Saturday 5 February 2011

Cat Vomiting Blood

This can be kept short because a cat vomiting blood is caused by a specific condition. Fresh blood in vomit is a sign of a damage to the intestinal lining between the mouth and upper small bowel usually caused by a foreign body. Tumors and cancer can also be a cause.

"PJ" - he vomited blood - photo Bellah (Flickr)

The cat in the picture was thought to have feline pancreatitis. He was placed on a special diet and given Pepcid. Pepcid is an "acid controller", meaning stomach acid so I presume he had a stomach ulcer. This might have been exacerbated by the pancreatitis but I have not looked that up.

Blood that has be partly digested and which resembles, "coffee grounds", indicates that the actual internal bleeding has taken place in the stomach or the outlets from the stomach.

The above serious conditions that require an immediate trip to the veterinarian should be distinguished from a cat swallowing blood and vomiting it.


I highly recommend this readable book on cat health problems. There is only one thing I dislike about it. Drs Carlson and Giffin the authors (with others?) do not decry the declawing of cats. They support it under strict conditions even though those conditions are for non-therapuetic purposes. Wrong, sorry.

See also:

Cat Vomiting and

Cat Vomiting (main site)

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Friday 4 February 2011

Kitten Games

This is a website about cats so "kitten games" should be relevant and may be interesting. But what, in fact, are they? Well they have almost nothing to do with real kittens or cats. The sites that are listed when a search is made do present very basic online games but there are almost no kittens in sight! So, any visitor looking to play these games is going to be disappointed when bumping into this page. Sorry.

Kitten Games - basic stuff I am afraid

These sites are highly commercial in that advertising is in your face. They list a lot of colourful but, to be honest, feeble games for what must be young teenage girls.

These are games where, for example, you dress up a woman and her child or decorate a room. You do this by selecting say a pair of shoes and the selected shoes are instantly placed on the person. All the images are drawings, cartoon style.

Some of the games are in Japanese, so you will need to understand that language to get the most out of the game.

And a lot of the games are for any child. I think actually that the games are designed for children younger than teenagers.

Some sites do have crude games with kittens but they barely work and one simply said that, "this game has no description nor controls". How can a game have no controls?

There is little more to say about kitten games except that they are popular. I sigh when I recognise that because it shows that young people are wasting their free time. A bit of entertainment is good but these are horrible, mindless. Is it an example of dumbing down that we hear lots about in relation to education?

When I first bumped into the idea of "kitten games" I immediately thought that it meant cat games for kittens, a sort of miniaturised or more gentle version of well known cat toys. But no.

The game illustrated in the picture near the top of this page, is one where the player drags the cat on the right hand side of the game to the matching silhouette on left hand side. When the cat slots in, the cat sticks its tongue out. That is it. It is a Japanese game and is one of the very few games that actually involves kittens!

Michael Avatar

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Thursday 3 February 2011

Ideal Cat Caretaking

What is the benchmark for cat caretaking? The absolute ideal against which we can measure our performance. The ideal will not or need not be realistic as it is a near perfect goal and reality and practicalities dictate that we will not meet that. However, a model example of cat caretaking should assist us as it should guide us. Also, the advantage of working out an ideal scenario for the domestic cat is that we are forced to think about the domestic cat's needs. If we meet those needs perfectly we have got the ideal, it seems to me.

Walled Garden - Ideal cat environment - Photo Kevin Smith (Flikr)

Let's begin then. But please note that this is a bit of free thinking. It is not conventional pet website regurgitated stuff! We need to go back to the moments when the wild cat became a domestic cat and the early days of the domestic cat. The domestic cat (Felis catus) is still largely a wild cat (Felis silvestris). There was a moment when it was a wildcat - the first days of domestication. It is said that the domestic cat is not domestic1. Well, I am not completely sure that is correct. The domestic cat is very domesticated having lived with people for 9,000 years. Lets say it has adapted to living with the human but behaviorally and psychologically it has a wildcat mentality and we need to recognise that to discover its needs.

In the early days of domestication - lets not go too far back but back to the time of the pilgrims when they came to America with their long haired cats which turned into the much loved Maine Coon purebred cats - the domestic cat was a more or less full-time outdoor cat, mousing for a living with some titbits from their human companions. They were more of a working cat. They had a function beyond keeping us company. They had more space, space commensurate with their natural desire for territory, but less security and they were more exposed to infections. Their lives were more natural but less safe. Their lives were shorter as is the case for feral cats today.

Over the intervening almost 400 years you would have thought that the deficiencies of that cat caretaking scenario, laissez faire and loose that is was, would have been improved. The only improvement needed was to make the domestic cat physically safer and less exposed to illness. The diet, after all was pretty damn good. It was the natural prey of the domestic cat and small wildcat.

But what happened was the modern world got more hostile for the cat. There was a massive expansion in automobile traffic, a deadly killer for the outdoor cat. People became busier and busier. Because people were busier they moved their preferences to the cat and away from the more demanding dog as a companion animal. In America, the largest domestic cat population in the world, people kept their cats in full-time to keep them safe and to a ease the anxiety that they feel when their cats go out. Keeping cats in full-time is for the benefit of us and the cat let's be honest.

So we ended up, by dint of circumstance and an uncontrolled world with a situation that is not a massive improvement for the cat over its lifestyle some 400 years earlier. Full-time indoor living is good and bad. It can generate laziness and inactivity in the cat. Yes, they are good sleepers but they need to exercise; normally achieved through hunting prey.

Dog food was changed into cat food and that transition was not a very clever one although it was an efficient one for the pet food manufacturers. The trouble is the dog is an omnivore and the cat a strict carnivore. Modern cat food contained and still often contains too much starch, carbohydrates and not enough protein. It contains cereal and grain. Dry cat food is for our convenience but it can cause health problems if it is the sole source of food despite the fact that it has been refined with additives etc. It is inherently incorrect.

The benefits of safety from being indoors all the time is undermined by the deficiencies in the modern way of life and diet of the current cat. These produce illnesses such urinary tract infections and feline diabetes. These illnesses have become far more prevalent in the modern cat world. There is also the possibility of stress caused by both the slight dehydration as a result of eating dry cat food and an unnatural living environment - indoor our homes.

Not that I am decrying full-time indoor living. There are massive advantages to both us and cats. But there is the issue of space and cohabiting domestic cats. Cats are essentially solitary and the albeit small domestic cat has a naturally decent sized home range, its territory. It needs that space to feel natural. It needs it own space. And it has to adapt to live in groups in a person's home. And two cats is a small group.

This can set up stresss as can such conditions as cat separation anxiety. We seem to have gone from the raw more natural environment of 400 years ago to a very refined perhaps over refined environment for the domestic cat today that is shoe horned into our distorted world.

The ideal cat caretaking situation for me is one where we can replicate as near as possible the naturalness of yesteryear but add to that situation modern veterinary practice and greater security.

That leaves us with this ideal and very specific scenario. A large house with a large, say 2 acre garden totally (secure) enclosed by a 10 foot high brick wall. The cat is allowed into the garden only in respect of outdoor activity and the cat is fed with perfectly produced cat raw food diet adhering to all the necessary health requirements. The cat sees a good vet twice a year for check ups and this cat is not declawed! No never. That is the benchmark...of course it includes play, love, cuddles and conversation as standard!


1. Your Cat by Elizabeth M Hodgkins DVM.

Michael Avatar

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Wednesday 2 February 2011

Cat cafes are needed in the United States

Cat cafes are needed in the United States! I know, that might make some people wince but it will make many others smile and some of those smiling will be cats.

There are about 100 cat cafés in Japan with about 70 in the Tokyo area, apparently. They are a Japanese invention. They create a homely, warm atmosphere. Some people visit them just to be with, look at and photograph the cats. Apparently there is an hourly charge to be in the café - ¥1,000 an hour, or about $12.

Neka Jalala cat café - photo: Nuno Cardosa (Flickr)

These cafés are obviously designed to be exceptionally homey in character. There are magazines and sofas and...well you get the idea. The humble domestic cat adds a vital live element to this cosy atmosphere - catmosphere.

So why do I proclaim that this new phenomenon should be imported into the United States? I guess, when you think about, the answer is obvious. To save the lives of cats that would otherwise be killed at so called shelters.

There are hundreds of thousands of wonderfully socialised and friendly domestic cats who would be perfect as an employee of a cat café but which are routinely euthanised (actually plain killed) at shelters. In fact come to think about it why can't a shelter open a cat café? That is a poor idea if the shelter is miles from passing traffic - meaning people walking by - but if the shelter is in an urbanised area why can't they show a bit of imagination and open a little cat café? Not only would it put cats to good use that would otherwise be deliberately killed, it would attract attention, pull in some revenue and allow visitors to the café to select a cat for re-homing. Neat, maybe too neat to be viable but it sounds OK on paper.

However, I was thinking more commercially than that. I was thinking about an entrepreneur opening a trial cat café and then a chain if the trail worked. They could link up with shelters to allow for a nice supply of finely balanced cats suitable for the role.

There is no reason why even a fully commercialized cat café cannot allow the re-homing of some of its cats to customers. A café is a perfect meeting place for people. Why can't it be a meeting place between cats and people with a view to re-homing?

It would be one small, and I know it is a small step, towards stopping the horrible mass slaughter of millions, yes millions of domestic can feral cats in the United States every year.

Shelters need to be more imaginative in how to save lives. I am sure that there are numerous examples of lateral and imaginative thinking that would lead to solutions to stop the mass slaughter. It is just putting two of God's creatures together, human and cat. The people are out there.

Michael Avatar

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Tuesday 1 February 2011

Donor Cat Adoptions

I had never heard of donor cats never mind donor cat adoptions until reading a book on cat behavior I recently acquired. Donor cats are cats that have served as a blood donor at a veterinary hospital.

"Leo" a blood donor cat - Photo by dr.r.lam (Flickr)

Because they are selected to give blood (shame that the cat has no say in the matter) they are healthy cats with an even temperament. They need to have a nice sociable character to make the job of giving blood easier, more manageable.

They are then damn good cats that have usually spent their early years as strays or they have been relinquished for whatever reason. They range in age from one to ten years and have a weight that is over 10 pounds. This seems to be a requirement in the selection process.

When I say that they are healthy, I mean that they have been carefully screened and they have had echocardiograms to ensure that they have healthy hearts.

They would seem to be ideal candidates for adoption. They have served other cats, the cat community! They are healthy and of sound character. What more could a person want in a cat companion?

However, unfortunately, I don't know much about how to go about adopting these cats. There is nothing on the internet that comes to hand.  I would have thought that contacting a veterinary hospital within a reasonable distance of where you live and asking questions would be a useful first step. You can go from there.

Michael Avatar

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