Wednesday 3 November 2021

A cat coat to protect against the worst winter weather

When I first laid my eyes on this picture of a beautiful long haired cat I thought of a pigeon! You know how pigeons sit on their perches with their feathers fluffed up in order to trap warm air below them; well, this cat looks a bit like a pigeon with fluffed up feathers. 

The best winter coat on a domestic cat I've seen
The best winter coat on a domestic cat I've seen. Photo from and Pinterest. This pic is in the public domain in my view.

And I've not seen a domestic cat with a coat so suited to deal with cold weather than this brown tabby who appears to be sitting on a roof terrace of a block of apartments. That's a guess but it is a reasonable guess or it is a patio of some sort. 

My guess, too, is that this is a purebred cat. Well-bred pedigree cats have a look about them and this cat has that look. I'm guessing a Siberian but you just can't tell by appearance. That said, you don't see this kind of density and length of coat in any other domestic cat other than a Siberian purebred cat. This, of course, is to be expected because Siberia is so damned cold. Although it has been warming up of late with global warming where temperatures have reached 30°C and all the permafrost is melting! That's why they dug up some cave lion cubs recently in Siberia which had been in the permafrost for, I can't remember, about 30,000 years.

He or she may be a Maine Coon but the overall look of this cat does not point to Maine Coon in my honest opinion. Too cobby.

But within each breed there is quite a wide variation in appearances of individual cats some of whom are not bred to type as they say in the cat fancy.

In terms of maintenance by a cat's caregiver, it perhaps goes without saying that the single, silky coat of cats like the Siamese is far easier to manage. But evolution has equipped cats such as the one on this page and, for example, the Norwegian Forest Cat and the British Shorthair with winter busting protection. They have dense coats with insulating down hairs next to the skin.

In cold weather the hair stands erect trapping a layer of air like double glazing while a thin layer of fat under the skin insulates the body. When a cat wears a single coat they radiate more heat from their bodies which helps to keep them cool. 

Of course, the Siamese comes from Thailand formally Siam which is relatively hot compared to the state of Maine in the USA. Siamese cats lack down hair and cats that have this insulating coat shed it in hot climates.

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