Why Do Cats Flop Down In Front Of You?

Why do cats flop at our feet?

Why do cats flop down in front of you?

Flopping at your feet is an effective way to elicit attention from you. We have two choices, step over the cat or respond to the cute ball of fluff at our feet. For most people, the flop is guaranteed to make a person react with attention and by responding to the cat, we are rewarding it with positive reinforcement.

The belly is one of the most vulnerable parts of the body, and cats instinctively know this. Several critical organs (kidneys, liver, pancreas) are located in the belly, therefore cats will only show their belly to people they trust, or when they are being submissive towards another cat. The submissive and vulnerable cat will have his or her ears pulled back and the limbs raised in defence. This is very different from the flop at the feet of a human companion.

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Cauliflower Ear in Cats

Cauliflower ear in cat

What is cauliflower ear?

Also known as a perichondral hematoma,  cauliflower ear is an irreversible deformity caused by the formation of scar tissue and contraction of the perichondrium which occurs after a separation of the ear cartilage from the underlying connective tissue.

The pinna is the outer part of the ear which acts as a funnel to direct sound further into the ear and is made up of three layers:

  • Cartilage plate: The innermost layer of the pinna which provides the shape and rigidity. Unlike other tissues, the cartilage lacks the ability to heal itself when damaged.
  • Perichondrium: A protective layer of connective tissue which provides the blood supply and nutrients to the cartilage. The underlying cartilage and the overlying skin are both firmly attached to the perichondrium.
  • Skin: The outermost layer of skin which is covered with short hairs on the outside.

As the cat scratches the ear or shakes the head (head shaking is more common in floppy-eared dogs), the perichondrium separates from the cartilage which creates a space. The perichondrium blood vessels rupture and blood pools in the pocket-forming a hematoma. This build-up of blood between the perichondrium and cartilage can interrupt the blood and oxygen supply to the cartilage causing necrosis.

The distortion of the pinna, which becomes hard and cauliflower-shaped (hence the name) is thought to be due to a combination of factors which include myofibroblastic contraction of the maturing granulation tissue, excess cartilaginous tissue (preexisting and newly formed), and the separated perichondrium retracts and acts as a bow string, gradually folding back the cartilage.

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Tomcat Jowls in Male Cats

Tomcat jowls on an entire male cat

What are tomcat jowls?

Also known as stud jowls, stud cheeks or shields, tomcat jowls are fleshy areas which develop in the cheeks of intact male cats due to the effects of the hormone testosterone. Tomcat jowls send a signal to other intact males as well as fertile females of their physical status and protect vulnerable neck area during territorial fighting (hence the name shields).

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11 Cat Care Tips For First Time Cat Owners

Cat care tips for first time owners

Cat care tips for the first time owner

You’re ready to adopt your first cat, our cat care tips help first-time cat owners navigate the wonderful world of cats so that you and your cat get off on the best foot (and paw).

Cat care begins before the cat arrives home, research and preparation are both vital to ensure you know what to expect and the home is ready for the cat to move into.

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How To Safely Clean Litter Trays

How to safely clean litter trays

Litter tray maintenance is important to ensure it remains clean and appealing for the cat to use, but also because cat feces can carry a number of pathogens and parasites with the potential to infect humans.

As a rule, each home should have one litter tray per cat, plus one extra. So a home with two cats would have three litter trays. Too few, and the trays can become dirty too fast which can lead to litter tray refusal.

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Is Hand Sanitiser Toxic to Cats

Does hand sanitiser contain antifreeze?

The current covid-19 pandemic has highlighted the importance of handwashing and if that is not possible, hand sanitiser to reduce the transmission of pathogens. It hasn’t taken long for rumours to circulate social media that hand sanitiser contains antifreeze (ethylene glycol) which is a known toxin to cats. The original post has been shared 447,000 times before it was finally removed by Facebook or the original author.

Does hand sanitiser contain the same ingredient as antifreeze?

No, hand sanitiser does not contain ethylene glycol, the active ingredients are either ethyl alcohol (the same alcohol in alcoholic beverages) or isopropyl alcohol (surgical spirit). Alcohol solutions which contain 60% to 95% alcohol are most effective at killing pathogens.

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12 Common Cat Questions Answered

10 frequently asked questions about cats

Common cat questions

We have selected some of the most commonly asked questions about cats and their behaviour.

What is the biggest cat breed?

Tortoiseshell Maine coon

The largest cat domestic cat breed is the Maine Coon. Adult males can weigh as much as 11 kg or 24.2 pounds and can grow up to three feet in length. Female Maine Coons are generally smaller than males.

Maine Coons are a slow-growing breed and it can take up to four years for the Maine Coon to reach his or her full size.