Showing posts from February, 2012

Sprayed by Tiger Urine

If you go down to the zoo today be prepared for a big surprise! We know that our domestic cats can spray sometimes. This means marking territory by spraying a horizontal jet of urine against a vertical object behind the cat. Male cats have a "specially retractable penis" that allows them to leave these scent markers at a height that is perfect for other cats to sniff. It is relative rare that domestic cats spray objects because they are usually neutered or spayed and domesticated and don't really have a home range to protect. A home range is the area that the cat considers his or her home territory. They can be extremely large for the bigger wildcats such as the snow leopard. When the area is large it is impossible for the cat to physically patrol the area and see off intruders so scent marking is the next best thing. It says to intruders that the occupying cat is here and recently. Here are some examples of how frequently wild cats spray their territory: Male

Striped Coat Keeps Flies Away

You may have read that the zebra's striped coat has developed, scientists think, to keep flies away. There has been much discussion as to why the high contrast zebra stripes had evolved. Tests have discovered that flies dislike striped coats and the narrower the stripes the better. Apparently the stripes reflect light in a way that puts flies off coming near. zebra and tiger stripes. Photos (top): by andrew lorien Photo (bottom) by TeryKats On the basis of this finding, many doors must surely be opened. Human clothes should be striped if you are living in warmer equatorial climates, for instance. What, though, of the tiger. We all agree that tiger stripes are good camouflage in long grass, forest and under dappled light. But I have doubts about the effectiveness of the camouflage. The stripes of a tiger are very sharp and high contrast. Most wildcats have a broken pattern that is more in tune with the environment where they live. Their background color is grey brown and

A cure for a serval with bladder stones

This is a nice story by Dolly Guck about her domesticated serval "Sawabu" who developed a urinary tract infection (UTI) and who had calcium oxalate stones in his bladder. The urinary tract problems were first noticed when Sawabu was doing one of his tricks at a public meeting. He embarrassingly peed on a table. This is the exact same symptom you get with domestic cats who have urinary infections. For my cat it was cystitis. The urine is bloody too - readily noticeable. X-rays revealed the bladder stones and the vet decided to operation to remove them. Calcium oxalate crystals cannot dissolved naturally through a change in diet hence the need to physically remove them. The operation went well. The stones were about one centimeter in diameter (think the size of the nail of your little finger). The vet administered antibiotics, the standard treatment for UTIs. Sawabu was well bahaved throughout. He had to wear a protective collar and he put up it with just like a domestic ca

Difference Between Leopard and Cheetah

In order to fully compare the difference between the leopard and cheetah I think we need to look at the following: size and weight, appearance, prey, habitat, range and status in the wild. For the time being I have left out socialisation and reproduction and development. Size and Weight This part is easy. The leopard and the cheetah are the fifth and sixth largest wildcats on the planet respectively. The leopard is slightly heavier than the cheetah. The leopard weighs between 17 and 70 kgs while the cheetah weighs between 21 and 65 kgs. There is not much difference. They are similar is size. They are the "same general size". The major difference is that the cheetah is about 7.6 cms taller. The leopard has a greater weight and size difference across its range than the cheetah because the distribution of the leopard is so extensive. Appearance There is, however, a big difference between the leopard and cheetah in appearance. The cheetah does not have the heavy, stoc

American Curl Health

This is a healthy purebred cat as there appears to be no evidence at the time of this post (Feb 2012) that there are any specific health issues relating to this cat breed. Certain cat breeds are predisposed to health problems due to genetic inheritance. That is not the case with the American Curl. This is probably due to the fact that the cat associations allow outcrossing with random bred cats. The CFA American Curl breed standard says for American Curl: allowable outcross breeds, "domestic longhair or shorthair for litters born before 1/1/2015". These are random bred cats they are referring to, both short and longhair. The genetic health of the American Curl is a very positive aspect of this cat breed. American Curl health -- Source : Page 37 of Medical, Genetic & Behavioral Aspects of Purebred Cats - ISBN 0-9634124-0-X

Manx Cat Health Problems

The famous Manx cat is perhaps known to have some health problems associated with its genotype. This should not be unexpected because where there is a genetic mutation that alters the appearance of a cat it, there may be medical problems that are not immediately apparent from the appearance. In the case of the Manx cat , when the "Manx gene" is inherited from both parents (homozygous) it results in the death of the offspring in the womb. In Manx to Manx matings 25% of the potential litter is lost in womb during fetal development. Accordingly, in breeding the Manx you cannot breed Manx to Manx and the offspring is a heterozygote (carries one Manx gene). The shortened tail is what we see as a consequence of the presence of the Manx gene. However, the gene affects other parts of the cat's anatomy causing Manx cat health problems ( Manx Syndrome). Spina bifida This is a malformation of the vertebrae and spinal cord. The neural tube (the precursor to the central

Tonkinese Health

There are few health problems reported for the Tonkinese. The foremost book on cat breed health and genetic diseases in cat breeds says that Tonkinese cats have a low resistance to upper respiratory diseases (also called URIs). Upper respiratory diseases are one of most common cat illnesses . Tonkinese - photo by julicath/Cath (On- Off ;-)) The Tonkinese may be sensitive to "certain vaccines ". Finally, this excellent book says that when anesthetizing the Tonkinese for whatever medical reason it is best to use gas rather than intravenous injections. Anesthetizing a cat carries risk of injury and death, please note. It would seem then that this cat escapes the rather more extensive list of genetically inherited health problems associated with the Siamese and to a lesser extent the Burmese . The Tonkinese is a Siamese/Burmese hybrid . I am a little surprised, accordingly. You might like to see the page on genetic diseases in purebred cats to see what I mean.

Animal Shelter Conspiracy USA

In the USA I allege that there is a conspiracy to supply cat and dog carcasses to pet food manufacturers which is the reason why the kill rate is so high at no kill animal shelters. You don't have to look far to find high kill rates, particularly of cats at shelters. They still call then no kill shelters bizarrely. Yesterday I wrote an article about a lack of proper assessment of cat and dog temperament at shelters, referring to the Jackson County Animal Control Shelter where 80% of cats are "euthanised" . I know that this is not untypical. The obvious reason why such a high percentage of cats are killed at shelters in the USA is because there are not enough people willing to adopt unwanted cats. But that seems simplistic to me and there are enough people . When there is no proper feline temperament profiling and a lack of networking and coordination. I make the argument in this post that there is no need to kill any cats on the grounds of temperament because if th

Trap Neuter Return Works

The skeptics, the cat haters, the bird conservationists etc. decry trap neuter, return (TNR) as a failed method to manage the feral cat problem. Are they are problem? I am not sure. Anyway, the fact is that TNR is the only humane and sensible way of managing and limiting the feral cat population and it is effective when carried sufficiently inclusively. There is a nice story in an online newspaper that confirms this. It concerns the the Fairfax County Animal Shelter. Fairfax county is in the state of Virginia, USA (thanks for that Dorothy!). Since they introduced TNR into the municipality in 2008, the Fairfax County Animal Shelter has seen "a significant decrease" in the number of cats dealt with by their foster care programme. In 2011 they handled less than half the number of feral kittens than they did in 2010. And over the period 2008 to 2011 there has been a 41% drop in "bottle-fed kittens" entering the shelter. 1,800 feral cats have been TNRed since

Protein Requirements For Cats

What are the protein requirements for cats? Adult cats need twice the amount of protein as dogs. If their diet is low in protein, break down of muscle occurs (called muscle catabolism). Two amino acids are also needed by cats. These are arginine and taurine. Meat contains an adequate supply of arginine. It would seem therefore to be hard to deprive a cat of arginine unless the diet is specially formulated and defective in this essential amino acid. On the contrary, it is quite easy for a cat's diet to be deficient in taurine. Cats have a limited ability to synthesise taurine whereas most animals can synthesise it meaning manufacture it. Cats therefore need to ingest it in their diet. Foods that contain taurine are meat, milk and fish (particularly shellfish). Feline milk (colostrum) contains high concentrations of taurine. What is taurine needed for? Answer: bile acid conjugation and felinine biosynthesis. Felinine is an amino acid in the cat's urine. It is formed in the