The Tabby Cat

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The Orange Tabby is seemingly found everywhere. They randomly pop up in litters like a surprise visit from Santa. Like a goose among a bevy of swans, orange tabbies forever stand out.

When digging into the mystery of Tabby Cats, the first necessary mention is that they are not a cat breed!

We often proclaim that, “He/She is a Tabby Cat.” But really what we are doing is simply describing the cat’s color pattern. We follow along with the rest of society, unknowingly asserting this misconception when somewhere in the depths of our mind we know it’s a simple matter of color coordination.

You can see the tabby pattern in a gray color as well, along with brown and creme.

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What’s even more notable is that the signature stripes of the tabby pattern, isn’t the only kind!

Those signature stripes are called Mackerel. Which gives your feline a “tiger” look. This pattern is comprised of long, narrow stripes across the cat’s body.

The Classic Tabby pattern is seen in swirls along the cat’s body. Which can also sometimes look similar to a bullseye and can be described as having a “marbled” or “blotched” look.

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Classic Tabby Pattern

The Spotted Tabby pattern, you guessed it- has spots! You’ll be able to see these round or oval spots even on the cat’s underbelly.

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The Ticked or Agouti pattern is easily seen in the Abyssinian breed. This pattern is slightly less obvious than bold stripes and spots. The actual hair changes color the further down you go. The hair is lightest at the root and gradually become darker nearing the end.

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Abyssinian Cat

And finally, the Patched Tabby pattern. Which can be seen in Torbie cats. This pattern has a distinct color change in large block areas or “patches.”

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Maine Coon Patched Tabby

With all of these colors and variations, how are the Tabby not its own breed? All tabbies are said to have an “M” on their forehead, that counts as a breed standard, right? There has to be some point in history where these cats were known for more than being just a group of patterns. And how is it that Tabby Cats have never lived down their reputation for being alley prowlers, eating out of discarded tuna cans and scrapping out their own place in the world like Al Capone?

A scientific study released in 2017 found that 80% of all present-day cat breeds carry the genetic tabby mutation. The study also found that this split in genetics happened during the reign of the Ottoman Empire. By the 18th century, these coat patterns were found everywhere and were one of the most common color coordinations found on felines.

The specific gene responsible for this genetic mutation is called Taqpep. This gene is not only found in domestic cats but in wild cats as well! Put simply, these patterns and color variations have been passed down for thousands of years and were once incredibly useful camouflage in the wild.

There are many tales as to how these tabbies got their “M.” Although super fun to debate about, it’s origin is as simple as genetics. Similar to having black hair that can be found in many races of various people (Asian, Caucasian, African, and too many more), the tabby’s “M” and their patterns can be found in many cat breeds.

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The Cheshire Cat

As for the Tabby reputation, we can’t help but view them the way we do. If you think back to some of the most popular cartoons like Garfield, Bonkers, Puss ‘N Boots from Shrek, and even The Cheshire Cat; They’re all tabbies! They’re majority orange tabbies being rambunctious and mischievous. What also doesn’t help their reputation is that orange tabbies have been reported to be the second most common cat found in a shelter.

Even though tabby’s are not one singular breed, they can be found in ALL breeds, even wild ones. Which kind of makes up for not having their own page in the breeder’s book, right?

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Halloween Series: Mysterious Cat

A lonely elderly woman awoke in the middle of the night. It was a silent, dark night in the city. She is used to living alone. Her husband had died many years ago. She has owned this house for decades. Knowing every creaky step and every random sound her house may bring.

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As routine as a flower blooms in springtime; the elderly woman awakes. Walking into her bathroom as she does every night and at the same hour. However, as routine as her thoughts are at this time, she is completely unaware of what is about to happen. The following event will stay in her memory permanently.

Unknown to her, a large black cat sits atop her folded towels in the linen closet of her bathroom. The cat had chosen this woman, her house, and this night in particular. For it was the night the cat had chosen to appear.

Several months prior to this night, the cat would hide in the shadows of the neighborhood. It would go about the street in the darkness unnoticed. Seeming to be just  another neighborhood stray however this cat was not.

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The black cat would slowly creep along the sidewalks and bushes. Listening to the prayers of all who slept. Hearing what would be silence to most, the cat could hear clearly. Not only could this cat hear your silent prayers, but it also looked into your dreams. With a quick jump onto your window sill and glance into your window, as you slept comfortably into your bed. Every vision that came across your dreamscape, the cat could see.

The cat has no name, no age or origin. These elements are not important. What is important is that she succeed in achieving her purpose. It is amazingly strong, able to open and close doors and climb screens of windows. Her prowess is superior. Hunting skills honed. She is as silent as she is deadly. Whoever becomes her target is an unfortunate soul indeed. Although the cat has a softer side and finds the kindness in her heart enough to always ensures a quick and painless death for her victims.

Many times she has crept into a house. Opening a closed window or door. Silent and swift, lightly strolling across a floor to make her way to the bed. As she jumps, the air underneath her feet, lift her above the bed. As she leans in closely to identify the soul of her victim one last time. She places a paw on the face and whispers, ” I have heard your prayers in the middle of the night and seen what you long for, in your dreams. I have come to take you to the place you wish to be.” And in one quick breath, the cat and her victim disappear forever, from the once comfortable bed.

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The old woman was no stranger to death. She had lost her only son at a very young age. Sickly and ill with a rare disease, she would care for him day and night. Crying and pleading with the universe to change her young boys fate. But to no avail.

Her husband too had passed. A once joyous and insatiable flame, snuffed out by the dark. A man she had loved so truly and deeply. Who again found fate, one icy winters night on the road. She would weep every night since.

Every night the woman would climb into bed. Sit up and recite her silent prayer. And as she slept, she would dream.

As the cat lay perched upon her folded towels, in her linen closet of her bathroom. She waited. As the lonely old lady finished the wash of her hands, she reached for her towel and walked back to her bed.

She fell asleep once again.

The cat came coolly strolling over. Across the floor and into her bedroom. As she jumped, the air underneath her feet, rose her high above the bed. The cat leaned towards the old lady as she slept. Put a paw on her face and said, ” I have heard your prayers in the middle of the night and seen what you long for, in your dreams. I have come to take you to the place you wish to be.”

In the morning the woman woke. At her feet lay a black cat. A seemingly rough-looking cat, but quite loving. The cat stayed with the woman for the rest of her days. Providing her the love and companionship that she had once prayed.

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The Ragdoll

 

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8 month old Ragdoll kitten “Luna Baby”

HISTORY

The Ragdoll cat is an American breed developed by a woman named Ann Baker. The cross of a Birman cat and White Angora lead to the first litter of Ragdolls. The breed was not officially named “Ragdoll” until 1965. To prevent inbreeding, many Ragdolls were mixed with other breeds such as the Burmese and Persian.

APPEARANCE

Ragdolls vary in appearance. Their coats come in bi-colored, Van, Mitted, and Colorpoint patterns with varying colors including: seal, blue, chocolate, lilac, and cream. Their coats are medium to long and do not possess an undercoat as do many other cat breeds. This results in a silky, heavy top coat; which are prone to matting unless groomed regularly. Another interesting feature of this cat is that their coats may change slightly in color until they reach their adulthood.

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One of the most obvious characteristics of the Ragdoll is their size. Alongside the Maine Coon, Ragdolls develop into very large cats. They are slow to grow, with most reaching true adulthood and maturity between the ages of 2 to 5 years of age. This breed can grow to weigh anywhere from 12 to 20 pounds.

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Ragdolls have a very silky, dense top coat.

Another marvelous trait of a Ragdoll are their beautifully sharp blue eyes. Ranging from a pale blue, almost grey, to a vibrant crystal blue. img_20180113_125617636

 

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8 month old Luna with adult 14-year-old domestic medium hair. Note the size.

TEMPERMENT

The Ragdoll gets their name from their tendency to “flop” and go limp when being handled. They earn the description of being “dog-like” while they tend to follow their human around the house, greet them at the door, or keep an ever watchful eye on them. Ragdolls even come when called and some even play fetch! Furthermore, if they find a suitable canine match, these cats actually enjoy being with their four-legged cousins and will often buddy up with them. These cats enjoy being in their owners lap, but also posses a very playful side as well, even though they generally are quite low-key. Ragdolls are very quick learners, so as long as they are given plenty of positive reinforcement and treats, there should be no problem convincing them to use a scratching post instead of your couch.

Ragdolls have a quiet, soft voice, and do not tend to vocalize as some other cat breeds. Unless it is feeding time or there is something terribly wrong, you can expect your Ragdoll to be a very quiet keeper.

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Asleep with her buddy
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Baby “Luna” and her nanny

Ragdolls are a very unique breed. Not only are they simply gorgeous, but they have such a desirable temper that they make a great fit for just about any household.

 

 

Music and Your Pet

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Do you leave the radio or t.v. on for your pet while you’re away from home? If you do, don’t worry- you are not alone. I would often leave Classical music streaming at home while I was at work. My once anxious Great Dane, Vito, would slowly relax on his bed while Mozart and Beethoven played. After a month or so this response seemed to lessen and have a weaker effect. So I began to stream Elvis while I was away, and I would watch as he once again slipped off into a state of peace and serenity. His energy changing once again from tense, anxious, “Where are you going Mom!? Take me!” to ” Okay, I’m going to lay right here on my bed, wake me when you get back.” Although this process may seem to a human being to be an awkward behavior or a strange concept, there’s actually real science behind it.

According to research done by the Scottish ASPCA, dogs in particular were more relaxed while being played classical music in their kennels. The sounds were able to lower heart rates, reduce the amount of barking, and lessen the tell-tale “stress” sign of standing around aimlessly. Male canines especially were more responsive than females. Although these findings brought drastic behavioral changes, the effects did not last long (24 hours to be exact.)  However, classical music may not be the only genre your pet will respond to.

There are many audio tracks available on You Tube, for example, that help your bird to learn songs. Although interaction with your bird is ultimately the best way to encourage verbal retention, these audio clips which loop repetitively provide a good level of mental stimulus for most birds. Birds are able to recognize beat, tempo and frequency ranges and in turn try to mimic or translate those sounds into their own birdsong. The ability to perceive beat is not easy to find in any species other than the avian. If doubt exists of this uniqueness, you will find proof in the “dancing” and head bobbing that ensues with a boogeying Budgie, a two-stepping Cockatoo, or any bird for that matter!

To appeal to your pets musical tastes, you must first acknowledge how each species communicates. As birds are more keen on picking up tempos and frequencies of other birds in their vocal range; the same can be said for cats. Psychologists at the University of Wisconsin developed feline friendly songs to help decode the mystery behind cats and music. Working along the same theory of communication, they were able to create music that cats were noticeably interested in and in particular, the oldest and youngest of the tested group. Examples of the “cat music” can be found here.

Music appreciation goes beyond the realm of household pets however; as the Wild Dolphin Foundation explains. It is the percussive sounds of the 90’s rock band Radiohead that sweeps their dolphins off their feet! (Or should I say fins.)

Regardless of your species of pet; consider giving them the treat of music. You will be surprised at the results.