Cytology in Cats

Cytology

Also known as cytopathology, cytology is a cost-effective and common diagnostic procedure in which the veterinarian or a specialised laboratory examines the structure and function of cells under a microscope. Cells are the smallest living entity and are found in all living organisms. They are made up of the cell membrane, cytoplasm and the nucleus, which contains the DNA. Animals and plants are made up of trillions of different types of cells which have diverse tasks, bacteria, some fungi and protozoa are single-celled organisms.

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Pros and Cons of Covered Litter Trays

Covered litter trays vs open litter trays

Covered litter trays have had a huge surge in popularity over the past two decades. These litter trays have a top and a bottom, with a hole or a flap in the entrance or in the top.

Pros of covered litter trays

Odour control

The closed-in design greatly reduces litter tray odours spreading throughout the home.

Less litter scatter

Some cats like to try to dig their way to China in the litter tray, the enclosed litter tray prevents cat litter being flicked out of the tray.

We don’t have to look at their waste

Let’s face it, nobody wants to look at clumps of feces and urine in the litter tray between scoops.

Prevents dogs accessing the litter

Some dogs will eat urine if they have easy access to the litter tray, not only is this revolting, but it can potentially spread disease.

Provides privacy

Some cats prefer the privacy that a covered litter tray offers.

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Can Cats Have Down Syndrome?

Can cats have down syndrome?

Can cats have down syndrome?

Cats can’t have down syndrome because they only have 19 pairs of chromosomes and down syndrome occurs on chromosome 21. Humans have 23 pairs of chromosomes, 22 are autosomes and the 23rd pair are the sex chromosomes. Cats have 19 pairs of chromosomes, 18 autosomes and the sex chromosome pair. The sex chromosomes determine gender, XX is female and XY is male.

What is down syndrome?

Also known as trisomy 21, down syndrome is a genetic condition which is caused by an extra or partial copy of chromosome 21. Chromosomes are threadlike structures which are located within the nucleus of every cell and contain deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA). DNA carries genetic instructions for the development, functioning, growth and reproduction.

Usually, there are two pairs of chromosomes, each parent contributes one chromosome in each pair. Trisomy is a genetic disorder in which the organism has three chromosomes instead of two which causes development delays and congenital defects.

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Are Orchids Toxic to Cats?

Are orchids toxic to cats?

Orchids (Orchidaceae) are a wide and diverse family of plants popular for their beautiful and often fragrant flowers. With 880 genera and 26,000 species, orchids are the second largest family of flowering plants after sunflowers.

Are orchids toxic to cats?

The ASPCA lists the Phalaenopsis, the most common species of orchid as non-toxic. Also known as moon or moth orchid, Phalaenopsis consists of 70 species.

Phalaenopsis have dark, wide, and flat leaves arranged opposite each other. The flower stem is long and arching and the long-lasting flowers come in shades of white, pink, red, green, yellow, orange, and purple.

Phalaenopsis or moth orchid
Phalaenopsis or moth orchid

Cypripedium spp. (lady slipper orchid) is a genus of 58 orchids which is labelled as toxic to humans, causing mild skin irritation. The toxic properties are unknown. The pouch-shaped petals set this orchid apart from other species.

Cypripedium (Lady's slipper orchid)
Cypripedium (Lady’s slipper orchid)

Unfortunately, there is no information on other genera of orchid and their toxicity to cats. As a precaution, we recommend sticking with Phalaenopsis species which come in a wide variety of colours to choose from including white, pink, salmon, purple in one colour or speckled.

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DNA Tests For Cats – What Can They Tell Us?

DNA tests for cats

What is a DNA test?

A DNA test is a test on the cat’s deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) which carries genetic instructions for the sex, development, growth and function of cats. In some cases, it can also trigger disease or congenital defects. DNA is found in the cells of all living things and is located within the nucleus of every cell.

Pet owners may choose a DNA test to determine a cat’s ancestry or more importantly, obtain information about a cat’s risk of disease.

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Cat Breeds from Asia

Siamese kitten

At a glance

  • Birman
  • Burmese
  • Dragon Li
  • Japanese Bobtail
  • Khao Manee
  • Konja
  • Korat
  • Persian
  • Siamese
  • Singapura
  • Suphalak
  • Turkish Angora
  • Turkish Van

About

Asia has provided us with an array of stunning cats which are often referred to under the umbrella of ‘oriental’ although this term is distinct to the oriental cat breed, which is essentially a Siamese type cat in non-pointed colours and did not originate from Asia.

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Why Do Cats Twitch in Their Sleep?

Why do cats twitch in their sleep?

Cats are experts when it comes to devoting more than 2/3rds of their day sleeping. But have you ever noticed that during sleep, cats will often twitch?

There are two basic sleep cycles, active or rapid eye movement (REM) sleep and non-rapid eye movement sleep, which has three stages.

  1. N1: This stage occurs right after the cat falls asleep and involves light sleep.
  2. N2: During the next stage, the muscles relax and the brain activity slows.
  3. N3: The third stage is deep sleep, at which point it may be hard to wake the cat.

REM sleep

The purpose of REM sleep is still not entirely understood, but it is thought to stimulate areas of the brain that are essential to learning and exercising important neural connections. Active (REM) sleep produces rapid movement of the eyes and the characteristic twitching of the limbs, toes, ears, whiskers and eyes (hence the name rapid eye movement). During REM sleep, the brain is almost as active as when the cat is awake, heart rate and blood pressure are increased. Cats spend approximately 24% of their sleep cycle in active sleep.

One study found that rats who were repeatedly deprived of REM sleep had a considerably shortened lifespan from 2-3 years to five weeks.

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