Domestic Cat

Description

Domestic cats come with multiple variations in coloring or markings, fur length, tail length, ear shapes and general body size. Persians and Turkish angoras, as well as Ragdolls and Himalayans, to name a few, sport long, silky fur coats. The Mexican Hairless is just that, with a downy fuzz in place of fur. The Scottish fold, a relatively new breed, has a gene mutation which causes its ears to fold forward giving the cats’ face a rounded, owl-like appearance. The Manx has a short bobbed tail, and Munchkins have short legs. The Maine Coon is the largest breed of domestic cat, holding the record for longest body length at almost 4’. (Source: WikipediaSmall breeds of cats may weigh as little as 4-5 pounds while the Maine Coon or Norwegian Forest cat may easily reach 20+ pounds.

A cat of mixed or indeterminate origin is called a “moggy” or “moggie.” They are the most common type of domesticated cats and come in all shapes, sizes and colors, both long and short hair. (Source: Cat World)

Habitat
Behavior
Diseases
Resources
Habitat

Cats live everywhere, and have in their way managed to adapt to basically any environment – though largely as a result of living with humans. (Source: BioExpedition)

Behavior

Cats can be extremely friendly companions. Kittens become social between the second and seventh week of life. During this time, social skills are developed. Kittens are curious creatures and treat many objects as toys. Supplying toys and climbing poles helps to keep them occupied while they are being slowly socialized. (Source: Wikipedia) If one reads available literature regarding cat behavior, the constant referral to aloofness and indifference is cited. The next statement seems to nail it: “Cat psychology is a surprisingly complex subject.” (Source: BioExpedition) 

Communication: Kittens need vocalization early on in order to develop communication properly. The change in intensity of vocalization will change depending on how loud their feedback is. Purring or a soft buzz, can mean the cat is content or possibly that they are sick. Meows are a frequently used greeting. Meows occur when a mother is interacting with her young. Hissing or spitting indicate the cat is angry or defensive. Yowls can mean that the cat is in distress or feeling aggressive. Chattering occurs when they are hunting or being restrained from hunting. (Source: Wikipedia)

Body postures (as with human “body language”), can be a silent means of communication. Much can be “said” with the tail, ears, head position and back posture—fear, contentment, anxiety, alertness and relaxation; possibly in conjunction with sounds or vocalizations.

DietCats are obligate carnivores, and cannot live without a steady supply of meat. They will also periodically consume grass or chew houseplants. A domesticated house cat will eat the food provided by their person, but their innate desire to hunt is not diminished. For all their charm and lovableness, cats are the number one decimator of the wild bird population and thought poorly of by wildlife protectors.

Diseases

Chlamydial conjunctivitis - an infection of the membrane around the eye . Most affected cats are less than a year old. If treating a cat with this condition frequent hand washing is necessary or the condition could be passed to humans.

Rabies

Ringworm

Intestinal parasites

Ear mites

Source: ASPCA ; Merck Manual/Veterinary Manual

Resources

Hotline Info

Advice

Pet Health Hazards - Your pet will eat anything!Dogs and cats will eat almost anything. Whether out of boredom, anxiety, or simple curiosity, pets often ingest objects that may be hazardous to their health, including non-food items such as objects and poisonous substances.

Here are some items that you should keep out of your pet's reach to keep them safe and healthy

Grapes and Raisins — Grapes and raisins (dried grapes) can cause kidney failure in dogs. The exact substance in grapes and raisins that causes the reaction has not been identified yet, so it is difficult to predict how many grapes or raisins will harm your pet.

Macadamia Nuts — Like grapes, what is toxic about macadamia nuts is unknown, but the nuts can cause neurologic signs in dogs such as tremors, weakness, and lack of coordination. The good news is that when pets receive prompt emergency care, which includes administration of IV fluids, the prognosis is excellent.

Chocolate — Chocolate in sufficient quantity is poisonous to cats and dogs. The main toxins in chocolate are caffeine and theobromine, both of which can cause cardiac arrhythmias and seizures. Treatment involves eliminating the toxin from the pet's body and providing treatment to stabilize the heartbeat and minimize seizures.

Garlic and Onions — Garlic and onions cause a pet’s red blood cells to burst, which can lead to anemia. When a pet eats garlic or onions, the pet may need supportive care, including a blood transfusion in some cases.

Pennies — If a pet swallows a penny, stomach acids start to digest the penny, releasing the zinc in the penny. When absorbed, zinc can be highly toxic. Often, the penny will stay in the stomach and must be removed by a veterinarian. Veterinarians can usually take it out with an endoscope to avoid surgery and then treat the pet for anemia, if necessary.

Lilies — For cats, lilies are highly toxic and life-threatening plants from their stems to their flowers. The toxins in lilies can cause kidney failure within 30 minutes to 48 hours of a cat swallowing part of a lily. Although there is no antidote, early supportive care — especially within six hours of ingestion — can help a pet recover.

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