Saturday 31 December 2011

Thai Cat Breeders Map

A map showing the US states where there are breeders of the Thai cat and contact details (click on the markers for email address). The Thai is only bred in the USA as far as I am aware. It is an "old style" Siamese meaning this breed is intended to be faithful to the original Siamese cats that were imported from Siam now Thailand. I think the original Siamese cats were actually slightly more cobby (stocky) than the Thai but the Thai is a really nice looking cat and far better than the extreme Siamese show cat that I call the modern Siamese (as opposed to the traditional Siamese). Note: Cat breeders don't provide addresses so you'll have to email or phone them.

The map:

Wednesday 28 December 2011

Are Turkish Van cats hypoallergenic?

Arguably no domestic cat is totally without the allergen, Fel D1, that causes an allergic reaction in some people. All cats are therefore potentially able to cause an allergic reaction. There is nothing in the books that indicates that the Turkish Van is hypoallergenic. People like to make claims about cat breeds. Most of the time it is nonsense. Unfortunately some of these claims become viral on the internet. They are repeated mindlessly by people eager to build more content without ensuring that it is good content. When it comes to cat breeds and allergens take it all with a pinch of salt. The cat breed most likely to be hypoallergenic is the Savannah. Some more....

Q & A Black Cats

  • Are black cats bad luck? No - this is pure superstition.
  • Are black cats good luck? No - this is also pure superstition.
  • Are black cats smarter? No - nonsense. Smartness depends on the individual cat not on the colour of the cat.
  • Are black cats mean? No - an idiotic thought. No cat is mean. It is humans who can be mean.
  • Are black cats friendlier? No. Friendliness depends on the individual cat not the cat's colour.
  • Are black cats rare? No. They are quite common.
  • Are black cats witches. No. If you lived in the middle ages (500-1500) you might have thought that. Some people are more enlightened in 2011 and some aren't.
  • Are black cats more healthy? Yes. Research has linked black cats to resistance to disease.
  • Are black cats nice? Yes. All cats are nice. I have a black cat and he is very nice.

Why are cats mean?

ANSWER: cats are not mean. People who ask this question, and quite a few people do, have preconceptions that are misguided.  I am sorry to have to say that but it is true. Even the use of the language indicates misconceptions. To use the word, "mean" in relation to a cat's character is a definite sign of anthropomorphising a cat  - making the cat human. This is because we have no idea if a cat can have the characteristic of meanness. I don't believe that cats can be mean. It is a human concept. People are often mean in many ways but cats? No they are far more instinctive on a more basic level. It is all about survival for a cat and basic emotions such as fear, feeling comfortable, anxiety, contentment etc. I would say that meanness is a higher emotion or form of behavior that is probably reserved for the human.

You could probably take a guess and say that the people who ask "why are cats mean?" are themselves possibly mean - can we all be mean sometimes. We have the capacity to be mean, anyway. People who are kindly towards cats and other people would probably not ask that question.

In addition people who are mean and maybe a bit nasty (there are people like that aren't there?) are more likely to provoke aggression in a cat, domestic or wild. In which case mean people will meet defensively aggressive cats, which reinforces their inaccurate preconceptions. Mean people are more likely to elicit defensive aggression in domestic cats because they will behave inappropriately towards the cat in such a way that makes the cat uncertain and defensive. Also, it is likely that the domestic cat can sense a hostile person as they have finely tuned senses. A person whose character is not predisposed to being kind towards cats will potentially seem hostile to a cat.

Another possible reason why people think cats are mean is the cat's expression when smelling something deeply. This has the appearance of a sneer, when in fact the expression is due to the mouth being slightly open as the cat inhales air to pass over an organ in the roof of his or her mouth. This organ has a super sensitive smelling capability.

Let's for a moment turn my argument on its head and agree that cats are mean.  As mentioned I don't believe this but if it is true why are cats mean? If all humans were mean why would that be? It could only happen if the circumstances under which the person or cat lived were such that it made the person or cat mean. So if cats are mean it is because of the environment that we create for them. It would be our fault as we have complete charge of the environment and circumstances under which our cat lives.

There is at least one other reason why people erroneously think cats are mean. A cat's general facial expression can give a misleading impression as to the cat's emotional state. Be kind to a cat. Understand the cat. Love the domestic cat and it will never enter your head to ask, "why are cats mean?"

Tuesday 27 December 2011

Are there wild cats in England?

ANSWER: NO. We, the animal loving Brits, killed all the wildcats in England centuries ago! The last remaining wildcats are in the north of Scotland, an area with a low human population compared to most of England, where the last 400 wildcats in the UK can live in relative peace. These are called Scottish wildcats. The problem is that we aren't sure how many of this small population of cats are actually purebred because they mate with domestic cats. Are there any purebred wildcats in Scotland?

Thursday 22 December 2011

Mei Toi Munchkin

The Mei Toi Munchkin cat is a very short legged dwarf cat. Apparently they are the Munchkins with the shortest legs. For people who don't know dwarf cats, there are 13 breeds and the Munchkin is the founding breed.  Dwarf cats are normal sized domestic cats with short legs.

When bred it seems that the the dwarf kittens have varying length length. Half the litter in fact will have normal leg length as dwarf cats are bred to non-dwarf cats for health reasons.

The Mei Toi is recognised by the United Feline Organisation, I am told. This is a lesser known cat association and they do not list the breeds that are acceptable to them on their site. There are no photographs of this cat that I can find or use. Sorry.

What does raised underfoot mean?

ANSWER: Companion animals socialized at the breeder's home. If you visit a cat breeder's home you are likely to see small kittens scurrying around the living room getting under the feet of the people who live there and even visitors. This is generally good for the cat as it gets them used to being around people and other animals. However, it can be dangerous for the kitten because they are literally under the feet of people. Kittens are liable to chase around and can get hurt (trodden on for example). But it is a very important, necessary step in raising a kitten purebred or otherwise.
Photo: Michael at PoC. F2 Savannah kitten.

A1 Savannahs in Oklahoma, USA, a Savannah cat breeder have very expensive Savannah kittens (see above - an F2) running around the living room being raised underfoot literally. On one occasion a tradesman trod on one and killed him. $10,000 up in smoke. Financially: no problem. They were coining it. Cat welfare: as catastrophe and very sad indeed.

Tuesday 20 December 2011

Are Maine Coons Talkative?

ANSWER: It depends on the individual cat. You shouldn't brand every Maine Coon with one character. Maine Coon were originally farm cats in the USA from 1600s onwards. They were random bred cats. Breeding the Maine Coon from the mid 1800s would not necessarily make the cat more or less talkative or vocal. Unless you crossed the cat with a Siamese!

Cats vary in character and talkativeness is a character trait. Also the amount a cat talks is dependent to a certain extent on the environment the cat lives in. If you have created a nice, warm, friendly environment and a close relationship he will talk to you. If the opposite is the case he won't - he'll run from you. That said Maine Coons are known for their trill vocalization, in which case they can't be said to be particularly quiet. The two Maine Coons I met were slightly quiet. The Cat Fancy Magazine says they are fairly quiet. The major books on the cat breeds do not mention whether they are talkative or not.

Are domestic cats the same species?

The answer is YES. In fact, all domestic cats including feral, stray, household and purebred cats are all a subspecies of the wildcat: Felis silvestris. The domestic cat is Felis silvestris catus. There must some dispute as to whether the domestic is, in fact, a subspecies of the wildcat as it was domesticated 9,500 years ago. Perhaps the domestic cat should be a separate species of cat rather than a subspecies of the wildcat? One day it might be as the classification of the species is for ever evolving as is the domestic cat. However at 2011, the domestic cat is a cat's whiskers away in terms of behaviour from the African wild cat its wild ancestor.

Saturday 17 December 2011

Cat Shelter Euthanasia Encourages Poor Cat Ownership

About 2.5 million cats are euthanized at cat shelters in the USA yearly1. Of these 35% are relinquished cats. This is the percentage of cats at cat shelters that are from owners relinquishing their cats2. It follows that 875,000 cat companions (pets) are relinquished and killed at cat shelters each year in the USA. I say "killed" because I speculate that these are most often healthy, well adjusted cats and therefore the word, "euthanasia" does not apply. They are just unwanted cats, plain and simple.

In killing them the shelters take away the problem of relinquishment. It is dealt with. It is as if a cat is piece of rubbish to be discarded. Out if sight and out of mind is the motto. In destroying these unwanted cats we make it easier for people to relinquish their cat. We also send out the wrong signal to cat caretakers that a cat's life is not worth that much. This encourages further relinquishment. The mass slaughter - and it has to be called that - also numbs the senses. It has become an accepted routine. I find this astonishing and very sad. This problem should be dealt with before all other issues relating to the domestic cat.

I will further speculate that in the vast majority of cases the reason for relinquishing the cat is unjustified or the arguments for it are weak. People can always find a reason for doing something but is the reason soundly argued? In killing relinquished cats shelters are indirectly endorsing and supporting the process of relinquishment. This is not done deliberately but it is happening. Also cat shelters are undermining their objective as "shelters" and almost exclusively reacting to the problem.

Shelters do a lot of good, sometimes great work, of course they do, but I think it is time to change the way they work. Funding should be redirected from clearing up the mess to preventing the mess occurring. I'll let people with imagination and drive work out how to take proactive steps to curb the killing.

(1) Estimated from Social Compassion in Legislation, 2009 figures
(2) National Council on Pet Population, 2009

Thursday 15 December 2011

Cat Ear Mite Treatment

There is a natural cat ear mite treatment that I think you should try if you live in North America. It is not cheap but it is natural. Personally, I don't like using insecticides and chemicals on my cats because they are potentially dangerous. Ear mites make a cat depressed as they are extremely uncomfortable causing secondary infections.

Feline Ear Clear Drops for Cat Ear Mites - $32.95

Retail Price: $42.95
You Save: $10.00
from: Pet Wellbeing Inc.

Pet Wellbeing Inc. say that they use natural products, herbs of the highest quality. The product does not require a consultation with a vet before use as it is completely safe. It acts as a natural antibiotic and as a disinfectant. However, you will need to be sure that your cat has ear mites. That is an important point and a vet's input may be required.

The ears should be cleaned first. I would advise that you ask your vet about how to do that as you can get it badly wrong and make things worse. Don't push debris and dirt into the ear.

If you want the more conventional chemical treatments: Nolvamite, Mitaclear (both USA) are two examples. See also: cat ear mites.

Stridor in Cats

A stridor is a harsh high-pitched raspy sound that is produced by air passing through a narrowed larynx. It is also referred to as "croupy breathing".  If it happens suddenly it is probably caused by a foreign body in the cat's larynx or swollen throat. Foreign bodies in the larynx can be serious and also cause choking and gagging. Emergency veterinary treatment is required.

What is a tortoiseshell cat?

ANSWER: A cat with a coat that is made up of red (orange) and black patches. The cat is nearly always female because the genes for red and black fur are carried on the X chromosome. A tortoiseshell cat can be a random bred cat, a feral cat or a purebred cat. It describes a coat type not a ca breed. There are no breeds that are just have tortoiseshell coats. There are breeds that are just grey, however.

"Calico cat" is a USA term meaning a tortoiseshell and white cat. Calico cats are also female. The most popular coat type for the Japanese bobtail cat is a calico or a tri-color cat: orange, black and white.

Taxonomy of Domestic Cats

The domestic cat is classified as Felis silvestris catus by the authors of Wild Cats of the World, Mel and Fiona Sunquist. You might see different version of its taxonomic classification because taxonomy of the wildcats has been a bit fraught with argument and difficulty. In fact the current position is that there are five subspecies of wildcat and the domestic cat is not one of them. The five are the African wildcat, Southern African wildcat, European wildcat, Asiatic wildcat and Chinese desert cat. The domestic cat is a domesticated African wildcat (also called a Near Eastern wildcat). But it happened 9,500 years ago it is thought. The behavior and appearance of the domestic cat is now different to the wildcat although there are great similarities.

The full classification is:

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Carnivora
Family: Felidae
Genus: Felis
Species: Felis silvestris
Subspecies: Felis silvestris catus

Is the Canada lynx endangered?

No, the Canada lynx is not considered endangered. You may dispute this assessment by the IUCN Red ListTM. It is the experts who work on behalf of the Red List who make the classification. The Red List's purpose is to "determine the relative risk of extinction" of the world's species. They classify the Canada lynx as "Least Concern". This means it is considered to be "widespread and abundant". It is the lowest (softest) classification in terms of risk of extinction. Where do they get the population numbers from? Trappers? The Red List says that the population is stable. The assessment has not altered since 1996.

Is the bobcat a lynx?

Yes, the bobcat is part of the genus lynx. There are four cats that are part of this genus:
  1. Lynx lynx - Eurasian lynx
  2. Lynx canadensis - Canada lynx
  3. Lynx pardinus - Iberian lynx
  4. Lynx rufus - the bobcat
They all look like a lynx, which is helpful. It is the name that misleads as the three cats other than the bobcat have "lynx" in their name, whereas the bobcat does not.

The full classification for the bobcat is as follows: Kingdom: Animalia - Phylum: Chordata - Class: Mammalia - Order: Carnivora - Family: Felidae - Genus: Lynx - Species: L. rufus.

The group called "genus" is low in the taxonomic ranking. Classification of species is simply organising species in much the same way you organize files. The difference is that scientists use latin terminology, which is a throwback to the 1500s and before when scientists first classified the species.

Wednesday 14 December 2011

Do leopards live in the tropical rainforest?

ANSWER: Yes, but they live in many other sorts of habitat as well. The leopard has the widest geographic distribution of all the wildcats. As a consequence this species of wildcat will be adapted to living in different habitats. It prefers forest cover and is found in all forest types including woodlands, scrub jungles and plantations. It is also lives at 5,000 meters above sea level in mountainous and rocky terrain. The Amur leopard lives in freezing temperatures. The leopard is a generalist in terms of prey type and habitat selection. Tropical rainforest has high rainfall but the leopard can also live in areas of very low rainfall and drink once in ten days (Kalahari desert). Leopards are exceptional tree climbers.

Are leopards and panthers the same?

ANSWER: Yes. These days "panther" is a generic term that usually refers to "black panthers", melanistic large wildcats such as the leopard and jaguar. In the 1800s scientists had thought that there was a species of wildcat that they called the panther and which was different to the leopard. The difference was found to be due to the wide variation in the appearance of the leopard as it grows up. Young leopards look different to adult leopards. It was believed that panthers occupied Africa and leopards lived in India. They were the same cat in fact. The name of the leopard is based on an early belief that this wildcat species was a cross between the lion and the panther: leo + pard.

Can leopards be black?

Yes, leopards can be black. Many wild cat species can also be black or what is called "melanistic" - see melanism for an article on this. Melanistic leopards will have faint markings. They are not jet black. They can be referred to as "black panthers". Black leopards are rare in Africa but "not uncommon" in southern India. They are common in Java and Malaysia, where about 50% of the leopards are black.

In Africa there are black leopards in the Aberdare Mountains of Kenya (just north of Nairobi, Aberdare National Park). This is the place where you will also see many black servals. You will also see black leopards in the Ethiopian highlands the Congo, South Africa and the Ruwenzoris.

How far can leopards jump?

ANSWER: "Considerable distances" -  At least 6.6 meters or 22 and more feet. This is the distance a leopard jumped across a ravine, which was observed by the author P. Turnbull-Kemp in his book The Leopard (1967). However, it likely that there are many examples of greater distances. The leopard is the epitome of the grace and athleticism of the cat. It is a strong and powerful cat and a very skilled climber. It is by far the most skilled at tree climbing of the four big cats (tiger, lion, jaguar and leopard). Only the few best climbers can race down trees headfirst and the leopard is one of these cats. They are also good swimmers. The quote is from Wild Cats of the World ISBN-13: 978-0-226-77999-7.

Tuesday 13 December 2011

Do leopards eat zebras?

ANSWER: Yes, leopards eat zebras. They are capable of killing animals four or more times their own weight. Zebras weigh 225-420 kg. Leopards weigh up to about 70 kg. However, the leopard has a very wide range of prey and the zebra is not high up in its preferences or availability. Preferred prey is different species of gazelle and antelope including Thomson's gazelle and the impala.

What are the leopard's enemies?

ANSWER: the tiger, lion, human and dogs are probably the main enemies of the leopard. There is a strange relationship between the dog and the leopard. The leopard attacks, kills and eats the domestic dog. It is in danger itself to an attack by a pack of wild dogs, which are capable of killing the much larger tiger. The leopard is frightened of the tiger. Tigers kill leopards as do lions. The human poses the most danger to the leopard. Where the leopard lives near to human settlements it hunts at night to avoid them. Hyenas are also capable of killing leopards but the match is fairly even. All these animals will steal the leopard's prey. In many areas of the leopard's range it coexists with these species.

Monday 12 December 2011

How domesticated are cats?

ANSWER: Very domesticated but without socialization during the first seven weeks of life the domestic cat will walk away from the 9,000 years of domestication of the cat and behave in a way that is similar to the Northeastern wildcat (African wildcat) of today. However, the domestic cat cannot be as effective a hunter and survivor as the wildcat. There is too much distance between domestication and today (9,000 years approximately).

The point, though, is that the domestic cat is not far from a wildcat. They are well domesticated if properly socialized but it is skin deep. This is why we as cat caretakers we should respect the cat for what he or she is and not try and mold them into something that we want them to be. Declawing is an example of trying to modify the cat.

You can see the classic wildcat behavior in domestic cats in spraying (marking territory with urine sprayed horizontally) and defending territory when they go outside through a cat flap (door).

European Wildcat Facts

Uncertainties in taxonomy with respect to the wildcat makes it more difficult to provide solid European wildcat facts. By taxonomy I mean the scientific classification of the subspecies of the wildcat. The wildcat is a species of wild cat - it's a bit confusing.

At December 2011, the experts seem to have agreed, at least for the time being, that there are five subspecies of wildcat, one of which is the European wildcat (Felis silvestris silvestris). The other four are:
  1. Chinese desert (mountain) cat - Felis silvestris bieti
  2. Asiatic wildcat - Felis silvestris ornata
  3. African wildcat or Near Eastern wildcat - Felis silvestris lybica  
  4. Southern African wildcat - Felis silvestris cafra
The Scottish wildcat is not considered a subspecies despite what the Scottish Wildcat Association say (Felis silvestris grampia).


The overriding feature of the appearance of the European wildcat is that you could almost be looking at a domestic tabby cat. The size is similar although the wildcat is the size of a large domestic cat. The markings and coat texture are distinctly wild in appearance. By this I mean more natural as a form of camouflage. The background color is brown/grey and ticked hair strands. There are dark stripes on the torso, limbs and head. The tail is banded with a black tip. This cat has a the tabby "M" mark on the forehead. You can see that the distant ancestor of the current domestic cat is a wildcat (Near Eastern wildcat in fact).


There must be some overlap between the European and Asiatic wildcat I would have thought.  The range of the European subspecies is very wide extending beyond the political boundary of what is considered Europe. It is fragmented however and populations are diminishing. In some countries such as the Netherlands it has been extirpated.


The wide distribution means a wide variety of habitats depending on the area. The common denominator is cover for the cat to hide, rest, hunt and give birth. Woodlands, pine forests, rocks and undergrowth provide cover. This wildcat will inhabit montane forests in Eastern Europe.

European wildcat  - photo by Joachim S. Müller


Rodents primarily mice, rats and voles and also birds are the prey. Killing chicks has been a source of consternation for the game bird business resulting in gamekeepers killing the wild cat in parts of continental Europe.


Gestation (pregnancy) is 63-69 days. Litter size: 1-8 kittens. Kittens eat solids (mice) at 6 weeks and go out to the big wide world at 10-12 weeks of age. Two litters per year may be the case for some females.

Status in the Wild

This concerns and assessment of the European wildcat's position regarding survivability in the wild. This is a difficult task that the IUCN Red ListTM take charge of. Their experts say the cat is of Least Concern. Threats are persecution by people, habitat loss and prey loss.

Dividing the Internet Cake

There is a finite amount of knowledge-based information. News is infinite as it constantly expands. Social media is infinite as it is really about personal news. That must constantly change too as news is aligned to the passage of time which is infinite. Information, in fact, does expand by much more slowly than news.

Most sites are not news sites. These sites provide information. The number of sites providing information is expanding rapidly. All they do is repeat what another site said. The cake that is of a more or less fixed size is being divided into ever smaller portions. This translates to less visitors per site.

The larger sites stay above this dilemma because Google wants them to. It has to find some way to rationalize and simplify the mass of websites and webpages on the internet.

Rich cat inherits £8.5 million?

This cat is not rich because a cat has no rights under our laws to possess money or objects or to contract in any way. There is a story on the internet of a feral or stray Italian cat, Tommaso, rescued by a very nice old lady, Maria Assunta, who had bequeathed her entire estate of $8.5m on her death to this little cat. Maria has died and the newspapers have said that Tommaso has become very rich.

The person who has become rich is the executor of Maria's will or the person named as the guardian and keeper of Tommaso (the beneficiary) who happens to be the nurse who looked after Maria.

That is it. Children are in a similar position to cats and other domestic animals up to a certain age. Children cannot be bound by a contract. This is to protect the child and indeed the other party. Children can be bequeathed money etc but it would held by someone else until the child was of a certain age. In the meantime the person who holds the money has power over it and has to be trusted. Personally, I wouldn't!

A cat has no rights other than through a person or persons.

Sunday 11 December 2011

How fast should a web page load?

ANSWER: as fast as you can turn the pages of a book. This is an important question these days as Google has decided that the next thing that they are going to improve on the internet is page load time. Google can dictate to all the rest of us. They manage the internet. They feel duty bound to ensure that the internet improves and expands because it benefits Google, financially. They have to govern the internet because no one else is or can.

If they can improve the internet and make sure that it is used more they will make more money. There is still a lot to do to improve the internet. There is still a lot of people who don't use the internet. And there is still a lot of internet providers who provide a slow service.  I am guessing but Google is probably thinking of the important emerging markets: South America, India and China (when they stop censorship).

In order to ensure that pages load at a reasonable speed across the globe, Google has changed their algorithm to force people who are internet publishers to lighten their webpages so that they load fast.

To assist in this task they have a website that allows you to check the load speed of your webpage by their standards. These are their standards please note. They assess the page, provide a mark out of 100 and offer advice. Follow it.

Google have demonstrated their keen desire to improve the internet in terms of page load speed by rejigging Adsense load methods so that it does not delay page load. You will see this. The Adsense loads after the page.

CONCLUSION: Make sure that your pages load fast. Redo the images. Make them lighter. Is a GIF a better format? Do you need all those third party scripts etc. Is the page too long? They all slow load times. The modern idea is a process of dumbing down or less science and more practicalities. Don't make a page too good by making it too long. Think concise.

The $80,000 Rescue Cat!

Motzie is a very special cat. He may be the world's most special cat. This is because he is both the world's third largest domestic cat and a service cat. Oh...and he has a great character (essential for a service cat) and looks very impressive indeed. His high value is because he is so rare and special.

Photo copyright Helmi Flick
Motzie's full name is: A1Savannahs Matanah Me Al aka Motzie - flashy...

He has a right to have a flashy name because he is so impressive. Motizie is an F2 Savannah cat (second generation). The two cats that are second and first largest domestic cats are also Savannah cats but both are first filial (F1s). They are Magic and Trouble.

Motzie helps in children reading problems. Motzie has also helped veterans as a therapy animal. He probably does lots more. Jaguar cars have been involved with him as well (Jaguar Club Accepts "Motzie" as Jaguar Symbol). And he helps his human companion and caretaker who is Deborah-Ann Milette who is a vet as I recall. I think they still live in Oklahoma. Oklahoma is where Motzie was born at the renown Savannah cat breeders, A1 Savannahs.

Motzie on a Jaguar!

Saturday 10 December 2011

What cats are good with dogs?

Cats that are well socialized to dogs during the first 7 weeks of their lives are usually going to be good with dogs. In addition to that there may be some cat breeds that are better predisposed to being good with dogs. However, the most important factor will be socialization.

People like to speculate what breeds are best with dogs. In general it seems that these breeds are known to be even tempered types such as the Ragdoll, Persian, Manx, Cymric and American Shorthair. The American Shorthair is also said to be good with children.

The breeds that are less likely to be good with dogs are the more excitable cat breeds such as the cats associated with the Siamese such as the Oriental Shorthair, Javanese, Balinese and Burmese. The Abyssinian is also not suitable. But these are really a little speculative. People like lists and certainties but you won't get them.

In addition to certain cat breeds and good socialization, a third factor is the individual cat's personality. Within those breeds that are supposed to be unsuitable will be an ideal cat that loves dogs. We should also recognise the moggie. Many random bred cats will be good with dogs.

The best thing is to test individual cat to individual dog if that is possible.

Associated page: dog breeds that get along with cats.

Polydactyl Cats Problems

Polydactyl cats have no special problems as a result of having extra toes except that the claws on the extra toes might get less wear and as a result they may grow into the paw pad. A regular check and trim will resolve this minor problem. Polydactylism is caused by a genetic mutation. Sometimes genetic mutations that affect a part of the cat's anatomy can affect other parts of the body and cause health problems. That is not the case with polydactylism.

Associated pages:

What percentage of calico cats are male?

About 0.033% of calico cats are male. Their existence is theoretically impossible so there has to be a genetic anomaly for a male cat to be a calico cat. The male calico cat is described as "very rare". They are nearly always sterile. As they are very rare they are probably very valuable! If you have, for example, a purebred male calico Maine Coon, you probably have a cat worth several thousand dollars. That said, you would never consider selling him would you? Of course not because he is your best mate and he loves you. "Calico" is an American term meaning, tortoiseshell and white. In the UK cat fancy the word "calico" is not used as far as I am aware. I have a picture of a tortie Maine Coon but not a calico.

Thursday 8 December 2011

Chinese Desert Cat

This is a mobile version of a larger article on the Chinese desert cat, which is little known. Only recently was it classified as a subspecies of the wildcat (Driscoll et al 2007 based in genetic analysis).

It has the appearance of the cats of the species Felis silvestris. It looks like a wildcat, that is the species of cat called, "wildcat". They also look somewhat like domestic cats. They should because the domestic cat is a domesticated wildcat (African and Eurasian).

  • Chinese mountain cat
  • Chinese desert cat
  • Chinese steppe cat
  • Scientific name: Felis silvestris bieti or Felis silvestris ssp. bieti. These are the same, just different ways of presenting the name. A scientist named, Milne-Edwards, first classified this species of cat in 1892. He classified it Felis bieti.

Chinese desert cat - photograph copyright Jim Sanderson.

The Chinese desert cat looks similar to a very large domestic cat that is wild in appearance and which has a ticked yellow-gray coat and a thick, fluffy banded tail with a black tip.

It has lighter undersides and brown stripes on the cheeks. The chin is white. The skull is broad.


This map gives an indication as to its distribution. It is a little imprecise because, as I said, little is known about this cat. The map is based on the IUCN Red List™ map.

It inhabits China (including Tibetan Plateau) and Mongolia. China includes Tibet. China has sovereignty over Tibet.


This cat's name is misleading as it lives in rocky terrain and not desert as we know it. But the habitat includes semi-desert and alpine meadows and montane forest. I have a picture: of the Tibetan Plateau:

Tibetan Plateau - Photograph copyright reurinkjan


Primary prey is the rock rabbit (pika). It also feeds on rodents generally, lizards and birds. Rodents make up 90% of prey.

Pika - Photograph copyright reurinkjan


Mating happens from January to March.  Births are usually in May. Burrows are used as birth dens. Litters: 2-4 offspring.


Listed as Vulnerable by IUCN Red List™ due to loss of prey the pika which is poisoned by locals. The Chinese desert cat is rare and populations are declining. It is also hunted for its skin.

See larger article.

Why we forgive our pets anything

We do, we forgive our cats and dogs no matter what they may have done, even if what they have done would annoy us if a person did it. Don't get me wrong, my cat does almost nothing that annoys me. It is nearly all positive benefit for me.  I think he appreciates me as well!

I think that gives us a hint as to how to approach keeping a cat or dog. Mind set. If we have the right attitude at the beginning, before we adopt a cat then we will not see damage to possessions as a problem. If we adopt a cat as an accessory to the other possessions in our home problems will occur. People who start off with that attitude are subconsciously treating the cat as another possession and an inanimate possession in their control that can be turned on and off. Fortunately cats are not that.

Not everyone forgives their pet for causing damage. These people should not have pets. And by the way I don't really like the word "pet" as it implies an unequal relationship, when it should be equal.

All people who keep pets and who forgive their pet anything are the right people to look after animals. That is a kind of a test. People who get annoyed and then punish their cat or dog are simply doing the wrong thing. Sorry if that sounds like tough talk.  There is no point adopting a cat for the cat's characteristics and qualities if you don't like some of those characteristics.

We forgive our pets anything because they are innocent and they behave naturally. How can you blame a cat if in behaving naturally the cat does some minor damage?

You have to decide what is more important: a living creature that provides companionship and pleasure or a piece of furniture that will wear out anyway and which has little or no value on the second hand market.

I can remember my little Missie when she was a kitten. She has passed on now. We adopted her and her brother. I had just bought some new leather sofas! Guess what. They chased each other all over the house and left their claw marks in the leather! This was not scratching just the mark of the claws as they gripped the leather.

Charlie who lives with me now has scratched a very expensive chair. It's OK. I look at it and tell myself that leather furniture looks better when it has been used a bit....

Wednesday 7 December 2011

Men are animal abusers and women are hoarders

Men are far more likely to abuse animals than women.  Cat hoarders are usually women. Here are some percentages from the website.

The figures show the percentage of perpetrators of the specified crime who are men:
  • Shooting an animal: 92% of perpetrators are men.
  • Mutilation and/or torture: 88%
  • Burning and/or fireworks: 89%
  • Beating the animal: 95%
  • Poisoning: 100%
  • Drowning: 87%
  • Bestiality: 85%
These are extraordinarily high percentages.

Of all the recorded animal cruelty cases (720) a breakdown by the gender of the person who perpetrated the crime is as follows:
  • Only male perpetrator: 66%
  • Male and female perpetrators: 12%
  • Only female perpetrator: 22%
So why are men far more likely to commit animal abuse crimes than women? Answers in comments please! I am not sure of the reason. One obvious possibility is that men are more naturally aggressive than women. So if a man is depressed and agitated he is more likely to hit something than a woman. That may be too simplistic. It would seem that men are more likely to hate cats. I don't have figures but I suspect that something in the order of 90% of cat haters are men. Another element may be that men are more likely to be arrogant and feel superior to animals. They have less empathy for animals in general perhaps.

Associated page: Looking into the mind of a cat killer

Looking into the mind of a cat killer

Nasty cat killer, Joseph Carlo Candare, a physics undergraduate in the Philippines, admits that he killed a cat in his blog (a public website). What he says gives us a little bit of an insight into the mind of a cat killer. This is a cruel sociopathic type person. I am not saying that he is a sociopath but he clearly has a problem with empathising with the pain and discomfort of others. He is dangerously antisocial. I don't think that it matters if the other party is a person or a cat. Below is a photo image of part of his blog. The language is a mixture of English and his native language.

Cat Killer

He says in an interview with the police (I presume) that "it feels good when you are beating it" but when the cat dies he says that he feels something strange. He does not use the word "die". He says "when it turns off permanently".

Perhaps that last comment gives us an insight. He speaks of a domestic cat as if it is a machine that is turned on and off. An inanimate object.  He totally lacks any connection to the fact the he is killing a living and feeling creature. He also lacks any sense of what he is doing is criminal and morally wrong as he published a record of the killing on the internet. He is dangerous it seems to me and should be treated. The judge did not make any order regarding the mental health of this person.

This monstrous person was successfully convicted of animal cruelty. It was the first conviction for animal cruelty in the Philippines. If that is true it is extraordinary. It tells us that there is not a lot of enforcement of the animal welfare laws in the Philippines.

Joseph Carlo Candare intends to start killing cats again after he has completed his sentence (community service and a fine). He indicates that he kills cats regularly because it feels good and he hates cats. As this crime happened in May 2011, he has probably killed several cats by now (Dec 2011) and got away with it.

Tuesday 6 December 2011

If you hate declawing you must hate neutering

It has been said that cat lovers who fight against declawing are hypocritical because they agree with and accept the neutering and spaying of cats. I disagree that we are hypocritical.

There is a great difference between the operations at a fundamental level and the difference concerns us.

There is no benefit whatsoever to the cat when the last digit of his toes are amputated. In fact there is great loss and pain. It is damaging a cat and it is for the convenience of the person.

In contrast, the neutering and spaying of cats is essentially for the benefit of cats in general as it prevents unwanted cats being born and possibly being abandoned to lead short miserable lives or be killed at cat shelters.

There are benefits to "cat owners" too. The male cat is less aggressive because he is less territorial and he will spray less or it is less likely that he will spray. Also there are less unwanted cats and therefore less of a burden on dealing with unwanted cats. But the primary purpose is to prevent unwanted cats being brought into the world and that benefits cats.

Sitesell Review

SiteSell host my site. I am getting a bit worried about SiteSell. The engineering seems to be fragile. Today 6th December 2011 around midday, my site is down, is down, log-in is down, my subdomains except this one is down and all the other sites that are hosted by SiteSell are down too. Sounds horrible and scary. I don't know what is going on. I don't recall being notified but may have missed an email or something.

But even if they are doing work on the servers that serve the websites that they host, their website, should run, surely? And we should have access to something.

I may have this completely wrong but it has been 30 mins or more now that the sites have been down and by down I mean nothing loads, no website, zilch.

Update: 40 mins down and my site is back. Were we warned?  If, yes, I missed it. If, no, we should have been because it is unnerving.

Update: 2:08 pm we are down again for a very short time. No site. Have to stop work. also down.

How to improve

In my humble opinion - no criticism intended - SiteSell should either increase their yearly subscription that has remained the same for a long time or reduce some of their facilities to simplify. Either way more focus needs to be placed on technology; making it more modern, more reliable and faster. There needs to be investment in technology and engineering. The internet has evolved. A lot or people access the internet on mobiles. These people need speed, readability and navigation that suits small devices. SiteSell is behind the curve in regards to providing for these people. I asked about this 2 years ago.

Also some of the services provided by SiteSell are gradually becoming less important, almost redundant. One of these is at the core of SiteSell - SEO - search engine optimization. Google does not rely on well SEOed sites anymore. It is using other criteria to rank sites high in search results such as page load time and whether the site is a "brand" or not. This seems unfair but we have to follow Google. They are in charge of the internet with social media such as FB.

Wild Cats of Canada

A list of wild cats of Canada and links to more information. The distribution of three of the world's wild cat species include the country of Canada:
  1. Puma
  2. Canada lynx
  3. Bobcat
You would have thought that there might have been more. Of these three the puma is probably the most interesting in that this wild cat is also found in South America an entirely different and contrasting environment. The puma has the widest geographic range of any terrestrial mammal in the Western Hemisphere1. The puma is highly adaptable. The puma has many names, causing a bit of confusion. "Cougar" is perhaps the most common or mountain lion". "Puma" is arguably more accurate as it is part of its full scientific name: Puma concolor. Both "cougar" and "puma" have been adopted by people; "cougar" refers to a predatory older female human! And if you Google search for "puma", at the top of the results is the well known sports manufacturer.

The Canada lynx is about one half the size of its European counterpart, the Eurasian lynx. This is because the Canada lynx has specialised in feeding on the snowshoe, small sized prey. The Canada lynx weighs about 8-11 kgs.

The bobcat is mainly distributed throughout the United States but its range creeps north into Canada. The bobcat is a medium sized wildcat with desirable fur that feeds on hares, rabbit and deer or beaver depending on availability of prey.

See and read more by starting on this page: wild cat species.

Wild Cats of the World (ISBN-13: 978-0-226-77999-7) - page 254.

Small Wild Cats of South America

A list of small wild cats of South America. What is small? I have decided that "small" for wildcats means any size up to and including the size of an average domestic cat. On that basis 70% of the wild cat species of South America are included. There are as follows in increasing order of size (the largest of the small wildcats is at the bottom of this list):
  1. Oncilla - 1.5 - 2.8 kg
  2. Kodkod - 1.5 - 2.8 kg
  3. Pampas cat - 1.7 - 3.7 kg
  4. Margay - 3 - 4 kg
  5. Andean Mountain cat - 4 - 5 kg
  6. Geoffroy's cat - 2.6 - 6.5 kg
  7. Jaguarundi - 3.5 - 7 kg
I have excluded: ocelot, puma and jaguar. You will find different weights for these cats on the internet. This is probably because information develops as we are still studying these cats. See also wild cat species by size.

You can see pictures and detailed text about these cats starting on this page: wild cat species.

Or see a page on the wild cat species of South America, which includes thumbnail range maps.

Source: Wild Cats of the World (ISBN-13: 978-0-226-77999-7) - this is the best book on the wild cats.

Monday 5 December 2011

How to stop my cat from biting me?

Here is how to stop your cat from biting you. The first thing to do is to decide whether your cat is biting you in play or in anger. If you like to play with your cat and if play gets a bit rough (in a nice way), your cat might nibble your hand as part of play. The force used by your cat will be about 25-50% of maximum. It still may cause you discomfort and it may break the skin of your hand, but the cat is playing. The way to stop this is to stop playing rough. Play more gently and stop when your cat becomes a little agitated. Cats can go from play to genuine hunt mode if wound up enough. For the cat, play is a substitute for hunting.

Cat Bite - photo by vainglory

The more difficult "problem" to deal with is if your cat bites you aggressively for no apparent reason. In a normal household with decent cat caretakers and well socialized cat(s) this will not happen. For a cat to bite his or her "owner" the cat has to be nervous and defensive and/or in pain or discomfort. Something will be wrong from the cat's point of view.

Assuming that the cat is:
  • not ill and
  • not in discomfort and 
  • not being mishandled by his human caretaker and
  • is well socialized, is likely that he is insecure for some reason. There are likely to be environmental reasons. We create the environment. Cats like calm, quiet, routine and a reassuring home. These areas should be checked out. We should ask if we have created the correct environment. Check for illness with your vet as a precaution.

There are other reasons why a cat might be aggressive but these will probably be one-off incidences. If a person is asking, "how to stop my cat from biting me" it implies that it is happening all the time.

Ninety percent (90%) of the time, the reason why a cat is biting his owner will be because of something the owner has done and/or created provided the cat has been socialized to animals and humans during the first 7 weeks of his life.

You might ask yourself if your cat is socialized to domestic life. Breeders will ensure that the cats they breed are socialized. They are allowed to run around the house and interact with other animals, visitors and the breeder's family. Without that the cat will behave like a feral or semi-feral cat and be defensive towards people causing him to bite when approached.

How To Pick Up A Cat

Here are some rules on picking up a cat from both a common sense and medical standpoint. Firstly, we should ask whether we are picking up our cat because we want to or because we need to. In general cats who know us don't mind being picked up and many will like it once they are settled in your arms or on your shoulder although cats tend to have a time limit on how long they like to be held. The time limit can be quite short. We should be sensitive to the time limit.

It is probably fair to say that we should not pick up our cat to please ourselves too much or for too long. We should not automatically presume that cats like to be picked up and held by us. Cats don't naturally have that desire in my opinion. It is more natural for people to pick things up and hold them or cuddle them. Often, therefore, the motivation to pick up a cat comes from us and on that basis we should make sure our cat likes it or tolerates it well.

We should be able to read a cat's demeanour to assess whether he or she is in the mood to be picked up. This leads to the question whether your cat has a character that is predisposed to being picked up. Some cats like it, some don't and some are in the middle. You have to figure out where your cat is in that range. Note: feral and/or stray cats should not be grabbed and picked up. The cat does not know you and will be defensive. You are likely to get scratched and then some people will probably blame the cat. It would be wrong to blame the cat. We must remember that we are many times larger than a domestic cat. We can be intimidating just by our presence, which can prompt defensive behavior in the cat.

When picking up your cat, the underlying principle is to make sure that he or she is well supported when you do it. That is obvious but children or inexperienced cat caretakers tend to grab a cat in both hands at the shoulders and lift. This leaves the rest of the body hanging down. That puts strain on the cat's body and in fact makes it harder for the person to hold on to the cat anyway. The best way is to place one hand under the cat's chest and the other under the cats body near to the hind legs and lift. Then the cat can be placed on your shoulder or in a more vertical position near your body. However, cats like to remain in a natural, upright position. We should cooperate in that desire. Sometimes people cradle a cat like a baby, with the cat's belly pointing upwards. This is incorrect. It is the person thinking that a cat is a baby. A cat will not like this position and may wriggle and become defensive. Some cats may accept it but nonetheless it is not sensible to do it.

Always comply with the cat's preferences and desires. Don't force your cat to do things to please yourself. It won't work and will make your cat stressed and distant from you emotionally.

If you have to pick up a cat and the cat is apprehensive you can pick him up by the scruff of the neck provided the rest of the body is supported and the cat is not overweight. The cat will go into kitten-mode and relax as if being carried by his mother. It should be done with care. Although this may not happen for older cats.

If you are picking up your cat to give medicine such as a pill (I advise using a pill-gun) I have found that a good technique is to use a towel. Cats don't like being given pills. They might try and force your hands away and might scratch you inadvertently. I place the folded towel on a flat surface at counter height and lift my cat to the towel. Gently push him onto his belly and then wrap the towel around him ensuring that the forelegs are inside the towel. It takes a bit of practice and some cats will be very resistant. But once achieved it is much easier to deliver the pill as you have control.

An alternative to the towel is a special cat bag which zips up around the cat leaving the head outside. I have not used these and cats will in general dislike them, I suspect.

If delivering a pill, it can be useful to have an assistant as she can help to reassure the cat and keep him still while you administer the pill. 

Never wrestle with your cat when picking him up for whatever reason. You'll lose that battle and make things worse for the next time. Cats will remember bad experiences and become defensive. It is better to tease and trick a cat into doing something. We should be smarter than them. Although sometimes I doubt that.

Finally, the completion of the process should be gentle! Your cat should be placed on the ground carefully and on all fours.

Friday 2 December 2011

Bengal Tiger Habitat

The Bengal tiger habitat varies with the area. In North India and Nepal, the habitat is tall grasslands, riverine forests and dry thorn forest.  In West Bengal and Bangladesh the Bengal tiger lives in mangrove swamps. In Bhutan it lives in forests. Over 60% of Bhutan is covered with forests. The amount is declining.

For the record, "habitat" means the area and environment where the tiger lives.

At 2011, the Bengal tiger is found in these countries:
  1. India, 
  2. Nepal, 
  3. Bhutan, 
  4. Bangladesh.
In Bhutan it lives on the slopes of the Himalayan Mountains and not in reserves. While in India and Bangladesh it lives in reserves. There are 38 reserves, 32 of which are maped out below. If you click on the flags you may see a photograph of Bengal tiger habitat.

View Bengal Tiger Reserves India in a larger map

See a page on the Bengal tiger reserves of India.

In order to show the Bengal tiger habitat I have selected two reserves and Bhutan. Bhutan is different because the Bengal tiger has retired there to a safe haven at high altitude and the environment there is somewhat different to that of the reserves. One reserve that is also not typical is the Sunderbans (also spelled "Sudarbans). This is an area of sea water mangrove swamps to which the tiger has become adapted.

Sunderbans National Park and Tiger Reserve

As mentioned this park is made up of mangrove swamps. Here are two pictures of a Bengal tiger in the Sunderbans Tiger Reserve swimming across a river or esturary. The pictures are by Nikhil Devasar and courtesy the Sunderbans National Park website.

Bengal in its habitat in Sunderbans National Park - Photo: Nikhil Devasar

Bengal in its habitat in Sunderbans National Park - Photo: Nikhil Devasar


Area in world:

In Bhutan, the Bengal tiger has been photographed at 4,000 feet above sea level. This is the highest at which this subpecies of tiger has been found. What is the habitat like in the area? These pictures show us:

Bhutan Forest - picture: RAO Online
Tiger in Bhutan - still from BBC video.

See also: Tigers of Bhutan for a critique.

Ranthambore National Park

This is one of the major tiger reserves of India and relatively close to the capital, Delhi. This is what the Bengal tiger habitat looks like in the park:

Ranthambore National Park and tiger reserve - Photo by d.e.v.e.s.h

Ranthambore National Park and tiger reserve - Photo by d.e.v.e.s.h

Ranthambore is 1,334 sq km in size. The habitat is described as "dry thorn forests". You can also see grasslands at Ranthambore.

Habitat Selection

Bengal tiger habitat is selected by the tiger on the basis of suitable prey available and its density in any particular place. The tiger needs large prey to survive. Certain habitats support certain prey and in the tiger food chain the tiger prey is both herbivores and carnivores although large herbivores are primary prey. The tiger will eat anything but its main diet is wild pigs and deer of various kinds.

See also Bengal Tiger Habitat, an earlier page.

How To Check a Cat's Eyes

Some tips on checking a cat's eyes from the best book on cat health. There is a post about dilated pupils that was created a long time ago and it seems that the vets that the cat owners visited were unsure what was causing it. Cats do compensate well for a loss of one of the senses, which masks the presence of the medical condition.

Cat eye problems can be seen when the eye waters, there is something in the eye, the cat blinks a lot, the cat paws at the eye, the nictitating membrane (third eyelid) is visible, the pupils are constantly dilated (my observation), or the cat indicates by his or her actions that the eye is painful.

Examine the cat's eyes in a darkened room. Use a flashlight (torch) and a magnifying glass, which allows you to examine the surface of the eye in more detail and possibly even inside the eye.

The cat needs to be immobile. I find this is best done by wrapping a thick towel around your cat and placing him on a counter top - all done with care and gentleness. But some cats will be cooperative without the need to do that.

Some immediate questions to ask on observing the eyes:
  • Do both eyes look the same? Comparing one with the other is a way of comparing an eye that has a problem with a normal eye if the problem is in one eye. Are they the same size, shape and colour?
  • Do the eyes bulge or are they recessed?
  • Are the eyes cloudy?
  • Is there a discharge?
Flash the light over the cornea (the outer surface of the eye) to check that it is clear. Check for signs of injury. The pupils of both eyes should be the same size. Pupils should narrow down to slits when the torch is pointed towards the eye (with caution). A test to check the cat's vision is to cover one eye and move your finger towards the other eye, whereupon the eye will blink when the finger is close to the eye.

Also with caution and gentleness you can push down on the eyeball with the eyelid closed. Does it feel hard? Does the cat indicate pain?1. A vet should be consulted promptly on signs of any indications of illness.

Note: (1) Cat Owner's Home Veterinary Handbook ISBN 978-0-470-09530-0

Wednesday 30 November 2011

American Shorthair Personality Traits

Easy-going, quiet and good with children; just three of the personality traits of the American Shorthair cat. Provided they are well socialized, they are very accepting of other animals. The American Shorthair ("American SH") tends to be independent minded2. This cat breed stems from British moggies let's remember, so there will probably be a legacy from that heritage and some similarities to the British Shorthair. Indeed Linda Case lists both breeds under the same heading as well as the European Shorthair1. In general, what is right for the British Shorthair is right for the American. See British Shorthair personality.

Gloria Stephens, incidentally, bundles the America SH with the American Wirehair. Both stem from random bred cats. The American SH is low maintenance. That is not a comment on personality but useful information nonetheless. They are undemanding and therefore suitable for full-time (apartment) living. However,  try not to comply with that suggestion as all cats like to smell the grass!

This is a quiet and sweet-natured cat and therefore suitable for older adults too4.

The easy-going description at the beginning of this article comes from Dr. Fogle's book3.

Here is a classy little American SH being photographed by Helmi. He has the classic blotched tabby coat and silver background.


(1) The Cat, Its Behavior, Nutrition & Health ISBN 978-0-8138-0331-9

(2) Medical, Genetic & Behavioral Aspects of Purebred Cats ISBN 0-9634124-0-X

(3) The Encyclopedia of the Cat ISBN 978-1-4053-2149-5

(4) Legacy of the Cat 2nd Ed. ISBN 0-8118-2910-3

British Shorthair Personality

Independent, relaxed and affectionate, these are some of the personality characteristics of the British Shorthair cat. They are also curious and without wishing to be sexist in anyway, it is said that male is particularly friendly towards their human companion. Can anyone confirm that? The British Shorthair is quiet (I can confirm that!). They have silent voices. They are also "unflappable" and have no-nonsense personalities. These characteristics make this breed suitable for life in a flat (apartment)4.

Classic Blue Brit SH - beautiful cat - Photo by jans canon
This breed has wide range of colors and types

Dr. Clark says that this cat breed is like "its British heritage". He says that the British Shorthair is reserved and quiescent. They sleep a lot and don't require a lot of attention. They are probably ideal for senior people who wish to care for a cat. They are considered to have good temperaments2.

They are also considered to be independent yet affectionate1. In practice this means that they can be left alone to do their own thing but will need some attention.

Dr. Fogle implies that they are happy, nice and friendly. They have a relaxed nature3.

These are all attractive characteristics which is why the British Shorthair is very popular cat. It is as popular as the American Shorthair its counterpart.

One last point of note is that this cat breed has a plush, dense coat. It is a delight to stroke but the ambient temperature at home should take that into account. Sometimes cats look for a bit of cool air. They don't all like to lie in the sun or over a radiator.


(1) The Cat, Its Behavior, Nutrition & Health ISBN 978-0-8138-0331-9

(2) Medical, Genetic & Behavioral Aspects of Purebred Cats ISBN 0-9634124-0-X

(3) The Encyclopedia of the Cat ISBN 978-1-4053-2149-5

(4) Legacy of the Cat 2nd Ed. ISBN 0-8118-2910-3

Tuesday 29 November 2011

Cat Ringworm

Horror picture of ringworm on a person's neck! Chris very kindly agreed to let me publish his photograph here. Chis (or Ian) adopted a "pound kitten". For people not in the United States this means a unwanted kitten picked up by animal control and placed in a pound where he or she might be euthanized or adopted. Do I have that correct, Chris? He had to quarantine his kitten (in a spare room) and administer oral anti-fungal medication and anti-fungal shampoo and he did the same to himself! Anyway, it was a bit of a heavy scene. Chris recommends that you assume that a pound (or shelter?) kitten has cat ringworm and that you shampoo him or her with anti-fungal shampoo as a precaution. He must have been cuddling his kitten against his neck.

Note: Cat Ringworm transmission to people is unusual as far as I am aware. Please don't let this put you off rescuing.

Ringworm - you wanted to know how it looks!
Photo copright ianfinnesey (please ask him if you wish to use it)

Go to the Flickr page to see the photo on Flickr if you wish. It looks horrible but in my experience all you get is a bit of itching.

As is clear, cat ringworm can be transferred from cat to people (zoonotic) and from cat to cat and from people to cats. It is in fur and in the soil and on carpets and furniture etc. As you probably have guessed or know it is not caused by a worm but by a fungus.

You have probably also guessed that you cannot always tell if your cat has ringworm. Well I can't and I have got it from a stray cat who I called Timmy. There was no sign of it on him but he used to rub my legs when he came to see me and transferred it to my left leg. Apparently, if you do see it on cats it is in form of patches on the face and ears (ear flap). Cats can be carriers and have no symptoms. Cat ringworm can "invade the claws" causing deformities of the claws.

Cat ringworm on nose (I believe). Photo by Rocky Mountain Feline Rescue

Ringworm "invades the hair and hair follicles"(1).  Most cases are caused by a fungus called Microsporum canis. The name ringworm comes from the shape of the red scaly shape the infection causes on the skin.

Cat Ringworm Treatments and Medication

This section refers to treating cats! Medications are American. Clip away infected hair around the ringworm (if visible). Clean the skin with Betadine solution. Antifungal creams can be applied. These should contain: miconazole, chlorhexidine, clotrimazole or thiabendazole. Examples are: Conofite and Nolvasan (USA). Apply once per day. Continue for 6 weeks.

If the cat has generalised ringworm: this requires the hair to be clipped and the cat dipped in an anti-fungal solution such as LymDyp (USA product) twice per week until cured + 2 more weeks. Plus an oral anti-fungal medicine should be administered. Caution: these drugs can cause side effects - SEEK VETERINARY ADVICE. Apparently itraconazole causes fewer side effects.

A vaccine is available. Ask your vet.


Ringworm spores can survive for a year. The premises needs to be treated. Cat bedding should be discarded. Grooming equipment should be sterilised (bleach + water). House should be cleaned carefully. Carpets should be vacuumed regularly. Hard surfaces should be sterilised. Handle infected cats with rubber gloves.

Note: (1) Cat Owner's Home Veterinary Handbook page 157.

Kill feral cats to control population

Kill feral cats to control the population. This is advocated by many people. An equal number of people advocate the opposite. They advocate trap, neuter and return (TNR). The first group say that TNR does not work. The second group says that killing doesn't work. We have a feral cat problem that is a human problem because we don't have a clear method of humanely dealing with feral cats in the USA. I mention the USA because there would seem to be more in the USA than in the UK and mainland Europe. As for the Mediterranean countries such as Greece, they don't discuss the matter; they just kill them out of season.

TNR is the only way forward. Killing cats is cruel and it indirectly promotes irresponsible cat caretaking.

For me, TNR does not work if it is not done in a coordinated manner. If it is done in isolation people just dump cats in the TNR area in the knowledge that the TNR people will deal with them. That is one example of how it can't work effectively in the long term. If TNR was done on a large scale in coordination with better and more responsible cat caretaking it would work.

Killing feral cats by trapping them and gassing them is inhumane and cannot work because the area from which the cats are removed will be replenished by more feral cats.

Killing feral cats is instant success and pleasure for some people. It looks like something is being done and quickly. Politically, it is a good policy, for a while. That is probably why it happens.

The more sensible, non-politically minded and experienced people who carry out TNR know better but probably don't have the resources to make it work on a large scale.

Cat Anatomy Quiz

A challenging cat anatomy quiz! Well actually some questions are challenging and some are just baffling! But, that said, some are easy. They are all about a cat's anatomy. The cat has an amazing anatomy which, in fact, is quite similar in many ways to ours. The most amazing bits of cat anatomy are concerned with the cat's senses. This is an animal with acute senses and a flexible skeleton supported by quick acting muscles (there's a clue there to one of the questions...). A cat's anatomy is designed for predation. Is this the world's best predator? Answers?...See mine here.

See the results from visitors including yours if you did the quiz.

Monday 28 November 2011

Picture Of Cat Hanging

This is a picture of a cat hanging. It is from Croatia and I am in two minds as to whether I should show it here. People, though, search for "picture of cat hanging". I not sure if they want to see what the search indicates but this picture came to my mind. I built a page on cat welfare laws in Croatia a long time ago.

There appears to be two conflicting situations in Croatia. There is animal welfare/protection legislation while at the same time there appears to be cat cruelty. Clearly the law is window dressing.

Cat hanging in Croatia
Photographer unknown

There are a lot of questions surrounding this picture. Why hang a cat by the side of the road in full view of drivers? It must be a message. But what message? The area looks deserted.

Croatia is on track to join the European Union. And it should not be allowed to because it is not ready and there are too many Eastern European countries that have joined that should not have. The problem is that the eurocrats want to extend the union (and their power base) and they overextend the system in accepting unacceptable candidates. Greece is a classic example. They cooked their financial books to get in and look at the mess that that has caused to the eurozone.

Associated page: Cat Hanging in Rhode Island.

Pixie-bob Pictures

Two fine Pixie-bob pictures by the great, the famous Helmi Flick. Helmi has been a specialist cat photographer for many years and her photographs have a special Helmi character: beautiful positioning of the cat due to excellent cat wrangling, great lighting and not forgetting beautiful high quality show cats.

ColoradoPixies G Jonson.
A 7 month old male brown spotted tabby Pixie-bob
Photograph: copyright Helmi Flick

The above cat was bred by Marilyn Trenk of ColoradoPixies Cattery. He looks a bit like a bobcat, which is good because that is the objective! He has a nice stocky, wild appearance. Pixie-bobs are all domestic by the way. There is no wild blood in this cat breed. Marilyn says they are low shedding so if you don't like hair that much, the Pixie-bob might be the cat breed for you. I fancy adopting one myself to be honest.

The photos on this page are protected by copyright ©. Violations of copyright are reported to (DMCA). Sorry but Helmi makes her living from photography. Please ask Helmi for permission.

ColoradoPixies G Jonson
Photo copyright Helmi Flick

Here he is again. Gloria Stephens who wrote the excellent, Legacy of the Cat (ISBN 0-8118-2910-3) says the Pixie-bob (also spelt "Pixiebob") has a muted spotted tabby coat.  Helmi says that there is ticking between the spots. Ticking is where each hair is tipped with darker colour (Robinson's Genetics). The classic ticked coat is on the Abyssinian cat.

You can read more about this cat: Pixie-bob cat.

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