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Showing posts from November, 2008

Egyptian cat breed

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Egyptian Mau - photograph copyright Helmi Flick People who search for Egyptian cat breed are probably referring to the Egyptian Mau . The Egyptian Mau is a popular purebred cat in the cat fancy. According to the Pictures of Cats.org website's long standing poll, the Egyptian Mau is ranked 9th in popularity. There are about 70 well known cat breeds so 9th is good. See poll results . This cat breed has a dual existence, however. While in the West, particularly, the United States, this cat is a valuable and glamorous show cat, pampered and preened, in Egypt, the country of the breeds origin, this cat is an ostracized feral cat. The difference between the two is that the show cat is naturally more refined through careful breeding while the feral cat is, as expected, a rougher version but noticeably still an Egyptian Mau. You can see an interesting comparison on this page: Egyptian Mau Pictures . Abyssinian Cat - photograph copyright Helmi Flick Another cat that is associated w

Donations to Texas Maine Coon Rescue

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I am proud to say that Pictures of Cats.org has been able, over a number of months, to make donations to Texas Maine Coon Rescue . This is one of my favorite cat rescue organizations to which I am pleased to make donations. This is in part because it is based in the Dallas area and the president of the organization, Christie, is a friend of Helmi and Ken Flick, with whom, I am at this moment, staying. As a result I am lucky to have had the opportunity to meet up with Christie who joined the Flicks and me at thanksgiving. Michael, the creator of the charitable website http://www.pictures-of-cats.org presenting a check to Christie Montgomery of Texas Maine Coon Rescue . This is a picture taken by Helmi of the presentation of a cheque (check) to Christie for $412, representing the donation made in November 2008 from earnings from the website pictures of cats.org over the month of October. The site was also able to donate to other cat charities in November. A list of the donees can be

Cats as a disposable item

Is it right that during this time of financial difficulty for some people, that they should treat cats as a disposable item? It seems that the abandonment of domestic cats is on the increase in the United States. The Shelby County Humane Society has taken in a significantly larger number of abandoned and stray animals this year compared to 2007. This is despite the fact the county has a high proportion of educated people. Cats that are handed in to the The Shelby County Humane Society facility are most likely to be euthanized as there is no chance of the owners turning up to recover a lost cat. The rescue center must be turning into a kind of processing plant as a large number of cats must be euthanized as they are full. The situation seems hopeless. It seems that some (perhaps a significant number judging by the increase in abandoned cats) people do treat cats as a disposable item in the same way that they would throw away a old washing machine. It is understandable but we cannot

Cats Pilgrims and Thanksgiving

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One the eve of Thanksgiving, for a cat lover it is apt to ask, "What have Cats, Pilgrims and Thanksgiving got in common?" Well, in 1620, the Pilgrims or English Separatists sailed from Southampton, England in the now famous ship, the Mayflower, on their journey to Plymouth, North America and it is pretty well common knowledge that cats were stowed on board as mousers. And, traditionally, the first thanksgiving is meant to have occurred at the site of Plymouth Plantation in 1621. A modern replica of the Mayflower - photo by Lady-bug under creative commons license. In the 16th century cats were useful on ships in helping to protect limited food supplies from rodents. The culture of having a "ships cat" was and still is widespread. There is a sad news story, in fact, of a young person who threw the ships cat on HMS Belfast into the Thames this year. HMS Belfast (a tourist attraction now) is moored on the Thames, London, England. It is thought the cat drowned. O

Ken and Helmi Flick's Cats

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Ken and Helmi Flick's cats are great and they all very definitely have their own characters. They have 4 cats and one stray cat (Buttermilk) who does not live with Ken and Helmi but who they feed. Here are the cats. The pictures are mine (I guess you can tell!) except, of course the one of me with Buttermilk. The photos by me were taken spontaneously, mainly in my room in Ken and Helm's home. First we have Quin. He is a large Maine Coon. Well, he might not be that large by Maine Coon standards but he is large, long limbed and quite rangy in conformation compared to the average moggie. His hair flows over his slender body. His face is strong, broad and somehow tender looking. Like his brother, Zak, he can look you straight in the eye and hold that look. That is unusual in a cat but usual for a Maine Coon. Maine Coon cat- Quin a Black Smoke MC - He has this wonderfully piercing gaze. He is sitting at the window. He has a swirling, glamorous, black smoke coat. Maine Coons ar

Cat photography with Ken and Helmi Flick

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This is a post about cat photography with Ken and Helmi Flick at a cat show in Waxahachie, Texas on November 22-23rd 2008. Throughout these days I acted as an assistant to Ken and Helmi, helping to set up the studio and at the end of the day to dismantle it. If you would like to see more, you can see posts about preparation day and day one of the Waxahachie cat show . Cat photography with Ken and Helmi Flick is exacting. There is a considerable amount of planning, organization and work that needs to take place in order to capture the kind of high quality images created by Helmi and Ken Flick. Ken's role is a vital ingredient in the process. Ken has built a studio table that can be dismantled, on which the cats are photographed. There are 4 flashlights. The main light is at the front (see below) suspended by a horizontal beam which is supported by two tripods at either side of the room. This allows Helmi free movement in front of the table, when photographing. This light is di

Helmi and Ken Flick at a cat show

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Well, I'm here with Helmi and Ken Flick at a cat show in Waxahachie, Texas, which is about 50 minutes drive from Ken and Helmi's home in Bedford, Texas. Having spent about 4 hours yesterday setting up the equipment this picture shows it in use: Ken Flick is teasing the desired activity from a gorgeous cat , while Maranda Hull, the agent to the cat breeder, looks on and assists (when Ken needs it). The lighting for this picture is from the modeling lights on the flash lights. So this is not the lighting used for the actual photograph. The light looks brighter than it actually is. There has to be sufficient light for Helmi to see clearly to compose and time the shot but not so much that it has an impact on the photograph. Here is the finished photograph: Pixie-bob cat - Ansonroad Assam T - photograph copyright Helmi Flick . The agent to the breeder is Maranda Hull of Red River Bobis. The breeder/owner is Gertrud Keazor of Anson Road Cats a UK breeder based in London. As

Cat show with Helmi and Ken Flick

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Ken Flick setting up the lighting making sure that it is at the correct angle. I'm doing a cat show with Ken and Helmi Flick today. It's being held in a town about 44 miles from Bedford near Dallas. We spent part of the day yesterday setting up. The set up is very elaborate because the tables etc. have to be transportable and then assembled. Ken manufactured part of the table and set up equipment upon which the cats are photographed. He did a great job. The lighting is sophisticated and everything about the process is well thought out and designed to produce the highest quality photographs that please the cat breeder and also show off the cats to best advantage. Here are some more photographs of setting up for cat show with Helmi and Ken Flick: Helmi and Ken setting up for the show tomorrow. Ken Flick setting up the lighting having set up the table that can be seen behind him. Different backgrounds cover the table to suite each individual cat. I'm in a rush because

Irish Shortear cat

The Irish Shortear cat is a cross between the Burmilla and Scottish Fold only the ears are short and not flat or folded. Hey, wait a minute this is more fiction, part of the fiction of the Painted cat s series that caused quite a stir about a year or more ago. There is no such cat and there is nobody painting cats either, thankfully. The Irish Shortear, if it existed, would have short ears, a relaxed nature and large eyes. The guys who made this up also created a fictional piece of genetics , referring to the "macro-retinal" gene . Nice one guys. I guess they were teasing the cat breeders and the fact their lives revolve around genetics. From Irish Shortear to Home page

Savannah cat banned from Alaska

In a twist to the story about Australian government's ban on the importation of the Savannah cat into Australia a story has emerged from Alaska in which the Alaskan authorities have confirmed their ban on the Savannah cat there and ordered that a Savannah cat that escaped from the owner's home and roamed freed for 6 months be shipped out of the State of Alaska. The cat concerned, Simon, lived with Sharon Gratrix who is not a cat breeder. Simon was found by the Alaska Department of Fish and Game who on returning the cat demanded that Simon was deported (to use a term for humans). Sharon had no idea that Simon was an illegal immigrant. The spokesperson for the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, Rick Sinnott was not sure initially (on incorrect advice it seems) if a Savannah cat was illegal. Was this why Sharon was allowed to bring Simon into the country? Not sure how that happened. Anyway, the initial confusion was on the interpretation of the terms of the legislation in re

Visiting Ken and Helmi Flick

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Today I am travelling from London, England and visiting Ken and Helmi Flick in Dallas, USA. I have been to Dallas before in the summer and it was hot. I hadn't realized how hot Texas can be. I am going over to thank Helmi for her contribution to the Pictures of Cats.org website . Her agreement early on to allow me to publish her photographs has made all the difference to the website which this morning has an Alexa ranking of about 109,000. This means that there are 108,000 sites in the world with more traffic but considering that there are about 200m or more sites that is good. I also hope to meet some people and generally cement the United States connection. I would like to see if some rescue centers in America would like to use the Pictures of Cats.org website to promote their organizations by using a sub-domain of my website. There are other ideas that I have and we'll see where it all goes. And, yes, I'll have some fun too. I am looking forward to meeting Nox and S

Cat or dog fur

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We are used to seeing fur lined gloves. If we buy gloves as a Christmas present please remember that the fur lining is probably cat or dog fur from China. China kills millions of animals a year for the fur. There is no regulation on how they are killed and 2 million or more are cats and dogs. I suspect that the numbers are much larger in fact. And I wonder what happens to the fur of the 2 plus million cats euthanized in the USA each year or the hundreds of thousands euthanized in the UK or Europe. One reason, maybe the biggest single reason why China will not create and implement cat and animal welfare laws of any sort is because of business. China is obsessed with business and making money and moral behavior doesn't get in the way. See China and animal welfare law . China is the world's largest exporter of fur ( src: Animal Friends Croatia ). It seems (and this makes me feel ill) that some of the cats are still alive after being skinned and die 5-10 minutes later. I don&#

Cat and animal welfare needs a prosperous democracy

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I say that cat and animal welfare needs a prosperous democracy , but why? Because it is only through the pressure that can be exerted on a government by the enlightened, caring and educated people of a democratic country that a government will create and implement, animal welfare laws. And an enlightened people only comes from prosperity over time. "Hey Charlie, it's great here isn't it? But I'm worried about our brothers and sisters all over the world. It ain't that good for some is it? Na, you're right there mate........" Cats talking - photo by fofurasfelinas probably the most famous Flickr cat photographer. {note: I use the word "cat" in the title and text as this is my area of main concern} On a simplistic level look at the undemocratic countries and see the kind of animal welfare law that they have, if they have any at all. China is the classic example. There are no animal welfare laws and fairly widespread abuse towards cats and ani

Indian National Board for Wild Life (NBWL)

I am not sure but is the Indian National Board for Wildlife (NBWL) in breach of statutory duty? I believe that this body or organization was set up under the Wild Life Protection Act 1972 and the Wild Life Protection (Amendment) Act 2002. Under these Acts the central government of India was obliged to constitute the National Board for Wild Life within 6 months of the Wild Life Protection (Amendment) Act 2002 coming into force (pursuant to section 6 of the Wild Life Protection Act 1972). Under section 7 of the Wild Life Protection Act 1972, the Board shall meet twice per year. The first meeting of the National Board for Wildlife (NBWL) was in January 2002 . The second meeting as on 18th March 2004. That appears to a breach of statutory duty. If I am correct there was another. In 2007 there was only one meeting on the 10th September 2008. Does this indicate a lack of will and commitment to protect wild life in India and is it why endangered wild species are gradually becoming exti

Killing a tiger in self-defense in India

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Killing a tiger in self-defense in India is a legal defense to a crime under The Wildlife Protection Act 1972, which is designed to protect Indian wildlife (see section 9 of The Wildlife Protection Act 1972 and the defense at section 11(2) ). Sumatran tiger - photo by  Captain Chickenpants This sounds perfectly reasonable but actually, is it? Most tigers avoid people. If they do attack, it is probably due to a number of factors beyond the control of the tiger. ---the most obvious is habitat loss. This forces human and tiger together. This happens most frequently in the Sundarbans Tiger Reserve in India and Bangladesh. Here, apparently, about 5% of the tigers are thought to be man-eaters. This is mainly because this area is shrinking forcing people and tiger together. Global warming is thought to be partially responsible in flooding the delta. Then there is the human population growth in Asia. This is also in the hands of people to correct but out of the control of the

Foldex cat

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No, the Foldex cat is not a type of attaché case or filofax but a cat with folded ears and a flattish or rounded face. This cat is rare and is a hybrid cross from the mating of the well known Scottish Fold and the Exotic Shorthair cats. Foldex cat (see base of post) Both the Scottish Fold and Exotic Shorthair are rounded, cobby cats. The Exotic SH has a flat face like the contemporary or Ultra Persian cat . In fact the Exotic SH is an Ultra Persian without the long hair. The Scottish Fold's ears are caused by an incomplete dominant gene or a gene producing an autosomal dominant trait. The person responsible for the early development of the Scottish Fold, William Ross, a shepherd, called his cats "lop eared" after the rabbits with, yes, lop ears. The Scottish Fold's face is, dare I say it, more normal (less flat) than the face of the Exotic SH but rounded nonetheless. Breeders like to produce rounded faces for Scottish Fold as they look better with the flatten

Cat pee on the bed

In my opinion cat pee on the bed is probably going to be due to stress if your cat is healthy and the litter is in good shape and well positioned. A bed smells strongly of the human companion of the cat. A cat's urine is an odor marker of that cat. I think the cat is exchanging scent as if he/she is rubbing against you to greet you or when a cat head butts. These are all putting scent onto you so the cat feels more comfortable. I have first hand experience of this but not personally. My ex-wife worked very hard and she kept one of our two cats when we separated. He was a great black boy, gorgeous character and very attached. She would go out in the evening after a hard and long days work. She was never at her flat. He peed once (perhaps more often) on her bed, when she was out. He was lonely and stressed. She had to keep in in too as this was central London. I guess the cat (he was called Boo Boo by me and Freddie by my ex.) was anxious and stressed and to make himself feel mo

Psychological Benefits of Human-Animal Interactions

There are a number of benefits to humans (and of course cats or other animals) when considering the Psychological Benefits of Human-Animal Interactions . I am going to focus on cats but this applies to all companion animals. There are people, sometimes legislators (i.e. government) who disseminate the negative aspects of the domestic cat. They are, though, usually talking about feral cats. But even then they forget that feral cats or their ancestors were once domestic cats and a companion. One negative apsect that I think is rather exaggerated is the spread of disease from cat to human. There are very few cases and very few diseases that do this. One is Toxoplasmosis. This disease is usually talked about in respect of pregnancy. See cat feces and pregnancy . The danger, I say, is exaggerated. There are some great benefits to owning or living with a cat. Here is a list of some of the Psychological Benefits: I am not talking about mental illness but promoting mental well being; feelin

Cat Cruelty in the UK

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I have bumped into a good website (link at the base of this post) in which cases of animal cruelty are listed. It is also a very sad website. Cat cruelty in the UK in still very much alive despite excellent legislation and enforcement. But is it that good? What I mean is, is detection of crime good enough? The last 50 cases of animal cruelty in the UK listed on the website all concerned cats. The most frequent form of cat cruelty is shooting at a cat with an air rifle . Of the last 50 cases only 22% resulted in convictions . These cases go back to April 2006. One of the last ones was a case of a cat being thrown out of a car, a silver Renault Clio on the A508, killing it. The crime was witessed. It falls within section 4 of the Animal Welfare Act 2006 . The penalty on conviction would be a maximum of 51 weeks imprisonment and/or a fine of £20,000 . It is believed that the car was occupied by three young men. Young men are the usual suspects it would seem. I wonder how many incid

Cats pets in the workplace

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Cats, pets in the workplace is something that is slowly catching on it as bosses realize that there are benefits to the company's bottom line as a result of a more contented workforce. I'm in charge of the photocopying and odd jobs. "Lay off my photocopier...it's for laying on......." Photo by vtengr4047 I guess it goes without saying that dogs are more likely to be successful in the workplace. They are more corporate minded. If a dog was a man he'd be a thoroughly dedicated and loyal corporate man and therefore successful. He would be the archetypal "yes man". Bosses love that. This is because dogs are pack animals, looking up to the top dog for directions and a lead. In the peculiar corporate world you have to play the corporate game. Be one of the lads. Muck in and support the team. Be a team player. Dogs can do that. They are liable to fit in nicely in an office environment no matter how corporate the business is. But I suspect that most ex

Victoria Australia Cat Cruelty

Of course Victoria Australia cat cruelty that sometimes goes undetected takes place despite the fact that state of Victoria, Australia has good animal welfare law and enforcement. Good legislation can gradually alter people's behavior. In this instance it did not. It is a crime of cruelty against a cat called Bullet on December 7th 2007. The veterinarian who treated Bullet (and who I presume was forced to put him down) said his injuries were the worst she had seen in 14 years. Bullet's injuries included a dislocated tail, burnt hair and internal injuries due to sexual abuse. It would seem that is was the internal injuries that were life threatening. There are some mad and bad people about. They haven't found this one. This is one of the great problems with animal welfare law. Cat can't talk and give evidence. If the cruelty takes place behind closed doors who is to know who did it unless there are other indicators or repeated odd and cruel behavior by a careless perp

Mucopolysaccharidosis and Siamese cats

Mucopolysaccharidosis and Siamese cats. I'll keep this short as Mucopolysaccharidosis is a complex disease, which also affects humans. In Medical, Genetic & Behavioral Aspects of Purebred cats (Edited by Ross D. Clark, DVM) it is stated as affecting the Siamese cat sometimes. Mucopolysaccharidosis VI is a disorder affecting metabolism caused by a defective autosomal recessive gene. It causes a deficiency in an enzyme called N-acetylgalactosamine 4-sulfatase (src: Wikipedia); the above book calls the enzyme arylsulfatase B. This results in the storage of long chains of sugar carbohydrates in the cat's cells. The symptoms are: skeletal abnormalities including: wides spaced eyes small ears flattened face frontal bossing (prominent forehead) kittens at 1o weeks are smaller than normal and have corneal clouding and prolapsed third eyelids. There front are larger than normal. At 5 months they have an abnormal gait. Mucopolysaccharidosis and Siamese cats to Cat Health Problem

Feline Sneezing

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Introduction When we sneeze it is because of an irritated nose, we can feel it. The irritation can be from various sources, some benign and transient and some disease based. Feline sneezing is the same. Feline sneezing is a sign of nasal irritation. The lining of the nose is stimulated which sets up the reflex action of sneezing, the purpose of which is to get rid of the irritation by ejecting the thing that is causing it. Goku This boy, Goku, lives with fofurasfelinas (the well known cat photographer on Flickr, real name Giane Portal) and he apparently may have an allergy causing sneezing. The photograph is by fofurasfelinas . See base of post for rights to publish. If I go into London for a few hours, a day or two later I sneeze because of a build of dirt in the nose (the London atmosphere is grimy). Likewise, if our cat looks healthy but has a bout of sneezing it may well be a benign irritant that can be resolved by the sneezing. The big question with feline sneezing

Cat and dog cruelty in the Philippines

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Sadly there seems to be a lot of cat and dog cruelty in the Philippines ; and cruelty to horses and I suppose wild life too. Having researched animal welfare law in the Philippines I was sickened to bump into a great but shocking website called "It's Their Destiny". This is a phrase used by a trader in dog meat when being asked if he felt bad about the treatment he was dishing out to the dogs. He must have meant that it is a dog's destiny to be brutally and cruelly treated before being savagely killed and then eaten. I wonder where he got that idea from? The same treatment must be handed out to feral cats too. Here is one example only of the practice of rounding up stray (and perhaps non-stray) dogs or cats (or anything with four legs that moves) as if they were farm livestock. It is not current but all the more shocking for that. It happened in 2002 and comes from the It's Their Destiny website. Why am I repeating it? The more people who speak out the better an

Origins of the Abyssinian Cat

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Charles Darwin 1879 The Origins of the Abyssinian Cat are shrouded in mystery or at least uncertainty. Here is a theory on the history of this popular cat breed. In Darwin's "The Variation Of Animals And Plants Under Domestication" he writes: "In India the domestic cat, according to Mr. Blyth, has crossed with four Indian species. With respect to one of these species, F. chaus, an excellent observer, Sir W. Elliot, informs me that he once killed, near Madras, a wild brood, which were evidently hybrids from the domestic cat; these young animals had a thick lynx-like tail and the broad brown bar on the inside of the forearm characteristic of F. chaus. Sir W. Elliot adds that he has often observed this same mark on the forearms of domestic cats in India. Mr. Blyth states that domestic cats coloured nearly like F. chaus, but not resembling that species in shape, abound in Bengal; he adds, "such a colouration is utterly unknown in European cats, and the prope

Pictures of a Savannah cat

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Here are some great pictures of a Savannah cat, a fantastic boy. He is a one year old cat and he comes from the A1 Supremes cattery. This cattery is a branch of the A1 Savannahs cattery. All Savannahs are fantastic lookers. A1 Supremes are the best of the best. They are very intelligent, alert, large, muscular and athletic. Above all they are well socialized and great pets. I love the look on this boy's face. His eyes are alight, burning bright, extremely alert and he has that oh so desirable wild look on his strong face. Here are the pictures taken by Kathrin Stucki of A1 Savannahs and A1 Supremes of this young good looking Savannah cat. All these pictures of a Savannah cat are copyright Kathrin Stucki. Please respect copyright. Kathrin calls these cats the ultimate hybrid domestic felines. You can see these pictures in large format by clicking on the photographs above or here: Fantastic male Savannah cat 0 Fantastic male Savannah cat 1 Fantastic male Savannah cat 2