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Educational Articles

Cats + Characteristics

  • Cats are not completely color blind as they can see yellow and blue as well as shades of grey. Their eye structure does allow them to see better in dim light compared to people. Near-sightedness is common among cats.

  • With over 70 pure breeds and countless combinations of mixed breeds, there are lots of cats to choose from. That's a good thing, because cats are the #1 pet in the United States. Of course, all cats consider themselves number one!

  • Despite the huge variety in coat color, there are only two basic pigments that determine the color of canines: eumelanin (black) and phaeomelanin (red). All different variations in color are created by these two pigments, which are both forms of melanin.

  • Inherited traits or disorders are passed down in an animal's genetic code. This genetic code is found in the animal's DNA. The DNA contains thousands of genes. A gene is a specific DNA sequence that leads to the expression of an inherited characteristic.

  • Each time that DNA is replicated, errors can be made. One base may be switched for another base, for example an A switched with a C. In more severe situations, an entire section of the genetic code can be deleted or moved to a different location. Depending on where in the DNA this mutation occurs, the effects of these mutations may vary from nonexistent to severe.

  • Deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) is a long molecule that contains an animal’s entire genetic code. DNA is primarily located within the nucleus of each cell. In the nucleus, enzymes transcribe the DNA bases into a substance called RNA (ribonucleic acid), which serves as a messenger, taking the DNA message out into the cytoplasm of the cell where the RNA is translated into proteins. These proteins are responsible for a number of functions in the cell and throughout the body, primarily by acting as enzymes that regulate various cell reactions. DNA tests allow us to examine an animal’s DNA in order to see whether they carry certain genetic diseases. DNA testing can also be used to determine the ancestry of an animal.

  • Ownerless cats may look the same, but there is a difference between stray and feral cats. A feral cat is born and lives in the wild with little or no human contact. A stray cat is a domestic cat that has been abandoned or has strayed from home and become lost. A stray cat may be presently homeless but was once a pet that lived with humans.

  • Cats are always going to lick but it is sometimes embarrassing when they lick their private parts. Licking after eliminating is normal; however, if your cat licks more frequently or you notice other signs such as discharge, swollen or red penis, vulva, or anus, pustules, discoloration of the skin, or you observe your cat straining to urinate, see your veterinarian for help. Appropriate medical therapy can reduce your cat’s discomfort.

  • Like us, cats are mammals that are covered with hair. But there are definite differences in the hair that covers our bodies. While we may have whiskers on our faces, they are nothing in comparison to kitty whiskers!