A-Z: Cat Breeds (7)


Over 8 posts, I am going to go through cat breeds, and cover some basic titbits about the breeds; a little bit of history surrounding the breed, including the original use for the breed, and some other interesting facts.

This, the seventh, post will cover S-V of cat breeds. In the follow-up (and final) post I will look into cat breeds from W-Z… basically I am doing an A-Z of cat breeds, covering 1-3 breeds per letter.

If I do not cover the breed of your cat in this post, and you would like me to; please leave the breed in the thoughts comment box below, or post it via the contact page, or get in touch via any social media pages listed at the end of each post – this way I can include your breed in another post (either the follow up, or a repeat with different breeds). Do the same if you want more information than I have provided on any particular cat breed, or if you would like to share a photo of your cat(s)!

S

Scottish Fold

Country of Origin: Scotland, UK

Lifespan: 11-15 years               Breed Size: Medium

Hair/Fur Length: Shorthair and Longhair

Colour(s):  White, Blue, Cream, Red, Silver, Cameo, Brown, Tortoiseshell, Black – in solid colouration, bi-colour, tri-colour, tabby, ticked/spots.

Breed History:  The origin of this breed is said to stem from a mouser in a farmer’s barn in 1961; a white cat with unusually folded ears, named Susie. Susie mated with a local tom cat; a local shepherd named William Ross acquired one of the kittens and named her Snooks. William bred Snooks, and then bred one of her kittens with a British Shorthair, which resulted in a litter of “lop eared cats”. While the Scottish Fold is generally Shorthaired, from Susie the trait for Longhair has been passed down – a Longhaired Scottish Fold is often known as a Highland Fold.

Outstanding Physical Trait: The folded ears. kittens are born with straight ears, which may fold at about 3 weeks old (they do not always fold). The fold could be a single – a fold half way up the ear, or a double – where the ears sit tighter to the head, or a triple – where the ears lie flat against the head (which is the desired ear fold for show cats).

Sphynx

Country of Origin: Toronto, Canada (not Egypt as many think due to the name)

Lifespan: 10-15 years                    Breed Size: Medium                

Hair/Fur Length: Hairless           Colour(s): All colours and patterns

Breed History: Developed as a breed in the mid-1960’s, when a domestic shorthair had a hairless kitten in her litter (named Prune). Prune was a male, and bred with furred cats (including the Devon Rex) to try and produce more hairless kittens. The results of the breeding of Prune was litters that had kittens both with and without fur. The hairless kittens were subsequently bred and the breed developed into the mid-late 1970’s. Some of the hairless kittens were also exported to Europe, where the breed was developed there.

Outstanding Physical Trait: The lack of hair/fur.

T

Tonkinese

Country of Origin: USA

Lifespan: 15-18 years                 Breed Size: Medium                

Hair/Fur Length: Semi-Longhair

Colour(s): Champagne, Blue, Natural, Platinum – in solid, point, and mink patterns.

Breed History: The modern version of this breed that we see today is a cross between the Siamese and Burmese, developed in the 1950’s. However in the 1880’s it was a breed in its’ own right, but were known as Chocolate Siamese, and was very close genetically to the Siamese and the Burmese. In the 50’s they went by Golden Siamese but by the 60’s they were renamed to Tonkinese.

Outstanding Physical Trait: The oriental but fuller look – not quite a slender as most oriental type breeds.

U

Ukrainian Levkoy

Country of Origin: Ukraine

Lifespan: 15-19 years                   Breed Size: Medium              

Hair/Fur Length: Hairless          Colour(s): All colours and patterns

Breed History: A cross between the Donskoy (or Russian Hairless) and the Scottish Fold (above) – this is a hairless cat with folded ears, artificially bred 2000-2001 for their unique appearance.

Outstanding Physical Trait: The lack of hair/fur coupled with the folded ears.

V

Van Kedishi (a.k.a. Turkish Van)

Country of Origin: Eastern Turkey (Lake Van region)

Lifespan: 12-17 years                  Breed Size: Medium                 

Hair/Fur Length: Semi-Longhair

Colour(s): Traditionally white with auburn throughout. Modern accepted colours include white with cream, black, blue, tortoiseshell (tortie), blue tortie, blue tabby, brown tabby, tortie tabby or blue tortie tabby.

Breed History: There is a myth relating to the origin of this breed; the Van Kedishi cat was on Noah’s Ark during the flood. Noah’s Ark came to rest on Mount Ararat when the flood was over, which is said to be not too far from Lake Van, and is where these cats headed once they cam off the Ark. It is also said that the coloured markings on their fur are due to God blessing the animals as they came off the Ark. Thought to have originated in the Lake Van region of Turkey, and to have existed there as a domestic breed for centuries, but first brought to Britain in the 1950’s.

Outstanding Physical Trait: The van colour pattern – white with colour on the head and tail only.


All images are open source, Google images, or my own – or photos donated for use by the pet owners.


If you have any questions or comments; please post a comment below, or contact Ali’s Answers via one of my social media pages…
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National Bird Day: 5th January 2018


National Bird Day is on 5th January every year; it is scheduled for the end of the annual Christmas Bird Count. The count helps to monitor our nation’s birds; members of the public go out and count as many birds as they can see during the three week count.

It is estimated that approximately 12% of the population of all bird species could face extinction within the next century. Many parrot species and songbirds face extinction due to illegal trade (see my post about the Javanese Songbird Trade for some related information), disease, and loss of habitat.

Today, National Bird Day, is to promote care and conservation of birds, as well as to raise awareness about their decline. It also marks the end of the Christmas Bird Count – which monitors wild populations to measure the numbers of individuals.

Many countries have a national bird, and I am going to use a few as examples to show the importance of National Bird Day, and the conservation of birds.

United Kingdom: European Robin 
The population of this bird has increased by 45% since 1970! The current count is 117,000,000-181,000,000 mature adults in Europe alone.

European Robin

United States of America: Bald Eagle
Estimated population of 300k-500k (k = thousand) in the 1700’s; the current population is now 70k in North America, and just 5k in the South. However numbers were as low as only 500 in mid-late 1800’s, so the population has increased again.

Bald Eagle

Italy: Italian Sparrow
The current population is 10-20 million individuals (5-10 million pairs) however have been classified as vulnerable due to their rapid decline at a rate of 54.2% between 2000 and 2015.

Italian Sparrow

Canada: Canada Goose
This species has steadily increased in population  at an estimated rate of 3% between 1998 and 2007. In 2015 the estimated population was 4.2-5.6 million.

Canada Goose

With the information from bird counts, we can take active steps to help conserve species when they need it – to show us the most vulnerable or endangered species, so that we can take steps to avoid their extinction.


All images are open source, Google images, or my own – or photos donated for use by the pet owners.


If you have any questions or comments; please post a comment below, or contact Ali’s Answers via one of my social media pages…
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2017 Annual Report


Sadly, the presentation form of the Annual Report is, again, unavailable this year. Usually, this is kindly provided by Word Press – with the fireworks, and stats all done for you.

In the absence of this, I have again produced my own (if you’re interested)… using the Word Press provided report/information for the different sections.

YOUR SITE IN 2017

Crunchy Numbers

A London Underground Tube holds (approximately) 876 people. This blog was viewed about 7,437 times in 2017. If it were a London tube, it would take over 8 trips to carry that many people.

The busiest day of the year was January 7th with 145 views – with the most popular post viewed that day being Shamu: Tilikum. This was closely followed by 89 views on October 11th – with the most popular views that day being My Work and International Tiger Day.

The best day overall in the history of Ali’s Answers is still May 2nd 2016 with 244 views – with the most popular post viewed that day being Curious About Cross-Breeds.

Posting Patterns

In 2017, there were 21 new posts, growing the total archive of this blog to 118 posts.

Jan – 4 posts
Feb – 2 posts
Mar – 2 posts
Apr – 1 post
May – 1 post
Jun – 1 post
Jul – 2 post
Aug – 2 post
Sep – 1 post
Oct – 1 post
Nov – 1 post
Dec – 3 posts

Attractions in 2016

Most Popular – Top 5 Posts of 2017

Some of my most popular posts were written before 2017. My writing has staying power!

Where did they come from?

Top 3 Countries: USA, UK, Canada.

Christmas Camel (Dromedary)


Yes it does seem like an odd title for a post – “hot” and “dry” and “sandy” are words that tend to come to [my] mind when thinking of camels; whereas “cold” and “frosty” and “snowy” are words that tend to come to [my] mind when thinking about Christmas… however there is logic!

Think of the school nativity play you played a role in (no matter how small) as a child – no room at the inn, Mary and Joseph in the stable, the birth of baby Jesus, and of course the visitors: the shepherds and their sheep, and the three wise men who rode in on their camels!

As Jesus was born in Bethlehem (a town south of Jerusalem), and lived in Nazareth (a city in north Jerusalem) – the camels the wise men rode in on were likely have been dromedary camels as they came from the East (and it took them about two years to get there, so they wouldn’t have actually visited Jesus in the stable).

Camels are even-toed insulated, with a hump or humps. Each hump is a mound of fat – stored up so that the animal does can go travel great distance without stopping to refuel! When the store has been used up the hump(s) will flop and become limp, until the animal has refuelled; the hump(s) will then return to their upright position

The dromedary or Arabian camel (scientifice name: Camelus dromedarius) is the one-humped camel; the smallest of the three remaining camel species. This species is found in the Middle-East and the Horn of Africa; likely the species the wise men travelled on. (The other camel species being the Bactrian.)

Standing between 1.7-2.0m tall and weighing 300-600kg the dromedary has a diet consisting of a range of desert vegetation; including thorny plants, dwarf shrubs, herbs, desert grasses, vines, and trees. They will graze for 8-12 hours each day.

A male camel is known as “bull”, a female is a “cow”, and the young as “a calf” or “calves”. After a 12-15 month gestation period the female will give birth in solitude, usually to a single calf, however on occasion may give birth to twins. The mother will then care for the young for up to two years.

Unfortunately, the dromedary has not naturally existed in the wild for a long time; thought to be around 2000 years. However there are feral camels of this species found, particularly in Australia (where they were introduced around 1840). But with breeding programmes around the world in animal collections, this species is still strong in number [for the time being].


All images are open source, Google images, or my own – or photos donated for use by the pet owners.


If you have any questions or comments; please post a comment below, or contact Ali’s Answers via one of my social media pages…
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Rare Species: Vaquita


The Vaquita is the rarest marine mammal in the world; a little porpoise, that wasn’t discovered until 1958. Now, almost 60 years on and they are on the brink of extinction. They are often caught in nets in marine protected areas, within Mexico’s Gulf of California, and drown as a result. Sadly, more than half of the population has been lost in the last three years.

The Vaquita is pale grey along its’ sides, dark grey on the dorsal surface (on top), and light grey/ white ventral surface (along the bottom). They have dark rings around the eyes and lips, and a dark thin line from the lips to the pectoral (front, side) fins. Newborns are darker in colour, with pale grey along the dorsal surface and head.

Since the freshwater River Dolphin species, the Baiji, went extinct in 2006 the Vaquita has taken the title of the world’s most endangered cetacean. As of 2016, there is suspected to be less than 30 left in the wild; a drastic drop in numbers since 1997 when there were approximately 600 in the wild.

The poaching of the endangered Totoaba fish, for its’ swim bladder – a Chinese delicacy, using gill-nets (fixed fishing nets) is the main cause of the Vaquita’s declining numbers. Vaquita’s get caught in gill-nets, and drown, as they cannot get free to get to the surface for air.

Gill-nets, though usually put in place for a single species, do not discriminate – many different species get caught, and often die. Whales, dolphins and porpoises all get trapped – some get away with injuries, whilst most die.

Dr. Anna Hall, of the Porpoise Conservation Society, said, There is nothing else we need to worry about other than gill-nets. If we remove the gill-nets, we will likely save the Vaquita.”


All images are open source, Google images, or my own – or photos donated for use by the pet owners.


If you have any questions or comments; please post a comment below, or contact Ali’s Answers via one of my social media pages…
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Javanese Songbird Trade


Songbirds on the brink of extinction due to being wild caught, and then sold as pets in Java (Indonesia). Markets full of beautiful songbirds bundled into cages. Forests erily quiet as the songbirds that should occupy the trees are being sold in these markets; including protected bird species, being illegally caught and sold. These animals are treated as possessions of status as opposed to being cared for as companions. Songbird species native to Java are headed toward extinction – according to the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN). Many species are critically endangered with no signs of improving.

Songbird Market, Java

Despite the efforts of conservationists and breeding programmes, for some species it may be too late. But thankfully, these programmes are still going, still hoping. Maybe some species will recover but the people of Java need to release these birds back into/ stop taking them from the wild, to have them die in cages a stones throw from their natural habitat.

Sumatran laughingthrush

I was made aware of this awful practice by a short segment in between news stories on the BBC – for more information of this on the BBC website please follow this link.


All images are open source, Google images, or my own – or photos donated for use by the pet owners.


If you have any questions or comments; please post a comment below, or contact Ali’s Answers via one of my social media pages…
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International Rabbit Day: 24 September 2017


Happy International Rabbit Day

Initially classified as Rodents but, in the early 20th Century, re-classified as Lagomorphs; rabbits in the wild exist on every continent except Asia and Antarctica, and domestically world-wide.

A male rabbit is known as a Buck and a female is known as a Doe. Baby rabbits are often mistakenly thought to be known as Bunnies, but a young rabbit is actually known as a Kit or a Kitten.

For more information about rabbits, check out another of my posts, Bunny Basics – http://alisanswers.com/index.php/2014/03/28/bunny-basics/ 

Interesting: Deer, deer!


Actress, Audrey Hepburn had a pet deer named Pippen; artist Frida Kahlo also had a pet deer named Granizo.

Audrey and Pippen

Audrey’s little fawn would lie on the couch with her, and was very docile. She would bottle feed and care for the fawn. Pippen was used on set of the film Green Mansions; where she played a fawn that followed the main character, Rima (played by Audrey), around the jungle in which they both lived. As such, Audrey took the deer home and cared for her – so much so that Pippen would follow Audrey around.

Audrey nicknamed the fawn “IP” and were even photographed shopping (below) and napping (above) together! Unfortunately, after filming, Audrey and Pippen had to say goodbye and part ways.

Frida and Granizo

Frida had an array of animals around her; and it is said that she had a connection with nature. Frida was a Mexican artist, who painted throughout her troubled life; painting often by drawing from her life and pain. Her pets, so it is said, we’re dear to her; her pet deer Granizo is said to have inspired her 1946 painting The Wounded Deer.

Unfortunately there is not much information surrounding Frida’s relationships with her animals – aside from [some of] them being inspiration for pieces of art.


All images are open source, Google images, or my own – or photos donated for use by the pet owners.


If you have any questions or comments; please post a comment below, or contact Ali’s Answers via one of my social media pages…
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