Daily Archives: July 14, 2011

Feline Hydration

We tend to think that given a bowl of  water a cat will drink all he needs. Turns out this is not at all the case. That’s why a cat water fountain can be a genuine life saver.

Cats Love Moving Water

In the wild cats got most of the water they needed from their natural food sources – primarily small rodents. The great majority of house cats are deprived of that source.

Canned food helps the situation but many cats don’t get wet food, or enough wet food and even those which do still need additional hydration. Add to this the fact that cats are not attracted to standing water (in the wild, standing water is rarely fresh and often filled with countless harmful bacteria – animals seek moving water whenever possible) – and you have the situation as it is today. Renal failure is the number one cause if death in pet cats and insufficient hydration is a major contributor to kidney failure.

For a cat, drinking plenty of water helps to ensure an overall healthy constitution – soft fur, moist gums and eyes and helps prevent constipation. Regular periodic urination greatly reduces incidences of bladder infections and the build up of crystals in the urinary tract, which can lead to blockages and many other negative consequences.

Drinking water is the primary way of flushing out waste material from the body. Without sufficient water, there can be a  buildup of waste,  preventing toxins from leaving the body. Should this happen, the kidneys will be damaged, leading to fatal renal failure – all of which can be avoided by a simple cat water fountain.

Now, I’ve written about this before but it seems there are still many individuals who do not realize that plastic fountains can be harmful – in fact are said to definitely be by many veterinarians. This is well documented and is the result of the plastic itself, which contains harmful chemicals, and from harmful bacteria that grow in the inevitable scratches to which a plastic cat water fountain is subject.

Ceramic cat water fountains, on the other hand have  several positive attributes and no negatives. Ceramic does not scratch so there is no harmful bacteria buildup. Ceramics cat water fountains, especially stoneware with certified food-safe glazes keep the water fresh, cool and well oxygenated.

Even more to the point, cats are attracted to the spout of water from the bubble-up cat fountains and the falling water from those with a waterleaf or spout so they drink more – which is actually, apart from making sure the water is cool and healthful – the whole point.

In terms of value, some plastic cat water fountains are cheaper than my ceramic fountains (and some are not) but when you consider longevity, mine are by far the greater value. The pumps in my fountains are very long lasting and replaceable (and the cost is minimal), while the fountain bowls will last a lifetime with reasonable care. (No throwing, dropping on hard surfaces…)

One last point – might not be of interest to your cat but will certainly be to you – ceramic cat water fountains are infinitely better looking and make no unpleasant noise, which most if not all plastic cat water fountains do. In addition, there is no cord draping over the side of the fountain bowl, as is the case with some of the manufactured, even manufactured ceramic cat water fountains.

So it seems pretty cut and dry to me. If you are looking for the best and best looking, longest lasting and all round most satisfying cat water fountain, go to my Catfountains.

A Theory About the Ragdoll, or Floppy Cat

I took the following off the web from http://www.familycompanions.com/index.html. Read that, then comes my theory about them.

“Ragdolls originated here in Southern California in the early 1960’s and were created by a breeder named Ann Baker.  There are many myths that surround the development of the Ragdoll breed, but the myth that seems to be the most popular is: A pregnant cat named Josephine, (Persian-Angora cross) was hit by a car somehow altering the DNA of her unborn kittens.  These kittens seemed to exhibit unusual and different characteristics from other cats.  They tended to be much more relaxed.  In fact, they were so relaxed, when picked up they just hung there much like a rag doll.  Hence the name Ragdoll came to be.”

So here’s my theory. When the mother cat was hit, opiate-like pain killers flooded into her blood and consequently into unborn kittens, permanently affecting their psychology and behavior. The following scientific explanation may help, also taken from the net:

“Once the brain perceives the pain, the body releases neuromodulators, such as endogenous opioids (endorphins and enkephalins), serotonin, norepinephrine, and gamma aminobutyric acid. These chemicals hinder the transmission of pain and help produce an analgesic, pain-relieving effect. This inhibition of the pain impulse is called modulation.”

The kittens were modulated – acutely and permanently. They were born as if on opiates and retained the behavior those modulating chemicals produce.

Here is a blog with a lot more on Floppycats.

Copper in Cat Fountains

Many of the indoor water fountains and the cat fountains and pet fountains I make have a copper component to them and occasionally I am asked if this is safe for drinking water. The short answer is that copper is absolutely safe as a material for delivering potable water, and in fact, is beneficial. Now here’s the long answer.

As you may or not know the building trades are heavily regulated by quite a number of government agencies which are designed to look out for the consumer. Copper pipe is an accepted  plumbing material for all building codes (and there are a lot of them.) It is safe for both hot and cold water, in your home and in your cat fountain.

Apart from the fact that copper is a necessary part of our diet which we consume by breathing, eating and drinking, copper in water delivery systems stabilizes. It does not absorb contaminants, it does not easily corrode unless exposed to very high or very low pH values. Water has neutral pH and has no corrosive effect on copper. Copper  is biostatic, meaning that it does not promote bacteria growth.

In fact, quite the contrary. Not only is copper not at all harmful, it has been fairly recently discovered that there are healthful benefits of drinking water supplied through copper tubing, and this includes the copper in your little cat fountain’s plumbing too.

The antimicrobial effects of copper helps copper plumbing tube to preserve the purity of drinking water. Copper plumbing tube has been found to inhibit water-borne microorganisms, such as bacteria, viruses, algae, and infectious parasites, in the drinking water supply that resides in the plumbing tube.

Since copper plumbing tube is non-porous, it can prevent petrochemicals, insecticides, and organic contaminants from absorbing into the tube and polluting the water supply, and copper plumbing lasts for decades and is 100% recyclable. Therefore, copper tubing does not contribute to the earth’s solid waste problem.

Now I ask you. Can any of this be said to be true of the plastic drinking fountains, such as the Drinkwell, the Catit and the Petmate fountains which are nearly 100% plastic? The short answer is NO.

A handmade cat fountain with a copper 'waterflower' and a drinkwell cat fountain

Working Cats

There are not a lot of modern day phenomena about which the origins are so obscure as modern day house cats. Which is another way of saying that cats, their history and how and when the entered into the common realm of human experience remains largely unknown.

It was previously thought that the Egyptians were the first to domesticate housecats but Recent archeological and genetic discovers indicate that cat domestication may have begun in the region of Mesopotamia as early as ten thousand years ago, although it remains curious that whereas there are numerous other animal images in early cave paintings, there are none of the cat and at most ancient sites there is no record of their bones as there are of dogs, cattle and other species known today. In any case, most of our early information concerning cats comes from the Egyptians from about 2500 BC. where they would seem to have been trained and used.

A Working Cat

Notice this papyrus painting from the twentieth dynasty of the Egyptian kingdom. It shows a dog herding goats, or sheep, and a cat herding ducks.

They are shown in the upright position to demonstrate their dominance, their control over their respective charges, just as people would be.

Think about this. If the picture showed the dog and cat on all fours, they would be seen to be in the company of goats and ducks, not controlling them. The Egyptian painter shows them standing upright to indicate that they are in control, and the staff they hold emphasizes this. Clearly, just as dogs had been trained to herd goats, cats were used to herd ducks.

(It is interesting to note that the only way present day interpreters could understand this picture was to think that it was meant to be humorous and they assert this at the same time acknowledging that there are no other examples of humorous papyrus paintings.)

Cats were also apparently trained to hunt ducks in cooperation with men. In this next image of a 3,000 year old painting Nebamun is out hunding with this cat. You can see the cat pouncing on two waterfowl (ducks) with one in his mouth. (Lower center of image.)

Nebamun Hunting With His Cat

Most of we cat owners and cat lovers don’t train our cats because we think them untrainable (they train us) but there are plenty of examples of cats being trained in the modern world. When their trust is absolutely gained (and it takes a great deal for this to happen), cats become a different sort of being altogether. And it’s no wonder they often seem inaccessible.

Cats have been the victims of pogroms that had the intent of eliminating them from the face of the earth forever. They were associated with witches and demons, thought evil and hunted down and burned by the thousands in more than one time and more than one place.

So is it any wonder that cats remain aloof, distrustful, independent, seeming unresponsive and certainly untrainable? Wouldn’t you, if within your genetic makeup you had the memory of betrayal and horror inflicted by humans that your ancestors were fortunate, or wise enough to escape?

Can your cat be trained? Can you gain his trust? Yes, and Yes.

(Photo and information taken from “The Life, History and Magic of THE CAT)