Are solid white cats rare?

When a dear friend decided it was time for 2 kittens she had her heart set on a solid black kitten, and a solid white kitten. She’d even picked out their names: Pyewacket and Carnac the Magnificent (trivia quiz, what movie and what TV show are those to names from?)

Our friend Angela Giannini who’s opening up her own cat shelter this Summer: Cats Valley in Redwood City, CA, knows a lot about cat colors and patterns from the perspective of a shelter’s director and told us that solid white kittens or cats are rather rare. This was news to us! Auntie Cat Faeries’ first cat was solid white female named Abra Cadabra. So we thought that our Feline Editor at Large should tell us if this is true and a bit about why it’s.

Our friend Jan didn’t get her solid white kitten, instead she adopted two solid black brothers, two mischief makers who got the names Pyewacket and Carnac. One day she hopes that a solid white kitten will join them whose name might end up being Endora! (More trivia, who would the kitten be named after?)

This month we feature tuxedo cats who are a mix of white with black, gray, or occasionally brown.


Newton’s Purrspective – White Cats

Cats come in a multitude of colors and patterns. So having a color preference is perfectly natural. Perhaps you want a cat that reminds you of one you had as a child. You may believe a certain color embodies all the qualities you are seeking in a feline companion. Or maybe you dream of two kittens, one black and one white, curled into a perfect Yin Yang symbol.




Isaac Newton

When you start your search keep in mind that some colors are far more common than others. For example, let’s say you have your heart set on a white kitten. Unfortunately, your quest may take a bit longer than expected. Only five percent of the general cat population is white (dominant white, not to be confused with albino, which is the absence of color). Feline genetics are complex and often unpredictable. Fun fact: The white allele is actually a mask that hides a black or red cat underneath!

Of these white cats, 15-40 percent will have at least one blue eye. Blue or bi-colored eyes are striking and can be an additional attraction that makes them even less available in shelters. However, in this case beauty does come with a price. 60-80 percent of these cats are born deaf. In odd eyed cats deafness may only be associated with the ear on the side of the blue eye. http://messybeast.com/whitecat.htm But if you have finally found your special white kitten do not let this deter you from adoption. A deaf cat can lead a normal happy life with a few precautions.

Of course, deaf cats must never be allowed outside. Also keep in mind that they can’t hear you or other animals approaching. Your primary communication with Kitty will be through sight and touch.

Another reason to keep white cats inside (even if they can hear) is their susceptibility to skin cancer. White cats lack pigment to protect them from damaging rays of the sun and squamous cell carcinoma may occur on ear tips, eyelids and the nose. Unfortunately, there is no feline sunscreen so the only prevention is avoidance. This skin cancer can be treated if caught early, but why take the chance? https://www.oncolink.org/frequently-asked-questions/cancers/vet/veterinary-oncology/treatment-and-prevention-of-skin-cancer-in-white-cats

Appearance may be the initial attraction when adopting a kitten, but personality is the key to success. Personality conflicts with people or other cats account for 25 percent of the return rate to shelters. http://news.berkeley.edu/2012/10/23/cat-color/ If your veterinarian says Kitty’s behavior is not due to a health issue please look at other options such as environment enrichment or Cat Faeries flower essences.

Some people choose kittens based on a belief that certain colors are associated with specific traits. Does this mean you should you judge a cat by its color? In most cases the answer is no. Unrealistic expectations are a setup for failure. There is no scientific evidence to link personality with color but folklore and cat food commercials will continue to perpetuate stereotypes.
 
 
 
 

All About 3-Legged Cats

One of our favorite customers, Kelleen (Kelly) has a feline-family of 4 “tripod” cats a clever name for cats who have only 3 legs. She was delighted to share their story and photos with our customers and readers. Here’s her story about her tripod cats!

Read more:



 
From Kelly: Elixir

 
 

Tripod cats have a special place in my heart, and a big place in our family. Between myself and my daughter, we now have four three-legged cats – as well as one four-legger!

In our minds and theirs, our tripods are just cats – active, curious, playful, and loving. Missing body parts or no, these resilient little beings are amazing, gorgeous animals, each with their own distinct personality, deserving of love and pleased to give it in return. They don’t have any pain related to their missing limbs, and are not bothered at all by their differences, still approaching everything with a cat’s “can-do” attitude.

Living with tripod cats is not much different from living with their 4-legged counterparts, except they are perhaps a bit noisier as they thump around the house and scrabble to climb things. There are a few factors to consider, though, when deciding to adopt one (or if your cat is injured and loses a limb). For example:

  • Litter boxes need to be larger because they can lose their balance and go outside the box – but at the same time, the sides can’t be too high because they need easier access.
  • It’s important not to overfeed tripods, as too much body weight will make it much more difficult for them to remain active and navigate their surroundings on 3 legs.
  • It is more difficult for three-leggers to run or climb to get away from predators, so it’s best for them to be indoor-only cats. I built a fully enclosed catio outside my back door so my four can spend time in the sun being cats – chasing snakes and voles, watching birds, climbing tree limbs, and relaxing in the grass – while they remain safe from our resident eagles, raccoons and neighborhood dogs.
  • Some toys are better – for example, all three of mine, who are each missing a rear leg, love the Kitty Kicker-style toys that they grab with their front legs and kick at with that extra-strong back leg of theirs. They love ground-level scurrying toys they can “catch and kill” also. Toys that dangle in the air are not so enjoyable because with only one rear leg tripods can’t stand up and swat or jump up to bat them out of the air.

Not all tripod cats are the same, of course, or have the same needs. Cats missing a front leg are sometimes more likely to hide or to use their teeth – just as cats who have been declawed may – because they feel they can’t protect themselves or communicate their displeasure with their claws. Cats missing rear legs have a harder time climbing, balancing on narrow walkways, and “landing” gracefully when they jump. There are also differences between those who lost limbs as adults and those who grew up already missing a limb. Our three who lost limbs as adults sometimes still try to jump/climb on things that they can’t handle because they seem to forget that the leg is missing!

The wonderful characters of our quartet of tripods and the enjoyment they have brought into our lives make it well worth the bit of extra thought and work involved in creating a fun, healthy, safe environment for them. They may be missing some parts, but they make our family whole!


Here is some background on our tripod family:

Our family’s very first cat was a tripod who lived in a home with too many animals that bullied and terrorized the little 3-legger who couldn’t get away or fend the others off from his food. My daughter, who has always had a soft spot for the underdog (or undercat, as it were), asked the family if she could have him, and brought him home so he would have a loving, quiet home where he would be protected and cherished. Although I had always been a “dog person” (who liked cats but had no particular interest in having one as a pet), I soon fell in love with little Prince Arcane and was on my way to becoming a “cat person” as well!


 
Arcane

 
 

Because Arcane was officially my daughter’s cat, I adopted a lovely little silver tuxedo girl of my own (who still has the use of all four of her legs), but Juju was not a very feline-social cat and wanted little to do with Arcane, who always wanted to play with her. I watched him trying to play, and her rebuffing him and simply removing herself to someplace he couldn’t get to, and I always felt badly for him. When I saw a feisty young male flame-point come in to the shelter who needed to have his back leg amputated (it had been broken in multiple places and the previous owners had tried to set the leg themselves instead of taking him to a veterinarian), I thought how perfect it would be for both of the tripod boys to have someone to play with, so Ozymandias joined our family. The two boys became fast friends and wrestling partners, thumping around the house after each other and taking each other down with WWE-like body slams.


 
Juju

 
 


 
Ozymandias

 
 

Since then, my daughter moved out with a roommate, taking Arcane with her. I knew Ozzie would drive Juju crazy chasing her around wanting to play, and wanted a playmate for him. Since I already had the house catified and the catio designed for the needs of 3-legged cats, it was a given that I might take in another tripod if the right one happened along. Coincidentally, a litter of 4-month-old kittens had been brought in from a local feral colony a couple of months before. The entire litter was ear-tipped and placed into the shelter’s barn cat program, but one was found to have an injured leg that would not heal and had to undergo amputation. Although she was still very skittish, she could not go to a barn home due to her missing leg, so one of our cattery volunteers, knowing my setup at home, suggested I meet her. Though my plan had been to get an adult male cat as a companion for Ozzie, I could not pass on little Alchemy once I met her. She came home with me, and after an extended introduction period she and Ozymandias are the playmates and bosom buddies I had hoped they would be!


 
Alchemy

 
 

My daughter noticed that Arcane seemed at a loss alone at their new home, and her roommate had always wanted a cat of his own, so when just a few months later another laid-back young black male cat had to undergo an amputation of a shattered rear leg, I immediately offered to help the kids adopt him. Elixir is now comfortably ensconced in his new home and gradually becoming friends and playmates with his “brother from another mother.”
 
 


 
Elixir

 
 

 

 

Giving Homeless Cats Jobs: City Rat Catcher!

Over 100 years ago many American cities and rural communities kept cats for rodent control. The cats had some sort of housing and usually a human caretaker who would let them out at night to prowl for their prey. This was a practice that went out of favor when the chemical companies upped their greedy game, saw major profits in poison, and began to push their agenda for toxic chemicals to control rodents, and sadly people fell for this ruse and seemingly easy way out, and stopped using cats. Must we tell you that poison kills more than rodents? It can wipe out an entire family of owls if they eat poisoned rodents (which tells us that owls and other wild life are also good for rodent control)

Fast forward to now. Rescue groups in various US cities have decided it’s high time to give homeless cats a job: Rat and Mouse Abatement! This is a win-win for all especially done in our more modern way with shelters being in charge which ensures that the cats are suited for the job, spayed/neutered, and well cared for. It sure beats euthanasia for the scores of homeless and feral cats! For sure we’ll see rodent populations go down as well as less poison in the environment!

Here’s how two cities are doing it:

In Washington, DC…

http://www.bizjournals.com/washington/news/2017/03/20/rodent-problems-d-c-rescue-group-will-give-you-a.html

http://www.humanerescuealliance.org/blog/posts/humane-rescue-alliance-announces-launch-of-blue-collar-cats-program

In San Francisco…

http://ecosalon.com/working-cats-rodent-control/

Here’s how Barn Buddies does it by providing cats for barns, stables, farm land, and rural businesses:

https://www.heartforanimals.org/barn-buddy-program.php3

 
 
 
 

Celebrate Japan’s Annual “Cat Day”

Yesterday February 22, 2016 the Japanese celebrated the 27th annual Cat Day, an informal holiday dedicated to cats, an animal they adore and are obsessed with! As much as we Americans love our cats the Japanese might be even more loopy for them than we are! We don’t have a cat holiday in the US, but they have one in Japan! Did you know that Japan has one of the highest number of cats per capita in the world? We’ve told you about the cat cafes in Japan, and about Cat Island Aoshima where thousands of well fed and cared for cats roam and the feline residents outnumber the human residents. People worldwide plan entire vacations around visiting the island to experience so many cats at one time and just hang out with them. And then there is the maneki-neko, the beckoning cat, a common Japanese talisman that is believed to bring good luck.

No wonder the nation that loves cats so much has a special holiday dedicated to them.

Cat Day in Japan is known alternatively as “Nyan Nyan Nyan Day”. “Nyan” is the Japanese equivalent of “meow”, the noise made by cats, and “ni” is the Japanese word for number two. February 22 (written 22/2) is pronounced “ni ni ni”, which apparently resembles “nyan nyan nyan” and is likely why they chose February 22 to become a cat holiday.

We did some research and found mention of the holiday in 1987, Japan Celebrates Annual Cat Day although Cat Day could have begun much earlier among cat fanciers. Throughout Japan special events are held at shops which cater to cats and their needs, cat cafes, and cat fancier clubs. And since the Japanese could have been responsible for the first cat video they are posting thousands of photos of their cats online to celebrate Cat Day. We found some of the best… including cat shaped donuts!

Aoshima Island cats…

From Happy “Nyan Nyan Nyan” Day on the Google Asia Pacific Blog – “First, we turn to Street View for a glimpse of the Station Master of Kichigahara Station in Okayama prefecture. It’s not uncommon in Japan for cats to be appointed as honorary Station Masters. Here our Street View camera caught Kotora (“small tiger”) taking a quick nap after a fierce morning of making sure the trains ran on time.”

At Tashirojima Island, another cat island in the Sendai Bay in Tohoku, tourists can stay in cat-themed cottages designed by famous manga artist Machiko Satonaka.

You can have cat-shaped doughnuts.

 
 
 

Sick Abandoned Kitten Becomes Big Handsome Fluff Ball!

See what happens to a kitten that was injured, abandoned and a mess… see what good food and love and care can do? The formerly skinny and sickly kitten is now a big fluff ball!

You can read more here…

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-3344557/Sick-scrawny-kitten-abandoned-road-rescued-Florida-family-remarkable-recovery-earns-online-fame.html

His Instagram page is here… https://www.instagram.com/sir_silas_kitty/

Silas was found by a Florida family by the side of the road. He was sick, starving and homeless. They nursed him back to health. Look at the handsome boy he became because of their love and care!

 
 

Cats Go Bionic with Prosthetics

Newton’s Purrspective – Bionic Cats

Although it was before my time, some of you humans may remember the $6 Million Dollar Man (Steve Austin) and the Bionic Woman (Jaime Sommers) on TV. Both these characters had serious injuries and science turned them into super heroes. In the real world, however, people who lose arms or legs may get prosthetics which, at most, restore their independence. Until recently cats have not been so lucky. If we lose one leg in an accident we can still get by quite well with three. The loss of two legs is much more challenging, but some cats do adapt to wheelchairs. http://www.lifewithcats.tv/tag/wheeled-cart/

Cats have a terrific sense of balance so kittens born without front or even back legs can adapt to the disability. But could their lives be improved by prosthetic limbs?

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/lifestyle/pets/11635624/How-an-adorable-bunny-cat-with-only-two-legs-became-an-Instagram-celebrity.html

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1GZw3nugUJU


Isaac Newton

Learning to use a prosthetic is not easy for a person, so imagine trying to explain to Kitty why you are strapping on a set of mechanical legs. When Oscar the cat lost both back feet in a 2009 farming accident his family feared there was no hope for him. Fortunately, a vet in England was willing to try a pioneering surgery. Oscar became famous as the first animal in the world to receive surgically implanted prosthetic feet. Titanium rods were inserted into his bones and are kept in place by the tissue growing around them. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NqUEraHGHvI The feet can be detached (they wear out since he is very active) and over the years have been modified to achieve more natural mobility. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LUhOKRKksCU

More recently a similar surgery was done on a cat in Iowa. Vincent, who was likely born without complete hind legs, was rescued by a shelter worker. Staff at Iowa State University Veterinary Hospital did implant surgery similar to Oscar’s. http://amestrib.com/news/cat-walking-prosthetic-legs-after-isu-veterinary-hospital-treatment Despite the risk of infection inherent in the surgery his prognosis is good.

The procedure is still uncommon, partially due to the cost. However, the success with animals is paving the way for US approval of bone anchored prosthetics for humans.

And this brings me back to the TV science fiction bionics. Did you know there was a bionic dog on the show? His experimental bionic surgery was the basis for using the techniques on Steve and Jaime! When Max becomes ill Jaime saves his life and adopts him. I love happy endings, don’t you?