The Nose Knows

Most people are familiar with drug or bomb sniffing dogs as well as dogs that can detect cancers in people. Generally when it comes to scent detection it seems that dogs have the market cornered. New research recently published by the Journal of Applied Animal Behavior Science explains that our feline companions abilities are nothing to sniff at and, they may be just as helpful as dogs or better at disease detection in humans and search and rescue.

The average cat has about 200 million scent receptors while most dog breeds have much less. The exception is the Bloodhound which has been bred specifically to have a powerful senses of smell and comes in at about 300 million scent receptors or, the Beagle and the German Shepard which have about 225 million. Our four-legged friends sense of smell is very impressive when you compare it to humans who only have about 5 million olfactory cells.

cats sense of smell, science, Jacobsons organ, Vomeronasal organ, Flehmen, cats helping people, cats detecting cancer in humans,

Cats are discriminating super sniffers using their sense of smell to communicate and also mark territory – Image – AllCat.net

So who has a better sense of smell? The ‘dogs’ vs ‘cats’ debate will likely continue, but it is generally acknowledged by researchers that cats will win out in the best sense of smell category. What makes cats good candidates and better than dogs for helping to sniff out disease or find missing people? Simply, the nose knows how to better discriminate between smells.

cats sense of smell, science, Jacobsons organ, Vomeronasal organ, Flehmen, cats helping people,

When a cat grimaces or shows the ‘Flehmen’ response they  are taking in and analyzing scents via the vomeronasal organ. Image – Maxhouse.com

Out of the three families of receptor proteins in a cats vomeronasal or Jacobson organ only one has been studied. They are known as V1Rs, and it is believed that the “number of V1R receptor gene variants is correlated with the ability to discriminate between chemical stimuli. Research shows that tigers have 21 gene variants and domestic cats have 30, compared to the 9 functioning V1Rs that dogs have, which would indicate that some felids are able to discriminate between a great variety of chemical stimuli.” Additional research will be required on the V1Rs, and eventually the other receptor proteins V2Rs and FPRs, to find out the extent to which cats can discriminate between scents.

The basis of these finding could mean there is great potential for cats to be used in scent based working roles where dogs may not be ideal either due to size or environment. It would also benefit cats directly by providing humans with a better understanding of how to improve their welfare or implement better enrichment for them at home or in animal shelters.

cats nose, cats sense of smell, science, Jacobsons organ, Vomeronasal organ, Flehmen, cats helping people, cats detecting cancer in humans,

 Feliway™ the first synthetically produced pheromone used to help calm and reduce anxiety in cats comes in a spray or diffuser form. It is one way scent is already helping cats. Image – Daily Mail

There have already been a number of documented cases of cats detecting cancer in their owners and also sniffing it out in other animals. I had this experience with one of my own cats when one suddenly started sniffing around the bottom of our other cat who was diagnosed with a tumor in his colon a week later.

cats nose, cats sense of smell, science, Jacobsons organ, Vomeronasal organ, Flehmen, cats helping people, cats detecting cancer in humans,

Researchers say that these abilities are underused in cats but they may be better alternatives for medical scent detection or olfactory assistance animals for patients who are uncomfortable with dogs or rats. However, anyone who is owned by a cat knows, that just like dogs, they each have individual personalities which means that not all of them will be gifted with the abilities or desire to do search and sniff work. This leaves us with a final question that is probably on the minds of many as they read this. Can cats be trained? The answer is yes, but it will take patience, positive reinforcement and some really enticing food rewards.

Retirement Home For Cats

It’s an all to familiar sight, an elderly person passes away or is sent to a residential care facility and no one is willing to take on the responsibility of caring for their cat. In the case of senior cats it’s not an ideal situation to have them enter the shelter system, but what if there was an alternative that, with a little planning could give someones beloved cat a place to retire?

If you live in the UK the Lincolnshire Trust for Cats provides just that, an ideal place for kitty to retire and live out the rest of their lives with all the love, comfort and care they will need.

Cats. Retirement home for cats, Estate Planning, Plan for pets after you die, UK, Lincolnshire Trust for Cats, Taking care of your cat when you can't, village of Osgodby, Cats are family, Ensure cats are cared for after you die

All Images from Lincolnshire Trust for Cats unless otherwise stated

The retirement home is set in seven acres and is south-facing, which gives the residents lots of opportunity to sunbathe. The accommodation comprises, three centrally heated sitting rooms, enclosed outdoor areas…and several insulated houses for the less social cat.The cats are fed a top quality food and individual diets are catered for.

Cats. Retirement home for cats, Estate Planning, Plan for pets after you die, UK, Lincolnshire Trust for Cats, Taking care of your cat when you can't, village of Osgodby, Cats are family, Ensure cats are cared for after you die

“I don’t think anywhere else does it because people come all the way from London with the cats to come here” – BBC News

The Trust is connected to a feline rescue which houses 400 cats 80 of which are in the special “Retirement” facility. Cats have round the clock care and founder Jain Hills tells the BBC News that she believes the retirement home is “unique” in the fact that no other charities seem to be doing it on the scale that they are. Besides providing a home for your cat it gives owners something that is priceless – piece of mind.

Cats. Retirement home for cats, Estate Planning, Plan for pets after you die, UK, Lincolnshire Trust for Cats, Taking care of your cat when you can't, village of Osgodby, Cats are family, Ensure cats are cared for after you die

All the cats get lots of attention from staff and a cozy fire-place.

There is a one time booking fee of eight hundred and fifty pounds, and the Trust then will take on any and all future costs for treatment/surgery that the cat may need. Since they are a charity they rely solely on monetary donations or money raised through their charity shop, in order to keep providing this amazing service.

Hopefully most of us won’t have to think about a retirement plan for our cats, but if we do it’s good to know that places like this exist and that our feline family members have the option of living out their golden years having their every whim catered to.

Looking for more info on retirement placements for your cat?

The Zimmer Feline Foundation provides tips on estate planning and helping choose the right place for your cat and, If you live in the US or Canada The Sunshine Home offers both temporary and permanent long-term care to clients from all over North America, while F.A.T. Cat Haven located in California offers both a retirement home and adoption center for cats.

 

Sign Language For Cats

Cats have pretty much mastered communication, especially when it comes to getting what they want from their humans. They are also highly adaptable and can easily learn to communicate in other ways when a situation calls for it or, when one of their senses is missing.

Kim Silva, a retired teacher for the American School for the deaf, started to teach her cats sign language after deciding she would adopt a deaf cat.

 Cats, Cat Sign Language, Animal Sign Language, Cats Know Sign Language, Cat Sign Language Video, Deaf Cats, Kim Desilva, Training a Cat, Special Needs Animals, Special Needs Pets, Special Needs Pet Adoption, Sign Language for Animals

Bambi, adopted by Kim Silva, was taught Sign Language – Image Huffington Post

Kim and her husband, who are both deaf, were ready to bring a new cat into the family when they spotted Bambi on PetFinder. In preparation Kim began teaching signs to the cats she already had, her goal was to help Bambi integrate quickly and live the best life possible in her new home.

 Cats, Cat Sign Language, Animal Sign Language, Cats Know Sign Language, Cat Sign Language Video, Deaf Cats, Kim Desilva, Training a Cat, Special Needs Animals, Special Needs Pets, Special Needs Pet Adoption, Sign Language for Animals

“Some deaf people have questioned if cats could learn sign” – Huffington Post

Kim trained her two cats Bobcat and Bear first and tells the Huffington Post that “Bobcat immediately understood…while Bear, was very old and was not interested. Bobcat learned one sign after another until he learned the new vocabulary…he was a sponge for sign language! He showed off. He was fabulous.”

This helped Bambi, once she arrived in the home, who picked up the signs even more easily by copying Bobcat. For Kim the teaching didn’t end there, after Bear passed away she taught her new cat Thomasina who picked it up even faster.

The cats current vocabulary includes the words “come, more, sit, stay, shake, high-five, sleep, circle, shrimp, play, canned food, finish, and dance. Off must be spell out, letter by letter“. She hopes to teach the cats to learn the sign for food and plans to work on this with Bambi and Thomasina.

The cats enjoy communicating and clearly love the interaction with their humans

Kim hopes that the video of her demonstrating the signs will be shared and inspire others to adopt deaf cats and teach them sign language as well. Remember when doing any training with your cat to always use positive reinforcement and of course lots of treats.

A Year In Review

Today marks the one year anniversary of Purr and Roar, and what a year it has been! I can best describe it as being a fun, challenging and ongoing learning experience, one that I have been fortunate enough to share with a great community of people.  A special thanks to all who have read, shared and supported this blog!

Purr and Roar All Cats Big and Small, 1 year anniversary, Cats, Kittens, Lions, Tigers, Leopards, Cheetahs, Ocelots, Jaguars, Wild Cats, Big Cats, Domestic Cats, SIlver Tabby, Blog about cats,

In honor of this day I thought it would be appropriate to celebrate by listing a few highlights starting with the first post on March 15 2014. The date is significant as it happened to coincide with a very important cause that I am actively involved in supporting.

The Global March For Lions

For anyone wishing to know more about this issue and the status of the African Lion check under the category of Lions or Global March For Lions on my home page.

Let’s Talk About Your Cat

Let's Talk About Your Cat, Cats, Kittens, cat stories, rescue, adoption, Purr and Roar,

I love the stories that come along with cat adoption, and I love sharing them. This past year I have had some pretty interesting cats featured, but one of my favorites Xander the rescued lab cat was extra special. If you would like to have your cats story included in an edition of Let’s Talk About Your Cat be sure to leave me a message.

On The Trail of Big Cats

 Big cats, Big Cats Forever, conservation, Cougars, Jaguars, Nat Geo Live, Photography, rat poison and wildlife, Snow Leopards, Steve Winter, Tigers, wildlife photography, Steve Winter Photography

Going to see award-winning photographer Steve Winter at a National Geographic Live Lecture series last October was a major highlight. Later I wrote On The Trail of Big Cats and had it picked up by Nat Geo Live on Facebook, and then by Steve Winter on Twitter. I was extremely honored by the acknowledgment and made sure to grab this screen shot.

10 Years Hundreds of Cats

cats, kittens, volunteer, cat cuddler, Toronto Animal Services, foster, cat rescue, cat adoptions, donateCelebrating my 10 year anniversary as a cat volunteer with Toronto Animal Services and receiving a special feature on their site was pretty awesome and a reminder of how time sure does fly when you are around cats!

Lanai’s Little Lions

cats, Kittens, Hawaii, Hawaiian Islands, Lanai, Lana Animal Rescue Center, LARC, stray cats, Kathy Carroll, Travel, Volunterring in Hawaii, Adopt cats in Hawaii, cat paradise, cat rescue in Hawaii

Time for Treats aka cat herding at Lanai Animal Rescue Center

Visiting the Lanai Animal Rescue Center in Hawaii where I met some wonderful people and saw first hand how this amazing organization helps the many homeless, stray and abandoned cats on the island.

Grumpy Cat

Grumpy Cat, Tardar Sauce, Famous Internet Cats, Cats, Internet Meme, Toronto, Eaton Center, Indigo book store, Grumpy Guide to Life

Frown? No!

Meeting Grumpy Cat on her North American Book Tour here in Toronto was loads of fun, but also awful.

World Lion Day

Lions, World Lion Day, Gorongosa National Park, Mozambique, Africa, conservation, Rob Janisch, Travel, Photography,wildlife

Image – Rob Janisch – World Lion Day

Honoring World Lion Day by interviewing my friend, extraordinary African safari guide and lover of Lions Rob Janisch to get the home perspective on this iconic species.

My Name is Bob

Cat, My Name Is Bob, Book, kids, James bowen, street cat named bob

And, last but not least, being asked by the publisher to write a review for the children’s book, and one of my favorites, My Name is Bob.

Thanks again to everyone and be sure to check out Purr and Roar on  Facebook, Twitter and Instagram where you will find lots more on all cats, both big and small.

Cat Telepathy

I was inspired to write this post after seeing Cats at the Bar Sunday Cleanup where Tsuki the cat had obviously had a very busy morning cleaning up around the house and was enjoying quality earned nap time. Astonishingly at the very same time hundreds of kilometers away, my cat Spinner was doing the exact same thing the result of assisting me with chores – only his nap was a post laundry induced coma a phenomenon also known as P.L.I.C.

What are the chances that two cats from completely different cities are doing the exact same thing at the same time? Maybe it’s not so strange however as cats I believe possess telepathic capabilities which they use to communicate with others of their kind, and in this case it was obviously used to coordinate sleep across a great distance. Here is the proof.

cats, Cats of instagram, Silver Tabby, Rescue cats, Cats napping, A cats life, Cats make everything better, Tuesdays Cats, Purr and Roar, Cat Telepathycats, Cats of instagram, Silver Tabby, Rescue cats, Cats napping, A cats life, Cats make everything better, Tuesdays Cats, Purr and Roar, Cat Telepathycats, Cats of instagram, Silver Tabby, Rescue cats, Cats napping, A cats life, Cats make everything better, Tuesdays Cats, Purr and Roar, Cat Telepathycats, Cats of instagram, Silver Tabby, Rescue cats, Cats napping, A cats life, Cats make everything better, Tuesdays Cats, Purr and Roar, Cat TelepathyOne tired cat thanks to P.L.I.C and a little telepathy

Sunday 17

Info graphic, Cats, Things to know about Cats, History of the cat, cat lovers, cats in ancient Egypt, Isaac Newton, Cat flap, Cats see better in the dark, Abraham Lincoln, Cats Purr frequency, Cats can hear ultrasonic sounds, Cats whiskers, Why cats need Taurine, Nikola Tesla, cats can run fast, Cheetahs, domestic cats, The Oatmeal comics, cat cartoons,

Info graphic, 17 Things worth knowing about your cat, Cats, Cat paws, Things to know about Cats, History of the cat, cat lovers, cats in ancient Egypt, Isaac Newton, Cat flap, Cats see better in the dark, Abraham Lincoln, Cats Purr frequency, Cats can hear ultrasonic sounds, Cats whiskers, Why cats need Taurine, Nikola Tesla, cats can run fast, Cheetahs, domestic cats, The Oatmeal comics, cat cartoons,Info graphic, 17 Things worth knowing about your cat, Cats, Cat paws, Things to know about Cats, History of the cat, cat lovers, cats in ancient Egypt, Isaac Newton, Cat flap, Cats see better in the dark, Abraham Lincoln, Cats Purr frequency, Cats can hear ultrasonic sounds, Cats whiskers, Why cats need Taurine, Nikola Tesla, cats can run fast, Cheetahs, domestic cats, The Oatmeal comics, cat cartoons,Info graphic, 17 Things worth knowing about your cat, Cats, Cat paws, Things to know about Cats, History of the cat, cat lovers, cats in ancient Egypt, Isaac Newton, Cat flap, Cats see better in the dark, Abraham Lincoln, Cats Purr frequency, Cats can hear ultrasonic sounds, Cats whiskers, Why cats need Taurine, Nikola Tesla, cats can run fast, Cheetahs, domestic cats, The Oatmeal comics, cat cartoons,Info graphic, 17 Things worth knowing about your cat, Cats, Cat paws, Things to know about Cats, History of the cat, cat lovers, cats in ancient Egypt, Isaac Newton, Cat flap, Cats see better in the dark, Abraham Lincoln, Cats Purr frequency, Cats can hear ultrasonic sounds, Cats whiskers, Why cats need Taurine, Nikola Tesla, cats can run fast, Cheetahs, domestic cats, The Oatmeal comics, cat cartoons,Info graphic, 17 Things worth knowing about your cat, Cats, Cat paws, Things to know about Cats, History of the cat, cat lovers, cats in ancient Egypt, Isaac Newton, Cat flap, Cats see better in the dark, Abraham Lincoln, Cats Purr frequency, Cats can hear ultrasonic sounds, Cats whiskers, Why cats need Taurine, Nikola Tesla, cats can run fast, Cheetahs, domestic cats, The Oatmeal comics, cat cartoons,Info graphic, 17 Things worth knowing about your cat, Cats, Cat paws, Things to know about Cats, History of the cat, cat lovers, cats in ancient Egypt, Isaac Newton, Cat flap, Cats see better in the dark, Abraham Lincoln, Cats Purr frequency, Cats can hear ultrasonic sounds, Cats whiskers, Why cats need Taurine, Nikola Tesla, cats can run fast, Cheetahs, domestic cats, The Oatmeal comics, cat cartoons,Info graphic, 17 Things worth knowing about your cat, Cats, Cat paws, Things to know about Cats, History of the cat, cat lovers, cats in ancient Egypt, Isaac Newton, Cat flap, Cats see better in the dark, Abraham Lincoln, Cats Purr frequency, Cats can hear ultrasonic sounds, Cats whiskers, Why cats need Taurine, Nikola Tesla, cats can run fast, Cheetahs, domestic cats, The Oatmeal comics, cat cartoons,

If you like this I highly recommend picking up the book How to Tell if Your Cat is Plotting to Kill You by the Oatmeal.

Seeing Eye Cat

Some days you just need a friend, someone to depend on and trust. A friend who understands and allows you to be yourself without worry. So when Tervel the farm dog starting loosing his eyesight and became blind he took comfort in a companion that would become his best friend and guide, a stray cat named Pudditat.

cats, Blind Dogs, Stray Cats, Nat Geo Wild, Best Friends, Animal Loyalty, Cats and Dogs, Cat Videos, Assitance Animals, Tervel, a blind and partially deaf senior chocolate Lab used to feel like he was in a lonely world of his own until he became friends with Pudditat

Tervel who became partially deaf and blind was to afraid to leave his basket, until he met his seeing eye cat