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Science Newsletter

Science Newsletter Vol.10: December 2020

 In This Issue

The Gene for Ticked Tabby is Found!Ask a Vet: Why is My Cat Peeing There?  | The Search for a Genetic Component of FIP |  The Pandemic and our Senior Cats | Cats on Raw Meat Diet May Have Passed Tuberculosis to Humans, Study Finds | TICA 2020 Election Results | TICA Wishes all our Members a Happy Holiday  | Holiday Greetings from TICA Regional Directors: | 
TICA 2020 Holiday Guide: Gifts to Delight all the Felines and Cat Lovers on Your List | TICA December Breed of the Month: Japanese Bobtail | Check out TICA's top social media posts you may have missed... | Top 10 Feline New Year's Resolutions


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The Gene for Ticked Tabby is Found!

Geneticist Christopher Kaelin and his team from the HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology have just published their discovery of the gene that causes the ticked pattern in tabby cats. The Wnt inhibitor protein encoded by the Dickkopf 4 (Dkk4) gene is modified by two variants, either of which is sufficient to reduce the appearance of tabby striping. One variant was seen in the Oriental family cats that were sequenced, while both variants were seen in the Abyssinian and Singapura breeds, including Cinnamon, the Abyssinian that was the first cat to have her entire genome sequenced. They also found that tabby pattern in cats is established at the embryological age of only 16 days, a week before the pigment producing cells migrate into the layer of the skin that contains the developing hair follicles.

Read the complete journal article.

The authors thanked TICA for their assistance in obtaining samples from pedigreed cats, including the work of cat fanciers Anthony Hutcherson, Valerie Smith, Adriana Kajon, and Gulnaz Sharifzyanova. Community cat samples were obtained from Trap-Neuter-Release programs in California.




Ask a Vet: Why is My Cat Peeing There?

Dr. Genie Bishop, a private practice veterinarian for 30 years and instructor of medicine and surgery in a veterinary technician program, prior to joining Royal Canin as their Scientific Communications Manager, has shared her expertise on feline litterbox habits. Read the comprehensive article from Royal Canin on troubleshooting elimination problems.


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The Search for a Genetic Component of FIP

An update has been released on a UK study funded by the Winn Feline Foundation to explore the hypothesis that mutations in key inflammatory pathway genes may be associated with increased susceptibility to Feline Infectious Peritonitis. One genetic variant of the interferon-gamma gene was associated with a reduced risk of developing FIP in cats. However, this variant was present in 16% of cats with FIP and absent in 66% of unaffected cats in the general population. No consistent correlation between FIP status and variants in the interferon-gamma (IFNG), tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNFA) and dendritic cell-specific intercellular adhesion molecule-grabbing non-integrin (CD209) genes could be found.

Read the abstract of this journal article with links to the initial studies supporting this hypothesis.


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The Pandemic and our Senior Cats

Many cat owners are delaying seeking veterinary attention for their cats in these difficult times. Unfortunately, cats are masters at hiding signs of disease, so regular wellness exams are important, especially for our seniors. Veterinary offices have set up protocols to ensure the safety of you, their staff, and your feline family. Read this article from the American Association of Feline Practitioners about staying alert to the special needs of our older feline friends.



Cats on Raw Meat Diet May Have Passed Tuberculosis to Humans, Study Finds

The source of a tuberculosis outbreak in pet cats in the UK was traced to raw food, which has since been recalled, and four owners of infected cats were also found to have latent Tuberculosis, according to veterinary researchers at the University of Edinburgh. Read how the owners may have picked up Mycobacterium bovis from handling the raw food or from the infected cats and other findings from the investigation.



TICA News Briefs

TICA election

TICA 2020 Election Results

“TICA Election results are in and I'm privileged to announce that I will be handing over my Presidential gavel to Vicki Jo Harrison as of January l, 2021,” announced TICA President Vickie Fisher. “Ralph Stadter has been re-elected as your Vice President. Please help me in congratulating them!”

“Let me also say that I appreciate the willingness of the other candidates for these important positions to step forward,” she continued. “Thanks so much Steven Meserve, Luiz Paulo Faccioli, Anthony Hutcherson, Jamie Christian, and Barb Kissinger. We all appreciate your commitment to TICA. Thanks, also, to everyone who voted!”

Full election results include:

Election Results – President, Vice President, Breed Committees
2020 Combined Ballot Proposals
2020 Board Ballots

Statement of Vicki Jo Harrison TICA President-Elect:
My sincere thank you for choosing me to represent you as President of this member-driven organization. We are the best Association in the world and it's all thanks to the amazing members who are willing to step-up and volunteer their time for this hobby that we all love so dearly.

I would like to congratulate Ralph Stadter on winning the election and sincerely thanks those who ran for office, Steven Meserve, Jamie Christian, Luiz Paulo Faccioli, Anthony Hutcherson and Barb Kissinger. Additionally, thank you to the 173 members that ran for breed committee.

I also want to take this time to thank Vickie Fisher for her leadership and passion in taking TICA to the next level. Your dedication to TICA shows through with all of the superb enhancements we've seen (and will be seeing in the next 6 months and beyond).

It really does take a village to run this ship and I have every confidence that between the Executive Office, COO Danny Nevarez, and our Board of Directors, we can continue the momentum.

We have a lot of work to do to move forward in supporting TICA’s growth around the world. Next month I will outline some of the projects we will be focusing on in 2021. There are many opportunities all over the world to bring our members and their love of cats together. I look forward to serving as your next President.

Statement of Ralph Stadter TICA Vice President:
I would like to thank you for your support and the trust you placed in me in the elections.

I would also like to congratulate Vicki Jo Harrison on being elected President. I will do my best to support her as well as Danny Nevarez and Frances Cardona. Furthermore, I would like to thank Steven Meserve, Jamie Christian, Luiz Paulo Faccioli, Anthony Hutcherson and Barb Kissinger for running as candidates in the elections.

In the time leading up to the elections, we heard and discussed a number of wonderful ideas and concepts. I sincerely hope that we will take on some of these ideas and make them part of TICA's future. One of the wonderful things about our association is that it doesn't matter whether you are an elected officer or a member - if you are motivated and can convince enough people, you can effect the change you want to see.


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TICA Wishes all our Members a Happy Holiday

As this crazy year comes to a close, we want to thank all of our TICA friends and family for their readership and continued support in all things TICA. We proved that even a pandemic couldn’t stop our members from finding creative ways to show cats and share their love. We wish you the happiest of holidays and look forward to continued adventures in friendship, fun, and all things feline in the new year.


TICA Heroes

Holiday Greetings from TICA Regional Directors:

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TICA Great Lakes Region:
To All of My Wonderful Great Lakes Members, I want to take this opportunity to wish each of you a very Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah and Happy New Year!  It has definitely been a unique year that I, for one, am very glad to see come to an end. With it, I have hopes for our next GL shows and for your health.

May all that is beautiful, meaningful, and brings you joy be yours this Holiday Season and throughout the coming year.
Liz Hansen-Brown, TICA Great Lakes Regional Director

TICA Mid Atlantic Region:
Tis the season for a Joyful Holiday season, and this year the Mid Atlantic Region and I hope you find your Merry and Bright moments as much as possible. Many of us will find ourselves not traveling or gathering the way we have in the past for holiday celebrations. This year take some time to figure out ways to connect – with your clients, your friends and your families. Maybe it is time for more physical cards or holiday letters to go out to share with those you have not connected with as much in 2020. Perhaps you have discovered a new hobby and can share this enjoyment in making gifts for others. Appreciate the extra time we never seem to have at the holidays to make cookies, decorate an elaborate Gingerbread house or make string popcorn trimming for the tree. Perhaps you just need to pop a big bowl of popcorn and enjoy your favorite holiday movie with your family “pod”. My favorites are Christmas Vacation, White Christmas, and the Grinch. Take this time to relax and enjoy the season with those whom you love. The 12th day of Christmas is not until Jan. 5 ... so stretch it out and enjoy the whole season! Have a happy and wonderful holiday season!  Hope to see everyone in 2021! – Brenda Russo, TICA Mid Atlantic Regional Director

TICA NE Holiday Message

TICA Northeast Region:
Happy Holidays and A Toast to New Beginnings in 2021 - As this challenging year draws to a close, the Northeast Region wishes all of its members and extended TICA family a safe and joyous holiday season. We have much to be thankful for - friends, family, health, and our wonderful felines, of course! Cheers to a new year, new beginnings and the hope of seeing each other very soon. Stay well and stay safe, friends! - Tania Antenucci, TICA Northeast Regional Director

Northwest Region Holiday Greeting Image

TICA Northwest Region:
Best wishes to you this holiday season! The year is finally coming to an end. In the upcoming year, may you soar even higher and fulfill all your dreams. - Elaine Hawksworth-Weitz, NW Regional Director

TICA South Central Region:
To my fellow South Central members: 2020 has been challenging to say the least. We have had to mostly stay apart and away from the hobby we love so much. Thank you to the clubs who took a chance and hosted shows for us this fall. They did a great job of following all the guidelines and made us feel safe. I am hopeful for some positive changes for 2021. With the Covid vaccine available soon, it is my hope that we will all have the opportunity to be together again at shows and other TICA events. Another change is coming for the South Central. I have had the honor of being elected TICA's next President. The Board of Directors will be appointing a new South Central Director later this month. We will be welcoming the new director on January 1st.

Thank you for the opportunity to serve the South Central Region for the past four years. It was truly an honor. My sincere wishes to each of you for a safe, healthy and happy holiday season. – Vicki Jo Harrison, TICA South Central Regional Director


Congrats Regional updates

Just because your cat sleeps on your computer keyboard or likes to play with a shiny strip of paper doesn’t mean they won’t appreciate the holiday gift of a warm and cozy bed or toys that resemble real life bugs.

Because our four-legged family members like presents too, TICA compiled a list of some of our favorite gifts for those special cats and their lucky humans.

This year’s roundup of fantastic presents features something for everyone on your list, both feline and human. From toys and treats to products that make the life of you and your cat more happy, healthy, and cozy. We even found a cute cottage for your kitty to poop in!


Yearbook Pages

TICA December Breed of the Month: Japanese Bobtail

Known as the good luck cat of Japan, the Japanese Bobtail is named for its distinguishing trait, the unique pom-pom tail composed of curves, angles and kinks. Read more about the Japanese Bobtail and if it is right for you and your family.



Check out TICA's top social media posts you may have missed...

On TICA's Instagram:

TICA Members Reminisced Favorite Cat Show Moments.

On TICA's Facebook:

Southwest Airlines’ Blogged Tips to Make Flights More Feline Friendly

On TICA's Twitter:

Winn Wrapped up their Cats in Boxes Photo Contest



Top 10 Feline New Year's Resolutions

Proving that New Year's resolutions aren't just for humans, TICA compiled the Top 10 New Year's Resolutions your cat might be planning in 2021. Among them:

  1. Stop perching on my human’s chest in the middle of the night and staring into their eyes until they wake up.
  2. Nap often.
  3. Stop playing “dead cat on the stairs” while people are trying to bring in groceries or laundry.
  4. Play more, stress less!
  5. Avoid swatting my human’s head repeatedly when they’re on the family room floor trying to do sit ups.
  6. Get more exercise by increasing 3am wild romps through the house.
  7. Redesign sofa with claws.
  8. Perfect evil-eye stare to gain power and influence.
  9. When the time is right, pounce!
  10. Maintain dominance over the dog 

Happy Mew Year! We look forward to sharing more fabulous felines, fun and friendships with you in 2021!

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