Hug Your Cat – And Live Longer

Researchers at the University of Minnesota found that people without felines were 30 to 40 percent more likely to die of cardiovascular disease than those without cats.    No protective effect of dogs as domestic pets was observed.

Over 4,000 people were surveyed about pet ownership and risk factors.  Dr. Adnan Qureshi, stroke expert at the University, said of the cat-dog differential, “We don’t understand this completely – it’s probably not a coincidence.”

I think we can help answer this phenomenon pretty easily.

Cats are creatures of peace and tranquility.  They sleep on average 16 hours a day, they are generally quiet and they purr.  They follow us around like we’re the pied piper, quietly observing us as we go about our daily activities.   They force us to stay on the couch a bit longer as they purr away on our laps.  Many have an uncanny sense of when we’re arriving back home, waiting in the window sill until we appear, then meowing and bumping up against our legs with a friendly hello.

Some are very conversational, wanting to tell us how their day went.  Their meows are generally very pleasant and sweet.  If they are hungry they tell us politely.   If they are sick, their observant humans will know by the change in their habits or behaviors, but not because they complain.

These are just some of the ways they affect our lives in a calming, positive way.

So……give your favorite feline a big hug and enjoy them every minute you can!  You may just add some years to your life in the process. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Daily Cat: Never Ask About a Lady’s Hair Color…You’ll Get a Lecture on Genetics

The tortoiseshell face.
The tortoiseshell face.

Are all calico and tortoiseshell cats female? Are 80% of orange cats male? Neither one! But the myths have a basis in fact and you’ve got to learn some complicated genetics to understand why it seems that way. Some coat colors are linked to X and Y chromosomes and some are just out there. Some actually cause a coat to be a certain color while others just influence the possibilities. Let’s take X and Y and male and female and black fur and orange fur and white fur, toss all the possibilities in the air and see what falls out. Cats basically have three coat colors, black, white and orange, or red as it’s known to breeders. They also have patterns, and some breeds have specific dilutions or combinations of these colors that may seem like brown or blue or even purple, but they are actually variations on these shades. We’re just talking about the distribution of the big three colors. Leaving white out of the mix for another day, coat colors orange and black are carried on the X chromosome. Because males are XY, only getting one X from their mom, they tend to be whatever color that X carries, orange or black, nice and simple. But females are XX and actually inherit, not only two options for coat color, but two actual coat colors. If both X chromosomes are black OR orange, she is either black or orange, but if one is black AND one is orange, she is BOTH, forming patches because each skin cell has a tendency for one color or the other! So to answer, first, the “80% of orange cats are male” theory, male cats have one chance at color because of their one X chromosome, while females get TWO chromosomes and BOTH have to be orange for her to be orange because if only one is orange she is calico, so it simply reduces the chances of her being orange. Now for the theory that “all calico or tortoiseshell cats are female”, it’s close to true but it’s not a hard and fast rule. For a cat to have two coat colors it needs to have two X chromosomes; males normally only have one, but they can, like humans, have the Klinefelter’s XXY and therefore have two coat colors, though they are sterile and may have related health problems. They can also have a “chimeric” coloration wherein two embryos of different coat color develop pressed together and impress their colors on each other, and orange cats will sometimes develop a black spot as humans develop birthmarks, thereby having three coat colors. These last two tri-color males are as fertile as any other, so don’t assume they don’t need to be neutered! None of these is common but can be found, and contrary to popular opinion, they are no more valuable than any other mixed-breed cat, but just as loving and worthy of a good home.