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Questions About Black Cats, Genetics and Feral Cats



 
 
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  #1  
Old January 26th 08, 12:29 AM posted to rec.pets.cats.health+behav
mc
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Posts: 213
Default Questions About Black Cats, Genetics and Feral Cats

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 :-)

  #2  
Old January 26th 08, 12:39 AM posted to rec.pets.cats.health+behav
cybercat
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Posts: 4,216
Default Questions About Black Cats, Genetics and Feral Cats


"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.


  #3  
Old January 26th 08, 12:47 AM posted to rec.pets.cats.health+behav
Gail[_2_]
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Posts: 46
Default Questions About Black Cats, Genetics and Feral Cats

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 :-)



  #4  
Old January 26th 08, 01:15 AM posted to rec.pets.cats.health+behav
mc
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Posts: 213
Default Questions About Black Cats, Genetics and Feral Cats

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!

  #5  
Old January 26th 08, 05:56 AM posted to rec.pets.cats.health+behav
Noon Cat Nick
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Posts: 145
Default Questions About Black Cats, Genetics and Feral Cats

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.
  #6  
Old January 26th 08, 05:44 PM posted to rec.pets.cats.health+behav
mc
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Posts: 213
Default Questions About Black Cats, Genetics and Feral Cats

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 :-)





  #7  
Old January 26th 08, 06:29 PM posted to rec.pets.cats.health+behav
Lesley
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Posts: 3,702
Default Questions About Black Cats, Genetics and Feral Cats


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


  #8  
Old January 26th 08, 08:39 PM posted to rec.pets.cats.health+behav
Richard Evans
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Posts: 103
Default Questions About Black Cats, Genetics and Feral Cats

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.


  #9  
Old January 26th 08, 09:50 PM posted to rec.pets.cats.health+behav
mc
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Posts: 213
Default Questions About Black Cats, Genetics and Feral Cats

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 ;-)
  #10  
Old January 26th 08, 10:43 PM posted to rec.pets.cats.health+behav
Noon Cat Nick
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Posts: 145
Default Questions About Black Cats, Genetics and Feral Cats

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.
 




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