Luz, the orphaned kitten, by Doyle Phillips.

Good news: Luz has a new home at a school for handicapped children in Mexico. They adore her. And her sore eye has been healed.

A few articles of interest about cats.

Bad news from Peru- they have a Cat Eating Festival. I may choose to cancel my plans of visiting Macchu Picchu due to this disgusting ritual. My thanks to Superior Bill for this sad news, but news we need to know and act on.

Fury over cat eating festival

http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/news/article1782932.ece

ANIMAL rights groups are up in arms over an annual festival in Peru that serves up hundreds of fried CATS to locals.

The ‘Gastronomical Festival of the Cat’ – dubbed the ‘Massacre of the Moggies’ – sees townsfolk in Canete, near Lima, feast on the fluffy pets for two days.

They believe that eating cat burgers – and fried cat legs and tails – can cure bronchial disease.

It is also believed that feline meat serves as an aphrodisiac.

The cats are bred especially for this festival – which takes place at the end of September on the Day of Santa Ifigenia.

But it has generated fury among animal rights groups.

A PETA spokesman said: ““If Peruvians really eat poor old Moggy because they think his meat cures bronchitis, that’s about as bizarre as it gets, although remember that Asians eat monkey bits thinking that will cure their impotence and even Europeans butcher poor old Bessie the cow or Henny Penny the hen, because they see them as nothing more than a bit of nourishment.

“Having toured slaughterhouses for dogs in Taiwan, horses in Texas, and chickens and cows in Europe, PETA’s staff says the last thing we need to do is add yet another poor animal to the list of those being frightened and slaughtered for a taste.

From Roxan Lucan, a item of interest about how cats’ purring is good for their health and yours as well:

Why Do Cats Purr?

Leslie A. Lyons, an assistant professor at the School of Veterinary Medicine at the University of California, Davis, explains:

Over the course of evolution, purring has probably offered some selective advantage to cats. Most felid species produce a “purr-like” vocalization. In domestic cats, purring is most noticeable when an animal is nursing her kittens or when humans provide social contact via petting, stroking or feeding. Although we assume that a cat’s purr is an expression of pleasure or is a means of communication with its young, perhaps the reasons for purring can be deciphered from the more stressful moments in a cat’s life.

Cats often purr while under duress, such as during a visit to the veterinarian or when recovering from injury. Thus, not all purring cats appear to be content or pleased with their current circumstances. This riddle has lead researchers to investigate how cats purr, which is also still under debate.

Scientists have demonstrated that cats produce the purr through intermittent signaling of the laryngeal and diaphragmatic muscles. Cats purr during both inhalation and exhalation with a consistent pattern and frequency between 25 and 150 Hertz. Various investigators have shown that sound frequencies in this range can improve bone density and promote healing. This association between the frequencies of cats’ purrs and improved healing of bones and muscles may provide help for some humans.

Bone density loss and muscle atrophy is a serious concern for astronauts during extended periods at zero gravity. Their musculo-skeletal systems do not experience the normal stresses of physical activity, including routine standing or sitting, which requires strength for posture control.

Because cats have adapted to conserve energy via long periods of rest and sleep, it is possible that purring is a low energy mechanism that stimulates muscles and bones without a lot of energy. The durability of the cat has facilitated the notion that cats have “nine lives” and a common veterinary legend holds that cats are able to reassemble their bones when placed in the same room with all their parts. Purring may provide a basis for this feline mythology.

The domestication and breeding of fancy cats occurred relatively recently compared to other pets and domesticated species, thus cats do not display as many muscle and bone abnormalities as their more strongly selected carnivore relative, the domestic dog. Perhaps cats’ purring helps alleviate the dysplasia or osteoporotic conditions that are more common in their canid cousins. Although it is tempting to state that cats purr because they are happy, it is more plausible that cat purring is a means of communication and a potential source of self-healing.

Answer originally published on January 27, 2003.

From Nadira Hall, we see how a cat, Mr. Green Genes, is helping science to find methods to cure diseases such as cystic fibrosis.  The cat has a manipulated gene that causes it to glow green under ultraviolet light. But is it ethical or animal cruelty?

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/main.jhtml?xml=/earth/2008/10/23/scicat123.xml

Scientists make cat that glows in the dark

By day he is just a normal tabby but when the lights go out this ginger cat glows in the dark.

Scientists have genetically modified a cat as part of an experiement that could lead to treatments for conditions like cystic fibrosis.

Named Mr Green Genes, he look likes a six-month-old cat but, under ultraviolet light, his eyes, gums and tongue glow a vivid lime green, the result of a genetic experiment at the Audubon Centre for Research of Endangered Species in New Orleans.

Mr. Green Genes is the first fluorescent cat in the United States and probably the world, said Betsy Dresser, the centre’s director.

The researchers made him so they could learn whether a gene could be introduced harmlessly into the feline’s genetic sequence to create what is formally known as a transgenic cat.

If so, it would be the first step in a process that could lead to the development of ways to combat diseases via gene therapy.

The gene, which was added to Mr. Green Genes’ DNA when he was created, has no effect on his health, Ms Dresser said.

Cats are ideal for this project because their genetic makeup is similar to that of humans, said Dr. Martha Gomez, a veterinarian and staff scientist at the center.

To show that the gene went where it was supposed to go, the researchers settled on one that would glow.

The gene “is just a marker,” said Leslie Lyons, an assistant professor of population health and reproduction at the School of Veterinary Medicine at the University of California, Davis, who is familiar with the Audubon center’s work.

“The glowing part is the fun part,” she said.

Glowing creatures made international news earlier this month when the Nobel Prize in Chemistry was awarded to three scientists who had discovered the gene through their work with jellyfish.

They used the gene, whose formal name is enhanced green fluorescence protein, to see how things work inside animals and even inside cells.

The fluorescence gene will go alongside the cystic-fibrosis gene and make it easy to spot. The long-term goal of this process, for which there is no timetable, is the production of what Dr Gomez calls a “knockout gene.”

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