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View Full Version : Questions About Black Cats, Genetics and Feral Cats


mc
January 26th 08, 01:29 AM
We currently have two house cats that have no specific lineage... they
are just your ordinary run of the mill mongrel cats. We love them both
as if they were our own children (well, almost, hahahaha). Over the
course of this winter whenever it snowed I noticed tracks leading to
and from a hot tub on our deck. The hot tub has a door that leads to
the inside where all the electrical connections are but the hot tub is
not hooked up to electricity at this point in time (and it has
provided shelter for birds and other wild life in the past). The door
has been slightly open to the inside of this hot tub. Never the less,
it became increasingly clear to me over the course of this winter that
some creature was living inside the hot tub.

The creature turned out to be a black cat. I cannot recall
specifically when I first saw this cat hanging around. I think it has
been at the very least a year or two, maybe three years or more. I
simply was not paying attention since we have a few neighbors who let
their cats run and we see those cats from day to day, in addition to
the usual number of stray and feral cats.

Long story short, I do recall seeing a black cat around here. I simply
assumed it belonged to someone in the area. He/she is very shy...
never one to approach. I do recall this cat hissing at me once in the
dark, but I cannot even recall the specifics.

After watching this cat for awhile... watching the tracks, feeding him/
her, I finally got around to live trapping it. The cat is currently in
our pole barn "under quarantine". I don't dare bring the cat into my
house at this time since I would never want to expose my two indoor
babies to any communicable diseases.

The live trapping was predictable... the cat was really fearful. He/
she came around the second or third day on quarantine. The second day
the cat was still hissing at me so I fed and watered him/her, but did
not attempt to pet the kitty. On the third day we got to know one
another and I was surprised that he/she was so receptive to attention!
WOW! The cat is rolling all over the place and loving the petting and
love!

At this time I am allowing the cat outside of the cage under
supervision - meaning whenever I am out working the cat is out, too.
He/she hovers around the cage, shyly... but I think I will keep
encouraging him/her to get as comfortable inside the cage as outside
the cage. And I know... this is a cat that has fended for itself for a
very long time... lol

I am not sure I need a barn cat, but I am equally not sure if this cat
will adjust well to being an indoor cat, though I believe he/she will
eventually.

I am not really even sure how to sex a cat. It is hard to tell. This
is either a neutered male or a female... and since we have not seen
kittens around here, and I am not seeing any signs of pregnancy, I
don't dare guess - I suspect this cat has already been neutered but I
don't dare guess.

I have also noticed that this is an all black cat... truthfully, it is
the "blackest" cat I have ever seen... but in good light I can see
that he/she is really a very dark, dark brown. I do not see any other
color pigment. I always thought ALL black cats have some white on
them. Is this a myth? I don't even see any white guard hairs! I didn't
know ALL black cats existed!

Can anyone tell me (or help) if a feral cat can ever make a good house
pet? I am beginning to strongly suspect that at some point in time
this cat has had some experience with humans and is not truly feral.

Is there such a thing as a "true" black cat?

Any responses will be very much appreciated.

Thanks :-)

cybercat
January 26th 08, 01:39 AM
"mc" > wrote
> The live trapping was predictable... the cat was really fearful. He/
> she came around the second or third day on quarantine. The second day
> the cat was still hissing at me so I fed and watered him/her, but did
> not attempt to pet the kitty. On the third day we got to know one
> another and I was surprised that he/she was so receptive to attention!
> WOW! The cat is rolling all over the place and loving the petting and
> love!
>

Wow, indeed. :) That must have been a great moment, when he learned
he does not need to fear you and can come to you for affection.

> At this time I am allowing the cat outside of the cage under
> supervision - meaning whenever I am out working the cat is out, too.
> He/she hovers around the cage, shyly... but I think I will keep
> encouraging him/her to get as comfortable inside the cage as outside
> the cage. And I know... this is a cat that has fended for itself for a
> very long time... lol

That doesn't mean he eveh should have had to, or that he will always
be successful, I think, is your concern.

[...]
>
> Can anyone tell me (or help) if a feral cat can ever make a good house
> pet? I am beginning to strongly suspect that at some point in time
> this cat has had some experience with humans and is not truly feral.

He's not feral. Really he's not. A truly feral cat would never have been
accepting and even inviting petting after three days. I think you're right.
He was likely just abandoned.

I am sure you will want to take him in and have him checked by the vet,
to be sure he is neutered, determine gender, get him his shots. I believe
any cat can be an indoor cat. As long as you have a house that will contain
them, and the will to create a stimulating, welcoming environment for them.

Good luck. You're a good egg. :)

Gail[_2_]
January 26th 08, 01:47 AM
This cat is not feral. Sounds like she may have been abandoned. Have her vet
checked and then slowly integrate her into your home. You must isolate her
in a room by herself and slowly introduce her to your cats (after she has
been seen by a vet). She sounds like she will make a good housepet.
Gail
"mc" > wrote in message
...
> We currently have two house cats that have no specific lineage... they
> are just your ordinary run of the mill mongrel cats. We love them both
> as if they were our own children (well, almost, hahahaha). Over the
> course of this winter whenever it snowed I noticed tracks leading to
> and from a hot tub on our deck. The hot tub has a door that leads to
> the inside where all the electrical connections are but the hot tub is
> not hooked up to electricity at this point in time (and it has
> provided shelter for birds and other wild life in the past). The door
> has been slightly open to the inside of this hot tub. Never the less,
> it became increasingly clear to me over the course of this winter that
> some creature was living inside the hot tub.
>
> The creature turned out to be a black cat. I cannot recall
> specifically when I first saw this cat hanging around. I think it has
> been at the very least a year or two, maybe three years or more. I
> simply was not paying attention since we have a few neighbors who let
> their cats run and we see those cats from day to day, in addition to
> the usual number of stray and feral cats.
>
> Long story short, I do recall seeing a black cat around here. I simply
> assumed it belonged to someone in the area. He/she is very shy...
> never one to approach. I do recall this cat hissing at me once in the
> dark, but I cannot even recall the specifics.
>
> After watching this cat for awhile... watching the tracks, feeding him/
> her, I finally got around to live trapping it. The cat is currently in
> our pole barn "under quarantine". I don't dare bring the cat into my
> house at this time since I would never want to expose my two indoor
> babies to any communicable diseases.
>
> The live trapping was predictable... the cat was really fearful. He/
> she came around the second or third day on quarantine. The second day
> the cat was still hissing at me so I fed and watered him/her, but did
> not attempt to pet the kitty. On the third day we got to know one
> another and I was surprised that he/she was so receptive to attention!
> WOW! The cat is rolling all over the place and loving the petting and
> love!
>
> At this time I am allowing the cat outside of the cage under
> supervision - meaning whenever I am out working the cat is out, too.
> He/she hovers around the cage, shyly... but I think I will keep
> encouraging him/her to get as comfortable inside the cage as outside
> the cage. And I know... this is a cat that has fended for itself for a
> very long time... lol
>
> I am not sure I need a barn cat, but I am equally not sure if this cat
> will adjust well to being an indoor cat, though I believe he/she will
> eventually.
>
> I am not really even sure how to sex a cat. It is hard to tell. This
> is either a neutered male or a female... and since we have not seen
> kittens around here, and I am not seeing any signs of pregnancy, I
> don't dare guess - I suspect this cat has already been neutered but I
> don't dare guess.
>
> I have also noticed that this is an all black cat... truthfully, it is
> the "blackest" cat I have ever seen... but in good light I can see
> that he/she is really a very dark, dark brown. I do not see any other
> color pigment. I always thought ALL black cats have some white on
> them. Is this a myth? I don't even see any white guard hairs! I didn't
> know ALL black cats existed!
>
> Can anyone tell me (or help) if a feral cat can ever make a good house
> pet? I am beginning to strongly suspect that at some point in time
> this cat has had some experience with humans and is not truly feral.
>
> Is there such a thing as a "true" black cat?
>
> Any responses will be very much appreciated.
>
> Thanks :-)
>

mc
January 26th 08, 02:15 AM
Thanks for the great advice :-) I am very encouraged! She/he even let
me hold her today... She was very open to letting me pick her up... I
was rather suprised!

Noon Cat Nick
January 26th 08, 06:56 AM
mc wrote:

> Thanks for the great advice :-) I am very encouraged! She/he even let
> me hold her today... She was very open to letting me pick her up... I
> was rather suprised!
>

As far as your query regarding its fur color, it's next to impossible to
find a truly black cat. Either they will have some other color of fur in
places, or they're actually a very dark color--sable, chocolate,
etc.--but not gentualy black.

History: Witch-hunting became active in Europe in the 13th century.
Prior to that, it was virtually unknown in medieval Europe. The Roman
Catholic Church had rescinded all laws against witchcraft, claiming
there was no such thing, and therefore no one could be arrested, tried,
convicted or punished for an uncommittable crime.

When persecution of witches became revived in the 1400s and later
centuries, cats were part of the pogrom against witchery. Witches would
have animals hanging around their homes, known as familiars. Often cats
would be such animals, since they're attracted to the rodents that would
infest a domicile. Witch-hunters came to believe that witches could turn
themselves into other animals. Thus cats became associated with
witchcraft, thought to be witches themselves in animal form. They were
also considered to be "grimalkins," minor demons who acted as
intermediaries for witches, carrying out their orders so the witch
wouldn't be in the vicinity when the nefarious deeds were done.

In 1484 Pope Innocent VIII decreed that anyone who owned a cat was a
witch, and that when a witch was burned at the stake her cat must be
burned with her. In the 1500s Inquisitor Nicholas Remy declared that all
cats were demons. The Church became rife with cat persecution, blaming
them for the Black Death of the mid-14th century, which decimated a
third of Europe's population. Catholic priests during this time presided
over festivals where cats were burned to death by the hundreds.

Black cats got the worst of it, since black is a color commonly
associated with evil, Satan, and dark spirits. Besides being immolated,
they were beheaded, drawn and quartered, buried alive, and numerous
other manner of cruel execution. Because of this, cats that are pure
solid black disappeared from the landscape. And thus today true,
completely black cats are unheard of.

Ironic Side Note: As noted above, cats were blamed for the Black Death
by the Inquisition. In fact, it was in part the lack of cats that caused
it. Yesinia pestis, the bacterium responsible for the Black Plague was
carried by fleas on rodents. Cats would kill the rodents, and would be
the new host for the fleas. When the cat population was decimated by
witch persecution, the rodent population multiplied greatly, not having
to fear one of its main predators any longer. So when the rodents died
of natural causes, the fleas used humans as their hosts. That accounts
in great measure for how the plague was spread--because there were fewer
and fewer cats around to take up the bacterium-carrying fleas from the
rodents they were no longer around to kill.

mc
January 26th 08, 06:44 PM
Hello Noon Cat Nick,

I very, very much enjoyed reading the history you wrote :-)

Very interesting :-) It is a very romantic, so to speak, theory :-)

However, knowing just a wee bit (not much, believe me!) about genetics
myself... it SEEMS to me that wiping out an entire gene pool would be
almost impossible. I mean, first of all there are different genes,
recessive and otherwise that could or would cause the black pigment.

Please correct me if I am wrong, but those colors pop up and then good
breeders breed to keep them going. But the color... It seems to me
that the genes to produce it might always be there, we just haven't
figured them all out yet.

For example, the hunters out here in my area claim to see very dark
dear, almost black deer. They have even seen some white deer. So they
claim. We see a lot of deer here but I have never seen one (aside from
at the zoo) that was any other color than a standard deer color. So it
must be the color genetics are there, but it takes a good breeder to
bring them out.

That is how we get all the colors of cats and dogs and even gerbils,
if you will... because the genetics are already there.

Also, I question the history part of the theory because we really
don't know. No one knows what genetics were stomped out if any.

We don't know if there ever was a truly black cat, or if the "black
cats" in Egypt were really dark, dark brown or even if most of them
had some white on their bellies.

My guess is that if a truly black cat does not exist now, it probably
never did exist and this is how the genes have always present
themselves.

Also, again, I don't know, I am not an expert, but the flea theory...
hmmm... I went into the doctors office because I like to run outside
barefoot... and my legs sometimes get these intensely itchy spots on
them... Actually, one doctor said it could be fleas, another doctor
told me no, it could not be fleas. The fleas need the fur of a host to
live. They do not jump from host to human. They cannot, they are not
equipped to do so. They cannot even live in our beds or clothing.

I truthfully have never heard of the plaugues being blamed on fleas.
Body fluids, yet, fleas, no.

But, I will be the first to admit that I could be wrong and this could
be an interesting theory. It is interesting none-the-less :-)

Lesley
January 26th 08, 07:29 PM
Jet black cats do exist through- the British Black shorthair is
disqualified in cat shows for any white whatsoever- the breed was
created by breeding black street cats to black street cats until such
a time as any white was bred out.

That aside he/she is not a feral. At some time the cat had a home and
is making it perfectly clear they would like another one...yours

If you had even tried to pet/pick up a true feral after three days you
wouldn't be writing to this list- you'd be in hospital haviing skin
from your butt grafted to your face to cover the mess.,
The cat has chosen you..get used to it!

Lesley

Slave of the Fabulous Furballs

Richard Evans
January 26th 08, 09:39 PM
mc > wrote:

>
>Also, again, I don't know, I am not an expert, but the flea theory...
>hmmm... I went into the doctors office because I like to run outside
>barefoot... and my legs sometimes get these intensely itchy spots on
>them... Actually, one doctor said it could be fleas, another doctor
>told me no, it could not be fleas. The fleas need the fur of a host to
>live. They do not jump from host to human. They cannot, they are not
>equipped to do so. They cannot even live in our beds or clothing.

Nonsense. Several times in my life I've lived in flea-infested houses.
Once the dog died and the fleas had no other host. Once we went on
vacation and took the dog with us. We returned and the fleas had taken
over. They may not stay on a human host, but they certainly jump on
and bite.

mc
January 26th 08, 10:50 PM
Richard, I think you are correct about that.

I hope I did not offend Noon Cat Nick... By the way --- Noon Cat
Nick... I mentioned this to my husband and he says that indeed, the
plaugues were caused by fleas... essentially a parasite that lives on
fleas...

Now I will have to go do some research on this ;-)

Thanks for all the good information ;-)

Noon Cat Nick
January 26th 08, 11:43 PM
mc wrote:

> Richard, I think you are correct about that.
>
> I hope I did not offend Noon Cat Nick... By the way --- Noon Cat
> Nick... I mentioned this to my husband and he says that indeed, the
> plaugues were caused by fleas... essentially a parasite that lives on
> fleas...
>
> Now I will have to go do some research on this ;-)
>
> Thanks for all the good information ;-)

Happy to help. And no, I'm not offended. After 10+ years on Usenet, plus
working in customer service, I've learned never to be miffed by mere
disagreement. HAND.

mc[_2_]
January 26th 08, 11:52 PM
I am really glad to hear that as I do respect your thoughts.

Thanks ;-)

mc[_2_]
January 27th 08, 07:40 PM
Thanks so much for all the help :-)

Noon Cat Nick,

I owe you a tremendous apology. I was completely and entirely WRONG!
You were absolutely correct.

The subject is quite fascinating really. I did a bit of research.
Fleas are to blame for the plague.

Next time I post and disagree with someone I will try to remember to
get my facts straight first.

Thanks again for all of your help.

Sincerely,
Melissa (MC)

cybercat
January 27th 08, 08:02 PM
"mc" > wrote in message
...
> Thanks so much for all the help :-)
>
> Noon Cat Nick,
>
> I owe you a tremendous apology. I was completely and entirely WRONG!
> You were absolutely correct.
>
> The subject is quite fascinating really. I did a bit of research.
> Fleas are to blame for the plague.
>
> Next time I post and disagree with someone I will try to remember to
> get my facts straight first.
>
> Thanks again for all of your help.
>

Stick around, Melissa. You're a class act.

Noon Cat Nick
January 28th 08, 06:18 AM
mc wrote:

> Thanks so much for all the help :-)
>
> Noon Cat Nick,
>
> I owe you a tremendous apology. I was completely and entirely WRONG!
> You were absolutely correct.
>
> The subject is quite fascinating really. I did a bit of research.
> Fleas are to blame for the plague.
>
> Next time I post and disagree with someone I will try to remember to
> get my facts straight first.
>
> Thanks again for all of your help.
>
> Sincerely,
> Melissa (MC)
>

Think nothing of it. Apology accepted, FWIW. But none was needed IMO. HAND.

Noon Cat Nick
January 28th 08, 06:19 AM
cybercat wrote:

> "mc" > wrote in message
> ...
>
>>Thanks so much for all the help :-)
>>
>>Noon Cat Nick,
>>
>>I owe you a tremendous apology. I was completely and entirely WRONG!
>>You were absolutely correct.
>>
>>The subject is quite fascinating really. I did a bit of research.
>>Fleas are to blame for the plague.
>>
>>Next time I post and disagree with someone I will try to remember to
>>get my facts straight first.
>>
>>Thanks again for all of your help.
>>
>
>
> Stick around, Melissa. You're a class act.
>
>

I must agree.

Sheelagh>\o\
January 28th 08, 07:40 PM
On Jan 26, 6:29*pm, Lesley > wrote:
> Jet black cats do exist through- the British Black shorthair is
> disqualified in cat shows for any white whatsoever- the breed was
> created by breeding black street cats to black street cats until such
> a time as any white was bred out.
>
> That aside he/she is not a feral. At some time the cat had a home and
> is making it perfectly clear they would like another one...yours
>
> If you had even tried to pet/pick up a true feral after three days you
> wouldn't be writing to this list- you'd be in hospital haviing skin
> from your butt grafted to your face to cover the mess.,
> The cat has chosen you..get used to it!
>
> Lesley
>
> Slave of the Fabulous Furballs

I didn't know that!
You learn something new ever day on usenet. Thanks Lesley :o)

Sheelagh>"o"<

mc
January 29th 08, 12:24 AM
Hey Everyone :-)

Thank you all for your kind words and for sharing in this post. I have
learned some good information here.

I just thought I would let you know that kitty cat is doing really
well. I am pretty sure he is a he... He loves attention and is doing
really well. I am glad I decided to take him in.

Thanks again for all your words of wisdom and advice ;-)

mc
January 29th 08, 06:59 AM
What nice pictures! You got those glowing eyes very well, LOL. I will
have to take some pictures of this one here, too :-) Yours is a lucky
kitty.

It is really a special feeling to have them come around like that.

I have to confess that I was a little unsure about how google groups
worked when I first signed up... So how would I go about having this
thread archived? I suppose it doesn't really matter, I suppose there
are probably other of archives that would answer these questions.

I have a feeling this is because I changed my email address... I will
see if I can't get it straightened out.

Thanks,
Melissa

zob
January 29th 08, 07:17 AM
On Fri, 25 Jan 2008 16:29:00 -0800 (PST), mc
> wrote:

>Is there such a thing as a "true" black cat?


I have two adopted "all black" cats, and although they are both
apparently American shorthairs (neither sheds!) , they are not
related. There is not a single speck of white on either one; however,
they are different "shades" of black. When Onyx is in the sunlight
his coat shines almost a blue-black he is so dark. But Yoda --
although he appears as black as Onyx indoors -- has a very dark
reddish tint in the sunlight.
---
Zob

zob
January 29th 08, 07:26 AM
On Sat, 26 Jan 2008 05:56:29 GMT, Noon Cat Nick
> wrote:


>
>History: Witch-hunting became active in Europe in the 13th century.
>Prior to that, it was virtually unknown in medieval Europe. The Roman
>Catholic Church had rescinded all laws against witchcraft, claiming
>there was no such thing, and therefore no one could be arrested, tried,
>convicted or punished for an uncommittable crime.
>
>When persecution of witches became revived in the 1400s and later
>centuries, cats were part of the pogrom against witchery. Witches would
>have animals hanging around their homes, known as familiars. Often cats
>would be such animals, since they're attracted to the rodents that would
>infest a domicile. Witch-hunters came to believe that witches could turn
>themselves into other animals. Thus cats became associated with
>witchcraft, thought to be witches themselves in animal form. They were
>also considered to be "grimalkins," minor demons who acted as
>intermediaries for witches, carrying out their orders so the witch
>wouldn't be in the vicinity when the nefarious deeds were done.
>
>In 1484 Pope Innocent VIII decreed that anyone who owned a cat was a
>witch, and that when a witch was burned at the stake her cat must be
>burned with her. In the 1500s Inquisitor Nicholas Remy declared that all
>cats were demons. The Church became rife with cat persecution, blaming
>them for the Black Death of the mid-14th century, which decimated a
>third of Europe's population. Catholic priests during this time presided
>over festivals where cats were burned to death by the hundreds.
>
>Black cats got the worst of it, since black is a color commonly
>associated with evil, Satan, and dark spirits. Besides being immolated,
>they were beheaded, drawn and quartered, buried alive, and numerous
>other manner of cruel execution. Because of this, cats that are pure
>solid black disappeared from the landscape. And thus today true,
>completely black cats are unheard of.
>

Wow, you actually believe that chain e-mail stuff?! ROFL! It's pure
fiction started by somebody who was really bored one day. Do you
really believe that black cats were only "owned" by people who were
pesecuted in one tiny area of the world during the Inquisition? And
that they were able to find and destroy every single one? Honestly,
think about it! Even if they, through some unimaginable powers did
that, Rome didn't control Persia, nor Egypt, where cats were revered.
What about the cats in Asia and Africa?

As I said in a another post, I have a purely black cat. He looks jus
tlike a miniature panther. The evidence is empirical and irrefutable
that the story you quoted is nonsense.
---
Zob

Noon Cat Nick
January 29th 08, 06:52 PM
zob wrote:

> On Sat, 26 Jan 2008 05:56:29 GMT, Noon Cat Nick
> > wrote:
>
>
>
>>History: Witch-hunting became active in Europe in the 13th century.
>>Prior to that, it was virtually unknown in medieval Europe. The Roman
>>Catholic Church had rescinded all laws against witchcraft, claiming
>>there was no such thing, and therefore no one could be arrested, tried,
>>convicted or punished for an uncommittable crime.
>>
>>When persecution of witches became revived in the 1400s and later
>>centuries, cats were part of the pogrom against witchery. Witches would
>>have animals hanging around their homes, known as familiars. Often cats
>>would be such animals, since they're attracted to the rodents that would
>>infest a domicile. Witch-hunters came to believe that witches could turn
>>themselves into other animals. Thus cats became associated with
>>witchcraft, thought to be witches themselves in animal form. They were
>>also considered to be "grimalkins," minor demons who acted as
>>intermediaries for witches, carrying out their orders so the witch
>>wouldn't be in the vicinity when the nefarious deeds were done.
>>
>>In 1484 Pope Innocent VIII decreed that anyone who owned a cat was a
>>witch, and that when a witch was burned at the stake her cat must be
>>burned with her. In the 1500s Inquisitor Nicholas Remy declared that all
>>cats were demons. The Church became rife with cat persecution, blaming
>>them for the Black Death of the mid-14th century, which decimated a
>>third of Europe's population. Catholic priests during this time presided
>>over festivals where cats were burned to death by the hundreds.
>>
>>Black cats got the worst of it, since black is a color commonly
>>associated with evil, Satan, and dark spirits. Besides being immolated,
>>they were beheaded, drawn and quartered, buried alive, and numerous
>>other manner of cruel execution. Because of this, cats that are pure
>>solid black disappeared from the landscape. And thus today true,
>>completely black cats are unheard of.
>>
>
>
> Wow, you actually believe that chain e-mail stuff?! ROFL! It's pure
> fiction started by somebody who was really bored one day. Do you
> really believe that black cats were only "owned" by people who were
> pesecuted in one tiny area of the world during the Inquisition? And
> that they were able to find and destroy every single one? Honestly,
> think about it! Even if they, through some unimaginable powers did
> that, Rome didn't control Persia, nor Egypt, where cats were revered.
> What about the cats in Asia and Africa?
>
> As I said in a another post, I have a purely black cat. He looks jus
> tlike a miniature panther. The evidence is empirical and irrefutable
> that the story you quoted is nonsense.
> ---
> Zob

You're welcome.