Category Archives: Cat

Your pet cats Egyptian ancestors

Photo taken from http://www.catfacts.org

After the pyramids and the kohl painted eyes, almost nothing evokes more awe and mystery than the fascination ancient Egyptians had with cats.

They were not only the most popular pet in the house, but their status rose to that of the sacred animals and then on to the most esteemed deities like no other creature before them.

Cats domesticate the ancient Egyptians

Although no one can pinpoint the time exactly, we know that the cat was domesticated in Egypt, probably around 2000 B.C., and that most modern cats are descendants of the cats of ancient Egypt. One reason it is difficult to say precisely when domestication occurred is that the ancient Egyptians did not distinguish between wild and tame cats in their descriptions of them. There was one word for cat-and that was miu or mii, meaning “he or she who mews.”

So then how did domestication of the cat come about? Dogs, associated with hunting, had actually been domesticated thousands of years before, according to archeologists. But cats, being the aloof, aristocratic creatures they are admired for, apparently took their time in fully befriending the ancient Egyptians.

There is a cat known as the African wild cat (Felis silvestris libyca)-one of the closest wild relatives of the modern cat. It is larger than the average domesticated cat of today. The feline’s tawny, yellow-gray fur, long tapering tail and striped markings, affording it ideal camouflage among the rocks and sand of the desert. This cat is known as a predator-a hunter of small game-rather than a scavenger. The other cat native to Egypt is the swamp or jungle cat-(Felis chaus), but it is the wild cat which is believed to have been the cat to “domesticate the Egyptians.”

In the villages, the greatest danger to Egyptian households were the numerous poisonous snakes, rats and mice which attacked food supplies in the home and the village granaries. The wild cat, it is assumed, strayed into the villages and hunted down the vermin, keeping them at bay. It’s easy to imagine the grateful Egyptians leaving out scraps of food to encourage the wild cats on their vigils. A symbiotic relationship occurred between animal and human. Next, the felines found their way into the Egyptian homes, spent some time there, allowed themselves to be tamed and raised their kittens in a human environment. As soon as the Egyptians began supplying the cats with food, thereby significantly changing their diet, and breeding them for certain characteristics, the cats were domesticated. They were perfect pets-playful, intelligent, affectionate and helpful to the farmers who sustained life in ancient Egypt.

Identifying your favourite feline

Cats need identification, being the wanderers they often are. Microchips might just give the added protection owners need, as cats are so difficult to keep a collar on.

The people at shelters work very hard, sometimes even calling to another country just to try to trace an owner. But if owners don’t responsibly identify their pets, how can animal shelters return them. It’s up to each pet owner to be responsible for his or her animal. Animal shelters need each and every pet owner’s support by making certain their pet has current identification on them.

Cats are commonly found without any identification at all. Many neighbors might return cats to their owners if they just knew which neighborhood house was it’s home. If a cat is brought to a shelter and it has a microchip, shelters can use it to trace the owner’s last listed address. If pet owners don’t responsibly make known any change of address then lost pets may not get returned. One purpose of animal shelters is to be able to care for and return pets to their loved ones. Without ownership identification, they can only do so much.

A cat owner looked for their missing pet at numerous animal shelters continually over a quite extended period of time. Because they had microchipped their pet, they were hopeful that their missing cat might be found by someone and be turned into a local shelter. Unfortunately for the owners, time passed and their cat was not returned to any of the shelters.

The family eventually moved to North Salt Lake, Utah. They did inform the shelters and the vet of their new address. Weeks turned into months, the family must have lost all hope. Believe it or not, an animal shelter received the cat 1 ½ years after it was first missing. Due to their cat’s microchip, they reached the owners at their current address and the family was reunited!

It is sad when pets are lost, because as time passes the hope of them returning fades. Sometimes, people think their pet is just wandering around and wait too long before they consider it missing. Animal shelters can only keep lost pets a few days before euthanasia gets administered. If you’ve lost a pet, be sure to check the animal shelters right away and continue to do so periodically.

Can you imagine how happy and surprised you’d be — reuniting with a long lost pet from 1 ½ years ago, you thought you’d never see again!!! This story is true – so it can happen.

Cat Whiskers – Everything You Need To Know

Article and photo courtesy of http://www.cat-world.com

Also known as ‘vibrissae’ or tactile hairs, feline whiskers are specialised hairs which are found on either side of the muzzle (sinus hairs or Mystacial whiskers), the cheeks,  above the eyelid, and on the wrists of the foreleg. The whiskers on the muzzle are the longest of the three sets on the face.

Whiskers  are two to three times the thickness of ordinary hairs and are embedded in the tissue of the cat’s upper lip to a depth three times greater than other hairs. They have a rich supply or nerves & blood vessels. Unlike normal hairs, the whiskers on at the side of your cat’s mouth are surrounded by a highly developed sheath of muscle tissue which enables them  to move both forward & backward. Just like normal hairs, whiskers call out & are replaced with new ones.

Whiskers are the same width as the cat’s body, which is useful for the cat to determine if it is wide enough to squeeze into a narrow space.

As the cat moves in the darkness, it uses it’s whiskers to find it’s way around & avoid object. The whiskers are able to detect slight changes in the air current around the object & the cat is able to walk around the object.

Whiskers are an extremely valuable tool for the hunting cat, especially at night acting as a guidance system. They are able to provide information on the outline of the prey, which enables the cat to bite the prey in exactly the right spot in order to kill it instantly. A cat with damaged whiskers will often aim the bite in the wrong area, therefore not killing the prey.

It’s not uncommon for a mother cat to chew off the whiskers of her kittens.

The Devon & Cornish Rex breeds have shortened, curly whiskers.

The whiskers behind the wrist on the foreleg are assist with tree climbing & contact with prey.

Whiskers also give a clue as to your cat’s mood. Whiskers pulled tightly back on the face indicate an angry cat, when they are pointing slightly forward & down  from the face, the cat is relaxed & happy, when hunting or feeling aggressive the whiskers point forward & are tense.

Whiskers can be a bit of a nuisance when the cat is eating if the bowl is too narrow as they will touch the sides of the bowl, causing discomfort. Therefore it is a good idea to provide your cat with wide food & water bowls.

Cat Bed – All About Cat Beds

Cat beds come in a vast array of colours, shapes, sizes & styles. You are only limited by budget & taste. Cats spend around 15 hours a day sleeping, so a cat bed is going to be a well used purchase.

Types of cat beds:

Wicker baskets (see above). These traditional style baskets are cheap, but can be difficult to wash & can be easily chewed by your cat.

Plastic baskets. Similar in shape to the wicker baskets & should be lined with soft blankets or cushions. Advantages with plastic beds are that they can be disinfected in the event of a disease/parasite outbreak (such as ringworm).

Donut caT beds (see below): Made of soft material & stuffed with a soft lining these beds have slightly higher sides.

Cat hammocks/radiator beds. These beds are usually made of wool & hung over radiators. Advantages are that they also provide a perch for your cat to watch the world go by, disadvantages are that kittens or older cats may find it difficult to jump up to.

Enclosed/cat igloo beds. Usually made from fabric, with a stuffed lining these beds offer security, warmth & privacy to your cat.

What to look for in a cat bed:

There are many factors you should look at when buying a cat bed. These include;

Size. It should be large enough for your cat to stand & turn around in, but should be snug enough to make your cat feel secure.

Warmth. It should have high enough sides to keep your cat warm. Enclosed beds hold the heat in better, if it is an open bed, it can be placed close to a heater, but not close enough to be a fire hazard or burn your cat.

Ability to wash/clean. If you decide on a fabric cat bed, look for one that is machine washable. This is important as your cat bed will need to be cleaned frequently to remove dirt, fur & in the event of a disease/parasite outbreak.

Comfort. This goes without saying. Either opt for a bed that has adequate filling, or if choosing a plastic style bed, line it with soft blankets.

Where to buy a cat bed:

Pet shops & online stores are the best place to buy cat beds.

Where should the cat bed be placed?

Beds should be placed out of high traffic  areas but still within view of family members. So in a quiet part of the lounge room, preferably by a window.

I have more than one cat, how many cat beds should I buy?

You should have one bed per cat, although ats who are especially close may prefer to sleep together.

Encouraging your cat to use it’s bed:

It is always best to encourage cat bed use when your cat is still a kitten. Start by placing some treats, toys or catnip in the bed. If the cat goes in, heap praise on it.

Cat beds for sick cats:

Sometimes your cat’s bed will have to double up as a hospital. Again, it is important to be able to clean the bed, especially if the cat is suffering from a contagious disease.

Sick or elderly cats may also appreciate a heating pad if the bed can not be placed close to a heater. The heating pad should be set to low, and there should be enough space for your cat to move off the pad if it becomes too hot. Electric heating pads should be avoided.

Story and photo courtesy http://www.catworld.com

Comfortable in Kitty Litter

Photo courtesy of http://www.catmas.com

Indoor cats are usually provided with a litter box containing litter, typically bentonite, but sometimes other absorbent material such as shredded paper or wood chips, or sometimes sand or similar material. This arrangement serves the same purpose as a toilet for humans. It should be cleaned daily and changed often, depending on the number of cats in a household and the type of litter; if it is not kept clean, a cat may be fastidious enough to find other locations in the house for urination or defecation. This may also happen for other reasons; for instance, if a cat becomes constipated and defecation is uncomfortable, it may associate the discomfort with the litter box and avoid it in favor of another location. A litterbox is recommended for indoor-outdoor cats as well.

Daily attention to the litter box also serves as a monitor of the cat’s health. Numerous variations on litter and litter box design exist, including some which automatically sift the litter after each use. Bentonite or clumping litter is a variation which absorbs urine into clumps which can be sifted out along with feces, and thus stays cleaner longer with regular sifting, but has sometimes been reported to cause health problems in some cats.

Toilet-trained house cat. Litterboxes may pose a risk of toxoplasmosis transmission to susceptible pregnant women and immuno-compromised individuals. Most indoor-only cats would not normally be exposed to the disease and are not usually carriers. Transmission risk may be reduced by daily litterbox cleaning by someone other than the susceptible individual.

Some cats can be toilet trained, eliminating the litterbox and its attendant expense, unpleasant odour, and the need to use landfill space for disposal. Training may involve two or three weeks of incremental moves, such as moving and elevating the litterbox until it is near the toilet. For a short time, an adapter, such as a bowl or small box, may be used to suspend the litter above the toilet bowl but under the toilet seat. Several kits and other aids are marketed to help toilet-train cats. When training is complete, the cat uses the toilet by perching over the bowl.

However, as the Toxoplasma gondii parasite often found in cat droppings poses a threat to endangered sea life and cat owners in coastal areas are encouraged to dispose of droppings in the trash rather than flushing them.

Do Cats have a Sixth Sense?

Photo courtesy of http://www.virginmedia.com

Some scientists believe that cats exhibit supernatural abilities, while others aren’t so sure…

According to a report in the New England Journal of Medicine, Oscar, the resident cat in a nursing home in Rhode Island, USA, could predict the deaths of patients. The report (which inspired an episode of the popular medical drama House) reveals that Oscar would sit down by the beds of certain patients, who would die within a few hours. The nursing home staff were so impressed by Oscar’s ability that they would immediately alert the family of whichever patient Oscar settled alongside.

Oscar’s particular story may be new, but it is far from unique. Cats have long been thought to possess a sixth sense – it’s one of the reasons why so many superstitions exist about them. They are said, for example, to be able to predict earthquakes and other natural disasters. In fact, rescuers commented on how few cats (and other animals) were killed during the 2004 Asian tsunami, with witnesses reporting seeing many animals fleeing the scene in the minutes before the killer waves struck.

But is this really evidence of supernatural ability, or is there a more rational explanation?

Scientists divided

Some scientists, including Dr Rupert Sheldrake of England’s world-renowned and respected Cambridge University, believe that cats are clairvoyant and telepathic, citing even everyday examples such as cats apparently sensing when a loved one is on the phone before it rings (not to mention their unerring homing instinct) as proof.

For other boffins, though, the reasons for cats’ remarkable behaviour can be explained by their regular five senses rather than a sixth one.

In the case of Oscar, for example, it has been suggested that he is simply copying the behaviour of the nursing staff who obviously spend more time with terminally ill patients. Other scientists believe Oscar’s heightened sense of smell is responsible – he is literally able to detect vital organs shutting down. Which is remarkable, but far from supernatural.

As for ‘predicting’ natural disasters, scientists believe animals’ acute sense of hearing give them early warning, and also add the possibility that they may be able to detect subtle vibrations or even changes in the air or in electromagnetic fields.

Does your pet have a special gift you would like to share with other pet lovers? Why not create your own website with Living Years Pets; an easy to create, affordable and highly engaging website to celebrate your beloved pets. It will allow family, friends and colleagues, from around the world, to communicate and frequently relive precious memories forever.

Story courtesy of http://www.catdiaries.com.au

Feline and Feeling Fine: Tips for Keeping Your Cat Healthy

Photo courtesy of http://www.zootoo.com

Regular vet visits are a key part of maintaining your cat’s good health.

Our cats provide us with comfort, companionship, and fun. And in return, they depend on us to help keep them safe and healthy. To maintain your cat’s good health, regular visits to the vet are a must.

But recent studies show that one-third of cat owners only take their animal to the vet when their pet is noticeably sick. While cats have a reputation for being very independent, our feline friends need regular checkups to avoid allowing small problems to grow into major ones.

Dr. Michelle Gaspar, the veterinary advisor for the all-natural cat litter Feline Pine, urges owners to make these vet visits a priority. “Contemporary clinical practice considers a thorough physical exam as the cornerstone of feline veterinary care.”

Regular vet checkups can also uncover hidden medical issues that have the potential to develop into larger problems. “As we know, cats who appear healthy to the clients aren’t necessarily so,” Gaspar adds. “Providing feline patients our medical expertise on a regular basis benefits the kitty, client and our hospitals.”

Remembering annual checkups can be a challenge, so Feline Pine offers a page on their website where visitors can sign up for an annual reminder e-mail. This service is part of National Take Your Cat to the Vet Week, which the company began promoting last year.

Between vet visits, here are some simple ways that cat owners can keep their pets healthy and happy.

Establish regular feeding times. Scheduling meals of equal proportion can help prevent obesity in cats. Studies have shown that between 25 and 40 percent of cats are overweight, a condition that can lead to more serious health problems. When you help your cats become accustomed to a regular eating routine, you help them maintain a healthy weight and lifestyle.

Better grooming, better health. Brushing your cat’s fur and trimming his claws are more than just beauty rituals. Keeping your cat’s coat free of excess hair can help to prevent hairballs — a benefit for both pet and owner! And to prevent ingrown nails, make sure your cat’s claws are not too long. When trimming, be sure to clip only the sharp tip, never the pink section — and if you’re not sure how to trim, ask your veterinarian to show you.

Know your cat’s patterns. Living with your pet daily means that you are in the best position to notice any problems that might arise with his health. Be aware of signs that indicate your cat may be experiencing a medical issue. Emergency symptoms such as vomiting or bleeding are obvious indicators that something’s wrong, but subtler signals can also be important tip-offs.

Owners should watch for significant changes in cats’ behavior — a social kitty spends the day under the bed, a pet with a previously healthy appetite turns away from food, or an active cat no longer seems interested in playing with favorite toys. All of these could be signs of more serious problems.

Be prepared. Many organizations, such as the Red Cross, offer DVDs and books with valuable first aid information for cat owners. Also, don’t be hesitant to ask your veterinarian to show you how to administer any prescribed medication or recommended care.

Do you have a special method for keeping your cat in great shape that you would like to share with other pet lovers? Why not create your own website with Living Years Pets; an easy to create, affordable and highly engaging website to celebrate your beloved pets. It will allow family, friends and colleagues, from around the world, to communicate and frequently relive precious memories forever.

Story and photo from http://www.zootoo.com.