A Beautiful Snow Leopard!
I came across this Snow Leopard Video not too long ago and I wanted to share it. I think it is neat and somewhat magical when we are given the chance to glimpse something in nature that is not part of our everyday norm. This snow leopard video was caught by Matse Rangja on one of his hidden cameras in China. Matse Rangja is a wildlife photographer who has been tracking Snow Leopards for over eight years. This one specifically comes from the Burhan Budai Mountains.
Snow Leopards are actually an endangered species and their populations continue to be on the decline. They are on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species as Endangered Status. There are only estimated to be around 6,000 of these leopards left in the wild. Reasons they are struggling to survive include changing habitats, less available prey, and poaching by humans. These large cats are native to Central Asia and live primarily in the high alpine and sub-alpine mountain areas. They will eat almost any type of animal they come across, however some of their more mainstay foods include bharal (blue sheep), mountain sheep, markhor (a wild goat species), and Himalayan Tahrs (related to wild goats). If they come across small animals or birds they will also eat those. Some people have a difficult time with them raiding their farms and eating their livestock.
Due to where they live, Snow Leopards have very thick fur coats to keep them warm from the cold. They also have large, wide feet which act similar to snow shoes, allowing them to cross deep snow rather easily. These leopards are considered large cats, but they are some of the smaller of the big cats. They only reach 60 to 120 pounds and about 2 feet in height. But they are still quite powerful and have no trouble taking down their prey! I don’t believe Snow Leopards are kept as pets other than in zoos or other wildlife sanctuaries, but there are some Exotic Cats which are. It takes a special type of person to want to keep an essentially large wild cat in their home!
Enjoy the video!
Cats are quite self-sufficient. They do love their owners but can get a little out of hand when they want something. Keep reading to find out some common reasons why Fluffy might be going off the rails and how to deal with cat behavioral problems.
Cats are very intelligent animals. They are also capable of great affection and great standoffish attitudes. It doesn’t bother some owners when they do what they want but certain behaviors can become problematic for the cat’s family. It is best to discourage all undesired actions as soon as possible.
Common Cat DON’TS
If any of the following sounds like your cat, there is hope. Find out how to discourage the problem here as well.
1. Scratching – That is what those claws are for, but not to do it on your fine furniture and rugs. Since cats need to scratch why not indulge them with a variety of scratching media? Try different shapes and textures of scratching posts. Place them strategically around the house in areas your cat will frequent.
2. Nipping – It can be quite painful to have your cat nip at your legs or fingers. Often this is a problem when fingers and extremities are used as play toys when your cat is a kitten. As they age, they will continue this behavior. Use cat toys instead of your body as play things. Give them a firm command and also use a spray bottle with water to discourage further nips. Aim for the cat’s nose. You need to catch them in the act so they associate the erroneous behavior and the scolding.
3. Urinating – Animals often urinate to plant their scent when they are looking for a mating partner. Spaying or neutering can curb the inclination to “mark” territories. Cats may urinate if they are nervous. Has your schedule changed or is there a new pet in the house? Both can cause this problem.
4. Not using the litter box – Cats are very clean animals. They expect that the place where they do their business is clean as well. If your pet refuses to use the litter box, it could need a more regular cleaning. Try scoopable litter to remove large clumps each day between regular cleaning. Also, scented litter may bother them. Try unscented. Location could be problematic for your cat as well. Litter boxes are best situated away from high traffic areas.
5. Erratic behavior – Your cat is sitting quietly in your arms and then they get up and run wildly around the house. He could be letting off steam or be a little nervous. Talk to your veterinarian. Another option would be to tire your cat out just like you would do a child. Play with them and even feed them later so they can wind down and sleep peacefully at night.
You love your cat but it is likely they have some of the listed cat behavioral problems. Those listed above are some of the more common ones.
Animal-World’s Featured Pet for this week is: The Scottish Fold Cat!
I thought that because there have been a couple recent cat posts I would write about an interesting cat breed this week. The Scottish Fold Cat! Has anyone ever owned one of these? They are not as popular as regular pet cats, but they are definitely popular as show cats! Of course, these cats are known by their peculiar ears. They have very small ears which fold forward and down. These ears are caused by a genetic mutation, making Scottish Fold Cats a Mutation Cat Breed. The ears are also a reason many people love this personable cat!
The Scottish Fold Cat actually has a reputation for being a great pet! Other than their intriguing appearance, they are also very friendly, adaptable cats. They get along well with most people and other pets, and can be kept as either indoors or outdoors cats. Generally being calm cats, they enjoy attention and affection, but they also love their fair share of playing and hunting. This makes them great for both families in huge houses and lots of kids, and for quiet apartments with only their owner. And of course, they make awesome show cats because of their unique appearance!
Here is the interesting history on the Scottish Fold Cat. The very first one recognized was born in Perthshire, Scotland on a farm in 1961. The cat was named Susie and and she later had a folded ear kitten named Snooks. Snooks then had a kitten named Snowdrift. Snowdrift was used by a breeder in London to earnestly try and continue the folded ear trait. That breeder was named Pat Turner. This cat was recognized as a new breed, although there were people who did not agree with it. This is mostly because they claimed the folded ears could become infected more readily and were hard to clean. However the Cat Association in England accepted the Scottish Fold Cat breed in 1983. The United States recognized the breed even earlier in 1973. By the 1990′s The Scottish Fold Cat was in the top ten popular pedigree breeds! Other cats with folded ears include the American Curl Cat, whose ears fold backwards rather than forwards. Another interesting tidbit is that the very first cat with folded ears to ever be recorded was in the 1880′s! This cat seems to have been brought by ship to Europe from China, but it is unknown whether any more folded ear cats came from that one.
The care and maintenance of the Scottish Fold Cat is that of most other typical cats. These cats are regular sized, weighing 6 to 13 pounds. They live a typical cat lifespan of 10 to 15 years. Grooming them once a week will keep their hair free of mats and keep them looking their best. There are long-hair varieties which may require more grooming, especially if you are showing them. As I mentioned earlier, these guys are quite adaptable and can live in most human environments! From huge farms to small apartments. And they most often get along with other cats and other pets (including dogs!).
For those of you interested in breeding Scottish Fold Cats, there are some things that you need to know. First, you should never breed a Scottish Fold Cat with another Scottish Fold Cat. This is because 25% of the kittens will have grave abnormalities which result in a lower quality of life and a shortened lifespan. You should always breed your Scottish Fold Cat with a non-Scottish Fold Cat. In this scenario, 50% of the kittens will have the folded ear trait. The other 50% will look typical, but none of them will come up with life-threatening abnormalities.
Usually health problems arise when two Scottish Fold Cats are bred together. Some of the kittens can have abnormalities which include stiffened and shortened legs and tails. This is because of some of the vertebrae being fused together. Nothing can be done to help these cats, other than give them medication to help with pain. They don’t live very long or very happy lives. Quite sad. Other than this situation, Scottish Fold Cats are usually quite healthy when taken care of!
Is your curiosity piqued? If you are interested in Scottish Fold Cats, breeders can be found across the United States. Prices are anywhere from $300 to $750 depending on age and traits. Kittens are more expensive than adults because that is their prime showing age.
Jasmine is a team member at Animal-World and has contributed many articles and write-ups.
Feral cats have never learned to socialize with humans and often cause problems for people. Some animal groups are working to help these cats to live a healthier and friendlier existence by working with Feral Cat Programs.
Feral or Lost?
Feral cats are wild cats. They have either been abandoned by owners at an early age or have been gone from a home so long that they have learned to live in a feral group on the streets. Because these cats are not spayed or neutered, even more feral cats are born into this type of society.
On the other hand, a lost cat knows people and seeks their companionship. They are not used to fending for themselves and won’t survive long on the street without them. Often lost cats hang around suburban areas trying to get food and warmth from homes and businesses.
How to Solve the Problem
People are concerned about the increasing epidemic of feral cats on the streets. Because they are wild and untamed, these cats have been known to urinate everywhere (marking their territory), make noisy fights with other cats, spread infection, and upset trash cans looking for food.
Often they live in community groups called “colonies.” These cats usually live together in areas that are known to be kind to them. It could be the back yard of a person who is willing to feed them or outside a business where they throw out scraps to keep them fed.
The ASPCA and the Humane Society has come up with some Feral Cat Programs to help these cats. One program is the Trap-Neuter-Spay-Return program. Much like the catch-and-release program utilized by fishermen, feral cats are carefully rounded up. They are then taken to a facility where they are sterilized. Then, they are released back into their community environment.
Much like this program is the Trap-Neuter-Vaccinate-Return program. The animals are sterilized, but animal professionals also take it upon themselves to look the cats over and vaccinate them properly against common diseases they may encounter on the street.
These feral cat programs are further enhanced by volunteers who are committed to monitoring and taking care of these cat colonies. The benefits are:
- Longer life span for feral cats
- Fewer disruptions in society
- Fewer unwanted cats on the streets
These cats also make great mousers to keep down the rodent population. Some have proposed eradicating feral cats but that won’t solve the problem in the end. For one, new cats will come along to fill the void left by the ones taken. Secondly, it is easier to get volunteers to care for the existence of these animals then to round them up for euthanization.
Feral cats are not able to be tamed but they can be given a chance at a healthy existence through friendly feral cat programs. These programs really do help cats in wild situations.
Adopting a Kitten: The Basics
Are you in need of a new companion for your home? Maybe a pet will help to bring new purpose into your life. If you are looking to adopt a kitten, here are some basics you might want to know first.
The Benefit of Pets
Pets are loving and kind. They do need training in socializing with their new family, but they give back so much in return. If you are a cat person, then you might want to think about adopting a kitten. That cute little ball of fur can capture your heart just there.
Beyond the cuteness, pets are beneficial in the health department for owners. Pets are sensitive to the feelings and moods of their owners. They will also provide comfort when you feel down. Research shows that pets can help lower blood pressure, lift your mood, and boost immunity. We could all use that.
But, just like any other change in your life, it is best to make an informed decision. Keep reading to find some basic information on adopting a kitten and welcoming them into your home.
1. Research the breeds – Different cat breeds have different characteristics. If you like to snuggle with your pet, choose a cat that loves to lavish affection and be cuddled as well. Also check with health issues. You will be responsible for the pet for their lifetime so know what you are getting into upfront.
2. Check with local shelters – There are many homeless pets who need a good home. Before going online, check locally for a kitten that might meet your needs. Places like PetSmart also offer adoption services. If you have experience with cats, consider a rescue group. Try them on for size. Hold a few to see how you feel with each of the kittens.
3. Prepare your home – Your kitten will need several things: food bowls, carrier, toys, litter box, food and a bed for a start. Do as much preparation as you can for your new arrival.
4. Ask questions – Check to see that immunizations have been done. Also decide if you want to spay or neuter your pet or if it has already been done. What about grooming? Trim claws. How about litter box training? Has it been done or do you need to accomplish it?
5. Visit the doctor – Find a veterinarian in your area that you like. Interview a few to find one who is sensitive to your needs. Make a visit soon after you bring your kitten home.
6. Make time – Your new kitten needs as much attention as a baby. They need to be litter trained, played with, and taught how to act. Account for these needs in your daily schedule for at least several months.
A kitten is a precious gift of companionship for any family. Learn the basics of what to do when adopting a kitten.
Do you know where your pet is? If you don’t, there is one way to help locate them if they ever get lost. Animal tracking chips are a fairly new thing. Should you invest in one?
What are animal tracking chips?
Just like the name implies, these chips make it easy for you to find your pet if he becomes lost. Sure, you can use a collar with your residential information, but a chip can be an easier and quicker way to find your pet.
Veterinarians can implant the chips under your pet’s skin. The information that is recorded on the chip can then be traced by a company that registers the chips. If one is in the area, it can be located.
What are these chips made of? They are microchips that are small enough not to be detected under the skin. Your pet won’t be hurt by the insertion which is done through a needle and it can be easier to keep up with than a collar. Any discomfort that your pet feels initially should go away quickly.
Each animal tracking chip has a different frequency, a radio frequency referred to as RFID (radio frequency identification technology). The chips are read by a specific type of scanner. Whenever you update information about your pet at your vet, it is automatically sent to the registry company.
These types of devices are also used for large livestock to tag them for ownership purposes. They can be tagged in the ear and it is easier and less traumatic than branding.
Benefits of the animal tracking chip
These chips are good for relaying information about your pet. If it is ever lost and taken to a shelter, they can use a chip reader to find out if the animal has one and who it belongs to. Your pet can be returned to you more quickly. This cuts down on unnecessary expenses at shelters to house lost animals.
The chip is easier to keep track of than a device implanted in a collar. Collars even with devices can be lost off of the pet’s neck. If you choose, the chips can be used in conjunction with other systems to keep your pet safe.
Lots of lost animals are not reunited with their owners because they can’t locate them. Even with a collar, someone has to report your seeing your pet. You can give your pet a chance with a chip.
Do you need an animal tracking chip?
While these chips are handy they will cost you. They aren’t often cheap. Your veterinarian can enlighten you as to what you will pay.
Also, if your pet is an indoor animal, there may be no need for a chip. You can also take into account your pets personality. Certain animals are more likely to run away or escape than others. Dogs are probably the most lost pets. If you have an outdoor pet, a chip could be a preventative measure.
Animal tracking chips are useful and have several benefits. The decision to get one is up to you and should be based on several considerations.
Cats make loving companions. They are intelligent, playful and quite resourceful. Let’s not forget loyal. Shouldn’t we show the same loyalty by keeping them healthy?
Animals have their own diseases that can affect their different species. There are also zoonotic ones that can be passed on to humans. To prevent this, it is important to have our pet vaccinated from an early age.
Did you know that immunity begins to leave your kitten as early as eight weeks of age? When they are weaned from their mother’s milk, the antibodies that are provided by it don’t last. They need vaccinations to continue their protection from common illnesses. When you get your pet, visit a veterinarian as soon as possible to set up a vaccination schedule.
It is never too late to begin vaccinations. Even if you adopt an adult cat, they can be helpful for a long and healthy life.
There are two types of feline vaccinations: core and non-core. The core vaccinations for cats are those that most often affect cats and can lead to mortality. These are usually the same across most breeds. Non-core vaccinations for cats are the ones that vary from breed to breed. A veterinarian can determine which additional shots are needed for your specific breed.
Most cats are indoor cats. Beyond the core, there may not be a reason to vaccinate for other illnesses because they don’t socialize with animals that can carry a threat. But, if there is the possibility that your cat may need to be boarded in a kennel or ever in the company of other animals, you don’t want to take any chances.
There are some similarities between those needed for dogs and those needed for cats. Let’s begin with the feline distemper or panleukopenia. Much like dogs, it is akin to childhood measles. Begin vaccinations at around 6 weeks of age.
Rabies is also an important vaccination. This is a highly contagious disease that can be spread from animal to animal and animal to human. It is required by law that pets receive this shot. Your kitten will receive it at about 12 weeks of age.
Calicivirus is another core vaccination for cats. It is a common disease in cats that leads to upper respiratory problems. Vaccination begins around six to eight weeks of age.
Cats also receive the feline herpes virus. Again, vaccinations for cats begin at around six weeks of age. Herpes is a viral infection and there is no cure for this virus. You can only treat the symptoms.
Rhinotracheitis is another infection of the respiratory tract that affects cats.
Some veterinarians provide these core vaccines in a combination vaccine. All are combined into one shot. Because the efficacy lasts less than one year, it is recommended that vaccinations for cats be given on a yearly basis to boost their immune function and protection. Cats are often not given non-core vaccination because the possible risks of the vaccine often outweigh the benefits.
Your cat is important to you. Protect them as best as you can with a regular vaccination schedule.
Pets get sick too. When they do, it is important to have a resource for medications that will help them to get better. Once they are sick is not the time to investigate the resources available to you for purchasing your pet medication.
Just like people, pets get sick and need treatment. Knowing the signs of illness in your pet can assist with the best possible outcomes for their ailment. To that end, visiting your vet at the first sign of trouble is best.
Veterinarians are doctors for animals. They can prescribe medications for your sick pet. But, did you know that you don’t have to get all of your medications from them? Consider all of your options so that you are getting the best and most effective medication as well as products that are offered at the best price.
Resources for Pet Medicationss
1. Veterinarian’s office – This is often the first resource but not always the best. It all depends on the ailment and the medication needed to heal your pet. If it is a prescription medication, ask for a generic brand. Generics are cheaper but with the same ingredients as the name brand. The problem comes in when there is no generic. The prices can be astronomical. If you have pet insurance, check the fine print to see if your policy covers co-payments for medications. Ask your vet for samples so that you can try the medication before investing in an entire prescription.
2. Look online – You can find just about anything that you want on the Internet. This includes pet medications. You may have seen commercials for sites like 1-800-PetMeds. They offer discounts on everything from flea and tick collars to medications for heart worms. Other helpful sites to research are: PetCareRX.com, Vet Depot and DiscountPetMedicines.com. Check with your vet first to see if these sites are reputable and which they would recommend.
3. Holistic approach – Again talk to your vet. Their interest is in getting your pet well. Ask if they subscribe to using alternative remedies for certain conditions. You may be able to create a home remedy that works just as well as prescription pet medications but for a fraction of the cost.
When shopping for pet medications, do a little homework of your own. There are many online pet medication sites but all are not reputable and some sell products that don’t contain the same efficacious ingredients as the ones you acquire from your vet. But, this is not always the case so you will need to check.
Also, verify with your veterinarian if pet allergies prohibit you from purchasing certain medications online. If you are ever unsure, talk to a customer service representative before making any final online purchases.
Pet medications keep your pet healthy and well.
When it comes to your pet, you want the best care for them that is available. That begins with your choice for a veterinarian. Here are a few things to ask to make sure you are getting the best person for the job.
It is the job of the veterinarian to work with the pet owner to keep their beloved animal in great health. While we treat our pets like members of the family, they are first and foremost, animals. This means that they have different health needs and concerns than we do. In order to meet all of their needs, we need the help of someone who knows all about pets.
When do you choose a veterinarian? Well, this process begins before you even adopt or buy a pet. As soon as you acquire a new family member you will want them to see a vet right away to make sure that they are okay. Even if you don’t have one at the beginning, waiting until your pet is sick is not a good idea.
Finding the Right Person for the Job
So, what are the criteria for choosing a good vet? That depends on the type of pet that you have and their unique needs. Keep reading to find out a good place to start.
1. Ask for referrals – If you have friends who own pets, they more than likely have a veterinarian. Pick their brains to see who they would recommend for your pet.
2. Call around – If you don’t know anyone who can help, look in the phone book. Start with vets in your immediate area. Ask about the types of animals they see in their practice. Some vets, believe it or not, may specialize in a certain type of animal or large animals as opposed to everyday house pets.
3. Make a few visits – Before signing up with someone, check them out. Visit the office and look around. Is the waiting room clean? Do they require cages for certain pets to avoid commotion? Is the staff pleasant and friendly? Do they take drop-in appointments?
4. Schedule a time when you can take a tour – Ask to have a tour of the facility. Visit the kennels and the wards where they would care for your pet. Are they clean? If pets are there, are their cages clean?
5. Ask for credentials – What type of schooling does your vet have? Ask them about any professional organizations that they belong to and if they are board certified. It is not necessary that your vet be board certified but if they are it says that they have taken the extra steps to specialize in a certain area of veterinary medicine.
6. Ask questions – If you have any concerns about your pet’s needs, ask. This is the time. Don’t be afraid to get the information that you need. It’s for your pet.
A veterinarian is your partner in the care of your pet. Make the right choice by being informed.
Animal-World’s Featured Pet for this week is: The Maine Coon Cat!
Maine Coon Cats are notorious for being large, plush, and beautiful cats! I have been to a few cat shows where I have gotten to hold and pet these cats. Most of them have been quite lovable and their owners always give good reviews of them! Their personalities can vary depending on the individual cat (just like humans!), but in general, they are praised for being friendly cats. Words often used to describe them include mild-mannered, gentle, affectionate, easy-going, and pleasant.
The true background of the Maine Coon Cat is unknown. There are several theories on how it came to be, however. The most accepted theory is that house cats and Angora cats were bred together in the state of Maine. It is just a theory though, with no proof. Other less plausible theories include breeding between a house cat and an American Bobcat, that they are descended from Norwegian Forest Cats, that they are house cats which became semi-feral living outside and evolved into stockier bodies, and that they are house cats bred with raccoons (which is obviously impossible!). Other names these cats go by include the American Coon Cat, the American Forest Cat, and the American Longhair.
The most obvious feature of these cats is their size. They are huge! At least huge for house cats. They can be anywhere from 9 to 22 (or more) pounds. They have long, plush fur which needs moderate grooming care. They also have large tufted ears and a long, plumed, bushy tail. They have squeaky little voices and come in a variety of colors and patterns! Their “common” pattern is a tabby pattern. This cat can live to be over 13 years old as well.
The Maine Coon Cat is a very popular breed to show. They were actually the very first cats ever shown! In the early 1860′s people started showing Maine Coons in New England at the Skowhegan Fair. Shortly after this in 1871 was the first official cat show in London. They were shown successfully in the first American show as well, in 1895. In 1976 they were officially recognized as a breed by the Cat Fancier’s Association!
The care and feeding of these cats is similar to most house cats. They can be fed a regular, good quality cat food and should be provided with fresh water. They enjoy outdoors time, but it is not a necessity. They can be good indoor cats and/or apartment dwellers if given plenty of attention and room to explore and play. They should be groomed regularly to keep their long coat looking nice and mat-free, however they don’t need as much grooming as some other long-hair cats. Once a week should suffice for a Maine Coon Cat. They do shed a lot during hot summer months and may need more grooming during that time.
Health problems are few for these cats. They are generally healthy if taken well care of. This breed can suffer from Hip Dysplasia, however, especially if they are on the larger side. Other common cat diseases that can affect them are a heart condition called Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy (HCM) and Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA), but these are not specific to the Maine Coon.
Generally you will have to pay to obtain a Maine Coon that is licensed. They can range anywhere from $200 to $1000 depending on the breeder, location, color, and other characteristics.
To read more on Maine Coon Cats, follow-up on the Maine Coon page!
Jasmine is a team member at Animal-World and has contributed many articles and write-ups.