Showing posts from September, 2011

Black Calico Cat Picture

It's him again. The stunning black calico cat that I have to publish again on the home page because I have just seen a special photo of him: His coat glows and his blaze shows...prominently on his nose! A blaze is the dark line on down his nose. Hey, I'm getting poetic. Not surprising seeing that he is a little symphony in orange, black and a smattering of white. I think his name is Kenya Lion and that he is 3 months old and weighs 2.3kgs (5 pounds). He is large then. Gosh, he is a stunning cat. Imagine him walking around the house and a visitor pops by. He would catch your eye.. He lives with Gosia Zeszutek, I believe. I think she is a breeder. But I am in the black..err dark on that. See lots more of this cat on FB (opens new window/tab)

Should we socialise wildcats?

Should we socialise wildcats? Well, of course we should if we keep our wild cat as a pet. You have to, otherwise it will be impossible. Wildcats have a natural fear or distrust of the human, which translates into defensive aggression and that leads to a lot of trouble for both parties. The question then is should we keep wild cats as pets? This is a personal choice, obviously. I disagree with it because we admire the wildcat for what he or she is. A big part of our admiration is related to the fact that the cat is wild, free and independent, courageous etc. If you emasculate the wildcat by making it dependent on the human, it seems to me that you take away that which you admire. Unless you admire more the appearance of the cat. Without wishing to be judgmental or critical, I feel that people who wish to keep exotic felines (small wildcats in practice) are being a little self indulgent. They want to own a pretty object. And the small wildcats are very pretty. Many have wonderful c

Cats are Pawns in Divorce

One of the most distasteful aspect of divorce proceedings in the UK and perhaps around the world is the way the divorcing parties use the children in a battle over possessions. And believe me children are treated like possessions in some divorce cases. I won't go into where the fault lies but it is all about the vulnerable. Children are vulnerable and dependent on their parents and therefore exposed to the whims of emotional adults who are fighting. Cats are in the same position only more so. They are the most vulnerable family member. You hear countless stories of cats being hurt and killed by separating parties; it need not be divorce that prompts this bad behavior. Often it is the violent male who kills the cat to hurt his former partner. In a recent case in the newspapers a variation on the theme has sprung to light. The wife of a member of parliament in the UK knew of her husband's infidelity. In fact it was an open marriage. But she become upset and for some reaso

Houses built with cats in mind

I have a dream but it's about cats and how we should tailor our houses to accommodate our domestic cat companions. They are, after all, family members. When a new house is built no consideration is given to that little family member that gives us so much joy. Is there a reason why house builders cannot integrate into house design the facility to add a cat enclosure at a later date or at the time of build? The cat enclosure need not be there at the time of build but an allowance within the design of the house should make it easy to add one. In fact such a design feature should be obligatory under house building regulations. Think of the impact it would have on reducing homeless cats. Something would be done about the so called feral cat problem. Feral cats start out as stray domestic cats or the offspring of them, on way or another. I think we have to think out of the box a bit more in dealing with homeless cats. A good cat enclosure provides safety and stimulation for the cat a

Cat Separation Anxiety Treatment

We shouldn't really be thinking about cat separation anxiety treatment. We should be thinking about how to remove the cause of the cat separation anxiety. Now that may not be possible of course. Anxiety in a cat caused by the cat's separation from his or her human caretaker is probably fairly common. Incidentally I see no reason to assume that it cannot occur when a cat is separated from another cat. Some cats may be predisposed to cat separation anxiety because they are for any number of reasons anxious cats. The classic underlying reason is early weaning. Anxious cats are more likely to become aggressive as a defensive measure as they are less confident. Confident cats are probably the best cat companions if managed properly. I have just responded to a young women's request for help to stop her male cat urinating on her clothes and bed when she is away . These are classic signs of cat separation anxiety. My ex-wife had the same problem because she liked to work h

Black Calico Cat

Today I have selected a fine example of a black calico cat, who lives in the Netherlands, to be featured on this page from the Facebook group page. Here he is: Some people have called him a tortoiseshell cat. He is but as there is some white and as the tortoiseshell is very dark in the USA he is a black calico, I would say or a tortoiseshell and white in the UK. He lives with Sientje Tierelier. See him here on FB in large format (opens a new window)

Suzie N Swizzle Tabby Cats

Facebook or FB for short is a powerful form of social media. Thanks to Elisa Black-Taylor (mainly) we have a lovely group of people who show off their cats on the FB group page. I call, PoC as it takes less time to type it. I am going to select my favorite cat or cats and the story concerning the cats (if there is one) every day for the next week and put them on the home page - this page - as a thank you for joining the group and to spread the word that these are great cats. This page gets a decent number of visitors; it's in the tens of thousands per month. So the selected cats will be in the spotlight for a while. Here is my first selection: Meet Suzie and Swizzle....errr no this is Swizzle N Suzie ..They are sisters and I guess great company for each other. They are gray/brown tabby and white (not much white) cats. They fight over who gets named first. I chose Suzie N Swizzle because I love the names as a double act and I

Black Cat Rehabilitation

The black cat has been out of favor since medieval times! The time of witches and witch's familiars! The church of the time in all its prejudice and ignorance declared the cat evil. And since those days there has been a lot of prejudice against the black cat. The black cat is unlucky or lucky in some places which right away tells us how illogical the whole black cat superstitions are. You can read more about black cat superstitions and prejudices towards the cat on these pages: The Evil Cat Black Cats We have Halloween coming up in October. Historically, some black cats get hurt at this time. You can see the connection. Even at a basic level some people believe the black cat to be unlucky. This as mentioned harks back to medieval times. Others might simply say that the black has a boring appearance. But that is not really fair. The black cat coat can look incredibly slick and shinny. It certainly looks fantastic on the Bombay cat , a purebred cat that has to be black and

Cat Euphemisms

Some euphemisms of the cat world are disturbing. We do like to hide from the reality of what we do. A euphemism is the act of substituting a mild or vague term for one that might be considered harsh or blunt. They can serve a useful purpose but they can also deflect us from the truth. Only by addressing the truth are we able to make advances by correcting wrongdoing. Euphemisms hold us back and that certainly applies to the cat world. An innocuous euphemism is the word "scat". It means animal faeces, excrement. It is used by scientists when describing, for example, DNA analysis of a tiger's faeces when conducting a tiger count. Scat analysis is also used to ascertain a cat's diet. An example of a euphemism in the domestic cat world that is positively dangerous (to cats!) in the way it is used is the word, "euthanasia" or "euthanise". Euthanasia is  meant to describe the humane killing of a cat that is seriously ill with an incurable disease a

Our Confused Relations with the Cat

Our thoughts about, and our relations with the cat are contradictory and rather strange. We all know about the ancient Egyptians who were so captivated with the cat that they adopted them for their deities. But it wasn't all rosy for cats at that time. Cats were sacrificed and probably bred for that purposes. A highly contradictory state of affairs. We use the name of the big cats in all manner of ways, particularly in commercial sporting enterprises. The tiger and lion represent strength, fearlessness and courage; characteristics that we often lack and desire to possess, particularly on the sports field. Yet we also like to declaw the big cats and make them caged pets, thereby totally denuding the animal that we admire of all that we admire about the animal. I find that highly contradictory too. And I find it sad. We farm the wildcats for their fur. We do this in the wild through hunting or we simply treat captive wildcats as livestock. All the wildcats have beautiful coats.

The Evil Cat

Did you know that in the 16th century artists often used cats to represent evil. And before that in 1232, Pope Gregory started the Inquisition. The Inquisition was the "fight against heretics" . A heretic was someone who believed in something other than the established Christian beliefs. The Inquisition declared that heretics worshiped the devil in the form of a  black tom cat . There is no mention of cats neither wild nor domestic in the Old or New Testament of the bible. In AD 500 the Talmud (the central text of mainstream Judaism) praised cats for their cleanliness. That was it. However as Christianity spread, Jesus became known as "The Lion of Judah". At the time lions roamed in numbers throughout the middle east. Moving forward again to 1344, to the French town of Metz, cats were blamed for an outbreak of a disease of the nervous system called "St.Vitus's dance". And in 1347-1348 the cat was blamed for the spread of the bubonic plague comm

Manx cat

The Manx cat is the archetype tailless cat. It is a purebred cat and a well know cat breed. Although it is not mainstream in the way Siamese cats and Persian cat are. The Manx is so synonymous with a cat that has no tail that people frequently describe tailless cats of any breed or non-purebred cats, as a Manx. This is a Manx cat guide or profile. Pictures of Manx cats I'll start with a Manx cat photo as this is what people want to see: Brown tabby and white Manx 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 (DMCA). The excellent Helmi photograph shows the taillessness nicely. You can also see that this cat breed is very stocky ("cobby") in cat fancy language. Not all purebred cats are cobby. The general trend it might be argued is towards slender, oriental or foreign body shapes. I have a page on the Manx cat breed standard if

Black Tabby Cat

A black tabby cat doesn't really exist. The word "black" and "tabby" are mutually exclusive. The cat can be one or the other but not both unless the cat is not quite black and the tabby pattern can be seen in ghost form. In which case the cat would not really be black. Melanistic cats are black and they have ghost tabby patterns, usually spots and/or joined up spots. This is the case with many wild cat species. Although you don't see the word "tabby" used in conjunction with wildcats. It is very much a domestic cat concept. However, many wild cats are tabby cats. The classic is the tabby coated Scottish wildcat . This cat species looks like a large, grey domestic tabby cat. The wildcat species (a small wild cat) looks like a domestic tabby cat. There is no trace of a tabby coat in a jet black cat such as the Bombay cat - a purebred cat. Another type of tabby cat that has black pigmentation in the fur and tabby markings are black smoke coa

Diagnosing and Testing for FeLV

The experts say that the feline leukemia virus (FeLV) is "responsible for more cat diseases than any other infectious agent". It directly or indirectly kills more cats than any other virus. About 1-2 percent of healthy free roaming cats are infected and up to 40% of ill free roaming cats have FeLV. Chart showing how FeLV affects cats Feel free to use it but link back to this page please At the time of this post there are two diagnostic tests for an infection of the feline leukemia virus in your cat. ELISA TEST The ELISA test detects virus antigen (an antigen is a substance that causes an immune response) in the cat's whole blood, serum, saliva and tears. It detects early and transient infections. There is a home test kit for this, which I think is useful to reassure cat keepers especially those with multi-cat households where up to 30 percent of cats can be infected. It is expensive but so is going to the veterinarian. And they will probably try and sell yo

Health Screening for Domestic Cats

Health screening for domestic cats is quite an important area of scientific medicine. Genetic research in relation to people is becoming a major force in medicine. Cats lag behind as would be expected. Screening for diseases is especially important for cat breeders. Naturally, responsible breeders should "cull" (remove from the breeding line or programme) cats that carry genes that produce health defects in offspring. Arguably not enough is done in this regard. Here is a list compiled from the best cat health book: Cat Owner's Home Veterinary Handbook , that sets out the cat health screening available as at the date of this post. Obviously as advances are made this list becomes increasingly redundant. From Health Screening for Domestic Cats to Home Page

Swimming Cats

Despite the widespread idea that the domestic cat dislikes water and cannot swim, it is almost certain that all domestic cats can swim well if they had to. I would speculate that they are natural born swimmers but just don't know it. This is because their wild cat ancestors are good swimmers.  Some wild cats are exceptional swimmers . I am thinking of the  leopard cat , the wildcat parent of the Bengal cat, the  fishing cat  and the  tiger , to name three. Even the lion living on the savanna plains can traverse a wide river without a problem. The tiger can swim in the open sea for several miles if called upon to do that. Wild cats need to like water because their prey is likely to be at or around water. The fishing cat has semi-webbed feet! This shows how proficient and adapted for water this cat is. An example is in the news (mid September 2011). A black domestic cat called "Tootsie" living in Hereford, England, was almost killed by a car. His right leg was shatter

End the Trade in Generic Tigers

This is about the United States Fish and Wildlife Service's (USFWS) proposal to rescind (meaning remove in this instance) the exemption from the requirement of registration - the permit and reporting requirements that normally apply to endangered species - of so called generic tigers in the USA. Generic tigers are, if you like, non-purebred tigers. They are not one of the subspecies of tiger. They are hybrids. However there are large numbers of them in the USA in private hands and that is astonishing to Europeans. USFWS don't really know how many there are and whether the tigers feed the insatiable demand for tiger body parts that is fed from tiger farms in China. It is possible that tigers are being killed in the USA and exported to China. To remove the exemption to register would allow the authorities to monitor the situation, to have a handle on it and thereby help tiger conservation. This is because farming tigers feeds the tiger body part trade. This promotes that

Siamese Cat Health Screening

Here is a list of health screening tests on various cat health problems and in respect of various cat breeds with specific health problems including the Siamese cat: The organisations carrying out the screening usually provide certificates. Sometimes genetic testing is specific to the breed as different genes cause the same problem in different breeds. The source of the information is the Cat Owner's Home Veterinary Handbook. If you buy one cat book, buy this one!

Feline hyperesthesia is more commonly seen in Siamese cats

You can read about feline hyperesthesia on this page . In short cats have times when their skin twitches, their tail whips. Their skin seems sensitive and they don't like being touched. Another symptom is dilated pupils. The cause could be behavioral or neurological. Science has not yet decided. It is reported in Cat Owner's Home Veterinary Handbook that Siamese cats suffer from this condition more commonly than average. So do Burmese and Himalayan cat breeds, both of which are related to the Siamese.

Silencing the noisy Siamese cat

The title is a bit brutal. Personally, I am fine with a vocal cat unless it is three in the morning. But for some cat caretakers it might grate a bit from time to time. Also cats ask for food and a lot of us, most of us, respond by giving it. If we don't our cat asks again and again...If your cat is a Siamese cat the ask might sound like a shout! Linda P Case in her book The Cat, Its Behavior, Nuitrition & Health , says that for cats that are very vocal, and the Siamese heads that list, the cat can be silenced eventually when meowing excessively for food, by "withdrawing all interactions whenever a cat meows...". This leads to "extinction" of the meowing under those circumstances. Perhaps a balance is needed. I feel that a complete withdrawal of response it not good on the basis that it is a failure to interact and we keep cats to interact with them.

Seal Point Siamese with a bit of tabby cat

Photo by NH53 (Flickr) This is a Siamese cat in Italy; Tuscany in fact. A beautiful part of the world and this is a beautiful, clean standard looking Siamese cat. There is nothing extreme about this cat, which I think is what makes him or her all the more attractive. What I would like to ask, however, is whether this cat is purebred and whether there is hint of tabby cat lurking inside. You can see the banding on the tail and on the sides of face and in fact on the forehead. These indicate the presence of the genes that create the tabby cat and the lynx point Siamese cat . I don't know but I would doubt that this cat would do well at cat shows. That is not to criticise. It is more in praise. Perhaps this is normal for Siamese cats but you don't see banding in Siamese cat show cats as far as I am aware. There is a nice patch of dark fur on the left thigh area. This would indicate that that area is cooler than the rest of the center part of the body. I wonder why.

An Exceptional Veterinary Surgeon

September 2011: Jallal Kaal is a Libyan veterinary surgeon. He was trained in Dublin, Ireland. He is a magnificent veterinarian. There are very few like him. Many people with cats and dogs understandably fled the Libyan capital, Tripoli, when fighting started there at the end of the violent revolution overthrowing Gaddafi. Some, perhaps many, left behind their companion animals. I don't know if I could do that but under extreme circumstances I might discover that I can. However, Jallal Kaal, without initial payment or payment at all, has saved these abandoned companion animals and at great risk and cost to himself, reunited them with their human caretakers. I am in awe of this guy. It is the kind of behavior that soars above all the bloodshed and mess. People abandoned their pets in different ways. Some begged Dr Kaal to take care of their pets until they could return. Some got to the airport and phoned from there to ask Dr. Kaal to pick up their cats from their home. Yet o

Wild Cats in Captivity

Wild cats in captivity don't do well and are poorly managed. That is a generalization and possibly a little unfair. However, having prepared  a list of some wild cats and their status in captivity , I am compelled to come to that conclusion with one exception. The snow leopard enjoys creative and concerned conservation together with excellent management in captivity. What is it about the snow leopard that sets it apart from the other wild cat species in respect of conservation? Perhaps it is because the snow leopard has a chance of survival in the wild, living in the mountains. The two barriers to successfully keeping wild cats in captivity is that they get ill fairly easily or in some cases routinely and early on, plus they tend not to breed. This leads to low genetic diversity and inbreeding seems to be commonplace. Inbreeding leads to inbreeding depression which in turn leads to poor sperm quality and reproductive failure. It is a downward trend. There is also the problem