Polydactyl Cats – Special Cats

polydactyl-catsNormally, a cat has got just 18 toes: 5 of them are on each of the front paw while 4 of them on each of their rear paw. Polydactyl cats are a special type of cats that have extra number of toes on one or more of the paws. This trait is a genetically influenced anomaly called polydactyly or hyperdactyly.

There are several other things that escape the eyes besides the added figure which make these cats special and certainly interesting. In this edition I ventured to research and compile a few things you didn’t know about Polydactyl cats. So, are you ready to learn? In 5, 4, 3, 2 …1

#1: Polydactyly/hyperdactyly is a dominant and harmless mutation

Besides giving you an extra job when trimming your cat’s nails, this condition is certainly harmless and it does not make your pet weak or disadvantaged in any way. As a matter of fact, most people often find polydactyl cats attractive as the extra paw often takes after a thumb and this makes them even more playful and interesting to play with.

This trait is also a dominant trait. Thus, if just one of the parents has this condition, then close to half of the offspring will have the trait. So, if you really want to have one in your home, you will only need to get one of the parents with hyperdactyly and give it a try.

#2: Maine Coon has the highest number of polydactyl cats

Polydactyly is a common trait in Coon with just about 2 in every 5 cats in Maine Coon having the trait. Some researchers have also linked Maine to have been the cradle origin of the trait in America. On a keen examination, this state often experiences adverse cold temperatures and snow in its northern interior annually. This extended paw makes it easy for the cats to glide through ice (much like a kitty-snowshoe). Once more, this condition becomes so advantageous again.

#3: What is the highest number of toes ever recorded for a cat?

A Canadian kitten by the name Jake is the Guinness World Record holder for having had 28 toes. It had 7 toes of every paw which were perfectly functional; each of them complete with a claw, pad and a bone structure. Do you have one with more than that? Why not share it with us?

#4: Did you know that Polydactyly was a sign of good luck too?

In the ancient times, cats with many paws were thought of by the sailors to be a sign of good luck. These pancake-footed cats were thought to possess an upper hand when hunting mice and the sailors claimed their feet were also adapted to swimming as they could easily balance through water. Thus they were more preferred and reared in most Western Europe regions where most of them survive even to date. Do you think they still are?

 

How Do Cats Show Affection?

Cats, just like other pet species have multiple unique ways of communicating with their owners. Since most people expect these adorable creatures to respond the same way as dogs, we often miss those precious moments which we could otherwise have spent playing and building a strong bond with our loving cats. Having recognized this fact, this post will highlight some of the most familiar ways your cats try to show affection.

Slow eye blinks

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Slow eye blinks are the equivalent of I love Yous

One special way your cat will reveal that he’s comfortable and relaxed with you is through blinking the eyes. Although most pet parents don’t understand this love sign, it’s one of the most common ways your cats show affection. You’ll notice that when your cat is close to you, it seems to close its eyes halfway while blinking slowly. Also known as cat kisses, this sign requires you to reciprocate so that you can build and strengthen your relationship with your cats.

Wagging the tail

Just like dogs, cats also show their affection through their tails. There are several signs cats try to convey their emotions using their tails. For instance, when your cat is tense or scared, it will puff out the fur on the tail. On the other hand, if he’s happy, relaxed and comfortable with your company, he will either flick the tip of his tail or wrap the entire tail around your arms or legs while standing or resting beside you. Most pet parents have revealed that this is one of the most inspiring ways that cats show how much they love and care for the people around them.

Exposing the tummy

Similar to the rest of the cat family, cats have a special way of revealing what’s in their minds. When a cat is cautious and uncertain, it tends to tuck his/her limbs under his body then wrap the tail all around the body. On the other hand, if you wish to know how much love your pet cat has for you, you’ll notice that he’ll willingly lie comfortably beside you while exposing his tummy. This sign is very rare because cats always stay ready for any uncertainties. Therefore, if your cat is willingly ready to expose his limbs and belly while relaxing right next to you, you should count yourself lucky, trusted and loved.

There are so many other ways that cats show affection to those pet parents they love. Some of the other ways we didn’t mention include: giving you love bites, grooming you, following you and cheek rubbing. Make sure you pay attention to your cats, so you can recognize and understand how much these pets love and care for you.

 

 

Does Your Cat Have a Sensitive Stomach?

There’s a fine line between being a picky little brat that has gotten used to being hand-fed by its owners and being a cat that can’t tolerate certain foods because of a sensitive stomach. For most people, the difference between the two is not easily noticeable, but there are certain behaviors that should make you ponder.

meow-i-was-sick-a-few-days-beforeLike people, cats can suffer from gastrointestinal and digestive disorders. If digestion or absorption of food is reduced or its passage through the digestive tract is altered, your feline friend is most probably suffering from a digestive disorder. They are quite common and most clear up within a few days. However some cats need long-term management due to regular or permanent digestive issues. Dehydration, malnutrition and acid-base and electrolyte imbalances are consequences that need to be dealt with efficiently, so it is essential that you recognize the signs and consult with your veterinarian.

Most often, the signs of these afflictions are soft stools and diarrhea, but you should also check for other possible symptoms such as vomiting, change in appetite, weight loss, abdominal pain, flatulence, diarrhea/constipation, regurgitation, blood or mucus in the feces or weakness.

It’s best not to delay diagnosis, because when a gastrointestinal disease becomes chronic it can be a debilitating problem for your cats and testing and a thorough diagnosis from the vet will be required. In simple cases of a sensitive stomach, the situation can easily improve by checking the source of the problem.meow-connection-hairballs.jpg


Spoiled or questionable food
could have provoked any of the aforementioned symptoms. Even hairballs are often at fault, in which case giving your cat a specialized “hairball formula” cat food is recommended.

Milk or dairy products can also be the cause of a sensitive stomach in your cat. While cats might be fond of the taste, you should remember that they often lack the ability to digest dairy products properly and they are often considered human foods that could be dangerous to animals.

Feeding your cat according to package directions might seem extreme to some, but it is ultimately a wise decision as eating too much can upset a cat’s digestion. You should also keep in mind that any change in nutrition can irritate your cat’s system.

Switching your cat’s food should be done slowly by gradually mixing greater and greater proportions of the new food with the old one.

Cats that eat fast also swallow a lot of air. By dividing big meals into smaller portions, fed throughout the day, you could easily solve this problem!

Lastly, always feed your cat a nutritious, high-quality food! It’s not just about the taste, it’s also the fact that food made with low-quality ingredients cannot be easily digested by cats.

Be mindful when dealing with these issues and remember to confirm with your vet whether it is a simple and easily treatable problem or a serious health issue!

 

When Do Cats Stop Growing?

Cats are adorable feline friends who keep us motivated and always happy at the comfort of our homes. One curious thing though about these pets is how they grow and the time they take to reach full maturity. According to research, most cats usually take an estimated 1 ½ to 2 years to fully reach maturity. Although this principle doesn’t occur to all cats, research reveals that a young kitten is considered to be fully mature at the age of one year. After your cat is one year old, their bones and sexual maturity continue growing for another eight months till the age of 18 months.

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The growth of a cat.

Similar to dogs, cats are categorized into different breeds such as Persian Cat, British Shorthair, Ragdoll and Maine Coon among others. Some breeds such as the Maine Coon have a very slow growth rate where it takes up to 4 years to fully mature. What’s even more interesting about this breed is that a fully grown adult resembles a kitten in appearance.

Cat Math

Cats mature pretty much slower than humans. A one year old cat is usually considered to be fully grown. When we relate this to humans, you’ll find out that a one year old cat is equivalent to a 21 year old human. How can you tell a cat’s age? According to experts, it’s relatively easy to guess the age of a cat. A young cat has floppy ears, quick minded, very playful, has a very sharp mew voice and it’s usually a messy eater.

The skin and bones

Paying our attention to body growth, cats usually take around 6 to 10 months to fully develop strong bones. After the 10 months, your cat starts adding on body mass as well as increase the fur. During the next four months, your cat will trail through sexual maturity period where they will fatten up. From 15 months to 3 years, a cat is considered to be a teenager and during this time, a male cat is ready to mate and produce kittens of its own. However, the time taken by your cats to fully reach maturity is relatively variable and depends on the breed.

Social maturity

One can easily predict when a cat is fully mature through social behaviors. When a kitten is about 8 months old, you’ll notice that she’s more playful, temperamental and very clingy due to hormonal changes. As she grows from 8 months to 2 years, her behavior changes where she becomes more relaxed, calmer and settled. During this time, your cat will develop social affection signs where she wants to spend more time with the owner.

Finally, when your cat approaches 10 years, she’s considered to be fully mature and elderly. During this time, a cat requires special care through feeding on a balanced diet, spending more time with them, helping them sharpen their memory and giving them more time to sleep and relax on their own. At this age, it is also recommended that you provide them with a joint health supplement, as cats are liable to joint issues just like us.

In fact, they actually tend to suffer more from joint pain and aches due to their frequent jumps and hard landings. My supplement of choice is Cosequin for Cats: a veterinary-approved supplement and is the only joint health supplement brand shown to be effective, safe, and bioavailable in published, controlled U.S. studies.

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What Do Cats Think About?

According to statistics, there are over 80 million cats residing in the U.S. alone. When we estimate the ratio of cats: dogs, you’ll be shocked to discover that there are at least 3 cats to every dog. Now, the most asked question about these feline companions is what they really think about when lying on the couch or when playing around our homes.

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According to studies, cats are quite different to dogs when it comes to their thinking. For instance, a dog will place you in a different bracket when it comes to social interaction. A dog will either view you as a friend or an enemy and this is reflected in the reaction you’ll receive on first sight. On the other hand, cats think differently. If a cat loves you/recognizes you as its owner, it will come close to you and show some signs similar to the ones we discussed in the previous post. If a cat doesn’t love or recognize you, it will react violently or run away.

With that in mind, this post will highlight some important lessons learned on what cats think about.

Cats view us as their parents

According to research, I’ve come to a conclusion that cats view humans as their parents. Take an example of small kittens. When hungry, they purr to notify their mother they’re hungry. When feeding, the kittens often push the mother’s belly (knead) in a rhythmic manner to get more milk. Relating this to big cats, you’ll notice that they usually purr and follow their parents/owners when hungry or when they need extra milk. Also, one sign a cat shows affection with is through lying down waiting for you to rub their belly.

Cats view us as their close companions

Cats feel more secure when spending time with you as compared to if it was with other cats. The only time these feline companions spend time with other cats in the wild is when they’re mating or fighting. Did you know that the main reason we take our cats to the vet is when they have wounds and bites sustained when fighting? Well, this clearly means that we should try and reciprocate the love these pets give us.

Finally, let me say that cats are adorable, loving and most of all, they’re very intelligent creatures. Cats living in an extended family are able to master every person’s behavior and know those people who love them and those who don’t. Similar to dogs, cats are trained what to do and what not to do. The best thing about them is that most of the signs they reveal to us are learned from their mother-kitten relationship making them adorable and intelligent felines.

 

Relocating With Your Cat

A psychologist once said it takes around six months for a human to adapt to a new home or to new surroundings. Although scientists specializing on animal behavior have different theories when it comes to cats, it is best to keep a few things in mind if you are planning to move to a new home with your furry friend!moving-with-a-cat

This can be a rather stressful process for your cat, so you should consider making this as easy a transition as you possibly can! Cats get very attached to their surroundings and it is often believed they can show more attention and interest in a certain place than its actual owners. Pay attention to what you do before, during and after moving out of your current home! Do not start packing up the entire house or move around the furniture with your cat parading underfoot! It is best you take your cat in a separate room while doing so, preferably with all its toys, bowls and other necessities. Place your cat in its carrier after you’ve finished packing and take it out only when you are ready to leave the premises for good. Leaving your cat waiting in the car or locked in an unknown space while you bring all your stuff out of the house is an unnecessary discomfort for your pet!

Providing an easy and comfortable trip is also important for your pet, so be careful when considering what your cat requires in order to “arrive in one piece”! Don’t leave your pet in a hot and enclosed space, do not transport your cat in a cargo space of a car or moving truck, provide proper meals and water and, if worse comes to worst, opt for taking your cat to the vet and have it sedated before embarking on this journey. And, if possible, try maintaining calm throughout the whole ordeal because it will offer a sense of security and stability for your cat.

Once arrived at your destination, do not expect your cat to be as happy and relieved as you might be. It is still very important for your pet to gradually get acquainted and used to its new surroundings. You can make this a whole lot easier for everybody by keeping your cat indoors for a few weeks, especially if it isn’t an outdoor pet. Try to maintain as many old habits as possible and offer an incentive by rubbing wall and furniture corners with a cloth that you previously rubbed your cat with; this will spread the cat’s scent throughout the house and make your pet comfortable faster. You might also consider spending more time with your cat until everything falls into place.

Relocating with your cat doesn’t have to be a stressful affair. As long as you show a little consideration for your cat and its needs, the entire process can run smoothly and you can enjoy the advantages of your new home and environment along with your beloved pet!

 

 

Top 10 Health Benefits of Having a Cat

While it is well known that dogs are loyal and affectionate and have been labelled “man’s best friend” for aeons, cats have suffered from a bad press. With a reputation for being aloof and distant, moving from owner to owner without any real loyalty, and doing nothing but scratching and hissing, cats really do suffer from a poor brand image. But as the thousands of cat lovers will testify, there are in fact, many positives about cat ownership. Here are just a few reasons for making a moggie part of your family:

  1. The popular saying laughter is the best medicine could have been written for cat owners. One of the biggest health benefits of allowing a cat to join your household is that you will never stop laughing – the popularity of cat videos on the internet and programs like Cats Make You LOL, are testament to this fact – cats are funny!
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Cats do make you LOL!

According to market research there are around two million different videos of cats posted on YouTube and each one gets an average of 12,000 views – that’s a grand total of nearly 25 billion views!  So what are the health benefits exactly? Well, having your own cat to laugh at on a daily basis can help to reduce the level of stress hormones in your body, increase the amount of immune cells and help your body to produce more infection-fighting antibodies.

 

  1. Cats bring you back down to earth. You might have had a great day and think you are a super important human being, with a vital job, which no-one else could possibly replace, the head of your own household, and someone who contributes a valuable role in society. But just one look from your cat will bring you right back down.

So what is the health benefit of this you might ask? Well, it’s about balance in life and reducing that feeling of burden and responsibility which we all carry around with us every day. One look from your cat and you are no longer a tense manager with the weight of the company on your shoulders, your only responsibility is to open the tin and feed the cat – you have no other role in life.

  1. Cat purring is actually beneficial for us physically according to medical research reports published recently. The research showed that the purring noise is therapeutically good for us and can benefit humans in a number of different ways, and it has even been proving that the sound of a cat purring near to us, can actually lead to improvements in several health conditions.

A cat purring within a range of 20-140 Hertz, will create therapeutic benefits for humans who are nearby. The sound has been connected with reducing stress symptoms, lowering the likelihood of a heart attack and even making bones stronger.

  1. Although part of the negative reaction to cats is often tied to people’s fear of having an allergy of them, the opposite can also be true, particularly for children. Being brought up with animals in the house, cats in particular, has been shown to reduce levels of allergies in babies.
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Having a cat actually reduces your child’s risk of having asthma. 

Studies have shown that if you are about to have a baby, having pets is actually beneficial for the baby, as being around the pets from an early age can trigger their immune system and prevent the allergies from developing in the first place. There is even evidence that living with cats can also prevent children from developing asthma.

 

  1. One of the key benefits of owning a pet is proven stress and anxiety reduction. Owning a pet gives you something to think about other than yourself, not to mention having a gorgeous furry cuddle monster to curl up with in the evenings, particularly if you live alone. Pets give us unconditional love, even allegedly aloof and distant-seeming cats.

Having a cat has been proven to release stress and anxiety as caring for something else takes your mind away from your own troubles and concerns. Not only that, but stroking and petting an animal is very calming and soothing for anyone.

  1. As well as reducing stress and anxiety levels, cat ownership has been shown to have a beneficial impact on people suffering from depression or from loneliness, perhaps following a bereavement or a life-changing situation such as a divorce or messy break-up. Cat ownership may not immediately spring to mind as a depression treatment but studies have proven otherwise.

Obviously cat care can’t actually cure a medical condition, but it can certainly help provide a different focus for sufferers, taking them out of their own head. Companionship can also help in the battle if the depression is caused by loneliness.


  1. People with autism suffer from difficulties communicating and bonding with others, particularly true of autistic children, but many studies have shown that another therapy area where cats have been proven to help youngsters on the autistic spectrum to learn to communicate and they have been seen to bond closely with pets including cats, when they struggle to bond with people.

children-cat-playing-photography-2__880There have been many cases of children benefiting from feline therapy, developing their communication through bonding with their cat. It has been shown in studies that children on the autism spectrum, who have pets, are far more social than those without, and talking about their pets also helps them to bond better with other people.

  1. Owning a cat can actually lower your blood pressure. Scientific experiments have shown that cat owners frequently have lower blood pressure than those who don’t own cats. It’s not clear why this is the case, other than that perhaps it is linked to the general calming impact and reduction of stress levels associated with cat ownership mentioned earlier.

A study was taken held in Russia years ago which proved in a rather bizarre way that cats can lower blood pressure. The study involved getting cat owners to listen to loud music and scream, and then the same thing was done with non-cat owners. The results were very different as the non-cat owners had very high blood pressure increases as a result.

  1. Health benefits are not just for individuals – our carbon footprint affects the health of everyone in the world and while we focus on things like cars and pollution, it is all too easy to ignore the carbon footprint caused by our pets. The meat eaten by dogs and the impact of their faeces on the environment is huge. Owning a cat can help us to reduce our pet carbon impact.

Cats do impact the environment in terms of the amount of birds they catch and kill and the meat which they eat, however, they have far less of an impact on the environment than dogs do.

  1. It has been proven that cat owners are less likely to visit doctors and hospitals, making fewer visits than non-cat owners. Again, it’s not clear why this should be the case, although perhaps all of the other health benefits added together, help lead to this final crucial positive reason to own a cat.
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A cat a day…

The same studies also revealed that nursing homes which used cats for patient therapy, managed to lower their medication bills than those which didn’t have cats. They also showed that cat ownership helped people to live longer.

So, from reducing stress to lowering blood pressure and helping people to recover from depression and loneliness, cat ownership has been proven to provide many and varied health benefits to humans, so perhaps it’s time to reconsider their reputation and go out there and embrace the positive benefits of becoming a cat parent.