japanese Bobtail "genetically inferior" and he is correct. The Japanese Bobtail became less ubiquitous in Japan against the importation of breeds from the west after WWII. It is in the west, particularly America, where the breed has been revived. This cat breed is no a very glamorous show cat.

Japanese domestic cat to domestic cat

Cat Lovers in India

Cat Lovers in India are a little scarce it seems but growing in numbers (I hope - am I wrong?). While I am building the Pictures of website and this website (a Blogger subdomain), it has become increasingly apparent that the cat fancy (cat breeders and cat lovers) is confined to certain countries and I would dearly love it to be much wider.

India is a growing country and a world force economically and becoming increasingly westernized. Yet as far as I can see the vast majority of Indians see the cat as a bad luck omen and a link to witchcraft. Am I misinformed. A person left a comment to say that I was.

It also seems that another reason why the cat is not that popular is that people in India seem to prefer companion animals that are utilitarian. The companion animal needs to perform a service of some sort and dogs being bigger and stronger can at least protect people (note though that cats are great for keeping the rodent population down so they do have a use). You can tell that Cat Lovers in India are few and far between because you can't even buy cat food in India, never mind other cat products (this is incorrect apparently as cat food is currently - at 2009 - available but I feel far from the same level as in the USA for example).

There would seem to be a long way to go before India has a cat fancy by which I mean a cat association or associations and cat shows etc. (wrong? - please correct me). I'd have to guess and say that there are no cat clubs in India. I'd bet that you could count the number of purebred cats in India on one hand (this seems to be incorrect but purebred cats are much scarcer it seems).

The slight lack of interest in the domestic cat extends to their wild cousins, the Bengal tiger. This seems to be an undervalued yet beautiful wildcat that is gradually becoming extinct in the wild in India despite the much heralded Project Tiger and million pound funded project to save the tiger that is simply failing.

When you do a search of the major newspapers of India for stories on the domestic cat, nothing comes up except stories about the domestic cat in North America!

So, Cat Lovers in India, both of domestic and wild cats, are fairly scarce as far as I can see. I think that there needs to be an awakening and an awareness. The domestic cat is a great companion. Your cat companion will change your life and you'll start a trend that will benefit the domestic cat in India and the people.

One last point. Please neuter all domestic cats. You don't want a feral cat problem (have you already got one?!). But don't, don't be cruel to them, please. When we are cruel to animals we damage ourselves and the world. The world becomes a worse place.

Picture: by sallylondon -- feral cat in India surviving against the odds. Published under a Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs creative commons License

Cat Lovers in India to domestic cat

Japanese Bobtail cat

Here is a great picture of a Japanese Bobtail cat by Helmi Flick.

Japanese Bobtail cat
Japanese Bobtail cat - photograph copyright Helmi Flick

The picture is both aesthetically very pleasing and interesting while also being very clear and of a type that is useful for informational purposes.

All the photos and text on this page are protected by copyright ©. Violations of copyright are reported to (DMCA).

The Japanese Bobtail is different to the Manx cat a better known breed. Some people call all cats with a short tail Manx cats. That is how well known they are but it is not true. Anyway sometimes the Manx has no tail. There are other short tailed cats. A long haired Manx is called the Cymric. A Russian tailless cat is called the Kurilian Bobtail. There are more; explore a list of really rare breeds on this page: Domestic cat breeds.

The Japanese Bobtail is a type of short tailed cat that is common in the Far East. The tail is never absent just substantially shortened due to the presence of a mutated gene, which is different to the Manx mutant gene. Unlike for the Manx there are no accompanying skeletal abnormalities that might cause ill health (see Manx cat health)

The Japanese Bobtail cat tail length is normally less than 4 inches or 10 cms long. The tail is often rigid and/or curved and the hair on it is long giving the impression of a pom-pom.

The white spotting gene is very evident in this cat's white coat with splashes or blobs of color. As there is a lot of white it is called high grade spotting. See cat coats solid and white. The most popular Japanese Bobtail coat color is the tricolor or Minke. These cats have patches of orange and patches of black against a large white canvas.

The genotype for the tricolor coat is: aaOoSS, where aa represents the non-agouti (see agouti gene) gene in homozygous form, Oo (tortoiseshell) and for high grade spotting the homozygous dominant white spotting gene SS.

These cats are not at all cobby but quite lean looking. They look like extremely glamorous feral cats. The lithe cats are cats such as the Bengal. The Japanese Bob is not like that, more lean and spare looking. The Jap.Bob. has a very very long history (starting from the 5th century) and is one of the ancient breeds - see cat history time line.

Disappearing cats

There is a long running story of disappearing cats from Meriden Avenue in Wollaston, West Midlands, UK. Here's a map:

View Larger Map

Cats have been disappearing from this part of the Midlands for some time and it is causing distress for cat and human alike. I have a theory. If it was a person who simply wanted to kill cats (and there are such dysfunctional people), he/she wouldn't need to hide the cats. Killing cats, although a crime, is not taken seriously by the police. So the criminal doesn't have to be that careful.

The key is that the cats are disappearing and that the cats are domestic shorthair or longhair cats, meaning that they are not purebred cats. If they were purebred it could be argued that they were being stolen and sold as purebred cats in the UK are worth in the order of £500 each.

No, they simply disappear. In March I made a post about the cat fur trade in Switzerland. Domestic cats were being stolen from the streets of France to feed this trade. My preference as to the underlying cause is that someone local is stealing the cats to feed to fur trade. The police should question the local people who might be suspects - petty criminals etc. There should be some evidence in the home of the person doing it. The trouble the police in the UK are next to useless when it comes to what they consider to be minor crime.

In the UK a person convicted of stealing a cat and being instrumental in the cat's death would be punished under the Animal Welfare Act 2006. The person could also be prosecuted under the Theft Act 1968 (as amended). Further he could be prosecuted for criminal damage although this is unlikely. I would have a thought a civil action by the cats' owners would not be viable.

The maximum penalty is a prison sentence no longer than 51 weeks and/or a fine of £20,000. A Scottish man was jailed for 4 months for drowning a cat under the equivalent Scottish law.

Disappearing cats

Disappearing cats to cats and the law

Cruelty to a cat in New York state

This is an incident of aggravated cruelty to a cat in New York state. New York state animal welfare laws rather unusually it seems to me (I could be wrong) include the term "aggravated" into their code. See the code here. The term adds an extra dimension to the crime, making it more serious. The term "aggravated" qualifies a number of crimes such as aggravated robbery or aggravated burglary (in the UK at least).

In this case an actor, Joseph Petcka, has gone on trial and admitted to killing his girlfriends ginger cat. The trial failed to come to a conclusion, the jury voting 11-1 (the judge must have requested or the statute must demand a unanimous verdict, it seems).

A retrail is possible. The prosecution claim he killed the cat while drunk and jealous. His defense is that he acted in self defense. That seems to be a bit thin. Isn't defense meant to be proportional? He weighs 250 lbs. Couldn't he simply avoid the cat or remove the cat if he was being bitten. And in any case cats are reactive so it is almost certain that he would have provoked an attack from the cat if this happened at all which to me is unlikely. He wants to avoid prison. The maximum sentence is 2 years.

Cruelty to a cat in New York state

Cruelty to a cat in New York state to cats and the law

Thursday 23 October 2008

Torturing a cat in Pennsylvania

Torturing a cat in Pennsylvania is a first degree misdemeanor. In some states it would be a felony, Alabama being one example (see the law). However, in Pennsylvania, on a second offense it becomes a felony of the 3rd degree. I understand that new law is being debated. At the date of this post the law as stated is correct.

This piece of criminal code (which can be seen here) may well apply to a certain Erik Lach, aged 23, who has been accused of torturing several cats. The alleged criminality took place in or around Hunting Park, Pa.

Blood was found in Mr Lach's home. Two of the cats were so badly injured they had to be put down. The third survived and is being fostered. Mr Lach has also been charged with being in possession of drugs. Are the two linked? Perhaps. It takes a sociopathic/psychopathic personality to want to torture any animal so if he is convicted he may have a mental health problem. We must remind ourselves that he is innocent 'til proven guilty.

If he is guilty and convicted it would seem likely that he would be the subject of a presentence report. Torturing a cat in Pennsylvania probably isn't that madly uncommon. Cats are a target for crazy people who want to vent anger to world over.

Torturing a cat in Pennsylvania to Cats and the Law

Feral cats spread disease?

Dubai feral cat - photo by elvis_payne

Feral cats spread disease? I have just read a report from a website called XPRESS about the rising population of feral cats in Dubai. The report claims that people risk catching disease from feral cats and that they are a health hazard to society. The report also claims that half the feral cats in Dubai carry parasites that can cause blindness or miscarriage in pregnant women. This is simply wrong and is a misrepresentation regarding feral cats.

As regards miscarriage in pregnant women this is a reference to the parasite toxoplasmosis. Toxoplasmosis is caused by a parasite called toxoplasma gondi. Provided sensible and simple precautions are taken a pregnant women living with a domestic cat would be highly unlikely to contract the disease from the cat. There is more risk in raw and poorly prepared meat. How one can catch the disease from a feral cat I don't know. I'd be surprised if there was one case of it worldwide; perhaps in a poorer country.

As to blindness from cat parasites this must refer to the same parasite. When Toxoplasma gondii invades cells in the retina of the eye, blindness can result. Once again this is extremely rare and relates to chronic infections.

As it happens 20% of Americans are infected with the parasite. Yes, 20% and the infection didn't come from cats. They are benign infections. I would urge the editors of XPRESS ( to read up on the disease which can be done here:

Cat feces and pregnancy

before spreading misinformation. Feral cats spread disease? - No. The cause of feral cats incidentally is irresponsible human behavior. Lets criticize people not cats. Read more about feral cats here:

Feral cats

Feral cats spread disease? to cat health problems

published under a Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs creative commons License

Abandoning cats

Abandoning cats is a form of cruelty to cats if the cats suffer physically as a result. I'd add psychological damage as well but at present there is no way of measuring a cat's mental health.

Two states in the USA (at least) recognize this, namely Arkansas and Arizona. In the UK abandonment is not specifically referred to (as is the case for the animal protection laws of Arkansas and Arizona) but clause 4 of the Animal Welfare Act 2006 covers the position.

Accordingly, the people in the UK (near Warrington in the north and reported by the Warrington Guardian) who abandoned four cats in a box outside the RSPCA, one of which had the address of the people who did the abandoning on a collar, could in theory be prosecuted for animal cruelty. Two more cats were caught making the total 6 abandoned cats. Clearly a defense in this instance is that they appear to have left the cats outside the offices of the RSPCA. But two cats seem to have escaped from the box. This is at the least, if not criminal behavior, very heartless and reckless and indeed cowardly behavior.

The cats were domestic shorthair cats or moggies mixed breed cats. The maximum punishment on conviction for abandoning cats in the UK is quite severe (see penalty).

Abandoning cats to cats and the law

Wednesday 22 October 2008

Cat cruelty California

Cat cruelty in California is probably no more frequent or rare than most other western countries. Here is an example. A senseless piece of cruelty, serving no purpose. Such acts of cruelty to animals would indicate that the perpetrator needs help as well as punishment.

The location is San Jose, California. San Jose is at the southern end of the Silicon Valley area. And some cat loving (animal loving - no plain decent) residents of Silicon Valley are upset and have offered a reward of $700 to help find the perpetrator.

The cat is now dead. His name was Mo. He was a kind of semi-stray cat or a community cat attached to a complex of apartments in San Jose. He was put down, euthanized due to the severity of his injuries. Someone put elastic bands around his paws, tail and neck. This caused the skin to die in those areas. It wan't spotted until it was too late.

Cat cruelty in California is a felony punishable by imprisonment and/or a fine. Under the criminal code of California, the person if caught and convicted would have to participate in counseling too. My guess is that it was done by someone living in the apartments who didn't like cats. It may not be some young kids. It may be a well respected, old and retired person. Old respectable people are not immune to criminality. I'd ask some questions and find out who doesn't like cats in the block of apartments. That person is almost bound to have made his dislike of cats known to someone, neighbors perhaps.

Cat cruelty California to Laws on cats

Big cat sightings

This is the first in a diary of big cat sightings. Every time I read about a big cat sighting I'll list it in brief in a posting plus a Google map. Over time this should present some sort of pattern in terms of location and type of cat sighted.

This one concerns a person who heard a big cat growl near Balcombe (Paddockhurst Road). Other people claimed to have seen the big cat. The cat was claimed to be like a ginger tom cat but three times the size. What does that conjure up? A cat 3 times the size of a domestic cat cannot be a big cat but a medium sized wild cat at best. Servals are about 3 times the size of domestic cats and they are tamed to be domestic cats. They do not look like domestic cats though; far more slender and "rangy" looking. Fast runners and high jumpers with long limbs and large ears. Other medium sized wildcats are the Ocelot, Fishing cat and American Bobcat but I am not sure that these cat growl like big cats. They make noises more like domestic cats.

Balcombe is in Sussex and is here:

View Larger Map

Big cat sightings in Sussex are not that uncommon. This is the latest.

Big cat sightings to Cheetah Habitat

Cat ear furnishings

See some gorgeous cat ear furnishings on a beautiful doll face traditional Persian cat photographed beautifully by a great cat photographer, Dani Rozeboom. These are the best I have seen that come out of the ear. Ear tufts are also ear furnishings that are on the ear flap. The best tufts are on Miss Kate, miss glamor puss, a fantastic Maine Coon CFA champion. See Miss Kate.

Cat ear furnishings, in case the term is new to you, is a cat fancy term that refers to ear hair, the stuff we as humans trim off and on cats we usually rave about. See another fine traditional Persian cat. Click here to see a slide show of traditional Persian cats.

The cat's name is Tuala. She is a Red silver shaded classic tabby. Classic tabby is blotched rather than spotted tabby - see cat coats tabby. She was born on May 26th 2008.

Photo is copyright Daniëlle Rozeboom. Dani runs cattery Yeri Shaes in Almere, The Netherlands. The Netherlands is a nice country. The people speak good English. There is lots of water!

View Larger Map

Cat ear furnishings to Home page

Tuesday 21 October 2008

Cat flea treatment

Bobcat scratching - fleas? - almost certain - photo by ehoyer

In my experience, on a day to day basis, cat flea treatment should be fairly straightforward.

These are the factors:

Keep the home clean and well hoovered.

If a I feed a stray cat I check him for fleas and apply cat flea treatment (see below).

Check for fleas daily with a flea comb. Act on the information. The sooner one spots fleas the less likely they are to present a big problem.

Fleas like to inhabit areas around the chin, neck, back of head, the end of the spine (just before the beginning of the tail).

If I find fleas I comb them out.

If there are too many I use Frontline or a similar dropper treatment. The instructions should be followed carefully.

I continue to comb after giving Frontline to check on progress. The fleas will gradually disappear. I comb some out as well.

Important I think in support of cat flea treatment: Hoover around the areas where the cat sleeps or likes to sit and watch. This should be done regularly, at least once a day. Fleas jump off the cat and live in carpets.

Routinely continue to monitor until satisfied the infestation is under control.

When combing out fleas some skill is required to catch and crush. They move fast and jump off the comb. I move fast to beat them. I crush them on the comb with my nails.

Don't use the insecticide sprays as a cat flea treatment. They can be poisonous to a cat particularly Pyrethrin and Permethrin Insecticides. These are for dogs. They are poisonous to cats and cause symptoms such as drooling, spasms etc in about 6 hours from application. I'd steer clear of these. Keep it simple and even monitor the reaction to Frontline as this is a chemical going into the skin of the cat.

If a more major cat flea treatment is needed it might mean a bath with an insecticide but I'd check with the veterinarian on the insecticide. Kittens require extreme care.

Cat Flea Treatment to cat and dog parasite pictures

Compensation for loss or injury to a cat

Compensation for loss or injury to a cat is limited to economic loss in the USA. I am sure it is the same in the UK. Of course this refers to a claim for damages under a court action. Most compensation comes from insurance companies and a cat being a "chattel" would probably fall under household insurance.

The class actions I am referring to is the pet food recall negligence claims in the United States of last year that concluded recently with a $24 million settlement approved by the judge, working out at about $1,500 per cat keeper.

The compensation, deemed adequate covered loss of work, veterinarian bills and damage to the home etc. No reference to the pain and suffering of the cat owners caused by the cats injury or death was made in respect of compensation. It would be certainly off the scale to think that the cat herself could make a claim through her human keeper. Children can certainly make claims through a Guardian ad Litem in the UK.

The underlying premise of all laws in relation to cats is that, in the eyes of the law, cats are inanimate objects no different to your washing machine. Using old fashioned English they are chattels. In the law of England and Wales a chattel is an item of movable property as opposed to real property which means land or houses etc.

I'd be surprised if this state of affairs was any different anywhere else in the Western countries.

Compensation for loss or injury to a cat to Laws on domestic cat breeds wild cat species and animal rights law enforcement

Munchkin cats

Munchkin cats - Here's a fantastic photograph of "Galadrial" by Helmi Flick. He's a bit of a star. See him again but in large format and with notes explaining the breed standard (the guide as to how this breed should look): Munchkin cat.

Munchkin cat
Photo copyright Helmi Flick - respect copyright

A bit About the Munchkin

Perhaps it is worth reminding ourselves that this cat breed is a normal-sized cat in every way except for the shortness of the long bones in the legs. The leg length may be as short as 5 inches from floor to shoulder blade. It is said by the breeders of this cat that the short legs do not interfere with the jumping ability of this cat except commonsense dictates that this breed will be less athletic than say a Bengal cat, for instance. They are very endearing companion cats, it must be said and very cute to look at.

The first munchkin cats to be documented (I am sure the mutation has happened elsewhere and at other times) was in 1983 in Louisiana, USA. When this discovered cat was breed to a "normal" cat half of the offspring had short legs and a new breed of cat was born. The dwarfism gene is autosomal dominant. The body type is either semi-cobby or semi-foreign - see cat body types (src: Legacy of the Cat). The head is almost an equilateral triangle (see cat head shape) and a modified wedge (in short, the usual cat head shape). The ears should be medium in size and the eyes large with a slight upward tilt.

Munchkin cats are shown in all colors, all divisions and all categories. This is a very sweet cat and very cuddly and they tend to stand up on their hind legs, kangaroo style, to look around.

A cat cannot get more cute than the Munchkin kitten in the above video! One problem though is that this kitten has Scottish Fold ears. It would seem that this cat carries two different kinds of defective genes both affecting cartilage production and one causing dwarfism and the other causing folded ear flaps. The combination may produce health problems that are not immediately apparent.

Showing the dwarf cats and Munchkin parent.

Some Links

Munchkin cats are the founding dwarf cats of what might be called the dwarf cat dynasty. There are after all 10, yes 10, different type of dwarf cat and you can get to see them all (well nearly all) on this page:

Dwarf cats and Miniature cats

If you'd just like to read and see more on the just Munchkin cats you might like to go here (or stay on this page - see more below):

Dwarf cats - Munchkin the founding dwarf cat

What happened is that the dwarf cat breeders crossed the lovely Munchkin (the most popular and best known of all the dwarf cats) with other cat breeds. For example, and this is one of ten examples, the Napoleon is a cross between the Munchkin and the ever popular Persian cat or one of the cats from the Persian group: Persians, Himalayan and Exotic Shorthairs.

The Dwarf Cat Names

One of the interesting things about dwarf cats is the names. The breeders kindly told me how they created them. You can read about the stories here:

The Dwarf Cat and the Origin of Breed Names

Of course, the name "Munchkin" is quite famous (especially for film goers and fans of the old films, which includes me) as it refers to the Munchkins (the little people) in the Judy Garland, Oscar winning film, The Wizard of Oz. Actually the actors who played the Munchkins have been honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, Los Angeles, USA (this happened about a year ago).

Health and Genes

Many cat breeds have started out on the road to becoming a purebred show cat as a result of a genetic mutation, dwarf cats are just one example. The mutant gene is dominant. If you'd like you can read more about this mutated gene here:

Cat Breeding - dwarf cats

Dwarf cats and Munchkin cats are generally healthy cats. Like all animals there are health issues. Humans have a lot of health issues. Some cat breeds have more genetic diseases than others (see genetic diseases in purebred cats). Dwarf cats are low on the list. If you'd like you can read more about Munchkin cats and dwarf cats health issues here:

Cat Health Issues - dwarf cats

Here's the son of a TICA champion "Milton". He is a fine Solid Cinnamon, longhair, male Munchkin:

Munchkin cat
Munchkin cats - The son of Milton a TICA champion. Photo is copyright Terri Harris

Munchkin cats - The son of Milton a TICA champion. Photo is copyright Terri Harris

Munchkin cats to Home page

Monday 20 October 2008

Hip dysplasia in cats

Hip dysplasia in cats is relatively uncommon but is a genetic disease that tends to raise it head more frequently than other diseases. It is not confined to purebred cats nor cats generally. It affects dogs and is common in many dog breeds particularly the larger dog breeds. It also affects humans at the rate on 1 in 1 thousand.

The disease is caused by a combination of genetic and environmental factors. Hip dysplasia in cats and other animals is caused by the ball and socket joint where the leg joins the hip being misshapen and being ill fitting.

Normally the top of the leg bone, the femur is a smooth ball shape covered by cartilage for a smooth action and a wide range of movement. The balled shape top of the femur normally fits nicely into the socket of the hip. If the fit is poor and the surfaces ill shaped there will be friction and a loose fit.

The disease is often found alongside patellar luxation. The signs are walking abnormally, intermittent lamness and a lack of desire to jump. The joint can become severely degraded and arthritic. Most cats will suffer a mild form. Hip dysplasia in cats can be checked for by a veterinarian on a physical examination.

The symptoms might not be evident until later in life. Surgery may be necessary.

Read more here.

Hip dysplasia in cats to cat health problems

  • Wikipedia
  • Medical, Genetic & Behavioral Aspects of Purebred Cats

Cats Protection and lost millions

Is it fair to criticize Cats Protection and the lost millions (or to be more accurate the potential lost millions as they haven't actually been lost yet)?

Cat Protection may lose £11.2 million of donations because they put the money on deposit into an Icelandic bank that went bust. In their statement they say that the Icelandic bank concerned Kaupthing Singer and Friedlander, checked out on credit rantings checks.

I don't think it really fair to criticize for choosing an Icelandic bank. What I would criticize the charity for is that it seems that all the eggs (more or less) were put into one basket. That created a risk. Also the Iceland banks were offering high interest rates. With high interest comes higher risk. If the charity wanted to invest in high interest accounts they should have spread the investment over at least 5 banks perhaps more.

When personal, individual donations are concerned (some donations from relatively poor people no doubt) the investment of funds before expenditure should be risk free. The bottom line objective of Cats Protection is to give away money for the benefit of cats, not to invest it and make money from money.

So, Cat Protection risked albeit to a lowish level at the time (in hindsight it was a high risk) peoples' money. The chief executive explains this away rather casually, I think. They will have to put to stop to some major projects to the detriment of cats. 11.2 million is a massive amount of money in terms of cat welfare in the UK, which could all be thrown away (this may work out OK though - we all hope it does).

Risk is the problem. I don't think one can take any risks with gifts from the public. And I think the chief executive should apologize. OK we never really realized that banks can go bust but we did have warning signs with Northern Rock. That gave the Cats Protection board plenty of time to rethink where to deposit money well before the Icelandic melt down. There may be a problem to, with holding on to too much money. I think that it should be spent as quickly as possible as that is what it is given for.

Donations should be spent quickly or put into the safest investment possible. Nothing else is permissible with gifts from a supportive public some of whom are probably now fed up with Cat Protection. They might suffer a fall in donations as a result. Although I hope not as Cats Protection do a great job generally.

Cats Protection and lost millions to Home page

Saturday 18 October 2008

British blue shorthair cat

British Shorthair cat - blue coat - photo copyright Helmi Flick

Here is a fantastic British blue shorthair cat photographed by a fantastic cat photographer, Helmi Flick and the cat wrangled by Ken Flick. His name is Earl Grey, the name of a well known and refined English tea.

The blue coat is a dilute form of black (see a description of the term genetic dilution and more: cat coat color dilution). The actual color is a blue/gray. The color could be described more accurately as grey or gray. In the 19th century, when this cat breed started out in the cat fancy, the term "blue" sounded better. Perhaps it still does.

The British blue shorthair cat has been popular throughout the long history of the breed. When the British Shorthair cat is slate blue/gray she looks like the Chartreux, a French cat that also has a long history. The Chartreux is one of the grey cat breeds.

If you'd like to see more of Earl Grey and see more fantastic cats, plus a full description and history etc. please visit: British Shorthair cat. The American Shorthair cat is founded upon the first British Shorthairs imported to North America with the first settlers in 1620 and looks like the Brit SH too.

British blue shorthair cat to Home page

Cat shelter populations rise

Cat shelter populations rise when the economy is bad. Going through the "credit crunch" results in more cats being left at cat rescue operations. They were already high as far as I am aware. This can only mean more cats being euthanized. The kittens are first in line to be saved. We play god and kill the ones who are less "attractive" visually.

This is so shallow. We know it. But some people just don't get it. There should be no correlation between rescue center numbers and the economy. When we adopt a cat we do it for the life of the cat, don't we? There may be struggles and downsides etc. but we do it for the life of the cat and stick with it.

If we cannot commit to that at the beginning of the journey, we don't start the journey. In this world there are millions of fine people who live good and useful lives who never get recognition for it. Yet people who are a lot less good become recognized and rewarded. It is these fundamental value problems that are at the root of the dysfunctionality in the world. We don't seem to value goodness. We prefer to value image and monetary wealth above goodness.

Yet cat shelter populations rise when times are harder financially. People must be making a decision like this: "do we get rid of the second car or the cat?" There shouldn't even be a credit crunch. Back in the old days, we saved for the things we wanted and bought them when we had the money. Back in the 1950s and 1960s we didn't even have credit. The banks dreamt it up and overcooked the whole thing. Governments gave the masters of the universe free rein as they made money for the country and paid taxes. The two together worked in collusion to make this mess. Now cats pay the price and good people too. The bad greedy guys have tucked away there millions in gold thank you very much. Typical humankind. Humankind is not kind as far as I can see. Sorry if this is a bit negative and I am sure millions disagree and simply don't give a damn either.

Cat shelter populations rise to home page

Worlds fattest cat

I'm going to be a real kill joy and ask, "what is so interesting about the worlds fattest cat"? This is a cat weighing almost 41 pounds. He is ginger cat. He is actually quite mobile. He can run up the stairs for example. But he is grossly overweight. I presume that this is because he has been overfeed by the person with whom he lives. What is so interesting about that? I would have thought that there would have been some shame not an acceptance or a desire to show off a cat that has been overfeed.

This cat must have health problems. It is like doing anything for 15 mins of fame. The guy who shot John Lennon wanted to "be somebody". Well he is but at what price and such a cheap way to be somebody. The same goes for overfeeding a cat. I guess the owner is vicariously getting the fame through his cat.

The cat doesn't know what is going on, except he can't groom and will probably die a lot younger than he should. I think we need to get a handle on this and present to the world and make famous animals and people who present a positive image, something useful and inspiring.

Just my rambling thoughts. But there is no doubt that it is wrong at a fundamental level to present to the world the worlds fattest cat. Unless there is some criticism going on but I doubt that. Overeating is obscene in a world where millions are starving (in Zimbabwe alone about 7 million are at risk of starvation). They'd probably eat the cat food given a chance.

Worlds fattest cat to cat health problems

Friday 17 October 2008

Feline Gingivitis

Nice teeth and gums - they can chew through by aylaujp

Feline Gingivitis is gum disease. This happens when bacteria infects the gums where dental plaque, calculus and trapped food combine in the small gaps in between the tooth and gum. The plaque, calculus and trapped food are an ideal medium for the growth of bacteria. Feline Gingivitis is a periodontal disease.

Feline Gingivitis - Terms

gingiva - this means gums
- this means inflammation

The two together mean inflammation of the gums

- Dental plaque is biofilm (usually colorless) that builds up on the teeth. If not removed regularly, it can lead to dental cavities (caries) or periodontal problems (such as gingivitis). The microorganisms that form the biofilm are almost entirely bacteria (src: Wikipedia® published under GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2 or any later version - see Wikipedia® licensing below). Plaque is soft and colorless. It is made of inorganic and organic material.

- this relates to the periodontium — that is, the tissues that surround and support the teeth. Periodontitis (peri = around, odont = tooth, -itis = inflammation) refers to a number of inflammatory diseases affecting the periodontium (src: Wikipedia® published under GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2 or any later version - see Wikipedia® licensing below)

- another word is tartar - refers to calcified deposits on the teeth, formed by the continuous presence of dental plaque. Its rough surface provides an ideal medium for further plaque formation, threatening the health of the gingiva. Calculus absorbs unaesthetic stains far more easily than natural teeth. (src: Wikipedia® published under GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2 or any later version - see Wikipedia® licensing below). Calculus is made up of calcium phosphate and carbonate plus organic material. It produces yellow/brown staining on the teeth.

Feline Gingivitis - The disease

Sometimes Feline Gingivitis can occur with a disease such as feline panleukopenia or feline viral respiratory disease complex.

The gums become red, swollen and painful. When rubbed they may bleed. Note: the same disease affects humans as we are all probably aware. If left unattended it leads to periodontal disease and tooth decay. A sign of periodontal disease is bad breath which sometimes cat keepers treat as normal and so ignore a potential worsening situation. As it hurts to eat the cat may not eat, losing weight and looking unkempt.

Some cats suffer more than others. My cat, a 16 year old moggie has great teeth. I have never done any work on them except inspect them. Chronic gingivitis may be due to an immunal deficiency in some cats. A lowering of the immune response can be caused by FeLV (feline leukemia virus) and FIV (feline aids). Chronic gingivitis is difficult to treat.

Feline Gingivitis - The treatment

Feline gingivitis is normally treated by professional cleaning of the teeth followed by a program of dental care and treating any diagnosed underlying cause or exacerbating diseases such as feline calcivirus (one of the viruses that cause upper respiratory infections). This may mean antibiotics. Once home the cat keeper should clean the cat's teeth regularly (twice a week). This I think is easier said than done.

It will require commitment and patience using standard training techniques. One way is clicker training. A slow and purposeful build to full blown tooth brush cleaning will probably have to be adopted. This means first rubbing the cats muzzle where the teeth are. Then progressing to rubbing the teeth below by raising the lip, then applying special tooth paste to the fingers and rubbing with that. Obviously advice on this is a vet's domain.

Where vets differ in opinion is on the type of diet that might help resist the onset of Feline Gingivitis. Some recommend dry kibble as the abrasive action will, it is said, clean the teeth. Is this true? A specialist veterinarian, Dr. Hodgkins DVM says that tartar control cat food doesn't work. She also does not recommend dry cat generally (see cat food recipe). Her advice for cats that acquire plaque and calculus faster than normal is to be fed raw or cooked meat with ground bone on occasions. Dry cat food contains high levels of carbohydrates making them unsuitable for cats generally (being obligate carnivores) and for the control of tartar and plaque.

Feline Gingivitis to cat health problems

Feline Gingivitis - Sources:
  1. As stated in the text.
  2. I use Wikipedia as an supplementary means to define terms for the sake of certainty
  3. Cat Owner's Home Veterinary Handbook by Drs Carlson and Giffin
  4. Veterinary Notes for Cat Owners by Trevor and Jean Turner.
Photo: published under a Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs creative commons License

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