Test your knowledge of feline facts with our fun quiz.
1. Domestic cats spend what percentage of their lives sleeping?
a. 37 percent
b. 45 percent
c. 70 percent
d. 56 percent
2. Which of the following is the only big cat capable of purring?
3. True or false? A cat's taste buds do not have receptors for sweet flavors.
4. Which of the following treatments can help cats suffering from idiopathic cystitis (a bladder infection)?
a. Providing interactive toys and tall cat trees
b. Keeping the litter box very clean
c. Reducing stress
d. All of the above
5. True or false? The ability to respond to catnip is genetic.
6. What are the names of the two cats who pull the chariot of the Norse goddess Freya?
a. Loki and Thor
b. Bygul and Trjegul
c. Huginn and Muninn
d. Geri and Freki
7. Cats have been associated with people for how long?
a. 10,000 years
b. 5,000 years
c. 7,500 years
d. 2,000 years
8. What term is used to refer to cats with extra toes?
9. When you hear that familiar hacking sound in the middle of the night, your cat is getting ready to bring up what?
a. A dead mouse
c. A trichobezoar
d. A bolus
10. Which of the following is the most common pattern seen in cats?
1. (c) Domestic cats spend approximately 70 percent of their lives sleeping, which works out to 16 to 18 hours a day. Now, if we could only get them to sleep the same hours we do, we might all get some good rest.
2. (b) Cheetahs are the only big cats capable of purring. We think of cats purring when they are content, but they also purr when they are injured, giving birth and even dying. Interestingly, the sound frequencies of the purr may promote healing.
3. True. Cats don't have a sweet tooth. As far as we know, they are the only mammals that lack the receptors for sweetness. That's just one of the ways in which they are unique.
4. (d) We don't know why cats develop idiopathic cystitis -- the word "idiopathic" means "unknown" -- but enriching a cat's environment by providing places to climb and interesting toys, and reducing stress by keeping to a regular schedule and keeping the litter box scrupulously clean are some of the things that can help to decrease the incidence of the problem.
5. True. Approximately two-thirds of cats have a special receptor that allows them to respond to nepetalactone, the active ingredient in catnip. Kittens don't develop a response to catnip until they are 3 to 6 months old.
6. (b) Freya's cats are nameless in mythology, but fantasy author Diana L. Paxson named them Bygul (bee-gold) and Trjegul (tree-gold) in honor of Freya's associations with honey and amber. Legend has it that today's Norwegian forest cats descend from Freya's gigantic cats, which were said to be so huge that not even Thor could lift them.
7. (a) It has long been thought that cats were domesticated as recently as 4,000 to 5,000 years ago, but new archaeological evidence suggests they have been our companions for closer to 10,000 years. They had a commensal, or mutually beneficial, relationship with people -- living near them, but not with them.
8. (c) Cats with extra toes are referred to as polydactyl. The word comes from the Greek polydaktylos, poly meaning "many" and daktylos meaning "toe." Perhaps the most well-known polydactyl cats are found at the Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum in Key West, Florida.
9. (c) Trichobezoar is the scientific term for, yes, a hairball.
10. (b) Tabbies are tops among cat lovers. The striped pattern comes in many different colors and serves as effective camouflage. When the sun shines just right on some solid-colored cats, you can see underlying tabby markings.
Gallbladder disease seen
more often in dogs
Q: My senior cocker spaniel has been diagnosed with something called "gallbladder mucocele." Is it common for dogs to have gallbladder problems? -- via Facebook
A: It's unusual for dogs to develop painful gallstones the way people do, but we are starting to see dogs with gallbladder mucocele more frequently. It's a blockage that typically occurs in middle-aged or older dogs. The average age of a dog with a mucocele is 9 years old. Your cocker is one of the breeds that seems to be predisposed to the condition; Shetland sheepdogs are another.
We're not sure exactly what causes gallbladder mucocele. It's a disease that we only began to recognize in the past couple of decades and that used to be considered rare. Interestingly, it seems to occur in clusters in certain parts of the country. Some of us never see a case, and others might see a half-dozen or more cases a year.
One of the jobs of the gallbladder is to store bile, which has a digestive function. Mucoceles occur when the gallbladder wall starts secreting a thick mucus into the bile, forming a sludge and making it difficult for the normally liquid bile to flow out through the bile duct. The backup of bile causes the dogs to become jaundiced and develop other symptoms, including lethargy, appetite loss and abdominal pain. An ultrasound exam gives us a definitive diagnosis, because a gallbladder in this state looks a lot like a cross-section of a kiwi fruit.
If it looks as if the gallbladder is about to rupture, the veterinarian removes it surgically. For an older dog who isn't having any problems and isn't obstructed, the veterinarian may take a wait-and-see approach, managing the condition with medication and regular physical exams and ultrasound scans. -- Dr. Marty Becker
Do you have a pet question? Send it to firstname.lastname@example.org or visit Facebook.com/DrMartyBecker.
A new Grinch? Grumpy Cat
stars in holiday TV special
-- Grumpy Cat fans, grab your popcorn and settle down in front of the TV on Nov. 29 for the Lifetime broadcast of "Grumpy Cat's Worst Christmas Ever." Time magazine says the feline Internet sensation is bringing a touch of bah-humbug to the holiday season in the story of an overlooked pet-store cat with a sour outlook on life, a 12-year-old girl named Chrystal, who is the only person who can understand and communicate with the cat, and how they save each other -- and a dog -- on Christmas Eve. Aubrey Plaza from "Parks and Recreation" voices the, er, grumpy feline.
-- Madrone Coast Farm in Felton, California, became the first farm to earn the state's wildlife-friendly certification. That's due to the presence of Luke and Leia, Maremma sheepdogs who ward off predators, such as mountain lions, who threaten the property's sheep, ducks and chickens. Maremmas are Italian livestock guardian dogs who bear a resemblance to their cousins the Great Pyrenees from France, the Kuvasz from Hungary and the Anatolian and Akbash dogs from Turkey. Maremmas weigh 65 to more than 100 pounds and are best suited to homes where they can make use of their livestock-protection abilities.
-- A visiting golden retriever saved the lives of his host family when he alerted them to a fire in the middle of the night by bumping the bed and running in circles. Teddy's owner, Barbara Van Zandt, was traveling overseas, so she had left the dog with family members in Livonia, Pennsylvania. While they lost their home, the family and their other pets are alive, thanks to Teddy's quick action. The Livonia Fire Department presented Teddy with a badge for his collar and a plaque recognizing his deed. "It was a matter of real heroism," says fire department president Lari Whiting. -- Kim Campbell Thornton
ABOUT PET CONNECTION
Pet Connection is produced by a team of pet-care experts headed by "The Dr. Oz Show" veterinarian Dr. Marty Becker and award-winning journalist Kim Campbell Thornton. They are affiliated with Vetstreet.com and are the authors of many best-selling pet-care books. Joining them is dog trainer and behavior consultant Mikkel Becker. Dr. Becker can be found at Facebook.com/DrMartyBecker or on Twitter at DrMartyBecker. Kim Campbell Thornton is at Facebook.com/KimCampbellThornton and on Twitter at kkcthornton. Mikkel Becker is at Facebook.com/MikkelBecker and on Twitter at MikkelBecker.
CAPTIONS AND CREDITS
Caption 01: Cats have some unusual characteristics. How many of them do you know? Position: Main Story
Caption 02: The Maremma is a rare breed with a mind of its own and a protective nature. Position: Pet Buzz/Item 2