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Cat's Health
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FAQs & Myths
Cat's Behavior

Cat Myths

All Calicos are female
Not true. While most calico cats are female, there is the occasional male. Fact is that the majority of those calico males are sterile, because the color is linked to the sex.
Calicos require two X chromosomes which means the cat is a female. On some rare occasions however, a male calico will be born. The cause is usually an extra chromosome; instead of him having XY, he has XXY. About 1 - 3000 calico cats turn out to be a male and out of those males only 1-10,000 are fertile.

All orange cats are male, right?
Not true. I am looking at 2 orange kittens: a male and a female right now.

The myth originates from the reason is that the orange male needs one copy of the O gene to produce an orange coat where the female requires the O to be on both chromosomes. If she has only one O she would turn out a Calico.

My female cat should have one litter before she is spayed
Not true. Research has proven that it is better to have a cat spayed or neutered before 6 months of age to prevent an unwanted pregnancy.

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Cats must be 6 months before they can be spayed/neutered
Not true. These days cats can now be safely spayed/neutered as young as 8 weeks of age.

Siamese cats are mean
Are all Siamese cats mean and feisty? No way! This myth actually originated from the movie “The Lady and the Tramp” where the Siamese cat is portrayed as a somewhat mean creature.

In real life however, temperament is the result of a mix of how the cat is raised, if she was raised with other cats or just with humans, how she was treated, what she has been through, if she has experienced any trauma, etc.. If a cat is brought up in a loving household chances are that she will grow up into well adjusted and loving cat. If this myth, that all Siamese cats are mean, had any truth to it, the Siamese cat breed would not be one of the world's most popular breeds on the planet.

You can't turn an outdoor cat into an indoor cat
Of course you can. I have done it numerous times. As long as they are entertained enough and don't get bored, it is not difficult at all.

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Indoor Cats are safe from Diseases and Parasites
Most of common infections are airborne and can be brought into your house by a wind gust through the open door or window, a guest's clothing or even yourself or your pet. The same way also works for parasites such as fleas and ticks. Always groom your pet before letting it inside and brush yourself and your clothing as well.

Momma Cats smother their Babies
This too is a myth. I have not found a single verified case of such incident, but there have incidences of a momma cat accidentally smothering babies while sleeping.

Cats hate Water
I believe that it is not the water that cats fear, but the noise it makes. Every single I have raised has enjoyed being bathed and purred up a storm afterwards. The trick lies in introducing the water to the kitten for the first time. If the first time is traumatic, and unfortunately this is the case most of the time, the cat will dislike the water.

Do Cats always land on their Feet?
No, they don't always fall on their feet. Sometimes they fall off a low lying place and the distance to the ground is too short for them make a turn in mid air. If the place is high enough, the cat will certainly turn so she will land with her feet first.
Having said that, please bear in mind that any cat will be seriously hurt and maybe even killed if she falls from a great height.

American veterinarians have a new term called the "high rise syndrome". Due to the rising human population high-rise buildings are erected and 3 stories and higher apartments are becoming more and more available, which results in more and more cats falling out of the window with horrible results.

There are window safety guards available for your windows. Please be a responsible cat owner and save yourself and your cat from such terrible accidents.

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Cats should not eat Fish
It is ok to give your cat a fishy treat once in a while. However, it should not become a regular part of their daily diet. Giving a cat too much fish can lead to something called the Yellow Fat Disease, which is caused by Vitamin E deficiency. Fish does not contain enough taurine, which is what cats depend on their diet.

Cats will not inbreed
Yes, they will. They do not have the same limits as their wild cousins. They will mate with any cat, including their siblings and parents. It is strongly suggested that you get all your cats spayed/neutered before the age of 6 months.

Every male cat sprays

No, not all males spray. Most male cats are much more likely to spray than neutered ones, which is another good reason to your cats fixed. Female cats can also spray but it is not as common as in male cats.

If your cat makes a mess on the carpet, rub her nose in it.
Not true. This will not only confuse your cat but also scare her off.
Possible causes are a) health problems - urinating is sometimes the only way for a cat to tell you that something is wrong with her, or b) the litter box is too dirty or your cat doesn't like hooded or open litter boxes or your cat disapproves of the location of the litter tray (might be too busy, too loud, too dark, too light, you name it! Cats are vulnerable while going potty, keep that in mind).

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Cats can have cow's milk
Wrong - Most cats and kittens are lactose intolerant. Feeding them milk will result in diarrhea which is especially dangerous to baby kittens that can dehydrate quickly and even die. Always use the commercial milk replacer. There is no valid reason for an adult cat to have to drink milk at all.

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Cat FAQs

Why your cat loves to wash your hair and face?
This behavior has roots in the kitten's first minutes of his precious little life, because the mother's tongue is the first thing it will experience. Cleaning and grooming each other is a sign of affection and love. So what is your cat telling you when he/she starts washing your face and/or hair? I love you and I care for you, that is the message.

Why do cats knead with their paws?
Watch a kitten nursing. The paws are kneading constantly to stimulate the mother's milk flow. After the kitten is weaned, the behavior turns into an expression of just feeling good and safe, as well as contentment.

My cat brings her kills home. That's just disgusting. What can I do???
Cats are born predators one of the best hunters on the planet. It is their ability to kill mice that brought cats and people together centuries ago.

Did you know that cats view people as parents or children that need help?? They actually feel compelled to bring us food! In hindsight, kitty is trying to do his share for the family. Cats also have a natural desire to store food for “rainy days”.

Other than keeping your cat indoors there is really not much you can do. Please do NOT put a bell on your cat’s collar! If you feed your cat in the kitchen, consider moving the food dish to another area so that the kitchen does not become the main drop off for dead mice.

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Will my cat get fat and lazy once fixed?
You are preventing your cat from contributing to the very serious over population of kittens and cats if get him or her spayed or neutered. Male cats are at risk to develop testicular cancer, abscesses that are caused by fighting, being hit by a car, or contract FIV (Feline Aids) & FeLV.

Female cats run a greater risk of breast cancer and can also develop infections of the uterus, and she can contract FIV & FeLV from an infected male as well or fall victim to a car accident. Females will often stop eating when they come into heat, which can happen a few times a year. Males will stray through the neighborhood looking for a female to mate with. A fixed cat will not gain weight as a result of the surgery, but he/she may lose weight because of the lack of food intake and increased straying.

By getting your cat fixed your cat is no longer on the never-ending search for a partner and can shift his/her attention towards you.

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Cat Facts

  • The nose of a cat is just like the human fingerprint.
  • There are more than 500 million domestic cats in the world, with 33 different breeds.
  • The American cat population reached nearly 68 million in 1996.
  • American Demographics magazine estimates that's about 200 million kitty yawns per hour and a whopping 425 million catnaps each day
  • A cat's heart beats twice as fast as a human heart, at 110 to 140 beats per minute.
  • The largest cat breed is the Ragdoll. Males can weigh between 12 and 20 pounds; females between 10 to 15 pounds.
  • The smallest cat breed is the Singapura. Males can weigh about 6 pounds and females about 4 pounds.
  • Calico cats are almost always female. Males occur about 1 in 3000.
  • A cat will kill its prey based on movement, but may not necessarily recognize that prey as food. Realizing that prey is food is a learned behavior.
  • If your cat is close to you and her tail is quivering, this is the greatest expression of love your cat can give you. If her tail starts thrashing, her mood has changed for the worse and it’s time to distance yourself from her.
  • Your cat wags her tail when she can’t make up her mind; she wants to do 2 things at the same time. Example: your cat wants to go outside, you open the door and it’s raining. Kitty’s tail starts wagging because she wants to go outside, but doesn't want to get wet. Once the decision is made kitty either goes back into the house or goes outside into the rain, the tail will stop wagging right away.
  • Do NOT pick a kitten or a cat up by the scruff of its neck; only mother cats can do this safely, and only with their kittens.
  • Cats knead with their paws when they're happy. It reminds them of their baby time when they were stimulating mom’s milk flow with the same behavior.
  • Your cat can feel your moods and will adjust accordingly.
  • One female cat could have more than 100 kittens in her lifetime.
  • 1952: Texas Tabby named Dusty set the record by having more than 420 kittens before having her last litter at age 18.
  • The largest known litter was that of a Persian in South Africa named Bluebell. She gave birth to 14 kittens in one litter! They all survived!
  • A single pair of cats and their kittens can produce as many as 420,000 kittens in 7 years.
  • More than 35,000 kittens are born in the U.S. each year. Spay or neuter your cat!
  • Cats have 290 bones and 517 muscles in their bodies.
  • A cat has five more vertebrae in her spinal column than her human does.
  • Sir Isaac Newton, discoverer of the principles of gravity, also invented the cat door.
  • A cat will almost never "meow" at another cat. This sound is reserved for humans.
  • If your cat is 3 years old, your cat is 21 in human years. If your cat is 8 years old, your cat is 40 in human years. If your cat is 14 years old, your cat is 70 in human years.
  • The average age for an indoor cat is 15 years, while the average age for an outdoor cat is only 3 to 5 years.
  • - The oldest cat on record was Puss, from England, who died in 1939 just one day after her 36th birthday. (We wish we could have them all that long!)
  • The weirdest cat on record was a female called Mincho who went up a tree in Argentina and didn't come down again until she died six years later. While treed, she managed to have three litters with equally ambitious dads.
  • A cat's normal body temperature is 101.5 degrees. This is slightly warmer than a humans.
  • People who own pets live longer, have less stress, and have fewer heart attacks.
  • Cats love to chew on grass, catnip, parsley or sage. Become a green thumb and plant an indoor garden for your cat! But be careful -- many plants are toxic to your cat!
  • There are two species of wild cats in African and Europe that still hunt. These two species both resemble the domestic tabbies.
  • The domestic cat is the only cat species able to hold its tail vertically while walking. All wild cats hold their tails horizontally or tucked between their legs while walking.
  • An average cat has 1-8 kittens per litter, and 2-3 litters per year.
  • - The behaviors shown by most house cats have a parallel in the wild.
  • The greatest number of mice killed by one cat? 28,899! Towser, a tortoise-shell tabby in charge of rodent control in Scotland, killed 28,899 mice in her 21 years. This is about four mice per day, every day, for 21 years. Towser died in 1987.
  • The first cat show was held in 1895 at Madison Square Garden in New York City, New York.
  • A falling cat will always right itself in a precise order. First the head will rotate, then the spine will twist and the rear legs will align, then the cat will arch its back to lessen the impact of the landing.
  • "Sociable" cats will follow you from room to room to monitor your activities throughout the day.
  • What kind of "mood" is kitty in? Her eyes, whiskers and ears will tell you. Learn to read the signs she gives you.
  • The most popular names for female cats in the U.S. are Missy, Misty, Muffin, Patches, Fluffy, Tabitha, Tigger, Pumpkin and Samantha.
  • Give your cat a quality scratching post to deter her from scratching your furniture. Still scratching? Try putting lemon scent or orange scent on the area. Cats hate these smells.
  • Try hanging an orange or lemon scented air freshener in the inner branches of your Christmas tree, if your cat is a seasonal "climber."
  • In English, cat is "cat." In French, cat is "Chat." In German, your cat is "katze." The Spanish word for cat is "gato," and the Italian word is "gatto." Japanese prefer "neko" and Arabic countries call a cat a "kitte."
  • Cats get their sense of security from your voice. Talk to your cats! And be mindful of your tone of voice. Cats know when you're yelling at them (though they may not care).
  • The more cats are spoken to, the more they will speak to you.
  • The richest cat in the Guinness Book of World Records is a pair of cats who inherited $415,000 in the early '60s. The richest single cat is a white alley cat who inherited $250,000. (Now that will buy a lot of catnip!)
  • The Giraffe, Camel and Cat are the only animals that walk by moving both their left feet, then both their right feet, when walking. This method of walking ensures speed, agility and silence.
  • It is believed that a white cat sitting on your doorstep just before your wedding is a sign of lasting happiness. White cats are a symbol of good luck in America, while black cats are a sign of bad luck.
  • Cats can see in color!
  • Cats are partially color blind. They have the equivalency of human red/green color blindness. (Reds appear green and greens appear red; or shades thereof.)
  • - Cats don't see "detail" very well. To them, their person may appear hazy when standing in front of them.
  • Cats need 1/6th the amount of light that humans do to see. Their night vision is amazing!
  • Cats can see up to 120 feet away. Their peripheral vision is about 285 degrees.
  • Cats eyes come in three shapes: round, slanted and almond.
  • The color of a kitten's eyes will change as it grows older.
  • At birth, kittens can't see or hear. Cats open their eyes after five days and begin to develop their eyesight and hearing at approximately 2 weeks. They begin to walk at 20 days.
  • Kittens begin dreaming at just over one week old.
  • A cat's ear pivots 180 degrees. They have 30 muscles in each ear, and use twelve or more muscles to control their ear movement.
  • A group of kittens is called a "kindle."
  • A group of grown cats is called a "clowder."
  • Cats rub up against other cats, and people, in an attempt to "mark" them with their scent glands. They most often use the scent glands between their eye and ear (near the temple area) or their scent glands near the base of their tail.
  • Have you ever tried to feed your cat food that was just taken out of the refrigerator? Most cats prefer their food at room temperature, and will boldly REFUSE any food that is too cold or too hot.
  • Many experts report that cats will purr when feeling any intense emotion (pleasure or pain).
  • Give your cat fresh water at least once a day. If your cat refuses your tap water, it may be sensing (with it's superior sense of smell) the chlorine or other minerals in your water. Many finicky felines demand bottled water, just like their human counterparts.
  • Don't put your cat on an all-vegetarian diet. Cats need protein to survive.
  • Never feed your cat dog food. Cats need five times more protein than dogs do.
  • If your cat misses one meal, a trip to the vet may be necessary.
  • Cats are the sleepiest of all mammals. They spend 16 hours of each day sleeping. With that in mind, a seven year old cat has only been awake for two years of its life!
  • Cats are more active during the evening hours.
  • Cats spend 30% of their waking hours grooming themselves.
  • 95% of all cat owners admit they talk to their cats.
  • Backward-pointing spikes on a cat's tongue aid in their grooming.
  • The average cat weighs 12 pounds.
  • If you can't feel your cat's ribs, she's too heavy.
  • If an overweight cat's "sides" stick out further than her whiskers, she will lose her sense of perception and stability. Don't be surprised if she starts to squeeze into an opening that the rest of her can't fit into, only to back herself back out quickly!
  • According to the Guiness Book of World Records, the heaviest cat on record was Himmy, an Australian cat, who weighed 46 pounds, 15.25 ounces in 1986. Himmy's waist was 33 inches! The previous record-holder had been Spice, a ginger-and-white tom cat from Connecticut, who weighed 43 pounds when he died in 1977.
  • The tiniest cat on record was Tinker Toy from Illinois. A male Himalayan-Persian, he weighed 1 pound, 8 ounces fully grown and was 7.25" long and 2.75" tall!
  • Your cat is probably either a "righty" or a "lefty." Only 40% of cats are ambidextrous while another 40% are either right-pawed or left-pawed.
  • Cats love high places. They share this love with leopards and jaguars, who sleep in trees. If a cat begins to fall, his inner ear canal (which controls balance) will help him right himself and land on his feet.
  • Domestic cats are essentially loners. When placed in a group, they develop their own hierarchy. As long as there is plenty of food on hand, a cat can learn to share it's domain with other cats.
  • Cats are more aggressive when they are not neutered or spayed.
  • 21% of U.S. households have at least one cat.
  • The number of pet-owning households is expected to grow nearly 12% between 1993 and 2000, and another 5% between 2000 and 2010.
  • 34% of cat-owning households have incomes of $60,000 or more.
  • 32% of those who own their own home, also own at least one cat.
  • "Pair bonds" can develop between two cats who live together, or between a cat and a person.
  • A cat that bites you after you have rubbed his stomach, is probably biting out of pleasure, not anger.
  • An adult cat has 32 teeth.
  • Never leave your cat in a vehicle alone. On summer days, temperatures in an automobile can reach 160 degrees in just minutes, even with the windows cracked.
  • "PSI trailings" attempt to explain a cat's ability to travel a long distance to return to their home. It is said they use the earth's gravity to determine "their place" in the world, and to develop the ability to return there when necessary.
  • According to myth, a cat sleeping with all four paws tucked under means cold weather is coming.
  • Each year Americans spend four billion dollars on cat food. That's one billion dollars more than they spend on baby food!
  • Expect to spend an average of $80 per year on vet bills, for the lifetime of each cat you own.
  • It costs $7000 to care for one household cat over its lifetime. This covers only the necessities; the pampered pet will carry a higher price.
  • In an average year, American cat owners spend $2.15 billion on cat food and $295 million on kitty litter.
  • There have been three different cats who have played the famed "Morris the Cat." The first Morris was adopted from a shelter in 1968. In 1969 he landed the role of Morris the Cat in the famous 9 Lives Cat Food commercials...and was an overnight success! The first Morris died in 1978 and was subsequently replaced by two more cats who played "Morris." All three of the "Morris the Cat" cats were rescued from shelters.
  • Choose your cat toys carefully. Choose light toys (for tossing), soft toys (for teeth and claws) and toys large enough that they can't be swallowed.
  • A flashlight makes a great cat toy! Turn the flashlight on in a dark room, and watch your feline "chase" the beam of light!
  • Cats love to hide! If yours comes up "missing," be sure to check in the bathtub, in your closet, in the dresser drawers, under a blanket or rug...or anywhere else you can possibly think of!
  • A collar and tag can help your cat find his way home should he ever be lost. Better yet -- outfit your cat with an electronic identification chip.
  • To make sure your cat's collar fits properly, make sure you can slip two fingers under the collar, between the collar and your cat's neck.
  • The easiest way to pick up cat hair? Spray an anti-static spray on the area you want to clean. Wait one minute, then wipe up the hair with a six inch brush.
  • Egyptians shaved their eyebrows as a sign of mourning when they lost a beloved cat.
  • Hebrew folklore believes that cats came about because Noah was afraid that rats might eat all the food on the ark. He prayed to God for help. God responded by making the lion sneeze a giant sneeze -- and out came a little cat!
  • Stings to the mouth can be very dangerous to cats. If your cat is stung, or ever experiences any type of sting to the mouth, take her to the vet immediately. As her mouth swells from the sting, she may be unable to breath. Stings require urgent medical care.
  • Redecorating your home? Let your cat explore after the decorating is done. Paints, wallpaper pastes and paint thinners can be toxic to cats. Play it safe!
  • Pet-proof your house by looking for items that may be dangerous to them. These include cleaners, antifreeze, automobile coolant, and rat poison.
  • The fumes from moth balls destroy a cat's liver cells. Use cedar in your closet instead.
  • Know which plants are poisonous to your cats, and which ones are safe.

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