Wednesday 31 August 2011

Siamese cat phenotype frequency is 1 percent of stray cats

Defining the laboratory animal: IV Symposium, International Committee on ...(1971) says this about the Siamese cat. I quote verbatim and claim fair use as it is educational and I am referring to a small part of the text while promoting the work. (link to original page)

"Siamese on the other hand have been bred extensively. For instance, the gene frequency of the cat population at large in Paris (France) is 10 percent. That means phenotype frequency is 1 percent of that seen in stray cats. In Bangkok, the gene frequency is only 29 percent, and that is where they come from originally."

Some definitions:

gene frequency -- the frequency or proportion of genotypes in a population. "Genotype" means "the genetic makeup of a cell, an organism, or an individual".

phenotype frequency -- "an organism's observable characteristics or traits".

Did the Siamese derive from a different species of wildcat?

Apparently scientists (Kratochvil and Kratochvil - 1976) produced a research document that suggests that the Siamese cat originated from a different species of wildcat than the other domestic cats except for the Persian.

They argue that the domestic cat is derived from the wildcat Felis silvestris lybica (true, the African wildcat and in fact the European wildcat) and that the Siamese derived from another subspecies of "Felis lybica". This is wrong it seems because they make reference to a subspecies of Felis lybica. There is no subspecies of Felis lybica. The full scientific name is as mentioned Felis silvestris lybica.

However the African wildcat is also bundled together as one species with the Asian wildcat (Felis silvestris ornata) and it is possible therefore that the Siamese cat derives from the Asian wildcat as the eastern boundary of the range of the Asian wild cat is nearer Siam now Thailand than that of the African or European wildcat. The Siamese cat comes originally from Siam as you no doubt know.

Siamese Cats and France

It appears that the first Siamese cats were introduced to France by the French ambassador to Siam, Auguste Pavie. In 1885 he presented one to the Jardin des plantes (the main botanical garden in France). This has a similar flavor to the way the Siamese cat was imported into England (see Siamese cat history).

Source: The beast in the boudoir: petkeeping in nineteenth-century Paris By Kathleen Kete

Siamese Cat Story

Here is just one Siamese cat story. There are tens of thousands I am sure. It is 1955 or thereabouts. A boy of 2 (Christopher Loss) is slow to learn to speak due to complications at child birth. The family is given a purebred Siamese cat. Things started to change for the boy from that moment onwards.

He learned to speak to the cat. The boy would grunt at the cat and the cat would purr in response. There is no doubt that the cat was content to receive the attention and company. Siamese cats are very sociable creatures.

Eventually, the boy learned his first word, "kitty". The rest is history. The boy caught up in speech.  The Siamese cat was provided by Dayle Russell who works with disabled children.

Dayle said that cats are great with senior people and kids who have special needs and/or are ill. She said that cats can work better than medicine.  Dayle bred pedigree purebred cats and used to give them away where appropriate. The story I have recounted is one example and a very successful one that supports what she said.

Altering the Color of Siamese Cats

We know that the pointing of Siamese cats is caused by heat sensitivity. The warmer the environment the paler the color. The extremities of a Siamese cat are cooler hence darker than the central part of the body.

Reason For Siamese Cat Pointing

To recap: at normal body temperatures the enzymes present in the Siamese cat are unable to produce melanin (a pigment) but at lower temperature the enzymes are able to perform their normal function and produce melanin. At the extremes of the cat the skin is cooler and so those areas have darker fur (pointing).

When the kitten in born they are white because they have been in the warmth of their mother's womb. The pointing develops and is then fixed for that cat.

On the basis that the paleness of body color and darkness of the pointing becomes fixed at a certain point in the kitten's development, it appears that it is possible to deliberately alter the color of an individual cat by adjusting the ambient temperature under which the cat is raised. Just a thought.

Personalized Siamese Cat

It has been suggested that you can create a personalised Siamese cat. I am not suggesting that you do this but it is interesting. You gently shave your initials into the Siamese cat's fur (remove the fur in the form of your initials) and while it grows back you cool the area you have shaved. The new fur should be darker and therefore your initials will be visible in the fur for the life of the cat. Obviously the area where you do this is the central (paler) part of the body.

It sounds strange and I don't want to start a fad or cult. But the science behind the Siamese cat pointing supports the idea that it is possible to create a personalized Siamese cat!

American vs European Attitude To Siamese Cat

There seems to be a difference is attitude between American (here, I mean North American) Siamese cat breeders and Siamese cat breeders in Europe including of course the UK.

How to raise Siamese cats and kittens By Janine Connor refers to the criticism by European breeders and breeders "around the world" of the American breeder's desire to breed Siamese cats with an extreme appearance; meaning very slender and what a well known person in the cat fancy in America has called "rat-like" heads and indeed bodies. If you go to a cat show you can see what she means.

I personally prefer the traditional (Applehead) appearance but I respect other people's views and desires. The question I wish to pose is, "Why do American breeders in general prefer the extreme appearance of the modern Siamese cat?"

I can only speculate and I would love some comments but don't expect to get them. We know that America is a consumer society par excellence. The food there is superb and cheap. People can become obese very easily. Is the desire to bred slender elegant cats a response to the human weight problem? And then rather than simply breed an elegant cat that is slender but not overly so, cat breeders in the true tradition of the human condition just go too far and can't stop or don't know when to stop, breeding a more and more refined appearance until it looks extreme and wrong to a large number of people.

Having got to that point breeders can't go back, in part, because the cat associations have by then fixed the appearance in cement under the constantly revised breed standard. The CFA the largest cat association support the extreme modern Siamese and flat faced Persian and reject wildcat hybrids, an anomaly I would suggest.

Well, that is one odd theory that just popped into my mind which may be completely incorrect.

Siamese Cat Binocular Vision

The Siamese cat is well known for a squint and a kinked tail. Both have been bred out by breeders over the years as they are considered "defects" but they are nonetheless part of this cat breed's heritage. The kinked tail in cat show competition is reason to disqualify the cat as I recall.

There are colorful legends regarding the squint that are usually about Siamese cats who defended temples and valuables. The task was arduous and it caused the cats to develop a squint!

The question on some people's minds is, "does the Siamese cat squint affect normal vision and particularly binocular vision?" Let's first say that it isn't just Siamese cats that have squints but they have a genetic predisposition to acquiring the squint. The cat below is not a Siamese but has a clear squint. Perhaps she is a Siamese mix (lynx point)




Not Siamese but clear squint - Photo by fazen (Flickr)

Cats have two eyes to allow them to judge distance and depth. Two eyes give animals a form of three dimensional vision. This is important to cats in making judgements on tracking objects, jumping and hunting etc.

It transpires that the squint is apparently a compensation for defective wiring of the nerves that go from the eyes to the brain. In normal cats half the optical nerves cross over to the side of the brain opposite to the position of the eye. This provides binocular vision.

In Siamese cats the nerve fibres that were not meant to cross over, do in fact cross over. This causes "the faulty positioning of the retinal map on the tectum". The tectum is a region of the brain, specifically the dorsal part of the mesencephalon (midbrain). The squint cancels out the effects of the faulty positioning on the tectum by "altering the positioning of the retina".

So there you have it. The squint develops over the first six to eight weeks of the kitten's life to make this compensation.

Siamese cat binocular vision is maintained by the famous Siamese cat squint. That's how nature has compensated for a genetically inherited neurological defect. Incidentally, the Siamese and Persian cats have the most genetically inherited diseases and are two of the most long standing purebred cats.

The references are from the New Scientist Aug 17, 1972. Thanks to Google Books.

Tuesday 30 August 2011

Biggest and Smallest Cats


We have a fascination with extremes. Maybe we are bored. Extremes provide excitement, something different. And so, the world's largest or biggest cat is a source of interest for many. People also like nice clean, black and white answers. Unfortunately almost everything in life is gray!

People searching for the world's biggest cat are probably searching for one individual cat that is the biggest. That cat is probably a man made liger calledHercules. A liger is a lion to tiger hybrid. People are also fascinated with creating different cat breeds etc. Hercules weighs about 900 lbs and frankly he looks overweight and flabby but he is certainly enormous; an animal from the age of dinosaurs.

But the world's biggest cat could also mean the world's biggest cat species. That would be the tiger and particularly the tiger subspecies, the Siberian or Amur tiger. Or perhaps people are looking for the biggest domestic cat breed. That would be a wildcat hybrid called a Savannah cat but it would have to be a first filial (F1). The biggest individual domestic cat in the world isMAGIC and she truly is a magical cat.

Other large domestic cats are the Maine Coon (all domestic, no wild blood) and the Ragdoll. These are called "substantial" in cat fancy language. But we should remember that not all Maine Coons are big.

If we are talking about the world's biggest our wondering minds probably turn to the smallest too. There is no official world's smallest cat mainly because the Guinness World Records people decided to stop that category because people were overdoing it in trying to breed very small cats to the detriment of the cat's health.

The world's smallest cat breed is the Singapura not the dwarf cats. The dwarf cats are normal sized except for the leg length. The world's smallest wildcat is the rusty-spotted cat and amongst that species there will be one individual cat that is right now wondering around the forest in India that is the world's smallest individual cat. No one knows where she is and thank heavens for that.

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Friday 26 August 2011

Hurricane Preparedness for Your Cats

The underlying ethos and method of what to do for your cats when preparing for a hurricane or any impending disaster is to do for your cats what you do for yourself. If your cat is treated as a second level family member or even disposable (and some people do think like that), your cat will be in danger in a hurricane. I am thinking of hurricane Irene and Florida generally. I am told that Florida has on average four hurricane's per year. Is that right? That must be a factor why not to live in the otherwise sunny and desirable Florida.

Preparedness seems to be the key factor. Getting in extra water and cat food in case these are not available for several days would seem common sense. Having a safe place to go to during the hurricane must be a priority. Apparently there are special shelters in Florida for people but not cats! That means setting up some alternative safe shelter to protect your cat during the storm. Perhaps your own shelter or a local veterinarian might have facilities that are suitable.

Ultimately it also means sticking with your cat if you can. Reassurance and familiar activities will help to settle a cat when he or she is frightened by noise.

We should check that our cat carriers are to hand and in good working order too. Finally what about the stray and feral cats? We can't do much for them, sadly. But we might be able to figure out something that can help such as enticing them into a shelter of some kind. Although they might be better finding there own shelter. Cats are pretty good survivors.

Michael Avatar

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Top Cat Breeds for Children

People like the idea of finding a cat breed that is suitable for children and rightly so. I suppose we are looking at cat breeds that are mellow in character and able to put up with a child's boisterous behavior and perhaps the odd bit of mishandling.

Catster.com have a page on the subject and they list one of the qualities of a suitable cat as "not territorial". Sorry Catster but all cats are territorial. It is just a complete misconception to think that a certain cat breed is not territorial. All cats, random bred or purebred, have the same form and fundamental behavior as wildcats. Wildcats are decidedly territorial.

Also without wishing to be unnecessarily critical or argumentative, you will not find a lot of difference in character between the cat breeds. This is because cat breeders don't prioritise character and behavior or health. They prioritise appearance. And if they did try and breed a super mellow cat it would not work. If it did it would have happened by now.

Certainly some cat breeds might tend to be more mellow and accepting, the Ragdoll comes to mind. But the laid back nature of this cat breed is, to be honest, over hyped. Sometimes, you'll get unsocialised Ragdolls that are not great to be with.

Which brings me to the much more important question of socialisation of cats and training of children!

If any cat, random bred or purebred, is very well socialised to accept children, other cats, noises, adult people, whatever, they will be fine for a child. But the child must also be socialised in one way: trained to handle a cat.

Any cat not matter how well socialised will possibly respond temporarily aggressively if handled badly; say for example picked up roughly and turned over on his or her back. This makes a cat feel vulnerable.

In addition individual cats within a certain cat breed will have a greater range of character types that have a stronger impact on suitability for a child than the general character of that breed.

So it is really about individual cats that counts and the child's behavior.

In conclusion, therefore, if you are searching for the top cat breeds for children, you should instead look for a cat breed that you like and that your child likes and ensure that the adopted cat is socialised extremely well (check with the breeder and by playing with the cat). And...the big "and", ensure also that you, the mother, have trained your child to respect cats, to handle and to play with them properly, by which I mean in a manner that the cat finds acceptable and non-threatening.

Simple really. Top cat breeds for children don't really exist.

Michael Avatar

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Thursday 25 August 2011

Tiger Habitat





We have intruded upon the tiger's habitat for the past 100 years. We have squeezed the tiger from its habitat. We have given some of it back in the form of tiger reserves where sometimes you will be lucky to see a tiger. Tigers go missing in the reserves and are poached. The tiger's body is more valuable dead than alive.

Students sometimes visit PoC for information about the wildcats. The tiger is the best known wildcat and its habitat is the most important aspect of all the topics that are associated with the tiger. Without space and a place to live in the tiger cannot exist.

Students probably like to look for clear, black and white answers to questions about the tiger's habitat. For example, "What is the tiger habitat?" Answer: Jungle. No, that is incorrect. The tiger is, and has to be, very adaptable as to the kind of environment that it finds acceptable.

The tiger has learned to live in the snow over 4,000 feet above sea level in the Himalayan foothills of Bhutan. It has also adapted to living in the mangrove swamps of the Sunderbans in Bangladesh. These join the sea. The tiger is a great swimmer and likes water. It can swim for miles in sea water.

In Siberia, the Siberian tiger lives in birchwood forests with deep snow underfoot and in temperatures as low as -40ÂșC. This really is at the opposite end of the environmental spectrum to steamy Sumatra, where the Sumatran tiger is found.

OK, point made. The tiger habitat is very variable. On the whole though the Bengal tiger lives in tropical and subtropical moist broadleaf forests. To a lesser extent the Bengal tiger lives in temperate and broadleaf mixed forest. The third most common type is tropical and subtropical dry broadleaf forest.

The tiger is a forest dweller and a good climber although less good than themargay and clouded leopard. Its high contrast conspicuous coat looks out of place on the open plains but in forest and in dappled sunlight, it is perfect.



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Monday 22 August 2011

My 19 Year Old Lady Cat


Nothing special. It is just a photo I took today of my old lady cat. She looks like a lady but a bit confused, which she is. You can see her bent back in the photo. She has had a bent spine for a long time in fact but it is more noticeable in this picture.

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High value purebred cats have more behavioral problems than moggies

Dr. Trevor Turner in this book Veterinary Notes For Cat Owners says that "owners" of cats are more likely to see him for cat behavior problems if the cat is a high value purebred cat rather then a random bred cat. Dr. Turner works or worked in the UK.

The book was published in 1994. At that time he says that 8 per cent of British cats were purebred cats of recognised breeds. However, 44 per cent of the cats seen by him for behavioral problems were cats of a cat breed. 14 per cent were "first cross strains" and 42 per cent were moggies both long and short haired cats.

Of the 8 per cent cats that were purebreds, 24% were Siamese cats. The large majority of these cats were seen for spraying indoors. 20% were Burmese cats. The biggest behavioral problem for Burmese cats was aggression towards other cats in the house (multi-cat households) and cats outside is allowed outside. 13% of the purebred cats seen were Abyssinians. The behavioral problem for Abyssinians was a breakdown in relations with other Abyssinians in the household. Finally 13% were Persians who had inappropriate elimination problems.

The classic case profile for Dr Turner was a neutered 1-2 year old male domestic Siamese or Shorthair cat that lives with one other cat and which sprays or soils inappropriately indoors.

The conclusions as to why cited by Dr Turner are:
  • Owners are more likely to bring an expensive purebred cat to a veterinarian for behavioral problems because they want to fix the problem rather than relinquish the cat due to the cost of the cat.
  • Purebred cats are more likely to be full-time indoor cats and the problems are more noticeable "due to being more reactive to change within the home".
  • Purebred cats such as the Persian and Siamese are more sensitive and highly strung.
Drugs to solve behavioral problems are "rarely curative and usually inhibits learning".

Michael Avatar

Saturday 20 August 2011

The Shocking Truth About The Feline Herpes Virus



In the USA, the feline herpes virus (FHV) is present in 80% of breeding catteries according to a cat breeder who left a comment on this page: Feline herpes running rapid in catteries across U.S.?? Her comment is sensible and believable and is in support of other comments on that page. She says that, "It would be almost impossible for me to purchase a high end titled show cat that hasn't been exposed to Feline Herpes virus....".

A vet advised another American visitor to the page that 70 to 90% of domestic cats have the feline herpes virus. Obviously shelters are just as likely to have a similar rate of infection, perhaps even higher.

I would expect similar problems in other countries, incidentally, but refer to the USA here because I have the information from American visitors to this site - thank you for it by the way. This information is useful because people ask, "How common is feline herpes?". Answer: very common.

Personally, I find the information startling and surprising. Has it always been this way? If not, what happened? Breeders, understandably hide the problem. The only way they can control transmission between cats is to isolate them in cages all their lives - sounds like a pretty miserable life for a cat. Should cat breeders do more to control this disease? Should they be more transparent about it? I would ask the same questions in respect of cat shelter operations.

The virus can be suppressed by the cat's immune system (the cat will be asymptomatic - no symptoms) but the cat will be carrying the virus and spreading it. It is highly contagious and spread by direct contact - nasal and eye discharge and can be spread by people who are in contact with infected cats. As FHV might be in a cat for his or her entire life, the disease can flare up. These flare ups can kept to a minimum provided the cat's immune system is maintained at peak performance.

The virus causes Feline Viral Rhinotracheitis (FVR), which is an upper respiratory infection (URI) and a feline viral respiratory disease. Feline herpes virus is one of two major causes of feline viral respiratory disease. Incidentally, the other major cause of feline viral respiratory disease is the Calicivirus group.

There is a vaccine for FHV-1 available but it does NOT prevent infection with FVR. Experienced cat keepers and breeders say that Duralactin Feline L-lysine is one of the best ways to control herpes, feline or human.

There is a Yahoo group: felineherpes, that might help people who are concerned. Yahoo groups are discussion groups.

You can read some more on these pages on this site:

  1. Feline Herpes Virus (2)
  2. Feline Conjunctivitis
Or use the search box to find many more pages on this serious problem.
Michael signature

Wednesday 17 August 2011

Housing Conditions Affect Domestic Cat Interaction



Housing conditions affect the way the domestic cat interacts with his or her human caretaker(s):
  • When there is one or two people in the home cats are more interactive and affectionate with their human companions compared to households with more than two people.
  • When there is only one cat in the home the cat will spend more time interacting with the human caretaker than cats do in multi-cat households.
  • Full-time indoor cats are more interactive with the caretaker/guardian but exchange scent (head butting and body rubbing) less than do indoor/outdoor cats. The extra scent exchange of outdoor cats is a sign of a need to greet having left the home and to re-mark indoor territory to ensure that it is friendly.
A person initiating contact with a domestic cat will in general receive a reaction from the cat that is dependent on the age and sex of the person.
  • A sitting adult women is more likely to elicit an interaction with a cat than a male child approaching directly. This is probably due to the softer less threatening approach.
A cat's interaction with their human caretaker can depend on whether the cat is a purebred cat or a random bred cat.
  • Apparently pedigree, purebred cats are in general more friendly and affectionate than nonpedigree cats. I am not sure that this is correct but it is reported in The Cat, Its Behavior, Nutrition & Health by Linda P Case page 103, ISBN 978-0-8138-0331-9
Michael signature

Monday 15 August 2011

Borneo Bay Cat Early Years

The Bay Cat is the "world's least known felid". This mysterious wild cat is found solely on the island of Borneo. This wildcat is known from "about twelve specimens". You can see how rare and elusive this cat is. The quotes are from Wild Cats Of The World.

Apparently there is a Bay Cat in the British museum. It was put there in 1856 and it was collected by Alfred Russel Wallace.  This stuffed Bay cat is listed as coming from Sarawack - that was the sum of the information available at that time. Sarawak is part of the island of Borneo. Wallace was "based in the town of Sarawak now known as Kuching". After moving about 55 kilometres east of Kuching he found the Bay cat. There was virgin forest there. He stayed there for 9 months.

The current (at the time of this post) range or distribution of the Bay Cat is shown on the map below:


Map Channels: free mapping tools

The specimen of Bay Cat that Wallace had imported from Borneo was in poor condition and was not recognisable as a new species of wildcat. The curator listed it as a Flat-headed cat (Felis planiceps), a species already recognized.

A person, J.E. Gray, classified the specimen as a new species some 20 years later in 1874. In 1888 a second specimen turned up. It had been collected by Alfred H.L. Everett. He was a naturalist who lived in Borneo.  This second specimen was recorded as coming from the Suai river.


View Larger Map

Another specimen (dead of course) was collected by Charles Hose, a friend of Everett. This specimen was collected in 1894. It was collected from the Entoyut River, south of Claudetown (Marudi) and west of Mt. Mulu. This is also in the British Museum.

We have to wait until 1992 for the first live specimen! This bay cat was caught (trapped) on the Sarawack/Indonesian border. It was a live specimen, yes, but barely. It was emaciated and almost dead - surprised? It was first thought to be "an island race" of the Asiatic Golden Cat.

After analysis ("molecular techniques") it was decided that the bay cat was closely related to the Asiatic golden cat but that they had been separated some 4.9 to 5.3 million years before the "geological separation of Borneo from mainland Asia". The cat was a new species it was decided.

The quotes are from the book adveristed by Amazon (page 49) on this page.

Michael Avatar

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Sunday 14 August 2011

Cat Nutritional Disorders

It is possible for cat nutritional disorders to affect the central nervous system:
  1. Low blood sugar - hypoglycemia - can lead to a "depressed level of consciousness" and seizures, possibly a coma. An overdose of insulin is one cause. See Feline Diabetes.
  2. Hypocalcemia - this means low blood calcium. The symptoms are like those described above.
  3. Thiamin deficiency - seizures and "when lifted up, cats often flex their necks, dropping chin to chest.."
Reference: Cat Owner's Home Veterinary Guide. See Symptoms of Feline Diabetes.

Michael Avatar

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Wild Cat Health Problems and Illnesses

I am talking about "genuine" wildcats not feral cats. We more or less know that feral cats suffer from the same illnesses as domestic cats but more often and they go untreated and so often kill the cat and make their lives very miserable.

But what of the genuine wildcats, cats such as the cheetah, the lion and for example the serval?

There is nothing in the index of the best book on wild cats anywhere (see advert) about wildcat health problems and illnesses! Surprising.

There is nothing on the internet that sits up and says, here is a list. I cannot find anything on a fairly decent search.

The truth is we don't know. In fact we know relatively little about the wildcats except that our presence on the planet is killing them off and pushing them out.

Michael Avatar


See also: Cat Colony Diseases

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Cat Dry Skin

Three all natural treatments for cat dry skin are listed on this page. First though, I think people are making a presumption that their cat has dry skin because he or she is constantly scratching themselves. This is usually around the shoulders, neck and face (forehead near the ears).

From personal experience I would not make that presumption. The foremost book on cat health does not refer to "dry skin" it its index. Sure, there are countless skin conditions that can cause itching and scratching but they are not cat dry skin problems and this post is about cat dry skin!

I would deal with the obvious first. Check out your cat for fleas, and mites. If you don't have one buy a good flea comb (32 teeth to the inch) and have a good comb - of your cat! If you don't see a flea keep trying. Try all over the chin, face above the eyes, behind the ears, over the shoulders, down the back and at the base of the tail and do it very thoroughly. Take your time.

Fleas can be small and large, dark brown and light brown. After the comb has passed through the fur immediately check the comb. Be fast because fleas jump off onto your cat or anywhere else. If you can't be sure hold the comb up to the light and check for movement. Crush fleas on the comb with the nail of your thumb! You'll hear a pop - very satisfying noise. You may not see fleas but that does not mean that they are not there - keep looking.

If you see fleas keep combing them all out. If there are lots check out flea treatments. It only takes on little pain-in-the-arse flea to cause some cats great irritation and plenty of scratching. Some cats are more tolerant but some more sensitive. Some are allergic.

Once you have eliminated the possibility of bugs and any other skin condition, your cat might have dry skin despite no reference to it on the Cat Owner's Home Veterinary Handbook. Or your cat has an unspecified skin condition. In which case I would consider purchasing one or all of the following products which are natural cures:

Feline Ouch Away for Cat Skin Irritation - $21.95
Feline Ouch Away is an effective herbal extract formulation that soothes and softens irritated skin, fights infection and helps hair re-growth in affected areas.

Feline All Clear Ointment for Cat Skin Disease - $21.95
Feline All Clear Ointment is an herbal formulation that soothes and heals skin affected by bacterial and fungal infections and other cat skin disorders.

Feline Royal Coat EFA Express - Cat - $24.95
Provides your cat with an excellent, all-natural source of EFAs (essential fatty acids) they need to maintain healthy skin and shiny coats.

Good luck with cat dry skin problems. You might like to read Cat Skin Problems too.

Michael Avatar

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Caring for a Siamese Cat




Photo by anthrovik

All the usual things should be in place for caring for a Siamese cat. What I mean is that a Siamese cat has the same basic requirements regarding care as any other cat, moggie or purebred - obviously.

There is perhaps one additional factor: the Siamese is an interactive cat that likes to have close contact with his or her human caretaker/guardian. They are vocal and like to be heard!

That means being around more than usual. A retired couple are probably ideal human companions. Or people over aged 55. Sorry if that sounds ageist.

I have a page on how to avoid cat behavior problems, which is really about how to approach caring for a domestic cat. Click on this link to see it. It is a PDF file. It will load and look different to a standard web page.

Siamese Cat Allergy Information

I am not sure I have addressed this specific topic before so I'll do it again if I have! I have read a lot about hypoallergenic cat breeds and there is nothing on the internet that supports the notion that Siamese cats are hypoallergenic.

Hypoallergenic means a lessened reaction by us to the cat allergen Fel D1 protein in the cat's saliva.

I have a page on this subject that you might like to visit: Hypoallergenic Cat Breeds.

Saturday 13 August 2011

Range of Siamese Cat Points

Here is a picture by Flickr photographer Chris Isherwood of his Siamese cats and an Oriental Shorthair (an associated cat breed). I have guessed (incorrectly on two occasions!) what type of pointing the cats have:




Siamese cat types and one Oriental Shorthair


One aspect of the cats that you can see clearly is the smooth single coat that lies close to the skin. This is typical of Siamese cats. It is in complete contrast to the shaggy long coat of the Maine Coon and the dense tight coat of the British Shorthair.

Someone can leave me a comment to correct me! Go on, I dare you.

Famous Siamese Cats

This is a list of famous Siamese cats from Wikipedia. I have changed the links.

Real:
  • Jason - Seal-point on BBC TV's Blue Peter 

  • Lalage, owned by the writer Anthony Burgess, taken by him to Malaya. After a long life she died in Kota Bharu, just across the border from Siam 

  • Marcus, briefly owned by James Dean, was a gift from Elizabeth Taylor. Marcus was named after James Dean's uncle, Marcus Winslow, who along with his wife took care of Dean after his mother died. 

  • Misty Malarky Ying Yang, pet of Amy Carter, daughter of US President Jimmy Carter 

  • Nemo, travelling companion of British Prime Minister Harold Wilson 

  • Shan Shein - White House cat owned by Gerald Ford's daughter, Susan. 

Fictional:
  • Ayesha, Erik's cat from Susan Kay's novel Phantom 

  • Bimbo, a Siamese kitten in Enid Blyton's Bimbo and Topsy 

  • Lumpy and Non-Lumpy, the cats from The Chronicles of Gonorrhea 

  • In Garfield: The Movie, Nermal is a Siamese cat, unlike in the comics where he's a gray tabby cat. 

  • Bucky Katt from Get Fuzzy 

  • Genghis (Gilbert in the UK) - Growltiger's enemy in Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats by T. S. Eliot 

  • Kit, the "familiar spirit" of the main characters in Charmed 

  • Koko & Yum-Yum and Brutus & Catta - from Lilian Jackson Braun's "The Cat Who..." novels 

  • Pyewacket, the witch's familiar in the film Bell, Book and Candle

  • Solange from 9 Chickweed Lane 

  • Lulu, the flighty Siamese cat who turns Peter's head briefly in Paul Gallico's novel Jennie (or The Abandoned) 

  • Skippyjon Jones from the series of the same name 

  • Isis, Catwoman's thieving pet appears as a Siamese cat in Krypto the Superdog

  • Sagwa, Dongwa, and Sheegwa in the children's book Sagwa, the Chinese Siamese Cat by Amy Tan and animated TV series of the same name. 

  • Shun Gon - a Chinese Siamese cat, who plays the drums and the piano using chopsticks that appears in the Disney movie The Aristocats

  • Si and Am - the havoc-wreaking villains of Lady and the Tramp, both voiced by Peggy Lee (see Si and Am Siamese Cats). 

  • Tao, one of the three main characters (along with two dogs) in Sheila Burnford's novel The Incredible Journey and the 1963 Walt Disney film of the same name, in which Tao was played by a Siamese tom named Syn 

  • "D.C.", title character of the 1965 Walt Disney film That Darn Cat!, played by the talented animal actor Syn, who had previously starred in "The Incredible Journey" 

  • The Scratch Sisters - a tough siamese trio in Varjak Paw, a novel by S. F. Said. 

  • Ling Ling, a Siamese in the American sitcom Bewitched. Ling Ling had a minor role in the series but was mostly remembered for being featured in the episode Ling Ling. 

  • Rose&Lily - Two Siamese she-cats in Warriors: SkyClan`s Destiny , a super edition from the Warriors Series , written by Erin Hunter.

    Blue British Shorthair Show Cat

    Yep..another blue British Shorthair at a cat show it seems to me. He looks so smooth. His coat is crackling with crispness! The coat of the British Shorthair should be dense and the best cat coat of all to stroke.




    Blue Brit SH - Photo quatre mains on Flickr

    Lilac Pointed British Shorthair

    His name is Lionel and he is a lilac pointed British Shorthair cat. He looks magnificent in the snow.

    Although the British Shorthair is well known for its blue (grey) coat the cat associations allow a wide range of coat types and pointing is one of them.

    I find that there is a very fine differences sometimes between blue pointing and lilac pointed. Lionel looks like he has blue pointing!

    Silver Classic Tabby British Shorthair Kitten

    I think I have shown a picture of this really nice looking cat before. This time the coat is more visible. This is a classic or blotched (as opposed to a mackerel - striped) tabby coat. The background is silver.




    Silver tabby British Shorthair - Photo by warper

    See a page with lots of pictures and explanations on the tabby cat coat.

    Friday 12 August 2011

    Balinese Cat: A Longhaired Siamese Cat

    The title pretty much says it all. The country Bali has nothing to do with the cat. It is just a nice name. The CFA treats this cat breed as a Siamese cat. This tells you that from cat association to cat association there are differences in regards to definitions which causes confusion amongst the public. Cat fanciers don't mind as they do it for themselves!




    Seal Pointed Balinese cat - Photo copyright Helmi Flick



    The photo on this page is protected by copyright ©. Violations of copyright are reported to Google.com (DMCA).

    The Balinese cat can be a traditional cat or a modern contemporary cat. The former is more cobby and normal while the latter is slender and abnormal - provocative stuff. See cat body types for more on that.

    Read about Balinese cat history and the Balinese Cat in more detail. The Balinese cat is shown in the pointed category, in all divisions.

    Javanese Cat another relative of the Siamese

    The Siamese cat has an extended family. There are several cat breeds that could almost be Siamese cats but are not treated as such by some cat associations; the CFA being one such association. One breed of cat that is closely related is the Javanese. In the United States, it is a longhaired modern Siamese cat (called the Balinese cat by some associations) with non-standard pointing. It is sometimes described as an Oriental Longhair that is pointed. The Oriental Shorthair is another related cat. The Javanese is a very elegant cat with a wonderful plumed tail. Please remember that the body conformation of the cat in the Helmi picture is oriental meaning slender. This is the body of what I call a Modern Siamese. There are traditional cats that are more normal in conformation.

    Javanese cat photo - "4Ever"- copyright Helmi Flick

    The photo on this page is protected by copyright ©. Violations of copyright are reported to Google.com (DMCA).
    The non-traditional points are:
    • cream
    • lynx: seal, blue, chocolate, lilac
    • tortoiseshell
    • flame
    Read and see more about the Javanese cat by clicking on this link.

    The description "Javanese cat" means something different in Europe and the UK. The Javanese cat has nothing to do with the island called Java; an island that is part of Indonesia.

    Oriental Shorthair: Cousin of Modern Siamese

    The Oriental Shorthair in the USA is a close relative of the modern, oriental body shaped Siamese cat. It is has the same slender body shape but under cat association breed standards breeders are not confined to color pointing and certain colors. It seems that anything goes in respect of the coat color and pattern. You just keep the "canvas" (the body) the same! I am talking like a cat breeder/fancier now.

    Click on this link to see and read about the Oriental Shorthair cat. And see two more articles that refer to the Oriental Shorthair.




    Chocolate self Oriental Shorthair kitten - Photo by demented-pixie

    Thursday 11 August 2011

    Large Blue British Shorthair Cat

    This is a great picture of a blue British Shorthair cat because the cat is gorgeous and a blue British Shorthair show cat and secondly the photo allows us to scale this cat because he is being held by a person.




    Large Blue British Shorthair Cat - Photo byTomi Tapio

    This is a large Brit SH. Not all Brit SHs are this large. This leads me to the subject of how difficult it can be to provide information on the weights and sizes of cat breeds.

    I have a page on that subject: Largest Domestic Cat Breed, but at least one person has challenged my information.

    The truth is that there will be breeders who breed large versions of a breed and in some countries the size might be smaller and there are differences between individual cats naturally.

    Then there is the natural difference between male and female cats. It becomes complicated. All I know is that this boy is big and beautiful.

    British Shorthair Characteristics

    Here are just three physical characteristics as specified by the CFA breed standard relating to the head area as set against a show cat who is in a cage sitting in his litter for emotional comfort (smells like him).




    British Shorthair breed standard nose, head and eyes - Photo: by Daisyree Bakker

    SureFlap



    SureflapThe SureFlap is a cat flap (sometimes called a "cat door" in the USA) that I have been thinking about. As you might know I have two cats, one very old and one with three legs - I am a kind of cat nurse! I love it though.

    They both like to go out into the garden. They never travel more than about 20 yards from the cat flap. I am confident that they are safe.

    But, the cat flap is an open invitation to stray cats and what I call time share cats. Time share cats are cats who like to spend time at various homes in the neighborhood. This is probably because they are not completely satisfied with their actually home! That can be for one of several reasons. The most common is because the person is not there much and there is a shortage of food or the food is poor and yours is better.

    I have had a few time share cats and one is affecting my quality of life. I call him Marty and he wears a bell. He comes in late in the evening after I have put down night food for my cats. He wants to eat the night food. If he eats it, my little old lady cat wakes me up at 3 in the morning asking (nay..demanding) food. I lose sleep. It is a simple chain reaction of events that messes up my night

    The SureFlap recognises the ID chip that is implanted into your cat. I am told that microchipping is quite common in the United States. Microchipping a cat is not completely without health risk, I think it far to say, but it is considered safe.

    The SureFlap only lets your microchipped cat pass through the cat flap. At a stroke that would solve the "Marty problem". Another benefit is that it protects the indoor environment of your cats. This is their territory and intruders may cause tensions and even fights. My three legged boy has occasionally attacked or charged at Marty in the home.

    There are health risks too if a strange cat eats from your cat's bowl. You don't know about the health of the stray cat. Is she carrying a contagious disease? Will it be transmitted in saliva or through direct contact?

    The SureFlap would solve these potentially serious health problems too. They supply internationally (http://www.sureflap.com/).

    Michael signature

    Wednesday 10 August 2011

    Siamese Cats Wool Chewing

    A condition called Pica (eating non-nutritional items) and which includes wool sucking is said to be more prevalent in Siamese and Burmese cats.

    Read more about Pica.

    Siamese Cat Genetic Anomalies

    I have an extensive page on genetic diseases in purebred cats. But on this page I would like to refer to page 91 of The Cat, Its Behavior, Nutrition and Health where it mentions that the Siamese cat as a cat breed, has the following "associated disorders":

    • Hyperesthesia syndrome - rolling skin disease and possible seizures and self mutilation.

    • Intestinal adenocarcinomas: mammary tumors - forms of cancer, unusually high in Siamese.

    • Hydrocephalus - excessive spinal fluid accumulation - autosomal recessive gene causes it.

    • Congenital heart defects  - more common in Siamese than other breeds.

    Siamese Cats and Feline Diabetes

    Linda P. Case in her book The Cat, Its Behavior, Nutrition and Health

     

    says on page 350 that "there is some evidence that Siamese and Burmese cats might be at a higher risk for diabetes..."

    She qualifies that by saying this figures might be distorted by the popularity of the Siamese cat and therefore more Siamese being treated for the disease.

    When Do You Euthanize Your Cat?



    I was at the veterinary clinic again the other day. My geriatric lady cat (Binnie) had cystitis. I can diagnose cystitis. I think it was caused by not feeding her plain microwaved fish plus added water. The fishy soup that I usually give her helps to keep her urinary tract flushed out, which helps to stop the formation of bacteria. I had stopped buying fish because I couldn't get it online anymore from my usual supplier - the oceans are being fished out.

    Geriatric catAnyway we are fixing the cystitis (antibiotics and fishy soup!). Binnie is very thin these days and has a lump inside her the size of an orange, I am told.

    She must be about 19-20 years of age but I am not sure because I rescued her off the street 18 years ago. I mentioned to the vet that I think about her dying and that it upsets me. I am constantly waiting for it, I said.

    She made the point that few cats just die at home. Most get to a stage with their health where the quality of their life prompts us to consider euthanasia. Maybe we should do the same with people? That is a big debate.

    Anyway, it is likely that there will come a time when I will have to decide to euthanize my friend of 18 years. I said that I will know when that time arrives. How will I know?

    I think you can tell instinctively, but if we analyse those instincts we arrive at these questions:

    • Is your cat in pain and/or discomfort that cannot be relieved?
    • Is she eating and drinking?
    • Can she do the things that she likes to do?
    • Is she having a lot of bad days?
    These are all about quality of life. When life has degraded to a certain extent there comes a time when we think it is probably time to leave. As my dad said, "It is time to go north".

    Quality of life questions are very difficult. I believe I will know when it is time for my darling Binnie to go north.

    In the 21st century euthanasia is carried out by an intravenous injection of an anesthetic agent in an amount that causes unconsciousness and cardiac arrest. It is not always done this way.

    Children should be involved if appropriate. They are often able to cope better than adults.

    Then the grieving begins.
    Michael signature

    Tuesday 9 August 2011

    Siamese Cat Sapphire Blue Eyes

    The Siamese cat should have "brilliant sapphire blue", eyes (Gloria Stephens). Here is a nice picture by Flickr photographer by thelittleone417 of those sapphire blue eyes. I don't know if this cat is purebred or not but the eyes are pretty damn good:


    Flame Point Siamese Cat Sabrina

    Sabrina 1 by ltshears
    Sabrina 1, a photo by ltshears on Flickr.
    A really nice looking, pretty, female, flame pointed Siamese cat.

    The flame point (red or orange pointing) is an interesting looking cat and people are attracted to this appearance.

    I have another page on the Flame Point Siamese cat. They are called "red point" as well. The eyes should be a brilliant sapphire blue. The Siamese cat is recognised in the pointed category of cat associations, in all divisions, in all pointed colors but at the CFA only the classic colors are recognised.

    Admire Our Cat's Claws



    I know a lot of people might think me a bit mad but I like the cat's claw. I admire it and I actually play around with my cat's claws sometimes! People who are a little fearful (or plain scared) of cat's claws will find my attitude strange.

    cat's clawsAll the members of the Carnivora have claws. They are meant to be sharp to make them effective in catching and holding prey. During prey capture, the claws are extended from their relaxed and retracted position, and dug into the skin of the prey.

    This enables the cat to cling on to the animal. The toes of the cat can then be closed in the same way that we close our hands around an object. This has the effect of driving the claws further into the prey. I know this sounds a bit gruesome but it is natural. Once the claws are well dug in, escape for the animal is very difficult.

    Claws also assist in grooming and scooping up water (some cats do this), kneading, climbing and stabilizing the cat when jumping to a new position.

    Cats claws are made of a hard protein called keratin; the same material that makes our fingernails. But it is not so hard that it does not wear down in use. Domestic cats that are inside/outside cats will have claws that have worn down tips. They are blunted somewhat. The claws of the hind legs tend to wear down faster than the foreleg claws because of the extra pressure placed upon them when jumping. There is probably no need to trim the claws of outdoor cats because of the extra wear.

    The retractability of the claw is designed to protect it, to keep it sharp. When the cat's toes are in a relaxed position the claw is retracted by an elastic ligament. "As the toes (digits) are extended the tendon of the flexor muscle pulls on the lower edge of the third phalanx (the bone that holds the claw) so that the claw turns and points downwards" (The Big Cats by Allan Turner ISBN 978-0-231-10229-2).

    The cheetah is said to be unique amongst the felids. The claws of the cheetah are "somewhat less retractable". The scientific genus name Acinonyx refers to this. The name comes from akineo, no movement and onynx, claw. The claws being semi-retracted allow the cheetah to grip the ground better when running and turning. The survival of the cheetah is dependent on its ability to catch prey with its speed and agility.

    The dew claw is on the cat's thumb on the side of the paw. We hardly see it. It does not come into contact with the ground and is therefore constantly sharp. It is used to grasp prey and is particularly long in the cheetah.

    Cat's claws are beautifully efficient pieces of anatomy in an animal that nature has designed to be a highly efficient predator. Let's admire them for what they are and not be frightened of them.

    Michael signature

    Monday 8 August 2011

    Seal Point Siamese Cat in Thailand

    This is an interesting photo of a Siamese cat in Siam - well it is called Thailand now but does this cat give us a clue as to what the original Siamese cat looked like before being picked up by the English cat fancy in the late 1800s.

    The picture was taken where the marker in this map indicates:


    View Larger Map

    This is the photo:




    Seal Point Siamese Temple Cat in Thailand

    You can see that this cat is not oriental in shape but mid range moggie shape (semi-cobby) and a little fat actually!

    Cat breeders in the USA justify breeding very slender cats on the basis that the shape is what the Siamese cat was like in Thailand - rubbish obviously. Or if they don't try and justify selective breeding in that way they are clearly breeding cats that are unnatural and unpopular with the public.

    You can see the tabby banding on the forelegs. This cat has, it seems, an element of tabby pointing about him (lynx points).

    Siamese Cats and Film Stars

    Because the Siamese cat was considered very exotic and special for the first 70 years of its life as a cat breed it is not surprising that a number of film stars kept Siamese cats or a Siamese cat.

    You can read about them on this page. All of the film stars are from a bygone era as is the exotic nature of the Siamese cat. It is now a popular mainstream cat breed. It is the wildcat hybrids, particularly the first filials that have taken over the role of exotic cat.
    Pyewacket is the Siamese cat witch's familiar in the film Bell, Book and Candle. It is a fine film starring Kim Novak and Jimmy Stewart. Pyewacket is a name for a witch's cat going back to the time of witches:


    I have a page on the film Bell, Book and Candle.

    Wikipedia is wrong in the first sentence on the Siamese cat

    Wikipedia's first sentence on the Siamese cat is: "The Siamese is one of the first distinctly recognized breeds of Oriental cat."

    The word "oriental' in this instance means the slender body shape that cat fanciers describe as oriental.

    However, the Siamese cat is not meant to be oriental in shape. The cat breeders took it upon themselves to decide that the Siamese cat is meant to be slender but it is not. They selectively bred the Siamese over 50 years since the the mid-1900s to change the cat's appearance from a normal looking cat to one that is unnaturally slender. The oriental shape does not occur naturally anywhere.

    The original Siamese cats were not slender but of normal appearance or to use cat fancy language "semi-cobby" in body shape.

    So the Wikipedia authors have it wrong in the first sentence. They are following the pack. It was probably written by an American Siamese cat breeder, probably a CFA affiliated Siamese cat breeder.

    You cannot always trust Wikipedia to provide objective information.

    Time for a Cat Association in India

    I have just posted two articles about purebred cats for sale in India - here is one. They both relate to Siamese cats of course although Persians and Russian Blues are available and more perhaps.

    It is time to create a new Indian cat association to register these cats and record their pedigree to make them formally purebred cats.

    There is one of two things to do. Either start a new cat association in India or ask TICA - The International Cat Association - to open a branch in India.

    The Expanding Purebred Cat MarketPlace

    Sunday 7 August 2011

    Glittered Bengal Cat

    Glitter is something cat breeders seek when breeding the Bengal cat. It is rather mystical it seems to me! I discuss this interesting subject on this page: Bengal Cat Coat Glitter. Essentially it is what it sounds it should be. The effect is caused by mica, a silicate crystal, in the tip of the hair shaft, apparently.

    Bengal Cat History

    Bengal cat history is about the beginnings of this breed of cat and the development thereafter. The development of the breed will be more or less the same as any breed of cat: selective breeding to refine and create an appearance that appeals while trying to preserve good health.

    The beginnings by Jean Mill are unique to the Bengal cat, of course. I discuss these topics on this page.

    Or you can go direct to Bengal Cat Origins - I am critical! What else?

    Bengal Cat Anesthesia and Bengal Cat and Ketamine

    Well, it is hard to find specific information about the dangers of anesthetics to Bengal cats in particular. Anesthesia is dangerous to all animals including people. There is a chance that the cat will die during anesthesia. I heard while talking at a vets that 1% of cats die under general anesthetic.

    Bengal cat photo by Helmi Flick with her permission

    Please balance the pros and cons before agreeing to have your cat anesthetised for any operation. Dental cleaning comes to mind. The Cat Owner's Home Veterinary Handbook does not give a warning about Bengal cats under anesthetic. Neither does it mention Ketamine in relation to Bengal cats.

    However this excellent book states that thin cats without extra weight or fat should be accomodated in terms of the amount of drug used because they have an increased sensitivity. Bengal cats are firm and fit without fat, usually. This might be a factor.

    A visitor to my site says that Ketamine should not be administered to Bengal cats. Vets should use Isoflourane instead. She is a breeder I believe and she made a comment on the following page about Anesthesia and Cats, which provides more detail on this subject. Beware of anesthetics, please.

    On a related subject tigers can be killed by a anesthetic. This happened accidentally can you believe it. Please read this story.

    Bengal Cat Magazine

    There is one Bengal cat magazine that is probably the best known. It might even be the only Bengal cat magazine. The publishers are USA located. It is called "Bengals Illustrated". It is published four times yearly (once every three months). It comes in paper version and digital version (CD rom). Prices are reasonable and the photos and articles are outstanding.

    It is published by the International Bengal Cat Connection.

    Visit their website if you wish. This is the link (shows back issues).

    Genetically Engineered Bengal Cat

    Some people think that the Bengal cat is "genetically engineered" because they search for information about this subject. This cat breed is not genetically engineered on the standard definition of that phrase. "Genetic engineering" could be defined as "the direct human manipulation of an organism's genome using modern DNA technology".

    Photo: Helmi Flick.
    The Bengal cat is a simple hybrid. There are many breeds of cat that are hybrids. Most are domestic cat to domestic cat matings such as the Burmilla. These are breeds created by mating a cat of one breed with a cat of another breed. Cat breeds though are all one species of cat (the domestic cat - felis catus).

    There are some wild cat to domestic cat matings that occur naturally. The wildcat hybrids such as the Bengal and Savannah (and Safari) are deliberate matings of wildcat with domestic cat, however. This though is not genetic engineering.

    Marble Bengal Cat

    Window to my Desk by littleREDelf
    Window to my Desk, a photo by littleREDelf on Flickr.
    Here is a nice photograph of a marbled (or marble) Bengal cat. Nice clean photo and a beautiful cat. The cat looks young in this photograph.

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