Friday 20 January 2023

Cat kisses her man on the lips in very close bonded relationship

Nothing apparently really special about the video but it is special in many ways. This young man has created a beautiful relationship between himself and his cat companion. It is the human who runs the show. It is the human who dictates how well the relationship runs. It's their world and they create the cat's world. But when it is this good the cat is going to be very happy. And of course, that happiness is reflected in the caregiver.

An interesting little aspect of this repeating video is that the cat and man kiss each other. The cat really wants to kiss her man. Kissing is fine but it is very rarely done on the lips between cat and person.

There is the faintest possibility of the transfer of pathogens from cat to person in this activity. As a large number of cats have toxoplasmosis it is just about possible that the man could get it from his cat. It would be unlucky though. 

Toxoplasmosis is asymptomatic in cats very often.

My cat is acting weird. She’s standing on her rear toes with her butt in the air. What does it mean?

The exact words of the cat's owner asking for help on Reddit.com are as follows:
My cat has been acting weird. All day she’s been standing on her rear toes with her butt in the air always pointing it at me. She’s never done this before what does it mean?

I shortened them for the title. The picture accompanying the words immediately tell us what is going on.

My cat is acting weird. She’s standing on her rear toes with her butt in the air. What does it mean?
My cat is acting weird. She’s standing on her rear toes with her butt in the air. What does it mean?. Female (queen) in heat prepared to mate. Image: u/OMGJay on Reddit.

Their female cat is in oestrus (heat) and is seeking a mate and ready to copulate. She raises her bottom slightly and places her tail to one side. The classic pose of a female cat waiting to be mated. Before doing this, she would have provided other signals to males to indicate that she was ready to mate such as rolling around flirtatiously.

Clearly, the owner has adopted this cat and unusually not had her spayed (sterilised). He/she may have rescued her informally (found her). The vast majority of people in the West i.e. Europe and America, spay and neuter their female and male cats. 

If there is a lesson here it is to check if an informally adopted female cat has been spayed. It can hard to find the scare from the operation. You might like to ask a vet.

The veterinarians say that female cats are happier when they been spayed and it helps to remove the possibility of certain diseases affecting female cats. So, it is highly recommended.

The spraying operation is more severe than the neutering operation for male cats but I argue that male cats' appearance changes when they are neutered. They become more feminised whereas for female cats there is no change in appearance. I prefer the non-neutered male cat appearance.

In the spraying surgery, the uterus, fallopian tubes and ovaries are removed. The operation prevents the queen (unsterilized female cat) from coming into oestrus and eliminates the problems of cystic ovaries, neutering infections, false pregnancies, irregular heat cycles and confinement during the mating season. 

And it also reduces the frequency of breast tumours. Spaying reduces the chances of a female cat developing mammary tumours by 90%.

Spaying does not make a cat fat and lazy. It might slow their metabolism and this can be countered by a fresh diet and some more exercise.

The best time to spay a female is at 5-7 months of age before she goes into her first heat.

Veterinarians believe that a spayed female makes an outstanding pet and she is able to devote herself exclusively to her human family. 

Plus, you don't have the risk of acquiring a bunch of kittens to care for and find homes for.

One kitten hates the other after they were neutered. What's happening?

This is a question on the Reddit.com website which I would like to also answer on this site. This is quite a typical problem actually. Domestic cats identify almost everything that they encounter through their sense of smell. Or to put it more accurately, they confirm the identity of the object. This happens as you can see when they eat. They sniff food because at close range their eyesight is not that great and therefore, they've got to identify whether it is edible and nutritious through its smell.

One kitten hates the other after they were neutered. What's happening?
One kitten hates the other after they were neutered. What's happening? Image: u/jkamio

When a cat goes to a veterinary clinic for any procedure including a minor operation like a male neutering, they come back smelling of the veterinary clinic. And the veterinarian has probably used a sterilising agent on the site of the wound which also will have a strong smell.

These smells transform the freshly neutered cat into a complete stranger to the sibling. Whereas once they recognised their sibling as a friendly cat who they knew, all of a sudden, they are encountering a stranger who has invaded their space.

In response they hiss at their sibling which is disturbing to their human caregiver. They hate to see this agonistic behaviour among friendly cats.

But the smell will fade and the kitten when then once again become a sibling who they like. And perhaps the smell of the operation can be removed with a damp cloth. In addition, a bit of bedding used by both cats could be rubbed over the cat who had the operation to speed up the return of their body odour to its true smell.

It is nothing to worry about although it is concerning initially. Years ago, I had a brother and sister siblings who got on well. The sister fell into a pot of white paint. It was water-soluble and I immediately washed it off. I also washed off her body odour. 

Her brother no longer recognised her and hissed at her. She groomed herself fastidiously for about an hour to put her scent back and at that point he recognised her and the status quo was renewed.

There is another point worth making. Siblings when they are young are normally friendly towards each other. When they become adults and independent, that friendship may disappear as they become competitors for resources.

That's the wild cat behaviour which looks peculiar in the home of their caregiver. There is no need to be independent-minded when they are both being looked after but of course it is instinctive. They may get along but they may not any more.

Wednesday 18 January 2023

Boar-cat

'Boar-cat' was an early name for a male cat. An alternative name was 'ram-cat'. Both were replaced by 'tom-cat' in the 18th century, with the spelling now normally being 'tomcat'. You can go back further to medieval times (500-1500 AD) when tomcats were called 'Gyb' which was a shortened name for Gilbert which is why it is capitalized in contrast to tomcat which is not.

The 'painting below' is by an AI computer on instructions to paint a 'medieval scene with cat'. I think the result is pretty damned good:

Cat in a medieval scene
Cat in a medieval scene as painted by DALLE E an AI computer.

Gyb was a generic name but it could also be a given name to an individual cat. And there were variations on the name such as 'Gibbe' and 'Gybbe'.

A Scottish poem from the late fifteenth century by Robert Henryson goes:

"When two mice are on a table-top,
Barely have they drunk once or twice
When in comes Gib Hunter, our cat."

Tuesday 17 January 2023

The cure for a fear of cats is slow desensitisation (familiarization)

A fear of cats, as you might know is called 'ailurophobia' (eye-lure-o-PHO-bia). A fear of cats is not uncommon. I'm told that nearly 22.2% of individuals living in the USA are frightened of animals of different kinds. I don't know the percentage for cats but it won't be insignificant. It might be to do with the fact that they are very competent predators with sharp claws and long canine teeth!

The cure for a fear of cats is slow desensitisation (familiarization)
The cure for a fear of cats is slow desensitisation (familiarization). Image: MikeB

The cure for ailurophobia is straightforward enough and it concerns desensitising the individual. This is distressing for the patient. It requires a step-by-step process in which the first step is presenting to the individual things that are only remotely feline. They just need the merest impression that something associated with cats is near them such as a photograph of cats or kittens or toy animals.

After a while a kitten can be placed in a small secure cage and left about 10 or 12 paces away from the patient on the far side of a room. The phobic person is gently reassured to tell them that the cat cannot get near them.

Then gradually the kitten or cat in the cage is moved towards the patient over a period of days. The phobia can be reduced in intensity in this way until eventually the victim can actually hold a kitten.

At this point the sufferer can spend a lot more time with a kitten or cat and the longer they do so the better. It's important that there are no sudden unexpected moves. This would suggest that the cat playing the role in this process should be very placid and guaranteed not to undo the process by, for example, scratching the patient. That would probably terminate the whole process and call it off.

After a few months of therapy, it is usual for even the most intense forms of cat phobia to disappear.

The whole process, as mentioned, is about desensitising the individual or familiarising them to the fact that they need not be frightened of cats.

Ailurophobia might start with an unfortunate childhood trauma, a sudden unpleasant shock involving a cat or kitten. For a very small child, a kitten might look like a fluffy toy. They might squeeze the kitten too tightly whereupon the fluffy toy produces needle sharp claws and inflicts pain and injury on that vulnerable child.

Such an action is so unexpected that in some cases the child might suffer a mental scar and this traumatic memory can then develop into a full-blown phobia in adult life.

There is an old wife's tale about cats smothering newly arrived babies by sitting on top of them. Perhaps a cat sits next to a child while they are in bed in their crib and the mother comes charging in believing that the child's life is in danger. She shrieks and yells at the cat to leave the room. The child believes that the cat is genuinely dangerous. That memory carries forward into adulthood.

It is that kind of way in which children can develop ailurophobia but as mentioned it can be removed with a great deal of patience.

Declawing

I feel compelled to briefly mention declawing. Clearly, cat owners who declaw their cats are frightened of claws and teeth. In fact, some people even de-tooth cats. Can you believe it? But this fear of claws is irrational in my view. It is possible, using intelligence and learning about cat behaviour to totally eliminate the possibility of being scratched by claws. And also, it is possible to protect furniture from damage through scratching.

Knowing this, it is clearly immoral to mutilate a cat. Cat owners who want to declaw their cat need to be educated on how to live with a domestic cat and if they are phobic about claws, they can be desensitised as mentioned in this article.

Sunday 15 January 2023

20 causes of domestic cat vomiting prepared by an AI computer

The interesting aspect of this pretty conventional list (see below the infographic) on causes of domestic cat vomiting is that it was entirely written by a computer. I mean it formulated the answer and typed the entire thing itself. It looks good so you can rely on it. The other point is that there are many causes of vomiting in cats and you'll need to see a vet if it continues beyond 24 hours.

Actually, there is only one thing you need to know about cat vomiting! Click this to find out.

Cats are good vomiters. Far better than humans. They do it with great ease. So, you might not need to race off to the vet but will have to go if it continues.


I have page which analyses cat vomiting with a bit more precision, which you might like to take a look at. Click on the link below.

Cat Vomiting – including types of vomiting for diagnosis.
  1. Eating too quickly or eating too much.
  2. Eating spoiled or spoiled food.
  3. Eating non-food items, such as plants or string.
  4. Gastrointestinal infections or parasites.
  5. Certain medical conditions, such as inflammatory bowel disease or liver disease.
  6. Food allergies or food sensitivities.
  7. Hairballs, which can block the digestive tract.
  8. Medications or changes in diet.
  9. Stress or anxiety.
  10. Certain types of cancer or other underlying health issues.
  11. Pancreatitis.
  12. Kidney disease
  13. Bladder stones or crystals
  14. Intestinal blockages
  15. Poisoning
  16. Hormonal imbalances
  17. Hyperthyroidism
  18. Gastritis
  19. Bowel diseases
  20. Gastric dilatation-volvulus (twisted stomach)
It's important to note that these are general causes, it's best to consult a veterinarian for an accurate diagnosis. Also, some of these causes can be serious and may require immediate medical attention.

Saturday 14 January 2023

How often should domestic cats be fed in 24 hours?

 A lot has been said about the frequency and number of meals over 24 hours. I think 2 meals a day is too low a number (but Cornell, VCA Hospitals and most other sources disagree with me 😢 - they advocate 2x). 

There could/should be more meals but less quantity in each meal I believe. I believe this to be more natural but it is up for debate (definitely). Although the domestic cat's wild ancestor, the North African wildcat, eats 7-20 small meals over 24 hours according to Science Direct. The domestic cat has inherited all of the wildcats attributes. We follow the ancestor to figure out these issues.

How often should domestic cats be fed in 24 hours?
How often should domestic cats be fed in 24 hours? Image: MikeB

RELATED: Some more on the topic.

I also believe that the typical sachet of wet cat food contains too much at one sitting. In my experience cats are more inclined to eat all of their food if the sachet is small. They tend to leave some otherwise which is annoying for a number of reasons including where do you put it and it is a waste of money. I believe that larger amounts can be too much for the domestic cat's stomach which is the size of a ping pong ball!

RELATED: How big is a cat’s stomach? And are we feeding our cats all wrong?

I also think that wet cat food should be the default selection (to replicate the rodent as the classic meal) and dry should be for night time grazing. Dry has to contain a lot of carbs to make it. And it is addictive because of the flavourings. 

If your cat is obese and, on a diet, has he lost weight? If not, he'll need to be more active, I am afraid. I sense that this is a problem as many cat owners are working and out all day. Not enough play time for full-time indoor cats. And he'll have to eat less. No magic formula. No treats too! 😊. Tough love comes to mind. 

But it should be a gradual change in food reduction as quick change can cause hepatic lipidosis. Sorry if this sounds too tough. One last point: dry cat food + stress can = cystitis. I am not saying this alaays happens but it can occur. Inappropriate elimination is quite a big issue with cat ownership and not infrequently it is for the above reason.

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