There’s Some Big Movie Opening Today

One of my favorite movies, Marvel’s Avengers, comes out today and this is the perfect homage to the franchise. Happy Feline Friday!

If the YouTube Link to Iron CAT isn’t working below be sure to check it out HERE!

Cute Overload

It’s just the first of May and it’s already time for the big smash-bang-crash movies. HULK SMASH! (The summer movie season will soon start in, oh, FEBRUARY if the movie studios have their way.) While I like characters like Iron Man and Black Widow and Captain America- this movie would be better with……..KITTENS.


Wait- did I say “Iron Man?” I meant Iron CAT.

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Music To Make Them Purr

A little bit country a little bit rock n’ roll as the saying goes…with humans it’s quit easy to determine what music we like, but how about our cats? While we may project our personal tastes onto our feline companions the truth is that the musical preference of cats, and other species, has very little to do with what we like.

David Teie, musician and creator of Music For Cats, set out to discover exactly what responses cats and other species had to music. Working with Psychologist Charles Snowdon at the University of Wisconsin they initially studied how cotton-topped tamarin monkeys reacted to David’s “species-specific” music. This would become the first controlled study to show a significant response to music from non-humans. They then decided to test how cats would react to specific music and Teie, who coauthored the study, said he believes cats enjoy music, or at least display preferences.

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Put away the heavy metal and break out the classical cat tunes.

We know that felines can have selective hearing, i.e. not coming when called and then appearing out of nowhere when you open any can of food because they think they are being fed, but would they respond to the sound of music personalized just for them?

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Image Pintrest

Researchers determined the best way to get cats to listen to music was to develop “a theoretical framework that hypothesizes that in order for music to be effective with other species, it must be in the frequency range and with similar tempos to those used in natural communication by each species.”

Based on this theory vocalizations of cats were matched to music of the same frequency range, about an octave or higher than human voices. The team replicated the tempo of things that cats would find interesting – one song featured a purring tempo, and another featured a suckling tempo. Researchers also said since “cats use lots of sliding frequencies in their calls, the cat music had many more sliding notes than the human music.

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Cats prefer their own special blend of musicImage PBS.org

Cat songs were played back to 47 domestic cats, and two human classical songs – Johann Sebastian Bach’s Air on a G String and Gabriel Fauré’s Elegie were played. Observations showed that the cats didn’t respond at all to the human music. But when the cat music started up, they became excited and started approaching the speakers, often rubbing their scent glands on them, which means they were trying to claim the object. The study also found that younger and older cats respond more to feline-specific music than middle-aged cats.

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Music to make me purr please – Image – Wikipedia

Real life applications of music for cats is practical as it could be used to calm cats in shelters, veterinary offices, while boarding and in the home where it could help prevent separation anxiety. David Teie has developed three songs in different styles to convey different moods: Kitty Ditties, Cat Ballads and Feline Airs. They are Spooks Ditty, Cozmo Air,  and Rusty’s Ballad which you can try out on your own cats at home.

Recently he talked about his music and played it for the cats of New York’s first Cat Cafe Meow Parlour. Check out how big city cats react, or don’t react, in this video.

Curious about cat music? Give it a try and be sure to leave a comment below letting me know if your cat enjoys it.

The Four Seasons

Seasonal changes are welcome, and if you are like many spring and summer are the most eagerly anticipated. For animal shelters and rescue groups spring is also the time when they become inundated and overwhelmed with litters of kittens. So what do the seasons have to do with it?

“Cats are seasonally polyestrous. This means they will have repeated heat cycles over a year unless they are bred, and the heat cycles are influenced by the seasons. The mating season in cats is determined by a number of factors, including the length of daylight, environmental temperature, and the presence of other cats.” – Pets.WebMD

Winter

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Most people know the benefits of spaying, but the reason behind ensuring it is done before the spring kitten rush, may be less obvious.

The reason there are so many programs aimed at early spay/neuter of cats comes down to biology and understanding the female cats reproductive system. Animals 24-7 explains why winter can be a crucial time to ensure females are spayed, preventing “a successful winter mating season” and future litters.

“December the 21st is the start of the winter season, marking the shortest day of the year with each succeeding day becoming longer. The incremental increasing lengths of daylight that begin after December 21st are being received through the eye and sent by the queen’s (unspayed non-sexually active females) optic nerve signaling this fact to the pituitary gland which, in turn, makes a hormone signaling the ovary that it’s time to make follicles!”  Biology is cool and amazing.

The follicles = eggs and estrogen. Estrogen turns a queen into “a vocal tom-seeking maniac.” Let the games begin!

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Cats are considered to be primarily induced ovulators, which means mating causes them to ovulate. A cat will continue to go into another heat cycle unless she breeds or the daylight factor takes over.

Spring

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“Shelters call May, June and July the kitten tsunami season, as there are multiple litters arriving per day!” – Image Wikipedia

“March 20th begins the gestation/delivery/nursing season. By this time all unspayed queens are in various stages of the active breeding cycle. Queens who mated in January will be delivering their litters starting in mid-March.”

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” It’ s 61-63 days later that an average of three to five kittens are born. Then, two months (8-9 weeks) later the kittens are weaning.

Summer and Fall

Once the days start to shorten on June 21, the first day of summer, kittens and cats of all all ages abound and some queens will get pregnant a second time if given the opportunity.

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The traditional calendar reports September 23rd as the beginning of the fall season. Pretty much by the end of August, cycling (periods of a cats heat) has stopped. This means closure as the current kittens are weaned generally making fall a period of feline tranquility until the next winter breeding season begins.

Depending on where cats reside this pattern can vary slightly, however the message will always be the same regardless of geography, and that is spaying female, and neutering male, cats early reduces the number of unwanted litters.

Whisker Wednesday

This is Fi, she puts the “Whisker” in Whisker Wednesday

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She loves her Fleece blanket

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…and is Fond of Fuchsia colored Feathered toys

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Friendly and sweet Fi is looking for her Forever home. You can Find her up for adoption at Toronto Animal Services ID 697332

Whisker Wednesday has been brought to you by the letter F 🐱

One of The World’s Rarest Cats

Meet Harry, a cat in Scotland who has defied genetics (leave it up to a cat to defy DNA). He is a “400,000-to-one shot thought to be one of Scotland’s rarest moggies.” The unwanted 12-week-old kitten was handed into Lothian Cat Rescue in Bonnyrigg Scotland after his owners ­discovered they were allergic to his fur.

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Harry the kitten – a rare feline gem

99.96 per cent of Tortoiseshell cats born are female due to the way genes dictating coat color are passed down. Harry’s dapper looks will mean he is sterile, however, should the vets discover he isn’t, it would make this little feline very valuable.

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Harry looking adorable and handsome

The vast majority of tortoiseshell cats are female, because two X chromosomes are required to produce black, gold and orange coloring. Male cats only have one X and one Y chromosome, so technically it’s genetically almost impossible for a male to inherit the tortoiseshell coloring. A male tortoiseshell has an extra X chromosome, making it an XXY.

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Harry will be neutered when he is old enough and then adopted out.

Photo’s source – Edinburgh News, Press and Journal

Most people will never encounter a male Tortoiseshell cat and, in all my years volunteering at an animal shelter I believe I have only ever seen one come in.

Remembering The Cats of War

Today we remembered those men and women who served and gave their lives in wartime, however it also appropriate to acknowledge and remember the millions of animals who served alongside them. Horses, dogs, donkeys and even pigeons all work animals, protectors, messengers many saving the lives of humans while giving their own. Lesser known and often forgotten, are the cats of war. They were more than just mascots who comforted officers and boosted morale, they played key roles.

Throughout the “war to end all wars,” cats were a common sight in the trenches and aboard ships, where they hunted mice and rats. Beyond their “official” duties, they were also embraced as mascots and pets by the soldiers and sailors with whom they served.

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Ship’s cat aboard the HMAS Encounter. [Wikipedia]

An estimated 500,000 cats were dispatched to the trenches, where they killed rats and mice; some were also used as gas detectors. At sea, cats had the run of the ship — a tradition dating back thousands of years.

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Faith the Faithful Church Cat

Faith, a cat who made her home at Saint Augustine’s Church in London in 1936. On September 6, 1940, the mother of one apparently had a funny feeling and moved her recently born kitten from the warm upper floors to the basement — just a day before London was hit by German air bombs. She and her kitten, Panda, were rescued from beneath the rubble by Father Henry Ross, and she was later awarded a special medal for “steadfast courage in the Battle of London.”

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Able Seacat Simon

Able Seacat Simon (his official title), of the Royal Navy’s HMS Amethyst, began his career in 1948 as the Amethyst’s formal ratter. During the time he served, Simon performed his duties so well that he was twice awarded in 1949. The first after a particularly grueling incident with Chinese forces, Simon was awarded an Amethyst campaign ribbon for his valiant service. The next was the Dickin Medal for animal gallantry. Simon is the only cat to have received the Dickin Medal, and when he died, he was buried with full naval honors.

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Famous image of Miss Hap the kitten – Korea, ca 1953

Accepting her fate as an orphan of war, ‘Miss Hap’ a two-week old Korean kitten chows down on canned milk, piped to her by medicine dropper with the help of Marine Sergeant Frank Praytor … The Marine adopted the kitten after its mother was killed by a mortar barrage near Bunker Hill. The name, Miss Hap, Sergeant Praytor explained, was given to the kitten ‘because she was born at the wrong place at the wrong time’.”

Click here for more photos of the cats of war.

Renovations and Kitten Rescue

If you watch HGTV here in Canada you may be familiar with a show called Income Property, it’s about home renovations and…a little kitten rescue on the side. Host Scott McGillivray and crew found a stray kitten on the side of the road while heading up to cottage country to do some work so they picked the kitten up, had him vetted and found him a home.

I think I like this show even more now. 🐱