Do You Have a Healing Kitty in Your House?

by Alison W. – Certified Veterinary Technician

It was the final hot summer before the shelter in Florida closed. The adoption area was filled with adult cats and the unavailable kittens were in a separate building not open to the public. The one room building also housed the washers and dryers for the entire shelter. As you might imagine, the A/C couldn’t keep up. Two walls of cages were full. The remaining kittens lived in plastic carriers stacked on top of each other. Most of them just had numbers on their tags. They didn’t get names until they were moved to the adoption area. But one crate near the washers held a black and white kitten with a name – “Weety”. He was an owner surrender and had probably been named by a child in the family. Whenever I went to do laundry I looked for him and said “Hi Weety”.

Weety and me summer 2008


One day I went to check laundry and Weety was gone! There was only one possible reason. He was sick and had been transferred to the hospital area. The Green Room (named for the color of the walls) was even smaller than the holding area. Most kittens who were sent there had upper respiratory infections. They were treated with antibiotics and, if they survived, sent back to the holding area.

When I found him he was so dehydrated he didn’t have enough moisture in his body to sneeze. Luckily, the surgery/clinic area was closed that week. Normally sick animals were not allowed there. I gave him SQ fluids, canned food and a towel lined bed made from a plastic hospital basin. He was SO HAPPY to be in a clean, comfortable place. I’ve never seen a sick cat react with such intense affection. At the end of the week I took him home to finish antibiotics and make sure he didn’t have a relapse. Of course, by then I was totally in love so I formally adopted him.

Later that summer I had a respiratory infection myself. Whenever I was lying down Weety would sit on my chest and purr. (He still does this whenever I am sick.) I don’t think there is any more relaxing sound than a cat purr. But, it is a misconception that cats purr only when they are happy. They also purr when stressed (e.g. visiting the vet) and when they are sick. This is not surprising since the 26 Hertz range of a cat purr promotes tissue regeneration. It may even heal and strengthen bones.

Weety is very sensitive and always seems to know when I need some healing kitty energy. I like to think he is returning my earlier kindness to him.

He was my final rescue from Florida and has remained my designated Healing Kitty. He also does a great Cheshire Cat impression. =^..^=

August is Tuxedo cat month at Cat Faeries and smart cat Issac Newton wants to tell you about them

All dressed up with everywhere to go is the gorgeous tuxedo cat. Many of them have white spats, slippers, socks, or little shoes on their feet (even after Labor Day!). They have a wide variety of patterns on their bodies and faces, always with a lot of white with black, or gray, or other colors to create a very regal, elegant formal looking feline!

Some people feel their temperaments are particularly pleasing – would you agree?

We asked our good friend Sir Issac Newton, who’s one smart cat and always has a very unique purrrspective, to tell us about the origins of these delightfully marked cats.

Newton’s Purrspective – Cats in Formal Attire

Who are all these cats dressed in tuxedos and where are they going? They go everywhere, of course! “Tuxedo” describes a particular color pattern in a bi-colored cat that gives them the appearance of dressing for a black tie event. Although feline color genetics are sometimes a mystery we do know that the gene for white spotting is dominant. It masks the cat’s true color in the areas where white occurs. So a tuxedo cat has one gene for solid color and one gene for white spotting. If the white spotting gene wasn’t there the cat would be one solid color.

Isaac Newton

Traditionally, Tuxedos are mostly black with white trim on the face, chest and feet. But let’s not be stuffy! Some of us are fashion trend setters and wear grey or orange tuxes. Although it is not obvious in my photo, I have the white bib and feet, but I also have stripes. So I like to think of myself as the “cat in the pinstripe suit”.

Virtually any breed can wear a tuxedo since it is a color pattern, not a breed characteristic. Although there is no scientific evidence linking Tuxies with personality traits, I think they all know they possess a certain elegance.

People seem to agree. Some of the most famous cat characters are tuxedos. For example:

  1. Felix the cat (cartoon from the silent film era)
  2. Sylvester (Looney Tunes cartoon)
  3. The Magical Mr. Mistoffeles from the musical “Cats”

It is said that Shakespeare and Beethoven both had tuxedo cats – always dressed for the theater, no doubt.

Meet a cat who travels the world on a boat!

Ahoy mates! Have you ever dreamed about saying bye-bye to all that binds and holds us back and saying to hello to a life of total freedom and adventure? And with your cat?

What better way to continue the 4th of July celebration freedom than by meeting Matt and Jessica Johnson who quit their jobs, sold everything and in August of 2011 they set sail around the world. A year later they adopted a cat named Georgie who not only loves living on the boat, but loves a good swim! Inspiring story. Great photos!

A spraying cat: possible warning that another cat is sick.

Recently we heard from a long time customer who told us that one of her cats will spray urine when another furry family member is sick.

Changes in cat behavior around others’ illness have been reported in the press. This link is to an article that talks about how cats can behave when another is sick or dying, and how they sometimes behave quite differently when another cat has cancer.

Scientific studies have shown that dogs can detect cancer in people at very early stages using their sense of smell. They can also predict seizures and sense low blood pressure, vitally important for their diabetic human companions. Here’s a link to more information.

It can be quite interesting when a cat sprays or pees out of the box – sometimes it’s our first warning that another animal in the house is sick or is getting sick. It can also happen when an animal comes home from the vet, or crosses the bridge. They can sense it or smell it, and they’ll worry “I might be next!” so they’ll spray or pee out of fear or nerves. These cats are particularly sensitive, almost like those cancer smelling dogs we read about!

Convivial House Cat Spray and Feliway can really help steady the nerves of such a sensitive cat!

Why Male Calico and Tortie Cats Are So Rare

Recently we stumbled upon an article about an extremely rare male calico kitten up for adoption in Silicon Valley. Less than 0.1% of all calicos or torties are male. And, it’s likely this kitten, named Sherman, or any other male calico or tortie was born sterile.

‘Unicorn Cat’ Makes Its Way to Silicon Valley Animal Shelter

By Renee Schiavone (Patch Staff)

A very special kitten has found his way to a Silicon Valley animal shelter, and now representatives are hoping someone will be willing to give him a forever home.

Sherman is a male calico cat. Which is apparently really rare.

Dr. Andrea Berger, who is a veterinarian at the Humane Society Silicon Valley, says the chances of a calico cat being born male is less than 0.1%.

“It’s like a unicorn! I’ve been involved with shelters for 20 years and I have never seen one,” Berger said.

The four-month-old kitten recently arrived with the HSSV, as a transfer from one of their sister shelters, which was full.

“We work with shelters in the area to help alleviate the strain on resources when shelters are too full and when there’s an animal who needs a little extra help getting adopted,” a spokeswoman told Patch.

Anyone interested in adopting Sherman can stop by the Sunnyvale Neighborhood Adoption Center, inside Petco at 160 East El Camino Real. The adoption fee is $175.

By the way, shelter representatives say the little fur ball is very personable and friendly– and he’s a sucker for people and wand toys.

We asked guest writer and over all “one smart cat” Newton to give us the science behind the rarity of male torties and calicos. Here you go!

Newton’s Perspective: Calico Genetics

My namesake, Sir Isaac Newton, was a renowned physicist and mathematician. Although some credit him with inventing the cat flap to protect his experiments from light exposure (, I doubt that he actually knew much about cats. That’s not surprising since we are WAY more complicated than physics! Recently my insatiable cat curiosity led me to a book about a male calico cat titled “Cats are not Peas” – Well, that seems pretty obvious. I thought this was about genetics, not gardening. But what I read was far more complex than I imagined.

Have you ever met a male calico cat? If you said no I am not surprised. Less than one percent of all calico cats are male. But before I go any further, let’s define calico. Calico is a color pattern. When I think “calico” I see a cat that is predominantly white with patches of orange and black. However, this is only one variation. The key is having both orange (or beige) and black (or grey) colors.

The genetic code for black and orange colors is located on the X chromosome. Females have two X’s (XX), while males have an X and a Y (XY). If a female kitten gets both an orange and a black X then she will be calico XoXb. A male kitten from the same litter would get either an orange or a black X with the following results.

The only way for a male to have both orange and black colors is through a genetic mishap that gives him three chromosomes XoXb Y instead of two XoY or Xb Y. This is called Klinefelter Syndrome in humans and generally results in feminization and sterility.

So now you know why male calico cats are so rare. But I’m sure you’ll agree, all cats are special, no matter what color they might be.

Meet a Roman Cat!

Mimi sent us this picture of Aka…

“This is Aka, my beautiful almost 15 year old Roman cat. She is the Queen of Piazza Mazzini here in Rome, which she watches over from our 5th floor balcony. She is on her window perch; outside the window in the background you can see the top of St. Peter’s dome. She is quite a lady and doesn’t have a wrinkle on her. She loves relaxing on her favorite armchair or gazing out the window, looking at the streets of Rome. We met when she was 5 days old and left her mom to waddle over to my hand. 2 months later she moved in with us. She’s my gattissima bellissima!!!”

We wrote her…

“We are located in San Francisco and there is an organization here called Friends of Roman Cats – they raise money for Italian cat shelters and rescue! One of the groups is called Torre Argentina. They have an annual fund raiser here which we’ve donated to in the past.”

“I’ve had many interactions with Italian cats! My favorite, the funniest: I was in Verona (one of my favorite places) and walked past an alley. There were a lot of street cats eating. I looked up and sitting in a window about 4 floors up was a woman, something right out of Fellini… Harsh looking face with garish makeup, buxom figure, sleeveless dress with bra straps hanging down, a cigarette dangling from her lips, throwing pieces of fish out of her window the cats below. I watched for awhile. Then she saw me and threw fish at me and yelled something in Italian at me. Pretty funny! I once helped the old ladies feed the cats who live on the grounds of a museum in Milano.”

“Thank you so much, it gave me a few minutes to think of the cats I saw and met in Italy!”

Mimi wrote back…

“Thanks so much for the interesting information on the “Friends of Roman Cats”. Everyone here knows the cats of Torre Argentina. They are very famous and inhabit some very important architectural digs. In fact they have recently “discovered” or “uncovered” the exact location where Julius Caesar was assassinated there. I work near an area that is a crossroads between the Aventine hill, Testaccio and the Pyramid and there is a colony of cats there too. In fact many cats (lovely black ones) live in the garden/parking lot of the pool/Gym where I work. They are well cared for by the volunteers from the Piramide cat colony.”

If you ever come to Rome, I’ll take you to visit the Piramide cat colony!!! I’ll look forward to seeing Aka in an upcoming newsletter.

Thanks and baci.