Posts

PETA gives "Hero to Animals Award" to the Thai Navy

Image
This is a quick follow-up to a story that went viral. The Thai Navy saved 4 cats from a sinking boat after the engine caught fire. The cats moved to the bow of the ship and the men got off and were rescued but the cats were left behind. In an act of great enlightenment and a delight to animal lovers the Thai Navy rescued all 4 cats. It was great to see animals given equal rights to humans under the circumstances. PETA grants "Hero to Animals Award" to the Thai Navy for their rescue of 4 cats from a sinking boat. Photo: Thai Navy. It wasn't an easy rescue. It's quite hard to take hold of 4 cats on a large boat that has almost sunk and transport them across about 30 yards of water to the Navy's ship. It was quite a dangerous operation. The cats cooperated which indicates how frightened they must have been and they appear to have been appreciative of the rescue. You can read about the story by clicking on this link . The senior vice president of PETA, Jason Baker sai

Can cats be piebald?

Image
Yes, cats can be piebald. In fact they are very common. They are referred to as 'bicolour cats' or cats with a 'solid-and-white' coat. But the cat below is not common. Not by any stretch of the imagination. This cat is amazing. I think this rare cat is a piebald but a rare pattern. Very unusual, in fact strange, piebald coat. Photo: Facebook The word piebald is an amalgam of 'pie' from magpie (a black-and-white i.e. two coloured bird) and 'bald' meaning a bald or white patch. Unsurprisingly the gene that causes the piebald or bicolor coat is called the piebald gene. It is also referred to as the white spotting gene . People ask if cats can be piebald because we are far more familiar with the word being used to describe a horse. You'll see the piebald coat pattern on many animals including dogs too. The location of the white fur and how it migrates during development of the cat in the womb is governed by the piebald gene and how it operates on the

Australians: 'We need more responsible cat ownership'. True?

Image
This neat little audio presentation gives us a snapshot insight into cat ownership in Australia. But it depends on the state of Autralia where you live. Nontheless the domestic cat is less popular than dogs in Australia and the feral cat takes a bashing almost daily as it kills precious Australia native species. Of course there'd be no feral cats if there was better cat ownership.  Aussie feral cat with ear tipping. Image in public domain. All feral cats originate in domestic cats. There is an ongoing debate about how to reduce predation by outside domestic cats and feral cats on native species. This particular discussion is about controlling domestic cats. The authorities have already decided to kill as many feral cats as possible. Cruel? Yes. TNR would be more humane but impractical as the problem has gone on for too long. There is a real possibility that an Australian state will introduce a leash law for cats. The authrorities are struggling with the best way to manage indoor/ou

Mycotoxins in extruded (dry) commercial cat food

Image
There is a fairly recent study called: Occurrence of Mycotoxins in Extruded Commercial Cat Food , which supports the news media story of 28 dogs in the US dying of aflatoxin poisoning (late Dec 2020). Aflatoxins fall under the umbrella term 'mycotoxins'.  Fungal spores. This is to illustrate the page only. Image: in the public domain. Both highlight a hidden danger in dry cat food which is rarely discussed: the presence of this fungal (mould) toxin produced by the Aspergillus flavus mould. There are other species of mould which also metabolise into mycotoxins. The underlying point is that extruded dry cat food has grain in it. The mould referred to feeds on these grains which is why it ends up in cat and dog food. Why is grain in cat food? Because it is cheaper despite cats being obligate carnivores.  It seems that poor quality grain is sometimes bought by the smaller pet food manufacturers which perhaps increases the risk.  Two scientific studies that I have read indicate to

Cat and dog Covid vaccine given to orangutan at San Diego Zoo

Image
This is a quick note to record the fact that San Diego Zoo has vaccinated 9 apes, one of them an orangutan named Karen, against Covid-19. The connection to cats is that the vaccine was developed by Zoetis with cats and dogs in mind. Karen an organgutan first non-human primate to be vaccinated against Covid-19. Photo: San Diego Zoo. The reason for the vaccinations? Their lowland gorillas caught the virus. There is a discussion about the potential for animals to form a reservoir for the virus. This is the first time non-human primates have been vaccinated for this virus. All nine apes have had both doses. No adverse side-affects have been noted. A 49-year-old silverback gorilla got the virus last month and suffered from pneumonia. He's recovering after receiving experimental antibody treatment. Eight other gorillas are also recovering after falling ill. Karen is a Sumatran orangutan born at the zoo on 27 August 1994. She is the first orangutan to have open heart surgery.

Did cats domesticate themselves?

Image
It claimed that 'cats domesticated themselves'. But what does it mean? Firstly the statement should be amended to read, 'wildcats domesticated themselves'. That makes more sense and is more precise. The cat domesticated itself? This is a European wildcat. The African-Asia version of this wild cat species allowed themselves to be domesticated around 10,000 years ago but they did not 'domesticate themselves' in my opinion. Photo: Creative Commons license on Flickr. Specifically the African-Asian wildcat domesticated itself. But I am unsure if this is correct. The process of domestication takes two parties: the animal and the human. They play at least an equal role and perhaps in this instance the human played the major role. What it means is that wild cats liked to be around farmers' grain stores about 10,000 years ago because there were hordes mice and other rodents there providing a supply of food. It was very attractive to a wild cat and it still is. Yo

Do male cats mate with their siblings?

Image
Yes, male cats do sometimes mate with their siblings. They are not choosy it seems. Neither are the females as they will mate with a series of males such that their litter might have different fathers. But it depends on the opportunity and the personality of the cat.  Forgive the rudeness of the photo. Cat mating on  a car's hood (bonnet in the UK). Photo: in the public domain. Male domestic cats are often neutered as are female cats. And male cats arrive to mate with a female in heat and then disappear as they are solitary animals. Except when they are forced to live cheek by jowl for example in a rescue setting where many cats live in the same home of perhaps a cat rescuer who has turned into a hoarder. I remember seeing a photograph of about fifty white cats in one home. Clearly the parents had procreated and the male had mated with some of the offspring on a regular basis to create this huge colony of lookalike cats stuffed into the tiny kitchen looking for their dinner. And

Austin City Council could vote to ban the declawing of cats

Image
Austin City Council could vote to ban the declawing of cats. The video on this page says more or less all you need to know but I'll add something. Austin could follow 9 other cities who've banned declawing (and did so some time ago), 8 of which are in California (Los Angeles, San Francisco, West Hollywood, Burbank, Santa Monica, Berkeley, Beverly Hills, and Culver City) and the 9th is Denver in Colorado . New York State banned declawing a little while ago . Large parts of Canada have banned declawing.  Anti-declawing poster by Ruth aka Kattaddorra. The first part of the news bulletin is on a different topic to declawing cat but the section on declawing is useful. They mention the pain it causes. It is one of the most painful veterinary operations. It is 10 amputations as you might know by now and there is no medical or other benefit for the cat. In fact the operation is very detrimental to the health and welfare of the domestic cat or kitten. Yes they put young kittens throu

Video of tabby cat with bright emerald eyes

Image
This is a video on Reddit.com of a tabby cat with the most astonishing emerald eyes. Initially when I saw a still image of the cat (and not the video) I thought that this was an example of excellent photo-editing. But can you photo-edit video material like this? I think you can because I just can't bring myself to believe that this eye colour is genuine. Update: the video failed. They always do from Reddit. They are hopeless on embedded videos. So hopeless that I think they deliberately make them fail. But if you click here you can see it on Reddit (hopefully). Here is a screenshot from the video: Tabby cat with bright emerald eyes. Screenshot. But, you know, I could be wrong. It could be genuine. I'd love someone to tell me that I am wrong in a comment. Amazing cat. He/she should have an Instagram page. I can't find a page on Instagram which features this cat. Is that proof that the eyes are too special to be real?

Picture of a cat on top of a Euston train preventing its departure

Image
This is a short story about how cats can disrupt travel. Just this morning I wrote about a feral cat attacking an airline pilot in the cockpit in midflight . The pilot had to return to Khartoum International Airport. The passengers were perhaps bemused and amused at the same time except for the disruption the cat had to their itinerary. Picture of a cat on top of a Euston train preventing its departure. Picture: Network Rail. In this instance travellers on the 9 pm service from London Euston to Manchester faced disruption because a domestic cat had climbed on top of a high-speed train. The cat refused to budge and it took Network Rail staff 2.5 hours to coax the cat down. It was made more complicated because there were overhead 25,000 volt lines. They had to avoid them both for their sakes and that of the cat. Eventually they succeeded by pulling a heavy-duty bin towards the carriages, leaving it next to the carriage on which the cat was perched and which encouraged him to jump down

Feral cat attacks pilot mid-flight

Image
COMMENT ON THE NEWS - SUDAN - TARCO AIRLINES: A plane was parked in a hangar at Khartoum International Airport before the flight. It was being worked on: cleaning and maintenance. A semi-feral cat sneaked onboard and into the cockpit where it hid. Cat attacks pilot of plane mid-flight. This is a fun mock-up but it was not fun at the time. Photo: News Hub. 30 minutes into the flight the cat emerged or was seen by the crew. The report is skimpy but the cat attacked the senior pilot, we are told. This sounds like defensive aggression from a scared cat. Perhaps the crew tried to remove the cat from the cockpit.  It was a potentially serious situation as it could have jeopardised the safety of those onboard. The captain aborted the flight and returned to Khartoum  International Airport. We don't know what happened to the cat. I hope it was simply freed. Airport management may change their policies and procedures to avoid a recurrence. I hope that the cat and no other cats are harmed

Dramatic pictures of navy sailors rescuing 4 cats from boat off Thai coast

Image
NEAR THE ISLAND OF KO ADANG, THAILAND: Thai navy rescue four domestic cats from sea after their boat sinks. What looks like a small commercial boat caught fire and began sinking. On board were the human sailors and 2 ginger cats and 2 torties (probably related). The eight crew members abandoned their boat and were rescued but they appear to have abandoned their cats too!  Dramatic pictures of navy sailor rescuing 4 cats from boat off Thai coast. Image credit: per image. First-class Petty Officer Wichit Pukdeelon noticed the cats at the front of the boat. The fire had engulfed the back. He used his camera to zoom in on the boat and noticed their heads popping up. A colleague, Thatsaphon Saii, 23, from the Royal Thai Navy's Air and Coastal Defence Command Operation Unit 491, swam out to the sinking boat to rescue the cats. The boat was 50 feet away. The boat had capsized and the cats were huddled at the bow.  He brought the cats back on his shoulder. His colleagues reeled him in u