Sunday 7 March 2010

Polydactyl Maine Coon Cat Tootsie

This is Tootsie, a polydactyl Maine Coon cat that lives with an American women who lives in Atlanta, Georgia, USA. Her Flickr name is valleygirl_tka

I know Valley Girl as she is a work colleague of mine, although I have never met her. She has a website called, teh kitteh antidote/anecdote. Now that is a very fancy name for a website. It took me a little while to realise that it is a play on words, mispelled words (notice I spelled "spelled" correctly!). It is also a play on mistyped words and mixed up words. Great name for a website and the title does not start with a capital letter just to add a bit of spice. Oh, I almost forgot, Valley Girl's (VG for short) website is a subdomain of my maine (mispelled) site called, Pictures of or PoC for short. A subdomain is a domain that is separate from but part of the main domain. It is a separate website but included in statistical reports such as for Alexa traffic reports. Well I think Alexa treats it as part of PoC but there is some discussion about that.

Now what about the cat and the photo? Well, the polydactyl paw looks like a hand with a thumb! And it is about to grab the handle part of a cat toy. How many cats prefer the wrong end of a cat toy? How many cats actually sleep on that cosy bed you bought him or her? I find that if I buy something for my cat she or he doesn't use it! Humans and cats have different ideas about possessions. Cats don't recognise the concept of possessions.

Tootsie is a grey cat. In fact, to me she looks like a grey tabby smoke (the smoke effect is caused by the inhibitor gene). I am guessing wildly but I think the tabby gene, the agouti gene, the dilute gene and the smoke gene are at play all at once. And of course we have the genetic mutation that produces the additional toes. Wow, there is a lot going on. Now, I could be wrong about the genes!

Polydactylism is not a genetic mutation that carries health problems as is the case with some mutations such as the short tailed Manx or the floppy eared Scottish Fold.

Ernest Hemingway kept polydactyl cats in Florida. They are still there and they are called Hemingway cats or American Polydactyl cats. This is not a breed of cat but that is a disputed point I think. Someone might like to leave a comment on that as it might clear up this point.

See Polydactyl cats for more.

Michael Avatar

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Friday 5 March 2010

Tabby and white cat in the best cat sanctuary

Charming Neena

This is Neena at a private cat sanctuary at Foz do Iguaçu, Brazil. This is an extraordinary cat sanctuary. It is private so I presume that they are funded by donations although I sense that in this case that might not be the way it is funded. It is not a cat shelter in the classic sense (i.e. cats rescued and rehomed) but a true sanctuary where cats that are rescued can call it their home. It is instant re-homing!

That said the cats are available for adoption but apparently the sanctuary owners don't allow most of the cats to go to new homes (perhaps the offers from prospective owners are not good enough, which wouldn't surprise me as the sanctuary seems to be better than most homes!) "Super premium" cat food is served and medical care is available twice weekly. Forget the private cat keepers of Brazil, forget the USA or anywhere elese, this is the best cat home in the world. There are a staff of 4 and about 300 cats as far as I remember.

And what about this fine photograph and beautiful cat? Well, firstly it is by Giane Portal, who lives in San Paolo, Brazil and she is the best amateur cat photographer anywhere I think. She is also involved in cat rescue.

For me, the impact from this photograph comes from the fact that it seems that this beautiful cat is lying in the road, against the curb!  This is not true as it was taken in the sanctuary but this impression creates a tension and a contrast between the soft beauty of the cat and the cold danger of the concrete road. I sense that Neena is very vulnerable yet she is completely safe and in good hands. Well, that is how I analyse it.

This cat is a long haired cat or medium long haired and Neena has a tabby and white coat. You can see the classic tabby "M" mark on the forehead. Neena is a random bred cat.

By the way, Giaine Portal, uses the Flickr name, fofurasfelinas. You can click on the photo to go to the original one on Flickr and see some more of her work. This photo is part of the cat-photo-technique Flickr group.

Michael Avatar

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Thursday 4 March 2010

Sphynx Cat Photo

Spynx cat with no claws
Sphynx cat Photo by Mario Izquierdo (Flickr)

This is an amazing photograph of a cat but Sphynx cats do make amazing photographs because you get beautiful tones particularly in black and white as is the case here and as the cat is hairless or nearly so you get all those lovely wrinkles that produce such rich texture and interesting shapes.

This though is a particularly good example of a Sphynx cat photo as it is slightly mysterious. It is hard at first to figure out exactly what is going on. Yet on close inspection we can see that this is a small cat as it is in the hand of the owner (unless I am completely mistaken!).

Another thing about this photo that is a bit mysterious is that although this cat has its digits extended (the phalanges of its paw extended) as if to grab something to stabilise itself as it has been held by the person, there are no claws that I can see.

You would normally see claws under these circumstances in my experience. If I am correct, that means this cat has been declawed and if that is the case and only if that is the case my admiration for the photographer due to his photographic skills are diminished by his desire to declaw his cat. I would criticise for that (if that is the case) but this photographer is very good indeed.

Declawing cats is simply horrible to anyone who really cares about cats and animals as it is the removal of the last phalanx of the paw, which is called the distal phalanx. In other words it is an amputation of part of ten toes (see cat paws and declawing cats).

OK, I hope that I am wrong. Lets not forget that the Sphynx cat is particularly monkey like in its agility and athletic skills and it relies in claws to do a lot of that.

The Sphynx cat is also named as the most intelligent of the cat breeds. That assessment though probably is not very scientific and probably does not take into account the wild cat hybrids particularly the first fillial wild cat hybrids who are very intelligent having inherited the intelligence of their wild parents. Wild cats are considered more intelligent that domestic cats because they have to use their brains more to survive as domestic cats have everything on a plate!

Another interesting thing about the Sphynx cat (that does have some down like hair by the way and is not hypoallergenic) is that the colour patterns of the hair were it in existence is mapped out on the skin of the cat as pigmentation in the skin – how about that?

Michael Avatar

Sphynx cat photo - Associated pages:

Sphynx cat
Hypoallergenic cat breeds
Non-shedding cat breeds
Don Sphynx (Russian Sphynx cat)
Chakan CD

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Tuesday 2 March 2010

Grey Cat Rafael

Rafael the Angel
Rafael - a rescue cat living in Brazil

This is a gorgeous cat and a fine photograph. Firstly, I like the colours. Rafael is blue, well that is a cat fancy term that actually means a blue-grey which is the result of the dilute gene (dd) turning black grey. The grey cat has to to homozygous for this gene as it is a recessive gene. The grey is nicely offset by the pink ears. They are pink because they are back lit, the light is coming through them.

This is a nice active photograph too. Rafael is walking purposefully towards his target! His eyes are set firmly ahead. He is a young cat judging by the size, expression and his whiskers that look quite fine.

There are a group of cats that I call the grey cat breeds. The only colour that these cats can be is the colour that you see above - blue-grey. The best known of this select group is the Chartreux, a traditional French purebred cat with a long and distinguished history and a connection to monks and the Christian Crusades.

The photographer is Giane Portal, Flickr name: fofurasfelinas, a name I can never type without pausing! She lives in San Paolo, Brazil (I think it is San Paolo), which I have just read is a violent city where youths carry machine guns and pistols openly and in defiance of the police who seem not to care or who cannot cope. Against this backdrop Giane takes the best amateur cat photographs anywhere.

Michael Avatar

From to Home Page

Silver Tabby Cat Finnegan

Finegan. Click on the picture to go to the Flickr original

What about this cat? Well, he is an ordinary but extraordinary cat as all cats are extraordinary, certainly in terms of their agility. I feed a stray cat, who I named, Timmy, who comes about once a day. He comes over a high brick wall (about 7 feet in height). He simply ambles up to it and jumps to the top. Cats leap their way to about two thirds up the wall then almost climb the remainder with their claws and momentum.

Finegan looks like an athletic cat as he is slender and probably not too heavy. He has blue eyes, Blue eyes are eyes where the pigment has been taken out of the iris. Cats that are white and coloured (bicolors) sometimes have blue eyes as the piebald gene or whiting gene turns the eyes blue as well as parts of the coat white. All white cats sometimes have odd-eyes, one coloured and one blue. The famous white Turkish Angoras have odd eyes sometimes as I recall.

Finnegan has a beautiful tabby "M" mark on his forehead - nice and symmetrical and a very nice looking M it is. I feel that I have become a bit of an expert on the tabby M as I have seen a lot of them!

He seems to be a silver tabby and perhaps a mackerel tabby judging by the stripes on his legs but I don't believe that stripes on legs means that the cat is a mackerel tabby.

He has a nice square and quite long muzzle which is a bit like the muzzle on the Chartreux and which makes the Chartreux look like it is smiling all the time.

The silver tabby is caused by the presence of the Agouti gene (A) that produces the tabby appearance by colour banding each individual hair stand and the inhibitor gene (signified by the letter I) that supresses the production of pigment that is fed into the growing hair. There is also the mackerel tabby gene (if Finnegan is a mackerel tabby) Mc. In the silver tabby the expression of the inhibitor gene is at a fairly low level. In the chinchilla silver, which is produced by the same gene combination there is a high level of expression of the inhibitor gene and the cat is much more silver looking as a consequence. A feature of the inhibitor gene is its wide range of expression.

Finnegan is a great looking cat and this photo is part of my Yahoo cat-photo-technique group.

Michael Avatar

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