Posted: May 21, 2019Category: Uncategorized

Alex’s Costa Rica Trip: The Science of Cats

For the second year running I was privileged to be invited to the Purina Institute’s Companion Animal Nutrition Summit. This year the big show was hosted in Costa Rica and focused on

Alex the cool dude

Nutritional Therapy of Feline Illness. I jumped at the chance knowing the tropical heat would help me focus and learn. I was right and surprise surprise Costa Rica turned out to have fantastic surf, who would have known?

Day Zero; drinking at the pool bar in San Jose, not crazy hot as the city is elevated in the central mountains.

Day One; least smart person in the room and its a big room. Been listening to people who put alphabets to shame with the number of letters they have after their name. Daily insights and Dr Alex's life hacks for hoomans.

Day Two; BugLife. Bug is a beautiful Domestic Short-hair girl who travels the world with her lecturing dad. Bug loves walks along the beach, paddle boarding and climbing. Bug wears a specific "FitBit" on her collar to correlation between activity levels and health monitoring. To detect early signs of illness, changes in mastication, socialisation, total calorie intake and more. A smart phone body mass scanner is just around the corner. Bug is from the future.

Day Three; Tortoiseshell cats have turned out be rather useful, their unique colour coming from silencing of one x chromosome in each hair producing cell.


New ways of imaging this inactivated DNA inside cells is leading to methods to restore normal gene function in humans with x chromosome diseases. Understanding genetic diversity gives us more insight on cancer.

Fun Facts:

  1. Almost all animals take 21 seconds to pee. Cats take up to 3 times longer than this if they are not happy with their environmental surroundings.
  2. Whether Lion or housecat, the groom-ability of their fur depends on the ratio between the compressability of their coat and the size of their tongue papillae. The leopard being the best and the Chinchilla the worst at pushing their tongue ridges all the way through to their skin surface.
  3. The domestic cat deposits 50g of saliva on its skin daily, which then goes onto to aerosole off the cat causing cat allergies in 20% of the world’s human population.

Day Four and onwards; Go Surfing, Diving and Fishing.

Massive thanks Liz and the whole Purina gang, I’m super grateful. Costa Rica. Pura Vida.

Surfer dude


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