Hello everyone! I hope you had a splendid Christmas, and are preparing for a very Happy New Year!
Now, onto business…
Have you ever wondered why tortoise shelled cats are always female? Or maybe you’re interested in why most white cats are deaf? Or maybe you’ve always wanted to know why your dog twitches his leg when you scratch his “tickle spot”?
These are all very interesting questions with some very interesting answers!
Tortoise shell cats are always female. There is a very simple explanation for this. And it is…… GENETICS!!!!
It really is that simple. Female cats have sex chromosomes, just like mammals, including humans. Generally there is an X chromosome and a Y chromosome. Somewhere on the X chromosome there is a location for either a gene that produces an orange color or a black color, but never both. However, female cats have two X chromosomes, and therefore can have the location for an orange gene, and a black gene, creating the tortoise shell color. Now, if you ever find a male cat that is tortoise shelled, it is because he genetically abnormal. A male cat in this instance would have the two X chromosomes, but would also carry a Y chromosomes. Because of this genetic abnormality, the males are rendered sterile.
Most white cats are deaf. And this one is actually true. About 60 to 80% of white cats with blue eyes are deaf. However, if you come across a white cat that maybe has yellow eyes or green eyes, chances are she or he can hear quite well. But…. if you find a white cat that has blue eyes, he or she is more than likely deaf. And there is a simple explanation for this as well. And it is again, genetics. The same cells that distinguish eye and fur color, are from the same stem cells that prodcuce the hearing cells. Therefore if something is wrong with that stem cell, it will leave the car with no color in his fur (white) and no color in his eyes leaving them blue. And because they’re the same cells, the cat will lack the ability to hear as well.
Now onto the doggy “tickle spots.” They are a little bit unexplainable sometimes. And you always laugh when they start to do it. And if they could laugh, they would. And that is because doing it to your dog, is like tickling a human under their arms, or on their sides, and maybe even behind their knees. Dogs have spots that are itchy to them, but they can’t really reach them to scratch them. Underneath the skin on those spots, there are nerve endings. And in the body there are just patterns of nerves, wired from one end to the next. So when you scratch him in his “tickle spot” he just has a reflex due to the nerves and it causes him to start to twitch in another place. It is the same kind of reflex we have when the doctor hits our knee with his handy rubber mallet!
And there you have, some simple answers for some of the perplexing questions of the animal kingdom!
You can view a video on animal kingdom genetics here: