Wednesday 31 December 2008

Cat Dominance Hierarchy

Black Tuxedo cat lying on backThere is a cat dominance hierarchy developing or developed in my home. It's the first time that I've seen it happen because it is the first time I have kept more than one cat. There are three. Well, I'm not exactly keeping three in the normal sense. One I am keeping. She is an old girl (about 16 years old), overweight, shy, quiet and a bit nervous (see picture middle right).

The other two are strays. First there is Timmy. He is an athletic boy cat, youngish, great jumper, eats like a horse and sleeps like a log. He turned up several months ago and he pops in every day for food and a snooze. I don't think he considers this place home though, more a motel (he's top left on this page sleeping while being in control).

Then thirdly we have Pippa, a small, mentally sharp, nervous, loving and totally black female cat who lives next door and obviously doesn't feel that happy about it because she comes to visit without any prompting whatsoever. Quite the contrary in fact. She is terrorized by my cat, which I find surprising. She still comes though.
Black Tuxedo cat looking up
So the hierarchy, which is wholly to be expected is that the Top Cat is Timmy. He is the Tuxedo boy looking exactly like "TC" of Top Cat cartoon fame.

Next in line is my girl, Binnie. She is to the right on this page. Yes, she's overweight because she is defensive and hides and is therefore not active enough. Plus she always wins the arguments about food.

Then at the bottom of the league and hiding under a table is little Pippa:

small black cat under a table
Pippa, the lowest in cat dominance hierarchy at my place.

No doubt the table gives some protection from that ogre my cat (just joking as my Binnie is completely soft and gentle). But Binnie's natural instincts take over and she knows she can beat Pippa but not Timmy who she just looks at and steers clear of.

Timmy is Mr. Boss man. That is cat dominance hierarchy.

Cat Dominance Hierarchy to Cartoon Cats

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Cats have a Sagittal Crest

cat bitingMy cat has a sagittal crest, has yours? Some (all?) cats have a sagittal crest. When I feel the top of her skull, which she likes me to do by the way, I can feel a ridge along the middle of the skull running from the front to the back. It is quite noticeable. I rub her head a lot as she likes it but just thought that her skull was a little uneven!

[note: the cat in the photo is not my cat. This cat chewing grass lives with Flickr photographer ex.libris and the photograph is by her published under a creative commons license]

You can read more on this by clicking on this link

Well now I know different. The sagittal crest is commonly found among adult male gorillas. These animals have a very strong bite due to strong jaw muscles, which attach to the sagittal crest. The main chewing muscle is the temporalis muscle. This ridge of bone develops on animals who use their teeth when hunting and killing prey.

It can be present on dogs and cats of all types. The wildcat hybrids such as the Bengal cat and Savannah cat are perhaps more likely to have this ridge of bone. We know how hard a cat's bite can be so this is no surprise to me. Yet a domestic cat's bite is relatively weak compared to the Tasmanian Devil, a small dog like animal living in Tasmania. This animal has the world's strongest bite (see Cat Bites -- this sets out comparisons of bite strength)

There you go, cats have a sagittal crest -- have a feel next time you stroke your cat.

Monday 29 December 2008

Cat Lovers of India

It is time that the cat lovers of India got together and formed a group. They would be the first cat fancy group in India, as I see it. I think it is time to do this, as according to Alexa, a web information company owned by Amazon, about 9% of the people who visit my website, live in India.

Fantastic, and yet it seems that proportionally very few people live with domestic cats. Why then start a cat fancy association. It might be called "Cat Association of India" (CAI) by the way. The reasons are these.

I bumped into a the Blue Cross of India website. A distinguished Indian women, Dr. Nanditha Krishna, has written an article that is posted on the site, called, "Are We Civilized?" It is an article on animal welfare in India or the lack of it. Well, not the lack of it exactly, but the need to improve it substantially. Through this article I discover that Dr. Nanditha Krishna is Honorary Director of the C P Ramaswami Aiyar Foundation and the C P R Environmental Education Centre. I visited the C P Ramaswami Aiyar Foundation website and discover that they are concerned with the promotion of the community and India culture; both wide and excellent objectives. These goals are to be achieved through education.

It is the element of education that I would like to be brought to bear on the matter of animal welfare. I couldn't see anything on the Foundations website that was concerned with the promotion of animal (and therefore cat, my area of interest) welfare. Cat and animal welfare can be improved in India through education. And what better medium to disseminate information about an animal, a companion animal, the cat, than through a cat association formed by the cat lovers of India?

The cat associations in the West are really only concerned with promoting the purebred cats or non-purebred show cats. They do this by holding information on cat pedigrees, providing judges at cat shows and endorsing and supporting cat shows. There is little work on the ground to do with the feral cat problem. The concept of show cats at shows and feral cats being euthanized at shelters don't sit comfortably together. Indians can improve on the concept of the cat association and create a first.

So why cannot the cat lovers of India create a cat association in India that not only promotes the cat but also tackles cat cruelty and animal cruelty through education? The purebred cat spearheading the welfare of the lowly feral cat is a very democratic concept and it would provide masses of credibility to the formation of a cat association, one that would not only provide pleasure to the better off and their purebred cats but also help their poorer cousins - covering the full spectrum. This could only have a beneficial spin off for all animals domestic and wild in India.

If the people of India are better informed I believe that they can and will become animal lovers or at least they will better respect animals and thereby drastically reduce incidences of cruelty to them. The cat lovers of India can help and promote this cause.

I cannot complete this post without mentioning Captain Sundaram, the Founder of the Blue Cross of India. He was a wonderful man ably supported by his wife who must also be highly commended as well.

Some Links:

Try this for a successful website: Site Build It!

Sunday 28 December 2008

Cat Illness Prevention

black and white cat
Gaia - to illustrate this page nicely - photo by fofurasfelinas

Cat illness prevention is possible with certain diseases. What about some of the most common and expensive (in respect of veterinarian bills) diseases - can they be prevented?

One classic, common and potentially expensive to cure illness is caused by foreign bodies trapped in the intestine. Cats like to play and chew on things and that is good as it provides exercise provided the objects with which our cat is playing are the right ones, things he/she can't swallow like thread. Bits of thread can be very damaging if swallowed and may need an expensive trip to the veterinarian and at this time of economic woe that is not a good scenario, nor is it good for the cat as it is life threatening.

I guess the moral is to keep items that can be ingested by our cat out of reach. That is quite a big call as there are so many possibles but a quick look-see might at least get rid of the worst offenders. Bengal cats have a particular propensity, it seems, to use their mouths on objects (see Bengal Cat Behavior). Objects that can pass through the stomach can be arrested at the intestine. What then of objects that can be ingested but stop at the stomach? These are a wider range of objects. Keep anything that might be eaten out of reach.

My cat once suffered from cystitis, an infection of the urinary tract. Blockages of the urinary tract are not uncommon and some cats have a greater propensity to this condition. A simple proactive measure, and one that I took up, is to ensure that our cat drinks well. I add water to microwaved fish, for example. Making sure that there is plenty of fresh water available is obvious, and, also, not depending, uniquely, on dry cat food is wise. Some veterinarians recommend wet (canned) food over dry food. One well known American vet and author is Elizabeth M Hodgkins DVM (see grain free cat food or cat food recipe as examples). See also Feline Kidney Disease and FLUTD (Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease).

Bladder Stones another urinary tract disease is also commonly encountered. Please read the full post, Feline Kidney Stones, for full details as to how to minimize the occurrence of this disease. In short a good quality wet food diet low in magnesium and acid is the best for cats with a propensity to contract this disease. In this instance cat illness prevention is possible.

Another Urinary Tract Disease is renal failure. This can happen with a cat poisoned by car antifreeze. The recent large scale incidences, in the United States, of cat and pet poisoning caused by melamine in cat food and pet food generally caused renal failure and death. Another poison that damages the kidney is the house plant Easter Lily: See House Plant Poisonous to a Cat. See Cat Poison. Cat illness prevention is possible in this case too as dangerous products can be stored safely. The garage is out of bounds, always. Wandering cats can be attracted to car antifreeze. People should be aware of this. Some nasty people deliberately poison with antifreeze; please watch out for this.

Hyperthyroidism is a relatively common disease. There is nothing that can be done to prevent it but if caught early complications can be minimized. Signs are weight loss combined with a good appetite.

With current knowledge there is nothing that is currently known that can be done to prevent: Mast Cell Tumors, Fibrosarcoma (Skin Cancer), Intestinal Cancer. However, Skin cancer can be rarely be caused by vaccinations (see Cat Vaccination Recommendations). Also see Cat Coats White -- white cats are more prone to skin cancer, extra care should be taken in the sun.

Cat illness prevention is possible with respect to a number of common and expensive to cure diseases.

Cat Illness Prevention to Cat Heath Problems

To Get Rid of Stray Cats

OPINION: Is it right to get rid of stray cats? Do we have a collective responsibility to deal with stray cats in a humane way and not simply to get rid of them?

stray cat
Stray cat outside my patio door, wanting food. Do I feed her, or get rid of her? See this post to find out: Feeding stray cats.

Sure, not everyone likes cats and some people hate cats but God knows why. If a person hates cats they hate the world too; that's what I say. But looking at it from a practical point of view, some people dislike cats and therefore if there are stray cats (plural) around they might like to get rid of them. That I can understand.

There are a lot of stray, semi-stray, becoming stray and plain feral cats about. All are the result of irresponsible people or at least their predicament can be traced back to the irresponsibility of a person or persons. Domestic cats should have a home. That is their raison d'etre. Anyway, I've banged on about this before and it gets boring.

Because someone else has been irresponsible resulting in the effective abandonment of a domestic cat, should other people pick up the pieces? That doesn't necessarily mean taking in stray cats or feeding stray cats. We can't expect all people to do that. But should we collectively by lobbying government and if needs be taking action to change things such that there are fewer stray cats around and therefore less of a need in the future to get rid of stray cats?

The only way to get rid of stray cats in the very short term is take them to a rescue center where they most likely will be euthanized - bingo, problem solved or is it? In the medium or long term the only way to get rid of stray cats is to trap, neuter, medicate if needs be, vaccinate and rehome or return. That would mean stray cats being around for a while but gradually we would get rid of stray cats this way and in a humane way. This method takes commitment, time and some resources and it seems that right now these are in short supply.

In conclusion, the only way to truly get rid of stray cats in the long term and on a permanent basis is for all people who keep cats to behave is a responsible manner towards their cats and other people. This can be achieved by ensuring that their cats are neutered and well kept. In the very short term it seems the only way is to kill them in a humane manner (and not like they do it in a part of Southern China (killing brutally and eating) or New South Wales, Australia where ground shooting of feral cats is encouraged by the authorities).

To Get Rid of Stray Cats to Feral Cats.

Saturday 27 December 2008

Top Cat Cartoon

Here's some more on the Top Cat Cartoon. This is an expansion of the Cartoon Cats page on the main website.

The Inspiration

You can tell that this cartoon cat was inspired by Phil Silvers playing Sergeant Bilko by Top Cat's voice. It is very reminiscent of Sergeant Bilko. He is pretty bossy too. In fact in the UK (when shown for the first time in 1962) he was called Boss Cat because the name Top Cat was the name of a brand of cat food.

The Creators

The Top Cat cartoon was created by that talented duo of cartoonists, William Hanna and Joseph Barbera, or do we call them animators; I am not sure. Together they worked as Hanna-Barbera Cartoons, Inc., and Hanna-Barbera Enterprises, Inc. They won many awards and created other well known cartoon characters. When Hanna and Barbera formed the company in 1944 they were working as animation directors at MGM.

The Characters

Top Cat is a bicolor cat technically, at least. He is white and yellow. I don't know of any yellow cats in real life but some approach it. He is a bad boy really, a con cat but has a likable side to his character. He is laid back and is the leader of this motley gang of anthropomorphic feral cats. He is though simply surviving under difficult circumstances and uses all the ploys he can to get on. He tends to overdo the motivational talk, "Go like the wind boy, go, go, go, Mercury -- fly, fly!"

Benny the Ball is Top Cat's chief aide and right hand man. He is rotund of shape, a little slow but thinks straight. He is based (quite closely, it seems) on the actor who provided Benny's voice, the actor Maurice Gosfield (see photo and see rationale for publishing it here at base of post), who played opposite Phil Silvers in Sergeant Bilko.

Choo Choo is a tall pink cat with the eyes of a Siamese cat. He is sometimes second in command. He is also stupid (no criticism meant).

The Brain is not actually brainy. He is in charge of the little money they might briefly possess and he is orange (see a great Orange Persian cat).

Fancy-Fancy is a smooth talking cat who likes to chat up the girls. His character and voice is based on Gary Grant.

Spook look like Fancy-Fancy and is a sweet talking cat with a "beatnik" character.

Office Dribble is the poor policeman who has to deal with Top Cat and his gang as their home area in within the officers beat.

The Series

The Top Cat cartoon series started in September 27, 1961 and ran until April 18, 1962. There were 30 episodes of the Top Cat cartoon on the ABC network:
  1. "Hawaii Here We Come" 1961 -- see episode 3 of this above.
  2. "Maharajah of Pookajee" Oct 4, 1961
  3. "All That Jazz" Oct 11, 1961
  4. "The $1,000,000 Derby" Oct 1961
  5. "The Violin Player" (Oct 25, 1961)
  6. "The Missing Heir" (Nov 1, 1961)
  7. "Top Cat Falls In Love" (Nov 8, 1961)
  8. "A Visit From Mother" (Nov 15, 1961)
  9. "Naked Town" (Nov 22, 1961)
  10. "Sergeant Top Cat" (Nov 29, 1961)
  11. "Choo-Choo's Romance" (Dec 6, 1961)
  12. "The Unscratchables" (Dec 13, 1961)
  13. "Rafeefleas" (Dec 20, 1961)
  14. "The Tycoon" (Dec 27, 1961)
  15. "The Long Hot Winter" (Jan 3, 1962)
  16. "The Case of the Absent Anteater" (Jan 10, 1962)
  17. "T.C. Minds the Baby" (Jan 17, 1962)
  18. "Farewell, Mr. Dibble" (Jan 24, 1962)
  19. "The Grand Tour" (Jan 31, 1962)
  20. "The Golden Fleecing" (Feb 7, 1962)
  21. "Space Monkey" (Feb 14, 1962)
  22. "The Late T.C." (Feb 21, 1962)
  23. "Dibble's Birthday" (Feb 28, 1962)
  24. "Choo-Choo Goes Ga-Ga" (Mar 7, 1962)
  25. "King for a Day" (Mar 14, 1962)
  26. "The Con Men" (Mar 21, 1962)
  27. "Dibble Breaks the Record" (Mar 28, 1962)
  28. "Dibble Sings Again" (Apr 4, 1962)
  29. "Griswald" (Apr 11, 1962)
  30. "Dibble's Double" (Apr 18, 1962)
(List reproduced under Wikipedia® license)

Click on this link to see the Wikipedia® License src: Wikipedia® published under GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2 or any later version, November 2002 Copyright (C) 2000,2001,2002 Free Software Foundation, Inc. 51 Franklin St, Fifth Floor, Boston, MA 02110-1301 USA - - no other conditions to the license are added.

Top Cat Cartoon -- HB Logo -- The author of the Hanna-Barbera logo based on the actual logo is: The Man in Question. It is considered by the user to be in the public domain as it is not original enough.

Top Cat Cartoon -- Rationale for publishing copyrighted picture if Maurice Gosfield: I adopt the Wikipedia rationale with the exception and addition that this website if based in the UK and is for charitable purposes.

Top Cat Cartoon to Cartoon Cats

Thursday 25 December 2008

Is Christmas Bad for Cats?

This sounds like Scrooge talking but is Christmas bad for cats? Seeing that I am like Scrooge, I'll say, "Yes". But it's not all bad.

First there's the food. We tend to give our cat bits of Christmas food; heavens there is usually too much of it and lots can go to waste, so why not give it to our cat? This is probably not a good idea unless it is in small doses. It is giving our cat an unbalanced diet for a start. Although a bit of turkey surely wouldn't go amiss.

Then there is the noise. Cats have great hearing, much better than ours. The extra noise generated can be very disturbing. Then there are the visitors. A lot of cats don't like strangers (to them). They tend to go and hide. That is the downside. Is there is any upside?

Well cats don't recognize Christmas so for them it is just a little more disturbance to their precious routine and they like routine particularly when they get older. But some disturbance is welcome and some presents are welcome too.

A particularly nice disturbance is wrapping up the presents; nice and messy and plenty of paper to rummage around in and make more messy. Then there is the string etc. All great fun. As to presents, some cats go crazy for catnip. Timmy, a stray cat I feed, found some that Helmi gave me and he just goes mad over it and then zonks out as if he had taken a sleeping pill.

Here he is after a bout of catnip:

cat and catnip

So, is Christmas bad for cats? Nah, not really, provided we are sensible and don't give out cats too much left overs.


Wednesday 24 December 2008

Ground Shooting of Feral Cats

"Ground Shooting of Feral Cats" is recommended in New South Wales, Australia. I was told by the "experts" that this sort of thing did not happen in Australia. Well it does.

There is a "How To" set of rules on making the process as efficient as possible. The rules have been prepared by Trudy Sharp & Glen Saunders, NSW Department of Primary Industries. The PDF file containing this information has been deleted or removed from the Internet (it seems) but the html version is still in cache.

It makes for brutal reading. Australians really do have a problem with their feral cats because they see no way of dealing with them other than outright killing any way possible. The thing is this: killing feral cats leaves a vacuum. This vacuum is filled by more feral cats. You guys have created a problem, now you're going to have to put some resources towards solving it and in a humane way, not the brutal and ultimately ineffective (and certainly financially ineffecient) slaying of innocent creatures. You Aussies can be brutal and uncivilized sometimes.

They say "shooting is one of the main methods of control currently used". It is done at night from a vehicle with a search light. They say it can be humane provided the person doing the shooting is skilled. Of course no one has a clue if these people are skilled. So, it's a fair bet that they aren't.

Frankly the ground shooting of feral cats in Australia it is not much better than the Chinese eating cat meat. The person shooting has to establish the cat is not someones domestic cat before blasting it. How the hell can you do that from a vehicle at night and from a distance? Come on Aussies. The rules also state that the shooters should not kill lactating females as the kittens will starve to death. How the hell are you blood thirsty guys with rifles going to find that out? Are you going to go up to the cat and inspect her first?

For effective ground shooting of feral cats in Australia, the preferred shots are the head shot and chest shot and instructions are given in some detail as to do this effectively. Even the type of gun is recommended, namely
"small bore, high velocity, centre fire rifles fitted with a telescopic sight are preferred eg. .22-250, .22 Hornet, .222 Remington, .223 or .243 Winchester. Hollow-point or soft-nosed ammunition should always be used".
I could go on. Is Australia the only country that officially endorses killing of what was once a domestic cat with a firearm. It happens in places like Croatia and Romania. So, this seems to put the Australians on a similar footing to those countries.

I presume by the way that the alternative to ground shooting of feral cats is shooting from the air. That will, no doubt be next, with a machine gun, I expect.

It isn't just about feral cats. Feral pigs, wild dogs, rabbits and foxes etc. are shot, poisoned, trapped and gassed in the most cruel and inhumane way in Australia.

Tuesday 23 December 2008

Viverral Cat

The Viverral cat is very rare and there is not much information on this cat breed, so this is a short post. Another rare cat breed that has a very similar parentage is the Bagral cat or Machbagral cat. Both are wildcat/domestic cat hybrids.

The Machagral is a Fishing cat crossed with a black tabby cat (faint tabby markings). The Viverral cat is also a Fishing cat hybrid, but this time crossed with an F1 -- F3 Bengal cat.

This cat breed is accepted by the Rare and Exotic Feline Registry and were first bred in 1995. The Fishing Cat is a typical looking small wildcat, stocky, muscular and what cat fanciers might call "unrefined". 

So, the Viverral is bound to be muscular and have, what cat breeders might call, a substantial body type (see body types).

Asian Fishing Cat
Asian Fishing Cat - the wildcat half of the Viverral cat - photo by The Brit_2

This Viverral has a wide nose, smallish head (like the Bengal), strong muzzle, small ears relative the head size, and a thick medium length tail. The coat is spotted.

The name comes from the Latin name of the Asian Fishing Cat, namely: Felis viverrina.

I'll add some more info. Sarah Hartwell, a friend and colleague of mine, states that this breed when it was created or soon thereafter was an experimental breed. It is a cross between the Asian Fishing Cat and early generation Bengal cats.

The first hybrids were created in 1995. They became a "genetically stable breed" in 2001. The breed resembles the Fishing Cat. Their temperament is of courses one of a domestic cat but with some wildcat DNA

They are large, solid and muscular. They are prominent whisker pads and a wide nose. The profile is described as slightly convex. The coat is short and plush.

The coat pattern in spots in black, brown or tan. And they have white spectacles around the eyes.

From Viverral Cat to Domestic Cat Breeds (a list of rare cat breeds)

Sunday 21 December 2008

Homemade Cat Food.

home made cat food
Hey...what do you call that? - Photo by Nimir-Ra

Learn how to make homemade cat food here. There is, though, no single formula. People (including the experts) have slightly differing opinions. Personally, I have gradually been drifting towards making it for some time now (some people spell this "home made" by the way). This gradual change of opinion comes about because of researching, looking at, and thinking about regular cat food. Regular cat food, the kind we buy in the supermarket in the UK is not that good; some is downright bad, to be honest (and compared to the USA it is not that cheap either). And to be fair the top end products are quite good but expensive. There is not much grain free cat food about. And an exclusively dry cat food recipe is arguably not wise. What's ash in we cat food? It just doesn't instill confidence.

In the United States, where there is a far wider range of foods either for people or companion animals, it seems that one can find good quality cat food in a tin at a reasonable price. That said, homemade cat food, despite the effort required to make it, is probably cheaper and more in line with what a wildcat would consume when feeding on prey.

Warning: Unless we know what we are doing it can be risky making our own food as it is difficult to ensure the food is balanced. There are reports of malnutrition in cats caused by pet keepers making their own food. These are guidelines but please go cautiously.

Update: I have duplicated and significantly expanded on this article at: Raw Food Diet

The problem is making certain that we do it right. We need to make sure our cat gets the right supplements including taurine. This makes us nervous about trying. It does for me anyway. There are more reports of cats getting ill eating homemade cat food than cheap junk commercial cat food. Where to get decent information about it? Well, I think that the best place is cat breeders. Many cat breeders have a very good handle on at least two things: medical treatment of cats in their charge and homemade cat food. Not all feed their cats with homemade cat food, however. Some provide a variety of homemade and bought in food, for example. But many do have extensive "front line", at the sharp end, experience of feeding cats with food prepared from scratch and are able therefore to monitor the effects and refine and perfect. It's the best experience you can get.

These are Bengal Cat breeders. They are based in the United States. The same or similar rules apply to the UK or any country, of course. In the UK prices are higher but the supplements can be bought in the UK. However, I am not sure Kitty Bloom is available in the UK. Mixing one's own supplements would have to do, or get Kitty Bloom shipped from the USA.

So I obtained my information from purebred cat breeders and some recommended website as well. The underlying modus operandi is meat (protein) in the form of chicken (usually), to which is added a range of supplements.

It would seem that chicken is the usual meat content in cat food recipes. No doubt this is because of price and its suitability for a cat that must eat meat (flesh to use a non-human term). However, Mark Pennington of Mystre Bengals (located in Houston, Texas, tel 281-538-9590) uses a sophisticated blend of chicken, organ meats and beef. It is a recipe that has proved successful for many years.

The video above is not from me and covers some tips about the hazards and expense of homemade food for cats. Vets in America are generally against homemade cat food. The reasons are genuine and should be observed but are the vets in the pockets of the big pet food manufacturers? Are they promoting pet food because the manufacturers are frigthened that their lucrative market is in jeopardy. Cat owners are increasingly dissatisfied with commercially made cat food......Now back to Mark's recipe:-

Homemade cat food - raw recipe:

Mark uses the following ratio when making raw:

» 2/3 of the total mix should be chicken, bones and all (uncooked)

» Of the 2/3 chicken, 1/3 of that should be organ meats such as chicken livers and chicken gizzards.hearts

» 1/3 of the mix should be beef, Mark uses beef stew meat from Wal-Mart

» (actual amounts /weight of each is up to you depending on how much you want to make, Mark uses 10 whole chickens, and about 6lbs of the stew meat and that makes about 8-10 gallons of mix and feeds all our cats for about 3 months)

» 2 small containers of plain yogurt, non flavored

» 2-4 jars of squash baby food

» 1 can of 100% pure pumpkin

» Kitty Bloom – Mark adds about ¼ tsp per serving (Kitty Bloom is a complete supplement containing 16 Vitamins, 10 Minerals and taurine, a proven essential ingredient in the feline diet - see more about supplements below). Mark figures he can get about 6-8 servings out of each bag of raw we make so depending on how much you make add that much to total mix, or in each bag and mix up in there, or you can add to food daily. I've mentioned taurine above. Taurine is an essential amino acid for cats. Some breeders think Bengal cats need more than other cats. This spreadsheet sets recommended dosages but remember please the jury is out on amounts.

In the USA, Kitty Bloom can be ordered it from: I am not sure if they ship internationally.

» You can find a local retailer for Chicken Soup for the Kitten Lovers Soul here:

The grinder Mark uses is found here:


Here is another homemade cat food recipe from Jim:

Jim uses chicken necks (or thighs from Wal-Mart in the USA) or thighs if making up a smaller quantity as the central ingredient in his homemade cat food.

He grinds up a tub of meat...probably between 10 and 15 pounds (the cheap grinder mentioned above is recommended in the USA, currently costing less than $100). He dumps in 4 taurine capsules, 4 L-lysine capsules, some beneficial bacteria (either 4 capsules, or around a half ounce of the bulk powder). He grinds up 4 calcium tablets (usually he gets the powder in bulk) and he adds around a cup and a half of dry oatmeal and 4-6 ounces of tomato juice. He mixes this well.

He actually grinds and mix around 200 pounds at a time using plastic tubs (also from Wal-Mart) and cover the meat directly with Saran Wrap and put the top on the tub, and freeze it. For two cats you would probably freeze in one pound baggies...maybe a pound and a half; enough for a feeding, anyhow, he says.

Thanks Jim

Maryll uses homemade cat food recipes from the websites below, grinding her cats' food as they like it that way. The other way, I presume is what she calls the "prey model", replicating cat prey, which is in a whole or more or less a whole state:



Maryll also offers dry Chicken Soup for Cat Lovers to her cats This seems to be high quality dog or cat food manufactured in the USA. The USA is well known for the variety, quality and quantity of its food products. She recommends the grinder referred to above.

Maryll buys human grade supplements, like Salmon oil, dry Vitamin E, probiotics, B-Complex, powdered taurine and L-Lysine (much easier to deal with than capsules), from

» L-Lysine is a necessary building block for all protein in the body. L-Lysine plays a major role in calcium absorption; building muscle protein; recovering from surgery or sports injuries; and the body's production of hormones, enzymes, and antibodies (src: Wikipedia verbatim under license, see below)

» Taurine is an essential amino acid. Read about Bengal cats and Taurine. "I use Taurine Powder from Now Foods, which is a human-grade supplement for my cat. It is completely tasteless." and " Kitty bloom has Taurine in it and they like that. I mix it into their wet food completely." (quoted breeders)

» Probiotics are dietary supplements and live microorganisms containing potentially beneficial bacteria or yeasts. According to the currently adopted definition by FAO/WHO, probiotics are: ‘Live microorganisms which when administered in adequate amounts confer a health benefit on the host’.(src: Wikipedia verbatim under license, see below). This is why Mark above adds plain yogurt to his recipe.

» B-Complex is: Vitamin B1 (thiamine), Vitamin B2 (riboflavin), Vitamin B3 (niacin, includes nicotinic acid and nicotinamide), Vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid), Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine, pyridoxal, and pyridoxamine), Vitamin B7 (biotin), also known as vitamin H, Vitamin B9 (folic acid), also, vitamin M, Vitamin B12 (various cobalamins; commonly cyanocobalamin in vitamin supplements) .(src: Wikipedia verbatim under license, see below)

» Salmon Oil is added to strengthen immune systems. I also is claimed to increase fertility and reduces the risk of heart disease. (src: Active Pet Feeds)

A Yahoo Group that seems to be active is called CatNutrition.

Other recommended sources of supplements for homemade cat food are:

Taurine and Calcium from Kirkman Labs (thanks to Jean Danforth). A good all in one vitamin supplement recommended is

Thanks Canie


Update 2-Jan-08: Homemade Cat Food - Here is another recipe and links:

Add powder (Instincts) to the raw meat mixture:

Also, daily add salmon oil (keep refrigerated and add fresh daily to one
feeding of meat):


4 cups Instincts powder
10 cups water

Mix the above


10 pounds turkey thighs (skinless and boneless)
6 pounds beef bottom round
2 pounds beef liver
4 tins sardines (water packed and add the liquid)

Mix in the Instincts powder.

Put it into freezer bags or Ziploc freezer containers and take them
out when needed.

It's important to buy a professional quality meat grinder that way you will
save on grinding time. We purchased ours from a Fish & Tackle supply store (USA).

Twice weekly add egg yolks to a morning feeding (no whites).

This recipe gives cats perfect poops, no diarrhea, and on the raw there is
much less stool because so much of the food is utilized. Notice at
least twice as much urine though which is a good thing.

This is from Mara of Dazzledots Bengals -- thanks Mara. I hope you don't mind me publishing your great recipe here. I have provided a link in return. If you want anything else just ask.

Here's another USA recipe for homemade cat food - original source unknown:

To make one batch:

4 cups Instincts powder; mix in 10 cups water. (Let it stand to thicken while grinding the meat.)

Using the middle plate (not ultra-fine, not coarse) grind:

10 pounds turkey thighs, skinless and boneless
6 pounds beef bottom round, no fat
2 pounds raw beef liver
4 tins water-packed sardines

Add the powder/water mixture and mix well.

Place into individual Ziploc containers or bags and freeze for 2 weeks.

We take out the raw food to thaw, as needed. Before feeding, we heat the thawed meat in the microwave until it's slightly warm. We leave the food down for a maximum of 15 minutes. What is left can be refrigerated and used for the next feeding, but discard if there are leftovers from the second feeding of the same meat."

Makes about 50 cups.

Click on this link to see the Wikipedia® License src: Wikipedia® published under GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2 or any later version, November 2002 Copyright (C) 2000,2001,2002 Free Software Foundation, Inc. 51 Franklin St, Fifth Floor, Boston, MA 02110-1301 USA - - no other conditions to the license are added.

Comments adding to this would be great......

Ussuri Cat

The Ussuri cat is described as "experimental". I have taken an almost desperate measure in reproducing the adjacent photograph without the author's permission. I have provided a link, however. It came from this web page: NUTRO.RU There is no substitute for a photograph. Although I do not know how representative of the breed this cat is. If the author wants me to remove the photo, I will, of course.

This rare cat breed is listed on a website of wild cat hybrid cat breeds. It is listed under "Rare and Experimental"on that site. That implies that this cat breed is being deliberately bred. This seems to be the case. It also implies that the breed may have some sort of recognition with a cat registry somewhere. The Ussuri cat is not registered with the Rare and Exotic Feline Registry and they deal with all manner of rare cat breeds. I list this cat breed on my page on Wildcat hybrids.

Anyway, this cat breed is meant to be a naturally occurring wildcat/domestic cat hybrid. Sometimes wildcats do mate with domestic cats. Two good examples are the Scottish wildcat and the American Bobtail. There is a fear that the purity of the Scottish Wildcat genes are being eroded by interbreeding with domestic cats (see another posting on the Scottish Wildcat). As to the Bobcat there are documented examples of matings with domestic cats, without, it seems, the interference of mankind (see American Bobcat Hybrids). Both these wildcats are small and of a similar size to the domestic cat. They are large domestic cats in appearance. The Amur Leopard Cat would seem to be of a similar size.

The Savannah cat, a man made wildcat hybrid of a mating between the Serval and a domestic cat is hard to breed. That is why, in part, they are so expensive. The Serval is a relatively small wildcat, quite a lot bigger than the Scottish Wildcat and far more rangy in conformation.

By contrast the Ussuri cat is meant to be a domestic Cat / Amur Asian Leopard Cat (Prionailurus bengalensis euptilura) hybrid (source: hybrid cat breeds website). Or, the Wikipedia author says it could be a hybrid of small wildcats called "Amur Forest Cats". I don't think Amur Forest Cats exist but I am prepared to be corrected. Perhaps it is just another name for the Amur Leopard Cat. The Amur Leopard Cat is not of course the same cat as the much larger Amur Leopard. Both the Amur Leopard and the smaller Amur Leopard cat are extremely rare and critically endangered, which would make matings with domestic cats all the rarer. Here is a picture of the Amur Leopard Cat at the Inokashira Zoo, Tokyo, Japan:

Amur Leopard Cat
Amur Leopard Cat - photo by kumachii - although there is no photograph of the Ussuri this small wildcat provides a strong clue as to the appearance as this cat is domestic tabby cat in appearance.

If the Ussuri cat still exists these are the main features (there are no pictures -- another reason to believe that this cat might not exist currently):

-- muscular but not massive

-- medium length legs

-- tail is ringed with a rounded dark tip

-- coat color and pattern is: merged spots, stripes, rings or spots and lines on forehead and cheeks, a line down the spine (dorsal stripe) on a gold/fawn background

-- bronze necklaces on chest and neck

-- lines on legs

-- lynx ears

For a skeptical person like myself this is describing a generic small wildcat.

Ussuri Cat to Domestic Cat

Photograph published under:

Saturday 20 December 2008

Pet Care Costs

cat rescued
Cat Rescue - a different type of cat rescue - photo by -murilo-

Pet Care Costs are causing people to abandon their pets in the recession. Some people consider cats a luxury. It seems to be a basic case of survival for humans if they are giving up their cat or dog. But is it? It might be a case of using the recession and financially difficult times as an excuse to abandon a cat or dog. After all when we choose to adopt a cat we should always ask ourselves if we can do it for the life of the animal, no matter what. In the West it is highly unusual if a person is so destitute that he/she cannot look after a cat, dog or other companion animal.

Sometimes people will keep the car and get rid of the cat. Often the poorest have the most pets. I am not sure therefore if the recession is truly having an impact but some rescue centers are filling up to capacity. To compound the problem the centers are getting less money in charitable donations. This is a potentially grave situation for abandoned cats and dogs.

Anyway, is there anyway to keep pet care costs down? The biggest cost is probably food. Yet, you know, cat food, for example, is actually cheap. The quality is certainly, in general, not good. You could argue that cat food is too cheap as it encourages irresponsible people to keep cats.

Anyway, dry cat food is cheaper than wet. Although there are strong arguments that a pure dry food diet is not good (see cat food recipe or click on the cat food label on this site), it is better to feed a cheaper and poorer diet than give up your cat to a shelter as there is a very high chance that your cat will be euthanized. This is more so today than before as not only are more people giving up pets less people are adopting pets. Pure practicalities dictate that rescue center cats are euthanized. 10 million cats and dogs are euthanized each year in the Unites States alone.

Dry cat food is one answer (with plenty of water). Litter is an expense. Good litter management can minimise cost. Buying large bags is cheaper and scooping out the used portion with care and replacing with new may reduce costs if the usual practice is to use a tray and replace the entire tray. In theory, at least, there is no reason why our cats cannot go to the toilet in a prepared area in the garden. This needs to be supervised to a degree and managed as a lot of cats in the States are indoor cats. But a well managed outdoor litter using what is free, earth, will suffice.

Relative luxuries such as toys and scratching posts can be made up by hand. There is no need to buy these. Substantial savings can be made with a different mind set. Far better this way, keeping pet cat costs down to a minimum (perhaps the harder way for us) than the easier route (for some) of giving up our cat.

Update 22nd December

The cost of keeping a cat for the lifetime of a cat (say 14 years) can be near £10,000 (GBP).

Cat food over that period can amount to over £3,000. If you take out insurance the cost can be over £1,000 for the lifetime. Litter will add about £2,000, cattery charges about £1,200, vet's fees about £1,300 and equipment and toys etc a further £100.

Some of these costs can be managed however. In addition to the above, I do not think that insurance for vet's bills is money well spent. After all you are paying another business in addition to the veterinarian. What I mean is two businesses have to come out with a profit, the insurance company (and they makes lots, it's like printing money) and the veterinarian. It is all about risk. I made a post on this: Insurance for Cat Health Problems. Insurance is widely promoted especially by those on a commission. Some say it is cheaper to take out insurance. It might be and it might not be.

Pet Care Costs to Home Page

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Thursday 18 December 2008

Ragdoll Cats Can Inherit Mucopolysaccharidosis MPS1 (Lysosomal Storage Disease)

Ragdoll Cats can inherit Mucopolysaccharidosis MPS1 (Lysosomal Storage Disease) and the other variety of this disease: Mucopolysaccharidosis MPSM (Lysosomal Storage Disease). It may also affect Maine Coon Cats to a lesser degree. I simply passing on what I see on the internet. Each individual person, breeder or owner, will obviously check themselves and do what they think is right to investigate further.

OK, what happened and what is the disease? At the moment there is nothing that I can find out about how this happened or which breeding lines are involved. There seems to be an Australian connection (a breeder or breeders there may have cats that are passing this defective gene on). The gene is autosomal recessive as far as I am aware.

It would seem (but to be confirmed) that the older Ragdoll lines from the UK and Australia are OK. USA imported Ragdolls into Australia may be at risk as are Ragdoll cats that have been bred from outcrosses other than domestics. I presume this to mean outcrosses to other approved purebred cats.

Testing can be done under the auspices of the CFA associated DNA testing service, VeriSNP™ Universal Genetic Evaluation. As I understand it people send in a sample such as a hair or a cheek swab and the test is carried out on it.

It would seem that the people who run the testing program are DNA Diagnostics, Inc and Texas A&M University Animal Genetics Laboratory(TAES) - but please confirm. It would also seem that they have a website: CatGenes which spells things out some more. See this page for example: However, they describe the two diseases (MPSM and MPS1)in exactly the same way. That seems strange to me.

Ok that's about all I know on the subject of Ragdoll Cats can Inherit Mucopolysaccharidosis MPS1 (Lysosomal Storage Disease) for the time being...more to come or perhaps someone can add a useful comment and if so thanks in advance.

Click: Genetic Diseases in Purebred Cats for more on the subject of genetic diseases generally.

Cat Clicker Training

Cat clicker training may be the only way to keep your highly active Bengal cat off your computer key board - if you really want that to happen.

Clicker training is normally associated with dogs but can be used for cats. The big issue with cat training is do we want to bother? Do we have the time and energy? This might sound a bit negative but I sense it is a fair question.

If the answer is yes then proper cat clicker training will prove effective. However, some conventional ways to keep Mr. Bengal cat of the computer might be a to put something that cats don't like (in terms of smell) next to the computer. This might be a bowl of oranges or hot pepper flakes perhaps. Maybe suck-and-see testing is required. Another possible alternative is a product called a Scat Mat. They release a static charge when touched. They're about $70 (USA) or £45 (UK). A computer is probably attractive because it is where we are or have been and it is warm. If the attractiveness is neutralized it may put our cat off going near the computer.

Cat clicker training is the real deal though. This is not guesswork but real control using action reward. The clicker seems to act as a reinforcer and marker for the reward element of the training process. The underlying methodology is positive reinforcement. The same process occurs when a dolphin is trained using a whistle, for example. Your cat is "empowered" by finding a way to make you click and then receive a reward. Once cats figure out how the game is played, they may prefer the "game" over the reward. Click-and-treat training is a means of non-verbal communication, which can be followed by voice cues later.

Clickers are cheap and readily available on the internet. Try googling, "training clicker".

Here is a good video on cat clicker training:

Yes, it might take a bit of time but a result would seem to almost certain.

Cat Clicker Training to Home page

Wednesday 17 December 2008

Three Types of Cat People

There are three types of cat people. The first is those that care for animals and cats. These are people who are sensitive to the feelings of cats and lets remind ourselves that cats have emotions. These people pick up the mess caused by the people who are insensitive to the emotions, welfare (call it what you like) of cats and all animals. These people are irresponsible and self centred and have an outdated, outmoded and limited perception of life and the suffering, feelings of other living creatures including cats. Then there are the ones in the grey area in between. In terms of animal and cat welfare, the ones in between are almost as bad as the worst group because they are passive, inactive and apathetic to the plight of many animals.

Some people in the first group don't set out to help cats but the task is thrust upon them. One such person is Melinda Beit of New London County, Connecticut, USA. She traps, neuters and releases feral cats. She feeds feral cats. She cares for feral cats in her area. Someone has to. She didn't plan to do. It just happened. She couldn't turn her back on it. She has a heart and she picks up the pieces of irresponsible people in the other two categories mentioned above.

She says this, "Spay a cat and save a hundred from a lifetime of misery and certain death."

There are three types of cat people and Melinda is in the good group, the very good group.

Tortoiseshell Cats

tortoiseshell Persian cat Princess
Tortoiseshell cats - Tortie Ultra (Contemporary) Persian Cat
She is called "Princess". Photograph is copyright Helmi Flick
- please respect copyright. 

Torties have a very distinct appearance. It is an impressive appearance, an almost chaotic appearance and a strange one. Sometimes the change in fur color dissects the nose as with the cat below right (this is a Flickr photograph published under a creative commons license - Attribution-Non-Commercial-Share Alike 2.0 Generic - it is by kangster).

This is called a "blaze" by cat breeders as I understand it. The lighter color on the nose of this cat is caused by the pigment called phaeomelanin (red/yellow pigment). It is an appearance that I personally like very much. But do we see this cat coat at cat shows and on show cats? We do, but not as commonly, in my opinion, as many other types of coat.

All the photos and on this page are protected by copyright © including the photos in the video. Violations of copyright are reported to (DMCA).

tortoiseshell cat face
Black tortie with blaze on nose

For example, the Persian above was photographed by Helmi at a cat show. Tortoiseshell can also be seen as black tortoiseshell, chocolate tortoisehell, blue tortoisehell and seal tortoiseshell. And, of course, you've got tortoiseshell and white. Then you've got the pointed cats with tortoiseshell pointing. In other words these are pointed cats such as the Himalayan (a long haired Persian) with the pointing made up of tortoiseshell hair coloration. We shouldn't forget the torbies.

What are torbies? These are a mix of tabby and tortoiseshell. And there are cats too, that only have torbie pointing or cats that are torbie and white. And you've got the dilute torbies and silver torbies - I could go on; the range is almost endless and very involved. In fact, it gets really complicated. And I haven't mentioned all the combinations. As I can't show them all, I'll stick to some prime examples and an explanation as to what happens to make the fur tortoiseshell in appearance. First here is another good old plain tortoiseshell color on a fine Maine Coon cat - a great looker - the Maine Coons nearly always are:

Tortoiseshell Maine Coon cat
Tortoiseshell Maine Coon Cat "Madison". Photograph is strictly copyright Helmi Flick. Please respect copyright.

So what is happening at a genetic level? There are two types of color pigmentation in individual hairs, eumelanin (black/brown) and phaeomelanin (red/yellow pigment). Domestic cats are either red because the pigment phaeomelanin is present or not if eumelanin is present. Tortoiseshell cats have a pattern of both pigments which are dispersed throughout the entirety of the individual hairs (i.e. this is a solid colored cat as opposed to a tabby cat, where the hairs have a banding of color within them). In other words torties are non-agouti cats. A lot of us know that tortoiseshell cats are always female, with rare exceptions. Why is this? Females have two X chromosomes. If a particular female cat is destined to be a tortie she will have received from her parents an X (Eumelanin) chromosome from one parent and an X chromosome (phaeomelanin) from the other. Each cell can have one X Chromosome activated. A factor in the creation of the tortoiseshell coat is controlled by X Chromosome Inactivation. This process only takes place where there are two X Chromosomes; hence only females are tortoiseshell cats. As the cells divide and multiply patches of the two different types of pigment are created.

The video shows the cats you see here plus more and some strange music - I chose it! The music complies with copyright law and I like it. Here are some examples of tortoiseshell cats:

Black tortoiseshell and white Persian cat
Black Tortoiseshell and White Persian cat -- photo copyright Helmi Flick

Black tortoiseshell cat
Black Tortoiseshell cat - this is a household pet or non-purebred cat but still a show cat - the photograph is copyright Helmi Flick. Please respect Helmi Flick's copyright of all her photographs.

Blue torbie point Persian cat
Blue Torbie Point Persian cat -- photo copyright Helmi Flick

Tortoiseshell and white domestic cat
Tortoiseshell and White domestic cat (called household pets in the cat fancy) -- photo copyright Helmi Flick

Tortoiseshell cats to Home Page

See the following alternative cat coat colors and patterns:

Cat coats tabby

Cat coats tabby and white

Cat coats color dilution

Cat coats white

Cat coats solid and white

Black cats

The tortoiseshell cats above are well loved, cared for and frankly pretty glamorous. Now lets briefly look at the other side of the coin. There is another report of a tortie cat being shot with an air gun. It happened in Herne Avenue, Herne Bay, England. This is on the coast in the south of England. An 18 month old tortie cat was shot in the spine with an air rifle (or hand gun). The pellet lodged in the spine. This cat will be lucky to survive. Apparently such cruelty tends to take place more in the school holidays indicating that it is school boys that are the culprits. Ultimately it is the parents who are to blame.

This is a criminal act punishable by a maximum of 51 weeks in prison and/or a £20,000 fine under the Animal Welfare Act 2006. The chance of the person being caught is minimal. The police in the UK just don't give a damn about this sort of crime.

Cats are being Dumped

Because of the economic crisis, more cats are being dumped. The law treats cats as chattels (objects). The law is outdated, old fashioned or so I thought. The law is not outdated, now I know. Some people treat cats as chattels. 

Photo in public domain. Words added.

There are reports on the internet and in the papers of rescue centres being fuller than ever of rescued, dumped or abandoned cats. It doesn't matter how one describes these animals. They have no human companion and they are meant to be domestic cats. These cats shouldn't be born. How do I know?

Because all we can do, nearly all the time, is destroy them, put them in a freezer and then what? Where do they go after that? I don't know.

Sometimes the bodies are used commercially, in my view. And that just compounds the wrong. We allow cats to breed when we shouldn't. And we then kill them and use the carcass. 

Man, it makes some of us sick. Here are some cat rescue centres reporting higher numbers and more euthanising: 
  • Shenton Park Cat Haven - Perth, Australia;
  • Battersea Dogs Home (they also rescue cats) - London, England;
  • The Auckland (New Zealand) SPCA has recorded a 25-year high in the number of animals dumped.
I could list lots more. Cats are being dumped because people don't ask themselves if they are able to care for a cat for the life of the cat. If they can't answer in the affirmative the cat should not be adopted.

Human Nature to Breed Extreme Looking Cats and Dogs

It is human nature to breed extreme looking cats and dogs. What do I mean? Well, the BBC has recently decided to stop showing the very popular Crufts Dog Show. This really is a big show here in the UK. The audience is very large and the BBC have taken a very brave and correct stance on this. And it isn't just me who agrees with the BBC. A poll run by the Los Angeles Times indicates that 65% of the readers agree with the BBC.

The Kennel Club supported overbreeding of dogs for decades and are now backtracking, having been forced to change their stance by supporting breeding for health and not simply appearance at the expense of health.

Their earlier position in supporting extreme breeding of certain dog breeds for so long indicates that it is human nature to breed extreme looking cats and dogs. It happens a lot more in the dog world than the cat world, it seems to me. But why does it happen at all? Breeders profess to care for their animals. They are tender towards their animals or so it seems. Yet some people breed animals that carry genetic diseases as a result of their breeding programs. In the cat fancy cat breeds such as the Ultra (flat faced) Persian and Modern (rat faced) Siamese are two examples of extreme breeding.

It is all about self-interest. All people operate on the basis of self-interest. We do what is best for us or what we think is best for us. That is why the world is so disjointed. Yet, sometimes doing what is best for the community is ultimately best for the individual. That is common sense. The problem is this. People are not prepared to wait for the longer term benefits that come our way when we do what is best for the community and in any event someone will buck the system, abuse the system and that forces people to act solely in self interest.

In the cat fancy working towards self interest only and not in the general interest of the cat fancy (on a long term basis) translates to breeding a cat that is more outstanding, that wins prizes. The judges at cat shows have awarded prizes to the most outstanding cats in terms of appearance. They have never asked for medical records or pronounced to those viewing that the cat has a wonderful character and is in fine health with no genetic diseases (note: a cat's character in terms of aggression is noted but finer points of character are not it seems). That is relatively uninteresting to the public. We can't see the character of the cat and we can't see the whether the cat is carrying defective genes. These are more subtle factors. These are long term issues.

People are more inclined to seek instant satisfaction when serving self-interest. It needs to be immediate. The more immediate the better as that serves self-interest better.

The cat associations (as the Kennel Club should have done many years ago) should focus more on long term benefits. This means supporting the underlying and less glamorous elements of cat breeding and the more difficult issues, namely genetic diseases, breeding for health and focusing on character. Could there be a character test at a cat show? Could the associations exclude any cat that didn't pass certain medical tests?

The associations should also be less anally retentive. I'm thinking more of the CFA here. They need to think wider and see the bigger issues. The issues about abandoned cats and destroyed cats. The associations are linked to these more fundamental issues. They are too insular. Yes, it is is human nature to breed extreme looking cats and dogs for the wrong reasons. Controlling this urge will bring big long term rewards.

Human Nature to Breed Extreme Looking Cats and Dogs to Genetic Diseases in Purebred Cats

Tuesday 16 December 2008

China Animal Welfare

Cat in China sleeping
Sleeping cat in China -- what are the prospects for this cat? -- Photo by : f o r r e s t :

Is China Animal Welfare on the up and up? It's got a long way to go, so it should be. I was surprised and delighted to read that an International Fund for Animal Welfare (Ifaw) poll indicated that 90% of people in China, South Korea and Vietnam are concerned about animal welfare; specifically "we have a moral duty to minimise suffering."

The percentage of people in Britain who have the same sentiments is 91% and we are considered to be a nation of animal lovers. So the vast majority of Chinese people are essentially animal lovers, according to this poll.

The Chinese government is yet to enact animal welfare laws in respect of domestic animals. There are wildlife protection laws but I am not sure how effectively they are enforced. I hope against hope that China will enact and enforce animal welfare laws asap. And get rid of the horrible habit in some southern areas of half killing and eating domestic cats and dogs.

Perhaps the point is this. There are over a billion Chinese. So, if 10% of the population are not concerned with animal welfare then over 100 million people are not concerned about animal suffering. That is almost one and a half times the population of the UK. There are then a large number of people who don't care about animal suffering and who are prepared to make them suffer in the name of commerce; the fur trade being one notorious example.

I am pleased, as are all decent people who care about animals, about the results of the poll, but this survey is not that helpful, in my opinion. What percentage of the government of China care about animals? What percentage of the police, who are going to have to enforce the laws care about animals? Will the government, when they finally enact laws, set up a special enforcement agency? In the UK we have the RSPCA (Royal Society for the Protection of Animals).

The real issues are about the will of the government and the large numbers (not percentages) of people who don't care. There is also the very entrenched habits of this 10% of people of China who don't care about cat and animal welfare. These will take more than one generation to eradicate. I am glad that the subject of China animal welfare is being discussed but realism needs to be in mind.

In Vietnam the animal welfare legislation is minimal and in Korea non-existent.

My particular area of concern is cats. Their protection falls under all animal welfare laws, of course. See more on world laws in relation to cats, animals and wild animals:

China Animal Welfare Downing Street Petition

Cats and Law

China Cat Animal Welfare Protection

China Animal Welfare to Home Page

Taking in a Stray Cat

stray cat
Stray cat - photo copyright MAR

Taking in a stray cat can bring all sorts of problems even if one is compelled to do it. What else can one do sometimes?

I don't know what it is, but stray cats seem to find their way to my home. They just turn up, very furtively. They slink in, look around and head for the food. So, what do I do? I let 'em eat it. Then what happens?

Before long I have turned my home into a cat's version of a soup kitchen for down and outs. And then not long after that you've got the question as to whether they can start living with you because that point will certainly arrive.

Timmy is one such case. He is an unneutered boy. Well he looks unneutered. He has jowls (chunky cheeks). He also has a mighty appetite. He'll eat four to five portions at one sitting. This is more, lots more, than my girlfriend eats at one sitting and about the same as I eat, perhaps a bit less. He actually eats more, generally, than my girlfriend! His stomach bulges and he then sleeps - what else?

He now comes in at night and sleeps on my bed, on the little cat cushion I bought for my cat, Binnie. How does she feel about this? She lost her cushion for part of the night. She is a most tolerant cat but I do not want to abuse that tolerance. He was here on the bed last night, stretched out snoring blocking my legs and waiting patiently for me to get up and, yes, feed him some more. Yes, taking in a stray cat creates new responsibilities.

In order to put a brake on cost, I now feed him dry cat food a little more. This also allows him to graze when he comes in at night. But dry cat food alone is not, in my view, good enough. It should be varied with wet and some raw or perhaps well chosen human food. But this costs and, yep, another stray has just arrived.

This time it is a most delightful all black, fine and densely coated, little girl cat with a pixie face. I call her Pippa or Pip for short. She is very sweet and nervous. She slides in unnoticed, eats quickly and clears off as fast. But I love her so I have got to talking with her (you know how it is) and she seems to be starved of TLC. She responds well to a stroke and some care.

Where is that going to lead to? More trouble in a way. More cost certainly but she likes biscuits, which helps. One problem is my girl cat, Binnie. She is upset about Pippa and I don't blame her. She hissed at Pip the other day. She doesn't hiss at Timmy, she just trills at him. There is a kind of natural hierarchy forming here.

Taking in a Stray Cat is good and bad. There are complications. There shouldn't be stray cats. I think I know who Pippa lives with so I will have to deal with that person. The trouble is I have already had dealings with this person and the conversation didn't go too well....

Taking in a Stray Cat to Dry cat Food

Monday 15 December 2008 Diary

This is an entry in the Diary. I thought I'd start to diarise the building and maintenance of the website. For all budding website builders this might have some value.

I've been building for about 18 months now. I work on the site each day and try and build at least one page a day. With the Blogger site I can build more quickly so it works about at nearer 2-3 sometimes. Some of the major pages can take several days to build.

What is the overriding sentiment that I have after working on the website for 18 months? This is it: it is hard, very hard to increase the number of visitors. The site is doing well. It get more traffic (per Alexa) than the Cat Fanciers Association website, for example. It gets more than, for example. There are a few (perhaps 2 or 3) cat websites that get more traffic in the world, yet I would like more and this is proving a challenge.

At a certain point attracting more traffic gets harder. You get a fairly steep curve and then it plateaus out. The most important personal characteristic in website building is persistence, no doubt about it.

The current Alexa ranking is about 110K. The current page views are hard to calc. but according to SBI it is somewhere in the order of 3-400,000 per month. It may be a lot more as SBI doesn't measure this Blogger site for page views. SBI tells me I get about 4,000 unique visitors per day to the main website to which I could perhaps add 1-2,000 for the Blogger site.

I am currently working on a page about cat head shape, having just finished a page on cat body types. These are, in a way, specialist areas about the workings of cat fancy people, people who are involved in showing top quality purebred but still of interest to those of us who like cats.

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