Monday 31 October 2011

United Kingdom Cat Breeds

Blue British SH
Photo by information overload
What are the United Kingdom cat breeds? This is actually a slightly tricky question because it could be argued that cat breeds are really universal and no longer associated with one particular country. This is because cats that were originally of one country were then developed in another country. The United Kingdom comprises: England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

It is well known that the British Shorthair is a United Kingdom cat breed. This cat started out as a standard moggie dating back originally to Roman times. It was developed into a cat breed during the latter part of the 19th century in the UK (specifically England) and then exported to other countries where it was developed through selective breeding in slightly different directions. The longhaired version of this cat, the British Longhair,  is also a UK cat breed.

The other United Kingdom cat breeds are: Devon Rex, Cornish Rex, Scottish Fold, Seychellois. The Manx cat comes from the Isle of Man, which is not part of the United Kingdom. The Devon Rex originates from the county of Devon (Southwest England). The Cornish Rex originates from the county of Cornwall (Southwest England). The Scottish Fold comes from Coupar Angus, Scotland.

As far as I am aware (and remember!), there are no other cat breeds that have originated in the UK (Great Britain). Although some cat breeds were first developed in the UK if we are to believe the historical accounts. The Abyssinian was first imported from India via Abyssinia (now Ethiopia) in the 19th century. The Turkish Angora was first imported into the UK from Turkey - or was it?. These are two examples.

Most breeds were started in the North America. These include the Munchkin, the Ragdoll, RagaMuffin, LaPerm, Don Sphynx, Sphynx, American Bobtail, Pixie-bob, Maine Coon, California Spangled, Selkirk Rex, Savannah, Bengal, American Wirehair and Shorthair and American Ringtail.....and more.....

Is the International Union for Conservation of Nature Independent?

Tropical forest - Photo by AditChandra

The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) is a well known organisation.  It is the self declared "largest professional global conservation network". Their purpose is to assist in the conservation of nature. They have a branch organisation called the Red List™. They are asleep or losing the battle. I think it is all too cosy and comfortable. It is almost an arm of big business designed to placate people who really are concerned. That is provocative. I agree.

The Red List™is an interesting organization. The full title is the IUCN Red List™ of Threatened Species™. They evaluate the conservation status of animal and plant species. In short they decide how near extinction the species of the world are.

This post asks whether they are truly independent of big business. Big business likes to use natural resources to make money. A good example is the virgin forests (what is left of them) of the world. Big business in Asia and South America like to cut down the forest to use the wood for paper or furniture - whatever, saleable products. In Africa equatorial forests are logged to make way for palm oil plantations.

If the IUCN Red List™ lists a species of animal that lives in forest, and only in forest, as endangered due to logging (destruction of its habitat) pressure might be applied by environmentalists to stop the logging. This might have a detrimental effect on business. Business might therefore lobby the IUCN Red List™ to re-assess their listings. Big business might do this at a low level in direct communication with individual scientists on the ground who do the assessments or research. If this is happening it would taint the research and alter the classification awarded by the Red List™.

The scientists might evaluate a species as "Least Concern" rather then "Near Threatened". That would take the pressure of the loggers and poachers.

In the USA the cougar is evaluated as Least Concern. People like to hunt the cougar for pleasure. Is pressure being applied to scientists to say that the cougar is "Least Concern", the weakest evaluation under the Red List™ scheme? In 2002 the assessment was worse "Near Threatened". Is the IUCN Red List being lobbied and influenced?

Associated Page: IUCN Red List for Cats.

Beautiful Persian Cat

This is a beautiful Persian cat. This photograph was not created by a professional photographer. It is nicely muted and delicate in its lighting which suits this cat so well. The photographer is Magnus BrĂ¥th. Magnus calls her a grey Persian cat. Here name is Chilero. She seems to be a tabby and white cat but in a very subtle way. You will see Persian cats in wide range of coat colors and types as the breed standard allows for that.

Beautiful Persian cat.

Chilero lives in Costa Rica and once lived in Malta. She is well traveled. She is a traditional doll face Persian. When she traveled from Malta to Costa Rica she sat in the cabin with the passengers. Of course.

Persian Tear Stains

A clear picture of Persian tear stains. This is a traditional Persian cat. The cat lives in India. In India (at 2011) there is a very small number of purebred cats and they are normally Persian cats as this is a very long standing cat breed and one of the best known cat breeds. The staining on this cat is not that bad. Worse can happen.

Traditional Persian cat with tear staining.

This nice picture is by Anas Ahmad. The interesting thing is that this is not a flat faced Persian which is known to suffer from tear staining but a doll face Persian cat. The cause is a deformed tear duct which prevents the tears and fluid on the outer part of the eye draining away.  It overflows onto the fur below the eye. In this picture it seems that it has flowed down the inside of the nose and then to the outside at the base of the nose. The deformity is due to breeding a overly flat face to conform with the breed standard. This distorts internal anatomy.

As tear duct overflow happens in the traditional Persian as well as the flat faced "ultra" Persian we can conclude that the tear duct is also somewhat defective in the more moderate and normal traditional Persian. This cat still has a rather flat face.

Is the cougar endangered?

Puma in forest. Camera trap photo.
The formal answer is provided by the IUCN Red List™. They should know as they are a bunch of experts who have taken it upon themselves to report to the world their assessment as to the the survivability of all the world's species, flora and fauna.

As at 2011, they say that the cougar (Puma or mountain lion) is of "Least Concern". This means that the cougar is not endangered according to them.

These are the categories:
IUCN catergories

IUCN Red List for Cats -- The symbols mean the following:

Symbol Meaning
EX Extinct
EW Extinct in the Wild
CR Critically Endangered
EN Endangered
VU Vulnerable
NT Near Threatened
LC Least Concern

You can see that "LC" is the best assessment meaning not endangered. Is this correct? They say that there are about 15,000 cougars in North America. I don't think it is correct. If you take a long term view you will come up with a different answer. It depends on how far into the future you are basing your assessment. In 300 years time there will be no cougars in the wild, probably. On that basis and on current trends the risk is high.

It seems to me that assessments follow the event. That is OK but they should also make long term predictions as a proactive measure. Reporting after the event does nothing for conservation and the purpose of the Red List™ is to aid in conservation, isn't it?

Associated page: IUCN Red List for Cats

Tiger cubs the same price as domestic kittens!

Generic tiger cubs sell for about $500 to $1000 (USD) in the United States (1). Generic tigers are non-purebred or a hybrid subspecies of tiger.

Purebred domestic kittens of any breed sell for similar amounts. Does this strike you as odd? It can only mean that there is low demand for tigers in the USA and/or there are lots of tigers and not that many buyers.

The reason is probably that individuals who keep tigers as pets decide to breed them and that leads to oversupply. It also probably means that the tigers are more valuable dead for their body parts for Asian medicine. This may encourage the unnecessary killing of tigers in captivity. A major factor in the economics of buying and selling tigers is the cost of maintenance - very high. Do individuals who keep generic tigers have a route into the Asian medicine market? I don't know but I would expect that they do.

The fact that tiger cubs are the same price as purebred kittens is also a measure of the value that we put on the tiger. It is an extremely rare animal. There are about 3,000 in the wild on the planet. So why isn't it worth more?

We genuinely don't care enough about the tiger. For that reason it will become extinct in the wild in due course.

Associated page: Tigers for Sale.

Note:  (1)

Sunday 30 October 2011

America's Dangerous Pets

Joe Exotic has his private tiger zoo in America. There are 176 tigers. It is one of the largest collections of big cats in the world. There are also ligers (cross between tiger and lion) and hundreds of other animals; 1,400 in all. This is G.W. Exotic Animal Memorial Foundation in Wynnewood, Oklahoma. The business is named after his brother who was tragically killed by a drunk driver.

Joe seems a decent person but looks a bit like a camp cop with long blond hair and eyeliner (he was a cop once). And he had common sense (of a kind) but it all seemed so desperately wrong to me. He was being interviewed by Louis Theroux for the BBC.  Louis also met up with Tim who has a lot of large wild animals including bears and tigers. Tim doesn't trust or respect any person including his wife and he said just that on TV with his wife standing beside him. She pays all the bills for his hobby! He keeps all these dangerous pets in small, muddy cages or enclosures.

Louis constantly questioned them about the morality of keeping animals in small cages that have naturally large territories. Tim had a good answer. He said that the bear has a large range because it has to travel large distances to find prey. Given a chance, the bear would eat human food given to it. Therefore the bear is happy living in a quarter acre enclosure. That theory applies to all wild animals, he implied. Is he correct? Joe had a similar justification. He said that tigers raised in cages knew nothing else. If they never had a large territory they would not miss it. Was he correct?

Tim boxed with a lynx. The lynx is a medium sized wildcat. I am not sure if the cat was declawed. I suspect it was. This was not proper treatment in my view.

Joe was going through difficult times financially. I am not surprised. It must cost a fortune to feed and maintain 1,400 animals. Animal rights activists in the area were causing a reduction in visitors to a road show of tigers and bears he presented in car parks. This caused a loss of revenue. He might have to close his business.

Joe said that if he went broke he would prefer to euthanize all his animals rather than relocate them. This sounds horrible and quite sick. By the way, this would not be euthanasia but plain killing. Was Joe thinking about cashing in? Dead tigers are very valuable in the Asian medicine market. I am thinking of tiger bone (for wine) and tiger penis (value $6,000) etc. Joe is sitting on a fortune in tiger penises alone (1 million bucks).

Despite his financial worries he still breeds tigers, which creates higher overheads. And he has no idea what he is breeding. He has no concern for inbreeding. He breeds lions to tigers to create cross-breeds. Likewise Tim has no concern for purity of stock. He has no idea whether his tigers are Bengal tigers or any other subspecies. The tigers looks overweight and flabby. These are generic tigers. There are no controls over the keeping of these tigers. There is no licensing. It is just do as you please. And it is damaging the tiger in the wild as it possibly encourages the tiger body part trade.

These facilities have no connection with conservation, despite what Joe said. He said that there would be no tigers in the wild in 15 years. That is probably true and he is accelerating the process of extinction in the wild. He said that he wanted to present captive Siberian tigers to the public to remind them of Siberia, the home of the Siberian tiger.

This seems pointless if all the wild tigers are extirpated. He played with a juvenile tiger too hard and got himself bitten! This shows a lack of empathy with the cat. It really is self-indulgent, pseudo-macho behavior. These people like animals and become a sort of big cat hoarder. It is a version of cat hoarding on steroids.

I found the whole thing unnerving and depressing.

What does digitigrade mean?

The domestic cat, is a digitigrade which means he/she walks on his toes or digits. In the video you can see a digitigrade animal, a serval, walking.  It is quite difficult to see that cats are walking are their toes. Perhaps this is because we are so used to it.

The bones that extend from the paws to the first joint are the feet of the cat. The bones of the feet are the tarsal bones and they are quite long. These connect to the lower leg (the leg below the knee) via the hock. The human equivalent of the hock is the ankle. The hock of the hind legs of the serval in the video are about 9 inches off the ground.

You will see cats rest on their feet when they sit upright and sometimes when eating from a bowl. Dwarf cats are well known for taking up the meerkat position while sitting on their feet. My three legged cat Charlie does this.

The fact that a cat is a digitigrade makes it particularly cruel to declaw a cat as the operation is the removal of the last joint (phalange) of each of the toes. It is a partial amputation of the toe and the cat is meant to walk on his toes. What some do after declawing is walk on their wrists.

Tigers as pets in UK

There would seem to be 14 tigers as pets in the UK. These are licensed under the Dangerous Wild Animal Act 1976. People keeping tigers as pets illegally cannot be counted as we don't know about them. The figure excludes zoos.

However, I would guess that there are probably no illegal tigers that are kept as pets in the UK. It is quite hard to keep a tiger secret from people in the UK as it is a relatively overcrowded country. I think the UK is the most crowded of all European countries. It would be quite hard to avoid neighbors noticing that you have a tiger in an enclosure. This would probably lead to the neighbor checking with the local authority.

The figure of 14 tigers in the UK being kept by licensed keepers comes from a freedom of information request made by the Big Cats in Britain research group. There are also 12 lions and 50 leopards - in all there are 154 wildcats kept as pets in the UK.

As a comparison, there are 164 tigers in Oklahoma, USA in USDA licensed facilities (10). The human population of Oklahoma is 3,687,05 (2009). The population of the UK is 61,838,154 (2009). There is a call for a ban on pet tigers in the USA especially after the recent gruesome killing of wildcats and other animals kept in a private facility. There is also a call to end the trade in generic tigers in the USA.

Note: Mr Joe Exotic has a big cat private zoo in Oklahoma. There are 176 tigers and I don't know how many ligers (lion/tiger hybrid) and lions at this zoo. I must presume that he is unlicensed as his zoo alone accounts for more than the total population of tigers in Oklahoma.

What is a mackerel tabby?

A mackerel tabby is a tabby cat - feral or domestic, or wild  - that has a striped tabby coat. Wild cats are not normally referred to as having tabby coats, however.

There are three types of tabby coat: mackerel, spotted and classic (blotched). You can see all three on this page: What is a classic tabby?

The mackerel tabby is named after the mackerel fish. On the following page, I discuss in depth the tabby cat coat.

Mackerel tabby cat and mackerel (fish)

The photo of the fish is by kikikiliii (Flickr). The cat is a Toyger cat; a purebred designer cat.

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

Beautiful Cat Pictures

These are the most beautiful cat pictures because they are the most beautiful cats photographed by one of the world's best cat photographers, Helmi Flick. You won't get a better combination. I'll point you in the right direction if I may.

You can start on this page: Pictures of Cat Breeds - it leads to two more pages of the best cat pictures and links to lots and lots more. Enjoy.

Here is a single example:

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

Beautiful Toygers

Two pictures of beautiful Toygers by the celebrated cat photographer, Helmi Flick. The Toyger is a "toy tiger". A designer cat. I don't think that it has really succeeded in that goal though. I think it was meant to be for well off people living the modern quick, expensive lifestyle. Things have changed (2011). We are in the middle of world economic problems that seem to be impossible to resolve. This must dent the market for designer cats.

Toyger - Photograph copyright Helmi Flick

This individual cat must be one of the best examples of the Toyger. The mackerel stripes are very nice and the whole appearance is golden and glowing. Is this just a nice version of a striped tabby in brown/orange colors?

Toyger cat - Photograph copyright Helmi Flick

What about Toyger breeders? You can see a full list on the founder's website.

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

African Golden Cat Habitat

Forest, South Senegal, Casamance region
Photo by Manogamo

The habitat of the African golden cat is all types of tropical forest in equatorial Africa. This includes primary forest, secondary vegetation, logged forest, riverine forest, montane forest, alpine moorland and bamboo forest at 2-3,000 meters above sea level.

The photograph shows an area of south Senegal below The Gambia, a region that is the furthest west of the range of the African golden cat.

This species of wildcat prefers dense "moist secondary undergrowth" along rivers (1).

The African golden cat has a short tail and stocky build indicating that it is not a tree dweller. Long tails are used for balance. Accordingly this cat is a ground hunter.

(1) Wild Cats Of The World page 248 ISBN-13:978-0-226-77999-7

African Golden Cat Pet

People search the internet for "african golden cat pet" - hence this page.

The African golden cat is extremely rare in captivity. In the USA the USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) list one cat in a licensed facility in the country (1). And there is one in a private facility. These cats will die without breeding.

The point I am making is that the rarity of this wildcat in the West indicates that there will be no pet cats of this species. In addition it will be unsuitable as a pet. You'll need to socialize kittens for that. It would be wrong and in breach of CITES to try and find kittens in the wild in African for the sole purpose of selling them as future pets in the West (i.e. exporting wildcats).

Some wildcats are more suited, namely the serval and margay. The Asiatic golden cat, a different species, is less rare in captivity.

(1) Feline Conservation Federation July/Aug edition of magazine.

Saturday 29 October 2011

Beautiful Devon Rex

White Devon Rex Cat
White Devon Rex Cat - photo nikonlarry

This is a beautiful Devon Rex cat. I have not seen a better cat of this breed - nice photograph too. It is not a professional photograph but there are some very good amateur photographers out there.

What a gorgeous little, pixie, face this cat has. She must be female. You can see that the whiskers are very thin and short. The Devon Rex can have a thin almost bare coat. It is part of being a rex cat (curly haired cat).

This is an white cat. White cats can be deaf but she has copper eyes. This tells me that there is pigment in the iris of the eyes which might mean that there has been no effect on her ears as they are near the eyes!

Are tigers in South America?

There are no tigers, in the wild, in South America. The largest wildcat in South America is the jaguar. The jaguar is a large cat and the third largest wildcat after the tiger and the lion.

You will be able to see tigers in zoos etc. in South America. The only tigers in South America are captive tigers. There are many zoos in South America. There are probably tigers at the Municipal Zoological Park Quinzinho de Barros in the municipality of Sorocaba. This is a major Brazilian zoo.

This is Lola a British Shorthair

Lola loves you! by fofurasfelinas
Lola loves you!, a photo by fofurasfelinas on Flickr.
This is also a really nice photograph (as usual) by the best cat photographer in Brazil! True.

Lola looks as if she is not bred to extreme as she has a nice normal face and body conformation. She has her claws! Sounds odd for me to say that but declawing is quite popular in North America. I would think that it does not happen in South America.

Lola is a tabby British Shorthair. I see banding on the limbs and chest, a sign of the tabby genes.

Camomile Tea For Cats

In the public domain.
Dr. John Heinerman recommends camomile tea for cats. It is also spelled "chamomile". The doctor recommends its use to reduce anxiety. It is drunk as a tea by your cat or dog. He does not specify dosages etc. but common sense will dictate that. The question is whether your cat will drink it! It has to be cooled and cats are sensitive to smell so that may put her off. Liquid medicine can be syringed into the of the mouth. Care is required.

Ordinary tea is said by non-qualified but experienced people to provide relief to gummed up eyes in kittens. Some people simply use a tea bag. Or a clean non-abrasive cotton cloth is dipped into the lukewarm tea and used to wipe the eyes. This is pure tea - no milk or sugar! Tea does seem to have some healing properties. Note: gummed up eyes in kittens can be due to infected eyes that need veterinary care (possibly antibiotics). The infection can be caused by the feline herpes virus - neonatal infectious conjunctivitis.

Dr. John Heinerman also recommends peppermint tea for sick cats that are suffering from dehydration (see book below). Peppermint tea will help to rehydrate your cat and help with digestive tract problems as well. He recommends that the tea be inserted into the cat's rectum using a small rubber syringe or enema bag! I have never heard of this nor would I expect many people to take up his advice. I would certainly see professional advice first.

Friday 28 October 2011

What is a purebred cat?

Purebred Burmese cat
Photo by Ma1974

A purebred cat is a cat of a recognized breed. These are cats that have parents of the same breed and so on for several generations. When the parentage is recorded by a cat association the cat is also a pedigree cat. The two go together in practice. Although you can have purebred cats that are unrecognized by cat associations such as the Bahraini Dilmun. This cat is arguably a purebred cat.

Purebred cats are all about ensuring that the lineage or parentage is pure. This means avoiding cats that are genetically not of the same breed.

The trouble is that when you do this to the letter you are likely to end up with genetically homozygous individuals. Or individual cats that are inbred. This is why the laws of marriage (for humans) in the UK prevents marriage to close relations. This rule is in place for health reasons as inbreeding results in health issues such as congenital defects, infertility and suppressed immune systems. The Burmese cat has a number of genetic illnesses.

Wild cats in captivity are frequently not purebred despite giving an impression to the contrary. The Bengal tiger in captivity will often be a "generic tiger" or cross breed but not of pure genes. Other wild cats, the small wildcats in captivity, will have little chance of survival because their population size is so low that they are inbred resulting in an unsustainable population.

Breeders of purebred cat sometimes have to outcross to other breeds and moggies to improve the genetic diversity. There is a constant battle between health and appearance. Appearance usually wins.

Why do cats like boxes?

Cats use boxes for play and security. You see cats sleep in boxes or small spaces. It probably provides a sense of security much like a wildcat finding a nest in dense undergrowth or in a cave or a disused burrow. All of these places provide protection behind and above the cat. The first reason why cats like boxes is for a sense of security when sleeping or resting.

What about play? We see lots of cats playing in boxes. The famous Japanese cat that loves boxes comes to mind. His name is Maru.

In this video Maru dives into an open ended box or tube. This is a modified form of attack of small prey in a burrow.

I don't see anything definitive on this topic in books on cat behavior. It is really a YouTube thing or video thing. A newish area of cat behavior for us to discuss.

There is no doubt that it is fun for some cats to play in boxes. This is an individual cat preference. Not all cats like it. In fact, I think you will find that most cats don't have an urge to play in and with boxes. Maru made it fashionable!

It must stem from a cat's liking to poke and prod into small spaces for prey. For example a cat catching a mouse. Cats in boxes will prod outside the box sometimes or prod into the box. Both are unknown areas or areas that the cat can't see. I think it is therefore related to hunting prey and simply a derivation of that natural wild cat instinct in the human home as a domesticated cat converted to play. A lot or all of cat play is based on hunting instincts. The classic example is chasing a cat tease (a feather at the end of a stick).

Maru is a normal eared Scottish Fold and a tabby and white cat. His coat is classic tabby. Maru has a great human companion.

Black Cat Pictures

Here are some black cat pictures. Black cats are the least popular cat in terms of coat type. I am referring to an article in Press Publications2 entitled: "Black cats less likely to be adopted at shelters". The black cat is still associated with superstition (see cat superstitions and Black Cats ). Depending on your preferences black cats are either good luck or bad luck or something in between. In the USA it is considered unlucky to cross the path of a black cat. The article says that many shelters (in the USA) ban the release of black cats for adoption during Halloween (coming up in 2011) in case they are adopted for the wrong reasons (as you know black cats are linked to witchcraft). It seems that people choose cats partly on its color, which is unsurprising as a cat's appearance is a major, if not the most important, factor in choosing a cat purebred or not.

Charlie looking handsome

Some rescue centers euthanise black cats on their arrival at the center because the chance of rehoming is very slim. They are considered unattractive by many people. Clearly some people have different ideas in searching for "black cats pictures". And they may be pleased to hear that there is some evidence that suggests that black cats are more healthy. The gene that causes melanism (the black pigment is called melanin) may be able to help protect cats from infection from virus and bacteria1. See also black cat coats and cat genetics.

Three pictures on this page of a black cat are mine, which is self indulgent. The handsome boy above and two below is my three legged cat, Charlie. I also love my other cat a black and white girl. Black cats only bring the luck that you bring to the relationship.

Charlies standing guard over me while I work on the computer in bed

Here is another picture of my black cat:

Charlie hears a noise

The next two black cat pictures are from MAR on Flickr. MAR is a talented Japanese photographer who photographs street life and lots of feral cats in Tokyo. So these two black cat photographs are of feral cats.

Black stray or feral cat photographed by MAR in Toyko

Black stray or feral cat photographed by MAR in Toyko

MAR's pictures are protected by copyright - please respect it. Here is a link to his Flickr photostream. Also you might like to see Stray cat picture with photographs by MAR.


1. March, 2003 issue of NewScientist

From Black Cats Pictures to Home Page

Set a Cat on Fire

Cats are resilient and forgiving. They don't hold grudges even when a person or persons set a cat on fire. This is not that unusual. What I mean is that cruelty to cats and animals generally is not that unusual. It is often young people who do it. The horrible thing is that the person or persons who did this (see video below) wanted to be cruel to an animal and chose to set it on fire! Or did they actually realise that they were being cruel? Did they feel the pain or have empathy with the cat. What I mean is could they relate to the pain and distress that they were causing? I don't think they did.

In short, I don't think the people who did this really appreciated the significance of what they were doing. I think it is worth looking at the kind of person who would do this. The profile of the cat is totally predicable. We know what the cat is like - accepting of what happened, asking no questions but feeling acute discomfort with the possibility of succumbing to the injury. I am not sure at the time of writing this how the cat progressed. There was the possibility of infections despite the fact that he looks pretty calm about it all.

My thoughts are that the people who did this could be sociopaths. Sociopaths are people who are not able to empathize with the pain of their victims. If they are teenagers, then it will probably be a fixed trait. They will probably go on to do more of the same and the victim could be a person. Not that a person is any more or less important, for me, than a cat.
Sociopaths can also be called psychopaths. Of many antisocial traits they, suffer from, "early Behavior Problems/Juvenile Delinquency. Usually has a history of behavioral and academic difficulties, yet "gets by" by conning others. Problems in making and keeping friends; aberrant behaviors such as cruelty to people or animals, stealing, etc." - (this linked page provides a full profile - opens in new window)
What else is of note about this incidence? Two things, it seems. The owners let the cat be an outdoors cat and they had to give the cat up to an human society as they could not afford the $2,000 vets bill. I wonder if either the vet or the human society could have done something about that?

As to being an outdoor cat, Puppy, as the cat was called, was a wanderer. Should people let their cats wander? It looks like it is a bad idea. We have created a world that is potentially hostile to the cat as the domestic cat is very vulnerable particularly when it has suffered declawing as it cannot defend itself when outside. See for example: Serval Cat Escapes.

From Set a Cat on Fire to Home Page

What is a classic tabby?

The classic tabby is a tabby cat, either, purebred or random bred, that has a blotched pattern. A blotched or classic tabby pattern is one of dark swirls and blotches as shown in the photograph.

The other two tabby patterns are the mackerel (stripes) and spotted. The Egyptian Mau, a purebred cat is the best known domestic cat that has a spotted tabby pattern. The picture on the right shows a purebred Egyptian Mau.

The tabby coat is arguably the most natural of all the cat coats because it provides the best camouflage, although the modern domestic cat is an urban cat.

See cat coats tabby for lots more on the tabby cat.

What is a pixie-bob?

Pixie-bob - Photo copyright Helmi Flick
The Pixie-bob is a purebred, domestic companion cat with a deliberately wild appearance. It is quite a rare breed.

I have a page on this cat: Pixie-bob. The second part of the hyphenated word "bob" refers to the bobbed tail - a shortened tail.

The first part of the word "Pixie" refers to the founding cat of this breed. That was her name. Carol Ann Brewer founded the breed.

Interestingly "Pixie" was a cat with a normal length tail. She was mated with a Manx cat, the famous tailless purebred cat from the Isle of Man to produce the shortened tailed cat. The Pixie-bob looks similar to the American bobtail.

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

What is a bobtail cat?

American Bobtail
Photo copyright Helmi Flick
A bobtail cat is a cat with a short tail. "Bob" refers to "bobbed" meaning shortened. The origin of the word "bob" in relation to tail length is interesting. It is a shortened version of the old Middle English word "bobbe" which meant a knob or cluster (1). When a tail is sufficiently shortened as in the Japanese Bobtail it looks like a cluster or knob of fur. Another American short tailed purebred, domestic cat is the Pixie-bob.

"Bobtail cat" usually refers to the American Bobtail, a purebred short tailed cat. The American bobcat is a species of lynx wild cat found in the USA. It too has a short tail. There is no connection between these two cats. The shortened tail is due to a natural genetic mutation. Sometimes breeders dock tails (shorten them surgically). You will see feral moggie cats with bobtails.

(1) Word Origins by Dhirendra Verma

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

What is an angora cat?

Angora cat of 1895. Image in public domain
This is a tricky subject in my opinion. Although today the word "angora" usually applies to the Turkish Angora, a purebred cat that originates in Turkey and which is still found in Turkey.

The word "angora" used to mean a long haired cat. Well that is what I think. You will see old illustrations of cats that were all-white with long hair that look like modern traditional Persian cats that were referred to as "Angora cats". This terminology was used in the early days of the cat fancy, say the late 19th century and early 20th century.

I have a page on the Angora cat so I won't go on about it here!

What is a van cat?

1st registered Van cat
The Van cat is a Turkish Van, a breed of purebred cat. The word "Van" refers to the town of Van in the southeast of Turkey which is on the shore of Lake Van.  This is the place from which the Turkish Van originates.

The proximity of the town to the lake resulted in these cats being good swimmers, it is said! The town was in the news recently (late October 2011) because of an earthquake in the region that destroyed parts of Van. On a sad note I would expect that a number of Van cats were killed as well as over 500 people.

The Van cat is semi-longhaired cat with a very particular coat that is unique to this cat breed. The coat is a chalky white except for an inverted "V" shape pattern on the forehead and a colored tail in the same color as the V pattern. The pattern is auburn colored or auburn and black (does that make it a calico cat?). The inverted V is said to symbolize Allah's thumbprint. The coat is designed to cope with harsh conditions. It is waterproof but there is no undercoat making it easier to maintain.

The cat can be all white in Turkey and odd-eye color is not uncommon as the gene that makes the hair white (the piebald or white spotting gene) can also affect the pigmentation in the iris of the eye. The eye color is blue, amber or odd-eyed.

Turkish Van cat - photo copyright Helmi Flick

Purebred cats are obviously selectively bred by breeders but you will see this pattern or a less precise versions of it on stray and semi-feral cats in the Mediterranean region.

The Turkish Van is quite a rare purebred cat even though it has been around for many years in Europe (1955 in the UK) and America.

The Wikipedia authors say this is an all-white cat. This is incorrect. It is not all-white in the cat fancy. Although as mentioned, in Turkey it probably is frequently white. In Turkey it would be a cat that is not necessarily registered with a cat association (i.e. it is purebred but not formally).

Were the Turkish Van and Turkish Angora the same cat before separated by the cat fancy?

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

Thursday 27 October 2011

Why do cats like catnip?


Catnip contains a chemical called nepetalactone that has an effect on the brain that gives the cat a high. Not all cats are affected.

Not all cats are attracted to catnip, a plant that looks like mint. Cats like catnip for the high it gives. This is probably similar to the kinds of high people get when using recreational drugs. It is not clear if cats can become addicted. It is said that they can. But I have never read about a drug addict cat. Have you?

It provokes certain behavior, such as sniffing it, chewing it and rubbing against it. After these behaviors the cat can lie and looked spaced out.

"Trips" last no more than one hour and it takes about a hour for cats to come down from the effects of the drug.

Catnip can act as a sedative for a cat when taken internally. Another drug Matatabi has a similar effect. It is found in Asia.

Read more about catnip.

Cat with Corkscrew Tail

The cat with corkscrew tail might be an American Ringtail cat. This is a recognized purebred cat. It is a rare cat. The tail curls to form a ring or corkscrew. I am sure that there are random bred cats with the same curly tail because the original American Ringtail cat was a non-purebred cat, of course. The shape of the flexible and strong tail is due to the presence of two genes, one recessive and one dominant. There are dogs, purebred and random bred, with the same sort of tail

Here is a picture of the American Ringtail cat.

American Ringtail cat - - photo of "Solomon's Promise" © Joseph L Halbleib

The person who created this rare breed of cat is Susan Mandley who rescued the first ringtailed cats.

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

What is a Cymric cat?

A Cymric cat is a long haired Manx cat. It is therefore a tailless long haired cat of cobby body shape (conformation) with forelegs shorter than hind legs that can give the impression that it is leaning forwards.

Cymric cat - "Bear Butt" - Photo copyright Helmi Flick

The Manx cat has a long history of supposed natural development on the Isle of Man, which is in between England and Northern Ireland in the Irish Sea.

The Cymric beginnings are unclear. It is likely that the breed started through deliberate selective breeding in Canada in the 1960s. Either that or it happened spontaneously in a litter of Manx cats and breeding carried on from that start.

It is questionable whether a long haired version of an established cat breed should be made into a new breed rather than be categorized as the same breed with long hair.

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

Kittens for Cheap Prices

Rescue kittens - Photo by Roy Montgomery
Kittens for cheap prices is a total misconception and people should not search the Internet for cheap kittens.

This is because the purchase price of the kitten or the adoption fee price at a shelter or rescue center is a tiny fraction of the cost over the lifetime of the kitten. And that excludes your unpaid time. A lot of cat maintenance is not necessarily fun; cleaning the litter daily, buying cat food, buying litter, taking your cat to the veterinarian etc.

Let's say the purchase price is $100 or the sterling (GPD) equivalent. The cost of maintaining the cat over his or her lifetime may be over $10,000 and more. The purchase price or adoption fee price will therefore be 1% of the total cost of buying and caring for a cat.

I think that conclusively undermines the idea that you can get your hands of kittens for cheap prices.

It is the same as buying a car. These days (2011) people pay a lot of attention to the running costs of cars. What is the miles per gallon? How reliable is it? It is uppermost in the mind other than the appearance and performance of the car. Yet almost no one thinks about the "running costs" of maintaining a cat in good health and contentment. You should. Note: a cat is a living, sentient creature not a car!

Two last points. (1) People looking for cheap kittens encourages breeding of kittens by back street breeders, doesn't it? We don't need back street, cowboy breeders neither do we need to encourage careless people breed their unneutered cats because we have more than enough cats on the planet already to supply people who are looking for kittens for cheap prices! (2) the travel costs to collect the kitten must be factored in.

Choosing a Pet Cat

Matching a pet with the owner's personality can be quite important in minimizing the risk of abandonment.  Incidentally, I don't like the terms, "pet" and "owner". I prefer "animal companion" and "cat caretaker" or "cat guardian" (if the animal is a cat).

There are too many cats and dogs being abandoned.  Doris Day once said that there were 12 million cats and dogs put to sleep each year in the USA. Whatever the number is, it is high, very high and a shock. I am sure there are similar percentages of domestic animals euthanized in Europe. It is just not spoken about so much.

People need to reflect more on their reasons for adopting a companion animal before proceeding. The reasons should be legitimate meaning not frivolous. You don't get a pet to match the decor of the house or as a Christmas present for the children.

People should also swot up on companion animal care and the costs. There should almost be an obligatory cooling off period between saying, "let's get a pet!" and actually getting it. That simple act would save millions of cats and dogs I suspect.

Choosing a pet cat begs the question whether you would like a purebred cat or a moggie. Purebreds are relatively rare. Moggies are relatively abundant. If you want to help get a moggie. And get a black one as they live longer.

Some individual cats are more passive and more able to cope with being alone. Some are more able to deal with full-time indoor living and living in small spaces. You will find that some breeders say that the Persian must be a full-time indoor cat. The fur is too long to go out in the mud! The Russian Blue is a delicate, reserved cat that likes the security of a home. The Sphynx is without clothes so needs to be in the warm and out of the sun to avoid the risk of skin problems. This is also a smart cat so will interact well if you like that.

The Ragdoll is laid back. More active cats are the wild cat hybrids, Bengal and Savannah. You'll need to be around for these cats and provide input. Actually all cats require input. It is a fallacy to think that cats are independent. They are self-contained but dependent on us for just about everything.

If you don't like noisy cats don't acquire a Siamese or associated cat breed e.g. Oriental SH. They are known for their vocal skills. The British Shorthair has an almost silent voice.

I think, though that you will find some individual cats of any breed or no-breed more cautious and reserved than others. If you want a cat that is fairly static and happy to curl up,  a more cautious cat will oblige. The more confident male cat is more likely to be unhappy with a lack of space and input from us. He is more likely to want to go out and get into trouble.

Associated page: Choosing a cat breed.

Turkish Angora Pictures

Two splendid Turkish Angora pictures by the great cat photographer Helmi Flick. The Turkish Angora is a very distinguished looking purebred cat with a long natural history in Turkey. This cat really does originate in Turkey. In Turkey this cat breed is not selectively breed as much to be slender as is the case in America. It is quite normally shaped (semi-cobby) in Turkey and usually white with preferred odd-eye color. This post discusses what they look like in Turkey.

White cats with blue eyes have a high incidence of deafness caused by the same gene that makes the cat white.

Turkish Angora - Photo copyright Helmi Flick

This cat has startling eyes. They are a gorgeous pale green that is so well matched to the steely gray coat. He has a quizzical face.

The photos on this page are protected by copyright ©. Violations of copyright are reported to (DMCA).

Next we have a plumed tail that is a big WOW!

Turkish Angora - Photo copyright Helmi Flick

This is a silver tabby Turkish Angora (TA for short). I think he or she is a mackerel tabby. The spots on the back merge to stripes on the flanks. The tail has one large band or blob at its end.

The eats are straight up which must be a requirement of the breed standard. They have slight lynx tipping which gives a sharpness to the shape. The eyes are also a pale green or is it hazel? The accepted eye colors for the TA are: copper, gold, yellow, hazel, green, blue and odd-eyes.

See a quick guide about this cat.

Balinese Cat Pictures

Two really nice Balinese cat pictures by the celebrated Helmi Flick. The Balinese is a long haired modern Siamese cat. The CFA do not categorize this cat as a separate breed. This cat has a delightful plumed tail. It is a plumed tail cat. There are a few. The Somali comes to mind immediately. The Somali is a long haired Abyssinian. The Maine Coon has a plumed tail too as do many moggies.

Balinese Cat. This is Kareem. Photo copyright Helmi Flick

As for Siamese cats there are traditional and modern Balinese cats. The cats on this page are what I call "modern" in conformation. The CFA would not describe them as that. For them a modern or oriental conformation is the standard. Kareem looks like a lynx point to me but I will accept being corrected in a comment! You can see some banding on the forelegs.

The photos on this page are protected by copyright ©. Violations of copyright are reported to (DMCA).

Balinese cat "Samson" - Photo copyright Helmi Flick

You can see the refined elegance of the Balinese cat in the photos. Breeders have selectively bred for what they consider a more elegant appearance. This means more slender (foreign or oriental in cat fancy language). Samson has very delicate pointing. The coat is sleek and lies close to the body. The tail is fine but plumed. You can see how the tail fans out it the photo of Kareem. Samson's tail has tabby in it as you can see the banding. The modern Balinese has huge ears that I personally find unnatural. Cat breeders also like to develop large ears for some reason. It can look strange. These cats have straight long noses (no nose break). In profile it looks quite distinguished. They have high cheek bones too - quite bony faces in my view.

Associated page: Cat Anatomy.

Feline Anemia Food

I'll briefly discuss feline anemia food. Certain foods can enhance the production of red blood cells.

Foods that are rich in amino acids, B-complex and iron such as organic beef, sheep or chicken livers are the best. We are not talking commercially manufactured cat food here, obviously.

These foods should be given raw. Research was carried out by Dr. Fancis M. Pottenger that demonstrated that cooked meats "in spite of an otherwise properly balanced diet" damaged immune systems. I am quoting Dr. John Heinerman in his ebook: Low Cost Natural Cures for your Dog and Cat Your Vet Doesn't Want You to Know.

He says that dessicated liver tablets can be used as well. This will be a supplement that can be added to the cat food. They are available at pet stores and possibly your veterinary surgery.

Brewer's yeast has similar nutritional benefits to liver. It can be mixed into cat food. I am not sure that a cat would accept this, though. Cats are very sensitive to way food smells and brewer's yeast smells.

Vitamin C, folic acid and vitamin B-12 are important nutrients for treating anemic animals. These can be bought as supplements and added to cat food. As a guide Dr. Heinerman suggests these quantities: 500 mg vitamin C, 150 micrograms of folic acid and 10 micrograms of vitamin B-12. Grass interestingly contains folic acid. Cats naturally eat grass. Whether cats would eat vegetables that contain vitamin B-12 is disputable. These vegetables are suitable: broccoli and spinach. They should be steamed.

Wednesday 26 October 2011

Javanese Cat Pictures

Here are two Javanese cat pictures:

Javanese cat "Blush" - Photo copyright Helmi Flick

Javanese cat "Foxy" - Photo copyright Helmi Flick

The photos on this page are protected by copyright ©. Violations of copyright are reported to (DMCA).

The Javanese cat has nothing to do with the island of Java in Asia. It is just a name that conjures up an exotic cat breed. A breeder, Helen Smith of MerryMews Cattery, made it up.

The cat is a long haired Oriental Shorthair. The Oriental Shorthair is a modern Siamese cat (slender) that is not confined by the breed standard to being pointed. There are a wide range of colors and coat types.

The Javanese cat is slender therefore. This is called "oriental" or "foreign" in cat fancy language.

When you think of a Javanese cat you should think about a very slender cat with long close lying hair and a plumed tail and with a wide range of coat colors and patterns.

Featured Post

i hate cats

i hate cats, no i hate f**k**g cats is what some people say when they dislike cats. But they nearly always don't explain why. It appe...

Popular posts