The A-Z of Cats – Pedigrees of the World – The Oriental Shorthair

The A-Z of Cats
Pedigrees of the World – The Oriental Shorthair


The Oriental is a man-made breed and comes in both a Shorthair and a Longhair variety. They were originally bred in the early 1950’s in Great Britain. The Oriental Shorthair has a short, fine textured coat, glossy or satin-like, that lies close to the body. Despite their svelte, tubular body they have surprising weight and muscle tone and are not a fragile breed.

The Oriental Shorthair, also called an “Ornamental” or “Foreign Type” cat, was originally bred to produce the body and personality of the Siamese in a wider variety of colours and patterns. There are over 300 possible colour and pattern combinations but they are usually green-eyed. It not only resembles, but also behaves similarly to its Siamese cousin.

Energetic and inquisitive, they require regular attention and are among the most vocal of cat breeds. A cat’s individual voice is caused by the way in which it produces its vowel sounds and some cats, mainly the Oriental varieties, often develop very distinctive voices easily recognized by their owners. Oriental Shorthairs form deep and long-lasting bonds with their owners; their intense loyalty is sometimes likened to that of the family dog, particularly because they become so attached to people. Oriental Shorthairs have been likened to a Chihuahua or even a Greyhound in appearance.

In the busiest moments, your Oriental will find a way to interrupt your activities; a little nudge while you eat, a close examination of whatever tools you may be using or some help tying your shoes before you leave in the morning. They like to poke their nose in when you are choosing food from the refrigerator! At quiet times they love to cuddle up on your lap, purring.

When you get home from work or shopping, they will chat away trying to tell you all about their day. Don’t think of hiding their favourite toy on top of the wardrobe as they are intelligent and curious enough to get up there and find it. They have been known to open a drawer, or empty your purse to discover their favourite toy. It might be a pen or a crumpled up piece of paper that they can chase around the kitchen floor. Give them the attention and affection they so desperately need, and they will do anything to please you. Ignore them, and they will show how unhappy they are. These elegant cats remain playful, spirited and loyal well into their old age.

Cats of Oriental descent loathe being left alone for any length of time. If this is the type that appeals strongly to you, why not consider having two? The cats, brought up together, will become inseparable friends, keeping each other company whenever they have to be left at home or in a boarding cattery.

When the Oriental Shorthair was accepted for championship status in 1977, it rapidly became one of The Cat Fanciers’ Association’s (based in Ohio) most popular breeds. In 1995 the Oriental Longhair was added into this family of sleek, muscular felines making it a cat for just about anyone. With over 300 different colours and patterns to choose from, you’re guaranteed to find an Oriental that will suit your taste.

In 1995 Orientals added the bi-colour pattern to their repertoire. They have a clear white underside, legs, chest and inverted V on the face and are very popular.

Finally, they cost around £500 in the UK and life expectancy is 15 years. They don’t have any major inherited health problems.


What to do with leftover roast chicken

If you buy a large family size chicken and there is some leftover, here is what I sometimes do with it.

Chicken in cream and pesto sauce with tagliatelle

You will need

The chicken cut into small slices or cubed

An onion peeled and sliced

2 tablespoons of green pesto sauce

Half a carton of either double cream or creme fraiche

A splash of white wine if desired

Olive oil to cook with

Salt and pepper to taste

Fry the onion until translucent in a little olive oil. Add the chicken, pesto sauce, cream, wine if using and the salt and pepper.  Heat through on a low heat for about 10 minutes, about the time the tagliatelle needs to be cooked in boiling water.

Mushrooms would be a good addition if you have some in the fridge or in a tin.

Cat Carriers

If you have a cat, then I would most certainly recommend that you get a cat carrier.  In my view, it isn’t practical to take your pet to the vets without one, and although you could make use of a sturdy cardboard box, most cats are easily capable of demolishing a cardboard box quite quickly.  Those handy cardboard pet carriers may be cheap but are only really suitable for a short trip home from the vets.  There is a wide range of purpose made cat carriers on the market designed specifically for the purpose. These are often designed by people who are fully familiar with feline escapologists!

A robust new carrier should last for your cat’s lifetime.  Some come complete with cushion and water bowl, although for long car journeys, an ordinary water bowl can be better when stopping for a break.  When in the car you might prefer to secure the carrier by putting the seat belt through the handle and into the restraint so that if you should need to brake suddenly, it will not tip over.

Hard plastic carriers are robust and rigid which means they will stack for storage in the short term and you can take it apart for longer term storage.  They are easy to keep clean as all they need in the event of an “accident” is a quick wipe over with a clean cloth or wet wipe, until you have chance to give it a thorough wash with a cat-safe disinfectant.  The cushion, of course, just lifts out for washing.  Alternatively, you can place a favourite cat blanket that is easily washable in the bottom of the cat carrier to keep your “puss” comfortable and dry.  Plastic carriers are also unlikely to harbour fleas like softer carriers may.  Even though your cat may be free of fleas, you cannot guarantee the other patients at the vets are so lucky.

Most carriers have front opening doors but some have an opening at the top as well – handy if you prefer to lift your cat out from above.  Most cats don’t become attached to the carrier and will hide when they see it, probably because they associate it with visits to the vet or a cattery.  However, some cats do like to snooze in them at home and some cat owners leave their carrier at the cattery as their pet prefers to sleep in it.  Cats seem to like carriers which are mostly enclosed but they can still see out on all sides – they seem to appreciate this especially at the vets when there are dogs about.  They can watch what is going on without feeling too exposed and vulnerable.  In hot weather it will also offer some shading from the sun when the cat is on its travels.

It is always a good idea to get cats used to carriers as kittens and, if you can, use it for pleasant events from time to time to dispel negative associations, which is easier said than done.  Encourage kittens early by offering food or treats in the cat carrier, or by throwing favourite toys into the back of the carrier.

cat carrier 2016

When purchasing a cat carrier, consider the durability, weight, ability to clean, airline compliance (if you plan to travel), stability, size and ventilation.  Cats generally don’t want to get out of their carriers when they arrive at their new location and trying to get them out of a front only style carrier can be challenging.  If the top is removable, this can make letting “puss” out a much easier process.

Soft carriers are comfortable and nice for short trips. They are generally not airline approved and offer less ventilation than the hard plastic designs but are softer and more comfortable.  They can make cats feel more secure but are harder to clean if “accidents” occur.  Some have a pull out washable liner which is ideal.

Cat carriers are an essential part of any disaster plan. Have carriers in an easy to locate area in case of a flood, fire etc., in or near your home.  If possible, you should have one available for every pet in your household.

Do you believe in life after death?

My weirdo book called Planet Zu Tu is all about what happens to us when we die.  It has been a long time in the making and I am now editing and re-editing the first 3 chapters to shape into something to send to an agent.  Why not have a look?

The A-Z of Cats – The Munchkin

The A-Z of Cats
Pedigrees of the World – The Munchkin

Munchkin cats are a relatively new breed created by a random mutation that produced a cat with extremely short legs. Munchkin cats have short or long coats in a wide variety of colours.  There is no doubt that your first glance at a friendly, self assured Munchkin will leave you feeling like someone cut their legs off.  The cats exhibit shortening and bowing of the long bones, similar to that seen in the Corgi and Dachshund, but no other skeletal changes associated with the gene. The spine is usually indistinguishable from that of other cats.  There is no evidence to suggest that the gene for short legs hampers survival, or quality of life.

munchkin cat

Although the short legged cats from Europe seem to have disappeared, the trait reappeared in New England in the 1970’s and in Louisiana in the 1980’s.  In 1983 Sandra Hochenedal found a pregnant black, female, short legged cat (Blackberry) under a pickup truck.  In Blackberry’s first litter and in each subsequent one, she passed the trait on to about half her kittens. Sandra  called them Munchkins after the little people in the Wizard of Oz. Toulouse, one of Blackberry’s sons, was given to a friend named Kay La France who established a colony of Munchkins on her Louisiana Plantation. The present Munchkins are thought to be descendents of Blackberry and Toulouse.
Munchkins have kitten-like personalities, and they keep their kittenish ways all their lives. They are very affectionate and love to be around adults, children, dogs and other cats. They never tire of human company and prefer to be with a companion.  They are not aggressive cats, and are very social and out-going. They are very playful and love to run, chase, climb and play with toys. When it comes to chasing, their short legs give them an advantage over cats with long legs. Those little legs allow them to scramble faster and corner sharper when scurrying after ping pong balls, cat toys on poles, as well as live insects, if they get the chance. This is the cat which may well hide your jewellery under furniture, just like a Magpie. They readily accept a harness and lead and seem to enjoy taking their owners for walks. The short legs do not seem to affect its climbing ability, but its jumping ability is limited by the shortness of the hind legs. Due to its lack of jumping abilities, the Munchkin can find it very difficult to escape from fights with other animals so it is best kept as an indoor only cat.
This breed is not currently recognized by the GCCF or CFA.

The A-Z of Cats – Pedigrees of the World – The Ocicat

The Ocicat

The beautiful appearance and wonderful coats of Ocelots, Leopards and Jaguars have captivated feline enthusiasts for centuries but never before has there been a successful attempt to breed an entirely new domestic cat. Ocicats offer the beauty of wild cats yet retain the wonderfully predictable disposition of domestic cats.

The Ocicat is a popular new, but rare, cat breed, named for its resemblance to the ocelot.  They have spotted, short coats that shine and feel like satin. They are long-bodied, medium-sized cats and are quite muscular. Their eyes are spaced wide apart, and their ears are large and tufted. Ocicats have agouti patterns, which means every other hair alternates in colour and the tips of the hairs are tipped with a different colour. The most common colours are tawny (which is almost black), chocolate, cinnamon, and silver. Blue, lavender, and fawn are less common.  The Ocicat is a domestic cat which has been selectively bred to emulate and encapsulate the natural cat of the wild.  It has all of their virtues and none of their drawbacks.  There is no wild blood in this cat and it was not the intention of the founding cat breeder to produce a “jungle cat”.  Their broad genetic background leaves them less prone to disease than some breeds.  The lifespan is approximately 15 years, but some live to 18 or 19. Litter sizes average between 4 and 6 kittens.

The first Ocicat occurred by accident in Michigan, USA when Mrs. Virginia Daly attempted to breed an “Abyssinian-pointed” Siamese in 1964 but the surprising result in the second generation was a spotted kitten, Tonga, nicknamed an ‘ocicat’ by the breeder’s daughter.  Tonga, ushered the new breed into the world.  He was neutered and sold as a pet, but further breeding of his parents produced more spotted kittens.  The next step was the introduction of the American Shorthair which contributed body substance and the silver colour gene.

Ocicats are a very outgoing breed. They are often considered to have the spirit of a dog in a cat’s body as they can easily be trained to fetch, walk on a lead and harness, come when called,  sit or lie down on command and lots of other dog-related tricks.  They are very friendly and will typically march straight up to strangers and expect to be petted. This makes them great family pets, and most get along well with other animals. Ocicats make excellent pets for people who want to spend lots of time with their cat as they do require plenty of attention.  The Ocicat is fairly vocal, but never overly noisy. They get on well with children and enjoy their company.

It took over 20 years for official recognition of the breed in America but when it came in 1986 Ocicats became one of the most popular breeds in the USA.




Birman copyright free

kitten Birman

The Birman is an average size cat (males generally ranging from 3-5 kilos, females a little smaller). A Birman has a medium length coat which requires very little grooming. Birman cats always have blue eyes and are pointed cats (e.g. darker colours on their faces, ears, paws and tail) with white paws. The front paws are called gloves, while the back are called gauntlets.  They have thick bodies, legs, and heavy paws. The fur on their stomach often curls and their coat does not matt. Their heads and shoulders are broad, and their cheeks and ears are round.  They are lovely to look at and make an ideal pet, even if you have dogs as they are very easy going.  Birmans are born white and the colours develop over the weeks they are growing.

Although the exact origin of the breed is unknown, the cat probably comes from Burma. There, it was considered sacred and was bred as a companion pet for Kittah priests.  They are sometimes known as “the sacred cat of Burma“.  They are well behaved, gentle, and get on well with other animals.  They also love to be around people and you are likely to find your Birman waiting to say “Hello” as soon as you get home.  Birmans have soft voices – when they do decide to talk, it’s usually to remind you that they are waiting for supper or your attention.

In the early part of the 20th century two Birmans were shipped to France where they were bred.  The Birman breed was recognised by the French Cat Registry in 1925 and recognised by the Cat Fanciers Association in 1966.

The Birman is a cat with a wonderful temperament and a striking appearance. They are also well known for laying down and showing off their white paws!

With regard to health, the Birman is a healthy breed, but has a tendency to kidney disease with old age.