Tuesday 31 May 2011

Cat Body Type Genetic Mutations

People search for "cat body type genetic mutations". So I feel that I should provide a response to what is an enquiry by internet surfers.

The thing is though, that there are no genetic mutations in the cat world, wild or domestic or in between (feral) which cause a change in the body type of the cat. By body type I am referring to the cat fancy's idea of what body type means - for example, cobby or foreign etc. See this page: Cat Body Types for a full description.

Sure, genetic mutations alter aspects of the cats body on very rare occasions (one in a million perhaps) but not the entire body type. By this I mean the overall shape and size of the cat's body.

Examples of where a genetic mutation has changed an element of the cat's body are:
As you can see the overall body type is not affected.

These genetic mutations have resulted in the creation of new breeds of cat. Variations in cat body type originate in natural evolution, individual cat differences, the sex of the cat and importantly selective breeding by cat breeders.

A classic case of selective breeding that controls cat body type is the teacup cats. These are very small. Breeders breed small cat to small cat and create smaller and smaller cats and fix that trait.

Michael Avatar

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Monday 30 May 2011

Bad Cat Behavior

There is far too much written on the Internet about bad cat behavior. For me nearly all of it is wrong. If we really think about it, almost all domestic cat behavior that impinges on our lifestyle is due to us. So if a cat behaves badly in our eyes, it is either a misconception by us or an improper expectation or bad breeding (lack of socialisation) etc. I could go on. Often so called bad cat behaviour is simply behavior that we don't like or which does not meet our expectations even if our expectations are misplaced.

The focus of bad cat behavior should be directed towards us. What are we doing that might create this behavior in our cat?

We should be able to trace it back to us one way or another. Even things such as a cat spraying as a territorial marker can be traced to us.

If a cat is spraying it is probably not neutered. That is our fault. Secondly if a cat is neutered or spayed and still spraying urine as a marker then something in his or her environment is causing this cat to be stressed. And we create the environment.

If there is no cause for stress and the cat is neutered then it is natural behavior for that cat under those conditions (created by us). If we can't accept that we can't accept natural behavior in that cat. That is our problem. Natural cat behavior is not bad cat behavior. It can't be can it?

I summarize these thoughts in this sort Flickr video:

A lot of people won't agree or won't understand what I am trying to say. That is fine. I am just making my point. I feel strongly that we as people need to behave more responsibly towards our domestic cats and that includes me. We tend to do what we are allowed to do and as cats don't have a say in the matter we can do as we please in relation to our cat.

Millions of people act responsibly towards their cat but too many don't. That is why millions of cats are killed each year and why we have places such a shelters, where incidentally most cats are not sheltered but killed - not euthanized. Sorry but we have to face reality if we are to fix the problems - human behavior problems not cat behavior problems.

Please also see this page on the same subject.

Michael Avatar

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Sunday 29 May 2011

Cat Inappropriate Elimination - Whose Problem?

We cause cat inappropriate elimination. Therefore, it is our problem. It is not a "cat behavior problem" but a human-to-cat relationship problem. In the wild,  the small wildcat will defecate and urinate in certain areas on the ground, on the earth. Sometimes these areas are used as markers to tell other cats of their presence - the feces remain uncovered. Cat spraying is not inappropriate elimination as the purpose of cat spraying is to give signals to other animals of the presence of the cat. The purpose is not to eliminate the urine.

The domestic cat is required by us to defecate and urinate on cat litter in a tray inside a house or some other human structure. From the cat's perspective the litter will usually be a nice place to go to the toilet because litter replicates earth. In the old days, before litter was invented, sand was used. This is why cats don't usually need training to use cat litter.

However, from the cat's perspective litter might not be a nice place to go to the toilet. The cat might prefer somewhere else. If the cat is a full-time indoor cat the only other place is somewhere that is inappropriate for us not the cat. We have the problem. From our perspective this is our problem. From the cat's perspective this is not a problem except that he or she can't find a decent alternative to litter inside a house.

If the cat is an indoor/outdoor cat he or she would almost certainly go outside and use the earth outside as an alternative to cat litter. Earth is actually better than litter as it is softer and exactly the kind of substance a cat would use in the wild.

So when a cat does not wish to use the litter box the problem is ours as we created it in the first place. The cat is simply acting naturally and reacting to the circumstances that exist before him or her.

This argument applies even if the cat is not using the litter due to anxiety, for example. The reason is unimportant. One well known reason for a cat's avoidance of litter is because it is uncomfortable to a declawed cat. This is a double human problem, one compounding the other.

The reason why I am writing this is because I sense that throughout all the many thousands of articles on inappropriate elimination on the internet and in books, the problem is perceived as belonging with the cat. The cat is seen to be at fault. He or she needs to be punished etc. for this "bad behavior".

Wrong, obviously.  Sometimes, there is a terribly arrogant approach to cat caretaking and so called "experts" are often the most guilty. The cat behaviorists - a trendy new occupation - are in fact "human behaviorists" as all their work concerns changing the behavior and habits of people!

Think on...

Related articles:

Avoiding cat behavior problems

Stopping inappropriate elimination

Michael Avatar

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Saturday 28 May 2011


Photo by WindRanch (Flickr)
How do you spell Pixie-bob? You know, we just don't know for sure. The best source must be the "OFFICIAL PIXIEBOB WEBSITE". That is how they spell it: all joined up so it would be Pixiebob in lower case. But the heading banner to the same website uses the spelling: PIXIE-BOB with a hyphen.

Then if we check the books on cat breeds - a good idea I think to get out of the incestuous and copycat nature of the internet - we can't find any reference to the Pixie-bob....correction, Legacy of the Cat (a fine book by the way) spells it "Pixiebob". That clashes with Wikipedia...

The almighty Wikipedia spell it as I have in the title to this article. That is why I spelled it that way. But why the hyphen? The British Shorthair cat is not spelled British Short-hair is it?

And then do we use lower case after the hyphen: Pixie-bob or upper case: Pixie-Bob? God knows. No I guess he doesn't.

Now I have that little dilemma out of the way temporarily I'll discuss the origins of this interesting cat breed that did not, is appears, progress as far as it might. I feel that it is decidedly on the fringes, which is supported by the fact that it is not listed some mainstream books on cat breeds such as the Encyclopedia Of The Cat. Another cat with a wild appearance that failed to progress is the California Spangled. There was a rush of wildcat looking cats at one time. That has faded and legislation at state level in the USA is further limiting progress it would appear.

Which leads me nicely to the next interesting topic - the "wildcat connection" as I shall call it. Is this cat a wildcat hybrid, a cross between a bobcat and domestic cat? No is the answer based on DNA testing - pretty conclusive I would have thought. However this cat breed was founded by Carol Ann Brewer at a time in the American cat fancy (mid 1980s) when wildcat hybrids where all the rage. They were the cat to found, develop and get accepted (by TICA as the CFA don't recognise wildcat hybrids). For example the Bengal cat was founded in the mid 1970s and the Savannah cat in 1986. The all domestic, but wild cat looking, California Spangled was launched in 1986 by Paul Cassey.

There is no doubt in my mind that the idea was to create a wildcat hybrid type cat that would be desirable. Apparently Carol Ann Brewer claimed that the foundation cat was a wildcat hybrid.

This cat does have the appearance of a wildcat hybrid - obviously the objective of the breeding programme. The bobbed tail (short tail) was an added point of interest to match the American Bobcat's short tail. This was apparently introduced by cross breeding with a Manx, the famously tailless cat.

Here are some pictures....

Pixie bob pictures

Pixie-bob cat
Pixie-bob "Assam" Photo copyright Helmi Flick

Pixie-bob cat
Pixie-bob cat Photo copyright Helmi Flick

The cat immediately above looks like he is polydactyl. Look at his huge paws (and fantastic face - what an expression!).

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

Pixie-bob kittens

Pixie-bob cat
Pixie-bob kittens - Photo copyright Helmi Flick

I expect that you are looking for breeders if you are searching for Pixie-bob kittens. Please read the sections below. Apparently some breeders show pictures of bobcats in cages to give the impression that this cat is a hybrid. Beware, Carol Ann Brewer, says.

Pixie-bob rescue

This is a purebred cat and quite a rare cat, so you'll need to go to specialist rescue groups/organizations to find a rescue cat. Well, that is my opinion. Wrong? Please leave a comment. I have a page on purebred cat rescue.

I like the Yahoo Groups as a resource where people who want to learn and adopt can network with other like minded people including breeders and Pixie-bob keepers. Fortunately there are a few nice Yahoo Groups concerned with this cat breed:

The first group was active in the early 2000s but less so now. Is this indicative of a lessening of interest in this cat? Click on the following link to read and join: PIXIE-BOB 

The next is all about rescue cats. Click Pixiebob_Rescue. See a list of Yahoo groups associated with this cat.

Pixie-bob kittens for sale

This section is about breeders. A simple Google search will suffice. Pick the long established breeders and it is highly recommended that you visit the breeder. Location is therefore important.

The major cat associations help in a breeder search as do the cat clubs. These don't always show up in a search.

TICA list six breeders, four in the USA and one in Norway. This must be a good starting point.

This page lists four breeders in the USA. (Note: links to third parties sometimes break because the page has disappeared).

If you want to know what a Pixie-bob is meant to look like as a winning show cat,  TICA's breed standard will tell you.

Michael Avatar

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Friday 27 May 2011

A tip about making a cat eat

Sometimes for whatever reason your cat won't eat. Or her appetite is poor. A poor sense of smell in an old and senile cat can lead to what looks like a poor appetite. A cat will gauge how appetizing the food is through its smell.

That is why heating it up a bit can get the low appetite cat to eat it. I sometimes microwave cat food that has been left for a few seconds just to give it a bit more odor.

However that is not the tip! This is: I have always found that if I present my cat to the food and then stroke her before and during eating it encourages eating.

I am not sure how this works. I think it is a feeling of reassurance that it gives the cat. It might mimic what happens to a new born kitten when nursing.

Stroking is a human version of a cat's lick after all. Give it a try and report back if you have time.

Michael Avatar

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Thursday 26 May 2011

Siberian Cat

The Siberian cat, as the name suggests, is a native of Russia. It is still a moggie in Russia as well as a purebred cat in that country and around the world, primarily in the USA, UK and the rest of Europe. Like many cat breeds including the similar looking Norwegian Forest Cat this cat started life as a moggie - a random bred cat. At the time the cat fancy grew in size and scope this Siberian moggie was transformed and refined by selective breeding into an imposing purebred show cat of considerable size and stature with a sweet face.

Tabby Siberian cat
Photo copyright Helmi Flick

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

It is believed that the Siberian cat has a long history going back to the 13th century. Well, let's say that the pre-cursor to this purebred cat goes back that far. There were no formally recognised purebred cats before the middle of the 18th century. In other words this pre-purebred cat was a semi-domestic cat in Siberia in the 13th century. The first purebred Siberian cats were produced in the 1980s - a relatively short history in contrast to many other breeds.

The Siberian cat was exported to the USA in 1990 and to the UK in 2002. It was granted championship status by the Cat Fanciers' Association in 2006 and is recognised by The International Cat Association (TICA) and the General Council of the Cat Fancy (GCCF - UK registry). See Cat Associations.

As one would expect, the cold and sometimes inhospitable environment under which this cat developed as a moggie has coloured its appearance today. This is a large, sturdy, triple coated cat.

Although all colors of all divisions in the traditional category as allowed by the cat associations, it seems that the coat that we see most in the wild, the tabby coat is the most suitable for this breed. Coats such as the brown mackerel tabby, brown spotted tabby and white and classic tabbies look great for this cat. The other colours and patterns seem to render this cat breed more ordinary, almost reverting it back to a moggie. This though is a personal opinion.

There is a connection between the Maine Coon, Siberian and Norwegian Forest (NFC) cats. The Maine Coon may have been introduced to the USA by vikings from Norway. Norway is the home of the NFC and the Siberian comes from Russia, the neighbor of Norway. Cats don't observe country boundaries.

Siberian Forest Cat

This is sometimes (rarely?) used as an alternative name for this cat breed.  Although the Encyclopedia Of The Cat says there are no alternative names. Some people search for "Russian Siberian Cat". This is not an alternative name just a search term.

Siberian Cat Personality

Said to be "sensible and resourceful" (source: Dr Fogle Encyclopedia Of The Cat) and independent; not a lap cat but with dog-like devotion to their human companion (source: Legacy of the Cat).

Neva Masquerade

The pointed (colorpoint) Siberian cat is called a  Neva Masquerade. Neva is the name of a river where the cat was said to originate while 'masquerade" is a reference to the facial mask (pointed face). The Neva river runs through St. Petersburg, from where the breed began by cross breeding pointed cats such as the Himalayan (pointed Persian), with the Siberian.

"Amélie" Lynx pointed Neva Masquerade
Photo copyright Dani

Siberian Cat Rescue

I think we agree that the best way to adopt a cat, purebred or not, is to rescue one. Purebred cats are not often found in rescue centers but they do occasionally pop up. There are online purebred rescue resources too. I have a page on the subject. And there is also a website dedicated to the subject.

I think Yahoo Groups are a good networking resource. Through networking with other Siberian cat owners and breeders you are likely to bump into a cat that needs a home. In adopting that cat you are avoiding the bringing into the world of another cat. There are too many domestic cats on the planet that are killed due to overpopulation.

Click on the following link to see a good list of Siberian cat Yahoo Groups. The first on the list: SiberianCatList is probably the most active.

In the UK the Siberian Cat Club have a rehoming page - might get lucky. In the USA there is a Siberian rescue organisation.

Siberian Cat Health

I have a page on this subject; - Siberian cat health. This cat breed is not listed in what I consider a very good book on the subject of genetic diseases in purebred cats (Medical, Genetic & Behavioral Aspects of Purebred Cats Edited by Ross D Clark DVM). That must be a good indicator of good health but not conclusive as this is a breed that is not as well known as some others and perhaps the authors simply left it out or there was insufficient research on this breed at the time of publication (1992).

Siberian Cat Photos

The best cat photos are by Helmi Flick in my opinion. Here are two fine Siberian cat photos by Helmi Flick:

Siberian cat "Deema"
photo copyright Helmi Flick

Pointed Siberian cat - Photo copyright Helmi Flick

Don't Violate Copyright Please

All the photos and text on this page are protected by copyright © except where indicated. Violations of copyright are reported to Google.com (DMCA). See alternative sources of images that can be used without paying.

Siberian Cat Pictures

Here are some more gorgeous Siberian cat pictures:

Aleks - white Siberian cat - photo copyright Helmi Flick

Siberian cat "Venera" - copyright Helmi Flick
Grey tabby and white

Siberian Cat For Sale

This of course is all about finding a good cat breeder near to where you live. Many breeders ship by air but personally a visit to the breeder's facility is essential, I believe. Try and find on nearby. Shipping by air is OK but stressful for the cat and some don't make it.

I would start with the major players in the cat fancy as good resources (1) the cat associations sometimes run lists of breeders  (2) cat clubs always have lists of breeders and (3) the top cat breeders in a Google search are probably the most established.

The Cat Fanciers' Association (CFA) and USA cat association lists nine breeders. Click on the following link to  go to their breeder referral search page and follow the instructions: CFA Breeder Referral.

The International Cat Association (TICA) list 25 based in the USA. Click here to see the list.

In the UK the Siberian cat club lists 23. Click here to see the list.

I would also refer to Yahoo Groups again. The link above will take you to the list.

Siberian Cat Breeders

Well, I have covered this above!

Is the Siberian Cat Hypoallergenic?

Uhmmm....the whole issue of hypoallergenic cat breeds is a contentious one. Hypoallergenic by the way means less likely to cause an allergic reaction in people. There is anecdotal evidence and a bit more that suggests that this cat breed is indeed hypoallergenic. Breeders tend to promote this and I understand why. There are quite a lot of people who are allergic to cats but proportionally the number is quite small.

I actually cover this subject in more depth on this page. Kate Styker a cat breeder says they are hypoallergenic.

Neutered females are more prone to be hypoallergenic amongst all the cats, purebred and not. Fel D1 a protein in the cat's saliva is the allergen.

Michael Avatar

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Wednesday 25 May 2011

Free Public Domain Photos

Cat - by kevindooley

To all the people who are tempted to violate someone's copyright here are some ideas about free public domain photos. First let's remind ourselves that everything on the internet is protected by copyright unless there something on or around the work that says otherwise. Nothing can be copied unless it is expressly allowed. That is the default position. Update: this was written around 14 years ago! :-?

All images in public domain?!

Things have changed. Pinterest pretty well single-handedly destroyed the concept of intellectual property rights for images on the internet. Everything they publish is almost certainly a breach of copyright. No one complaints. If they can do it why can't I? The true is that all I have said below is true but in practice at 2021 no one cares anymore. You can be sure that almost any image is in the public domain nowadays :)  !

Creative Commons (CC)

Perhaps one of the best ideas to come out of the internet (did the internet give birth to this idea? - not sure) is creative commons. It appears that a lot of people don't know how it works.

Creative commons is a licensing system. In using creative commons the author of a work - be it a photo, words, music etc - can give permission to anyone to use the photo under the terms of the license.

These photos are not strictly speaking free and in the public domain but their allowed use is as good as public domain photos.

Types of CC License

There are four different types of license; each one allows use of the work under the particular conditions of the license.  A "license" is a form of permission to use the photo.

Some are more restrictive than others. And importantly the licenses are used together (I explain this below). Each type of license has its own symbol.

This license allows people to use the photo in anyway they wish. You can use it "as is" or adjust it, crop it etc. All you have to do is give the photographer credit (the symbol of the person indicates that - called "Attribution License"). This form of license is always included. When giving credits I always copy the photographer's name and drop it under the photo on my site (see header photo on this page). I also give a link back to the photographer's page as a thank you. In fact Flickr asks that we do that as it helps Flickr. Let's do it. We got the photo for free didn't we?

This license allows use provided you use it exactly as it is published on Flickr (the symbol of the equals sign indicates that - called "NoDerivs License"). You can't change it and you have to provide a credit on your website where the photo is re-published. Please stick to these conditions. Often there are lots of nice free public domain photos under this heading as good photographers like their photos to be unaltered for obvious reasons. The photos can be used by use for commercial purposes too provided the symbol below is not attached.

This license means that you can use the photo but not for commercial purposes. The symbol of the dollar sign struck through indicates that ("NonCommercial License").

This license means that you can use the photo and derivatives of it (modifications of it) and distribute those modified images ("ShareAlike License").

As I said above, these different types of license are balled together. For example, I often use the the top two licenses balled together, attribution and no derivatives. The photographer allows use of these photos provided you don't alter them and give a credit (and a link back but this is not obligatory under the license - it is just a Flick requirement). This page on the creative commons site shows the different forms of license.

I use Flickr for free public domain photos. I think it is the best of the photo library sites and they have a clear creative commons section.

There are about 180 million photos on Flickr that are usable under creative commons. We should thank the people who grant permission to others to use their photos.

I'll explain how to get to them so that you don't feel like "stealing" the photos of Helmi Flick on my websites.

Go to Flickr - click on this link. Then scroll down the page to the footer menu. You will see creative commons. Click on it. You then come to a page of icons of the six different versions of creative commons together with thumbnail samples of the photos under each license. These licenses are what might be called combo licenses. Two or more types of creative commons license are balled together as mentioned above. The attribution license is always present.

I would suggest that initially you use the second one down (Attribution-NoDerivs License). If you use a non-commercial license there is the added complication of deciding what "non-commercial" means. There are various interpretations. I would suggest that a Google Blogger blog with a low visitor count and perhaps a bit of AdSense on it could be classified as non-commercial. That is just my thought.

Select which license that you prefer but stick to the conditions as laid down by the license please.

If you don't see a picture that appeals you can then search the whole of Flickr and select copyrighted photos. These are expressly protected by copyright but it does not mean that they can't be used. All you have to do is ask the photographer using the Flickr email service. The photographer will probably be happy to let you use it provided you give a credit and publish the photo as is (unmodified). But you have to ask first. This is a must - sorry.

Flickr's repository of hundreds of millions of photos should satisfy your needs one way or another. Play by the rules please. It makes life so much less complicated in the long run.

If you don't like Flickr there is Photobucket and Webshots which are large sites with more millions of photos and similar methods for use of the photos.

Finally if you want to search globally for creative commons, free public domain photos, use the creative commons site: CC Search.

Other Free Public Domain Photos

The most obvious way a photo becomes free from copyright and in the public domain is through lapse of copyright over time. Copyright law is complicated unfortunately. I wrote an article about it some time ago: Definition of Copyright - this page also covers some of the ground covered on this page.

Google provide a book service - Google Books -  and some of the books are copyright free due to lapse of time. Sometimes these old books have useful photos. You can link to them and embed extracts using Google software. Or you can take a screenshot legitimately. Try Public domain only books.

Pixabay is good. Try it. I use it quite a lot. Search for it using Google or Bing.

Fair Use

Use of copyrighted material is sometimes permissible under fair use but great caution is required. I would not use this concept unless you know what you are doing an if you do please argue your reasons why you think you can use the photo under fair use.

The Wikipedia authors use fair use sometimes and their arguments are instructive. Here is Wiki's page on the subject.

Wikimedia Commons

This is another excellent resource for free public domain photos. Search it thoroughly and please comply with the terms and conditions. Wikimedia Commons home page.

Free Cat Clipart

I have a page on PoC on this.

Stock photo Sites

Sometimes these sites provide the odd photo for free. Here are two examples of stock photo sites:
  1. Dreamstime
  2. iStockphoto
Please don't violate the copyright of Helmi Flick on the pages of my website: PoC - thanks.

Michael Avatar

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Tuesday 24 May 2011

Why does my old cat cry out at night?

My Old Cat Sleeping
My old lady cat
I am getting a little exasperated. Every night these days my 19 year old lady cat wakes me at 3:30 in the morning crying out. Sometimes her cry is a very deep one and loud. It is insistent. And sometimes it is a standard loud meow.

The deep cry is an interesting sound. She has only really started to make it fairly recently. She is not in pain neither is she ill. She is, however, very old and she is deaf or partially deaf.

One reason she calls out is for the simple reason that the food that I had put down for her has been eaten by a stray cat! She is hungry! Although she won't eat dry food these days unless it is Hills C/d.

Putting that reason aside, the reason she cries out is, I believe, to get attention and reassurance. She might also cry out after eating and after coming in from the outside. I believe that she feels isolated due to her deafness and needs comfort through contact with me to reassure her that all is well. During eating she is focused. When she stops she is a little confused and needs the reassurance of me around.

Another reason for a sense of isolation is senility. The vets call this cognitive dysfunction syndrome. It can cause a loss of awareness of the surroundings. This sense of disorientation and confusion results, I believe in a need for reassurance. She is crying out for that.

Once she has been comforted and eaten she settles down again. The major factor I believe is her insecurity due to her failing senses and particularly deafness.

She might want to be lifted up onto my bed for a cuddle as well. Of course I oblige. All this happens at 3:30 am. I am writing this at 4 am as I have just done all the above.

Apparently up to 40% of cats in the age bracket 16-20 years of age can suffer from disorientation due to cognitive dysfunction. There is nothing that can be done about it seems. A drug that is used for dogs, L-deprenyl (Anipryl), which improves the action of the brains neurotransmitters has not yet been approved for cats but is being tested (this drug was first used to treat Cushing’s disease in dogs - source: www.veterinarypartner.com). Things may have changed as at the date of this post. Personally, I would not prescribe drugs for something that is a natural consequence of aging. Plenty of tender love and care is the better treatment, I feel.

Here she is the night howler....! She has lost weight.

You can hear her cry at the beginning of this video:

Persistent crying in a young cat is probably due to discomfort or pain. For newborn kittens, an infection of the blood (kitten septicemia) will cause crying.

Michael Avatar

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Sunday 22 May 2011

Cat Tiffany Lamp

The Cat's Meow Louis Comfort Tiffany-Style Vinyl Lamp by The Bradford Exchange
Cat Tiffany lamp

This lamp is called "The Cat's Meow". It lights up. It is claimed to be the first ever Tiffany style lamp design of its type. Click on the pic to buy it...!

Athough it is robust and looks as if it is made of stained glass it is not. It is "hand assembled in high quality translucent vinyl". It is extremely colourful. I would expect it to be durable too.

It looks particularly nice when lit up and the room is illuminated by subdued lighting. It cost $59.95 on Amazon.com. This is 4 cents cheaper than from Bradford Exchange who are sell it "exclusively". Not sure if that is exclusive!

Next we have a similar looking cat Tiffany lamp:

Dale Tiffany TA100859 Tiger Cat Accent Lamp, Art Glass Shade
Dale Tiffany
Tiger Cat Accent Lamp, Art Glass Shade

A bit more expensive at $71.99 (prices as at date of post). This is because it is made of glass. The real thing you could say although I prefer the other design. Click on the image to go to Amazon. USA products only.

Tiffany cat lamp

A quick point to make. A Tiffany cat lamp is not a cat Tiffany lamp. The former is a Tiffany cat in the form of a lamp while the latter is a lamp that is called a Tiffany lamp, which is in the form of a domestic cat.

Michael Avatar

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Strongest House Cat

This short post will tell you the name of the strongest house cat. I won't make this post detailed and long because few people search for this information, for one, and secondly it is a bit silly to be honest. We should not have a fascination with the biggest, fiercest and tallest but how to solve the feral cat problem.

The largest house cat is probably the strongest house cat provided that the cat is not the largest just because he or she is overweight!

Some time ago I provided a detailed list of domestic cat breed size and weights. The so called "house cat" must include wildcat hybrids as, although these are relatively rare, they are fully domesticated (if bred properly) and act as domestic cats should.

The largest domestic cat is the first filial Savannah cat. This is a cat whose mother is a domestic cat and whose father is a serval, a medium sized wildcat.

The best example of such a cat is Magic - deemed the world's largest "pet" cat. These really are large cats and they are athletic too (see video below). They have fabulous jumping abilities which is evidence of their strength and flexibility. First filial Bengal cats will be similar of course but the wildcat parent of the Bengal cat is the Asian leopard cat, a wildcat that is considerably smaller than the serval.

The strongest pure domestic cat is probably the Maine Coon cat because this is the largest cat breed other than wildcat hybrids.

I think that answers the question as to what is the strongest house cat. There is one qualification that must be made to the above. I have only referred to cat breeds because that is what I think people are searching for.

Individual domestic cats that are not wildcat hybrids vary a lot in size and strength. There is probably a very large moggie roaming around a neighborhood somewhere who is exceptionally strong.

Michael Avatar

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Saturday 21 May 2011


I got a email from a friend of mine in the USA, Bob Tucker. He looks after feral cats. He has a kind heart. He kindly told me about some cat food coupons that are currently available.

Don't forget that cat food coupons are a bit elusive. Things change. They get pulled and new ones appear etc. So this post is date sensitive!

Here is Bob's email..


In the last two weeks I've used five one dollar Friskies (Purina Co.) coupons and got three today I know of and maybe more in bags of food. We go through a lot of food here at the Critter Farm. The coupons I know of are in the cases of canned food and large bags of 9 Lives and Seafood Sensations dry foods.

Some Purina coupons are here.


You might find some Friskies coupons here.


People and organizations can register here and be eligible to get donations of food for homeless dogs and cats in the U.S. They have donated over three million dollars worth of food this year.


This is some info I just found that you can pass around if you like.

Have a good weekend,


Thanks a lot Bob. Hope you are keeping well and please keep us up to date on those coupons. They are particularly attractive to cat caretakers at present.


Friday 20 May 2011

Cat Depression

Cat depression affects cats who are ill. Cats that are ill might get depressed as this is normal. I think the word "depression" is the wrong word to use in this context. Depression indicated clinical depression. An ill cat will feel uncomfortable and unwell which will make him or her unhappy but not necessarily depressed.

Depressed cat?
Picture in public domain

You will find that anti-depressants are not prescribed (or not normally prescribed) for cats who have been diagnosed as depressed, as a free standing medical condition, because cats are not diagnosed in this way. It is not possible to accurately diagnose a cat as being depressed as a free standing mental illness in my opinion. This is supported by the book Cat Owner's Home Veterinary Handbook where there is not reference to such a condition.

Although cat behaviorists might prescribe anti-depressants to modify behavior - I disagree with this strongly. It is treating the symptoms and not the underlying cause and drugs such as these are to be avoided if at all possible as there can be side effects. Valium can cause severe liver problems in cats. Prozac is also prescribed for elimination disorders.

Anti-depressants such as Valium (diazepam) are used to calm a cat that is anxious and as a result does not use the litter properly. These are called "elimination disorders" or "inappropriate elimination". Once again this is not ideal because the underlying cause of the anxiety (probably something that we have done or are doing) is not addressed.

When a cat is depressed because he or she is ill, we should recognise this and spend more time with her. We should always speak gently and calmly with her and make sure she is getting the proper nourishment and is grooming herself properly. We can help with grooming.

When we leave the house it can help to leave the radio on. Human voices are comforting it is thought even if they are not the voice of the caretaker.

Peace and and quiet are essential to a depressed and sick cat. The cat should have a quiet comfortable area where she can sleep free from drafts and sunlight. The area should be ventilated and be warm. Sick cats can chill down. Some form of heating may be advisable but used with care.

Cat Depression Symptoms

I think we have to use our common sense here. A cat that is still (inactive), that is hiding and quiet might be depressed. Cats are good at hiding symptoms but the better way to decide if a cat is so called "depressed" is to check for symptoms of other illnesses. Common illnesses such as pink eye can be very upsetting to a cat and make the cat depressed for example. Major illnesses such as FIP will almost certainly cause acute unhappiness. As I said "depression" is perhaps the wrong word.

Michael Avatar

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Tuesday 17 May 2011

Don't Fight Your Cat

Don't fight with your cat. Despite the domestic cat being a fraction of the size of the human, you are likely to come off worse.

It is absurd to fight a domestic cat. Treat the cat well, nicely and sensibly and everything will be OK.

A Texan thought he would fight a domestic cat with a knife! Afterward he was airlifted to Cleveland Regional Medical Center and then to Houston.

He was clearly seriously injured. The cat was injured too but less so. I don't have details but this person was really foolish.

I have done a Google News search today for "domestic cat" and spotted this story. I would recommend that people do the same. Go to Google News and search for "domestic cat". You will see quite a few stories that show an underlying bias against the domestic cat and lots of misinformation.

I sort of despair at it. Here are some examples:
  1. The Birdkillers 
  2. Cats Pass Disease To Wildlife 
  3. How to stop cats pissing on your car

These sorts of articles hurt the cat. I haven't read them. I skimmed the last one and some idiot Aussie is mouthing off about why he hates cats in a video. Although he says he doesn't hate cats. You stupid Aussie, it is not the cats but the bloody irresponsible people who keep them. Wake up.

Michael Avatar

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Cat Pink Eye

feline conjunctivitis
Cat Pink Eye - Feline Conjunctivitis - Photo by Elisa Black-Taylor

Cat pink eye is layman's language for feline conjunctivitis, which is an inflammation of the membrane at the back of the eyelids and the surface of the eyeball not including the cornea (the transparent front part of the eye).

It is fairly common and nearly always caused by a viral and/or bacterial infection. The eye is red/pink. The eye itches. The cat or kitten will paw at the eye. If left untreated it can affect eyesight.

A mild form of cat pink eye is "serous conjunctivitis". It can be caused by non-infectious agents such as allergens. If can also be a symptom of feline viral respiratory disease. It can be treated at home: eye cleansed with sterile ophthalmic irrigation solution as used for people. A vet visit may be advisable, however.

When the cat pink eye is more serious i.e. when there is mucus and crust around the eye a secondary bacterial infection is indicated (chlamydophila or mycoplasma - these are types of bacteria). This is called "purulent conjunctivitis". The first infection, a viral infection might be herpes virus, calcivirus (see URIs).

Feline conjunctivitis can rarely be caused by a fungus.

You will have to take your cat/kitten to a vet I am afraid. Treatments include irrigation, warm soaks and antibiotics to treat the bacterial infection (Neosporin ophthalmic ointment for example - USA product).

The condition can be perpetuated by organisms being shed in the cat's stool or urine - carrier state. A vet will deal with this through a 3 week course of treatment - see the vet please.

There are two other forms of feline conjunctivitis listed in the Cat Owner's Home Veterinary Handbook: Follicular Conjunctivitis and Neonatal Conjunctivitis. The first is an irritation of the eye leading to a discharge that is caused by rough mucous glands. It is thought that the glands become rough due to allergens, pollens and infections. A vet is once again required and steroids might be prescribed. The latter condition is a bacterial infection below the eyelids. It happens before the newborn kitten's eyes open up.

Update from Elisa: The mother's nipples may need to be wiped after nursing as this can spread the condition to all of the kittens..thanks Elisa.

The cat in the picture is called "Pinky" and at the time the photo was taken Pinky couldn't see. This might be temporary. We will see. He's on Clavamox and Gentamicin antibiotic eye drops. Here are two photos showing slow progress. The first one I find very hard to look at to be honest:

kitten with pink eye feline conjunctivitis
Two days before the pic below - Photo copyright Elisa

kitten with pink eye feline conjunctivitis
Two days after the photo above
photo copyright Elisa

feline conjunctivitis
Pinky about 2 weeks later
- Photo copyright Elisa

You can see in the last image that Elisa has worked her magic with plenty of TLC and the right antibiotics. I can feel the relief from the irritation and discomfort. Well done Elisa. The job is not quite finished but a massive improvement.

Another update - Pinky getting better - phew. I felt for him:

feline conjunctivitis
Pinky getting better thanks to  Elisa's devoted work
photo copyright Elisa

Here is another update. A photo of Pinky taken 27th May 2011. I have cropped to a close up of the eyes and enhanced the contrast etc. to show up the legacy of this severe bacterial infection. He is much, much better but still has a little way to go to be in good health.

after effects of feline conjunctivitis
Last bits of feline conjunctivitis - photo copyright Elisa.

1-6-11 - The improvement continues - phew
I can feel the relief - Photo: Elisa

Update September 2015 - about 2-3 years later. Here is Pinky looking adult with slight "scaring" (around his nose - or am I incorrect?) from his horrible conjunctivitis but his eyes look fine now. He has been adopted. A good ending to a bad start to life. Elisa deserves a pat on the back for getting him over that terrible period.

Michael Avatar

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