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Journal Title Abbrev.
J. Elem.
ISSN – 1644-2296
DOI: 10.5601

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Hair zinc levels in pet and feral cats (Felis catus)

Issue: 3/2011

Recevied: No data

Accepted: Brak danych

Published: 2012-03-13


Skibniewska E., Koźla T., Skibniewski M., Urbańska-Słomka G.

Categories: Medicine and veterinary, Pollution and environment

DOI: 10.5601/jelem.2011.16.3.12


Zinc is an essential element for maintaining proper functions of animal bodies. It isa component of many hormones and enzymes and a participant in the metabolism of carbohydratesor the synthesis of nucleic acids and proteins. Animal tissues typically contain10-200 mg of zinc kg–1. Most of this amount (98%) can be found inside the cells. Zinc toxicity is associated mainly with the secondary copper deficit. The aim of the present investigation has been to assess zinc contamination of the environment with coats of domestic and feral cats being the indicator. Urban feral cats are synantrophic animals, living in an urbanized environment and scavenging on human food waste. Thus, they can be treated as a bioindicator of the presence of certain elements in the environment. Analyses of the zinc content in cats’ hair have been performed to check whether the zinc level is connected with cats’ coat colour, living conditions and gender. The coat samples were collected from the middle abdominal region. Then they were degreased and mineralized in a microwave apparatus, in concentrated nitric acid under increased pressure. The zinc content was determined by the ICP-OES method. The mean zinc content in the investigated coat samples was 238.9 mg kg–1. The lowest zinc content was observed in white hair and the highest – in tortoiseshell hair. The results have confirmed that the content of zinc depends on the hair saturation with melanin. Statistical analysis has shown significant differences between the group of female cats living in the wild (268.09 mg kg–1) and the group of breeding female cats (214.49 mg kg–1) at p=0.05. A higher zinc content was observed inthe group of older cats. The mean values did not differ from mean values of the zinc content in the coat and hair of other mammals. Considering the living conditions of the animals, the highest zinc content was noted in the group of animals living in the wild (feral ones).


Skibniewska E.M., Skibniewski M., Kośla T., Urbańska-Słomka G. 2011. Hair zinc levels in pet and feral cats (Felis catus). J. Elem. 16(3): 481-488, DOI - 10.5601/jelem.2011.16.3.12.


zinc, hair, feral cats, domestic cats

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