Cat Fact Friday


Comparing Vision: Cats vs. Humans

Have you ever wondered what the world looks like to your cat? First off, you’ve no doubt read about the fact that cats have better night vision than humans (no big surprise). Cats are most active at dawn and dusk (the technical term is ‘crepuscular’) which is why we suspect they require better night vision than us.

The reason is that cats have between 6 to 8 times more rod cells in their eyes than we do. These rods are the cells most sensitive to low light giving cats the night vision advantage over us.

It turns out that cats are also much better than humans when it comes to following fast-moving objects. In particular, their excellent night vision also allows them to better capture motion in the dark.

Cats also have a wider field of view than we do. This gives them greater peripheral vision (approx. 200 degrees, compared with humans’ 180-degree view). All the better to hunt with at night!

Well, a picture is worth a thousand words. Fortunately,  Nickolay Lamm (a Pittsburgh-based artist) in collaboration with several cat and vision experts, created a series of illuminating illustrations intended to capture the differences between cat vision and human vision.

We’ve shared these images {via N. Lamm} in this post, and they nicely illustrate the human perspective shown on top, and the corresponding cat’s view in the lower image.  Here’s the first example in a night time setting…human view (top) vs. cat view (bottom):

OK so the score thus far is:

Night Vision:            Cats: 1 / Humans: 0
Peripheral Vision:   Cats: 1 / Humans: 0
Fast Motion:             Cats: 1 / Humans: 0

But what about daytime vision?

Well that’s where we mere mortals really shine. Turns out the human retina has about 10 times more light receptors (called ‘cones’) than cats do. These cones function best in bright light and are what allow us to see bright and vibrant colors. They also provide us up to 12 times better motion detection in bright light than the cat.

We humans have three types of cones, allowing us to see a broad spectrum of colors, while cats don’t seem to see the full range of colors that most humans do. Scientists believe that cats perceive colors that are much less vibrant and some speculate that a cat’s color vision is limited to blue and grays.

ladyeyes

So we outperform cats in bright light situations when it comes to color recognition.

Here’s another example: (top image is human view, bottom image is cat view):

catvision2

What about resolution (or sharpness)?

We believe that cats see images that are likely of much lower resolution (we’d see them as ‘fuzzy’ from our perspective).  Most people can see objects clearly at 100 to 200 feet away, but cats are limited to about 20 feet away to see those same things sharply.  Cats don’t have the muscles necessary to change the shape of their eye lenses, and as a result, they can’t see things clearly quite as close as humans can.

catseye2

So we humans can see better from far away, close-up, and overall with more sharpness and clarity. In fact, the differences in our eye structures are such that your cat will likely be better than you at picking up the darting motion of a frightened mouse, but many slow-moving objects that you can see would look stationary to Fluffy.

OK let’s update the score:

Daytime (bright light) Vision:    Cats: 0 / Humans: 1
Image Resolution:                       Cats: 0 / Humans: 1
Slow Motion:                                Cats: 0 / Humans: 1

Hmmmmm…a tie? Let’s just say that cats and humans each have their own unique vision characteristics optimized to our species lifestyle and behavior.

Here’s another city view in low light (dark) with human view (top image) and cat’s view (bottom image)

catvision1a

Here’s another example of showing a skyline (bright daylight): images {human view top and cat’s view bottom image}.

catvision3

Finally, here’s an indoor well-lit train station (Grand Central)

We hope you found them as fascinating as we did.

On a more serious note, we wanted to share an excellent article on cat eye discharge from our pals at Honest Paws. It’s called Cat Eye Discharge: A Comprehensive Guide. Well worth a read if you have any concerns or your cat is experiencing these symptoms. >^..^<

 

Here is the link to the full article https://www.thepurringtonpost.com/comparing-vision-cats-vs-humans/  

 

*Article kindly provided by The Purrington Post. To see more great articles from them visit their website  https://www.thepurringtonpost.com/

 


Think Your Cat Might be Overweight?

 

Did you know that an overweight cat is at significantly higher risk for many health issues and a shorter life? Excess weight can reduce their overall quality of life by interfering with the normal activities they used to enjoy when they were more physically fit.

 

Overweight cat health problems are becoming more numerous and more serious. When it comes to keeping cats at a healthy weight, humans contribute to both the problem and the solution.

 

The Human Element

Just as people need to control the temptation to overindulge, cat owners need to control the temptation to overindulge their pets.

A survey of pet owners by Royal Canin in 2018 revealed that more than half of cat and dog owners always or often give their pets food if they beg for it, and almost a quarter of them overfeed their pets to keep them happy. I think we’re all guilty of doing this at times.

 

Fat Facts:

  • According to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention, 59% of American cats are estimated to be obese
  • 15% of cat owners said their pet’s weight was normal when it was actually overweight or obese
  • The five states that rank highest for obese cats are Minnesota, Nebraska, Iowa, Idaho, and Delaware

You will never find an overweight cat in the wild. They just don’t exist. So the weight problem is due to domestication. This limits the problems to diet, the medical system used and the environment of the cat.

 

Why a Healthy Weight is Important for your Cat

According to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention (APOP), as little as two pounds above your cat’s ideal weight can put it at risk for developing some serious medical conditions. Unfortunately, when a cat is overweight or obese it no longer is a question of ‘if’ your cat will develop a condition secondary to the excess weight but ‘how many and how soon! ‘

Some of the common disorders associated with excess weight on your cat include:

  • Type 2 diabetes – an obese cat is at least 3 times more likely to develop than serious disease as a cat of normal weight
  • Kidney disease
  • Chronic inflammation
  • Heart disease
  • Osteoarthritis
  • High blood pressure
  • Many forms of cancer – especially intra-abdominal cancers

Overweight and obese cats are much more likely to live shorter lives than their fitter, normal weight counterparts. Heavy cats tend to physically interact less with their families and are less energetic and playful. Because they tend to lay around more, it is easy to overlook illnesses since we attribute their lethargy to their “normal laziness.”

 

Above photo is our IG pal Carl from @treats4me619

 

Why So Many Cats Are Overweight

Four of the most common reasons that cats are packing on the pounds are:

  • They’re on the wrong diet
  • They’re being overfed
  • Getting too many treats
  • Getting too little exercise

 

Above photo is our IG pal Ugur from @ugurkedisi

 

Is My Cat Overweight?

If you are unsure whether your cat is overweight to an unhealthy degree, consider the following:

  • Does your cat have trouble, running, climbing and jumping?
  • When viewed from above, do his, or her, sides bulge?
  • When you look at him, or her, sideways, does the belly hang down?
  • Is there a large layer of fat covering the ribs? You should be able to feel your cat’s ribs but you should not be able to see them.
  • Is your cat sedentary? Does he, or she, spend all day sitting or laying?

 

Above photo is our IG pal The Chief from @the.chief_squeaks

One way to evaluate your cat’s body condition is to view their silhouette from above and from the side.  The key structures to look at are the ribs, spine, hip bones, waist, abdomen and muscle mass. At a healthy weight, you should be able to see your kitty’s waistline (an hourglass figure) from above. From the side, your cat’s abdomen should appear tucked up behind the rib cage.

The Body Condition Score visual guideline from WSAVA (below) illustrates:

If you feel that your cat may be overweight, please talk to your vet, who will be able to confirm your suspicions, rule out possible health causes, and guide you on the best course of action.

 

Start with Calories

For weight loss, the formulas seem simple enough: fewer calories in plus more calories out equals weight loss. Unfortunately, it’s not as simple as that. For starters, cats that are overweight or obese must eat. Their physiology is different than humans or dogs and if they do not eat for as little as two consecutive days, they can develop a life-threatening form of liver disease known as hepatic lipidosis. Obese humans starting a diet program are also vulnerable to this serious condition. It is for this reason that you should never put your cat on a diet without the assistance of your veterinary healthcare team.

 

Above and remaining cat photos are of our IG pal Hercules Rockefellar from @fatcathercules

 

Change Diet Gradually

When you are introducing a new diet to your cat, allow several days for the transition. It is recommended to gradually incorporate the new diet over a one to two week period. Start by substituting one-quarter of the diet for two to three days, then increase to one-half total volume of food for another two to four days, then three-quarter new food for a final three to five days before completely switching to the new diet.

To enhance the palatability of the diet food, try warming the food or adding an omega-3 fatty acid supplement or salmon juice over the food. One of the reasons canned diet foods work better is due to the fact that our finicky felines often prefer wet food over dry.

 

Cat owners consider taste to be the most important factor when buying food for their cats, but science shows that taste is more than just flavor. Great taste is a result of the right nutrient balance, which is affected by satisfying texture, savory aroma, specific kibble size, adapted kibble shape and desirable flavors.  Learn more in a post we published last year called Cats Savor More Than Just Flavor.

About 18 months ago we transitioned our cats to a special Royal Canin formula (sensitive digestion) and since then their weight and overall health has been excellent (both we and our vet are very pleased!).

We encourage concerned cat owners to ask their veterinarian for assistance. Of note, Royal Canin just launched a new satiety support diet for cats designed for weight loss. Please note that you will need a medical recommendation from your veterinarian.

 

Introduce Creative Play 

To increase the amount of exercise your cat gets, it’s very important to play with him, or her, more. Wand toys, balls and laser pointers are all popular with cats and will help them to become more active.

While we may take our dogs out for a brisk walk or jog, our cats aren’t designed to perform that sort of activity well. Our cats prefer the hundred-yard dash to the marathon.  Just because cats aren’t good endurance athletes doesn’t mean we shouldn’t encourage them to move.

Some simple tips for getting your cat to move more are:

  • Play “Find the Food” Move the food bowl upstairs or downstairs and rotate it so that the cat always has to walk to get to its food bowl. Cats are smart, and if the food bowl moves upstairs, they’ll start relocating upstairs, too.
  • Move the food bowl as far away from your cat’s favorite haunts as possible. Again, many cats will sleep and lay near the food bowl so they don’t have to go far when the eatin’ urge hits!
  • Use feather toys, flashlights, paper bags or balls, anything that your cat finds interesting to chase. Try to engage your cat for ten minutes twice a day. You can do this while you eat, watch television or even read. There are numerous toys that move and squeak that may also be interesting to your cat. Experiment and understand that what is exciting today may be boring tomorrow.

 

Weigh-Ins and Follow Up

After you’ve put your cat on a weight loss program, it’s critical that you determine if it’s working for your cat. Each cat is an individual and may require many changes in diet or routine before finding the correct approach. In general, your cat should be weighed every month until the ideal weight is achieved. If there is no significant weight loss in one month, typically about one pound, then a new approach should be pursued.

 

There is nothing more frustrating than persisting in a behavior pattern that is not achieving the results we desire when a slight change could deliver significant improvements. Work closely and actively with your veterinary healthcare team to reach your goals faster and more safely. Here’s to helping your kitty achieve their target weight!

Note: This post is focused on dealing with overweight cats. Getting an underweight cat to gain weight is much easier if you know why they are losing weight.  A number of medical conditions such as kidney disease, diabetes, IBS/IBD, bad teeth or dental problems could be causing your cat to be underweight. A trip to the vet should be your first step.

 

Disclosure

This post is sponsored by Royal Canin. While we are being compensated for helping spread the word about Royal Canin, The Purrington Post only shares information we feel is relevant to our readers. Royal Canin is not responsible for the content of this article. To learn more about Royal Canin, visit www.royalcanin.com or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/royalcanin.us.

A Parting Smile

Cat says … I told my vet that I thought I had athlete’s foot; he looked at me and said,

“I don’t think you have athlete’s anything.”

 

Here is the link to the full article https://www.thepurringtonpost.com/healthy-weight-for-cats/ 

 

*Article kindly provided by The Purrington Post. To see more great articles from them visit their website  https://www.thepurringtonpost.com/

 


Cat Keeping You Awake at Night?

 

HELP! My Cat is Trying to Kill Me Through Insomnia!

How often we compare our cats with our children, and really, the comparisons add up. We love them beyond compare, we are responsible for their well-being, we feed them, bathe them, take them to the doctor, and comfort them when they need our love.

Oh. And sometimes, they go through phases that keep us awake all hours of the night. It’s true, much like humans, cats can get insomnia.  Young cats {particularly those under one year of age} have been known to drive their owners crazy from sleep deprivation. Remember that our cat’s ancestor is the African wildcat, and these big cats are mostly nocturnal. So there’s a lot of natural instinct in our little fur babies but the good news is that cats can learn to let their owners sleep in peace.

The unmistakable yowling and wailing of a cat in distress is nearly impossible to sleep through for even the heaviest of sleepers. And much like humans, cats are generally looking for a need to be met and can be taught to self soothe in order to regain a normal sleep pattern. Do not despair, parent of a frustrated furry family member, hope lies in these pages.

Following are 5 tips that can help:

#1:  Get thee to the vet!

The very first thing to do is bring your cat to their vet for a checkup. Much like a baby, cats do not have the ability to tell you with words if there is a medical problem. They can, however, vocalize.

There can be many medical reasons your cat is vocalizing at all hours of the night, thyroid disease, hearing loss, or cognitive dysfunction being just a few of them. Once you rule out a medical condition, then you can start to address the potential root causes of the behavioral condition that needs attention.

#2.  Let me entertain you.

We’ve all heard it before: Children who are bored in class are more likely to show behavioral problems. Cats are supremely smart animals, and do exactly the same thing. If your cat is not mentally stimulated, they will seek negative attention in order to have that need met.

Provide your cat with many opportunities to stimulate their mind and body. Toys, scratching posts, jungle gyms, and even cognitive games. (Yes, they make those for cats and they are incredibly effective.) It is important to not just wear out their body, but their mind.

#3.  Cry it out.

Just like the exhausted parent doesn’t want to hear their baby crying uncontrollably and swoops in to comfort their child, the parent of a furry child doesn’t want to hear their cat suffering and quickly moves to soothe them. Without doubt, there are times when you must comfort your cat, but you are doing them no favors by not teaching them to self soothe.

Night vocalization can often be a call for attention, and for every time you wake up to soothe your cat, you are reinforcing that behavior, leading to more and more vocalization. Behavior modification is needed on both ends of this spectrum: Your can needs to learn to self soothe at night and you need to learn to let your cat cry it out. Eventually they’ll find their zzzzzzzzz…

#4.  Celebrate the good.

Ending the undesirable behavior is only half of the puzzle. Behavior modification is a two part endeavor. The first part is disrupting the bad behavior, and the second part is reinforcing a more desirable behavior. What does this mean? Catch your cat being good. If your cat is vocalizing for attention, then be sure to smother them with attention when they’re being quiet and non-disruptive.

Give them the attention they’re seeking during the day and when they’re behaving in a positive way. This reinforcement will pave the way to replace the night vocalizations with day time cuddles. Replace the old habits with better habits.

#5.  Wear them out!

Cats and kids both learn through play, and they develop a bond and happiness through playtime with their parent. One of the best times to play is right before bed, not only does it provide your cat with the attention they’re seeking and craving, but it also wears them out.

With a consistent and regular nightly bonding time, your cat might start reducing their night vocalizations almost immediately. One method of playing with your cat is to mimic hunting. Get a toy mouse or a feather and allow your cat to get their predatory instincts out, and make way for a good night rest for both of you.

The key is to be consistent, and realize that in order to change the behavior, you will also need to change yourbehavior. If you do, you’ll both be sleeping like kittens in no time.

Here’s a cool little infographic from Cat Fancy Magazine and the Cat Channel that offers a few other clever suggestions. Well worth a read.

Here’s to a great night’s sleep!

 

Here is the link to the full article https://www.thepurringtonpost.com/cat-keeping-you-awake/ 

 

*Article kindly provided by The Purrington Post. To see more great articles from them visit their website  https://www.thepurringtonpost.com/