Friday 26 March 2010

Three Legged Black Cat

This is my three legged black cat, Charlie. I love him, of course. He gets around well but his disability has made him adapt considerably and he is no where near as mobile as he would have been if he had not lost his front right leg.

Three Legged Black Cat
Charlie my 3 legged cat - photo: Michael Broad @ PoC

I don't know, by the way, how he lost his leg. He was adopted by my mother from an RSPCA shelter in Hertfordshire, England.

You can see this picture on the main website, Pictures of Cats org here: Three Legged Cat Picture. This linked page talks a bit about the photography too.

Right now it is 7:30 pm and he is out in the garden exploring. It is dark and I am a bit concerned. We get foxes in the garden but I don't think foxes can cope with a large cat like Charlie. He is still quite macho despite the lost leg.

He has a fine single coat that is easy to comb and which fleas don't like as it is too thin. Fleas like nice warm and thick double coats with a nice density packed down layer. Here is a video of him too:

Charlie is a decent boy cat. He is loving. He comes to me in the morning and evening after he has been out seeking some affection, which he gets in abundance.

He then washes himself. He does this slowly and thoroughly. He likes me to use a flea comb on him all over. He purrs throughout. He has very few fleas if any sometimes because of his relatively thin coat. He is my three legged black cat.

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Monday 22 March 2010

Metallic Tabby Cat

Nice photo - which has disappeared - sorry. It has a seriously metallic look. This chunky golden metallic tabby cat has eyes that are reflecting light sufficiently to cause a reflection on what seems to be a stainless steal surface surrounding the sink.

A cat's eyes have a reflective layer behind the retina which boosts the light impacting on the retina. The gets gets two bites of the cherry so to speak.

The "M" tabby mark on the forehead is no so much an "M" but lighting! This is a very special M mark. Cats are often seen in sinks curled up. Cats often like hard surfaces to sleep on. The idea of a cosy warm basket of some sort looks good to us but not always good to a cat. I think it is because cats are perpetually in full winter clothes. It must get hot on a soft surface that prevents air flow around the body.

See more on the tabby cat. The photo is by -PhotoRoberto- and despite being fully protected by copyright it is published here because this website is part of the Pictures of Cats org website and the photo is on the cat-photo-technique Flickr group and photos that are part of this group can be published on PoC under the user conditions of the group.

From to Home Page

Saturday 20 March 2010

A Clowder of Cats in the Shade

I couldn't resist publishing this well known photograph on this Blogger site because I have just finished a post on the main site about the word "clowder" and its origins. And this picture really is of a clowder of cats in the shade. A clowder as you might know is a group of cats in one place.

The word clowder comes from old English words such as clotter (which produced the modern word clutter) and clodder meaning a clotted mass. Well, I wouldn't quite call these cats a clotted mass, just a content group of cats seeking relief from the sun. A group of kittens in one place is called a "kindle" after the word "kendel" or "kendal" or "kyndyll". See more on the word, clowder.

The photo was taken in a cat shelter in in Richmond BC Canada.This is the 1000th post on this blog - now there is a useless piece of information.

See the original photo in large format.

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Thursday 18 March 2010

Wat Arun Cats

three cats two in stone
Photo by IMP1

The above cats are described as "Wat Arun cats" by the photographer. The photograph was taken in Thailand. What are Wat Arun cats and how many cats can you see - yes three? There is a nice symmetry or harmony in this photograph. The stone cats are  mother and offspring, I suspect. The mother is washing her paw. The daughter is watching and waiting. The live temple cat behind them is also grooming itself and in a similar pose.

Wat Arun cats are temple cats and this is a Bhuddist temple at Wat Arun in Bangkok, Thailand. The full address is: Bangkok Yai, Bangkok 10600, Thailand. The full name of the temple is Wat Arunratchawararam Ratchaworamahawihan (วัดอรุณราชวรารามราชวรมหาวิหาร) (try and pronounce that). This is where it is:

View Larger Map

The temple is a well known landmark in Bangkok and is also known as the Temple of the Dawn (as it reflects the early morning light). This website incidentally supports a group of temple cats in Phuket, Thailand through the Soi Dog Foundation. You see the donations here: Pictures of cats org donations.

What of the cats? Monks historically look after temple cats. As I understand there are many examples of temple cats.

There is a famous (well in the cat fancy the story is famous) legend about the creation of the Birman cat breed from temple cats. The Birman comes from Burma (Myanmar) where there are temple cats too.

It would seem, and I am guessing here, that the stone cat sculptures are of  temple cats at the time that the temple was built. Construction started in 1809.

Thailand was called Siam. Siam is the home of the Siamese cat, a white pointed cat. Some say the Thai cat is a more accurate representation of the original Siamese cats. The cat behind the stone cats is a moggie. This cat is actually a bicolor moggie - black and white - not a Siamese cat. The head markings are very symmetrical and they remind me of the Turkish Van, with the inverted "V" mark. Is there a connection? Quite possibly.

This page: Cat genetics includes a paragraph about the spread of domestic cat genetics throughout the world from the origins in the Mediterranean basin.

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Michael Avatar

Friday 12 March 2010

Mackerel Tabby and Salmon


This is Emerson. He is a mackerel tabby cat. I am not sure if he is brown or grey because I think there is a slight blue or cyan cast over the picture due to the room light which is the main source of light for this photograph. As the light is blue, the brown tabby coat may have been neutralised to look grey. Not sure if I am correct. Maybe the white balance could have been adjusted? What do I know about white balance!

This photo is interesting, however. It is different from the usual cat photograph. It looks set up. The fish is salmon. Does Emerson like fish? Probably yes but not all cats like fish. My Charlie prefers Marks & Spencer roast chicken for example. He will eat fish but only as a backstop food. Cats rely heavily on smell to get an appetite for a certain type of food so even a favorite food may be just sniffed at and left if it is cold and has no smell. When Charlie leaves a bit of human food (I only give him a limit amount of it) I micowave it if it has been standing for a while to put some smell back into it. He then eats it. But it only requires about 12 seconds heating. Anymore at it might burn a cat.

The salmon is raw too. Should we feed raw or cooked food to our cat if we are giving human treats? Well, either/or is the answer but it must be limited. The fish I give to my cat is cooked but some of it is partially cooked and he eats both, no problem. If raw, though, it must be stored properly. Homemade cat food is raw mashed up human food such as chicken with added supplements. The supplements are important as they contain essential vitamins and amino acids etc. without which the cat's body functions will not work at an optimum. Omitting them will cause ill health. Home made cat food is the best potentially but care needs to be exercised. Human food most of the time if definitely incorrect as it does not contain all the required ingredients demanded by a cat.

The gene that produces the mackerel tabby pattern is Mc. Emerson has a goreeous tabby "M" on his forehead. They are not as good as that normally. There are some nice legends about how the tabby cat got the M mark. All wild cats are tabby cats in one form or another. Spotting is a form of tabby coat.

The picture is a link to the original on Flickr by the way.

Michael Avatar

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Sunday 7 March 2010

Polydactyl Maine Coon Cat Tootsie

This is Tootsie, a polydactyl Maine Coon cat that lives with an American women who lives in Atlanta, Georgia, USA. Her Flickr name is valleygirl_tka

I know Valley Girl as she is a work colleague of mine, although I have never met her. She has a website called, teh kitteh antidote/anecdote. Now that is a very fancy name for a website. It took me a little while to realise that it is a play on words, mispelled words (notice I spelled "spelled" correctly!). It is also a play on mistyped words and mixed up words. Great name for a website and the title does not start with a capital letter just to add a bit of spice. Oh, I almost forgot, Valley Girl's (VG for short) website is a subdomain of my maine (mispelled) site called, Pictures of or PoC for short. A subdomain is a domain that is separate from but part of the main domain. It is a separate website but included in statistical reports such as for Alexa traffic reports. Well I think Alexa treats it as part of PoC but there is some discussion about that.

Now what about the cat and the photo? Well, the polydactyl paw looks like a hand with a thumb! And it is about to grab the handle part of a cat toy. How many cats prefer the wrong end of a cat toy? How many cats actually sleep on that cosy bed you bought him or her? I find that if I buy something for my cat she or he doesn't use it! Humans and cats have different ideas about possessions. Cats don't recognise the concept of possessions.

Tootsie is a grey cat. In fact, to me she looks like a grey tabby smoke (the smoke effect is caused by the inhibitor gene). I am guessing wildly but I think the tabby gene, the agouti gene, the dilute gene and the smoke gene are at play all at once. And of course we have the genetic mutation that produces the additional toes. Wow, there is a lot going on. Now, I could be wrong about the genes!

Polydactylism is not a genetic mutation that carries health problems as is the case with some mutations such as the short tailed Manx or the floppy eared Scottish Fold.

Ernest Hemingway kept polydactyl cats in Florida. They are still there and they are called Hemingway cats or American Polydactyl cats. This is not a breed of cat but that is a disputed point I think. Someone might like to leave a comment on that as it might clear up this point.

See Polydactyl cats for more.

Michael Avatar

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Friday 5 March 2010

Tabby and white cat in the best cat sanctuary

Charming Neena

This is Neena at a private cat sanctuary at Foz do Iguaçu, Brazil. This is an extraordinary cat sanctuary. It is private so I presume that they are funded by donations although I sense that in this case that might not be the way it is funded. It is not a cat shelter in the classic sense (i.e. cats rescued and rehomed) but a true sanctuary where cats that are rescued can call it their home. It is instant re-homing!

That said the cats are available for adoption but apparently the sanctuary owners don't allow most of the cats to go to new homes (perhaps the offers from prospective owners are not good enough, which wouldn't surprise me as the sanctuary seems to be better than most homes!) "Super premium" cat food is served and medical care is available twice weekly. Forget the private cat keepers of Brazil, forget the USA or anywhere elese, this is the best cat home in the world. There are a staff of 4 and about 300 cats as far as I remember.

And what about this fine photograph and beautiful cat? Well, firstly it is by Giane Portal, who lives in San Paolo, Brazil and she is the best amateur cat photographer anywhere I think. She is also involved in cat rescue.

For me, the impact from this photograph comes from the fact that it seems that this beautiful cat is lying in the road, against the curb!  This is not true as it was taken in the sanctuary but this impression creates a tension and a contrast between the soft beauty of the cat and the cold danger of the concrete road. I sense that Neena is very vulnerable yet she is completely safe and in good hands. Well, that is how I analyse it.

This cat is a long haired cat or medium long haired and Neena has a tabby and white coat. You can see the classic tabby "M" mark on the forehead. Neena is a random bred cat.

By the way, Giaine Portal, uses the Flickr name, fofurasfelinas. You can click on the photo to go to the original one on Flickr and see some more of her work. This photo is part of the cat-photo-technique Flickr group.

Michael Avatar

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Thursday 4 March 2010

Sphynx Cat Photo

Spynx cat with no claws
Sphynx cat Photo by Mario Izquierdo (Flickr)

This is an amazing photograph of a cat but Sphynx cats do make amazing photographs because you get beautiful tones particularly in black and white as is the case here and as the cat is hairless or nearly so you get all those lovely wrinkles that produce such rich texture and interesting shapes.

This though is a particularly good example of a Sphynx cat photo as it is slightly mysterious. It is hard at first to figure out exactly what is going on. Yet on close inspection we can see that this is a small cat as it is in the hand of the owner (unless I am completely mistaken!).

Another thing about this photo that is a bit mysterious is that although this cat has its digits extended (the phalanges of its paw extended) as if to grab something to stabilise itself as it has been held by the person, there are no claws that I can see.

You would normally see claws under these circumstances in my experience. If I am correct, that means this cat has been declawed and if that is the case and only if that is the case my admiration for the photographer due to his photographic skills are diminished by his desire to declaw his cat. I would criticise for that (if that is the case) but this photographer is very good indeed.

Declawing cats is simply horrible to anyone who really cares about cats and animals as it is the removal of the last phalanx of the paw, which is called the distal phalanx. In other words it is an amputation of part of ten toes (see cat paws and declawing cats).

OK, I hope that I am wrong. Lets not forget that the Sphynx cat is particularly monkey like in its agility and athletic skills and it relies in claws to do a lot of that.

The Sphynx cat is also named as the most intelligent of the cat breeds. That assessment though probably is not very scientific and probably does not take into account the wild cat hybrids particularly the first fillial wild cat hybrids who are very intelligent having inherited the intelligence of their wild parents. Wild cats are considered more intelligent that domestic cats because they have to use their brains more to survive as domestic cats have everything on a plate!

Another interesting thing about the Sphynx cat (that does have some down like hair by the way and is not hypoallergenic) is that the colour patterns of the hair were it in existence is mapped out on the skin of the cat as pigmentation in the skin – how about that?

Michael Avatar

Sphynx cat photo - Associated pages:

Sphynx cat
Hypoallergenic cat breeds
Non-shedding cat breeds
Don Sphynx (Russian Sphynx cat)
Chakan CD

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Tuesday 2 March 2010

Grey Cat Rafael

Rafael the Angel
Rafael - a rescue cat living in Brazil

This is a gorgeous cat and a fine photograph. Firstly, I like the colours. Rafael is blue, well that is a cat fancy term that actually means a blue-grey which is the result of the dilute gene (dd) turning black grey. The grey cat has to to homozygous for this gene as it is a recessive gene. The grey is nicely offset by the pink ears. They are pink because they are back lit, the light is coming through them.

This is a nice active photograph too. Rafael is walking purposefully towards his target! His eyes are set firmly ahead. He is a young cat judging by the size, expression and his whiskers that look quite fine.

There are a group of cats that I call the grey cat breeds. The only colour that these cats can be is the colour that you see above - blue-grey. The best known of this select group is the Chartreux, a traditional French purebred cat with a long and distinguished history and a connection to monks and the Christian Crusades.

The photographer is Giane Portal, Flickr name: fofurasfelinas, a name I can never type without pausing! She lives in San Paolo, Brazil (I think it is San Paolo), which I have just read is a violent city where youths carry machine guns and pistols openly and in defiance of the police who seem not to care or who cannot cope. Against this backdrop Giane takes the best amateur cat photographs anywhere.

Michael Avatar

From to Home Page

Silver Tabby Cat Finnegan

Finegan. Click on the picture to go to the Flickr original

What about this cat? Well, he is an ordinary but extraordinary cat as all cats are extraordinary, certainly in terms of their agility. I feed a stray cat, who I named, Timmy, who comes about once a day. He comes over a high brick wall (about 7 feet in height). He simply ambles up to it and jumps to the top. Cats leap their way to about two thirds up the wall then almost climb the remainder with their claws and momentum.

Finegan looks like an athletic cat as he is slender and probably not too heavy. He has blue eyes, Blue eyes are eyes where the pigment has been taken out of the iris. Cats that are white and coloured (bicolors) sometimes have blue eyes as the piebald gene or whiting gene turns the eyes blue as well as parts of the coat white. All white cats sometimes have odd-eyes, one coloured and one blue. The famous white Turkish Angoras have odd eyes sometimes as I recall.

Finnegan has a beautiful tabby "M" mark on his forehead - nice and symmetrical and a very nice looking M it is. I feel that I have become a bit of an expert on the tabby M as I have seen a lot of them!

He seems to be a silver tabby and perhaps a mackerel tabby judging by the stripes on his legs but I don't believe that stripes on legs means that the cat is a mackerel tabby.

He has a nice square and quite long muzzle which is a bit like the muzzle on the Chartreux and which makes the Chartreux look like it is smiling all the time.

The silver tabby is caused by the presence of the Agouti gene (A) that produces the tabby appearance by colour banding each individual hair stand and the inhibitor gene (signified by the letter I) that supresses the production of pigment that is fed into the growing hair. There is also the mackerel tabby gene (if Finnegan is a mackerel tabby) Mc. In the silver tabby the expression of the inhibitor gene is at a fairly low level. In the chinchilla silver, which is produced by the same gene combination there is a high level of expression of the inhibitor gene and the cat is much more silver looking as a consequence. A feature of the inhibitor gene is its wide range of expression.

Finnegan is a great looking cat and this photo is part of my Yahoo cat-photo-technique group.

Michael Avatar

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Biofuels Are Killing the Tiger

Biofuels don't even work and they are killing the Sumatran tiger. The Sumatran tiger as you would expect lives on the island of Sumatra, which is one of the islands of Asia (another is the third largest island in the world, Borneo) that is being deforested in part to make way for plantations where biofuels are grown.

Sumatran tiger - photo by Craig Grobler (Flickr)

Biofuels are meant to reduce carbon emissions, which in turn will help to control, over the long term, global warming. Biofuels are produced from plant matter on plantations. For example Palm oil, like other vegetable oils, can be used to create biodiesel for internal combustion engines. Biodiesel has been promoted as a renewable energy source to reduce net emissions of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Therefore, biodiesel is seen as a way to decrease the impact of the greenhouse effect and as a way of diversifying energy supplies to assist national energy security plans (Wikipedia authors). Palm oil is extracted from the Oil palm tree (Elaeis guineensis), which is grown on plantations.

The making of biofuels is now big business in places like Sumatra, Indonesia and Malaysia. These are Asian countries where there are dense ancient forests that are the home to tree dwelling and forest dwelling animals one of which is the Sumatran tiger, the smallest of the tigers and which is critically endangered per the IUCN Red List. Logging ancient forest to make way for biofuel plantations could be made out to be worthwhile (not for me) if it saved the planet from global warming and catastrophe but it doesn't work. The plan, the analysis call it what you like is fatally flawed so we are killing the tiger for no good reason other than to make photocopying paper, which is another reason to chop down these forests.

A recent government study has concluded that burning fossil fuels (coal or oil dug up from the ground) is better for the environment that the so-called green fuels made from plantation crops. What is cruel and totally mad is that the UK governments targets for increasing the use of biofuels (in diesel for cars, for example), will result in millions of acres of forest being logged (and some just burnt!) to make way for these plantations.

But some of the most commonly used biofuels fail to meet even the minimum sustainability standard set by the European Commission. The standard demands that one litre of biofuel should reduce emissions by at least 35% over the same amount of fossil fuel. The study concludes that the use of biofuels actually increases carbon emissions by 31%! This is because of the release of carbon into the atmosphere when forest is burnt and turned into plantations. In short the maths don't add up and we are killing the wildlife and the precious Sumatran tiger for nothing (except large profits of course). In an interesting statistic, it is said that a palm oil plantation will take 840 years to soak up the carbon released by the burning of the forest that was removed to make space for it.

The trouble now is that an industry has been built around biofuels that is worth 3 billion euros in Euros in subsidies alone in Europe. This big business will protect itself even if it is built on sand and quite pointless. One argument is that palm oil trees create another forest, which is sustainable. The rules are being changed or bent to fit into the new process mad or not.

The expansion of the palm oil business in Indonesia has turned the country into the world's third largest emitter of CO2. An area of forest the size of Wales, UK, is lost every year in Indonesia! Another precious animal that is on the brink of extinction is the orag-utan.

The world is mad and I am angry.

Michael Avatar

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