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Cats

Friday Catblogging: Calicos

Mary Johnson lists 5 fun facts about calico cats you should know: Cats come in a variety of colors and coat patterns, ranging from solid white to jet black and everything in between. For a cat to be considered a calico, three different colors must be present in her coat: black, red, and white. Tortoiseshell cats,…

Friday Catblogging: Cats’ Spooky Eyes

Helen Czerski writes Behind the Spooky Eyes of Cats (‘Like scarier nighttime predators, cats have slit pupils that help them to judge distance and ambush their prey’): Halloween is approaching, and a whiff of ghoulish menace is squatting casually in the darkness of London’s evenings. Ghostly figures, silhouettes of witches and jagged glowing teeth loom…

Friday Catblogging: Cats Have Attachment Styles

In Current Biology, Kristyn R. Vitale, Alexandra C. Behnke, and Monique A.R. Udell have reported their findings on Attachment bonds between domestic cats and humans. Here is a summary of their report, with the full study available online: Worldwide, domestic cats (Felis silvestris catus) outnumber domestic dogs (Canis familiaris). Despite cats’ success in human environments,…

Friday Catblogging: Siamese Cats as Heat Maps

Annie Rauwerda writes Siamese cats are heatmaps of themselves: Siamese cats are walking heatmaps. Their characteristic coloration results from a delightful mutation (maybe I should call it a mew-tation) in tyrosinase, an enzyme that makes melanin. A deleted cytosine amino acid causes a frameshift mutation. The result? Tyrosinase in Siamese cats is particularly sensitive to…

Friday Catblogging: Tabbies

James Gorman reports How the Cat Gets Its Stripes: A team of geneticists reported Tuesday in the journal Nature Communications that it had identified a gene in domestic cats that plays a key role in creating the traditional tabby stripe pattern, and that the pattern is evident in embryonic tissue even before hair follicles start…