Can Cats Smile?

Cheshire cat

Most of us remember the grinning Cheshire cat in Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland, but while some cats look like they are smiling, they don’t in fact smile to show they are happy. What does it mean when a cat looks like he or she is smiling and if they can’t smile, how do we … Read more

Socialisation Window For Kittens

Socialisation window of kittens

The early weeks of the kitten’s life are essential for them to learn about their environment, become socialised with people and learn species-specific behaviour. This socialisation window (also known as socialisation period) occurs between 2-7 weeks when the kitten is most receptive to a wide range of stimuli that can lay down the groundwork for how the kitten responds to people and situations for the rest of his or her life. During the socialisation period, the kitten should be exposed to situations which will be a part of their everyday life. This includes interactions with people, pets, veterinarians as well as environmental enrichment. Kittens who are socialised during this critical period have a better chance of growing up into well-adjusted adults.

Read more

Why Do Cats Have Elongated (Elliptical) Pupils?

Why do cats have elliptical (slit) pupils?

The pupils are the black hole in the centre of the eye, which dilate (widen) and constrict (narrow) to control the amount of light which hits the retina at the back of the eye. A study published by Science Advances explains why pupil shapes can range in shape from vertical, horizontal and circular and their ecological niche. The study looked at 214 species of land animal and three pupil shapes; vertical, horizontal and round.

Read more

All About Ginger Cats

All about ginger cats

Also known as orange, red and marmalade, the ginger coat colour is sex-linked, which means it occurs on the X chromosome and is symbolised by the letter O (for orange). O is dominant over non-orange (o), and O determines whether a cat will produce eumelanin or not (dominant epistasis). In cats with orange fur, pheomelanin (red pigment) completely replaces eumelanin (black pigment).

Read more

Why Are Cats Obligate Carnivores?

Cat eating meat

 

At a glance

Why are cats obligate carnivores?

Cats are unable to synthesise specific vitamins, amino acids and fatty acids and must obtain them in their pre-formed state from the meat and organs they consume, which makes the carnivore diet a biological necessity.

The cat’s body has evolved to catch, eat and digest meat with retractable claws, eyes in the front of the skull, shearing teeth and a short digestive tract.

Read more

Cat Lifespan – How Long Do Cats Live?

Cat lifespan, how long do cats live?

The average lifespan of a cat can range from 11 – 15 years, but many factors determine just how long a cat will live. One survey which followed 118,016 cats attending 90 practices in England found the average lifespan of a cat is 14 years. The most common causes of death in cats under five was trauma, followed by viral disease and respiratory disease and the most common cause of death in cats over five years was kidney disease.

Read more

Can Cats Eat Ice Cream?

Can cats eat ice cream?

As most pet owners know, there are many human foods which are potentially dangerous to cats. Does that include ice cream?

The answer depends, a lick or two of vanilla ice cream is not going to harm a cat. Other flavours have the potential to cause problems, especially ice cream which contains chocolate or raisins.

Read more

Cats and Laser Pointers: The Pros and Cons

Cats and laser pointers

Laser pointers are a popular addition to the feline home; the laser mimics an insect or animal on the move, which stimulates the cat’s predatory response to stalk and chase the target.

Cats in the wild spend a large chunk of their day hunting. Domestic cats have the luxury of food on call, but those wild instincts remain. Inactivity can lead to boredom and obesity, which is linked to many health risks. Interactive play is a great way to provide both physical exercise as well as mental stimulation for our cats. This is especially important for indoor-only cats.

Read more

International Homeless Animals Day

International Homeless Animals Day

August 17th is International Homeless animals day, which is held on the third Saturday of August. The day was founded by the International Society for Animal Rights (ISAR) to bring attention to the pet overpopulation epidemic.

Life on the streets is not kind; homeless animals risk disease, attacks, traffic and the elements. Animal shelters do what they can to shelter and find homes for unwanted and homeless animals, but there is never enough space. As a result, hundreds of thousands of healthy kittens, cats, puppies and dogs are euthanised every year.

Read more