Library

Cats + Characteristics

  • How cats see color is a long-standing topic of research and the results are pretty amazing. While cats can’t appreciate all the colors that humans do, their world is not entirely black and white. In fact, cats live in a pretty colorful world.

  • Medical emergencies occur suddenly and without warning. It is important for all pet owners to have a basic understanding of common veterinary medical emergencies and basic first aid for their cat. The stress of an emergency involving a pet or owner can cause an otherwise friendly animal to act aggressively. Although most panicky animals respond to a calm, soothing voice and stroking of the head or shoulders, use caution when approaching or touching any injured animal.

  • With over 70 pure breeds and countless combinations of mixed breeds, there are lots of cats to choose from. That’s a good thing, because cats are the #1 pet in the United States. Of course, all cats consider themselves number one!

  • The tail is an important part of the feline anatomy and is actually an extension of the spine. The wagging tail is a communication tool in the feline world, so a cat that doesn’t wag his tail is an indication that something might be wrong. Common tail injuries in the cat include abrasions, lacerations, fractured tail, and nerve damage.

  • Despite the huge variety in coat color, there are only two basic pigments that determine the color of canines: eumelanin (black) and phaeomelanin (red). All different variations in color are created by these two pigments, which are both forms of melanin.

  • Inherited traits or disorders are passed down in an animal’s genetic code. This genetic code is found in the animal’s DNA. The DNA contains thousands of genes. A gene is a specific DNA sequence that leads to the expression of an inherited characteristic.

  • Each time that DNA is replicated, errors can be made. One base may be switched for another base, for example an A switched with a C. In more severe situations, an entire section of the genetic code can be deleted or moved to a different location. Depending on where in the DNA this mutation occurs, the effects of these mutations may vary from nonexistent to severe.

  • Deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) is a long molecule that contains an animal’s entire genetic code. Every cell in the body is created with identical strands of DNA. This DNA determines each cell’s structure and function, therefore determining the overall appearance, health, and actions of the entire animal.

  • Ownerless cats may look the same, but there is a difference between stray and feral cats. A feral cat is born and lives in the wild with little or no human contact. A stray cat is a domestic cat that has been abandoned or has “strayed” from home and become lost. A stray cat may be presently homeless but was once a pet that lived with humans.

  • Like us, cats are mammals that are covered with hair. But there are definite differences in the hair that covers our bodies. While we may have whiskers on our faces, they are nothing in comparison to kitty whiskers!

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