Linda’s professional career has focused on the breeding and genetic selection of Yucatan mini and micro pigs, along with humane handling methods and housing and enrichment, which focus on maximizing animal comfort and user-friendly strategies. Swine and miniature swine have many physiological similarities to humans, making them ideal as research models. Miniature pigs play a valuable role in medical research for diabetes, heart disease, diet-related and many other conditions.

My kitties are such a fun and important part of my life.

As a longtime animal lover, I love my Siamese cats and know how important animal research is to not only my human family’s well-being but theirs as well. Quality research was responsible for saving the lives of two of our cats thanks to the exceptional skills of our local veterinarian.

Our lovable Siamese cats are so very unique and in many ways behave more like dogs. (Photo courtesy of Linda Panepinto)

Our lovable Siamese cats are so very unique and in many ways behave more like dogs. They meet us at the door, even if we’ve only been gone an hour or two and they always respond when spoken to. Plus, they want to be wherever we are rather than being off by themselves like some felines tend to do. And I don’t need an alarm clock to make sure we don’t sleep in, as Smoky provides a good-natured regular wake up service.

He and his sister Mittens both were born with six toes on all four feet, just like their papa, Sambuco. It’s a genetic trait that was selected for Ernest Hemingway many years ago and they are sometimes called Hemingway cats. The photo below shows Mittens’ big feet up close.

This photo shows Mittens' big feet up close. (Photo courtesy of Linda Panepinto)

Our cats are indoor kitties, as we live in a remote Rocky Mountain locale, where there are much bigger cats cruising outside our home. In fact, just recently a large mountain lion casually walked by my office window in the middle of the day, so it’s essential that our much smaller kitties stay inside where they’re safe. (ALSO READ: Rip’s Story: The Bernese Mountain Dog That Stole Our Heart)

Mittens is lusting after hummingbirds through the window. (Photo courtesy of Linda)

Mittens is lusting after hummingbirds through the window. (Photos courtesy of Linda)

My cats have in a roundabout way benefited from my work in animal research. Early in my career I managed a large cat research colony. That experience taught me so much about how to humanely handle and care for cats, including my unique approach to oral dosing. That methodology was so low stress that the animals would come when called to get their dose.

In fact, it was that early career experience figuring out better ways to handle research cats that eventually helped guide my work in developing minimum stress handling techniques with swine. Prioritizing humane methods has been a career-long passion of mine, starting with my love of cats and on to the present day as my work with miniature pigs and humane handling techniques continues.

Linda invented the “The Panepinto Sling®” and “Portable Panepinto Sling®” humane restraining devices for swine, sheep, goats, dogs and other animals in laboratory, veterinary or field conditions. She conceived and designed the original genetic selection program at Colorado State University, which led to the development and recognition of the Yucatan miniature pig as a laboratory animal, and developed the Yucatan micropig, a miniature pig with an adult weight under 45 kilograms. She also pioneered the development of specialized diets and facility adaptation for miniature and micro swine, as well as user-friendly humane methodologies, handling and husbandry techniques. These innovative approaches prioritize animal comfort and environmental enrichment for laboratory swine.

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Pennington Biomedical Research Center Attending Veterinarian Kem B. Singletary sponsored Cleo's pet story.
FBR’s “Love Animals? Support Animal Research!” campaign highlights how animal research helps animals, too. Animal research is a necessary step in developing new treatments and cures for all. FBR receives no government funding. We rely on individual and corporate funding to keep our programs running.
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