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Robotic cats, a kitten mummy and a major UK vet gathering
Date:4/11/2012

A possible new feline disease identified by veterinarians in Scotland leaves cats walking like robots. Meanwhile thousands of years and miles apart, new research sheds light on cats bred to become mummies in Egyptian antiquity. Ahead of the small animal veterinary world converging for the UK's largest ever veterinary event, the Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery (JFMS), published by SAGE, highlights these two fascinating studies among a range of papers all aiming to advance feline acumen and clinical know-how.

April 11th sees over 300 world-class veterinary speakers converging for the WSAVA/FECAVA/BSAVA* World Congress 2012 in Birmingham UK. The current issue of the new-look JFMS, timed to coincide with this major veterinary event, includes a short paper on an X-ray investigation of a four or five month-old cat mummy.

From about 332 BC to 30 BC in Egypt, cats were raised near temples specifically to be mummified. People bought the mummies to use as offerings to the goddess Bastet. Cat mummies from this period are common. In fact they were shipped in bulk to Liverpool, UK in the 19th century to be pulverised and used as fertiliser. However, at the height of their popularity many Egyptians would buy 'budget' mummies containing just a handful of bones. This contrasts with the mummy in the JFMS study.

The National Museum of Parma, Italy bought the mummy in the 18th century from an antiquarian. The study authors say it is a high-quality archaeological artefact, because the body inside the mummy was complete, wrapped intricately and decorated with geometrical patterns and depicted eyes. The tightly packed cat was probably treated with natron, a naturally-occurring mixture of sodium carbonate decahydrate, sodium bicarbonate, and small amounts of salt, sodium sulphate and herbs used to dehydrate the body, just as for human mummies.

Embalmers put the cat in a sitting position before mummification, with flexed hind limbs an
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Contact: Jayne Fairley
jayne.fairley@sagepub.co.uk
020-732-48719
SAGE Publications
Source:Eurekalert

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