Wednesday 26 October 2011

Is Google smart?

The answer is a resounding YES. They employ the smartest people in the world. It is almost a prerequisite for hiring a new Google employee. The important points to make are that (a) they can afford to employ the smartest people and (2) they think of the wider issues, the long term stuff, the global issues and work back from there.

Their software is the best. You need the best engineers for that. Sure, things go wrong but that is human nature.

How do you measure smartness in this instance? Simple. Google is a business. The more profit they make the better. You measure them by their profit margin.

Actually it goes deeper than that, at 2011. This is because there is no regulation of the internet. Google are the law. They police copyright infringements, for example. This would normally be carried out by an independent, non-profit making body. But Google take it upon themselves to police copyright.

They have an altruistic element to their operation. This is because they are so big they are in constant danger of falling foul of anti-competition laws. They have to be generous to counter that threat.

The world is massively imperfect so that no matter how smart you are you are still going to do silly things.

Why do I hate the world?

I don't hate the world but for those that do the answer is that you have to fit in with the world to avoid hating it. You have to go with the flow. If for whatever reason you don't fit in you will learn, over time, to hate it because it will be uncomfortable. You will desire to get out of it. Suicide is too hard for most because it goes against the core of our being - survival. So you will find the next best thing and that is often some sort of mind altering chemical to kill the pain of living.

So why should you not fit in? There are a lots of reasons. The normal is because the world is run by alpha males who play by the currently acceptable measure of success: money and power. There is also the status quo (the way things are) - the accepted behavior as demanded by the establishment, which is mainstream society who protect their society and the status quo because they take advantage of it. They run it.

Money is a very shallow measure of success and the status quo sucks for most of us! Many people seek more than that. They seek something more profound and meaningful - quality of life. They cannot find it in a world that is run by big business and alpha males. Quality of life is for the rich, we think, but they miss the point too. The alpha male is misguided because quality of life is not in financial wealth. He, himself, is a lost sole. But he messes up the world for all the others.

This is the bad thing. There is no cure for this malaise. You can't fix it because you cannot change the way you think. Unless you are 4 years of age but at that age you won't know what you think.

Feline Anemia Types

My old cat has anemia
Seven types of feline anemia are commonly dealt with by veterinarians:
  1. Aplastic pancytopenia - the bone marrow fails to produce enough new cells to replenish blood cells;
  2. Hemolytic anemia - Heinz body - an item of denatured hemoglobin is enclosed in the red blood cell. It is caused by the consumption of paracetamol that poisons the cat.
  3. Immune mediated anemia - affects dogs more that cats. Auto-immune system goes wrong and attacks red blood cells.
  4. Iron deficiency anemia - caused by a diet deficient in iron and/or iron loss due to e.g. intestinal bleeding.
  5. Megalobastic anemia - caused by the infectious disease feline leukemia.
  6. Anemia caused by chronic kidney disease. My old cat (20) is dying and she has feline anemia caused in part by chronic kidney disease.
  7. Metabolic anemia - occurs with fatty liver syndrome in cats.
See feline anemia for more.

Cat Sore Anus

Natural treatment for a sore anus caused by prolonged diarrhea. The tissue becomes inflammed and irritated. It can become infected with bacteria.

I'll quote Dr. John Heinerman, if I may, who wrote: Low Cost Natural Cures for Your Dog & Cat Your Vet Doesn't Want You to Know.

The doctor says that it is a good hygienic practice to sponge off your cat's anus with a clean cotton cloth slightly moistened with distilled water. This gets ride of material stuck around the anus. The area should then be gently dried. You then apply extra-virgin olive oil to the area using three cotton swabs. A small amount of oil is placed on the swabs. The procedure should be repeated three times daily.

If the area is infected slightly he suggests dabbing the area with cotton swabs soaked in "alcohol free liquid goldenseal-root extract". This is done several times daily.

In addition herbal creams can be applied. He suggests arnica cream or calendula cream.

You can buy the Kindle version of this book on Amazon:

Kindle version of Low Cost Natural Cures for Your Dog & Cat Your Vet Doesn't Want You to Know by Dr. John Heinerman

Cat Food Allergies

A lot of people are gradually coming to the realization that poor quality cat food might account for a large percentage of cat allergy problems. Veterinarians are more aware of this. Some vets will say that their most commonly encountered cat health problems relate to the immune system and allergies. It's about modern cat food manufacture using additives and chemical pesticides.

The public, however, is still largely unaware. Allergies are difficult to pin down which blurs diagnosis and assessment. Allergies generate symptoms of general ill health. Combine that with a cat's stoic nature and we end up not having a handle on cat food allergies.

Some vets would admit that too much canned cat food, dry cat food, cat food containing chemical preservatives and artificial coloring, and pet food containing moldy or rancid meats can cause cat food allergies.

The argument is that a properly prepared raw food diet is the best cat food. However, vets believe that it is unlikely that a cat owner will have sufficient expertise and time to prepare and store raw cat food to the required standard. Feeding raw cat food carries risk of ill health because of hazards such as bacterial infections.

However, raw cat food is a better cat food model. It is more nutritious and is easier to digest. Bengal cat breeders who feed raw food sing its praises saying the benefits to their cats are immediately recognizable.

Some vets will argue that raw food contributes to an increase in enzymatic activities in the gut and bowl. It strengthens the immune system.

One big benefit is that cats on a raw diet eat less. Cat obesity is a major health issue in the developed countries. Cat obesity can bring ill health.

Why does eating a raw food diet lead to cats eating less? It might be due to the high fiber content and/or high amount of mineral salts in raw food.

I don't think enough is known about cat food allergies. IBD - inflammatory bowel disease, is an immune reaction disease. The most likely stimulant for this allergic reaction is commercially produced cat food. Elements of modern cat food are treated as harmful by the immune system. A cat might demonstrate signs of IBD by becoming fidgety or licking themselves. This gives in the indication that they might have fleas.

Hyoallergenic cat food is available if people sense that their cat suffers from cat food allergies. The best cat food is a compromise.

Are cat vaccinations necessary?

Sometimes there are legal requirements to vaccinate; for example against rabies in the USA. Unless you are prepared to break the law, a vaccination against rabies is necessary in that country. However, it might be possible to argue that it is not necessary from a health perspective. People who make the law are not always right.

There is a commercial element to vaccinations. It enables veterinarians to get people in to the surgery on a regular basis which in turn enables them to sell other services and products to the customer.

The commercial nature of the veterinarian's business distorts the delivery of cat health care. It can lead to over vaccinating. A lot of veterinarians agree that multiple vaccines either in the form of frequent and/or repeated vaccines could compromise the cat's immune system.

It is suggested that the immune responses (by the immune system) becomes confused and unable to distinguish between harmful and benign substances.

It has been said that the customer, the pet owner, is insufficiently informed about the risks of vaccines. One unnamed vet says that if customers knew how vaccines affected the health of a cat they would not have their cat vaccinated!

It could be argued that full-time indoor cats that are old and that have been vaccinated routinely when young no longer benefit from further vaccinations. The risk of ill health from vaccines outweighs the potential benefits for some cats under some circumstances.

There are things that we can do to boost our cat's immune system. That is a more natural form of protecting the health of the cat. Good cat food and good all round care is the answer.

Some vets simply don't vaccinate their cats. Some are heavily against vaccinations saying that vaccines are poisonous to the cat's immune system. Some are resolutely for vaccinations.

Conclusion: Are cat vaccinations necessary? No, not in an absolute sense. It is a balancing act. Vaccines are meant to improve the cat's health. They might not. They might hurt the cat. The injection can cause cancer. The immune system can be damaged. But they might protect the cat from serious illness. There are no clear answers. We should not automatically presume that vaccines are good as is promoted by most vets. See cat vaccination recommendations.

Tuesday 25 October 2011

Feline Acne Treatment

Chilli an Abyssinian cat - Photo: Maggie Sharp

Feline acne treatment consists of cleaning the skin 2x per day with an ointment that contains 2.5 to 5 per cent bezoyl peroxide. In the USA this is OxyDex. The product below may be a good choice. Alternatives are Nolvasan or Betadine. Sometimes antibiotics are required when the infection is severe.

The skin should be cleaned with medical shampoo where there is excess sebum.

Cats are predisposed to developing feline acne when skin pores are blocked by excess sebum or keratin. Feline acne develops in the sebaceous glands that are situated on the underside of the chin and edges of the lips. Cats with an oily skin are more likely to suffer from feline acne.

A condition that is similar to feline acne is an allergic reaction to a rubber or plastic food bowl. This can be treated by removing the cause of the allergic reaction and buying a stainless steel or ceramic bowl.

Feline acne tends to return. The treatments do not cure the cat of the condition. Dry food might help but full-time dry food is not recommended in my opinion. Washing your cat's chin after eating might help too.

Signs Of Cat Inbreeding

Signs of cat inbreeding include the appearance of anomalies, inbreeding depression and a decline in hybrid vigor. I have a page on genetic diseases in purebred cats that shows how inbreeding can affect health. It depresses the immune system and throws up inherited illnesses that are serious.

The cat breeds on the left are the most inbred. The most inbred is the Singapura. The Siberian is the least inbred and on a level of random bred cats. On the far right are 3 subspecies of wildcat. Chart: in the public domain. Click on the image to see it more clearly.


So called "vigor" really means general health and well-being. Inbreeding results in the homozygosity of more genes with harmful effects. Deleterious genes that are carried by cats and which are "dormant" or unseen in physical appearance and health "make their presence felt due to inbreeding".

A classic example is Bengal nose. Breeders, though, would not agree. Breeders tend to downplay inbreeding problems for obvious reasons. And we have the depressed immune systems in modern Siamese cats that results in a depressed lifespan because of general illness that would not be present in random bred cats.

Robinson's Genetics quote the following as examples of possible consequences of inbreeding. More than one may be present or one in the extreme:
  • decline in birth weight - small, thin and lethargic kittens.
  • small litter sizes, more stillborn kittens, abnormal kittens.
  • poor growth in later life and "below standard" individual cats.
  • sterility problems. Poor sperm quality (see wild cat inbreeding), reluctance to copulate.
  • predisposition to illness. One disease kills all the litter.
  • physical deformities or physical appearance that lacks symmetry.
To this list I will add subnormal intelligence. Inbreeding depression can lead, in my view, to individual cats that lack the usual level of intelligence or cognitive function of the typical domestic cat. These cats are noticeable unresponsive and dull in character.

It is my contention that the most established cat breeds tend to have the most established genetic illnesses and the higher number of these sorts of illnesses. Examples: Siamese and Persian.

Purebred cat breeders like to fix a good looking cat persuant to the breed standard by inbreeding. This can also fix a poor immune system.

I have written this on the basis of what I have read over a considerable period of time and in reference to Robinson's Genetics for Cat Breeders & Veterinarians Fourth Edition ISBN 0-7506-4069-3.

Cat Dental Cleaning Procedure

Brushing Truman's teeth - Photo by John Morton
Unfortunately, cat dental cleaning procedure requires a general anesthetic. There are therefore cat dental cleaning risks because general anesthesia of cats carries risk of injury and possible death.

A general anesthetic is essential for the veterinarian to fully assess all the teeth and to clean below the gum line.

Before a general anesthetic cats should be evaluated to minimize the risk. This includes a physical examination and basic blood and urine analyses.

What is the risk of injury or worse for a cat when under a general anesthetic? The risk is surprisingly high. I was in a veterinarians the other day and a fellow customer was having his cat's teeth cleaned. He was anxious as he had been told that the risk of death was 1 in 100 (1%). 

Gaynor J.S.; Dunlop C.I. Wagner A.E. et al. (1 January 1995). Complications and mortality associated with anesthesia in dogs and cats, concluded in their study that there was a 1 in 9 chance of "complications" and a 1 in 233 chance of death. 

In this study: Brodbelt DC, Blissitt KJ, Hammond RA, et al. (September 2008). The risk of death: the confidential enquiry into perioperative small animal fatalities, the risk of death was put at:
  • for sick cats 1 in 71 (1.4%)
  • for cats generally 1 in 895
Well, there you have it. For the sake of clean teeth you have quite a real risk of death. Like all these things it is a balancing act of risk versus benefit. See also feline gum disease.

Burmese Cat Health - Feline Orofacial Pain Syndrome

Burmese cats have a predisposition to acquiring Feline Orofacial Pain Syndrome (FOPS).  The condition occurs mainly in Burmese cats and associated breeds (Tonkinese, Burmillas and occasionally Siamese cats). There is another disease that affects the head of this cat breed: meningeoncephalocele. See Burmese cat health.

What is FOPS? It is acute pain in the mouth and face that is so severe that is causes the cat to scratch at the mouth and self-mutilate on the outside of the mouth and inside (the tongue). It is obviously very distressing for cat and cat caretaker alike. It is similar to the human version of this disease and in other animals.

It seems that it is not entirely clear what causes it. Is there a genetic inheritance connection?

Certain things bring on FOPS such as kitten teething, mouth disease, stress and dental work. Damage to the trigeminal nerves seems to be one cause. Trigeminal nerves carry sensory messages from the face to the brain.

Treatment is multifaceted: bandaging claws to prevent self-mutilation, pain relief, tube feeding because cats do not wish to eat as it hurts (i.e. facial movement by chewing brings it on), tranquilisers?, possible euthanasia if the cat is in continual severe pain.

This page will tell you more (opens in a new window). I don't know if FOPS only affects American Burmese cats. There are different breeding processes and standards between the USA, UK and Europe. Breeding practices may have had a role to play in the creation of this disease in Burmese cats.

Pointed Cat Definition

The definition of a pointed cat might be as follows:
A cat, purebred, stray or feral, that has a coat that is darker at the extremities due to the temperature sensitivity of a chemical process that inhibits full pigmentation of fur in the warmer areas of the cat's body while allowing the cooler extremities to display full pigmentation.

Note 1: the pointed cat is a dark cat that has pigmentation inhibited in the central parts of the cat rather than a light cat that has pigmentation produced in cooler parts of the cat - feet, face and tail.

Note 2: Older pointed cats are darker all over because of poorer blood circulation causing the central parts of the body to be cooler.

Please see cat coats pointed for some nice pictures.

Pointed British Shorthair. This shows lilac pointing. Classic pointing is seal colored (dark brown/black):

Lionel - Photo by by steviewonderous (Flickr)

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