Monday, April 30, 2012

Cat Hedge Picture

This is a first for me. A hedge trimmed in the shape of a cat with a rat in the mouth! The rat seems to have been just placed there. If you can find it, it is at Atlanta, Georgia, United States of America. The house owner is a cat lover of course. I'd bet she was middle-aged and really nice and smart.. the typical cat lover profile.

Cat Hedge - Photo by Lance McCord on Flickr

As allowed under the creative commons license I have (I believe!) improved the image a little bit by reducing the contrast, reducing the brightness of the highlights and filling in the shadows a bit to try and eliminate a feeling that the hedge is in an overly lit hotspot.

This cat seems to be quite aloof. I am not sure that that was intentional. The eyes seem to be shut and the head thrown back a bit as if so say. "humans...those silly creatures..".

Update: Just found this picture from Mary Pratt in Devon, UK:

Cat With Emerald Eyes

The brightest emerald color cat eyes that I have seen. Sorry the picture quality is not great. It is a close up and the photographer, a veterinarian or vet tech, probably forgot that the camera could not focus that close.

I don't think it matters that much and it may even help as it throws into focus the unusual color of this cat's eyes.

This is a straight photograph. There is no post-editing of any kind as far as I am aware to enhance the colors. I added the pictures of the uncut emerald stone as reference and lightened the picture a fraction.

Grey cat emerald eyes. Photo Nottingham Vet School on Flickr

This cat was at a UK vet's clinic. I have no idea what he or she was in for. The fur color is grey (gray in the USA) and called "blue" in the cat fancy. The face is that of of blue British SH or Chartreux. But the cat might well be random bred. Anyway the Chartreux is rare and has copper/orange colored eyes under the standard. The eye color of the British SH is not set by the breed standard.

There it is; the cat with the emerald eyes. I'd like to know more about this cat because the eyes look a little unnatural if I am honest.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Domestic Cat and Mouse Picture

This photograph by Jo and Paul on Flickr, shows us very graphically the difference in size between the predator, the domestic cat and the prey, the little mouse.

It is not always the case that the predator is so dominant in terms of size. Think about the large wildcats, especially. Both the lion and tiger can and do take on prey that is many times larger than them. Lions will tackle Cape buffalo weighing 600 - 900 kilograms, while the average weight of tiger kills in Nagarahole National Park in India was 401 kilograms1. That is heavier than the heaviest tiger. However from the standpoint of survival the wildcat will prey on animals that offer the least resistance and chance of being injured during the attack. The serval is much like the domestic cat in preying on rodents in long grass using hearing as a major form of prey detection (servals have notably large ears).

The domestic cat has it easy. The mouse is the perfect meal for the domestic cat. Sometimes cats play with a mouse they are attacking, even when it has been killed. This is seen as cruel by people.

Large black calico cat and tiny mouse - Photo by Jo and Paul's pics

Cats don't think it terms of cruelty.  There are good and reasonable reasons why both the domestic cat and the smaller wildcats play with prey before and after it has been killed.

You can read about it on this page: Domestic cat hunting.

Associated: Lion prey Kruger NP.

Note: 1 Wild Cats Of The World by the Sunquists

Curious Ragdoll Picture

This is handsome Ramses. He has a classic, bright, blue eyed Ragdoll appearance. He looks astonished, slightly...The diamond blue eyes are a strong feature of this cat. The history of this cat breed is vague, opaque even, but the eyes are clear.

The placement of the white on the particolor point is subject to a lot of restrictions under the breed standard. In the cat fancy, "particolor" means colors and patterns that come with white.

Curious Ragdoll - Photo copyright Giane Portal.

The Ragdoll is in the top 5 most popular breeds under a long term poll of 4,500 votes that I have run. You can see why. This is a large, docile cat noted for his or her tendency to go floppy when picked up. And the coat is stunning.

Do Ragdolls really go floppy? I don't believe that - unless someone leaves a comment to the contrary. They would be better described as docile cats with even temperaments although individual cats won't even be that.

We are told that they are not interested in going outside. That is a nice quality for a concerned cat caretaker as it prevents the possibility of contracting a disease and putting himself in danger.

Associated: Comparing Ragdoll and Maine Coon

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Fat Cat Picture 39lbs

28th April 2012: The most up-to-date world's fattest cat? Perhaps - at 39.10 lbs he almost equals the world's fattest cat of 1950 - Clauz (39.7 lbs). His name is "Meow"! Imaginative name that. And the former "owner" said that he was a fit kitten until he "suddenly ballooned"! Do you sense a slight abdication of responsibility for the proper caretaking of this cat? Like...what food did you feed him with..and how often?

Meow, bless him, is 2 years old. I think he has been eating non-stop since he was born. Maybe he has a medical condition but I doubt that. I have never seen or read about a cat health problem that results in the domestic cat ballooning to 39 lbs in 2 years all on his own. He is now on a diet and is no longer 39 lbs - he lost 2 already....

Here he is, Mr. Meow at 39.10 pounds.

I can't embed the video so I made a screenshot still image instead. I hope that is OK. You can see the original story here. How does Meow square up with the former world champion fattest cats?  

A bit of fat cat history: There has been a series of world's fattest cats. Below is a nice list that I have taken from a page on PoC: Fattest Cat in the World. It seems that around 40 lbs is about the limit for cat obesity!

Cat Weight Owner (place) Date
Poppa 44 lbs (about 20 kg) Gwladys Cooper (Wales) 1983
Tiger 42 - 43 lbs (19 - 19.5 kg) Phyllis Dacey (Essex, England) 1970s
Dinkie 42 lb (19 kg) Miss K Dowding (Gloucestershire, England) 1955
Gigi Fullscreen capture 31032010 070321.bmp Miss Anne Clark (Cumbria, England) 1970
Baby 41 lb (almost 19 kg) Mr Maefred Slawson (NY, USA) 1982
Snowbie 47 lb (Guinness Record) Lorna Sutherland (Scotland) 1997
Katy 44 lbs ? 2003
Katy (Munckin dwarf cat) 40 lbs (18.1 kg) ? (Canada) 1991
Tulle (Tubcat) 43 lbs Pedersen (USA) 2002

Last but not least, there was Clauz - World's Fattest Cat 1950. Clauz weight just a bit more that Meow. That puts Meow into context.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Picture of Cat's Ingrowing Claw

A very clear, clean picture of a cat's ingrowing claw. You can see how the claw has grown into the paw pad. Cats tend to tolerate this despite the discomfort. This can happen quite easily in cats that are inactive and/or full-time indoor cats. Older cats are particularly susceptible even if they do go outside because of a much reduced activity level. This means that the claw is not worn down naturally during use. The claws of a cat's polydactyl thumbs are sometimes not worn down as they are off the ground and need to be trimmed and not surgically removed, please.

The moral is to check a cat's claws from time to time and trim them when necessary. I realised that my old cat had a claw problem when I heard the claws clattering against a hard floor. This indicated to me that at least one claw was too long. A cat's claws retract and don't make contact with hard surfaces if the cat is walking normally over the surface. Teeth and claws need to be checked routinely!

You can see from this picture of a cat's ingrowing claw provided by Cuyahoga Falls Veterinary Clinic, how painful it is. It is not that difficult to trim a cat's nails but to trim the nail in the picture will be very difficult and probably or possibly requires a vet to do it. It's a bit late in the day - proactive is best.

Cat ingrowing claw (nail). Photo copyrightCuyahoga Falls Veterinary Clinic

This photo has been used with permission for teaching/educational purposes at this website.

Note: Never declaw a cat (see some declaw posters to see why). You don't need to. Evolution (or God depending on your point of view) gave a cat all his or her anatomy for a reason. It is wise and the decent thing to do, to leave it all in place. We shouldn't play god for our convenience.

Cats and Bicycles Picture

Cats and bicycles go together! They look very together in this picture by Bob Hanson. Perhaps the harmony comes from the nice composition and perhaps the harmony comes from the fact that the kind of person who has a cat companion is more likely to have a bike.

Four cats and four bikes - Photo copyright Bob Hanson

Bob rescued the four cats and he acquired the vintage bikes. He says that the four cats are a mother (far left) and her three sons. They were abandoned by a neighbor who moved home and simply left them behind in mid-winter. That, I am afraid to say, is not particularly unusual.

I rescued my late lady cat, Binnie, in exactly the same way in London. Bob had them spayed and neutered and he says cats have always been part of his life. He sees them as companions not "pets". That's what we like to hear.  It is the only way to relate to a cat and respect the cat.

Bikes are more likely, I would argue, to be owned by independently minded, intelligent people. This is the sort of person who tends to like the domestic cat. That is why cats and bicycles go together harmoniously.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Feline Oral Resorptive Lesion Picture

A very clear picture of a feline oral resorptive lesion and periodontal disease plus gingivitis. In short, multiple feline oral health problems.

A feline oral resorptive lesion (FOTL) is damage to the tooth itself in which at the least serious end of the spectrum involves the enamel being "barely" penetrated to loss of the "entire crown" of the tooth in the more serious cases1.

Please click on the link below to see the image. I can't show it here because advertisers don't like it as it is little difficult to look at.

Feline oral resorptive lesion, gingivitis, periodontal disease Photo copyright; Cuyahoga Falls Veterinary Clinic

Twenty-eight to sixty-seven percent of adult cats suffer from feline oral resorptive lesions1. The premolars and molars are normally affected but other teeth can be affected. Loss of the outer layer of enamel probably means pain for the cat. Sometimes cats chatter their jaws due to the pain. Some will lose appetite due to discomfort.

Siamese and Abyssinian cats (purebred cats - these are very popular cat breeds) are, it seems, predisposed to this oral health problem.

Causes? Periodontitis, exposure to viruses, kidney problems, dry cat food, acidic diet.

Treatment? See a good vet such as those at the Cuyahoga Falls Veterinary Clinic, who kindly provided the picture.  This photo has been used with permission for teaching/educational purposes at this website.

Associated: Feline Gingivitis Picture.

Note: 1. Cat Owner's Home Veterinary Handbook. Pages 243-244. ISBN 978-0-470-09530-0

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Cat Stress And Welfare

The degree of stress suffered by a cat can be a measure of the welfare of that cat. As it is cat caretakers who create the environment that dictates a cat's level of stress or relaxation, the amount of stress in a cat could also be a measure of our cat caretaking skills.

Just moved! Photo debcha (Flickr)
However,  cat stress is an individual thing and dependent on cat personality. There are bold, dominant cats and shy subordinate cats. The former is less likely to be stressed. There are a wide range of potential stressors in the domestic cat environment such as lack of socialisation and confinement in an area that is too small for the cat to express innate drives.

Stressed cats will tend to hide (see picture). We see this when we move home. A house move puts our cat into a strange environment. We get stressed too.

Purring is not a an accurate measure of stress or relaxation as it occurs under a wide range of circumstances.

A cat that is very vigilant and who sleeps poorly as a consequence could be said to be under stress probably due to cats being forced together and/or one cat being a dominant aggressor. Overgrooming and cystitis are two examples of behavior and health that can be caused by stress.

A cat's behavior and posture signals his or her level of stress at any given time. Below is a picture that shows the two extremes and below that is a "composite behavioral scale for quantifying stress". My thanks to the book The Welfare of Cats for this.

Here is a summarized description of behavior, posture and appearance of the cat set against a score (1-10). This test was devised with caged cats so there is reference to a cage.
  1. Completely relaxed, cat laid out on back sometimes, pupils normal, ears pricked forward, possibly purring. You might see the slow blink that a visitor described. Tail extended and held upwards with whiskers forward or normal. Chin may be resting on a surface.
  2. More aware than at level 1 but relaxed with ears forward and normal (midway position between forward and back), purring, meowing possibly, slow blink and whiskers forward or normal.
  3. Belly may be exposed. Ears forward or pricked. Legs may be stretched out and paws turned in.
  4. Cat may sit away from the direction of the front of the cage. Whiskers and ears normal or forward.
  5. Eyes slightly dilated. Cat may meow and look around. Head moves around. Body a little tense.
  6. Eyes dilated. Ears flattened slightly and back or forward on cat's head. Posture is tense. Plaintive meows. Actively exploring and trying to escape cage.
  7. Posture is stiff. Cat focuses on observing person. Plaintive meows. Ears back. Pupils dilated and cat may try to escape.
  8. Pupils dilated or very dilated. Prowling or motionless. Yowl. Ears flattened a bit and back on head. Body crouched. Tail close to body.
  9. Pupils very dilated. Body crouched and close to ground. Breathing fast. Shaking perhaps. Cat at rear of cage. Quiet or very vocal. Hiss perhaps. Whiskers back.
  10. Full-on defence. Hair, body and head flattened. Pupils very dilated. Warning hiss or and spit. Back in cage. Sits on all fours. Rage. Fast breathing.

Associated: Cat personality questionnaire (PDF file will download)

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Feline Offensive Threat Posture?

A picture of an offensive or defensive feline posture? I will leave it to you to decide if this strong and capable looking domestic tabby cat is showing us an offensive threat posture or a defensive threat posture. Comments would help. The obvious answer is that the posture cannot be an offensive threat because the cat is cornered by a large dog.

Offensive/Defensive feline posture - Photo by Demond Handy on Flickr

However, this cat does not look overly defensive to me and the dog is quite passive, not knowing what to do next. The pupils of the cat's eyes are not dilated but constricted. Dilated pupils indicate a defensive threat posture. He is looking at the dog and looks calm and not fearful and ready to defend himself. Perhaps his behavior is between defense and attack.

Offensive threat posture

A cat shows:
  • hairs raised along back (piloerection);
  • back legs extended;
  • ears drawn back (to protect them);
  • cat looks directly at the opponent;
  • pupils are constricted;
  • tail held down pointing towards ground and not tucked under. Tip of tail may be "flagging" slowly.
Defensive threat posture

A cat shows:
  • hairs standing up on his back;
  • square on: cat presents himself towards the other animal with "arched lateral display" (an attempt to look larger);
  • a defensive facial expression reflecting his state of mind (contradicting the attempt to look larger);
  • ears flattened and whiskers drawn back;
  • teeth bared by corners of mouth being drawn back;
  • pupils of eyes are dilated;
  • tail is erect or concave - tip pointed down.
Associated: Cat Body Language.

Refs: The Cat Its Behavior Nutrition & Health page 139 - ISBN 978-0-8138-0331-9 (the quote is from this excellent book)

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Jaguarundi Sounds (Vocalizations)

The vocal repertoire of the jaguarundi is "totally different from other felines". Perhaps this is not surprising as the jaguarundi looks different to all other felines! It looks like a marten or weasel or similar non-feline creature. The jaguarundi is a bit of an anomaly and classifying the species has been difficult.

Jaguarundi - Photo Dave Irving.

Balazs Buzas and Eszter Gulyas working at the Rare Species Conservation Centre in Sandwich, Kent, England, have raised jaguarundi cubs and in doing so have observed at first hand their vocalisations. They confirm the sounds made by this interesting wild cat as recorded by Cutter (1957) and Hulley in 1976.

There are 13  different sounds apparently:
  1. Short whistle: used for attention seeking. The response is a single "peep".
  2. Long whistle: a greeting.
  3. Chirp: calling when the other cannot be seen.
  4. Short purr: female calling kittens. Calling each other.
  5. Long purr: expression of contentment as for the domestic cat.
  6. Single quiet hiss: greeting from aged four weeks.
  7. Loud hiss: from the age of 2 days kittens and cats use this as a warning to stay away.
  8. Spit: warning to keep away. Insistent. A spit is on the video above.
  9. Scream/growl: sound made during fighting and when feeding and a challenge (scream) when mating. Listen to video but turn the sound down!
  10. Snuffle: vocalization made when patrolling territory.
  11. Chatter: made by smacking their lips together and a close greeting sound.
  12. Muted "yap": communication between individual cats under slight stress.
  13. Faint cry: made by female when sexually receptive.
Associated: Cat Sounds MP3 WMA WAV

Reference: All references to Hand-raising jaguarundis (puma yagouaroundi) by Balazs Buzas and Eszter Gulyas in Feline Conservation Federation magazine vol 56 issue 2 March/April 2012.

Cat Watches 22 Badgers

One cat in the back garden ("yard" in America) in close proximity to 22 badgers at night. The cat is curious. The badgers ignore the cat. You'll have to look at the picture for a short while before you see the cat! One badger appears to be looking at the cat.

One cat and 22 badgers cohabiting nicely. Photo at John McNab (Flickr)

I have found that my cat is ignored by foxes. He is big, though, and in one encounter he got the upper hand. I've seen him close to foxes at night. Recently a fox started to scream at him and he got scared and ran in.  But domestic cats seem to be ignored by wildlife. This is the UK, though.

In the USA there are larger wildlife species and some are predators such as the coyote. The coyote kills domestic cats in the USA and it is one reason why people keep their cats in all the time. I'd prefer it if they used secure cat enclosures to protect their cats as F-T indoor life for a cat is not natural enough as it curtails natural behavior and drives. That can lead to stress related illnesses that are hard to diagnose.

See the original picture on Flickr.

Picture of Singing and Dancing Cat

Cat performer by fofurasfelinas
Cat performer, a photo by fofurasfelinas on Flickr.
This is a very interesting photograph of a cat performer who looks like he is singing and dancing. Well, he is definitely dancing, not sure about the singing bit.

The cat dancing is Chihiro and the cat watching is Toji. Chihiro is a tabby cat. He appears to be a spotted tabby. The white underside is typical of the wildcats incidentally.

In reality Chihiro is probably just playing with Toji and is about to pounce on him.

The photograph was taken in Porto Alegre, Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil. The photographer is Giane Portal. She is probably the best known cat photographer on Flickr. Her Flickr name is fofurasfelinas. Giane used flash to freeze the action.

The photo is copyright protected and is published here with Giane Portal's permission.

Feline Eosinophilic Keratitis Picture

Feline eosinophilic keratitis is a cat health eye problem in which a lot of blood vessels grow into and across the cornea of the eye. You can see the blood vessel in the picture below coming from the top left and going across the eye.

Eosinophils are white blood cells, a part of the cat's immune system. In a cat with this condition, the outer layer of the cornea has many eosinophils and mast cells (another component of the cat's immune system). The eye has a white plaque over it. These cells are associated with immune reactions and allergies.

Eosinophilic Keratitis - Photo copyright Cuyahoga Falls Veterinary Clinic

The cause of eosinophilic keratitis is unknown. Apparently herpesvirus may be the cause or one cause.

The treatment is more about controlling the condition by the use of anti-inflammatory drugs (topical steroids and oral corticosteroids)1.

Associated: Shocking truth about the feline herpesvirus.

Thanks: This photo has been used with permission for teaching/educational purposes at PoC. The photo was provided by Cuyahoga Falls Veterinary Clinic.
Note: 1. Cat Owner's Home Veterinary Handbook 195-196 ISBN 978-0-470-09530-0

Cats Love Veterinarian Sinks

Cats love veterinarian sinks because it is probably the best place, the only place, in a veterinary clinic's consultation room to hide. That is not to say that veterinarians are people to hide from, it is simply that the environment looks unfamiliar, the smell of the place is unfamiliar, there are other cats and dogs in the waiting room (perhaps) in close proximity and in short the cat's world is turned upside down. We know cats like the security of routine and familiarity.

So what does a self respecting cat do? He or she finds a place to hide, to protect himself. The clinic's sink is far from ideal as there is no top on it but at least the sides and bottom are protected. Cats do like protection from above though. This is probably because a lot of the danger comes from above (think human, the giants in the cat world).

Vet's patient hiding in a sink looking a bit anxious
Photo copyright Cuyahoga Falls Veterinary Clinic
The cat in the picture is a brown mackerel tabby random bred cat by the look of him or her. The classic "M" mark on the forehead give than away.

This photo has been used with permission for teaching/educational purposes at PoC. It was provided by Cuyahoga Falls Veterinary Clinic. Thank you.

What could a vet do to improve, from the cat's standpoint, the consultation room? Put a little hiding place in the I am not sure though when a cat has time to go and hide.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Mobile Veterinarian

Is the mobile veterinarian an invention of the United States? Perhaps not but I would bet that there are more in the United States than anywhere else. Mobile veterinarians come to the patient (the cat) and client (the cat's caretaker/guardian). That is really convenient because going to the vet can be stressful for both patient and guardian.

The mobile veterinarian is sometimes referred to as a house-call veterinarian in the US. With people becoming busier all the time, the convenience of a veterinarian who comes to you is very attractive. The mobile veterinarian may also be able to make emergency calls when you simply don't have to time to get to the vet. Elderly people come to mind as suitable clients of mobile veterinarians.

Apparently the typical client is 30-55 years of age and in work. My mother called out a vet to treat Charlie, her three-legged cat. That is in the UK. Vets do come to your home in Great Britain if you pay for it but these vets don't have mobile units.

The biggest downside to using a mobile veterinarian is cost and the service provided might be slightly limited due to the necessity of having everything in a mobile home/clinic.

Mobile Veterinarian Photo copyright Tony Alter (Flickr)

However, house-call veterinarians will be able to provide all the usual services such as: blood testing, examinations, disease screenings, dentistry, preventative care, vaccinations, dispensing medicines plus the added bonus of providing home euthanasia, which is a great comfort for both patient and caretaker.  It is sensible to check the services offered, however, as some mobile veterinarians will be able to provide surgical procedures for example.

American mobile veterinarians will probably charge the usual fee but add a surcharge for travel costs (something in order of $50 - April 2012). If the vet only operates out of a mobile unit he or she should not charge extra because their overheads are probably less than if they were operating out of a building.

In addition to the reduced levels of stress suffered by patients and their caretakers when attending a mobile vet clinic there is also the reduced risk of infection that is at least potentially present at normal veterinary clinics. There are no waiting rooms to sit in.

Thinking of using a mobile veterinarian? You can find one on the The American Association of Housecall & Mobile Veterinarians.

Small Girl Carries Big Cat

This is an outtake from videos made by me with video material generously provided by Kathrin Stucki of A1 Savannahs. A1 Savannahs is the premier Savannah cat breeders in the world and they are located near Ponca City, Oklahoma, USA. Oklahoma has a wide open landscape with a big sky; and a warm wind.

Leonie is Martin and Kathrin's daughter. She has grown up a bit since this video was filmed. I think she looks very cute carrying Magic, a female F1 Savannah cat, raised at A1 Savannahs who was soon, at the time of filming, to become the world's biggest domestic cat and the world's most celebrated and exotic domestic cat.
You have probably seen Andreas with Magic in the famous boy/cat relationship video also made by me with video material filmed by Kathrin.

You can see that Magic is a beautiful cat in more ways than just appearance. She has a great character. She was socialised really professionally. Being a first filial wildcat hybrid she has a lot of wild cat serval in her yet she behaves in many respects like a docile domestic cat.

In the video you see her rubbing her head against a towel. This is scent exchange. I think the towel may be impregnated with catnip as she seems very animated. She is crazy about it.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Cat Scent Exchange

Cat scent exchange is well observed but little understood. That is a personal view. Is it purely functional in nature or is it about expressing emotion or a mixture of both? We tend to think of animal behavior as mainly functional - supporting survival. If a form of behavior helps in survival it will happen. But the question is, do animals operate on a higher plain? We know cats have emotions.

As cats have an excellent sense of smell they rely on it or use it much more than we do. As humans with a relatively poor sense of smell we are unable, as yet, to fully understand olfactory communication in cats. We just don't get it. Although we observe it.

A cat's sebaceous glands are distributed throughout his or her body particularly the head (think head-butt), perioral region (around the mouth), perianal area and between the toes (think scratching and depositing scent at the same time).  Cat sniffing provides "olfactory clues" - information about the source of the smell.

Scent exchange - giving and receiving. Photo by eyesore9 on Flickr

We also know our cat rubs against us. This happens when we feed our cat, for example. Our cat is happy that he is about to be fed. In response, and instinctively, he rubs his head against our leg. Or rubs the side and rear part (perianal) of his body against you. He deposits his scent onto you. He can smell it. You can't. Why does he like his scent on you? And why do it when he is happy? Cat to cat greetings include mutual scent exchange when the cats are friendly with each other; a merging of each cat's scent with the other's.

In the video above, Magic, the cat obviously has a close bond with Martin Stucki the person who Magic is rubbing against. Magic loves the smell of Martin's shoes and seems to want to collect some of the scent from them and at the same time deposit his scent on them  - scent exchange.

It is said that when a cat's scent is on you or an inanimate object he feels more at home as he smells himself everywhere. It creates a more friendly environment for the cat. I can understand that. That is more a functional aspect to scent exchange. In this instance I would call it scent depositing as that would appear to be the purpose. It makes life feel better. Note: when my cat is about to be fed he will also deposit scent from his head onto the end of the bed.

Apparently when a cat rubs against a human's legs it is a transference of the behavior seen between cats when one of the them returns from a hunt. As we are feeding our cat perhaps we are seen by our cat as the hunter/mother returning with food for the kitten; our cat retains a kitten's behavior. Social bonding is reinforced with this kind of rubbing (called allorubbing).

But when cats merge their scent in scent exchange greetings by rubbing their heads together is it a bit like us, a man greeting a close female friend, touching cheeks and doing an air kiss. In terms of appearance it is close to what we see when cats indulge in scent exchange on greeting. In fact you could argue humans are exchanging scent as their cheeks touch. But that is not the purpose. The purpose is to make contact. Cats who scent exchange are probably, primarily concerned with making contact and touching each other just like humans. Perhaps the scent exchange element of contact is akin to our kiss - a form of magnifying the emotional pleasure derived from the need for contact. Making contact more intimate. That is an entirely personal thought. The books don't refer to it that way.

In scent exchange, if one of the objectives of each cat is also to touch the the other cat it is a strong sign of friendship and a way of reinforcing that friendship. It is primarily emotional in character. Although, through friendship a cat is more able to survive. You will see friendly cats lie next to each other. Touching each other is important to a cat. Is it as important to a cat as it is to us? I would answer; yes. We should respect the cat more because they operate at a higher level than many people recognize.

You will find that wildcats deposit scent from their perioral region onto rocks and trees on trails. This is not about friendship but about providing information about the cat's presence to other cats in the area. Clearly a cat's scent is multipurpose. It allows for a form of communication that is as important and as strong as using the voice.

Associated page: Cat Spraying.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Three Valuable Savannah Kittens

A picture of three valuable Savannah kittens. I say valuable because these are special cats. They are at the very top end in terms of quality and when they grew up they no doubt went to great homes with, I hope, cat caretakers that are of equal quality!

Three Super High Quality Savannah Kittens
Three classy Savannah kittens - Photo: Michael at PoC.

Anyone is free to use the picture under a creative commons license provided it is used "as is" and a link and credit given. In fact you can hot link to this image because it is a direct link from Flickr and Flickr lets you use their website as a server. This by the way is the Flickr page. These darlings where being socialised at A1 Savannahs. There were born and raised at A1 Savannahs.

You can see how the coats change. The coats of these kittens are undeveloped. The contrast has yet to develop as have the spots. Servals have deep, rich spots and the objective of the Savannah cat breeder is to mimic that. This is not the same objective as the Bengal cat breeder.

As I said, these kittens are expensive. Why is that? Well, it is hard to breed savannah cats that have a high percentage of wild cat in them. These are rare cats and keeping servals (the wild cat parent) is difficult and expensive too. Servals, though, are relatively gentle medium sized wild cats and sometimes domesticated. Personally I find them a little intimidating to be next to if they are semi-wild. There are only a few breeders who do this successfully.

The famous Magic is probably the epitome of what the Savannah cat breeder is aiming for:

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Real Calvin and Hobbes Picture

This is the real life Calvin and Hobbes. If you have seen the well known video, I apologize. This is a still from an outtake of video material made with a Flip camcorder - not bad quality under the circumstances.

I don't think there is anything approaching this on the internet. It was taken some time ago but is still worth publishing. I have been meaning to do this for a while. The boy is Andreas, the son of Martin and Kathrin Stucki and the cat is the famous, Magic, at one time the Guinness World Record largest domestic cat and a female F1 Savannah cat. They had a great relationship as is clear from this picture and the videos. Both Andreas and Magic were raised by Martin and Kathrin at A1 Savannahs, Ponca City, OK, USA.

Calvin and Hobbes: Fiction and Reality. Montage: Michael at PoC.

If anyone wants to use this montage they can but please link back to this page and provide a credit: "Montage by Michael at (PoC)".  I don't expect anyone will! You will also have to justify publishing the cover of the book as has Wikipedia. I have adopted their arguments.

Note: I adopt the arguments of the Wikipedia authors in justifying the publication of the Calvin and Hobbes book cover in the illustration above. The real Calvin and Hobbes picture is taken from a Flip camcorder video by Kathrin Stucki of A1 Savannahs, Ponca City, Oklahoma, USA.

A bit about Calvin and Hobbes: Calvin is the precocious 6 year old boy and Hobbes the tiger. To Calvin, Hobbes is alive and humanized (here goes..anthropomorphized..). To other people Hobbes is simply a stuffed tiger. I guess imagination can take you there. And it gave the author and artist, Bill Watterson a medium through which he expressed some of his principled ideas.

Calvin had alter egos. In his mind he was someone else.  His parents were standard, middle of the road, middle class Americans; a foil against the exotic Calvin.

Bill Watterson was a bored and frustrated advertising executive. His mind took flight and he had the courage to get out and create the now famous Calvin and Hobbes. It was a tough road at the beginning it seems as his work was first rejected. Isn't it always that way?

Monday, April 16, 2012

Cat Pattern Symmetry Means Good Health?

Rarely, do we see cats with perfectly symmetrical patterns. Sometimes, perhaps most times, it is due to selective breeding. Cat breeders focus on appearance so in certain breeds a nice symmetrical pattern will make the cat more desirable. Siamese cats are naturally symmetrical. The classic inverted "V" on the forehead of the Turkish Van is symmetrical. That cat is all white except for a patterned tail so the classic Turkish Van is symmetrical. You'll find that the most attractive Japanese Bobtails have symmetrical patterns. These are bicolour cats and the bicolour lends itself to nice symmetrical coat patterns. Tabby coats are more random.

I would say that there are more purebred cats with symmetrical patterns than there are random bred. But when random selection, Darwin style, throws up a nice symmetrical pattern is it a sign that a cat has better health than other cats? In purebred cats I don't think that a symmetrical pattern means better health because the pattern was created artificially (regarding procreation).

The reason why I ask is because in the human species the opposite sex is attracted to regular features, which could be construed to mean symmetrical features. This apparently is a sign of good health and such a person is a better bet in terms of providing an improved chance of creating offspring, which in turn promotes survival. It is all about survival, bottom line. So symmetrical animals are better at procreating, it seems. And the opposite sex subliminally believe that a symmetrical creature is better made and therefore healthier.

Update: My speculation about a symmetrical appearance indicating good health is, it seems, purely that because a study published around 2014 on asymmetry in humans and how it might signal ill-health in humans could find no real connection between the two. The conclusion is that symmetry in humans does not indicate that those humans are healthier than humans with asymmetrical appearances. I have therefore got to conclude that the same applies to domestic cats!

If you have a cat with a symmetrical pattern, why not show him/her to me and other visitors to the site and perhaps enter him into the pictures of cats competition at the same time? Update: Competition is over, sorry 😢.

Here is a picture from the Cuyahoga Falls Veterinary Clinic.  This photo has been used with permission for teaching/educational purposes at this website.

Symmetrical random bred cat - Photo copyright: Cuyahoga Falls Veterinary Clinic

This cat's pattern is not quite perfectly symmetrical, but close nonetheless. Very cute cat.

Picture of Cat with Gingivitis

Here is a veterinarian's photograph of a cat with gingivitis (inflammation of the gums). It is quite educational, I think. We all need to spend a bit of time looking at our cat's teeth! It is easy to forget about them. They are rather tucked away in the mouth aren't they? LoL.

However, judging by the number of photographs on the Flickr channel of the Cuyahoga Falls Veterinary Clinic, periodontal disease is commonplace in dogs and cats. Often mouth disease can progress to a serious state. This can be avoided. The source of this photo is Flickr channel referred to. This photo has been used with permission for teaching/educational purposes at this website.

Cat with gingivitis - Photo Cuyahoga Falls Veterinary Clinic

In a healthy mouth the gums surround the teeth is a nice, clean fit along the gum line. Cats with gingivitis have gums that have been pushed away from the teeth in an irregular manner because of a build up of rough-edged, dental calculus. At these points food particles are trapped and bacteria accrues. This causes inflammation. The gums become infected.

Calculus (tartar) is hardened plaque. Plaque is made up of food particles and organic and inorganic matter together with bacteria. Calculus is made up of "calcium phosphate and carbonate with organic material" (Cat Owner's Home Veterinary Handbook). It is yellow in color. It appears that the cycle of plaque to calculus is self-generating as the irregularity of calculus is an ideal place for plaque to form.

Feline gingivitis is mainly caused by calculus. Infections such as panleuk can also cause gum infections.

Other than seeing inflamed gums as shown in the picture, signs of gingivitis are: loss of appetite, failure to groom, drooling and bad breath.

A veterinarian will have to clean the teeth and the cat's diet looked at. Some cats are more prone to gum disease than others as far as I am aware. Cats that are susceptible need greater care, obviously. It might include a regime of teeth cleaning at home. Teeth cleaning under anesthetic carries a certain amount of risk. Ask your vet about that. It is a balancing act in terms of health benefits to the cat. Abyssinian cats suffer a higher than average incidence of feline gingivitis.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Kitten Stare

Kitten Stare by broadsurf
Kitten Stare, a photo by broadsurf on Flickr.
Gorgeous F2 Savannah kitten playing at home. He is being socialised. He has a very intense stare. Perhaps this is the look of a wild cat hybrid.

"F2" means second generation from the wild cat serval. So there is quite a bit of serval in this little charmer. I had lots of fun photographing these kittens. They were very inquisitive and active. What else?

The photograph was taken at the home of Martin and Kathrin Stucki owners of A1 Savannahs. The kittens are socialised at their home. He is playing on one of the chairs. This was a very nice chair. One thing about this chair that we all recognised was dangerous was that it was a recliner and one or perhaps two of the kittens had a habit of crawling into the mechanism space under the sofa. That could prove very dangerous so it was locked into a static position as I recall. This eliminated the danger. This is the kind of thing you have to watch out for when kittens are growing up.

The original picture is in colour but I like it in black and white for some reason. See more Savannah cats and detailed information.

Weird Chinese Crested Dog Picture

I am creeping into the world of dogs for one page. Please forgive me. I felt I had to because this purebred dog is weird looking and I think we need to ask some questions about this. Also there is an overlap with cats here. They are both companion animals and the breeding of dogs and cats are subject to the same rules which are sometimes broken. I am not saying that it happened in this instance.

Chinese Crested Dog - Photo copyright Cuyahoga Falls Veterinary Clinic

This interesting Chinese crested dog picture comes from the Cuyahoga Falls Veterinary Clinic. This photo has been used with permission for teaching/educational purposes at this site.

There is a lot of discussion recently about the over breeding of dogs. There are far more purebred dogs than cats so there are far more over bred dogs than cats (see criticising the CFA). There is more opportunity for it. Is this Chinese Crested Dog over bred? He or she certainly looks like it (personal view). The eyes are what I noticed the most. They look extraordinarily odd and wrong. It looks like there are no eyelids. Perhaps this dog has PRA?

Eyes can be a health problem for the Chinese crested dog. It appears that this breed can suffer from one of two forms of progressive retinal atrophy (PRA). It can lead to blindness. Regular veterinary tests are recommended. Perhaps that is why the dog was at the Cuyahoga Falls Veterinary Clinic? I don't know. They can also suffer from dry eye syndrome.

The skin looks awful too. It looks chapped and dry. But it may be normal. Apparently the skin of this dog can become dry and sunburned.

Perhaps this dog is developing his or her crest (the hairy bits). The pictures I have seen have more hair around the head, which has got to be the raison d'etre of this breed of dog.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Lion Cut Picture

This is a lion cut picture of the classic kind except that it was taken in a veterinary clinic. I think it was sensible of the veterinarians of Cuyahoga Falls Veterinary Clinic to decide to photograph their patients with their guardian's permission. It gives a different perspective on cat photography whilst also being educational. This photo has been used with permission for teaching/educational purposes at this website.

As you probably know the lion cut as applied to the long haired domestic cat is a hair cut that leaves the cat looking like a lion in that a false mane is created plus a brush of hair on the end of the tail. Also, in this lion cut picture, you'll see the fur on the legs below the hock.

Why request a lion cut? Would the cat consent if asked? The cat is the patient. Note: I don't know if the lion cut was done at a vets or at this clinic. It might not have. Vets do sometimes recommend a lion cut, however. So it must be for health reasons mainly.

Lion cut cat. Photo copyright Cuyahoga Falls Veterinary Clinic

This cat looks like a chinchilla type traditional Persian but I am probably wrong. The cat has pointing, a sort of tabby pointing (lynx pointing). She is a very pretty cat and it is a good lion cut. Her pupils are wide open probably because the interior was quite dimly lit in that area. It could be argued that the fur of the contemporary Persian cat is too long.

On the basis that a lion cut is for health reasons it must be because cat fur can be too long and pick up dirt etc.. This might apply to the contemporary Persian cat. Although you would be reluctant to shave the fur of a purebred cat as a breeder would have expended a considerable amount of energy in creating it! Long fur can become matted unless groomed almost daily. Someone might not like that aspect of keeping a cat and opt for the lion cut instead. In which case the cut was done for the cat caretaker's benefit.

Or the fur had become matted and the only solution was a lion cut. This must be the most common reason. We have to look to the cat's caretaker again and ask questions. Don't adopt a long haired cat unless you are prepared to groom her regularly.

Another and more obvious reason is fleas. Long fur is a good medium for the notorious cat flea and long fur is an obstacle to the 32 teeth to the inch flea comb. It might be a struggle to get a comb like that through extra long fur unless it is done perhaps twice per day - a lion cut sounds easier doesn't it? But is fair on the cat?

A downside to the lion cut is that it needs to be maintained. Also could a cat become sunburned if he or she went outside into the blazing mid-American sun for a while? A more important downside perhaps is that sometimes a vet will do it and anesthetize the cat. Anesthetizing a cat carries health risks and even, potentially, death in rare cases. That is worth factoring in. This last risk means that a cat lion cut should not be done for the cat caretaker's amusement.

Also we should consider the cat's emotions. It is not unreasonable to ask if the cat feels uncomfortable with a lion cut. A cat might well feel wrong and upset. The emotion might be shown in anxiety, nervousness or aggression depending on the cat.  Get grooming....

Friday, April 13, 2012

Wise Devon Rex Cat

This is a photograph taken at the Cuyahoga Falls Veterinary Clinic of, what I have referred to as, a wise Devon Rex cat. He is wise looking. That may be because he is dressed up and I am anthropomorphising this cat (see another intelligent looking cat).  I don't like dressing up cats as it is unnatural but in this instance it does seem to have given this cat an air of wisdom! I cleaned up the photo a bit from the original as there was a tungsten light color cast and the face was burnt out. There is still a slight underlying distortion to the color balance.

Devon Rex Cat at vets - Photo copyright: Cuyahoga Falls Veterinary Clinic

He is terribly cute isn't he? The hair is sparse and downy. This is typical of the Devon Rex. The breeding is a little bit extreme for me. I am referring to the very large ears and the high cheekbone appearance. Domestic and feral cats don't have ears this large. The eyes are very big too in relation to the head size, which is small. I think he is wearing a brown jumper to keep warm! I am not sure, but if it is cold outside he might feel it as his coat is not that protective. That as is an indication that the genetic mutation that produces the rex coat (curly and thin) is not one that would have developed and evolved under Darwin's theory of evolution as it does not aid survival.

As I said, he does look cute, though, and wise. This photo has been used with permission for teaching/educational purposes at this website. If you would like to use it please ask the clinic first and comply with their terms and conditions.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Dominant Cat Picture and Info

Dominance hierarchies or subordinance hierarchies are formed to avoid or mediate aggression between cats due to competition for resources in groups of cats. Cats form groups and become social animals when there is a suitable food source. Group living has benefits. Mates are on hand. The downside is that competition is close by too. Hierarchies help to keep the peace in groups.

Competition for food for feral cats and even for litter boxes for the domestic cat are sources of aggression between cats. Dominant cats in a hierarchy can control a subordinate's access to the food source. Sometimes higher ranking cats may threaten lower ranked cats for no immediate reason or hog the food source while not utilising it.

A subordinate cat gives way to a dominant cat based on past experiences of interaction. You will only get simple linear hierarchies in small groups of five or less and they are rare. Large groups of cats have complex partially linear hierarchies1, which can also change.

Published under a creative commons license.

What are the signs of a cat showing subordination to a cat that shows dominance? Subordinate cats:
  • walk around dominant cats;
  • wait for the dominant cat to pass before moving into an area;
  • back off when when the dominant cat approaches;
  • avoid eye contact;
  • show a hunched, crouched posture;
  • roll onto their back
  • stick their tails 'to either side of their thigh'1
  • turn their ears down and back.
The dominant cat shows the following signs and behaviors:
  • block subordinate cat movements;
  • bat at the subordinate with their paws;
  • chase the subordinate and sometimes mount the subordinate cat;
  • hold ears up and rotated them to the side;
  • arch the base of the tail;
  • stare at the subordinate cat;
  • when encountering the subordinate cat: hind legs are extended and stiff with base of tail elevated and ears stiff and erect and rotated laterally while staring at cat.
Dominance displays are toned down between cats that get on in groups.  Dominant cats can make life stressful for subordinate cats. In well balanced hierarchies there are rarely fights. Where there is an unresolved dispute as to who is dominant they might fight over the matter. What elese!? Regarding the photo on this page, red or ginger cats tend to be leader cats based on information that I receive.

Source: 1. The Welfare of Cats ISBN 978-1-4020-6143-1 - excellent book by the way.

Picture of Needle Inside Cat

Needle & thread perforated stomach.
Photo copyright Cuyahoga Falls Veterinary Clinic
Below is an X-ray picture of a needle inside a cat. This cat swallowed a thread that was attached to the needle - see picture on the right. It is so easy to drop a needle and thread on the floor, then forget about it or not notice that it has happened.

Your cat might just start playing with the thread, chew on it, and voila, before you know what has happened she has swallowed the lot. Photo right: this photo has been used with permission for teaching/educational purposes at this website.

Cats do swallow what appear to be strange things yet may refuse to take a pill that helps them, as the vet who took these pictures, rightly says.

The photographs on this page were taken at the Cuyahoga Falls Veterinary Clinic. Photo below: this photo has been used with permission for teaching/educational purposes at this website, a subdomain of the mains site: PoC.

Cat swallows needle. Photo copyright Cuyahoga Falls Veterinary Clinic

Needles in the gastrointestinal tract can perforate it. I guess the lesson to be learned is to keep things that might be swallowed by our cats, off the floor or off surfaces where our cat goes. String is another dangerous household item that can harm a cat. And then there are a multitude of substances that are toxic to cats inside the home and immediately outside the home including certain plants and particularly lilies. We shouldn't get paranoiac about these things but it is sensible to be aware and vigilant especially at Christmas.

Foreign bodies can get caught in the mouth, throat, esophagus, stomach and gastrointestinal tract.

Hairballs are the number one offender of solid, foreign material in the gastrointestinal tract. Other objects that cats swallow are: plastic toys, ribbon, pins, splinters of wood, tights, rubber bands, tinsel, feathers, string, to name some of them. String should not be pulled sharply out of the mouth if it can be seem as the other end may be caught up in the intestine causing it to cut the internal organ if pulled.

Most foreign objects pass through the cat. If you think your cat has swallowed a foreign body take him/her to your veterinarian, quickly.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Feline Rodent Ulcer Picture

This is a well produced picture of a feline rodent ulcer. Incidentally, rodent ulcers have "no direct connection" with rodents1. Is there any connection? I don't know. Another name for them is eosinophilic ulcer or indolent ulcer. Eosinophils are white blood cells that are part of the immune system. It gives a clue as the origin of the ulcer - a possible allergic reaction or immune system problem. They only occur on cats and the cause is unclear.

This photo has been used with permission for teaching/educational purposes at this website and it was created by Cuyahoga Falls Veterinary Clinic.  Thanks for the license to publish it here. Please ask the clinic if you'd like to use it. Thank you.

Feline rodent ulcer - photo copyright Cuyahoga Falls Veterinary Clinic

This ulcer would appear to be in the classic position, on the upper lip just off-center position. Sometimes they occur on the lower lip or the back of the jaw or tongue.

Feline rodent ulcers may be caused in part by dental infection, diet, insects, parasites (flea?) or environmental substances.  A compromised immune system may be a cause as cats tested positive for the feline leukemia virus have been found to have rodent ulcers.

You'll need a vet to treat a feline rodent ulcer. Apparently, cortisone and antibiotics are the treatment of choice. There are other treatments.

Note: 1. Cat Owner's Home Veterinary Handbook page 233, third edition.

Associated: Most common cat illnesses.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Picture of Jaundiced Cat

A common symptom of liver disease is jaundice, which causes a change in color of the skin. Often the change in color of the skin can be first seen inside the ear (the pinna or ear flap of the cat's ear). Bile accumulates in the tissues. The skin and eyes turn yellow. Alcoholic people can be jaundiced because ethanol alcohol damages the liver. Other signs of a cat with liver failure are weakness, lethargy, vomiting, diarrhea, excessive drinking and pain in the abdomen. A blockage of the bile duct (uncommon) can also cause a jaundiced appearance.

Jaundiced cat - Photo: Cuyahoga Falls Veterinary Clinic

This photo has been used with permission for teaching/educational purposes at this website, a subdomain of PoC. The source of the photo is Cuyahoga Falls Veterinary Clinic. Thank you for the license to use it here. Visitors: If you want to use it please ask the clinic first.

What causes liver disease and liver failure? Here is a list:
  • Idiopathic hepatic lipidosis - Feline Fatty Liver Disease. This is the most "common metabolic cause of liver failure"; a disease unique to cats (Cat Owner's Home Veterinary Handbook - the book).
  • cholangiohepatitis
  • feline infectious peritonitis (FIP)
  • toxoplasmosis
  • feline leukemia causing liver "insufficiency" (src: the book). See signs of feline leukemia.
  • chemicals: insecticides.
  • metals: copper, lead, selenium, iron.
  • drugs: Tylenol, some antibiotics, Valium, some steroids. Drugs administered for a long time or overdosed can cause liver failure.

Warble Pulled From Kitten

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Monday, April 9, 2012

Mediterranean Cats

Mediterranean cats are often white, short haired, slender, with Van-type markings and sometimes they have odd-eye color because of the presence of the while spotting or piebald gene. The medical term is heterochromia iridum.

Having looked at a lot of cat pictures, the above description is quite typical of Mediterranean cats. I am thinking mainly of the Greek Islands and surrounding areas. That is not to say that a lot of other coat types can't be seen as well. You will see a wide range. It is just that this type is fairly typical. You'll see Van-type cats in Morocco too.

Mediterranean cat - Odd eyed cat - photo by ihasb33r (Flickr)

The above picture is a slightly cleaned up version of the original that was taken on Greece as far as I can tell. It is a nice picture, particularly when cleaned up a bit (my personal opinion). That's why I picked it and thanks to the photographer for the license to publish here.

For me the look is so typical of Mediterranean cats. Quite delicate in appearance and size. That is probably due to the heat. Warmer climates tend to produce smaller cats and colder climates produce larger cats (the Sumatran and Siberian tigers are examples).

The genes that have caused the coat are the same as those that produce the Turkish Van pattern in neighboring Turkey. No surprise there as the countries are adjacent to one another. The picture perfect version of the van pattern is an inverted black "V" shape on the forehead and over the eyes and a black tail.

This little cat has a vestige of that. Blue eyes are due to a lack of pigmentation that was removed by the same gene that removes the pigmentation in the fur - the piebald gene. It is the same gene that produces the painted or piebald horse.

Greek cats are not treated that well it appears. A new cat breed is being created in Cyprus. Also you might like to read about the spread of the various cat breeds from the original source.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Cats Social Learning

The well known video of a cat copying boxers on television is an example of cat social learning through observation in the domestic human environment. The experts in the video don't mention this and don't make comment on why this is happening.

Cats are first class observational learners. Young cats learn from watching mother and preferably other relatives. They can learn skills that were not used by ancestors; in other words entirely new skills by copying (Chester 1969 and other studies). The classic cases of observational learning are kittens and cubs going out with mom on their first hunting trips. Before that the mother (the queen) brings dead prey back to the den or nest. The next stage is to bring back live prey at about 4 weeks of age for feral cats. When live prey is released in the den the mother catches the prey and thereby shows her offspring how it is done.

The kittens practice what they have learned under mother's supervision. In studies it was found that kittens are more receptive to socialization to humans and other animals when mother is present, thus verifying the importance of her role in kittens learning new skills.

As mentioned, relatives of kittens play a role too and father cats play their part in teaching and protecting offspring.

Group hunting of larger than normal prey by feral cats can take place, it seems.  The kill is shared. It is surmised that this is a learned skill through observation.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

What do cat fleas look like?

Apparently, the vets at the Cuyahoga Falls Veterinary Clinic are often asked by people who own cats "what do fleas look like?" I guess when that happens the veterinarian concerned flea combs the person's cat and shows them or in the case of this picture, gives the kitten a Capstar® pill and waits. The person retires to the waiting room and within 30 minutes the nasty little parasites are falling off the kitten and being brushed up into the test tube that you see in the picture below. This is not quite what happened in this instance but the kitten was given a Capstar® pill and these are the fleas, saved for a subsequent customer to see.

Tube of fleas - Photo copyright:
Cuyahoga Falls Veterinary Clinic 3305 State Road, Cuyahoga Falls, OH 44223

This photo has been used with permission for teaching/educational purposes at this website which is a subdomain of PoC. If you would like to use the photograph please ask the veterinary clinic first. Note: the cat fleas shown are not actual size! I guess you know that. In reality they are much smaller. Sometimes it can be hard to see them as they jump and move quickly.

I confess, that I am not surprised that people ask what a flea looks like. But I am a bit disappointed that cat caretakers are still not flea combing on a regular basis. Once a day will usually do to keep things under control provided the home is also under control with respect to fleas. If you flea comb regularly you know what a flea looks like and you know how hard they are to kill. They are tough critters and you have to move fast because they move fast.

Ideally, try and avoid flea treatments as they are chemicals (chemicals are basically poisonous) and if you do use them always check the packaging to make sure it is for cats (and not dogs) and to make sure you know the treatment. Flea treatments can kill or harm your cat.