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)

Where’s the Water?

Dogs couldn’t care less where you put the water and right next to the food bowl is fine with them. Not so with cats who are much more fastidious. We automatically put their water bowl by their food bowl and though cats can and do get used to that, it is not their preference, for at least 2 reasons.

In nature cats do their hunting where the prey is (and get a lot of their moisture from their kill) and they seek water where the water is, often miles from their food. Further, cats can be put off their water by the presence of food odors.

Much preferable for cats is to come across their water source in a completely separate area or room of the house. Now because of the look and noise of most cat fountains you wouldn’t want one in your living room or dining room – understandably – they’re pretty ugly. But not all are.

Bijou enjoying his handmade ceramic cat fountain

This is my cat (and the originator of my cat fountains) drinking from one of his fountains. It is on a low stand in the living room. (I put the cloth under it because there was a slight vibration sound. I now use high quality bumper feet on the bottoms of all fountains and they are all noiseless.) He seems to enjoy visiting it and lapping up lots of water, which is good for him.

I call him the inventor because I originally began making fountains for home decor and found Bijou drinking from the ones I’d put around the house, far more than I ever saw him use his water bowl. I did some research and discovered the very large subject of feline hydration. To learn more about that read the page about the Advent of the Handmade Cat Fountain.

The shocking truth about pet food

If you are faint of heart, don’t read on as the information that follows is shocking.  Martin Zucker, in his book “Veterinarians’ Guide to Natural Remedies” writes that many commercial cat foods contain; euthanized cats and dogs, road kill, are sprayed with the old oil used in fast food restaurants…The scenario is sickening and is sickening out cats and dogs.

This is the first in a many post series about feline diet. Changing your cats’ diet has to be done carefully and with sensitivity. The basic approach is, according to many veterinarians, as follows.

Find the highest quality pet food you can and add to that a mix of fresh meat and vegetables. Your own food, if you eat well is a good addition. This alone will make them much healthier. Add to this a pet multi-vitamin/mineral supplement and extra vitamin C. A few of the recommended commercial brands of cat food are:

Wysong ,Precise, Innova, Natural Life, Flint River Ranch, Perfect Health Diet. There are more listed in his book and this post is just the beginning of a foray into feline diet. I highly recommend the book. It has changed the way (what) we feed our cat.

The Cat Tap Fountain

Many of my customers have told me that they are frequently ‘asked’ by their cats to turn on the faucet. Some report how their cat stands under the leaking tap in the bath with their tongue out under the drip and still others how their cats rush over to the sink when they turn on the faucet.

These stories and the experiences of seeing my own cat lap up flowing water are what gave rise to the new design of cat fountains, I frequently call the CatTap fountain. You can see a video of on at this link:

The fountain functions beautifully. There is no splash-out on any pump setting (shown on low) and there is no pump noise. Additionally, the cord exits the base of the fountain, not over the rim as with so many fountains. To see more go to www.catfountains.etsy.com.