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Saturday, February 25, 2017

Caturday: What Color Is Your Cat Really?

It's Caturday, and we're geeking out about coat colors and patterns and genetics. Well, technically I'm geeking out and the cats are just chilling. They're not that into genetics. Anyway, I recently pondered whether there was a feline equivalent to Dog Coat Colour Genetics, my favorite website for learning about this kind of stuff. Sure enough, I found MessyBeast, a site maintained by someone who, I can only assume, is the very best kind of cat geek.
Feel the love!

Color Charts

The first cat color chart I ever saw was this magnificent illustration by Joumana Medlej. I'd love to reproduce it here, but I haven't asked the artist's permission so I recommend going and looking at it yourself. Seriously. 

The first time I laid eyes on that chart, I was compelled to figure out precisely what color cats I had. I was visiting a cat-loving friend at the time, and we were both excitedly picking cat hairs off our shirts to examine. 

From that chart, I learned that James is a brown tabby. I had always described him as grey, but technically he is a brown tabby. His pattern is mackerel, and he has a white chin and belly and feetsies, so he is a brown mackerel tabby with white. Specifically, he has grade 4 white spotting.

Solstice is a tortoiseshell, which I've always know. There are a bunch of special tortie colors and patterns though. If they have tabby striped, they can be called a 'patched tabby' or a 'torbie' depending on where you live. 

Kitty colors and patterns can be affected by dilution, and various patterns can be combined. You can have a dilute tabby, or a tortoiseshell color-pointed cat (like a Siamese) that's mostly cream-colored with black and orange blotched points. The way all the different aspects combine tickles my brain in the most delightful way.

Behold, Science!

MessyBeast goes a step further, and actually illustrates all the color and pattern combinations. They also explain the genetics and developmental conditions behind various colors. Like, the reason your piebald cat's black spots look like they fit together like puzzle pieces, is because at one point during embryonic development, they did! MessyBeast even delves into hypothetical colors that have not been seen in cats, like tan points and merle, and colors observed but lost to history, like Barrington Brown.

So, what color is your cat?

Friday, February 24, 2017

Food Friday: Earthborn Holistic Duke's Din Din Stew

Earthborn Holistic makes some convenient little tubs of wet food with cute names, like Duke's Din Din Stew. Each flavor appears to be named after a dog with an incredibly common name: Lily, Chip, Pepper, Toby. These are grain-free foods with visible bits of vegetables, all packed into a resealable 8oz tub. Perfect for tiny dogs!
Resealable plastic tub of high-quality wet dog food

 Midwestern Pet Foods

I've mentioned Earthborn's parent company in the past. Midwestern Pet Foods also makes SportMix and ProPac foods. They have their own manufacturing facility, so they're more than just a marketing company. They are a subsidiary of Nunn Milling Company, founded in 1926 in Indiana and still owned and run by the same family. 

Nunn Milling Company began as a miller of corn and flour. They started making pet food in the 1940's from, presumably, mill byproducts. They still make a value-brand dog food called Nunn Better, but it's no surprise that the company isn't out shouting from the rooftops that Earthborn traces back to a milling company. Last time I wrote about Earthborn, I was puzzled over the lack of readily-available history for the company, but this information completes that puzzle nicely. Earthborn is still a super high-quality food from a reliable company with a long history making pet food, and I think that's pretty cool.

Duke's Din Din

Fish, duck, and pea-based grin-free wet dog food for picky dogs
This is a fish-and-pea-based food, the first ingredients are fish broth, fish, egg, and then pea protein. It also contains tapioca, duck, sweet potato, carrots, pumpkin, and apples. You can see the vegetables clearly, and then meat is in nice little flakes that are just the right size for tinydog mouths.

At 8oz per tub, these really only work as a meal for a very small dog. They actually last Ru two meals. I think most pet owners use them as a kibble topper, and the resealable tub is absolutely perfect for that. 

Earthborn's dry foods are all manufactured in the USA, but their wet food is produced by USPet Nutrition, in their production facility in Thailand. This isn't terribly unusual in the world of high-quality pet food, Weruva also produces their wet foods in Thailand. The foods are made in facilities that also make human foods, so they have to follow extremely strict guidelines about how the foods are handled and what ingredients may be included. A whole lot of canned fish other meat products for humans are packaged overseas, check out the fine print on a can of tuna sometime.

The Verdict

This is one of the few food that Ru will eat reliably. The tiny size of tubs is just right for him, and he doesn't pick out the vegetables or anything. It rates 4.5 out of 5 stars on the Dog Food Advisor website, and it's one that I'm happy to keep in his wet food rotation.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

1,000 Posts!

TheDogGeek.com has been around for almost three years (formerly known as Brisbane's Bark Blog), and today we reached 1,000 blog posts! That's a whole lot of products tested, food eaten, treats enjoyed, and a TON of writing! We'll be having a proper bloggiversary post next week, but this is a huge milestone so I felt the need to share.