Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Singapura Cat Picture

The amazingly large eyes in relation to the head size is a bit surprising in this excellent Singapura cat picture by Sakura Ishihara on Flickr. The picture is titled:

シンガプーラのジジちゃん in Japanese (I think!). Sakura is a cat photographer.

Singapura cat

I actually took the extreme liberty to adjust the photograph; fading the edges away a bit and darkening the highlights a bit too.

I have never seen a domestic cat with such large eyes in relation to head size before. With respect to the breeder, it looks a little exaggerated. I am not sure if there are health issues.

You can see an American show cat photograph by the professional cat photographer Helmi Flick on this page and a lot of detail about this cat breed, the smallest cat breed, on this page.

The history of the Singapura is clouded in mystery and a bit scandalous. No that is too strong a word but the big question is: is this cat breed "manufactured" (hybrid selective breeding etc.) or was it discovered in the drains of Singapore? The Singapura is quite a rare cat breed.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Picture of Cat with Feline Polydipsia

This cat, at the Nottinghan Vet School has three conditions: polydipsia, facial and ventral erythema and alopecia. The first is an increased thirst. The second is redness of the skin and the last is hair loss. Nottingham Vet School do not say what diagnosis they made. What links them?

Photography by Nottingham Vet School on Flickr

I don't know for sure what links these symptoms. But it interesting to try and find out. It would have been nice if the vet school had told us so I could check.

My research indicates that one condition links polydipsia and alopecia. The third symptom, redness of the skin may be due to overgrooming causing the alopecia.

Hyperthyroidism may cause an increased thirst. It is almost always linked with cancer, usually a benign adenoma (a tumor of glandular origin).

About 33% of all cats with hyperthyroidism show "areas of alopecia. The hair is pulled out easily".

The increase in thyroid hormones may also cause an increase in appetite and activity. There may be weight loss and panting.

Accordingly, this black and white cat might have hyperthyroidism.

Source: Book 1 on this page.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Sphynx Cat versus Don Sphynx Cat


I am writing about two fairly rare cats here. I would expect that there are not that many people within the entire cat keeping population who keep either of these cat breeds. Of the two, the Sphynx is the better known. In fact you will find that the Don Sphynx is not mentioned in most of the books that you can buy in the West about cat breeds. If an author of a book about cat breeds writes about hairless cats, it is the Sphynx that is featured.

One reason for this is that the history of the Sphynx is part of the history of North America, while the Don Sphynx is Russian. Although there is a lively cat fancy in Russia, the largest cat fancy and largest domestic cat market place is North America. Therefore cats get discussed more in North America. Also more books about cats are written in English and therefore more widely circulated. Accordingly the Sphynx becomes better known. Although in Russia, a somewhat closed-off society still in 2012, no doubt the Don Sphynx is what people first think of when they think of a hairless cat.


Straight off, you probably would not see a difference between the Sphynx and Don Sphynx. I struggle to find real differences. My personal view is that a person thinking about adopting a hairless cat need not be overly concerned with the fine differences in appearance between these two cat breeds.

Referring to the breed standards tells us that they are very similar. The Cat Fanciers' Association (CFA), in the general section of their breed standard, says that this is a medium sized hairless cat that is warm to touch with a skin texture that is "soft peach or smooth nectarine". They say the cat is "sweet tempered and amenable to handling" and has "surprising weight for its size".

In America, TICA recognise the Don Sphynx (AKA "Donsky", another name for the breed) under preliminary new breeds .  They have a breed standard. However, I'll refer to the general description of the breed standard of FIFe, which is a European cat association. The author says that, "The Don Sphynx is a solid cat, soft and warm to the touch. The specific feature is hairlessness".

As I said there is almost nothing to tell them apart in general. Note: the hairless coat of the Donsky takes four forms. "All but one results in hairlessness". So one version is not hairless. You will find that hairlessness in cats does vary. It is the same with the Rex cats which also have a mutation that affects the coat. However, I am sure your breeder will ensure that you cat is hairless as demanded in the breed standard.


As mentioned, the cats' history is the real difference but one that is not hugely relevant. The Don Sphynx is essentially Russian and the Sphynx North American. The history of the Sphynx is a bit confused so I want go over it in detail here. Suffice to say that the Sphynx is a selectively breed cat that started life as a mutated random bred cat discovered in Minnesota, America in 1975 and in Canada in 1966 and 1978 (source: Legacy of the Cat). The mutation that causes hairlessness in cats is not that unusual as can be seen. It just so happened that a breeder decided to create a cat breed from that mutation. 

The Don Sphynx has a similar history but in a different part of the world; a mutated random bred cat was picked up by a breeder in Rostov-on-Don in Russia in 1987. Rostov-on-Don is in western Russia near Europe. In fact that part of Russia is considered European.


This is another major area of difference between these cat breeds. A recessive gene causes the hairlessness in the Sphynx while it is a dominant gene in the Donsky. That should make breeding easier for the Don Sphynx and there should be more hairless cats of Don Sphynx type roaming around Russia.

However, I don't think the genetic reasons for the hairlessness are of importance to people who wish to adopt a cat. The genetics of a cat (its "genotype") is the concern of cat breeders not cat caretakers.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Cat on Pig

Cats like to be close to their friends. They like to snuggle up. A cats make friends with other cats in multi-cat environments. They treat us as a friend if we are gentle and kind to them. Then there's the warmth. May be that comes before friend! I don't think so though. You'll see cats sleeping on horses, climbing over deer and dogs and in this interesting case settling down on top of a best mate, a fancy purebred pig.

Associated pages:

Friday, May 11, 2012

Picture: Tiny Kitten Wearing a Tabby Hat!

Tiny Thing by fofurasfelinas
Tiny Thing, a photo by fofurasfelinas on Flickr.
This an adorable little kitten who has the appearance of wearing a hat. The "hat" is the tabby markings. They are interesting markings too. At the moment this little girl does not have the tabby M mark on the forehead. As all tabby cats have that and as this girl is a tabby cat, the M mark must develop later and it may be the case that the "hat" becomes the M mark!

In the meantime she is adorable. The photographer is the well known Giane Portal, who lives in Brazil.

Associated: Cat Coats Tabby.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Tabby Cat Picture

Laying on the grass by fofurasfelinas
Laying on the grass, a photo by fofurasfelinas on Flickr.
A beautiful, well produced photograph of a golden eyed tabby cat lying in lush grass in Brazil. The tabby cat is probably the most commonly seen domestic and feral cat. The next in line is probably the bicolor cat (white and another color, often black and sometimes tabby and white). There is an infinite range of patterns, tints and markings and all of them have that charm of the "M" mark on the forehead that is associated with a good number of myths and legends. This guy is called "Neko" as far as I am aware. His eyes have a glazed appearance, looking into another world.

At the beginning of the time when people started to breed cats (mid-late 1800s) this cat would have been described as a black tabby because the pattern is dark. I can't see the entire coat but he appears to be a mackerel tabby (pattern made up of stripes).  Also in the early days of the cat fancy tabby cats had their own category. Tabby cats are considered part of the normally wide range of coats of a particular cat breed nowadays. There were few cat breeds in the late 1800s. There are over 100 today (2012).

Did you know that the word "tabby" is derived from a kind of taffeta or ribbed silk. When it is "watered" wavy lines are created over the silk. Apparently this was referred to as "tabby" many years ago. You can see a fully description of the origins of the word and the cat in general on this page.

There is a reference to "tabby" in a book dated 1682 "Wit and Drollery" at page 343:

"Her petticoat of satin
Her gown of crimson tabby"

That is an interesting use of the word that you would not see today. Alternative names for the tabby cat have been: tiger cat or brindled cat. In Norfolk, England, in the 19th century the tabby cat was referred to as a "Cyprus cat". The name, now not used, comes from the wavy lined cloth produced in Cyprus made of silk and hair. References to the "Cyprus cat" may go back to the early 17th century. Certainly a tabby cat was referred to in a book of 1693; The Compleat English Physician page 326.

Ragdoll Profile Picture

Perfect profile by fofurasfelinas
Perfect profile, a photo by fofurasfelinas on Flickr.
This is a nice profile photograph of a beautiful Ragdoll cat. The photograph was taken by Giane Portail AKA fofurasfelinas (on Flickr). The picture is protected by copyright. The Ragdoll is one of the world's most popular purebred cats. The name however is I feel a little misleading. This is a pretty normal cat! Yes, they can tend to me docile, calm and quiet but it depends a bit on the individual cat. Cats do vary in their temperaments.

The Ragdoll head should be a broad "modified wedge". The phrase in hyphens is a cat fancy term that should be dropped in my opinion. It is very strange terminology. I guess it must mean a wedge shaped head that is not entirely wedge shaped! Of course, a cat cannot have a head like a wedge. The head should be wide but in the general shape of a typical domestic cat. The contours of the head should be rounded. This echos the breed standard of the Persian, a similar breed in many ways (e.g. character). The guideline of a round head probably follows the soft nature of the character. The chin and muzzle should be well developed and rounded.

The ears of the Ragdoll should be medium-sized and broad at the base (all ears are actually). The tips of the ears should be rounded. Notice the use of the word "round" again.

The eyes should, of course be blue and large! Diamond blue eyes. Did you know that the Ragdoll has a tendency to develop a pot belly..err I mean a "fatty pad"1 on the lower abdomen. The Egyptian Mau has what is called a "belly flap". Is that a pot belly too?

You can see the longer fur around the around the neck forming a kind of bib (low key ruff).

This individual cat is Zucca, from the RagBurt cattery. Zucca seems to be a blue pointed Ragdoll. Giane lives in Brazil so this is a Brazilian Ragdoll cat. I don't know how fancy the cat fancy is in Brazil. I should think it is well developed but we don't hear much about it.

Note: 1. Legacy of the Cat page 134.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Siberian Cat vs Maine Coon

This is a comparison between the Siberian and Maine Coon purebred cats. They look similar. People sometimes want to know the differences. The differences come from the origins of the breed, their appearance and character. However, all of these factors are somewhat elastic so it is not possible to provide a difference that is as clear cut as black is from white.

The Obvious

Forgetting the color and patterns because both cats can have a wide range of colors and patterns, what strikes you as the obvious difference in appearance?

It has to be the ears. The Maine Coon ears are larger and more pointed which with the ear tufts creates a completely different appearance to the smaller more rounded Siberian cat ears. The breed standard for ears for these breeds is (verbatim for accuracy):
  •  CFA: SIBERIAN EARS: medium-large, rounded, wide at the base and tilt slightly forward. The ears should be set as much on the sides of the head as on top. The hair over the back of the ear is short and thin. From the middle of the ear, the furnishings become longer and cover the base of the ear. Ear tipping is allowed.
  • CFA: MAINE COON EARS: Shape: large, well-tufted, wide at base, tapering to appear pointed. Set: approximately one ear’s width apart at the base; not flared.
Without getting too technical and becoming a hard core cat fancier, the respective breed standards tell us about the appearance of the ears,  a major difference between the Siberian cat and the Maine Coon.

Another difference that you can't see in the pictures by Helmi Flick (images are copyright protected, please note), is that the Maine Coon is larger than the Siberian. On my assessment the Maine Coon is the largest purely domestic purebred cat.

I won't quote the breed standards anymore but highlight some general differences in appearance, character and history.


Coat: Siberian: a long thick coat with a tight undercoat. The coat is referred to as triple coated. The hairs are of similar length. Maine Coon: uneven shaggy coat is not dense or full.

Muzzle: Siberian: shorter than that of the Maine Coon. It is full and rounded. Maine Coon: broad and square muzzle.

Head: Siberian: large and impressive modified wedge. Medium in size. Maine Coon:  broad modified wedge. The head shape is similar for these cat breeds as confirmed by the photographs.

Conclusion: the Maine Coon has larger and more pointed ears with a slightly more slender face and a slightly less neat coat. It is also a larger cat. The tail in the picture is more plumed for the Maine Coon than the Siberian but this may be just an individual cat difference.

See: Siberian breed standard and Maine Coon breed standard (links to cat association standards). 


Siberian: strong minded and independent and therefore likes plenty of living space. Dog-like devotion to human companion. Maine Coon: a relaxed cat and relatively easy going. The Maine Coon is not overdependent on people and good with children and other companion animals.

Siberian: native Russian cat. Thought of as an ancient breed. Let's say that this cat was around as a cat companion about 1000 years ago in Russia. Obviously at that time it was not thought of a breed of cat. It was a random bred cat. Maine Coon: I think that the history of the Maine Coon is more interesting but that may be because we know more about it. This is a semi-longhaired cat that originates in the state of Maine, USA. They were farm cats before becoming show cats in the mid-1800s, when the first cat shows in the USA took place. The early origins are probably in the imported long haired ship's cats from Europe that accompanied the first immigrants to America. These long haired British cats where Angoras. Angoras were probably Turkish Angoras. Turkey is near the place where the first domestication of the wild cat took place (fertile crescent).  The Maine Coon may have origins that are better connected to the absolute beginnings of the domestic cat.


The Maine Coon is ranked the most popular (1st) on my 4,500 vote poll out of over 60 breeds. The Siberian is ranked about 21st. This may partly be because the biggest cat fancy is in America (most visitors to PoC are American) and the Maine Coon is the American cat.

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