Friday, August 12, 2016

The Little Big Cats

Photographer Captures the Majestic Beauty of Maine Coons
from: Bored Panda

Let photographer Robert Sijka introduce you to Maine Coons - the largest domesticated breed of cats in the world. They're basically the closest thing to a lynx that you can share your home with, without worrying too much about your well-being.

Sijka always saw cats as majestic, almost mystical beasts, and now he came up with a way to share that image with the rest of us: "My passions are cats and photography, I do my best to combine these two things as good as possible," the photographer shares on his website. And he managed to combine those passions perfectly in his royal-like Maine Coon portrait series.

He got the inspiration from a "photo of Dolce Vita and De La Loo - two of the most majestic black Maine Coons... photographed beautifully on a simple black background", Robert told Cat Behaviourist. And ever since that moment, he was creating these mesmerizing portraits himself.

More info: 500px | Flickr
Yeah, now that I’ve shown you all these pretty pictures I’m going to spoil it for you.  The cats are beautiful - the photos are great, but CFA cats are like AKC dogs.  They are bred for faddish, trendy features such as color, huge size and other traits.  The practice is no better for cats than it is for dogs.  You want a cat or dog?  Go to the pound or a rescue.

The following Maine Coon cat health problems can affect any cat. In general, Maine Coons are hardy and robust cats.

Responsible breeders screen for inherited conditions. Your breeder should be open to discussing any questions you may have. Since the following health issues can be genetically inherited by Maine Coon cats, it's good to be aware of them.

HCM - Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy

This genetic disease is usually known as HCM. It is the most serious of the potential Maine Coon Cat Health Problems. HCM is the most common heart disease in all cats.

It is not specific to Maine Coons; It is seen in other cat breeds as well. It has been confirmed that the Maine Coon and the American Shorthair can carry the genetic trait for HCM.

HCM causes a thickening of the wall of the heart. This stiffens the walls of the heart, restricting blood flow. It occurs over time. It can lead to sudden heart failure, striking the cat at a young age.

Unfortunately, there are often no symptoms before this time. Possible symptoms could include lethargy, labored breathing, weight loss, or lameness of a rear leg. Or your vet might detect a heart murmur or irregular heartbeat.

Your vet has a variety of tests he can perform for diagnosis. The best thing you can do for your cat is to make it to the regular check-ups. Your vet will be on the lookout for any signs or symptoms. If HCM is detected, talk to your vet about medications and prognosis. 

Ask your breeder about any testing they have done on their cats. Hopefully, they can put your mind at rest.

Spinal Muscular Atrophy

When researching Maine Coon cat health problems, you may come across Spinal Muscular Atrophy, or SMA. This is also a genetically inherited disorder. It shows up in kittens, characterized by lameness in their rear end. This is caused by death of the spinal cord neurons.

The kitten is otherwise normal. It doesn't affect appetite, or use of the litter box. The cat can live years, comfortably, with SMA. They won't run and jump as well as other cats, and if you feel the rear legs and hindquarters you can feel the loss of muscle tone.

There is testing available to breeders, so they can avoid breeding any cats who are carriers.

Polycystic Kidney Disease

This is also genetically inherited. PKD is also known to affect Persian and Persian-related cats. The cat has multiple cysts on its kidneys. They grow in number and size as the cat ages, ultimately ending in renal, or kidney failure. The rate of cyst growth can be slower in some cats, but it remains a fatal condition.

Signs to look out for include depression, weight loss, increased thirst and urination, and occasional vomiting. Treatments are the same as for other cats with chronic kidney failure.

PKD is one of the more serious Maine Coon cat health problems, so be sure to ask your breeder about it.

Hip Dysplasia in Cats

Another inherited condition, Hip Dysplasia, is more prominent in large cats such as the big Maine Coon cat. A kitten inherits the genetic predisposition for it, and as the cat grows in weight in size, it becomes apparent.

It affects the hip joint, which is unable to properly bear the weight. Cartilage can disintegrate, causing arthritis and pain. This is a condition that can be managed, and some folks opt to use herbal remedies for cats to help with hip dysplasia and other health issues.

When you are choosing a kitten, it is important to ask your breeder what health screening they do. A good breeder will promptly fill you in on all of these Maine Coon cat health problems. They'll provide you with information on current medical research. They will let you know what genetic testing they provide for their cats, and how the parents of their kittens have tested.

When caring for your Maine Coon Cat, you should be aware of potential concerns. You know your cat better than anyone else, so you'll be the first to notice a change in behavior.

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