Fascinating Facts About Black Cats

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With Halloween coming soon, October is a great time to remind potential cat adopters to consider adding a beautiful black rescue cat to your family! While some shelters and rescue groups do not feel comfortable adopting out black cats around Halloween, others use the holiday as an opportunity to spread the word about how adopting a black cat is a cool thing to do! Black cats (and dogs) are overrepresented in the shelter population, so now is the perfect time to open your heart to an animal in need.

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Here are a few awesome facts about black cats, courtesy of the website Catster:

  • A black cat’s fur color can change over time. Like us humans, they can go grey as they get older, and some black fur will “rust” with exposure to the sun.
  • Solid black coloring in a cat requires both parents to carry the same black color gene. Tabby is the dominant cat coat type, so some black cats actually have faint tabby markings in their fur if you look closely at them.
  • Black cats tend to be healthier than cats of other colors. Research has shown that the genes associated with black color also make the cats’ immune systems stronger. They tend to be more resistant to diseases like FIV than other cats.
  • Black “panthers” are actually two different cat breeds, depending on where they live. In the Americas they are jaguars, and in Africa they are leopards. Like domestic cats, the black coloring in big cats is genetic.

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Still need more convincing that black cats are cool? Just ask cat lover Norman Reedus of The Walking Dead (click image to enlarge):

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Understanding FIP–And How You Can Help Cure this Deadly Feline Disease

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Feline infectious peritonitis (FIP) is a fatal disease that is the number one cause of death in cats under 2 years of age. What is FIP? The disease is caused by the feline coronavirus (FCoV). Under normal circumstances, when a cat is infected with the virus, it will develop a typical immune response and not be negatively impacted. For reasons not 100% understood, some cats will develop deadly FIP after exposure to the virus.

In cats with FIP, the coronavirus will infect a cat’s monocytes (white blood cells) and begin replicating itself. The virus will take over an affected cat’s immune system and cause widespread damage throughout the cat’s body. “Wet” FIP is an acute, lethal form of the disease that causes fluid to accumulate in the body. “Dry” FIP is a more chronic condition, but still serious and eventually fatal.

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Cats are commonly exposed to the feline coronavirus in multi-cat environments like animal shelters, breeding and boarding facilities, and even in multi-cat households. While blood tests can show that a cat has been exposed to the virus, they can’t necessarily tell that it has become virulent and will lead to FIP. There is no cure or even an effective treatment for FIP. It is a fatal disease and treatments consist of supportive care like anti-inflammatory medications and fluid drainage.

A cat named Bria was a Birman kitten who passed away from FIP at 9 months of age back in 2005. Her “mom” was Susan Gingrich, sister of former House Speaker Newt Gingrich. Susan and the Winn Feline Foundation established the Bria Fund a few months after little Bria’s death. The mission of the Bria Fund is to support research on FIP, and also to raise awareness about the disease.

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From now until October 31, 2016, a small $5 donation to Winn’s Bria Fund allows you to participate in the Fund’s annual prize raffle drawing. Cat lovers can help find a cure for this terrible disease…and win a neat gift at the same time.

 

Help Raise Awareness About Homeless Pets on Remember Me Thursday

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Have you heard about the “Remember Me Thursday” pet adoption awareness movement? Thursday, September 22, 2016 has been designated as Remember Me Thursday. This event was founded four years ago by Mike Arms, President and CEO of the Helen Woodward Animal Center, right here in San Diego County!

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The aim of the movement is simple—to raise awareness about the millions of adoptable pets in the world who are waiting for their forever homes. In past years over 160 countries and 500 animal welfare organizations have united in support of this awareness event.

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You can be a part of Remember Me Thursday, too! Just spread the word on your social media accounts using the hashtags #RememberTheRescue and #RememberMeThursday. Share your rescue pet’s story and pictures with animal lovers just like you!

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Interested in learning more? Visit the Remember Me Thursday website for lots of additional information and ideas about how to get involved.

 

What Animal Lovers Should Know About Kitten Mills

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Most people have heard about puppy mills, but the large-scale breeding of pets for profit isn’t just restricted to dogs. Purebred cats are also victims of the mill trade, especially popular, high-demand breeds like Persians. (One notorious mill in North Carolina even kept wild cats called Servals, which were bred with domestic cats to produce an exotic hybrid called the Savannah.)

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Mill kittens are sold to pet stores and individual buyers. Many mills (large and small) represent themselves as reputable breeders, appropriating terminology such as the kittens being “raised underfoot” in the home when they are actually kept in cages 24/7. Sadly, mill operations also sell cats to research laboratories for experimentation. Here are a few facts about kitten mills that all animal lovers should know about, courtesy of the website One Green Planet:

  • Cats born in mills are often inbred and suffer from genetic diseases in addition to diseases caused by overcrowding, unsanitary conditions, and lack of veterinary care.
  • Like puppies, mill cats are also kept in small wire cages…including ones with wire bottoms that can hurt their feet.
  • Adult males and females are bred constantly, often until they are 10 years old.
  • Kittens from mills are removed from their mothers at very young ages and have received little, if any, socialization.
  • Kitten mills are often less obvious than puppy mills, and can easily be hidden in a house that appears normal on the outside.

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According to the organization Purebred Cat Rescue, reputable breeders care about their cats and would not keep them in inhumane conditions or sell them to pet stores. Be sure to check out any breeder very carefully before acquiring an animal. It’s best to choose a local, well-established breeder who welcomes potential owners into their home for a visit. Kittens purchased from pet stores and online ads could (and often do) come from mills.  Consider adopting from a breed rescue if you’re interested in a particular kind of cat.

 

Video Captures Heroic Efforts to Rescue Kitten

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Meet Piper, a sweet little kitten who got trapped in a storm drain.  A large group of very determined individuals spent over 30 hours attempting to rescue Piper.  Their heroic efforts to rescue this brave little guy were finally successful.  Here’s a heartwarming video recapping the dramatic rescue…and its very happy conclusion!