Peterbald – Hairless Beauty

Cat of the Month ~ February 2020
Peterbald
Black Peterbald

Photograph: © Tica

 

With these cold, wet, winter days still upon us we at Moggyblog have turned our attention to a cat that has very little hair or fur and some are even classed as ‘nude.’ How they ever coped with sub-zero Russian winters we can only guess.

The beautiful Peterbald breed was first developed in 1993-4, when (it is said) a Russian breeder named Olga S. Mironova crossed Afinguen Myth, a brown tabby Donskoy, with an Oriental Shorthair female by the name of Radma Vom Jagerhof. At the time their offspring were gaining popularity in St. Petersburg, Russia, and they were quickly pronounced with the new title Peterbald. New breeding lines were created as Peterbalds were consistently bred out to Donskoy, Oriental Shorthairs and Siamese. TICA accepted the Peterbald in 1997 and recognized them for championship status in 2005.

Peterbald
Young Peterbald Cat at rest

Photograph: © Tica

 

Although recognised by The International Cat Association (TICA) since 1997, the Peterbald is still a relatively rare purebred or pedigreed domestic cat breed. Like the the Don Sphyx, the amount of hair or fur on a Peterbald can vary greatly from cat to cat. There’s even an “Ultrabald” type that doesn’t even have whiskers or eyebrows and they and never grow any hair at all. Then there is Flock or Chamois variety being ninety percent hairless. These cats have a soft silky feel. Other varieties of coat include Velour, Brush coat and Straight coated. However these coats can change significantly throughout their first two years of life, and their hair texture alter as time goes by either by gaining or loosing hair.

The Peterbald took its long and fine-boned, lithe body type and oblong head shape from the Oriental Shorthair. One unique feature about Peterbalds is that they have long front toes with webbing, which allows them to hold and manipulate toys and other items. Their tails are strong and thin with a graceful curl.

peterbald webbed foot
An extreme webbed foot of this Peterbald. © Unknown 
Large ears and ‘whip like’ tail © Lyudmila Baryshnikova


 

The breed are known to be intelligent, very active, friendly and playful, but because they are highly sociable they should always have companions around them, be these human or feline in origin. They can be fine lap cats in spite of their active natures. When venturing outdoors, care must be taken with the hairless Peterbald, as they are sensitive to very hot and cold weather. Sunburn and other skin issues are also potential concerns.

Peterbald showing the folds of his coat (er, his skin)

Photograph: © Tica

 

For keepers of Peterbald cats regular bathing is an important part of the weekly grooming routine. This will prevent the build up of oils on the cats skin, and will also remove daily dirt which may cause irritation. A vets advice should be sought which products to use.

Finally if you are drawn to purchase a beautiful Peterbald cat from a breeder, always investigate any hereditary or genetic conditions by asking about the breeding process. Kittens can also be examined by a vet to provide you with peace of mind before a purchase.

So, like all cat lovers, there is every excuse to stay home and dry and snuggled up with your Peterbald (or any other type of cat, for that matter) this winter and, for the Peterbalds, for the rest of the year too…

References: Wikipedia / Wikimedia Commons, The Spruce Pets, https://www.facebook.com/baryshnikova.lyida & Others

We’ve featured these other hairless felines if you’re interested? The Sphynx in 2007 and the Donskoy in 2012. How time flies reader.

A little dot with the cutest tail you ever did see.

Photograph: © http://alienhairlesscat.com/

 

Himalayan

The Himalayan, Himalayan Persian (or Colourpoint Persian as it is commonly referred to in Europe), is a sub-breed of long-haired cat similar in type to the Persian, with the exception of its blue eyes and its point colouration which were derived from crossing the Persian with the Siamese.

The creation of the ‘Himmy’ took years of selective breeding as the two cats from which it is derived are totaly different. The Persian then: is short stocky and heavy-boned, with long fur, whereas the Siamese: is long slim, and fine-boned and with short fur!

Cat of the Month ~ October 2019
Himalayan
Himalayan ~ Eyes transfixed by ?

Photograph: © Robert and Eunice Pearcy

It was in 1924 that a swedish geneticist start the cross breed process, by crossing a Siamese, Birman and a Persian cat. These trials were not completed it seems, and, it took a jump across the pond (careful Oscar) to Harvard Medical School 1930, where two medical students crossed Siamese with Smoke, Silver Tabby and Black Persians, producing a large number of short-haired kittens. Two of these kittens were mated, resulting in the birth of the first long haired black female Himalayan. When breeding this animal with her father (look away now, Oscar!) the resulting cat was the first Himalayan, with both points and long hair.

Some registries may classify the Himalayan as a long-haired sub-breed of Siamese, or a Colourpoint sub-breed of Persian. The World Cat Federation has merged them with the Colourpoint Shorthair and Javanese into a single breed, known as the Colourpoint.

The Cat Fanciers’ Association considers the Himalayan Persian simply a colour variation of the Persian, rather than a separate breed, although they do compete at Cat Shows in their own colour divisions. It was for the colour (only) that the breed was named “Himalayan”: a reference to the coloration of Himalayan animals, and in particular the Himalayan rabbit.

A Seal Point Himalayan ~ ready for action

Photograph: © Robert and Eunice Pearcy

These cats are good natured, intelligent, and generally very social, but they have been known to be moody at times. Because of their heritage from the Siamese cats, they tend to be more active than Persians.

Himalayans are good indoor companion cats. They are gentle, calm and like most cats they are playful. Like the Siamese, most Himalayans love to stalk and chase balls of wool, mouse or fish toys and anything long and thin like string. Himalayans are devoted and dependent upon their humans for companionship and protection. They seem to really like the affection of a human and generally love to be petted and groomed.

Care for your Himalayan

If you want to bond with your Himalayan, why not spend half an hour grooming her a day/every day. She will love it if she is typical of her kind, and after all this grooming is though is essential to the wellbeing of a Himalayan.

if you’re serious about keeping a Himalayan. Because they have long, silky hair that tangles and mats easily, a Himalayan’s coat should be brushed daily. This will remove and prevent tangling and mats, and help remove any dirt and dust (after all the coat will act like a duster around your home). Professional grooming is also recommended every few months to ensure their coat is healthy and clean, but for most this may be a little expensive.

Like all cats Himalayan’s love to sharpen thier claws, and what better place than the legs of your favourite occasional table. Many advise trimming of claws but we wouldn’t advise it (would we Oscar, you like your scratching too much for that). How about finding some soft material and putting that around the legs of your precious furniture, then we will all get along just fine. (so, please for Oscars sake, leave them paws alone)!

Examination of your cat weekly will uncover a multitiude of problems (well hopefully not). For example, Himalayans’ pointed ears are susceptible to capturing dirt and whatever else can fall from the sky or a hedge in your garden. This, if left undisturbed, can lead to irritation and later infection. So, if you see or find debris in your cat’s ears, use a pet ear cleaner and cotton ball to gently remove it. It is not advised to use cotton buds as the ears of all cats are so delicate and full of small capilliaries carrying blood (it can get messy and Oscar won’t thank you, no sir). If the ears are very red or inflamed, very dirty, or smell strongly, take her to the veterinarian as soon as possible, and get it checked out.

Fianlly, we’re glad to say that Himalayans are vary playful, but they will get into mischief if they become bored. So, the golden rule is – Get those cat toys out and Keep Playing. It’ll do you good too …..

Sources: Wikipedia.org, The Pictorial Encyclopedia of Cats by Britt Strader & others

Singhsth the Tiger

Cat of the Month ~ August 2019

Singhsth (aka Tiger 57)
caught on camera, sheltering in a cave in India

Photograph: © David Yarrow

After more than two hundred hours spent in the humid furnace that is the Ranthambore National Park, India, this image of the elusive tiger was finally captured.

Ranthambore Park is a wildlife sanctuary containing a huge variety of animals, birds and reptiles within it. These include Tigers, Leopards, Striped Hyenas, Sambar Deer, Hanuman Langurs, Macaques, Jackals, Jungle cats, Caracals, Common Palm Civets and Desert Cats.

The well known 4 year old ‘Singhsth’ had retreated out of the heat of the day into the cool, dark recess of a cave. Vipul Jain could just see the tiger in the cave mouth and he then passed the message on to his companion, photographer David Yarrow. Luckily the sunlight was just strong enough to light up the tigers face in the shadow of the cave…. “if it was a foot further back in the cave, there would have been no shot” recalled Mr Yarrow.

Tiger 57 image
Singhsth prowling in his usual domain

Photograph: © Amit Vyas

Credits

Image 1: David Yarrow

Image 2: Amit Vyas

Ranthambore National Park, India

Original Article is here

The good news is that, after many years of decline, the Indian Tiger census is showing rapid population growth. BBC ‘Tigers in India’ News

Fluffy the Miracle Moggy

Cat of the Month ~ February 2019

They brought her in like she was a snowball!

Fluffy’s fur was matted with snow when her owners found her in a frozen ball and unmoving in a field in northern Montana, USA. Fearing the worst, they called the local animal hospital.

The veterinary team arrived soon after, and the poor creature was rushed to an emergency room in the local Animal Clinic of Kalispell. Here, the skilled vets used warm blankets and a hairdryer to slowly bring the feline back to life from her frozen slumbers.

Fluffy is hardly recognisable as a Cat

Photograph: © Animal Clinic of Kalispell

At long last, after a few tentative hours, Fluffy started showing signs of recovery. The clinic then made a Facebook post about Fluffy’s recovery, which subsequently went viral….and it’s no wonder! The post explained the story of this poor but lucky feline.

“…in an amazing success and survival story from this week. Some clients found their injured cat buried in snow.” “They brought her to us essentially frozen and unresponsive. Her temperature was very low but after many hours she recovered and is now completely normal. “Fluffy is amazing!”

The story was posted alongside pictures of Fluffy’s incredible recovery, including the image below of a vet using a hairdryer on the cat’s fur.
Fluffy is starting to dry out with the help of that hair dryer

Photograph: © Animal Clinic of Kalispell

Many hundreds of well-wishers commented on the Facebook post, which has had thousands of likes & shares since it was posted.

The final image showed Fluffy looking the picture of health with a completely snow-free coat.

Fluffy comes fully back to life, ready for some more adventures no doubt

Photograph: © Animal Clinic of Kalispell

Oscar and I concur that Fluffy is indeed one heck of a miracle moggy,..and a beauty too. We’re sending our love to her and to her family, on the other side of the pond.

German Rex

Though the details are uncertain it is widely agreed that the  curly coated German Rex is one of the oldest of the Rex cats. In around 1930 an ancestor of the modern German Rex breed was kept by a woman called Frau Erna Schneider in Konigsberg, Germany (Kaliningrad, Russia).

The name of this cat was Kater Munk and he was said to be the offspring of a Russian Blue and a mahogany coloured Angora.

Our cat Kater was then, the earliest recorded example of a Rex cat, and was referred to at the time as a Prussian Rex.

Cat of the Month ~ October 2018
Kater Munk, One for the ladies it appears.
Photograph: © Schneider

It is accepted that the German Rex of today is a direct descendent of Kater Munk. Many cats of this type were bred from Munk in and around Konigsberg, until his death in 1945, but interestingly none of these offspring would have had curly fur – as the allele (genes) of Munk’s straight-haired mates would always dominate. The Schneiders nevertheless valued this strong tom cat with a talent for catching fish from the family’s garden pond.

Feline researchers do not generally consider Kater Munk to be related to the German Rex breed, and state that he was never bred from (this seems at odds with the other stories that he was a prolific breeder, Ed). Anyway, it was reported that in the summer of 1951 a black curly coated cat was noticed and taken in by Dr. Rose Scheuer-Karpin from the grounds of Hufeland Hospital in Berlin. The cat, was renamed Lammchen (little lamb) and subsequently went on to have several litters of kittens.

It was in 1956 that Dr Rose decided to mate Lammchen to one of her sons (Fridolin). This resulted in a litter of curly coated kittens. Some people have speculated that Lammchen is a descendant of Kater Munk, but we will never know the truth for certain. However Dr. Rose’ supposition that Lammchen must have been the result of a mutation, was shown to be correct. Thus, Lämmchen was the first breeder-owned Rex-type cat and the maternal ancestor of all the current German Rex cats.

German Rex
German Rex Cat with claws well sunk in!

Photograph: © catza.net

Today the descendants of Lammchen and Fridolin are the founders of the German Rex breed, though further cross breeding to other mixed breed cats has increased the gene pool considerably.

The German Rex is a medium-sized breed with slender legs of a medium length. The head is round with well-developed cheeks and large, open ears. The eyes are of medium size set in colours often related to the coat colour. The coat is silky and short with a tendency to curl of course. The whiskers also curl though less strongly than in the Cornish Rex. All colours of coat, including white, are allowed. The body development is also much sturdier than in the Cornish Rex. On the whole German Rex are friendly creatures. They are lively, playful, and intelligent and bond with people well.

As already stated, it is not known how Lämmchen relates to Munk, only that the German Rex mutation (on the same gene as in the Cornish Rex) – is recessive, meaning it will only show when both alleles are “Rex”, and that Munk is the first thoroughly documented Rex cat. So Munk is almost certainly related to all German Rex cats in the world today.

Incidentally, there are four types of Rex breeds in existence, these are the German Rex, the Cornish Rex, the Devon and the Selkirk Rex.

References: Wikimedia Commons & Others

The Bengal Tiger

The magnificent, strong and charismatic Bengal Tiger is found primarily in India. It is the most numerous of all tiger subspecies, with more than 2,500* left in the wild.

Small numbers of Bengals are also found in Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan, China and Myanmar.

Cat of the Month ~ April 2018
Jai, Indias most famous Bengal Tiger in the Forest of Maharashtra.

Photograph: ©Unknown, from the imgur.com website

Since April 1973 The Bengal Tiger has been the national animal of both India and Bangladesh (so declared with the initiation of ‘Project Tiger’, a scheme to protect the tigers in India). Prior to this, the Lion was the national animal of India.

Project Tiger saw the creation of India’s many tiger reserves and helped to stabilize a serious decline in numbers. Sadly, poaching and loss of habitat are still major threats to this endagered feline.

It has been shown that the Bengal tiger arrived in the Indian subcontinent around 12,000 years ago, but it still ranks among the biggest wild cats alive today.

Male Bengals have an average total length of 270 to 310 cm including the tail, while females measure 240 to 265 cm on average. The tail is typically 85 to 110 cm long, and on average, tigers are 90 to 110 cm in height at the shoulders. The weight of males ranges from 180 to 258 kg (397 to 569 lb), while that of the females ranges from 100 to 160 kg (220 to 350 lb). Thus, the Bengal tiger rivals the Amur tiger in average weight. The smallest recorded weights for Bengal tigers are from the Bangladesh Sundarbans, where adult females are 75 to 80 kg (165 to 176 lb).

The tiger has exceptionally large teeth. Its canines are 7.5 to 10 cm long and are in fact the longest amongst all cats of the world.

India’s upcoming ‘All India Tiger Estimation 2018’ is a hi-tech initiative to estimate the number of tigers across the country.

The survey is the fourth of its kind and will provide data based on the results of using an Android smart phone App. The plan is to digitize data records and eliminate the (previously) manual process of recording, which is slow and known to be prone to errors. The Wildlife Institute of India (WII) developed the app and named it ‘Monitoring System for Tiger-Intensive Protection and Ecological Status’ or M-STrIPES.

In the Indian subcontinent, tigers inhabit tropical moist evergreen forests, tropical dry forests, moist deciduous forests, mangroves, subtropical and temperate upland forests and alluvial grasslands. Today, the best examples of this habitat type are limited to a few areas at the base of the outer foothills of the Himalayas including the Tiger Conservation Units (TCUs) of Rajaji-Corbett, Bardia-Banke, and the transboundary TCUs Chitwan-Parsa-Valmiki, Dudhwa-Kailali and Shuklaphanta-Kishanpur. Tiger densities in these TCUs are high, in part because of the extraordinary abundance of prey species available.

The Bengal tigers in the Sundarbans in India and Bangladesh are the only tigers in the world inhabiting mangrove forests. The population in the Indian Sundarbans is estimated as 70 tigers in total. In addition to the Indian and Bangladesh tiger populations, other notable populations are to be found in Bhutan and Nepal regions.

The basic social unit of the tiger is the elemental one of mother and offspring. Adult animals congregate only on an occasional and transitory basis when special conditions permit, such as plentiful supply of food. Otherwise they lead solitary lives, hunting individually for the dispersed forest and tall grassland prey animals. They establish and maintain home ranges but must always have access to other tigers (especially those of the opposite sex). Tigers sharing the same ground are well aware of each other’s movements and activities.

Mother and cubs enjoying a dip in Ranthambore, India.

Photograph: Andy Rouse/Rex/Rex USA

The tiger is a carnivore. It prefers hunting large ungulates such as chital, sambar, gaur, and to a lesser extent also barasingha, water buffalo, nilgai, serow and takin. Among the medium-sized prey species it frequently kills wild boar, and occasionally hog deer, muntjac and grey langur. Small prey species such as porcupine, hares and peafowl form a very small part in its diet. Because of the encroachment of humans into tiger habitat, it also preys on domestic livestock.

The nature of the tiger’s hunting method and prey availability results in a “feast or famine” feeding style: they often consume 18–40 kilograms (40–88 lb) of meat at one time. Bengal tigers occasionally hunt and kill predators such as Indian leopard, Indian wolf, Indian jackal, fox, crocodiles, Asiatic black bear, sloth bear, and dhole. They rarely attack adult Indian elephant and Indian rhinoceros, but such extraordinarily rare events have been recorded. In Kaziranga National Park, tigers killed 20 rhinoceros in 2007. If injured, old or weak, or regular prey species are becoming scarce, tigers also attack humans and become man-eaters.

The tiger in India has no definite mating and birth seasons. Most young are born in December and April. Young have also been found in March, May, October and November. In the 1960s, certain aspects of tiger behaviour at Kanha National Park indicated that the peak of sexual activity was from November to about February, with some mating probably occurring throughout the year.

Males reach maturity at 4–5 years of age, and females at 3–4 years. A Bengal comes into heat at intervals of about 3–9 weeks, and is receptive for 3–6 days. After a gestation period of 104–106 days, 1–4 cubs are born in a shelter situated in tall grass, thick bush or in caves. Newborn cubs weigh 780 to 1,600 g (1.72 to 3.53 lb) and they have a thick wooly fur that is shed after 3.5–5 months. Their eyes and ears are closed. Their milk teeth start to erupt at about 2–3 weeks after birth, and are slowly replaced by permanent dentition from 8.5–9.5 weeks of age onwards. They suckle for 3–6 months, and begin to eat small amounts of solid food at about 2 months of age. At this time, they follow their mother on her hunting expeditions and begin to take part in hunting at 5–6 months of age. At the age of 2–3 years, they slowly start to separate from the family group and become transient — looking out for an area, where they can establish their own territory. Young males move further away from their mother’s territory than young females. Once the family group has split, the mother comes into heat again.

They occupied home ranges of 16 to 31 km2 (6.2 to 12.0 sq mi). The home ranges occupied by adult male residents tend to be mutually exclusive, even though one of these residents may tolerate a transient or sub-adult male at least for a time. A male tiger keeps a large territory in order to include the home ranges of several females within its bounds.

Threats

Over the past century tiger numbers have fallen dramatically, with a decreasing population trend. None of the Tiger Conservation Landscapes within the Bengal tiger range is large enough to support an effective population size of 250 individuals. Habitat losses and the extremely large-scale incidences of poaching are serious threats to the species’ survival.

Shocking statistic of fall in tiger range since 1918.

Source: National Geographic

The most significant immediate threat to the existence of wild tiger populations is the illegal trade in poached skins and body parts between India, Nepal and China. The governments of these countries have failed to implement adequate enforcement response, and wildlife crime remained a low priority in terms of political commitment and investment for years. There are well-organised gangs of professional poachers, who move from place to place and set up camp in vulnerable areas. Skins are rough-cured in the field and handed over to dealers, who send them for further treatment to Indian tanning centres.

The illicit demand for bones and body parts from wild tigers for use in Traditional Chinese medicine is the reason for the unrelenting poaching pressure on tigers on the Indian subcontinent. For at least a thousand years, tiger bones have been an ingredient in traditional medicines that are prescribed as a muscle strengthener and treatment for rheumatism and body pain.[69]

Human and tiger confrontations have been common on the Indian Subcontinent for many years. At the beginning of the 19th century tigers were so numerous it seemed to be a question as to whether man or tiger would survive. At this time it became the official policy to encourage the killing of tigers as rapidly as possible, rewards being paid for their destruction in many localities. In the latter half of the 19th century, marauding tigers began to take a toll of human life. These animals were pushed into marginal habitat, where tigers had formerly not been known, or where they existed only in very low density.

More recently in the Sundarbans region (for example), 10 out of 13 man-eaters recorded in the 1970s were males, and they accounted for 86% of the victims. These man-eaters have been grouped into the confirmed or dedicated ones who go hunting especially for human prey; and the opportunistic ones, who do not search for humans but will, if they encounter a man, attack, kill and devour him. Between 1999 and 2001, the highest concentration of tiger attacks on people occurred in the northern and western boundaries of the Bangladesh Sundarbans. Most people were attacked in the mornings while collecting fuel wood, timber, or other raw materials, or while fishing.

Conservation

The Bengal Tiger has been listed as Endangered on the IUCN Red List Since 2008. It is threatened by poaching, loss of its native habitat due to farming and by construction projects. An area of special interest lies in the “Terai Arc Landscape” in the Himalayan foothills of northern India and southern Nepal, where 11 protected areas composed of dry forest foothills and tall-grass savannas harbor tigers in a 49,000 square kilometres (19,000 sq mi) landscape. The goals are to manage tigers as a single metapopulation, the dispersal of which between core refuges can help maintain genetic, demographic, and ecological integrity, and to ensure that species and habitat conservation becomes mainstreamed into the rural development agenda. In Nepal a community-based tourism model has been developed with a strong emphasis on sharing benefits with local people and on the regeneration of degraded forests. The approach has been successful in reducing poaching, restoring habitats, and creating a local constituency for conservation.

WWF partnered with Leonardo DiCaprio to form a global campaign, “Save Tigers Now”, with the ambitious goal of building political, financial and public support to double the wild tiger population by 2022.Save Tigers Now started its campaign in 12 different WWF Tiger priority landscapes, since May 2010.

If you would like to show your concern please sign the petition here. You just need an email address, and dont need to add your postcode or D.O.B. as requested.

At the time of writing:

Jai the tiger has been reported missing (since July 2016)

The results of the 2018 Tiger Survey have not yet been issued.

Sources: Worldwildlife.org, Indiatimes.com, Wikipedia.org & others