Did you ever look at your big, long-haired cat and wonder if he might be a Maine coon cat? Does the raucous yowl of your rescue cat make you think she has Siamese ancestry? More practically, do you sometimes wish you knew if your cat has a genetic tendency to certain diseases, so you could watch for symptoms and get treatment early?
With the popularity of DNA testing for humans, it was only a matter of time before DNA testing became available for our pets, and a few places are now offering to give you information on your cat’s genetics for about the same price as a human genetics test. At this time, the information you can get is fairly limited for several reasons. First, very few cats have had their DNA tested, so there are not too many individual cats to compare them with. Second, cat breeds are a relatively new phenomenon, and most cats don’t have pedigreed ancestors. Finally, there hasn’t been as much research into genetic disorders in cats as in dogs (or humans).
That said, the likelihood is as more cats get tested and more research is done, there might be much more information available in a few years. Presently, at least one company will update your cat’s results when new data become available. If you test your cat today, you may only find out that its ancestors probably hailed from Europe and that it doesn’t have known susceptibility to any of a few diseases. Five years from now you may be able to learn whether your cat carries genes for a wide variety of diseases and which are responsible for traits like its fur length and eye color.
You probably will never know whether your cat’s ancestors came over on the Mayflower or if it has third cousins in Texas, but you could find out if your cat is susceptible to hyperthyroidism or heart disease, and that might well be worth the price of the test.
Genetics aside, we have had a run of black cats with white spots on their necks or bibs lately. The first of our black cats is Theresa May, our cat of the week. This petite 2-year-old is a real beauty with a gleaming black coat accented by green eyes. She is sweet, affectionate and playful, and absolutely loves to interact with her chosen humans. Theresa May was found as a pregnant stray whose owner was not located. She has had a bit of a rough time lately and had to have emergency surgery (for a life-threatening uterine infection) right after she was brought to PFC. After her surgery she was placed with a foster mom to continue her recovery. Her foster mom reports that she is very social with humans, but would probably be happiest as the only pet in the household. Theresa May is spayed, microchipped, up to date on her shots and is looking for a “fur-ever” home.
Our other black cats include two little females and two big males. Raven is a striking little shorthaired beauty with gleaming black fur and big, golden eyes. This petite 1½-year-old is a spicy girl with a spirited and entertaining personality. She would do best with someone who has cat experience and can give her the attention she needs to work off some excess energy. The other little female is Shadow, a petite black cutie with slightly fluffy fur. She is a 1-year-old snuggle bunny who is downright adorable and wants to be everyone’s best friend. On the other end of the spectrum is Vincent, a handsome 6½-year-old, big black male who is very laid-back and friendly. He spends much of his time lounging around until you give him some attention and then he turns into a purring machine, letting you know how much he enjoys attention. This fellow is very sweet, gentle and friendly. Our special needs kitty, Samson, is equally mellow, sweet and friendly. He is a big boy who is 7-8 years old and has a shiny black coat with tufts of white fur in his ears. This guy has had chronically loose stools and appears to be getting better under vet care. We feel he would do best in a home and is available for either adoption or a long-term foster situation.
We also have a few other kitties. Hunter is a handsome orange-and-white domestic shorthaired male. He is 8 years old and sports an orange tabby coat liberally accented by white on his underside with a dash of white on his nose. He is one big love bug who just gazes at you adoringly as you give him the attention that he craves. Sam is our other big orange boy and he is one-half of a pair of bonded siblings. Sam and Trixie, his tortoiseshell sister, are both 10-year-young sweethearts who adore attention but are just too shy to ask for it. Spend a little time with one of them and they will quickly show you how much they love the attention, by purring and rolling over to get more. Sam and Trixie are looking for a home where they will stay together. Last but not least is a spunky little tuxedo boy named Mike. This fellow is a total sweetheart who is playful, affectionate and quite vocal in attempting to get more attention. He definitely is a purr-mobile and aspires to be the ultimate lap cat.
We are continually admitting new cats and will write about them as soon as they have had their vet visits. In the meantime, why not come in during adoption hours to see if your new BBF kitty is here waiting to make your acquaintance?
PFC is still accepting donations of flea market items at the shelter. The last day for leaving items is Monday, July 8. Please make sure items are clean. We are not accepting clothing, used litter boxes or Christmas items. Please call Anne at 617-645-1430 with questions.
The PFC shelter is at 44 Beagle Lane, Teaticket. Our mailing address is PO Box 422, West Falmouth, MA 02574.
The shelter is open for adoptions and visitors Wednesdays from 4 to 6 PM and Saturdays from 10 AM to 1 PM. If you need to get in touch with us when we are closed, call our hotline at 508-540-5654. We have added a new option to our hotline mailbox to make surrendering a cat or kitten more efficient. Press #0 if you have cat-related issues, questions, are interested in volunteering or for additional information about People for Cats. Press #2 if you need financial assistance for veterinary care or spay/neuter assistance. Press #3 if you have a cat or kitten to surrender. Be sure to leave your name, telephone number and a brief description of the cat. All calls are returned as quickly as possible.
Check us out at www.peopleforcats.org, look for our available cats on Petfinder and like us on our Facebook page.
All for the love of cats…