Decoding kitty tactics
Your feline’s physicality and behaviour alters during the golden years of its life.
What are five common symptoms to determine the maturity of cats?
A senior cat is aged between eight to 10 years or older. Some signs of growing age could be:
Slowing down: Other signs of slowing down include a cat that takes longer cat naps and may sleep for longer stretches. Old games of "chase the mechanised mouse" or "catch the string" may no longer get your cat moving. You may even notice if your cat has some difficulty going up and down the stairs.
Reduced hearing: Just like humans, cats can experience hearing loss. The rate of loss is variable. For some cats, hearing loss may be barely noticeable or for some, it can be total.
Cloudy eyes: Like dogs, cat's eyes often show a bluish transparent haze in the pupil area. This is a normal effect of ageing. The medical term for this is lenticular sclerosis.
Thinning of the iris: Iris atrophy, or thinning of the iris, may occur in some cats' eyes, particularly those with irises lighter in colour, like blue-eyed cats. The eye's iris may appear to have splotches, or appear moth-eaten. Except for in extreme cases, this condition usually does not affect vision. This condition may occur only in one eye and can cause some cats to become light sensitive.
Muscle loss: Loss of muscle mass, called muscle atrophy may occur during old age. Some cats with diabetes can have nerve problems and lose their hind muscle mass.
I have adopted a young cat from the road. What is the easiest way to find out whether it is a male or female?
According to a study by Queen's University, Belfast published in the journal animal behaviour, female cats are significantly more likely to be right-paw-dominant, while male cats typically favour their left paws. Researchers studied which paw each cat led with when walking down the stairs and stepping over the raised edges of their litter boxes or which paw was used to retrieve food from a closed area. 73 per cent of cats showed a clear paw preference when reaching for food, 70 per cent showed a preference when stepping down the stairs and 66 per cent showed a preference when stepping over the lips of their litter boxes. Males strongly favoured their front left paws, and females strongly favoured their front right paws.
How does one know if a cat is male or female?
If you look at a female cat's genital area, the space just under her tail, it will look like an upside down, with the long slit of the vaginal area below the anus.
The male cat has a narrower space between the anus and the penis, with the testicles in the middle.
Most neutered male cats will still show the vestigial remnants of a testicle sac, and the anus and penis will still be relatively close together. One other, simpler way to tell the sex of your cat is by the colour of its coat. Cats with three colours White, Black, and Orange are almost always female. Orange cats are most often male though there are certainly orange females as well, so this is not a reliable technique.
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