Twitter @WhiteCatWorld

Load More...
casperworldlogo

Crazy Cat Shirts

Big White Cats

White Lion

White Lion

White cats are not limited to small to medium size feline you could cuddle at home. There are also big white cats, which you should also consider family to your pets. These big cat counterparts are termed wild cats for they commonly thrive in the forest. They are not usually adopted as pets due to their high or violent temperament.

There are different species referring to wild white cats. Conclusively, the cats are considered part of the felidae family, which is a biological classification. There are sub classifications under felidae family, which are felinae and pantherinae. The former is inclusive of wild cats present 25 million years ago.

White Cheetah: Still the World’s Fastest Animal

White cheetah is just a variation of the normal Cheetah, which comes in distinctive pattern. The fastest animal could run as fast as 70 mph. They could also swim, but they do not prefer doing so.

For over 5,000 years, this big cat has been in captivity. Sumarians were the first to tame this animal. According to experts, it is the easiest to domesticate among exotic cats. History showed that it served as a hunting partner in Asia before Libya’s Assyrian Dynasty.

Snow Leopard: The Endangered Species in Central and South Asia

White Leopards are called Ounce or Snow Leopards. The animal is one of the threatened species in Central and South Asia. As of 2003, the population of adult Snow Leopards is just 4,080 to 6,590. Only 2,500 adults may be reproducing in their habitats.

The wild cat is usually found at elevations from 3,000 to 4,500 meters. They inhabit alpine and subalpine areas. Nonetheless, you could also find them in lower elevations in northern countries.

White Cougar: America’s Mountain Lion

White Cougar is also called as White Panther. There are several species under this big cat breed. In some parts of North America, it is named Cougar. Alternatively, in South America, it is called Jaguar.

The big white cats are results of leucism, albinism, or chinchilla mutation. They are not selectively bred, which makes them more aggressive than an average big cat.

White Tigers: The Popular Bred of Bengal Tigers

In contrary to popular belief, White Tiger is not a result of albinism. It occurs when two Bengal tigers have recessive genes, which produce the coat color of the big cat. This is the reason why it is considered a sub species of Tiger.

The White Tigers are rare, but could still be found in animal sanctuaries and zoos. These beautiful felines attract visitors the most. It could weigh up to 300 kg and may grow up to three meters in length.

White Lion: The Species Animal Welfares Aim to Reintroduce

Similar to White Tiger, White Lion is not a result of albinism. It is a rarity in genes, particularly in Kruger Park/ Greater Timbavati Region. At present, the lions are classified under Panthera leo species according to Convention for the International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES).

In 2006, after its technical extinction, the White Lions continued to reproduce in Timbavati and nature reserves near the areas. This further proved that its gene still exists.

Similar to normal white cats, big cat species are extra special. They also need care and attention in order to survive. At present, more and more animal welfare organizations are pursuing big cats protection programs.

The white lions at Parc Safari in Quebec are amazing. Such beautuful big cats and the white colorings make them so spirit like and awe inspiring!

The white lions at Parc Safari in Quebec are amazing. Such beautuful big cats and the white colorings make them so spirit like and awe inspiring!

The Big Cat Videos The Big Cat VideosBig Cat Rescue in Tampa, Florida makes amazing videos about the cats they rescue, save and rehabilitate at their facility. They are the world’s largest accredited sanctuary in the world dedicated to helping and saving abused and abandoned big cats. If you aren’t able to visit them in Florida you can watch all their videos ...

Beautiful Big Cat Pictures Beautiful Big Cat PicturesWhenever I see a majestic big cat I am thankful that I can have a domesticated smaller version at home. Whenever I am at a zoo and can see the wild cats I am amazed at the stature, size and strength of the big beasts. What strikes me is how much  our small indoor cats ...

Superstitions, Legends & Symbolism Of White Cats Around The World Superstitions, Legends & Symbolism Of White Cats Around The WorldWhen you think about the adorable nature and endearing curiosity of your pet cat, it’s not far-fetched to contemplate the delightful relationship between humans and pet cats in general. This relationship is a legacy that extends back to over 9,500 years ago. Understandably, for a legacy this long, the innate behavioral patterns and biological characteristics of ...

Tonga the White Serval is a Survivor Tonga the White Serval is a SurvivorWe recently received two servals at our local zoo and they are beautiful! Back at home I was looking for more information about these amazing creatures that reminded me a bit of a small cheetah, with their long legs and small heads. I found a story about some servals at Big Cat Recue in Flordia, ...

Big White Cats Big White CatsWhite cats are not limited to small to medium size feline you could cuddle at home. There are also big white cats, which you should also consider family to your pets. These big cat counterparts are termed wild cats for they commonly thrive in the forest. They are not usually adopted as pets due to ...

The Pallas Cat: Oldest Living Species of Cat? The Pallas Cat: Oldest Living Species of Cat?The Pallas Cat can be found in Central Asia and are much smaller than the average exotic cat. They generally have a lifespan of 10 years, and are also known as Manul. The most interesting aspect of the Pallas Cat is perhaps that they are the oldest cats in the world. Because there are sources ...

The Margay: Long-Tailed Spotted Cat The Margay: Long-Tailed Spotted CatThe Margay is an exotic cat known for their slimness and grace. They have also been named the long-tailed spotted cat which derives from their appearance. The Margay closely resembles the Ocelot, and is much smaller than the average exotic cat. They are found generally in Central and South America, and have been known to ...

KodKod Cat: South American Wild Cat of Mystery KodKod Cat: South American Wild Cat of MysteryThe KodKod Cat is a mysterious South American wild cat because not much is known about them due to insufficient research and data analysis. According to the IUCN/SSC Cat Specialist Group, the KodKod Cat is placed on Appendix II of the Convention of International Trade in Endangered Species. They are, however, similar in appearance to Geoffrey’s Cat. They ...

The Marbled Cat: Rare Cat Resembles the Clouded Leopard The Marbled Cat: Rare Cat Resembles the Clouded LeopardThere are so many species of exotic cats out there, and surprisingly we probably have not sighted them all yet. The Marbled Cat is an exotic and rare cat and anyone who is able to see them is rather lucky as they are not often seen. They are another mysterious member in the exotic cat ...

The Big Cat Videos

Big Cat Rescue in Tampa, Florida makes amazing videos about the cats they rescue, save and rehabilitate at their facility. They are the world’s largest accredited sanctuary in the world dedicated to helping and saving abused and abandoned big cats. If you aren’t able to visit them in Florida you can watch all their videos on their YouTube channel and we put their video channel here so we can watch every time we need to see a beautiful big cat being treated with love and respect.

Beautiful Big Cat Pictures

Whenever I see a majestic big cat I am thankful that I can have a domesticated smaller version at home. Whenever I am at a zoo and can see the wild cats I am amazed at the stature, size and strength of the big beasts. What strikes me is how much  our small indoor cats share with their larger wild cousins as far as behavior and movements go. The grooming, the stalking, the head kisses are all shared from the big cats down to our small cats. Here are some of the big cats we’ve photographed.

The rare white lions at resting on the grass in Hemmingford, Quebec at the Parc Safari Zoo.

The rare white lions at resting on the grass in Hemmingford, Quebec at the Parc Safari Zoo.

On a warm summer day the male lion takes a rest while his lioness companions keep an eye out for anything that might disturb the peace.

On a warm summer day the male lion takes a rest while his lioness companions keep an eye out for anything that might disturb the peace.

6 Most Common Cat Problems & Illnesses

burmese-cat-health-issuesThe domestic cat is one of the top three cleanest animals on the planet. Quite a number of people believe cats may actually be the most hygienic, since they are fond of bathing and spend considerable amount of time grooming themselves.

Unfortunately, no degree of self-maintenance can make a cat immune to all diseases. It is Mother Nature showing one of her most ignoble (or noble if you’re a strong believer in the “inevitable cycle of life” concept) eccentricities.

There are literally dozens of medical conditions that afflict cats. They range from mild (such as loss of hair), moderate (such as gingivitis), to severe (such as fatal cancer).

These illnesses pose a range of challenges to cat owners. Especially since domestic cats are famous for instinctively hiding their pain, weakness, or illness—a trait also found in wild cats. Thus, it is imperative that you have to be keenly observant of your cat to notice telling signs of health issues.

This article gives a comprehensive overview of SIX of the most common health conditions cats experience to give you a firm head start should the worst happen.

Cat Health Issues & Treatment

1. Cat Vomiting

Humans are not strangers to vomiting, sometimes self-induced because of excessive consumption of alcohol.

Still, we may be nauseous for several other reasons. And this is also true for cats. The underlying cause for vomiting may be as benign as eating an inedible substance or as serious as a pathogenic infection. Other common causes are urinary tract disease, hairballs, and diabetes.

How It Appears

Typically, when a cat vomits, you will find partially digested residues of food. The content may be in predigested form, in tubular shape, and often covered with slimy mucus or bile.

Sometimes, there may be traces of blood, which should be cause for great concern. As it is often a sure sign of a more serious underlying condition like ulcer or cancer.

In general, the symptoms are obvious. As vomiting is characterized by drooling and abdominal heaving.

wcwveterinary-checking-catTreatment Options

The typical course of action when you notice your cat vomiting is to withhold food and water. Only administer either at least two hours after vomiting has stopped. When you do, introduce water first and slowly. After which you give the cat a bland diet.

Now would be a purr-fect time to pamper you cat (as you would a sick kid). And feed your cat with homemade food such as cooked, skinless chicken or boiled rice or potatoes.

If the symptoms and the vomiting continues (indicative of chronic vomiting), then make certain to see your vet. Although gross, it’d help to scoop a sample of the vomit for your vet. Your vet will recommend a treatment plan for your cat.

As tempting as it may appear, refrain from giving any drug (antiemetic or not) to your cat unless so directed by your vet. For the sole reason that the causes of vomiting are varied and that only a licensed vet having carried out necessary checks and/or tests can prescribe an appropriate remedy.

2. Cat Diarrhea

While diarrhea can often be a standalone health problem in cats, it can sometimes accompany vomiting especially when the cause is gastrointestinal upset.

That said, the causative factors for diarrhea are numerous. It ranges from something as mild as change of diet to something as severe as liver disease. Other common causes are allergies, cancer, infection, parasites in the intestine, and spoiled food.

How It Appears

The typical symptom of diarrhea is frequent loose, liquid, or watery stool/feces. However, the duration varies as it may be a one-time occurrence, last for several weeks or months, or it may occur intermittently (off and on).

Treatment Options

One of the adverse effect that accompanies diarrhea is dehydration. To prevent it, it is necessary to provide a steady supply of fresh, clean water.

Water is the most you have to offer tho’. As it is essential to withhold fold for a while. However, this period should not last longer than 12 to 24 hours.

Now, a single bout of diarrhea shouldn’t make you lose sleep. However, you SHOULD visit a vet if the diarrhea persists for more than one day and/or you notice additional worrying symptoms (such as traces of blood, straining to defecate, abdominal discomfort, vomiting, abnormal amount of flatulence, lethargy, fever, unexplained weight loss, or loss of appetite).

3. Cat Eye Problems

Who can believe that there is no soul behind those luminous eyes?" - Théophile Gautier

Who can believe that there is no soul behind those luminous eyes?”
– Théophile Gautier

This encompassing entry refers to a wide range of individual health conditions. The most common of these eye diseases include cataracts, trauma, conjunctivitis, inflammation of vital eye tissues, retinal disease, and viral infections.

How They Appear

There are plenty of symptoms indicative of eye diseases. And it can get tricky for anyone without expert knowledge to tie a symptom to a specific underlying health condition.

You can only be aware of the symptoms and watch out for them by physically inspecting the eyes of your cats REGULARLY.

The common symptoms include cloudiness or change in eye color, squinting, watery eyes, eye discharge, pawing at the eye, gunk in the corners of the eye, tear-stained fur, a visible third eyelid, and red or white eyelid linings.

Treatment Options

Early detection is important for any health issue. This is especially true for eye problems. You should make a habit of REGULARLY inspecting the eyes of your cat. Be fastidious when checking, and note any abnormalities.

You should also make certain that your cat gets necessary vaccinations and undergoes thorough checkups. This is just following the adage that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

The course of action after discovering an abnormality is to reach out to your vet. Eye problems count as emergencies, so the earlier you make that call or visit, the better it is for your cat.

Do NOT administer any drops or ointments to your cat without prior vet approval. It could just make a bad situation worse.

How to Carry Out a Home Eye Check

  • Ensure that the area in which you’re carrying the check is brightly lit
  • Look intently into the eyes of your cat and note the following
    • The eyes should be clear and bright
    • The color of the area around the eyeball should be white
    • The size of the pupils should be equal
  • Using your thumb, gently roll down the eyelid of your cat, then observe the color of the lid’s lining
    • The color should be pink. If the color is red or white, then it may be indicative of an underlying health problem.

4.  Fleas

Fleas do not just have their cannons aimed at cats. Dogs, other domestic animals, and farm animals may also be at the receiving end of cannonballs from fleas. Even humans aren’t spared.

The flea game plan is having several species, with each of them having their preferred hosts. The common species are the human fleas (Pulex irritans), the dog fleas (Ctenocephalides canis), and the specie that prefers the tasty blood in your cat is the cat flea specie (Ctenocephalides felis).

How It Appears

The symptoms of flea infestation include the direct observation of tiny black dots (which are actually flea dirt on the skin of your cat) or the fleas themselves when you use a flea comb to inspect the coat of your cat.

Other indirect symptoms include hair loss, frequent and severe scratching and itching (pruritus), skin infections or hot spots, frequent licking, and red or irritated skin.

Treatment Options

Treatment of a flea break comes with the classic good and bad news. First the good news, flea infestation is one of the few kitty conditions that you can treat easily.

However, the bad news is that totally ridding your cat of fleas often requires consistent use of flea control products (it is not a one-time thing). And if your cat is often outdoors, then complete flea control can be really tough.

It is best to talk to you vet about the particular flea control option (there are several options) that would be best for your cat.

In addition, make certain to do a flea check regularly and using preventive products.

This is very important considering that the lifespan for a cat flea may extend to up to 12 months (one year), and anemia can be a serious adverse effect of a severe bout of flea infestation.

casper-beautiful-white-cat-spca

5. Tapeworms In Cats

Tapeworms are one of more than half a dozen parasitic worms that may infect cats.

Other parasitic nematodes include the heartworm (Dirofilariasis), lungworm, whipworm (Trichuriasis), hookworm (Ancylostomiasis), roundworm (Ascariasis),Physaloptera spp (Physalopterosis), and Ollulanus tricuspis (Ollulanis).

Furthermore, like fleas, tapeworms may infect cats, dogs, other domestic animals, farm animals, even humans (you know… the whole shebang).

Also, like fleas there are several Tapeworm (cestode) species. Except that there isn’t a specie specific to cats. Actually, four species typically infect cats (and dogs). They include the Taenia spp, Mesocestoides spp, Echinococcus multilocularis, and Dipylidium caninum.

All four of them call the small intestine home when they infect a cat. In general, tapeworms in cats are long, flat, and segmented. On average, their length range from 4 to 28 inches (0.3 to 2.3 feet). The standard medical term for a tapeworm infection is Cestodiasis.

How It Appears

How Cats Get Tapeworms

Cats acquire tapeworms by ingesting the larvae of a tapeworm. The primary source of the tapeworm larvae is an infected intermediate host, the most common being a flea. This explains why cats with flea infestation often also have cestodiasis.

Other intermediate hosts are infected rabbits, rodents, and birds (prey for cats). Additionally, cats may also acquire tapeworms by scavenging.

Symptoms of Cestodiasis

Recall that tapeworms are segmented nematodes. Therefore, as a tapeworm grows older segments of the tapeworm break off.

These older segments appear as small white worms, or as grains of white rice, sesame, or cucumber seeds. You would typically find these segments in the feces of the cat, around the anus of your cat, or in bedding.

Furthermore, these segments often stick out from your cats anus while it is relaxed or sleeping.

While these are telltale signs to establish the presence of tapeworms, other symptoms of tapeworm infection are weight loss and vomiting. Additionally, cats may lick or bite their anus, or drag their hind end across the floor in response to the itching.

Treatment Options

There are two vital commandments to adhere to regarding the treatment of a tapeworm infection.

  • Ensure that you tackle any flea problems your cat experiences before taking any curative medication to eradicate tapeworms. This is because cats majorly get tapeworms from ingesting an infected flea.
  • It is important that you eliminate tapeworms as some of the species that infect cats may also infect humans

Endeavor to visit your vet for a thorough physical evaluation of your cat. The vet would also recommend a suitable medication for treating the tapeworm infection. The typical treatment options for cestodiasis are oral or topical medications and injections.

6. Feline Lower Urinary Tract Diseases (FLUTD)

“If human lives be, for their very brevity, sweet, then beast lives are sweeter still...” - Isobelle Carmody

“If human lives be,
for their very brevity, sweet,
then beast lives are sweeter still…”
– Isobelle Carmody

[Idiopathic] Feline Lower Urinary Tract Diseases (iFLUTD or FLUTD) are a collection of feline diseases (or symptoms) that often have multiple possible causes. Typically, these diseases affect the lower urinary system comprising the bladder and urethra (the tube that connects the bladder—where urine is stored before urinating—to the outside world).

As a result, the adverse effects of these diseases are often:

  • Preventing the bladder from emptying correctly
  • Fatal blockage of the urethra

That said, male and female cats might suffer from FLUTD. Although male cats are generally more susceptible to urethral blockages because their urethras are narrow.

Furthermore, the typical age range for the occurrence of FLUTD is one to four years. Cats aged below one year or above 10 years rarely have iFLUTD.

Causes

As indicated above, the possible causes of FLUTD are numerous. Some of them are spinal cord problem; urethral plug; stress; bladder infection or inflammation; congenital abnormality; accumulation of crystals, stones, or debris in the urethra or bladder.

Additionally, endocrine health conditions such as diabetes mellitus and hyperthyroidism may cause lower urinary tract issues in cats.

How It Appears

Some of the common symptoms of FLUTD include lethargy, vomiting, bloody or cloudy urine, lack of appetite, crying when urinating, straining to urinate, licking around the urinary area (in a last ditch effort to alleviate the pain), and loss of bladder control.

Treatment Options

You MUST take your cat to your vet if you notice that your cat can’t urinate or if you suspect that your cat has a urinary tract problem.

This is because only a vet can holistically carry out thorough diagnosis (which often includes a physical exam, urinalysis, possible urine culture, blood chemistry tests, and X-ray or ultrasound).

Sometimes, the vet may not identify the cause of the symptoms. In which case the cat is considered to have bladder inflammation (cystitis).

Nothing the complexity of the differential diagnosis, it is vital to use ONLY medications recommended by your vet.

Another chilling reason why you should treat your cat’s urinary difficulties as an emergency is because it could be fatal if left untreated (as it may lead to partial or complete obstruction of the urethra that may in turn cause a kidney failure and/or rupture of the bladder.

Typically, cats with FLUTD are treated on an outpatient basis. However, brief hospitalization or full-on hospitalization may become necessary for diagnostic evaluation or if the urethra of your cat is blocked respectively.

Superstitions, Legends & Symbolism Of White Cats Around The World

superstitions-of-white-catsWhen you think about the adorable nature and endearing curiosity of your pet cat, it’s not far-fetched to contemplate the delightful relationship between humans and pet cats in general.

This relationship is a legacy that extends back to over 9,500 years ago. Understandably, for a legacy this long, the innate behavioral patterns and biological characteristics of cats have fueled deep-rooted speculation.

Over time, these speculations informed mythical beliefs and legends. Just as importantly, these myths were subject to changes and variations between cultures.

For the most part, these superstitions and folklore were not discriminating against specific cat colors/coats. However, in some instances, and especially in recent times, such distinctions were made.

And unsurprisingly, white cats, either for their awe or peculiarity, were the subject of some of these symbolic creations that grew in the human attempt to understand and explore our convoluted relationship with gracious white cats.

Personality of White Cats

lily-white-cat-sherlock-holmesHard as we may try as a modern civilization to loosen the modern conceptions dominated by superstitions and unverifiable beliefs, it is clear that the vestiges in form of stereotypes still haunt us.

White cats, like other cats with distinct colors, have not been spared. A study by researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, showed that humans often judged domestic cats by the color of their coats.  A study in the official journal of the International Society for Anthrozoology shows how feline typecasting (what we might call profiling) can have a negative impact of adoption rates.

The study found that orange cats and bi-colored cats were characterized as friendly, which improved adoption rates, while white cats, black cats and tricolor cats were regarded as being more antisocial which is where the typecasting, or profiling, hinders the adoption of cats based purely on their coat color.

White cats were considered to be more shy, lazy and calm, while tortoiseshell cats were more likely to be depicted as both more intolerant yet more trainable. Black cats were typified as having less extreme character traits, which might contribute to their mysterious reputation.

The authors of the study added that there is little evidence that supports the personality differences and stereotypes that people assign to cats based on their color.

White Cats, Blue Eyes, and Deafness

Personality is not the only factor widening the gap between white cats and loving homes. There is also the old wives’ tale that white cats with blue eyes are deaf.

To be accurate, there is some truth to this statement. But then, like with most stereotypes, the issue is with the generalization.

Of course, the majority of white cats with at least one blue eye are deaf. But, there are about 20-40% of white cats with at least one blue eye that are as normal in hearing as your average tabby. You can learn more about the weak link between white cats and deafness in our comprehensive expose on everything white cats.

Representations of White Cats around the World: Myths, Old Wives’ Tales, Folklore, Superstitions, Legends

"The cat was created when the lion sneezed" - Arabian Proverb

“The cat was created when the lion sneezed”
– Arabian Proverb

The Americas

The Americas prior to Western Influence

The Spaniards brought domestic cats to the Americas. Before then, the civilizations in the Americas revered the bigger, wilder cousin of domestic cats native to the region—the Jaguar.

Virtually every major culture in the Americas placed the Jaguar in high esteem, similar to how the Lion was a symbol of power in Africa and the Middle East. The deification of the Jaguar occurred in regions extending from modern-day Mexico across much of Central America and south to Paraguay and Northern Argentina.

The prominent civilizations and cultures that had feline deities include the popular picks like Aztecs, Mayans, and Incans, and other lesser-known cultures such as the Olmec, Mayoruna, Andean cultures, and the Amazonian Tucano Indians.

The Americas after the Europeans Established Presence

It is perhaps ironic that the cultures that revered the Jaguar and other wild cats, such as the Puma and the smaller Jaguarundi; displayed apathy towards the smaller domestic cats.

The common belief was of domestic cats (especially black cats, but often regardless of color) being generally associated with evil and witchcraft. The Oglalas and several other Native American tribes made the red line thicker by totally having nothing to do with cats. They believed that “cats had powerful magic and the ability to curse people.”

The feelings were in reverse in the US and some other North American territories who had imported belief systems from the UK and other parts of Europe. Except that domestic cat superstitions in the US were the opposite of those in the UK.

While black cats were generally associated with good luck in the UK, black cats in the US were associated with bad luck. Therefore, white cats in the US, like in Ancient Egypt, Asia, and Russia, were associated with good luck.

Common American Superstitions and Folklore

  • Dreaming of a white cat is good luck
  • Seeing a white cat on the road or a white car crossing your path is considered to be good luck
  • However, like in the UK, it is bad luck to see a white cat at night
Smiling White Cat

Smiling White Cat

Europe and Australia

While the symbolism of cats (and white cats specifically) is largely homogeneous in Asia, Europe is a mixed bag.

UK and much of Western Europe

Domestic cats have had mixed relationships with Europeans, particularly in England. Although it started with dread for black cats in the Middle Ages, the distinction thinned as the hysteria caught on.

White, black, or tricolor? It didn’t matter when paranoia reached feverish peak. The stealth, independent characteristics of cats; sudden rise in population; and increased association with poor, lonely, old ladies; made for a dangerous recipe when the persecution of witches gained steam.

Cats were deemed guilty of witchcraft by association. Even worse, they were thought to be witches in disguise during nighttime. Cats were often burned at the stake with their owners who were accused and summarily sentenced to death.

Things escalated to a point where many societies sought to make cats extinct. Thousands of cats were burned monthly in France. Thankfully, the plans fell through as King Louis XIII put a kibosh on the practice and things began to return to normal across Europe.

Some believe that the highly diminished cat population was a contributing factor to the spread of the plague.

Things did get back to normal, with black cats eventually becoming symbols of good luck and fortune. Black cats were especially valued by English sailors who thought keeping them happy at home guaranteed a fair weather when they went to sea. In fact, the belief was so strong that the price of black cats increased exponentially, such that only few sailors could afford them.

But as black cats turned from foe to friend, the reputation of white cats became only a tad less grim. White cats were seen to be emissaries of bad luck later on in England, much of Europe, and Australia. This was because white cats were believed to have the same color (white) as ghosts.

wcw-white-cat-with-big-earsCommon UK Superstitions

  • A white cat crossing one’s path is a sign of bad luck
  • Owning a white cat will lead to loss of wealth and/or plunge one into poverty
  • English schoolchildren believed that coming across a white cat on the way to school was a sure sign of getting into trouble in school
  • Seeing a white cat at night was a sign of bad luck

Russia

Russians had a sharp disconnect with the English symbolisms of white cats. Owning a white cat was believed to bring prosperity in Russia, unlike in England.

Norse and Celtic

The Norse and Celts also held white cats in great esteem. They didn’t discriminate based on coat color though, much like the Ancient Egyptians.

That said, the Norse goddess Freyja (also called Freya, Friyja, or Frija), the wife of Odr or Ottar, rode a chariot pulled by two white cats.

The Celtic goddess Brighid (also called Ceridwen) dispatched her two white cats to carry her commands on earth. Like her analog Egyptian deity Bastet, Brighid was the goddess of creativity, healing, and fertility (cats are famous for being promiscuous and fecund).

Brighid also means “fiery arrow,” which mirrors the interpretation of Bastet being a protector of the home and warrior goddess of Lower Egypt.

In general, white cats were believed to represent light, trust, and goodness in both cultures.

twcw-thin-white-cat-on-floorAfrica

It is fitting that the cradle of mankind also doubles as the cradle of cat domestication. Although, it is generally suggested that cat domestication in Egypt occurred around 2000 B.C.E, archeologists found a burial mound of a man and his cat at Mostagedda around 6,000 years ago.

Ancient Egypt

If you are a cat person, Ancient Egypt would have been a perfect place to call home. The Egyptians revered cats, regardless of coat or eye color.

As an agrarian civilization, the Egyptians had large stores of grains that attracted mice, rats, and snakes. Cats were the ideal partners in a symbiotic relationship.

However, things morphed quickly and the status of cats in the Egyptian culture took a divine turn. The Egyptians deified the domestic cat in the felid goddess Bastet (also called Ba’at, Bast, Pasht, Pakhet, or Ubasti). Domestics cats were also believed to capture the glow of the setting sun in their eyes, and keeping it safe until morning.

Domestic cats were so revered that it was criminal to kill one intentionally or accidentally. In one account, a mob gathered to dispense justice to a Roman who had ‘accidentally’ killed a cat. Neither the plea of King Ptolemy nor the fear of Rome deterred the mob.

Furthermore, cats were often regarded as family members in a typical Egyptian family. Dead cats, whether belonging to citizens in the higher or lower classes, were often embalmed (akin to humans) and sometimes buried along with rats (to provide sustenance in the After Life). Egyptians also mourned their dead cats, sometimes going as far as shaving eyebrows.

Soldiers were often dispatched to rescue cats kidnapped by smugglers, since it was also against the law for Egyptian cats to be exported. And another telling account was of Persians releasing cats in the battlefield or having cats strapped to their shields. The Egyptian soldiers often surrendered rather than hurt the cats.

"Cats are blissfully unaware that they have only a finite time in which to finish their ‘to do’ list." - Jon Edgell

“Cats are blissfully unaware that they have only a finite time in which to finish their ‘to do’ list.”
– Jon Edgell

Nonetheless, an elaborate account of the cultural significance of white cats was when one of the Osorkon kings (widely believed to be King Osorkon II) of the twenty-second dynasty ceremoniously placed a white cat in a temple in Bubastis (the center of cat worship in Ancient Egypt) and ‘ritually endowed it with supreme power.’

Modern Egypt and rest of North Africa

Today, cats do not receive as much reverence in modern Egypt as in Ancient Egypt. But it doesn’t mean they’ve fallen out of favor altogether.

Being majorly a Muslim population, modern-day Egypt and the rest of North Africa, have as much fondness for cats, as Mohammed had.

The Prophet had a pet cat. One time he needed to head to prayers but found his cat sleeping on a sleeve of his robe. He cut off the sleeve of his robe rather than disturb his sleeping cat.

Sub-Saharan Africa

While the Ewe people in West Africa are fond of eating cats with the belief that anyone who eats cat meat (particularly the head) would get good luck. Unfortunately, there is no preference given to cat color.

An ignoble treatment, but not as fatal, from the rest of the majorly Christian population is the belief that cats are evil. Cats in general are often associated with witchcraft. Black cats seem to be worst hit (even seeing one in a dream is deemed to be a bad omen), but white cats don’t get a pass either.

Asia

In general, cats were used to ward off evil spirits in the Monasteries and mountain retreats in Tibet.

In Japan majorly, and extending to China, other parts of Asia and the Near East, white cats are “seen to bring about the happiness of its owner, along with purity, and positive energy.”

This led to the proliferation of figurines called Maneki-neko (loosely translated to “good fortune” or literally “beckoning cat”). Although maneki nekos differ in color, material used in making it, style, and degree of ornateness; white maneki-nekos are the most common.

You’d typically find maneki-nekos in Japanese and Chinese shops, restaurants, and other businesses.

wcw-cat-leaning-on-back

Tonga the White Serval is a Survivor

We recently received two servals at our local zoo and they are beautiful! Back at home I was looking for more information about these amazing creatures that reminded me a bit of a small cheetah, with their long legs and small heads. I found a story about some servals at Big Cat Recue in Flordia, one that was a bit sad about the health problems with big cats that grow up in zoos. Tonga, a rare white serval, had cancer and had to undergo surgery, poor thing!

A beautiful rare white Serval. Photo Courtesy of: https://bigcatrescue.org/tonga/

A beautiful rare white Serval.
Photo Courtesy of: https://bigcatrescue.org/tonga/

Tonga the White Serval

Source: Tonga the white serval at Big Cat Rescue

To our knowledge, only two white servals exist in the world: Tonga and his brother Pharaoh. The white coat is just the outward indication of the deleterious effects of inbreeding. Tonga was 15 years old when he was diagnosed with squamous cell carcinoma. Although most arise without antecedent cause, in many species, especially in white cats, prolonged exposure to sunlight is a major predisposing factor. Being a wild cat, Tonga lives outside, and what cat doesn’t love to nap in their favorite sunny spot?

Source: Tonga the white serval at Big Cat Rescue

Tonga was born at Big Cat Rescue before we knew any better back in the 1990s.  When we first began we only had the guidance of those who bred and sold cats and believed that what they said was true. We started breeding some cats under the misguided notion that this was a way to “preserve the species.” We had not then figured out what seems so obvious to us today, that breeding for life in a cage an animal that was meant to roam free was inherently cruel. Tonga was born to parents Frosty and Nairobi, who has since been neutered and spayed.  We didn’t know it at the time, but they must have been closely related.

Source: Tonga the white serval at Big Cat Rescue

Tonga has a white coat and very few spots, the spots that he does have are silvery gray. Tonga is a shy cat that likes to keep to himself, except at feeding time, when he magically turns into your best friend in the whole world. Like many of the servals at Big Cat Rescue, Tonga loves enrichment involving scents. One of his all time favorite enrichment items were some pine tree cuttings. He rubbed all over these pine limbs and was soon covered in a mixture of sap and drool, his coat transformed from snowy to muddy. He made a bed underneath the pine limbs and this became his favorite napping spot for several months.

Source: Tonga the white serval at Big Cat Rescue