A way to reunite lost cat with owner when you know neither

Sometimes people living in suburbia see what they believe to be a friendly, domestic cat who looks lost. The cat comes up to them looking for company. They are still there in the afternoon hanging around and it’s getting late. They decide to do something about it. The best way to reunite a neighbourhood lost cat with their owner is to take the cat to a vet to check for a microchip. That presents problems because you might not have a cat carrier. But then again you can buy microchip scanners on Amazon for about $30 and scan the cat yourself.

If the microchip is up-to-date, the contact details can be used to reunite cat with owner. If the cat is not micro-chipped and if the cat is friendly enough to come into your home and finally if you don’t have any other barriers to a cat coming into your home, I would suggest the method as set out in the Infographic below.

Lost your cat?
Lost your cat? Infographic by MikeB.

There is no certainty of success but over a period of a few days or a week there is a fair chance that the neighbour who has lost their cat will walk past your house and knock on your door having seen the sign.

Method has been successful deployed

Where did I get the idea? From my neighbour! About a month ago I went for a walk to the town center. On the way I met a man and a ginger tabby cat. He was not the caregiver of the ginger tabby but the cat was very friendly towards him. He explained that he believed that the cat was lost and he was knocking on doors to try and find the owner.

As it happens, he knocked on the right door but they weren’t in because they were on holiday. The owners of the cat had asked another neighbour to check-in on their cat and to feed him while they were away for two weeks. I don’t think that’s a great idea because you don’t know how reliable the neighbour is, and secondly you don’t know how your cat will respond to an unknown person coming into the home.

And it went wrong. The ginger tabby left his home and wandered around the neighbourhood. The man I mention above couldn’t find the owner and went about his business. The next day I walked down the same road and saw a sign outside a house about four houses down. It was the same kind of sign that you see in the Infographic on this page.

I knocked on the door and spoke to him. He said that he had found a ginger tabby and taken him in. He described the cat as very friendly. I suggested that he get a veterinarian to scan for a microchip. He did that and found out that there was no microchip. He also put the sign up on the chance that it might work.

About a week later I met him again and he told me that it had worked. The cat’s owners lived about six houses down. Soon after they arrived back from holiday, they saw the sign and knocked on his door. The cat was ready to be picked up.

Cat and owner were reunited. The owners have since had him microchipped. The reason why this method worked is because my experience tells me that about 90% of lost cats live within about 500 yards of where they are found. Their owner doesn’t live far off. There’s a reasonable chance that they will see this kind of sign.

It doesn’t have to be the kind of sign you see in the Infographic. It could be much more temporary than that. And if the cat’s owner does not see the sign perhaps a friend or neighbour of the owner will see it and pass the message on.

Below are some more articles on lost cats.

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Cats are better at withstanding snake venom than dogs

A Bengal cat living in the state of Victoria, Australia has been bitten by snakes three times and survived. The story reported by ABC News doesn’t tell us the species of snake but my research indicates that the eastern brown snake is responsible for an estimated 76% of reported snake bites on companion animals in Australia. This species of snake has enough venom to kill 58 humans! The venom’s most powerful ingredient is a neurotoxin, which paralyses the nerves of the heart, lungs and diaphragm, suffocating the victim It also contains a procoagulant.

Cats are more resistant to snake venom than dogs
Cats are more resistant to snake venom than dogs. Infographic by MikeB at PoC.

Jaffa

The Bengal cat’s name is Jaffa. The last time he was bitten he almost died. His owner has a cat run for him. It appears that he might have attacked a snake in the run and was bitten. His owners think that he received a good dose of the venom and stopped breathing due to paralysis before a veterinarian administered a full vial of anti-venom. His life was hanging in the balance but he pulled through.

And one reason why Jaffa pulled through the latest bite and two previous bites is because cats are better able to deal with snake venom than dogs. Jaffa’s experience would have killed a dog it is believed.

Cats have a much-improved chance of survival compared to dogs

Sixty-six percent of cats bitten by the aforesaid snake species survive without antivenom whereas only 31% of dogs survive without antivenom.

Even with antivenom treatment cats have a much better chance of survival than dogs. A study entitled: Pets in peril: the relative susceptibility of cats and dogs to procoagulant snake venoms came to the conclusion, as I understand it, that all snake venoms act faster on dog blood plasma compared to cat and human plasma.

Procoagulants

A procoagulant, as I also understand it, affects the haemostatic pathways dramatically reducing the blood clotting ability of the animal which can kill them.

It is rather counterintuitive because the word “procoagulant” would indicate that it improves coagulation but the process has the opposite effect apparently. A great deal of internal functional problems emanate from this.

Happening more often

An Australian snake catcher, Gianni Hodgson, said that there are currently more cases of companion animals confronting snakes and being bitten. He’s heard a lot more reports of dogs and cats interacting with snakes and he’s not sure why. Suggestion: more flooding due to global warming forcing snakes out into the open?

Behavior of cats and dogs

Another reason why dogs are more susceptible to being killed by a snake bite is because they can place their snout up to the snake to investigate and get bitten on the face where there are lots of blood vessels and therefore the venom is transported around the body more quickly.

Cats, on the other hand, tend to swot at snakes using their claws in order to play safe. They tend to batter snakes with their paws and are less susceptible to being bitten on the face. Another reason is that dogs are usually more active after being bitten than cats which helps to pump the venom around the body.

Jaffa’s caregiver, Sharon Hughes, is now taking steps to protect him from further snake bites which is good news. The last near-death episode has changed her attitude towards the dangers. On previous occasions Jaffa’s dealt with the bites without a great deal of trouble.

Summary of study

The ‘abstract’ (summary) of the above-mentioned study can be further summarised in plain language as follows:

“Cats are twice as likely to survive snakebite than dogs due to their lower vulnerability to procoagulant snake venoms. In vitro tests showed that all tested venoms acted faster on dog plasma than cat or human plasma. The naturally faster clotting blood of dogs also predisposes them to being more vulnerable to procoagulant snake venoms. Behavioural differences between cats and dogs also negatively affect prognosis in dogs. Therefore, dogs require earlier snakebite first-aid and antivenom to prevent the onset of lethal venom effects.”

Below are some more articles on snakes.

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Pallas’s cat lives at the highest point above sea level of all the cat species

On my estimation and based upon my knowledge of the wild cat species, Pallas’s cat (manual) lives at the highest point above sea level of all the cat species at about 17,000 feet on Mount Everest. Of course, they live elsewhere (see base of article) ๐Ÿ˜ƒ๐Ÿ˜Ž.

Pallas's cat discovered at 17,000 feet on Mount Everest
Pallas’s cat discovered at 17,000 feet on Mount Everest. Image by MikeB

This article doesn’t apply to all Pallas’s cats but it does apply to a group of Pallas’s cats living on Mount Everest at an elevation above sea level of 17,027 feet (5190 m). How do the experts know?

Dr. Tracie Seimon of Wildlife Conservation Society’s Zoological Health Programme, based at the Bronx Zoo, co-led an expedition of scientists who collected scat samples (faeces) at two locations 3.7 miles apart at the above-mentioned elevation above sea level and also at 5110 m above sea level (16,765 feet).

DNA analysis of the scat samples collected from the sites confirmed that a couple of Pallas’s cats lived at this elevation on Mount Everest and their territory overlapped with the red fox.

These cats were feeding on pika and mountain weasels. Specifically, they were living in the Sagarmatha National Park, which is a protected World Heritage site. I’m told that it is heavily visited.

The co-author of the report, Dr. Anton Seimon said: “This is a unique discovery not only in terms of science but also conservation as this population of Pallas’s cat is legally protected under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES)”.

According to WCS.org “[The discovery is the] result of the 2019 National Geographic and Rolex Perpetual Planet Everest Expedition, the most comprehensive single scientific expedition to the mountain in history.”

They hope that the discovery enlightens people as to the diversity of species at this World Heritage site.

Over 5,000 visitors enjoyed this national park in 2019 up from a few thousand in the 1970s. Until 2009 this small cat species with undetected in this area. That information implies that the Pallas’s cat has been there for a long time but simply unseen and undiscovered.

As mentioned, they found a couple of Pallas’s cats but there may be more and therefore further work is required to discover the population size. And they would like to know more about their population density, their home ranges and their full diet.

Map on Pallas’s cat distribution 2009

My thanks to Tamara Beinlich, a contributor, for finding this story.

Some more articles on this cat species

Please search using the search box at the top of the site. You are bound to find what you are looking for.

As exercise alleviates depression in people why do we allow indoor cats to be inactive all day?

You probably know this already. Exercise helps to alleviate depression. Going outside and walking within a natural landscape is also good to lift one’s mood. If you don’t know that already then you do now! And if you are cynical and don’t believe it, you haven’t got to go far online to confirm that what I’ve said is correct. You don’t even have to do that. Just go outside into the countryside and walk a little bit. When you return home, you’ll feel better.

A shot of endorphins helps me get through my day. What about domestic cats?
A shot of endorphins helps me get through my day. What about domestic cats? Infographic by MikeB.

Exercise releases feel-good chemicals

How does exercise help depression and anxiety? Well, it releases those feel-good endorphins which the experts sometimes refer to as “natural cannabis-like brain chemicals”. A more scientific name is ‘endogenous cannabinoids’. Our brains also release dopamine which achieves a similar effect.

Do cat’s brains release dopamine and endogenous cannabinoids? Apparently, the cannabinoid system modulates dopamine release. Interested? A little bit too scientific perhaps but it doesn’t matter because the message is simple: exercise releases feel-good chemicals into the brain. Walking within nature, say a forest, produces a similar effect. This is because humans should be connected to nature because we are species that come from nature.

Do cats’ brains release the same chemicals?

Do cats’ brains release the same sort of feel-good chemicals under the same circumstances? It’s funny because when you search for answers to that question, Google throws up answers to a similar but entirely different question namely whether the act of petting your cat releases feelgood chemicals into the brain of humans. For completeness, the act of petting your cat releases oxytocin which is called the cuddle chemical and makes you feel less stressed. But I don’t want to go down that path right now.

Feline inactivity leads to low mood

I want to know what’s happening inside the cat’s brain when they are exercising and the counterpoint to that is, what is happening to their brain when they are killing time snoozing for 15 hours or more a day. Do they get depressed or at least is their mood suppressed? Because I think it is.

I’m going to need some help because my extensive searches to find out whether cat brain chemistry includes endogenous cannabinoids have drawn a blank. Every time the answers focus on humans and how cats improve the brain chemistry of humans. Google is a very human-centric search engine.

And if I presume that there is nothing on this topic, a very important topic, I think that humans are being remiss. I did search Google Scholar and found nothing on there either.

Feline mood suppression is under the radar

But let’s, for the time being, presume that cats do feel better when they exercise and that their mood is depressed when they don’t (for long periods), it is another good reason to do more to energise and exercise a full-time indoor cat.

It is entirely plausible that millions of domestic cats suffer low mood because they are confined to the home and their owner doesn’t know about it. The problem is this: we get used to cats just lying around snoozing, doing their thing, being bored. We think it’s normal cat behaviour. I don’t think it is.

Take a small wild cat species such as the black-footed cat. This cat is about half the size of the domestic cat and yet it hunts all night catching prey every hour on the hour and can walk about 10 miles every night! The black-footed cat is happier than the average domestic cat!

And the ancestor to the domestic cat, the North African wildcat, is going to be far more active than the domestic cat because they have to hunt to eat to survive. Are we inadvertently lowering the mood of our cats across the planet in their tens of millions simply because we don’t exercise them enough which would mean playing with them a lot more.

Competing interests

Or – and this is provocative – allow them to go outside to hunt. That’s what makes them happy. We don’t want to do it because we get frightened about their safety and many people are conservationists at heart.

There are competing interests. However, at the end of the day we have a responsibility to our domestic cat companions to ensure that they are as happy as possible. I would recommend that the least people can do for their full-time indoor cat is to build a decent enclosure attached to the house or even a modest catio, something to allow them to experience the outside and become excited to release those endogenous cannabinoids which are so precious to happiness.

A cat’s journey from anxiety and fear to calm and happiness

Tender story of love restores badly burned feral kitten to health and happiness

Please search using the search box at the top of the site. You are bound to find what you are looking for.

5 barriers to domestic cat success (infographic)

This is a square infographic which illustrates five barriers to domestic cat success. As I state, this is not a criticism of cat domestication. It is realisation that barriers exist. We are two very different species with a lot in common despite the barriers. All five can result in problems in the human-to-cat relationship, the extent of which can lead to giving up a cat.

5 barriers to domestic cat success
5 barriers to domestic cat success. Infographic by MikeB. Click it to see it larger.

I’ll briefly expand on them:

Circadian Rhythms

We sometimes overlook this. Humans and cats are largely out of step on when we like to be most active or when we are habitually most active. I won’t mention the human circadian rhythm but domestic cats follow the activities of their wild ancestor which is active at day and night but importantly with a preference to be most active a dawn and dusk and often active throughout the night. Their eyesight is geared up for this.

This disconnect in circadian rhythms might be the biggest barrier of them all. It is intractable as this feline behavior is deeply embedded in their psyche. It is the cat which almost always has to adapt to the uncomfortable reality that their human caregiver is ‘out of it’ when they want them to be switched on.

There is many an argument online about letting cats come into the bedroom at night or locking them out. Each family has its own response. Jackson Galaxy and I say that they should be let in because the smelly bedroom is so attractive to the cat as a center of their home range. To deny them this pleasure is a little cruel to say the least.

Letting them in is a human compromise in the process of cat caregiving. How often do humans compromise sufficiently? Which brings me conveniently to the next barrier: claws.

Claws

Across the globe humans accept claws and occasionally get scratched but they learn to find ways to avoid an injury. Technically it is possible to have a lifetime of cat care without a single scratch. Humans can use their supposed superior intelligence to understand feline behavior and the behavior of their cat companion to avoid scratches while enjoying a close, supportive relationship.

Many cat owners don’t learn and are scratched. Or their kids are or perhaps grandma. Some people are genuinely scared of cats’ claws. These are the owners of the 20-25% of domestic cats in North America which care declawed. If there are about 90 million cats in homes across the USA there are about 20 million declawed cats. If each one suffered a week of pain that makes 383,000 years of pain suffered by America’s cats for this sole reason. And be shocked; in one study 66% of declaw ops are botched leaving bone fragments in the paw. Brutal. We should be horrified but in general we are not.

Some owners are equally frightened of a cat’s canine teeth which brings me to the next topic.

Teeth

Those long teeth that are so brilliantly designed through eons of natural selection evolution to kill prey animals such as rodents and birds also scare many humans including many cat owners. Some even have their cats de-toothed as a consequence as well as declawed.

The ever-present possibility of a cat bite in a moment of carelessness in human-to-cat interactions such as during play is another barrier to a success story for the domestic cat. It is overcome and it is a success story but there are many individual failures.

As for claws, it is entirely possible to avoid a cat bite for many years but even the most careful person can be a victim. The motivator for the cat might be innocent redirected aggression or because they were over-stimulated in play.

The caregiver just has to respect feline claws and teeth and modify their instinctive way of interacting to avoid scratches and bites.

Predator

The domestic cat is barely domesticated and the aforementioned claws and teeth are weapons which help them to be the top predator within its weight class. Humans live with top class predators and it can be uncomfortable.

The common complaint is bringing mice and birds into the home as cats bring their prey animal back to the natal nest. When the mouse is alive people like me have to save them which can be hard. This is a distinct inconvenience and a barrier to a successful relationship.

The ongoing and sometimes heated argument about keeping cats indoors is supported by the need to be protective of wildlife. There are many articles online about the number of wild species preyed upon by domestic cats. Sometimes numbers are exaggerated or they are based upon small studies and then the figure extrapolated. However you interpret them there is a problem which is why domestic cats are increasingly being kept indoors. It is not just to protect cats but to protect the wild animals upon which they prey.

Environment

I’m indirectly referring to the indoor/outdoor debate. Very few cat owners of full-time indoor cats ensure that the inside of their home has been modified sufficiently to mentally stimulate and challenge their cat companion. Which is why we often see comments about domestic cats sleeping for an exorbitant number of hours when in fact they are simply snoozing and killing time because there is nothing else to do.

Domestic cats are programmed to hunt. Nothing to hunt? They sleep. The few homes that I see in online photographs that are, to use the words of Jackson Galaxy, “catified” are brilliant. They are works of art. A lot of commitment went into them. And money. But they are rare.

A relatively cheap way to compromise on the environment issue is to build a catio at the back of the house. This almost certainly won’t need planning permission (at the front it will) and it will give a cat a better environment which will benefit their character as well and improve the relationship.

Below are some more articles on environment issues.

Please search using the search box at the top of the site. You are bound to find what you are looking for.

Traditional cat breeds. Discussion 2023.

Sometimes within the cat fancy there is an argument as to whether there is such a thing as a traditional cat breed. For instance, the contemporary, “foreign” (slender) looking Siamese is claimed by some breeders to be the original shape. In which case the modern version of this cat breed would be the same as the original cat and the traditional Siamese would be an aberration in the breeding program. Not so, say I ๐Ÿ˜ƒโœ”๏ธ. That’s my typically provocative viewpoint. I have decided on a definition of this category of cat breed (see below).

Traditional cat breeds
Traditional cat breeds. Infographic-style image by MikeB at PoC.

Traditional cat breeds?

Interesting to me, is the fact that a Google search does not produce any information about “traditional cat breeds”. There appears to be no official or formal definition. I will make one myself therefore as follows:

“A traditional cat breed is one which is a refinement of a naturally occurring cat breed through selective breeding and which is longstanding in the cat fancy”.

Abyssinian - modern versus early type
Abyssinian – modern versus early type. Top photo copyright Helmi Flick. Bottom image in the public domain.

Some breeds immediately come to mind such as the Abyssinian, the origin of which is dated around 1860. The Burmese another which goes back centuries. The Egyptian Mau is a third example. Of course, the Siamese and Persian are both traditional cat breeds. Both the Turkish Van and Turkish Angora have very long histories and they should be within this category. I will also include the Maine Coon and Siberian and in this longhaired bracket I would include the Norwegian Forest cat. I must not forget the British Shorthair, one of the original cat breeds of the cat fancy. These are just examples. There will be others but I’m trying to provide a feel for what I would regard as a traditional cat breed.

Please see a long list of traditional cat breeds below as per an association that was or still is concerned with their success. I must say though that I disagree with them quite strongly.

Three types of cat breed

In truth there are three types of cat breed; (1) the original cat, which at the time it was original was not in a strict sense a cat breed because it existed before cat breeds were thought of, (2) the traditional cat breed and (3) the contemporary cat breed. Complicated, isn’t it? I explain what I mean. These are my views; slightly controversial as usual but then again, this is a slightly controversial subject. People hold strong views on what the original cats looked like.

Firstly, it is worth mentioning that the creation of cat breeds usually takes place in one of three ways: (1) a deliberate creation through hybridization and/or selective breeding, (2) the selective breeding from a mutation (e.g. rex cats) and (3) the selective breeding from a well-established cat type that exists or was found in a certain region (e.g. Siamese, Korat, Russian Blue, Bahraini Dilmun, British Shorthair etc.).

My definition of traditional cat breed

The subject of traditional cat breeds is concerned with the 3rd type of breeding. Taking the Siamese as a classic case, this cat in its original state was and presumably still is a standard looking domestic cat with points in Thailand. Over many years, it was selectively bred to look like a modern fashion model…in human terms! This seems to have been the preferred look for breeders but not for the public in general and indeed not for some breeders. Whereas the breeders made the Siamese skinny and slender they decided to improve the Persian by breeding in the opposite direction; towards round and flat! In either direction they are called “extremes” – the natural desire to push the boundaries being demonstrated by cat breeders.

Traditional Cat Association

The Siamese cat breed now falls into at least two and I say three camps: modern, classic (Thai) and traditional. None of these are true and accurate replicas of the original Siamese cat because any sort of selective breeding (and all professional breeding is selective breeding) alters the appearance. Traditional Siamese cats are called Appleheads because the head is more rounded. They are championed by The Traditional Cat Association (TCA) run by Diana Fineran based in Washington as I understand it. Its head office was or is called “Battle Ground”1.

This informs us as to Diana’s approach to the fight to establish the true appearance of all cat breeds that have been over bred to the point where they have lost their true or near original appearance. Traditional cat breeds, though, are not quite the same as “original cat breeds” or a better description would be the original cat type. This is a fine point, I know. But as mentioned if a breeder takes an original cat from the streets of a country like Thailand (was Siam) and breeds from that cat it is bound to change even slightly. A breeder is not going to perpetuate the appearance of a household moggie cat from Thailand. They have to “improve” it, make the cat more marketable.

There is at least one possible exception that comes to mind. Breeders of the Chartreux vow to maintain the original appearance we are told. The Chartreux is a traditional cat breed and its raison d’etre is founded on that principle. It is said to be a “primitive” domestic cat – an exaggeration as it looks like a normal cat to me. TCA say there is a classic and traditional Chartreux. This undermines the concept of sticking to one cat type, the traditional, doesn’t it? I wish breeders would simplify things!

‘Refinement’

There are many people who find the more “refined” Siamese cats very beautiful and interesting. That applies toย any other breed that has undergone a similar process of breeding (the Korat or Balinese are lesser examples).ย  Others prefer the more traditional look. The Traditional Cat Association are said to fiercely guard the copyright to their breed standards, of which there are 301. There are therefore 30 traditional cat breeds by their standards.

I don’t understand, by the way, why the breed standards are guarded to this extent. They should be freely available to help promote the cause of the traditional cat breed, to spread the word. That said, I can’t see them on the TCA website! Perhaps Diana is being a bit to defensive, I don’t know for sure. She has probably been attacked too much by the breeders who champion the contemporary appearance. In any event she does good work and sets high standards. TCA for example provide a cattery inspection service for their members. The major cat associations don’t do this as far as I am aware. It is a fantastic idea and shows a high level of responsibility. I see this lacking in the main cat associations such as the CFA, TICA and GCCF who have a laissez-faire attitude to breeding standards.

Another big plus for TCA is that they promote health through the breeding of more traditional cats. Breeding to more extreme body shapes can lead to a less healthy cat. See for example: Siamese Cat Health Problems.

Traditional cat breeds recognised by TCA

The traditional cat breeds recognised by TCA as stated in their website are: Abyssinian, American Bobtail, American Curl, American Shorthair, American Wirehair, Traditional and Classic Australian Mist, “Authentic” Bengal, Bengalese, Birman, Bombay, Traditional British Shorthair and Longhair, Burmese, European Burmese, Chartreux, Exotic Shorthair, Egyptian Mau, Gao Taem, Havana Brown, Himalayan, Household Pet, Japanese Bobtail, Jungala (never heard of this breed), Khao Manee, Korat, LaPerm, Main Coon (I never knew that there was a traditional version of the LaPerm and Maine Coon), Colorpoint Manx, Manx, Nebelung, Ninlaret (never heard of this breed before now), Norwegian Forest Cat, Ocicat, Oriental Shorthair and Longhair, Persian, Peterbald, Pixie-Bob, Ragamuffin, Ragdoll, Cornish Rex, Devon Rex, Selkirk Rex, Russian Blue, Siamese, Balinese, Siberian Forest Cat, Savannah (this sounds strange to me as this is a modern breed and their has only ever been one type of Savannah cat), Scottish Fold, Singapura, Snowshoe, Somali, Sphynx, Tiffany/Chantilly, Tonkinese, Turkish Angora, Turkish Van….Phew that is a long list. You can read about them all on PoC starting on this page.

I am not sure that I agree on some of these cat breeds. I don’t believe that there is such a cat as the traditional Savannah cat breed. And the Siberian cat? Isn’t there just one type? Yes, there is only one type officially.

Evolution of Siamese

Let’s take some examples. I have covered the subject of the evolution of the Siamese cat extensively on this page: Siamese Cat History. Traditional Siamese have short thick velvet-like coats. “The traditional Siamese preserves the look of the first Siamese cats imported into the West….”1

The Korat is a cat that also originates in Asia, Thailand specifically, as does the Burmese too. Regular Korat breeders will claim that they stick to the cat’s original appearance but TCA thinks otherwise. TCA lists the traditional and classic Korat. It is a kind of gradation, much like the Siamese. The traditional Korat has a sturdier body shape, the classic is slenderer and the contemporary slenderer still.

Abyssinian

The traditional Abyssinian is an interesting case. The Abyssinians that I have seen at cat shows are not extreme. They are slender or of foreign body shape to use cat fancy language. In fact, that language tells us a bit of how breeders think. It seems that they consider foreign cats slenderer. Anyway, back to the traditional Abyssinian. The exact origins are unclear Diana Fiernan says the east coast of India. I discuss this here (new window). We do know from early pictures of the Abyssinian cat (see the photo collage heading this page) that the earlier cats from around the early 1900s were more cobby, more robust and less slender if you like. The traditional Abyssinian should not have a head that is too narrow or fined boned. The classic modern Abyssinian head can see in the cropped adjacent photo of Helmi Flick.

Breeders will consider that through selective breeding they have refined the breed. Refining it means making it more delicate and elegant looking. Also, during the long breeding process going back over 100 years now, cat associations have extended the range of allowable coat colours. The traditional is only accepted in two colours: Ruddy and Red1.

Another classic bit of selective breeding which has left a cat breed almost not looking like a cat at all is the Persian. This is perhaps the farthest a cat breed cat get from its roots! The traditional Persian however, is possibly the best-looking cat breed of them all other than the Australian Tiffanie but this is very subjective…

Conclusion

In conclusion then, in this discussion on traditional cat breeds, long standing de facto cat breeds that have originated in far flung foreign places have been refined and extended through selective breeding distancing the cat’s appearance from its original shape and colour and leaving the door open for people to desire a return to traditional cat breeds, a cat that is closer to the original household cat upon which the breed was founded.

Notes: 1. The Encyclopedia Of The Cat by Dr Bruce Fogle page 180 on traditional cat breeds, published by DK, ISBN 978 1 453 2149 5.

Please search using the search box at the top of the site. You are bound to find what you are looking for.

A cat for a small apartment? Discussion 2023.

by Marilyn Leisure (Ashland, Ohio USA)

I would like to adopt a teacup cat. I am a grandma, living alone in an apartment building for elderly. I would like to have a teacup cat to keep me company. I think this size cat would be perfect for me as I have a small apartment. Are these cats expensive? Is there a place that I could adopt one that would not charge a lot of money?

Marilyn

Small apartment living for a cat
Small apartment living for a cat. Image: MikeB

ANSWER: Hi Marilyn and thanks for asking… I’ll attempt to answer your question on the basis that you are looking for a cat for a small apartment (a wider subject). Note: this was written about 15 years ago. The page has been updated. It remains a very relevant topic perhaps more so today in 2023.

More about the caregiver than the cat

Having considered the question it is clear to me that the answer is more about the caregiver than the cat. How much time is dedicated to interactions and play and what is the quality of those interactions in stimulating the cat and making their lives as natural an enjoyable as possible? The smaller the environment, the harder it is to make it natural and acceptable to a domestic cat. But if the owner is there all the time, they can dedicate their time to cat caregiving.

I don’t believe that a person working full-time away from a small apartment from 8 am to 7 pm is suitable. Nowhere near. It would be very unfair on the cat to be stuck in a one bed apartment all day without companionship and no chance to act naturally. They’d just snooze all day but be stressed. The caregiver has to be retired in my view. It is about standards.

Miniature or teacup cats – USA

Teacup cat
Teacup cat by Pocket Kittys

Breeders of teacup cats are rare as far as I can see and they are more or less only available in the USA (someone will correct me on that, I am sure!). UPDATE 2023: Although in 2023 you will rarely find some small domestic cats available for adoption, Pocket Kittys which bred miniature cats is no longer functioning. The lady has retained her website to provide advice. There was a time, about 12 years ago when there was some interest in miniature, teacup cats, but it has faded probably because of potential health issues. The breeder said she stopped because she was disappointed with her clients.

Teacup Persian cat
Teacup Persian. Photo: Pocket Kittys.

Pocket sized cats are almost always Persian cats as it seems that a mutation occurred in purebred breeding of these cats that produced a smaller cat. These smaller cats have formed the foundation for teacup cats and the breeding of them is relatively recent (in contrast to the dog world where miniature dogs have been around for a long time)- hence their scarcity.

I feature a teacup cup breeder (Pocket Kittys) on the page where this article will be published so I would contact them first and ask. I really think that the lady who runs Pocket Kittys will provide you with good and realistic advice.

By my standards they are expensive. I think the prices are similar to those of high quality purebred cats in the USA meaning from say about $1000 upwards depending on the type of cat you are buying.

I am sure you have read the information on the Pocket Kitty’s website. There is a link at the top of the teacup cats page to this site. And she provides some useful warnings about dealing with people running scams asking for money to be sent through escrow services or Western union. Watch for those.

Small cat more suited to small apartment?

A question that interests me (and the reason why I changed the title – hope you don’t mind), is whether a small cat is any better than a normal sized cat in a small apartment.

I am not sure it is as it might be that the defining criterion is not size but levels of activity. What I am saying is that the most suitable type of cat for a small apartment (and therefore a full-time indoor cat) is a passive cat that is “part of the furniture” and which has low levels of inquisitiveness etc.

I really believe that if a cat is to be kept indoors in a small apartment it needs to be mentally adapted as well as possible to that type of lifestyle, which to be totally honest is unnatural. This is more important I feel than the size of the cat.

Traditional Persian Mueggelbergen’s Irfan, Shell Golden – photo by Dani

Such a cat is the Persian and they are cheaper and you are likely to be able to find one in a rescue center. If you go this route, I would adopt the traditional Persian as they are healthier and you clearly don’t want to go to a vet more than you have to (they can be a bit greedy).

In fact, you may be lucky and find a smaller than average Persian cat that is not a teacup cat but fits the bill.

So, in my view (and it is only my view) a small cat for a small apartment may not be the complete answer. Although I see the logic.

Other breeds and moggies

I have selected one breed, the Persian, as a possible full-time, indoor, apartment cat. There are other potential breeds such as the British Shorthair or American SH to name two. Also, there will be individual cats with a temperament more suited to small apartment living (see below).

British Shorthair - an indoor cat
British Shorthair – an indoor cat. This is blue Brit SH. Image: Pinterest.

Elderly cat suits elderly care caregiver

Bearing in mind that Marilyn is retired and probably elderly, it might make sense to adopt an elderly rescue cat. They are less active and less demanding in terms of the need to mentally stimulate. And there is a nice symmetry between elderly cat owners and elderly cats. It also means that the owner won’t die before the cat leaving the problem of rehoming which is problematic for the cat and executor to the will of the deceased.

Cat caregiving

Marilyn, the lady who asked the question about miniature cats is retired. She has lots of time to entertain her cat. That seems to me to be more important than anything else in making a success of a cat living in a small apartment. Plenty of play and human-to-cat interactions will lessen the problem of stimulating an apartment cat of whatever size,

I hope this helps. A cat can be a great companion to elderly people and the lifestyle of elderly people allows them the time to better care for their cat.

I am thinking of a cat rescue center in the UK who more or less insist on re-homing with older people. I made a page about Persian cat rescue in the USA, which may help.

From A Cat for a Small Apartment to Teacup Cats

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A Cat for a Small Apartment

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Dec 05, 2009
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Teacup Cats
by: Lisa James

Hello,

Michael is partially right. About the only people unscrupulously breeding such cats are unfortunately here in the US, where they can take cats that are smaller than the breed standard, & selectively breed them to other smaller cats, keeping only the smallest kittens. It’s not a question of a genetic mutation, it’s generations of breeding selecting only for size, often through inbreeding, which makes the genetics pretty sad, & the cats unhealthy anyway. Personally, I would avoid these scam artists like the plague.

If you are looking for a NATURALLY occurring small breed of cat, try looking into the Singapura. They are absolutely charming, & being shorthaired, they are easy care.

However, I will agree with Michael & say that it’s not really the size of the apartment that counts, it’s the personality & temperament of the particular cat. Go to your local shelters & look for an adult cat with a quiet, dignified persona, not a kitten to 3-year-old adult who will be pinging off the walls & destroying things because it doesn’t have enough space to run & romp. An older cat is going to be well past the kitten stage, & will be happy to curl up on the sofa or the bed, & wait for you to come home.

Ultimately though, you have to think about the living space in your apartment, & by small I’m presuming it’s a studio, because that’s the smallest sized apartment available. I lived in one with my husband until our 2 bedroom was finished & available before my now 19 yr old son was born, & we had an active & very energetic American Eskimo puppy in that studio! It depends on your activity level as well, & how much grooming you want or are able to do with your schedule whether a long-haired cat or a short haired cat will be the best match for you.


Dec 05, 2009
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Cats Character
by: Michael

Hi Finn… thanks for the point you make. I had not mentioned that. A Persian or British Shorthair are good breeds for the role but as you say within those breeds there will be individual cats who are more suited to apartment living.

So it seems the search should be within these breeds and then for a cat with a suitable character.

Often rescue centres know the character of their cats and cat direct people.

Of course, it must be said that there are many individual cats amongst mixed breed cats that are also more suited to this sort of life.


Dec 05, 2009
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It is temperament that matters
by: Finn Frode, Denmark

I agree with Michael – it is temperament that matters. The size of your cat does not have to be determined by the size of your living space, because most cat breeds are basicly within the same size frame – whereas e.g. dog breeds are ranging from “rat” to “pony”. ๐Ÿ˜‰
Instead you should look for a cat with a suitable temperament. Michael has already recommended the traditional Persian, which I too believe would be a good choice if you’re looking for a cute looking cat – and has the time for grooming it.
Another breed that comes to mind is British Shorthair. If you read what Wikipedia says on the Brit’s temperament, it seems the ideal cat for living in an appartment – and I don’t think that’s very much overstated.
But remember that the breed never guarantees a particular temperament – and even kittens from the same litter will differ a lot. Kittens are playful, so it’s not that easy to judge the temperament, but my advice is to look for one that really enjoys being cuddled – and maybe is a little less active than the others.
Or you could adopt a grown cat with a fully developed personality. Last year we found a wonderfull cat that way – affectionate and well behaved in all ways as described in ‘Don’t Forget the Elderly Shelter Cats’.


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Triclosan is harmful to cats although it is used in products for human use (2023)

Triclosan is an antibacterial and antifungal agent present in some consumer products such as: toothpaste, soap, detergent, toys, and surgical cleaning treatments. It is used in products for humans. This article was first published in 2012. It has been checked and updated. The information remains relevant more than 10 years later.

As an ingredient in household products for human use it is unsafe to have if you have pets particularly cats
As an ingredient in household products for human use it is unsafe to have if you have pets particularly cats. Image: MIkeB

But Triclosan is harmful to cats on my research. So, what exactly is it and where does it come from? Well, it is probably manufactured by a number of companies throughout the world but a search indicated that a high percentage are based in China. One company is from Tianjin Bailing Disinfectant Co.,Ltd. Another is from Jiangsu Equalchem Co.Ltd.

There are many others both inside and outside China. China is not known to be highly ethical in respect of their products. See for example Melamine in Cat Food. And on a different subject, Cat Meat Name and Shame.

Triclosan is an ingredient in soap for human use

Triclosan is a “potent wide spectrum antibacterial and antifungal agent”. It is an ingredient of antibacterial soap. The idea is that its presence in soap has an added benefit over ordinary soap in that some of this chemical stays on the hands after rinsing, which then kills bacteria. All well and good but the trouble is that this chemical (5-chloro-2-(2,4-dichlorophenoxy) phenol) has been linked to health issues in humans and as a consequence Triclosan may be harmful to cats as well.

Triclosan can be converted to dioxins (a known cancer producing chemical) on contact with free chlorine in tap water via an intermediary chemical called 2,4-dichlorophenol, as one example.

Health issues

An early study from 1996 found it to be okay, “triclosan is neither an acute oral toxicant nor that it acts as a carcinogen, mutagen, or teratogen”. A study dated 2018 titled: “Biomonitoring of bisphenol A, triclosan and perfluorooctanoic acid in hair samples of children and adults”, concluded: “Bisphenol A (BPA), triclosan (TCS) and perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) are endocrine disruptors linked with negative health effects such as developmental, reproductive and cardiovascular toxicity.”

Other studies have found that the chemical is passed in cat’s urine which indicates that it being ingested and has a high absorption potential. More tests were needed to establish how toxic it is over time when building up.

Studies have also concluded that Triclosan can act as an endocrine disruptor in the North American bullfrog. In other words, it can disrupt the production of hormones. Also, it is felt that its presence can contribute to creating drug-resistant bacteria. Apparently in humans this chemical has been linked to human health issues such as:

  • endocrine system abnormalities (mentioned above)
  • weakened immune system
  • birth defects
  • weight loss that is abnormal and
  • cell growth that is abnormal (src: http://www.drbenkim.com)

Transfer from human to cat

The major point is this; it is argued that ordinary soap does just as good a job in getting rid of bacteria. So, the inevitable conclusion is that Triclosan is, indeed, harmful to cats because cats will invariably lick our hands and other parts of us. If the chemical is still on us when we are licked then it will then be ingested and cause harm to our cat. I would stick to ordinary soap. Where health is concerned, we must “play safe”.

Banned

Benedette Cuffari, M.Sc. has reported the following: “United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) banned the incorporation of triclosan and 18 other antimicrobial chemicals from household soap products”. This currently stands as at 2023. But I suspect it is used in other countries and in other products which makes this page useful.

Note: there are many hidden chemical dangers to cats in the home in standard household products for human use. It is the chemicals industry. They have a poor reputation for using chemicals which are effective in achieving a stated goal but harmful to pets.

From Triclosan is Harmful to Cats to Cat Health Problems

Triclosan is Harmful to Cats — Sources:

  • http://www.drbenkim.com
  • About.com
  • Wikipedia
  • http://www.greendaily.com
  • http://www.tradekey.com

Turkey Stuffing Toxic To Cats

Is Paracetamol Toxic To Cats?

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