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.

It’s All In a Name

meliodouble_largeYou know your cat is special and unique, and you also know just how important he or she is in your life.  Does your cat have a name that reflects this?  Then your cat’s name could be a winner!!!!

We want to hear the story behind your cat’s name and see your cat’s photo.  The cat with the winning entry will receive two Melia personalized ceramic cat bowls of their very own!

Click Here for Contest Rules and then Click Here to submit your entry!

Don’t delay– the deadline for entry submissions is March 31, 2009.

May the Best Cat Name win!

Shop MyThreeCats.com now

The Daily Cat: Playing Kitty Airplane

peaches-with-canA healthy cat will eat what you give her, a kitty who is a little under the weather may need some persuasion; we won’t be talking about those manipulative and overly dramatic “finicky” kitties here. We’re considering cats who are recovering from illness or injury or who are elderly, and for whom even eating is a little bit of a burden. She may seem hungry, even show up for mealtime, but take a sniff or even attempt to eat and walk away. Often illness, surgery, trauma or age reduce a cat’s appetite through weakness, stomach upset, loss of smell or loss of taste, and a cat in a slightly weakened condition may need some inspiration for the taste buds. First, wake her up at least 15 minutes before you want to feed her—a sleepy kitty in a weakened condition isn’t ready to eat as soon as she wakes up, so pet her and give her attention for a while until she seems entirely alert. Always use fresh food, usually canned, so its smell is the strongest, and you don’t need to resort to fish-based foods, often liver-based food is more appealing. Then tease her with the food—play “kitty airplane” the same way you would with a recalcitrant child, show her the can and her dish, open the can and let kitty sniff the food then put it aside, making a big show of getting her dish ready, putting the food in the dish, allowing her to smell it all the while, then finally present it. This little play helps to get her digestive system started and her body gives her the signal to eat, plus, she’s wondering what they heck you’re up to, and curiosity is a big stimulant for a cat. If she’s still reluctant, pick up a little in a spoon and offer it for her to lick off; a little at a time is sometimes just enough. Don’t leave her food out, but put it back in the can and keep it, offering it again a little later. It may mean wasting a few cans, but open a new can with every session. She’ll appreciate your efforts.

The Daily Cat: Fun 4 Hoomans of Kittehz

g-in-box: -? …then you’ve never visited “LOLcats” or “Stuff on My Cat”! Now that we can all take digital photos of our cats, what do we do with them? : -o Upload them to the internet where everyone can see! : -) And that’s not enough because we also have to add goofy captions, and then we spend a couple of hours browsing others’ creative output and laughing until our faces hurt, and our kitties either give us worried looks or leave the room in disgust. : -P Take a browse at http://www.stuffonmycat.com/ or http://icanhascheezburger.com/ where you can upload your photos and add a little caption, or leave it to others to caption—visit their “about us” or “faq” page to find out how to upload and caption. : -/ The two sites originated with dedicated cat people uploading their own silly photos with captions for friends to see, and that grew into interactive websites, way, way back in internet history. : -/ “LOLcats” in netspeak is “laughing out loud cats”; both sites have their own version of slang in addition to internet slang for captioning and blog comments. So CTO and soon you’ll be LOL, even ROTFLOL, but never experience a SOHF. ThxBi ; -)

The Daily Cat: Lady Fingers

Giuseppe Flexes his Toes

For cats, claws are more like fingers than fingernails because a cat can expose and retract her claws at will; she may not have opposable thumbs, but her little round paws are quite nimble when the claws are put to use. Sometimes she’ll use them to dig into a surface to hold on or to propel herself, not intending to claw the surface itself, as you would use your fingers to grab something if you slipped or were climbing. Cats actually use their claws like fingers in everyday activities, helping to dig around in the litterbox, grasping toys in play and in helping give themselves a deeper stretch or flex by holding on to a horizontal or vertical surface with their claws. Being able to use their claws in all these ways helps them to keep in shape as they flex each of their muscles every day as they bathe, walk around and play.