Want To Find Out More About Cats? From Cat Behaviour & Human Relationships , To How Many Teeth They Have. Read Purina's Interesting Facts About Cats. Here you will find all kinds of information of interest to cat owners: blog posts that offer that little bit more about cats: written by cat fans – always bang up to date. Ever since going off to college and moving into a heavily populated, almost city- like, area I have noticed an exuberant number of stray cats. Some say it comes.
Cats? What About
One distinctive social behaviour involves rubbing the side of the head, lips, chin, or tail against the owner and against furniture. The tongue of all cats, which has a patch of sharp, backward-directed spines called filiform papillae near the tip, has the appearance and feel of a coarse file; the spines help the cat to groom itself.
The disposition to cleanliness is well established in cats, and they groom themselves at length, especially after meals.
While lions and other big cats roar, domestic cats and other Felis species purr. Purring has been described as a low, continuous, rattling hum and often is interpreted as an expression of pleasure or contentment.
Under conditions of domestication, the cat is subject to a variety of factors that result in behaviour indicative of emotional distress and difficulty in adapting to the home environment. Some behaviours are not abnormal but are difficult for owners to accept. The most common behaviour problem in companion cats is that they sometimes urinate and defecate outside the litter box in the house. Organic causes include feline urologic syndrome urinary bladder inflammation and calculi, or stones, in the urinary tract , blocked or impacted anal glands , and constipation.
Emotional causes include the addition of a new family member—another cat, a child, or a spouse. Such changes may make the cat feel insecure, so that it deposits urine and feces around the house, possibly as territorial marks for security. Cats are creatures of habit , and any change in the family structure or in daily routines—resulting, for example, from a move or even from rearranging furniture—can be stressful.
Another common behaviour problem in cats is their natural desire to rake objects such as drapes and furniture with their claws. Surgical removal of the front claws to prevent property damage is normally repugnant to cat lovers.
Cats can be trained to use carpeted scratching posts in the house to satisfy this behavioral need, which may be a combination of claw cleaning and sharpening and of territorial marking.
Many cats engage in social licking and in the grooming of their feline and human companions, which is a natural display of affection and dependence.
It is often more intense in cats weaned too early or in those malnourished in kittenhood. For various emotional reasons some cats may groom themselves to the point of self-mutilation or become compulsive wool suckers and eaters. Pica—a hunger for nonnutritive substances—may be a symptom of the need for more roughage in the diet or of feline leukemia or other health problems.
As with the dog, excessive eating and drinking is frequently associated with endocrine diseases such as diabetes and thyroid dysfunction. Cats often vomit soon after eating, which is most often caused by the accumulation of fur balls in the stomach , although a food allergy , feline leukemia, or other organic cause may be involved.
Active and healthy cats often race through the house as though they were crazed. In the domestic environment, this normal, instinctive behaviour often still occurs, to the consternation of some owners who fear that their cat may have rabies , a brain tumour , or an unstable personality.
Nevertheless, abnormal behaviour in animals often does have a nonphysical, psychological, or emotional origin, which should always be considered in the diagnosis and treatment of the ailments of companion animals. Dogs and humans have long periods of REM rapid eye movement sleep , the stage that is associated with dreaming.
In contrast, the cat rarely lapses into REM sleep. Instead, it has a lighter, episodic sleep pattern that enables it to rest but to be instantly alert. When sick, cats have a tendency to withdraw and become inactive, which helps them conserve energy.
A sick cat may seem lifeless but recover after a few days of withdrawal, which is one reason cats are said to have nine lives. A sick cat should always be taken to a veterinarian, however; it is negligent simply to let nature take its course. Cats are known to have traveled hundreds of miles to find their owners in new homes to which they themselves have never been.
Dogs have also performed such feats of so-called psi psychic trailing. Scientists have not been able to find a physiological or psychological explanation for this ability. The popularity of the cat, especially of pedigreed breeds, has continued to grow. Typically, cats are creatures of habit ; they are inquisitive, but not adventurous, and are easily upset by sudden changes of routine.
The ideal household cat has been separated from its mother between the ages of two and four months, raised in a clean home, kept away from unhealthy animals, and inoculated against common infectious cat diseases. Although cats often enjoy the company of other cats, especially when raised together from kittenhood, introducing a strange cat to other cats in the home can cause stress, aggression, and other behaviour problems. Cats are generally less sociable than dogs, who more readily accept a new pack member.
A good disposition and good health are important criteria for choosing a cat. Disposition varies only slightly between male and female cats. There are, however, distinct differences in disposition among the various pedigreed varieties; the Siamese , for example, is vocal and demanding, while the Persian is quiet and fastidious. By chance, the mixed breed may prove a happier and healthier pet than a pedigreed one.
On the other hand, the behaviour and vigour of the direct ancestors of pedigreed cats are indicative of the characteristics the offspring will possess as adults. But, as with the propagation of purebred dogs, the proliferation of pedigreed cats has resulted in an increase in inherited diseases, a major reason many people prefer mongrels or mixed breeds.
Cats should have a diet similar to that of their wild relatives. They are adapted by nature to be flesh eaters, as is shown by their alimentary tract and their dentition. The cat uses its canines to catch and kill prey, the molars to cut it up. Lack of flat-surfaced teeth prevents it from chewing or gnawing. The cat has a short intestine , and its stomach secretes digestive juices that act primarily on meat.
Cats, however, like all meat-eating animals , ingest grass and other plants occasionally, and small quantities of vegetables may serve as both a laxative and a hair ball remover.
As cats are the strictest of all carnivorous mammals , they thrive on meat, but an all-meat diet is unbalanced and will lead to various nutritional deficiency diseases.
Cats derive nutrients , including moisture, from their entire prey—hence the low thirst drive of most cats. Commercial dry pet foods, lacking moisture and overloaded with starches , are convenient for the owner but can contribute to many of the most common feline ailments—including obesity , urinary tract diseases, and diabetes mellitus.
In addition, seafood is not recommended; many cats are allergic to it, and it may be contaminated with hazardous chemicals. Getting as close to the natural carnivorous diet as possible by feeding a low-carbohydrate, meat-based diet can eliminate many of the most common ailments and diseases, which are not only painful for cats but also quite costly.
Feline experts advise against ever feeding cats all-dry manufactured foods, because cats often grow to prefer those to the degree that they refuse other, healthier foods.
Cats reach reproductive age between 7 and 12 months. A breeding female called a queen can be in heat, or estrus , as many as five times a year. The gestation period for cats averages 63 to 65 days, and birth usually lasts about two hours.
The birth is often called kittening, and the kittens are called a litter. The average litter numbers four; however, the Abyssinian usually has fewer, the Siamese more. Each kitten is born in a separate amniotic sac that is generally broken open at the moment of birth. If it is not, the mother breaks it. She also severs the umbilical cord and eats the placenta which in many cases stimulates lactation.
The kittens are born blind , deaf, and helpless, as are many other carnivores; their senses begin to function 10 or 12 days after birth. Soon after birth the mother licks her kittens; this action cleans them and helps stimulate their circulation. Kittens at birth lack distinctive colouring, and many do not acquire their characteristic markings and colour for weeks. For example, Siamese kittens are white at birth, while blue Persians have tabby markings and black Persians are brown.
Unlike wild cats that breed once a year, the domestic cat is capable of bearing up to three litters every year. Traditionally, regulation of the cat population was accomplished by the selective killing of the newborn.
In modern times, however, sterilization —by means of relatively safe and simple operations known as spaying, neutering, or altering—has become common in affluent societies. Neutering is also viewed as an adaptive measure for indoor life. Spaying the female may help reduce the incidence of breast cancer in addition to eliminating uterine diseases and unwanted litters. Neutered cats live longer than nonneutered ones, partly because they have less desire to roam.
The average life expectancy for the cat is 10 to 15 years; the oldest cat on record attained the age of 38 years. For many years cat treatments were simply extensions of those given dogs. Now, however, cat disorders of the skin , the eyes , the ears , the various systems circulatory , respiratory , urinary , digestive , nervous , skeletal , and the blood , as well as contagious cat diseases and external and internal parasites , are studied, so that appropriate preventions and treatments can be developed.
Many cats die because their ailments become serious before their general conditions change sufficiently to reveal symptoms of illness. On the other hand, many symptoms used in diagnosing cat ailments are not definitive for given disorders.
For example, signs of illness include general symptoms such as a dull coat, lack of appetite , and listlessness. Diarrhea may be a result of serious illness or simply reflect a change in diet. Tearing of the eyes, especially when accompanied by sneezing, may indicate conjunctivitis or a cold.
Open sores, usually at the base of the ear, around the mouth, or on the toes, can point to an ear mite or a ringworm infection or to a fight with another animal. Cats are attacked by several kinds of external and internal parasites.
External parasites are most generally found in kittens, although they can occur in adults. The most frequent parasites are fleas , but lice , ticks , and ear mites also occur. Internal parasites include roundworms, tapeworms , and protozoan coccidia. Modern veterinary medicine has made all of these easy to control. Panleucopenia, often called feline distemper , is the best-known viral disease in cats.
Highly contagious, with a high mortality rate, it is seen most often in young cats. Vaccines are effective protective measures. Rabies is less of a problem with cats than with dogs, but all free-roaming cats should be vaccinated. Vaccines have also been developed for other feline diseases, including feline leukemia , pneumonitis chlamydiosis , viral rhinotracheitis cat influenza , and calicivirus infections.
Cats permitted to wander outdoors are exposed to a variety of hazards, including accidents, attacks from other animals , poisoning , fleas and other parasites, and contagious diseases such as feline acquired immune deficiency syndrome AIDS. Cats that kill and eat rodents and other small animals can become infected with the parasitic protozoan Toxoplasma gondii , which can be transmitted to humans and causes the disease toxoplasmosis.
Cats that share litter boxes with one another may increase their exposure to Tritrichomonas foetus , a single-celled flagellated protozoan that resembles Giardia. Cats have never been bred for economic purposes; their matings are extremely difficult to control unless the animals are completely confined. There has been relatively little scientific breeding of cats, and the details of breed inheritance in these animals are not well known.
Cats are genetically far less plastic than dogs and therefore have not offered the same opportunities to breeders. The size differences between breeds in the domestic dog have no parallel in the domestic cat, nor has anything even remotely approaching the wide range of head shapes and body proportions in different breeds of dogs ever appeared among the cats.
In cats the physical differences between one breed and another are largely differences in colour and texture of the coat. The most common coat colours are blotched tabby, black, and orange. Solid white is dominant to all other colours. Tortoiseshell , a piebald pattern that results from crossing a black, tabby, or other nonorange colour with a colour from the orange group, is a sex-linked trait.
The orange gene is carried on the X chromosome ; male tortoiseshells have one extra X chromosome, resulting in an abnormal XXY chromosomal pattern. Hence, male tortoiseshells are born only rarely and are usually sterile.
Similarly, tortoiseshell-and-white cats in North America often called calicoes are almost always female.
Siamese dilution, the typical coloration of Siamese cats, has been described as a case of imperfect albinism and has been compared to the Himalayan pattern in rabbits , but its heredity is not well understood. There are also dilutions of the other ordinary colours: White spotting also occurs and is dominant to uniform colour. The long-haired coat of the Persian appears to be a simple unit character. It is recessive to short hair. Eye colour is known to be inherited, but its mode of inheritance is not thoroughly understood.
Blue eye colour seems to be associated with dilution in coat colour; blue-eyed white cats are usually deaf, a fact commented on by Charles Darwin. Asymmetry of eye colour is inherited. Polydactylism , the presence of extra toes, is inherited and behaves as a dominant to the normal condition.
It seems to be due to a single gene. The extra toes occur on the inner, or thumb, side of the foot. The number of recognized show breeds that have defined, inherited characteristics has increased dramatically since the late s as cats have become more popular as home companions.
First, cats must eat fresh food. Cats do not have the metabolic means to digest "ripe" food and get rid of any toxic byproducts; instead, they have evolved very specific taste and scent capabilities that would prevent them from eating anything that is not fresh. This, in part, is what accounts for the "pickiness" of cats. They are evolutionarily picky for good reason.
When feeding a raw diet, this means that all of the cat's food must be fresh. Of course, it can be frozen first and then defrosted, but cats should not be fed any 'old' meat—save that for the dogs. Second, it is strongly recommended that cats eat every day. It is not wise to fast a cat for more than 24 hours, and especially if the cat is overweight! Due to their unique metabolism, cats can suffer from 'hepatic lipidosis' if they do not receive adequate amounts of food.
Thus, when switching a cat to a raw diet, one must be very careful that the cat eats something every day—even if that means mixing commercial food in with the raw food so the cat eats. For more information about hepatic lipidosis, please click here. The Mar Vista Vet site is purely informational and is not endorsed in any way by Rawfed. Third, cats do not have the capability to create taurine from methionine and cysteine, like dogs do.
This means that a cat must ingest sufficient taurine in order to meet its taurine requirements. The excellent news is that taurine is found in virtually all meats, especially beef heart. By feeding a cat a raw diet, the cat should receive the best, most bioavailable form of taurine via its food. There is one proviso: Grinding increases the surface area of the meat and thus exposes more of the "good stuff" to the air. This results in oxidation of taurine and a resultant decrease in overall taurine available to the cat.
Additionally, grinding creates the perfect environment for bacteria growth, and bacteria also utilize the taurine in the meat, thereby further decreasing the total amount of taurine available to your cat. Thus, if you feed your cat a ground raw diet, it may not receive all the taurine it needs to thrive, as is the case with a group of kittens fed whole, ground raw rabbit in this study.
If you regularly feed ground raw to your cat which I do not recommend unless your cat absolutely will not or cannot eat bones , then it is advisable that you supplement with taurine using either fresh beef heart unground or a commercial taurine supplement. So how does one feed a cat a raw diet? Cats can eat the same raw foods a dog can eat, just in smaller portions and always fresh. They can eat game hens, chicken, quail, lamb, beef, pork, turkey, duck, fish, goat, venison, rabbit, mice, rats, eggs, and various organ meats.
As with feeding dogs, you should try and re-create the whole prey your cat would be eating in the wild.
If your cat is an avid hunter, then you may only just be supplementing with raw food occasionally. Some cats do not eat meat from animals that typically are not their prey, which may rule out beef, lamb, venison, and the like. However, this does not mean these meats should not be tried.
On the contrary—some cats 'change their minds' about certain meats once they start eating fresh raw food. The trick is to keep offering it in various ways, even if that means mincing some of the beef in with some fish. Plus, since beef liver and beef heart and kidney are excellent sources of nutrients, I feel it is important that the cat learn to eat this. My own cat ate organs from cows before she would actually eat the meat from cows. When you feed your cat, make sure the food is a fresh, and b warm.
Most cats cannot tolerate frozen or cold food. Do not make the water so hot that it actually "cooks" the outside of the meat! NEVER put a raw meaty bone into the microwave to defrost it!
Microwaves cook from the inside out, and will cook the bone while the rest of the meat is still cool to the touch. The cooked bone will then be brittle and splintery. The easiest method I have found for preparing a cat's food is to remove it from the freezer the previous night, let it sit and defrost in the fridge overnight, and then warm it up in a bowl of warm water before feeding.
You may have to swap out the water in the bowl a few times if the raw meaty bone is really frozen, but that is easy to do. Just let the bowl and raw meaty bone sit next to or in the sink and leave it for fifteen minutes while you go do something else.
Be advised, though, that some cats like mine! Feed kittens several small meals over the course of the day. As the kitten matures, phase the food into two meals per day. You can either continue feeding your cat two meals a day, or switch it over to one meal per day. It depends on your cat and your preference. I alternate between feeding once a day and feeding twice a day; it depends on what I have available for the cat.
Some days she will get a little beef heart and beef liver for breakfast, and then for dinner she will have her raw meaty bone.
Most days, however, I just feed her in the evening. I tend to think of my cat's food in terms of overall size—how much can she put into her little belly at a feeding? For my cat, the most she will get over the course of the day is one cornish game hen breast half with an attached wing. This is about an inch longer than my palm, and is enough to make her belly completely full and even a little distended.
She will eat most of it in one sitting, and will then come back for the rest within the hour. I do not feed her this amount every day; after eating this much food she receives a smaller meal the next day—maybe a game hen leg-thigh, or a meal of beef heart and liver.
The best thing to do is to monitor your cat's body shape and weight. If the cat starts looking a little too lean and ribby, then up the amount of food. If the cat is looking too fat, then decrease the amount of food. You will quickly gain an understanding of just how much your cat needs to eat.
Some cats will help you with this, as they will only eat as much as they need at one sitting and will leave any extra.
If you have a cat like this, then great! Let the cat tell you when it is full. If you have a glutton of a cat, then you will have to monitor its intake. You can feed your cat anywhere you like.
You can feed in the kitchen, on top of the washer, in the bathroom, on the carpet, etc. You can feed the cat in a bowl, although my cat drags her raw meaty bone out of the bowl to eat it. My personal preference is to feed on a plastic placemat. The cat can then drag her food out of the bowl and eat it off the placemat. This keeps the floor from getting dirty until she drags it off the placement The bowl is still useful to me; I use it to mix up an egg for her or to feed a little bit of canned fish every now and then.
Sometimes my cat will use the bowl to her advantage when eating an awkward raw meaty bone. She will pull her food half-out of the bowl so that part of the raw meaty bone sticks up in the air, making it easy for her to eat it. Basically, where you feed, what you feed out of, and what you feed on are up to you and your cat.
Keep a dish of water handy for the cat. You will probably notice that the cat drinks much less water than before; this is normal, as the raw food contains much more water than dry food.
Also, cats evolved in an arid environment and usually do not drink a whole lot of water. Nevertheless, keep a dish of water out and keep it clean. Change the water daily for the cat. I highly recommend that anyone wishing to feed their cat a raw diet join the Yahoo!
Be sure to also visit RawfedCats. Some cats can be notoriously hard to switch due to their picky nature and due to the extreme addictiveness of many commercial pet foods. Some older cats will choose commercial foods over raw food any day, even after being fed a raw diet for a while.
Jan 28, Today more than 80 million cats reside in U.S. homes, with an estimated three cats for every dog on the planet. (Watch a video about the secret. Oct 26, The decision to adopt your first cat is a monumental one, both for you and for your new cat, which I hope will be a family member for life. Are you a cat person? Here is lots of useful science-based information about cats .