Heatstroke is a condition that gets a lot of publicity when the hottest of the summer weather really hits us, generally in relation to the very acute and real risk that the heat can pose to dogs left in cars or other hot, enclosed spaces.
However, while the risk of heatstroke in dogs and people is well known and understood, virtually any other mammal can suffer from the same affliction-including cats.
Cats are of course rather more self sufficient and able to take care of themselves than dogs are, and so heatstroke in cats is not as common as it is in dogs-but it can still occur, and the symptoms and situations that can cause it are rather different in cats than dogs.
In this article, we will look at heatstroke in cats in more detail, including the risk factors, symptoms, and how to keep your cat safe. Read on to learn more.
What is heatstroke?Heatstroke’s scientific name is “hyperthermia,” which means a dangerously high body temperature-the opposite of hypothermia. When the body reaches a certain temperature, it not only poses a threat to all of the organs and systems that support life, but takes away the body’s ability to regulate its own temperature and cool itself down, which can be very serious and even potentially fatal.
Once a cat has developed heatstroke, it is vital to work quickly to reduce their temperature and seek veterinary advice as a matter of urgency.
How do cats develop heatstroke?As mentioned, cats are generally self sufficient and good at taking care of themselves, and they also have a lot more common sense than dogs do when it comes to steering clear of threats and potentially dangerous situations! This means that while heatstroke in cats is less common than in dogs, the type of scenarios that can cause it are apt to be rather different too.
Cats will naturally seek shade and water when they get too hot-for instance, you may have noticed that your cat likes to lie flat out on tiles or stone floors when it is very warm, as this contact with the cool floor helps to lower their body temperature. Additionally, cats evolved in very hot, desert climates, and so they are able to tolerate heat much better than dogs or humans.
A cat might develop heatstroke if they are unable to find shade or act to cool down their own body temperature with either shade, water of both. This can happen if your cat is kept indoors and the weather is very hot and they run out of water, or for instance if your cat gets trapped in a shed or garage and cannot find water nor escape.
Identifying heatstroke in catsThe normal body temperature of the cat ranges around the 38.5 Celsius range, which is a couple of degrees warmer than that of humans. A temperature of over 40 degrees is approaching overheating, and if their temperature continues to rise, this can be very dangerous.
Cats are good at masking signs of distress and illness, and so the symptoms that they will display may well be harder to spot than it is in dogs. When the weather is hot, or if you have reason to suspect your cat is too hot, stay alert to the following symptoms:
Inability to settle or get comfortable, continually moving around to find a cooler or more shady space.
In order to reduce your cat’s temperature, you should first of all make sure that they are moved to the coolest spot you can find-such as on a tiled floor, or even in the bottom of an empty bath tub. Then, soak some towels in cool water and place these over your cat, changing them frequently as they heat up.
A cat that has heatstroke is unlikely to struggle unduly or resist this, as they will simply feel too ill.
Don’t try to pour water into their mouths, and make sure the water is not freezing, as this may send your cat into shock.
You may however wrap some ice cubes or a bag of frozen peas (or similar) in a towel, and place this next to your cat.
Blood circulation around the body is what helps to distribute heat, so try to place cool towels or other products close to your cat’s pulse points, on the inside of the things, and on the front legs, on the inside of the leg above the paws.
Stay calm, and take your cat to the vet as soon as possible.
Curly haired Rex cats have cropped up throughout history. Some, like the curly coated Persian and the Rexed Maine Coon (Maine Wave) have died out, but some have become established breeds. There are now several of these available in the UK. But many people would be hard-pressed to distinguish between the different Rex breeds, and indeed often think that they must be related. However, they are all completely separate breeds, have arisen independently, and in all of them the Rex gene for the curly coat is different. So let us take a look at each of them in turn, and note how they may be distinguished from each other.
Cornish RexThis was the first cat with curly hair to turned into a successful breed. A kitten with the mutation for curly hair appeared in Cornwall in the 1950s. He was bred back to his mother, producing three kittens, two of which had the same curled coat. The mutation was found to be recessive, ie two copies of the Rex gene were needed to produce the curly coat.
The coat of the Cornish Rex lacks guard hairs, and as a result is very soft. The breed's looks are distinctly foreign, with a wedge-shaped head and mussel-shell ears. The body is slender, of medium length, and hard and muscular. It is carried high on long legs.
Devon RexThe Devon Rex mutation was first seen in a stray cat in Devon in the 1950s, and in 1960 a feral cat gave birth to a litter which included a curly coated kitten. This kitten was bred to a Cornish Rex, but the resulting kittens were all straight coated. However, when one of these was bred back to the original cat, a curly coated kitten was produced. Tests showed the gene to be another simple recessive, but clearly a different gene from that for the Cornish Rex.
In fact, apart from also having curly hair, the Devon Rex looks nothing like the Cornish Rex. Unlike the Cornish Rex, the Devon's coat has guard, awn, and down hairs. Although the guard hairs are sparse and short, they give the Devon coat a looser, more open-looking curl than the Cornish Rex. Some people have been heard to say jokingly that you can tell the two breeds apart because they obviously go to different hairdressers to get their hair permed!
However, it is the shape of the heads which really distinguishes the cats. While the Cornish Rex has a fairly normal looking foreign look, the Devon's looks are unique. The cats have a wide face tapering to a pointed chin, so that the face is a definite triangle. This is topped by enormous ears, giving the cats a definitely elfin appearance, which many people find very endearing. The breed has a broad chest, widely spaced front legs, and a muscular body. When you see the two of them together, a Devon Rex cannot be confused with a Cornish Rex.
LaPermDespite the quirky name, this breed is not the result of any human hairdressing, but another mutation, this time one that turned up in free-breeding rural American cats. The first LaPerm appeared on a farm in Oregon in 1982. the kitten was bred to local tom cats, and eventually it was established that this was another new gene, but this one was found to be dominant.
The LaPerm is another long, slender cat with an Oriental look. However, you are unlikely to confuse it with the Cornish Rex, for its coat is much less tightly curled. It comes in both short haired and long haired versions, and the curl varies from waves to ringlets. Since the gene is dominant, straight coated 'variants' are also produced.
Selkirk RexThis was another breed which turned up in the USA, where in 1987 a kitten with thick curled hair turned up in a litter born in Montana. This turned out to be another separate gene, also dominant like the LaPerm gene. Therefore straight coated 'variants' are produced, and this breed also has both long haired and short haired versions.
You are very unlikely to mix up the Selkirk Rex with any of the other Rex breeds. Unlike all the other Rex cats, which tend to be long and slender, the Selkirk Rex is a cobby cat, similar to the British Shorthair. It has a sturdy build, but its legs are longer than the British type. The coat is thick and soft, with all three types of hair, and is in a random arrangement of loose curls. The cat has a slightly unkempt appearance, particularly obvious in the long haired Selkirks, and some people describe it affectionately as 'the cat which is having a bad hair day'!
The Temperament of Rex CatsThe Rex breeds differ in temperament as much as they do in looks, if not more so. The Cornish Rex is a high energy breed, similar to most Oriental cats in personality. It is playful, adventurous, and always on the move. It is also very people orientated, and these cats have earned the name 'Velcro cats', for their tendency to be found attached to their owners at every opportunity. The elfin looking Devon Rex is also energetic, but is known particularly for being a mischief maker, an imp in personality as well as looks. The LaPerm is known for being inquisitive, intelligent, and active, but is also very gregarious and people oriented. The Selkirk Rex really stands out in terms of personality as well as looks. These are easy-going, laidback cats, never in a hurry, and content to just be near their owners.
ConclusionSo there you have it. Of necessity, this is just a brief summary of the characteristics of each type of Rex cat and how to tell the difference between them. But hopefully you will be able to distinguish them now, if you see them at cat shows or elsewhere. And maybe you now have an idea which of these could be the breed for you.
Polydactyly refers to having extra digits, like fingers or toes-and a polydactyl cat is one that has extra digits, usually on the front feet, which look and act a little bit like thumbs. While having extra toes can pose a problem for some species of animals, in cats it is usually perfectly fine, and some cats even manage to move around and particularly, climb even more successfully than normal if they have an additional “thumb!”
However, in some rare cases, polydactyly can lead to issues if the cat has too many extra digits, or they are located in a problematic position. If your cat has extra digits or you are expecting a litter from a polydactyl cat (or one that has polydactyly in either their paternal or maternal lineage) it is wise to know what to expect, and how to identify any problems.
In this article, we will look at some of the potential problems that can arise in polydactyl cats, and how to identify them.
How does polydactyly occur in cats?
The trait of having extra toes is a hereditary one, and generally occurs repeatedly within the same breed lines and lineages. Generally, the additional digit that some cats posses is located in the position that you would expect a thumb to be, and while this “thumb” is functional to an extent, it does not have the full range of movement that a real thumb would.
The average cat has four toes on each paw, as well as two dewclaws on the front leg too-and polydactyl cats usually have one additional toe on each of the front feet, although there may be more than one, and they can appear on the hind legs too.
How the additional digit (or digits) are constructed can vary from cat to cat too, with some having extra digits with mobile joints, while for others, their spare toes will do little to nothing!
Problems that polydactyly can cause in catsWhile the vast majority of polydactyl cats are perfectly normal and healthy, occasionally, the trait can cause problems depending on how it presents itself.
In some presentations of polydactyly, the additional toes may have twisted joints, which can affect movement and be painful for the cat too. In extreme cases, the twisting can extend to the leg and leg joints too, which can be virtually crippling.
However, it is not always possible to tell through observation if a polydactyl cat or kitten’s extra digits are deformed or causing problems-x-ray examination is required to find out what is really going on at bone and joint level.
A more common issue that can accompany polydactyl toes is that the toes themselves grow strangely, either because there is not really enough room for them, or simply due to other anomalies. This may mean that the toes grow at an angle that causes their claws to become ingrown into the pads of the paws, and/or to dig into the leg, or catch on the other leg or foot when they walk. If this leads to problems with normal movement or causes injury due to the position of the claw or its propensity to catch or dig in, the extra toe or toes causing the problem may need to be removed.
As well as this, not all extra toes will be the same length and shape as the normal toes, which may mean that their claws are uneven lengths, which will affect the cat’s ability to grasp and grip, or may curl under the toes, again causing problems walking normally.
It is also possible for a cat to be born with so many extra toes that they cannot move properly as a result of this, although this is not hugely common.
Finally, in some presentations of polydactyly in cats, the extra toes may not be fully formed digits in their own right, and may be fully or partially fused at the bone or skin and joints to one of the other toes. This type of presentation is one of the most potentially problematic, and again, surgical correction is often required.
What if you own a polydactyl cat?If you already own a polydactyl cat, you will probably become aware early on if their extra toes are going to cause a problem, and it is always a good idea to get advice from your vet if you have any queries or concerns.
It is if you are planning to breed from a polydactyl cat or are expecting a litter that you should be particularly vigilant for the signs of any problems, as often, issues will not become self-evident until the kitten has grown and developed a little more.
However, the vast majority or polydactyl cats are not only robust and healthy, but even sometimes exceptionally good hunters and climbers if their extra digits are useful, and may be able to beat the average eighteen-toed cat hands down!
Cats have a relatively short lifespan, and after losing a cat, many people swear that they will never have another one. Sooner or later, however, most of us decide to get another cat, and we want that new cat to live as long as possible. So it is natural for us to look for the longest living breed of cat. Of course, there is no guarantee that any cat will have a long life. Accident or unexpected illness can end the life of any animal. But some cat breeds do live longer than others. So which are the longest lived cat breeds? Here are the Top Ten breeds for long life, according to most experts...
The beautiful Burmese tops the list when it comes to long life. Indeed, the official holder of the record for the longest living cat is a 35 year old Burmese. Most of them don't live quite this long, but their average lifespan is said to be 18 to 20 years, and that is much longer than most cats. So if you like this people-friendly, emotional breed, the one you get will probably be with you for a very long time.
Siamese cats are often quoted as one of the longest living breeds, and they can live for 16 to 20 years or more. They are not for everyone, being extremely sociable and very vocal. Also, they hate being left alone, so are not suitable as an only cat unless you can spend a lot of time with them. But if they are a breed you can get along with, they are likely to be with you for a very long time
The national symbol of the Isle of Man is also often quoted as being a long lived breed, and they frequently live well beyond 15 years. They are quiet and affectionate cats, suitable for most households; they are also happy if left alone. However, if you decide to get one , do make sure you go to a reputable and knowledgeable breeder, as Manx cats can suffer from skeletal problems caused by the same gene which causes their much-reduced tails. But if you start off with a healthy Manx, it should be with you for many years.
A hybrid cat breed resulting from the mating of an African Serval with a Siamese, these cats are still quite rare and look very wild. But they are said to live for anything from 17 to 20 years, and suffer from few health problems. They are also beautiful, athletic, and intelligent. So if you can find one, this could well be the cat for you.
The Bombay often lives for between 15 and 20 years. They can even live longer than this; a friend of mine had one which recently died at the grand old age of 21. These jet black cats are very like the Burmese in personality, so are friendly, sociable, and have bags of personality. But they are quite unusual and it could be difficult to find one.
This beautiful silver-grey cat is quite a new breed, and again, you may have difficulty finding one. But if you do, it should live a long time, for they are said to have a lifespan of anything from 15 to 18 years. The Nebelung is said to be rather introverted, and is inclined to attach itself to one or two people rather than being a cat which loves everyone. So if you want a one-person, beautiful cat for a long time, this could be the breed for you.
Another rather rare cat, the Egyptian Mau lives for between 15 and 20 years, and is a hearty, healthy cat with no known health problems of any kind. They are affectionate cats, which have also been shown to be excellent hunters. So if you let your cat out, and want it to keep down the mice, this could be your chosen breed.
Despite looking a bit like a fluffy toy, the Ragdoll is a tough and healthy breed, and has been known to live for anything from 15 to 25 years. They are friendly, laidback, and unflappable, and also cope very well as indoor-only cats; indeed, many people recommend not letting them out at all. So if this is your type of cat, you may well have it with you for many years.
Despite its lack of hair and to some people rather odd looks, the Sphynx can live for a long time, often 15 to 20 years. However, they can suffer from cold in the winter and sun damaged skin in the summer due to the lack of fur, so are best kept as indoor cats. But with the right care, this could be a friend you have for a long time. Indeed, one famous Sphynx lived to be 34 years old!
10. PersianThe beautiful fluffy Persian can live for a long time – 15 to 20 years. I recently lost one at the age of sixteen and a half. Their long fur requires regular grooming, but other than that they are laidback, friendly cats, which are no trouble.
When faced with a very young, fluffy little kitten it can be hard to decide what is the most adorable thing about them, but one thing that most young kittens have in common are their large, bright and inquisitive clear blue eyes! However, much as many babies that are born with blue eyes often develop a different colour as they get older, so too do kittens’ eyes often change colour as they get a little older, and a blue-eyed kitten may well grow up to be a green, amber or other colour-eyed cat!
If you have ever wondered how or why this happens-kittens born with blue eyes do not keep the blue colour as they get older-in this article, we will attempt to explain this in more detail, and attempt to answer the question of why kittens have blue eyes when young that then turn into another shade later on.
Kittens are born with their eyes closed, and they only begin to open at around ten to fourteen days of age, and the kittens’ mother helps with this process by licking and grooming her young, helping their eyes to unseal and open up for the first time. When this happens, the chances are that your first glimpse of the kittens’ eyes is likely to be blue-but the blue eyes of the kitten are not an actual eye colour per se, in that the blue shade is not caused by pigment, but by an absence of pigment.
It is only as they start to get a little bit older than the true pigment that is responsible for the resulting end eye colour becomes established, so unless your cat is a pedigree that has a predictable eye colour, you are unlikely to know what this colour will be until it begins to develop!
Cats and eye colour
As your kitten grows and develops beyond their first couple of weeks, they are developing and growing very quickly, both mentally and physically, and their bodies and appearances begin to take on the permanent traits that they will display for the rest of their lives.
Eye colour is not the only element that this may involve-Siamese kittens are born all white, and only begin to develop their colour points once they are a couple of weeks old!
Cats can display a reasonably wide range of eventual eye colours, including amber, brown, yellow, green and of course, blue too-and aside from the blue colour, the end colour is caused by the pigmentation present in the eye. Cats often have flecks of different colours within their eyes too, or in some cases, can display an eye that contains two different and distinct colours, such as blue and brown.
It is also possible for the cats’ two eyes to be different colours-such as one blue and one amber. This is more likely to occur in certain types of cats than others, particularly in this case, white cats, because the pigmentation present in the coat is related to the pigmentation present in other areas of the body too, like the coat.
DNA and pigmentationAs mentioned, eye colour for all shades other than blue is caused by pigmentation, while blue eyes are actually caused by an absence of pigment. The blue-eyed trait can also be identified in the DNA of the cat, and because few traits relating to DNA are standalone traits and unconnected to other factors, blue eyes can also indicate an elevated chance of certain other traits too-such as white fur, and potentially, congenital deafness.
In cats with one blue eye and one pigmented eye that has white fur, they are actually more likely to be deaf in the ear on the same side as the blue eye than they are in the other ear!
Permanently blue eyesWhile most kittens lose their blue eye colour as they get older and develop pigment in their eyes, some cats retain their blue eyes for life, and while this is the most unusual cat eye colour, it is not hugely uncommon. Blue eyes are a breed trait in some breeds, such as the Siamese, as mentioned above, and also more common in white cats of indeterminate breed too.
This means that it is sometimes possible to predict or know with certainty if your cat will retain blue eyes when they grow up, if you have your heart set on owning a blue-eyed cat. However, if you are buying or adopting a moggy or mixed-breed cat, the chances are that their eyes will not be blue, although it is not unheard of!
If your adult cat does have blue eyes, it is possible that they have some heritage in their bloodline of a breed that retains adult blue eyes, and this can help to tell you a little bit more about your cat and their origins!
The beautiful Norwegian Forest Cat is becoming increasingly popular, both as a pet and on the show bench. But not many people know about its history. Indeed some think it is the same breed as the Maine Coon, which has fairly similar looks. It is possible that the two breeds have the same ancestry – see later in this article. But they are more likely to have arisen completely separately.
As with many old breeds, a number of myths and legends have grown up concerning the cat's origins. In Norway, these cats were originally thought of as fairy cats. A naturally large breed, they were said to be so huge that not even the gods could lift them. One tale relates how Thor, the strongest of the gods, lost a contest of strength to Jormungand, who was disguised as a Forest cat. Jormungand was the serpent son of Loki, god of mischief and deceit.
Breeders from Finland describe the Norwegian Forest Cat as the 'mystic wildcat of the fairy tales.' Norse mythology tells that these cats were the favourites of Freyja, goddess of love, fertility and the hearth. Freyja travelled in a chariot drawn by either two white or two grey Norwegian Forest Cats. Legend says that the presence of the goddess passing through the countryside caused seeds to sprout and grow.
armers who left out pans of milk for her divine cats were supposed to be blessed with bountiful harvests. Freyja also symbolized domesticity, and she was often portrayed with Norwegian Forest cats playing around her feet. Lovers wanting to marry used to ask for the blessing of Freyja and her cats. Besides the Norwegian Forest Cat’s role in transporting Freyja about the countryside, they drove her into battle against the Aesirs, the gods of the dark side. They also pulled her chariot to the funeral of Balder, the god of beauty and kindness.
Norwegian Forest Cat Origins
It is known from archaelogical evidence that the domestic cat was well established in Scandinavia before 1000 AD. The Vikings had traded throughout Europe and even had direct links with the Ottoman Empire. So there were a number of routes through which cats could have arrived in Norway. It could be that the mutation for long hair, thought to have arisen in the near East, arrived in Scandinavia well before it was imported into western Europe in the ancestors of the Persian.
Some people even suggest that the forebears of the Norwegian Forest Cat travelled to North America with the expeditions of Leif Erikson around the year 1000, forming a foundation stock that later became the Maine Coon. This would explain the similarities between the two breeds, and is a good story - but the trouble is that there is no evidence to support it! It is not even certain that the longhair gene was present in Scandinavia at this time.
So the breed's origins are in fact lost in the mist of time. The only thing that is certain is that long haired cats had a great advantage over their short haired cousins when it came to living in the harsh climate of Scandinavia. In addition, the muscular build of the ancestors of the Norwegian Forest Cat made them fearsome predators – cats who were quite able to take care of themselves. Over time, long hair became more common in Scandinavian farm and household cats, and they were more prevalent than short haired cats. But no-one really regarded the long haired cats of Norway as a separate breed until the 20th century.
In the late 1930s, examples of the Skaukatt or Norsk Skogkatt (literally Norwegian Forest Cat) were shown in Germany, to great acclaim. A group of breeders made efforts to preserve the type that had evolved before it faded back into the general feline population. This is always a risk with an unrecognised breed, particularly one with long hair, since this is a recessive trait which would be lost in any crossbreeding with shorthairs. World War II interrupted these efforts, but in the 1950s the task was taken up again. Eventually a formal breed club was established in 1975. The Norwegian Forest Cat reached full championship status in FIFe in 1977, and was also designated the official cat of Norway by King Olaf.
Two years after attaining full recognition in Europe, Norwegian Forest Cats reached the USA, where they were soon nicknamed 'Wegies'. They were recognised by TICA first, in the 1980s, then the CFA and other associations. In the UK, the GCCF began registering the cats in the 1980s, and from a very small start the Norwegian Forest Cat rose to just outside the top ten breeds within twenty years.
The Appearance of Strange New Colourshe Norwegian Forest Cat is only allowed in the traditional so-called 'Western' colours, ie black, blue, red, cream, tortie, and blue tortie. 'Eastern' colours – chocolate, lilac, cinnamon, fawn, and caramel – are not permitted. So it was an unpleasant surprise, at least for those interested in breeding and showing, when kittens that appeared to be lilac and chocolate turned up in a litter in Sweden in 1993. As it turned out, these apparently Oriental colours were not what they seemed to be. These colours were in fact something new – they change markedly as the cat matures, so that kittens born with black or blue in their coats can later become reddish or yellowish. They have been called 'fox colours', 'x colours', or 'amber colours'.
FIFe has now settled on calling the 'amber' and included them within the colour classes, but only as the trait affects black and blue coats. It is generally felt that there needs to be more clarity on how the mutation affects other coat colours and how it can be distinguished from red and cream, before there can be wider acceptance.
The Russian blue is one of the most popular breeds all over the world and naturally they've always been a first choice in their home country of Russia. In the UK, the Russian Blue is rated the 10th most popular breed based on trends and advertisement data compiled over the last twelve months, beating our own home-grown British Longhair as well as other well-known breeds such as the Burmese and many others!
A lot is said about how cool cats are, both metaphorically and literally, and because our own domestic cats evolved from wild ancestors in arid desert regions, even pet cats are well equipped at remaining cool enough when everyone else around them is baking hot!
However, like many things pertaining to cats, cats are very subtle and discreet about how and why they do things, and it may seem to many people that cats simply have a mystical ability to stay comfortable when it is hot, even when dogs, people and other pets are finding the heat really challenging.
While there are certainly a lot of mystical things about cats and most of us get through out entire lives without ever unlocking all of their mysteries, how cats keep their cool when the weather is hot is actually very scientific, as well as simple! In this article we will look at the various ways that cats keep their cool in hot weather, to explain away some of the mysticism! Read on to learn more.
When the weather is really hot and most of us are trying to avoid moving any more than possible, most of us consider our furry friends with some pity, thinking that it must be terrible to have to wear a thick fur coat when it is already the height of summer!
However, while fur does of course fulfil the main role of insulating the cat in cold weather so that they don’t get too cold, it can also provide the opposite effect in the summer. Your cat’s fur coat protects them from the direct rays of the sun, and also insulate them against overheating beyond a certain point.
Hairless cat breeds such as the Sphynx are much less able to regulate their temperature and are much more likely to suffer from sunburn and heatstroke, and so they need special care and attention in the hotter weather.
Cats’ natural temperature
While we often talk about cool cats, cats are actually very warm animals all told! As mentioned, they hail from warm, arid climates whose high temperatures are well above anything that we are likely to experience in the UK, and they are naturally more comfortable in the heat than we as humans are.
The resting basic body temperature of cats is a degree or so higher than that of people too. This means that your cat’s idea of an ambient temperature will be slightly higher than yours, and that your cat is apt to declare things “too cold!” and seek out a source of heat when we are comfortable and think that it is just warm enough.
Heat exchange via cool surfaces
You may well have noticed that when the weather is hot, your cat is apt sot lounge around flat out on cool surfaces such as the tiled floor or your kitchen or utility room, the floor of the bathroom, or even in the bottom of an empty bath! Doing this allows your cat to get all of their tummy in contact with a surface that is cooler than the air around them, and this large surface area functions as a very effective heat exchange surface to allow them to bring their core body temperature down.
Resting and sleeping
While cats are renowned for spending the majority of their lives asleep or lazing around, this is apt to kick up a notch when the weather is really warm, and your cat will likely spend a great deal of their time sleeping, dozing or simply flumped out!
Obviously the more active that you are at any time of the year, the warmer you will feel-and so the less that you do, the better you will be able to keep cool. The same is true for your cat, and so they will likely be less interested in play and hunting and more interested in lazing about when it is really hot!
Extra grooming and licking
Cats spend a significant amount of their time grooming their coats and taking care of their personal appearance, but when it is warm out, there is more to this behaviour than simply being finicky about hygiene! When your cat licks their fur, their fur becomes slightly moist, and this moisture then evaporates off in a cooling process much like sweating for us people.
Additionally, licking means that your cat’s tongue, which is rich in blood vessels and capillaries, will come into contact with the cooler air and help them to lower their internal temperature, much as dogs do by panting.
When it comes to the popularity of cats in the UK, the domestic crossbreed far outnumbers any pure breed and likely will for the long term too. But in terms of pedigrees, if the average person was asked to name some pure breeds, they’d probably be able to come up with a total of five to ten, with the Persian featuring heavily towards the early part of most people’s lists.
Based on advertisement information on Pets4Homes, the Persian is not actually the most popular or commonly advertised cat breed at all - for the past 2 years in a row, the Persian has consistently come in as the 4th most popular cat breed in the UK, behind the British Shorthair, Bengal and Ragdoll. At the time of writing, around 50 Persian cats for sale are listed on Pets4Homes, compared to well over 100 for some other breeds, such as the British shorthair.
However, the Persian certainly is always at the front of many cat owner’s consciousness, and many cat lovers aspire to being able to own one one day, or at least have a softy spot for these large, fluffy and very beautiful cats! So, why is the Persian so popular? In this article, we will attempt to find out.
The Persian as we know itThe Persian cat breed today is virtually unrecognisable from their historical appearance, even if you go back less than eighty years-until that point, Persian cats did not have the signature flat (brachycephalic) faces that are what most people think of as their main trait, instead having a delicate, normal face structure instead.
In fact, the flat face of the breed is caused by a genetic mutation-an anomaly, that was first isolated in 1942, and had it not been for selective breeding since that time to reinforce the heredity of that gene, it would have become bred out of the Persian population very quickly.
Today, Persian cats that do not have a flat face are known as doll-faced Persians or traditional Persians, and they also have a strong following of owners and breeders that both prefer the natural appearance of the breed, and that have concerns for the health of their flat-faced cousins.
Both types of Persians, however, have a long, soft and luxurious coat and share all of the other common Persian traits.
PopularityLong haired cats might not be exactly rare today, but they are not as common as shorthaired cats, and back in the 20th century, longhaired cats would have been even rarer. Coupled with this, the Persian’s exotic origins in Iran (despite the fact that the breed was already firmly established in the UK during the 19th century) meant that they were desirable to a lot of people as both a beautiful, loving pet and potentially, a talking point and something a little different.
Certainly it is true that during the early and mid 20th century, a Persian cat would have been seen as an aspirational pet, and not something that would have been within reach of the average working cat-loving man on the street!
However, their popularity has endured and even risen since these times, leading to their continued popularity today.
Why so popular?
If you asked any given Persian owner or enthusiast what they like about the breed, you would undoubtedly get as many answers as people! The reasons for their popularity are numerous, and this is no doubt what helps to ensure that there are never a shortage of people wishing to own them!
Their flat brachycephalic faces, which is of course an unusual trait in a cat is what draws many people to them, much as the same appeal is replicated in popular dog breeds such as the French bulldog and the pug. However, this trait can come with complications of its own, such as overheating in hot weather, breathing problems and potentially, eye problems too.
Any person considering buying a Persian cat should of course do lots of research to ensure that they purchase from a breeder selling only healthy cats, in order to ensure the cat’s health and comfort.
The coat of the Persian cat too is of course long, plush and very tactile, and delightful to stroke and play with! However, again this comes at a cost-the Persian needs almost daily brushing and grooming to keep their coats in good condition, and they are very prone to getting knots and tangles if this is neglected!
However, ultimately it is the Persian personality that really wins people over and keeps them fans for like-they love being adored and pampered, and are incredibly sweet, loving and entertaining with their owners. They also tend to be calm and not nervous about meeting new people, and will often sneak onto a visitor’s lap for some fuss when they think no one is looking!
As is usually the case when it comes to tracking the popularity of a breed, the combination of positive aspects that they possess is what really tips the scale-and the Persian is notable for having all of these things in combination, hence their enduring appeal.