Thursday 2 October 2008

Dossow cat

What is the Dossow cat? This really is one of the rare cat breeds. It is meant to be a "proposed" cat breed. I am not sure what that means except it should mean that nothing has happened at all except someone has thought about the possibility of breeding cat A with cat B to produce cat C, the new breed, which would be an unrecognized breed until and if the cat associations agreed to accept it onto their books.

However in this instance this proposed breed, the Dossow cat, seems to be off the drawing board as one example at least of this cat is in existence and there is a picture! Pictures are often hard to come by for breeds this rare. See base of post for rights on this picture.

Perhaps the name helps us to decide the origins of this cat, they often give us a clue. Well this name seems to be an amalgam of more than one name. This indicates that this cat is a hybrid of at least 2 cats breeds. The beginning of the name probably signifies that one of the cats is the Don Sphynx. The Don Sphynx is a Russian hairless cat. Although none of the hairless cats are actually completely hairless as they have a very thin downy coating of hair, which can be hard to see. See some pictures and read in some detail about the Don Sphynx cat. As to the remaining part of the name I am going to speculate some more. The cat breeder of this breed (and I think that there might be only one breeder) is based in America I believe. I have a feeling that the name Possom comes into the breed name. However Possum Creek in a place in Australia. The Dossow cat was formerly called "Hem-sphy" and may have proposed the name "Hemingway Sphynx" after the famous American author who kept polydactyl cats

This American (I think that they are American based near Detroit) breeder is called Possom's Cattery and Rescue and they say that this is a cross between the Don Sphynx (also called the Donsky), Peterbald, Savannah and the American Polydactyl cat. That's complicated. The same breeder claims the cat is hypoallergenic. In my view no cat is completely hypoallergenic except the Allerca cats, if you believe what they say (see Allergen free cat). Perhaps it is fair to say that some breeds are less likely to produce an allergic reaction but there seems to be no science on this. The Donsky is one such cat breed. Another might be the Siberian which has lots of hair. See a little science on the reasons for cat allergies.

Anyway, the Savannah is a very exotic wildcat hybrid. A classy and expensive cat. The Peterbald is rare and one could say interesting looking (a semi-hairless cat with large ears). The Amerian Polydactyl is not a breed (is this cat a breed?) recognized by any of the mainstream cat associations but recognized by the Rare and Exotic Feline Registry (REFR).

The Dossow cat can sometimes have more than the regulation number of toes. This is a polydactyl cat. The coat takes 2 years to develop to the finished product. It would seem that the Dossow cat has in fact been breed for about ten years but I guess in few breeding catteries. Can someone provide some details?

There are a wide range of colors and patterns and hair types for the Dossow cat, including:

Dossow cat - Photograph: I have published this photograph without the owners permission but provided a link to the cattery which provided the image, in exchange. I hope that they find this acceptable. If not, please leave a comment and I'll act on it quickly and properly.

From Dossow cat to Home page

Desexing feral cats

Just desexing feral cats won't on its own work. It seems that Tasmania has a "feral cat problem" as well as the well known one in Australia and the bigger one in America and yes the one in London, UK (but wait a bit, is there one in London, I never see feral cats in London). See feral cats and Savannah cat ban in Australia.

Tasmania is an island about 200 miles south of Melbourne, Australia and is an island state of Australia. Anyway, the Tasmanian government felt that they needed to do something about the feral cats which are taking over the role of the famous Tasmanian devil on the island. The Tasmanian devil is a similar size to a domestic cat and is only found in Tasmania so I guess it is an important native species for the Tasmanians.

The Tasmanian Devil's existence is threatened by a communicable disease that causes cancer that starts near the mouth and spreads; a horrible disease. The government is trying to control it.

The rise in the feral cat population is a particular concern as it seems to be exacerbating the weakened chance of survival of the Devil. Hence the concern over the need to control and perhaps eventually eliminate the feral cat problem. But desexing feral cats is not the only answer.

The plan was mandatory desexing of the domestic cats of the island plus, it seems, compulsory microchipping and registration of cat breeders. However, it has now been decided that most domestic cats are desexed anyway so it won't work.

However, in my view, some domestic cats are clearly not desexed (see neutering cats) and some of these unneutered cats are being abandoned. How else can there be a feral cat problem? Cats are very efficient breeders (see below). However, I am glad to see that the government may consider compulsory microchipping. This should allow irresponsible people who abandon their cats or let them stray to be identified. This should lead the person being punished and not the cat. The problem with this strategy is enforcement, unfortunately. Will people comply with the law?

I hope the existing feral cats are treated humanely. If we allow a cat to be born we are ultimately responsible for the welfare of that animal. These should be trapped and neutered to gradually bring the feral cat problem under control. The problem is then being tackled from both ends so to speak - the cat end and the human end. The "human end" of the problem is it seems a combination of irresponsible cat breeding (or people allowing their cats to breed - i.e. ad hoc laissez faire non-commercial breeding) and irresponsible pet ownership. That is the irresponsible breeders supply the irresponsible keepers.

The human element must be dealt with as simply killing feral cats or desexing feral cats does not cut the supply originating in irresponsible human ownership.

On a simplistic calculation (but one that helps comprehend the scale of the "problem"), and calculating for the maximum figure a breeding pair of cats and their offspring could produce 65,536 cats in 5 years.

Go to Laws and cats and animals (Australia)
Go to Tasmania Cat Animal Welfare Protection

Photograph of a Tasmanian Devil is by by Jen 64 and published under a creative commons license - Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs License

From Desexing feral cats to Feral cats

Wednesday 1 October 2008

Your Partner has a dog you have a cat

If your Partner has a dog you have a cat and you want to live together and his dogs don't like cats.....what do you do?

No easy answer really. The things you can't do if your Partner has a dog you have a cat is get rid of either the dog or cat. This means that the dog and cat have to either (a) be separated when you live together (next to impossible) or (b) learn to live together.

Cats and dogs should be socialized when they are young. This will allow them to get along. See this page showing the beautiful harmony that we aspire to.

As it is almost impossible to separate a dog and a cat in the same household and anyway it will probably be a source of arguments and aggravation, I'd suggest some sort of training for the dog and cat. You might need some expert help, which will cost but the relationship is at stake.

You might try cat clicker training. Hell try anything. Dogs (and in fact cats) can be trained and I feel that even tough late in the day it should be possible to train them to accept each other.

Your Partner has a dog you have a cat to home page

Selkirk Rex Cat

This is a fine photograph of the Selkirk Rex cat by the celebrated cat photographer Helmi Flick.

You can see more pictures and read a lot more, generally, about this cat on this page: Selkirk Rex cat.

This breed has a quality in respect of appearance that is a little like a sheep because of the curly coat and the cobby body type.

Selkirk Rex cat
Selkirk Rex cat
photograph is copyright Helmi Flick

Photo above: he looks an extremely well behaved cat and quality show cats have fine characters.

The Selkirk Rex cat originates in the USA, Wyoming (1987). Another curly coated cat also originates in the USA, the LaPerm (Oregon). And two other curly coated cats started in the UK, the Cornish (Cornwall) and the Devon Rex (Devon). And another started in Germany, yes, the German Rex (Berlin).

The mutant gene that gives this cat the curls is a dominant gene. The gene is symbolized by the letter Se. The coat is wavy and soft at birth. The coat gradually becomes less wavy at 2 months of age; then developing into a beautifully soft and wavy coat as an adult cat. I think that you can tell this from Helmi's photograph.

Selkirk Rex Cat - Photo copyright Helmi Flick

The long hair is produced by the recessive longhaired gene signified by the letter l. It is thought that the gene operates by directing that the hair grows for a longer period than normal. The growth phase is known as the "Anagen Phase". The longer hair exaggerates the variation in hair length normally present. Show cats are breed such that the longer hair is also silky. This might be because the down hairs are lengthened as well as the guard and awn hairs. The down hairs are very thin and delicate (and therefore soft). Selective breeding produces this and this breeding introduces polygenic factors to operate on the phenotype of the coat.

The longer hair of the Selkirk Rex cat means that the waviness is less obvious. When the dominant mutant gene that produces the wavy coat is homozygous the curls are tighter and the coat less dense.

As to the whiskers these are like the other rex cats; fragile, short and bent.

Selkirk Rex cat to Home Page

Ocelot kitten

Ocelot kitten
Ocelot Kitten - photo by Just chaos. These were the best pictures that I could find of an Ocelot Kitten that I was free to publish on this website.

People search for "Ocelot Kitten" - why? For two possible reasons. One to see a picture of an Ocelot kitten and the other to source breeders of the Ocelot so that they can adopt one as a pet. The well known artist Salvador DalĂ­ kept an Ocelot as a pet, travelling with the cat.

Ocelot kitten for sale
Ocelot kitten for sale - photo by dzaks. I think that this was taken in Panama in 2002. She/he doesn't look too happy.

So, if visitors want to see a picture of an young Ocelot they are here. What about buying one as a pet? Well, the Ocelot as we know is a medium sized wildcat. You can read and see a bit about the Ocelot and this cat's habitat here: Ocelot habitat.

The Ocelot weighs 11.5–16 kg (25–35 pounds). Another wildcat that has been tamed to be a domestic cat/pet is the Serval. The Serval is more "rangy" in conformation (and as a result is a great jumper) and weighs 9 to 20 kg (20-44 lbs), so is a little bigger at the higher end.

There will be similarities at a fundamental level in caring for either of these two cats as a domesticated cat. I discuss the Serval generally on this page: Serval. And I discuss some of the complexities of keeping a Serval on this page: Serval Cats.

The basic issues are: compliance with local legislation, dietary requirements, veterinarian requirements (can your vet provide suitable veterinary care?), declawing (no and no again but some people do, why get a cat like this if we are going to make the cat less than the cat we liked in the first place), moral issues (do we want to keep a wildcat in our own zoo? - see range below).

An Ocelot kitten will become a cat and the Ocelot is mostly nocturnal and very territorial so will fight strongly to occupy his/her territory. Are we introducing an Ocelot into a household/space/enclosure where there are existing cats? If so this looks complicated. Ocelots need a range of 18 km² (7 sq miles) to hunt prey that consists of small mammals that include rabbits and rodents, birds and fish, for example. Do we have small pets such as hamsters, guinea pigs?

In 2006 IUCN Red List the Ocelot is considered as "least concern" currently, apparently. The Texas Ocelot is considered endangered under the same list. I would suspect obstacles to considering keeping this cat as a pet on a number of levels the first being legalities on the basis of the cats conservation status. The Serval cats link above has some links to USA State websites which may provide some clarification.

The Ocelot was (still is?) hunted for her fur, which is outstanding. It is a spotted tabby pattern (rosettes and black spots). The coat is similar to the Clouded Leopard another very strikingly attractive cat.

From Ocelot Kitten to Home page

Photos are published under a creative commons license - Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs License

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