Thursday 29 January 2009

Cat Who Is Jealous Of Cats

People believe that a cat who is jealous of cats that he/she/it lives with may attack them or fight with them. Some people believe that a cat can become jealous of a cat that is perhaps favored by a human. It is hard to tell if this is real jealousy or just part of the peeking order.

I think it has been established that cats feel emotions. Vets refer to depressed cats, for example. And cats can look depressed or happy (this is subtly indicated in facial expression and demeanor). These are basic emotions but jealousy is a high grade emotion that has not yet been established to happen with cats. That is not to say it doesn't happen.

When cat keepers say, "My cat is jealous, she chases the boy cat all over the place", they probably mean she is the alpha cat asserting dominance. But cats are not pack animals (as dogs are) so this is not long term behavior necessarily. A cat may hiss and chase another cat in the same household but this may happen initially when a new cat is intoduced but will probably fade in time when the "family" becomes more settled. I have seen this happen a lot.

My thoughts, for what they are worth, are that cats don't get jealous but do react instinctively on a survival basis (first in pecking order), which can result in aggression. Also some cats are more defensive or aggressive than others either due to poor socialization as a kitten (nurture) or inherited (nature). A cat who is jealous of cats or looks like it, is possibly an alpha cat.

Cat Who Is Jealous Of Cats to Cat Facts

Kitten Health

Kitten health is particularly important to both the cat breeder and the buyer (and most importantly to the kitten her/himself and the mother cat). In this post I look at the health of a kitten in relation to what to look for in a healthy kitten.

kitten health
This is Nellie Murmurs, a Ragdoll cat being checked over by vet Willemijn. The cat breeder is Tom Poes. He takes good photographs too - photo by Tom Poes


Nose: cool, damp, no nasal discharge.

Eyes: Bright, no prominent third eyelid, eyes straight ahead (no cross eyes - Siamese predisposed), blue iris and white coated cats can be congenitally deaf (see deaf cat).

Ears: Clean and smell sweet (have a sniff). Watch for dark brown waxy discharge (ear mites but these can be treated successfully).

Stomach: Not swollen (swollen might mean poor nutrition and/or worms).

Skin: Clean skin around anus and vulva. Redness or a discharge may indicate an infection, worms, diarrhea (a symptom of a health problem).

Coat: No mats, clean, fluffy, glossy etc (common sense). No bare areas (indicating possible mange, ringworm - see hair loss in cats. Check for fleas (? -see parasite pictures and cat flea life cycle) - I would. Use a fine flea comb around the neck and base of tail - see any dark granular bits or even a flea?

Overall soundness: An important part of kitten health. No obvious abnormalities in legs shape, toes. Kitten should move normally and show usual athleticism. No odd gaits, stumbles, swaying or uncoordinated movements.

Weight: At 10 weeks about 2 lbs. No signs of being underweight.

Personality: An important part of kitten health (mental health). Kitten should stay with siblings and mother until 8-10 weeks (ask). Well socialized. Not nervous. Observe mother. If she is well balanced kitten should be too (inherited good personality). Kitten seeks attention, is relaxed when picked up and purrs when stroked, plays enthusiastically, recovers quickly from a load startling noise, self confident.

Inherited diseases: For Purebred cats I'd check this out first: Genetic Diseases in Purebred Cats. Some breeds are more predisposed to genetically inherited diseases than others.

Vaccination record: Get one plus a diet sheet.

Contract: For purebred cats. Read this before buying. Comply with it. It may include clause for buyer to spay/neuter. Should include terms for breeder to provide certificates of pedigree and/or these are handed over (check validity?). I wouldn't pay until I had the certificates and that I was satisfied that they were genuine (that is just me probably).

Not quite your standard kitten health check but we can see the basic checks as described here being done, plus a check on the heart (stethoscope). The kitten is an Ocelot (wild cat). These are sometimes tamed as pets (see Ocelot kitten).

Kitten Health - Post buying: Best to follow the diet sheet as a change in diet can be troublesome (humans have similar problems, remember the last holiday you went on!?). Best to groom daily, which also creates a routine and is a great way to please your kitten and bond with her (see grooming your cat). It may also be wise to get her used to having her nails trimmed (with extreme care). I will presume that the kitten will not be declawed, which I consider completely unacceptable and essentially cruel (see Helmi Flick on declawing cats). Routine and daily handling will reinforce bonding and socialization and provide an opportunity to monitor kitten health as described above. Check teeth are growing properly. Litter training starts or continues. Cats should use the litter with little training or encouragement.

Kitten Health to Cat Health Problems

Kitten Health - Photo: published under creative commons license: - note: I took the liberty of neutralising the color. I hope the photographer approves. If not please leave a comment.

Safe way to trim claws.

Dog Like Bengal Cats

Dog Like Bengal Cats is something we hear about. I don't read about Persian cats for example being dog like or an American Shorthair. If you're going to hear about dog like characteristics of purebred cats it is always the wild cat hybrids.

The reason why the wild cat hybrids are sometimes dog like is because they are ostensibly more intelligent and therefore more responsive to training. But are dogs more intelligent than cats. No... so I don't think it is really a question of wild cat hybrids being more intelligent than other cats (and therefore easier to train) but that they are more alert, require more stimulation and therefore more interaction with human companions. This makes them more receptive to being trained or more importantly more receptive to human involvement. Dogs are pack animals and therefore more involved with their human master. The human being the alpha dog. Dog like Bengal cats mimic this behavior to some degree (but lesser degree).

The person in the video has trained his Bengal cat to sit and raise a paw in response to the reward of food. All cats can be trained, however. I suspect that a good moggie would be just as receptive as a Bengal. Other well known wild cat hybrids are Chausie, Savannah, Safari and for a full list see this page: Wild Cat Hybrids.

Dog Like Bengal Cats to Bengal Cats for Sale

Feline Chronic Dehydration

Feline chronic dehydration can be due to prolonged vomiting, prolonged diarrhea. Or during illness it may be due to fever and not drinking enough. Dehydration involves the loss of water and electrolytes, which are minerals (e.g. sodium, potassium etc.).

The skin loses its elasticity. For example, the skin at the back of the neck will not spring back into place but stay where it is, if pulled gently. The gums will not look wet (glisten) but be dry. Treatment is, as expected, rehydration by administering fluids and the prevention of fluid loss. Treatment should be prompt (always advisable in fact).

For mild dehydration simply drinking more will suffice. If the cat won't drink, an electrolyte solution by bottle (baby bottle) or with a syringe can be given (injected gently into the mouth between the cheek pouch and the back teeth).

cat syringe food drink
Kitten being fed wet food by syringe - photo by Tom Poes - the cat is a Ragdoll.

Pedialyte Oral Electrolyte Maintenance Solution, Unflavored, Case of 8 Bottles- each 1 qt (1.8 fl oz) - this is suitable for cats say Dr Carlson and Giffin as a way of treating feline chronic dehydration. It is a liquid manufactured for children. The dosage should be 2-4 mls per lb per hour but a vet's advice is recommended on dosage and treatment.

Feline Chronic Dehydration to Cat Health Problems

Source: Cat Owner's Home Veterinary Handbook - Picture published under creative commons:

Feline Hypothermia Treatment

In the very cold weather there may be a time when feline hypothermia treatment needs to be given at home as an emergency. Prolonged exposure to cold can force a cat's body temperature down to levels that cause illness and worse. Getting wet is the most likely cause. Sometimes I worry about a stray cat that I call Timmy. He comes in for warmth, food and TLC, which he gets but he spends the cold nights outside and he comes in sopping wet sometimes.

Feline Hypothermia can also occur after an operation (after a long anesthetic). The symptoms are listlessness preceded by violent shivering. There follows collapse and coma. The rectal temperature is below 97 degrees F.

Drs Carslon and Giffin recommend the following Feline Hypothermia treatment:

-- Wrap cat in blanket and bring her into the house

-- If the cat is wet a warm bath is indicated. The skin should be dried thoroughly afterward with towels. Hair driers are unsafe as they can cause burns.

-- Apply warm water packs (the temperature of baby milk - warm to touch) to the armpits, chest and abdomen. Fresh packs should be used until the rectal temperature reaches 100 degrees F.

-- Give honey, glucose, sugared water (4 teaspoons to one pint of water).

Feline Hypothermia Treatment to Cat Health Problems

Wednesday 28 January 2009

Stop Other Cats Using My Cats Cat Flap

How to stop other cats using my cat's cat flap? The fact that this is very common is an indication of both cat and human behavior. A well loved well fed cat living with a human would be disinclined to wander into another person's home (but I guess it still might happen). However, a poorly cared for, neglected and hungry cat or a plain stray or feral cat is likely to use our cat flap to find food and even some warmth. The root cause of the problem is mainly ours.

cat magnetic collar
Poppy with a magnetic collar that has picked up a piece of metal, a Vaseline bottle top! Photo by Thorin

There are only three practical possible solutions, the last of which is the best:

-- find the person who keeps the cat who is coming in and see if they can look after the cat better. This is unlikely to work even if you can find the owner as people don't like to be told how to do things.

-- Remove the cat flap and set up a routine in which your cat tells you when she wants to go out and come in. Mine does this. She sits by the door when she wants to go out and knocks on the door when she wants to come in. It works fine. The only trouble is there is a cat flap which she refuses to use unless she has to as she is old and overweight!

-- Install a Petsafe Cat Flap Magnetic White 4Way Lockthat is operated by a magnet in a collar on your cat. This sounds good. The downsides are cost, training you cat to be comfortable with a large collar and the dangers of collars (they can get caught in branches and strangle a cat although this is relatively rare I would have thought). This should stop other cats using My cats cat flap.

Stop Other Cats Using My Cats Cat flap to Home Page

Photo published under creative commons:

Ionizers Hurt Cats

Do ionizers hurt cats? Air purifiers often (always?) have a setting for sending out negative ions into the room. This is part of the air cleaning process. The purpose of negative goes beyond that, it seems. There are claimed to be a number of health benefits for humans including accelerating the delivery of oxygen to our cells and tissues. Ions also help to remove dust, pollen etc from the air. They apparently make the dust particles fall out of suspension in the air. The dust falls to the floor. You can make smoke fall to the floor as well.

cat sniffing the air
Can I smell ozone? Nah....Jeep sniffing the air - photo by abbyladybug

But it has been said that the ionizer setting on an air purifier should not be used if you have a cat. How can that be, I wonder, as a cat's anatomy is very similar to ours. We know that because cats are often used in animal experiments to test products designed for humans (I personally find that unacceptable). I am told that there is a lot of stuff on the internet which says that ionizers should not be used around birds as well.

Is it a question of amount? The ionizer creates ozone...which is a polarized oxygen. Particularly it creates negative ions of oxygen. Ozone in large doses can be pretty corrosive and hard on your lungs, human lungs. If those lungs are a lot smaller, it seems reasonable to suggest that the dosage needs to be a lot less to avoid causing harm. My initial thoughts (and I am not sure) are that ionizers are geared up for human use only and ionized air needs to be regulated to a certain level to be beneficial. Smaller animals might benefit from ionized air but the ionization needs to happen to much lesser level. If not damage can be caused. So people who claim that ionizers hurt cats may be correct. Do you know better?

Ionizers Hurt Cats to Cat Health Problems

Homeopathic EaseSure - Supports pet brain function & routine nervous system health for Dogs & Cats

Photo published under Creative Commons:

Sunday 25 January 2009

The Modern Cat

The Modern cat has to integrate into a changing world and that means dealing with more people due to population growth and less time for people to care for their cat companions. This translates into two changes that affect cats; one well established and the other a new idea from the land of new ideas, Japan.

cat cafe Japan
Cat Cafe, Japan - photo by Helen K

The first is the growing trend for full-time indoor cats. With greater urbanization and accompanying increase in hazards for domestic cats it makes sense to keep our cats indoors permanently. This makes the environment much safer and life therefore longer for our cats. But, the big but, is whether this is better for the cat if the cat is not stimulated sufficiently in what could be a dull and unnatural environment. What is better a dull long life or a short exciting one? There is no clean answer. However, there is a way of creating a long and reasonably exciting life and that is to put effort, finance and time into creating an enclosed space (the home) that is as good, or nearly as good, as an outdoor space. There lies the challenge but for the truly dedicated cat keeper it is surely possible.

Things that can be considered to provide stimulation and an environment as good as a natural one might be:

-- Cat refuge -- a place to go where our cat feels safe. This could be to get away from another cat or dog for a while, for example. A cat will naturally find such a place but we can improve on it. Even simple free things such as a box in the right place can turn into a perfect refuge. The classic safe place is a high place. I feed a stray girl cat. She has found a home on top of the microwave in the kitchen (on a towel). I call it the mezzanine floor. My cat can't jump up there so this little visitor feels safe.

-- A cat tree or perch is another way for the cat to get up high and feel safe and comfortable. They will find their favorite place. It might be positioned near a window to allow visual stimulation by looking out.

-- Cat need to scratch to scuff of the outer layer of claw and to reveal a fresh layer underneath. And it also is a way to stretch. Cats will generally scratch near objects that smell of us. There are many products. It should be fixed firmly. As for me my girl has never used a scratching post but I just put up with that. It may be necessary to try a few out as cats seem to be quite choosy. It is certainly important that the material is such that the claws can slide through but with the correct level of friction and tension.

-- Visual stimulation is a useful way to combat boredom. I have mentioned this above.

-- I have always advocated an outdoor enclosure of say 15 by 20 feet that leads off direct from the house through cat flap. This is an ideal but the investment would be worthwhile. Few people it seems take up this option, strangely.

-- Play is important and I am the first to admit that I don't do enough. It requires our input but there are products out there that run automatically. My view is that cats become bored with toys just like children do so we need to provide an endless stream of new ones. I think it is hard to truly mimic a true wild cat state in which the cat is fully stimulated.

We can do lots more than we do but my honest view is that whatever we do for a full-time indoor cat her/his life will not be quite as good as one that can go out but I am not advising that cats should be let out. It depends on a lot of factors.


Another symptom of today is the lack of time people often have. The modern cat in Japan has found a role in a chain of cat cafes. This concept was noticed by an associate of mine in her blog (see VG's Blog -teh kitteh antidote/ anecdote - Cat Cafes in Japan). Workers in Japan often do not have the time nor the residential space to keep a cat in a responsible manner. But some of these people would like to experience the calming pleasure of keeping a domestic cat. They can now at cat cafes where cats integrate with customers. Nice idea and it seems to be successful.

This begs the question as to who do the cafe cats normally live with - perhaps the cafe owner. But if several cats are needed perhaps this is one small way to reduce the stray cat population and put the cats in shelters to good use. The modern cat likes to earn his keep. Is this the beginning of the idea of sharing cats? Cats often share humans by going from one house to another. The people don't know this is happening.

From The Modern Cat to Home Page

The Modern Cat -- Photo:

Buried with Your Cat

Being buried with your cat is illegal in the State of Washington, it seems (this is after your death by the way!). Which brings to mind a host of thoughts about how we would like be put to rest on our death. Lots of people are cremated (sorry if this is a bit morbid but people think of these things, at least I do) and they cremate their cats too. I would like my cremated cats to be with me on my death. My first cat who died about 15 years ago was cremated and is with me in an urn. When my current cat passes over the rainbow bridge she will be cremated and join my first cat in the urn and so on. When I go to join them I insist that I will be next to them in that urn and the ashes mixed together and kept in an urn.

Pet cemetery in Ireland
Pet Cemetery in Ireland -- something different. It would be nice for some people to be in the same cemetery and in the same box as their cats. Photo by Ivan JRG

But back to being buried next to your cat or your cat being buried next to you - I am surprised that is is illegal in Washington. Maybe some States allow it? (yes, see below). What reason can there be? As far as I remember in ancient times in Egypt people liked to be buried with their cat. The trouble was the cat was still alive.....! Actually I am not sure that is true and I am sorry to be frivolous about it.

Being buried with your cat is a beautiful thing to happen and a Senator (Jacobsen) has introduced a Bill to make it legal in Washington. Apparently cemetery owners are opposed because they have to deal with people of all cultures and in some cultures it is forbidden to be buried near animals. One has to respect that but it seems wrong to me. On what logical basis can an argument be made out for that?

There is though the problem of opening a grave to then inter the deceased dead cat. I have not read Jacobsen's Bill but maybe the answer is a compromise in that a person could be buried with his/her cat provided the cat is cremated. That would or should satisfy the culture problem as one is only burying ashes. And as cats live much shorter lives that people it is unlikely that is would be necessary for a grave to be opened for a cat to join the deceased person. The cats ashes would simply be with the person in the coffin.

Apparently, the only State in the US allowing being buried with your cat (or of course any pet) is Florida. There is a big divide here. Some people who keep pets would still feel uncomfortable being buried with them. I just don't get that. Except some people keep pets in a way that is different to others. Some actually live with their cats, talk and engage with them. Others keep pets and cats in the same way they possess furniture and a car. The latter person will possibly be the one who would argue against being buried with your cat. The pet burial bill is Senate Bill 5063. Thanks to

Being Buried with Your Cat to Home Page

Presidio Pet Cemetery, San Francisco Photograph - Beautiful 16"x20" Photographic Print by Carol M. Highsmith

Photo published under creative commons:

Thursday 22 January 2009

Cat Licenses

The concept of cat licenses is occasionally discussed as a possible solution to what could be called "the feral cat problem". I would rather call it "the irresponsible people problem". Anyway, the Australians have a particular dislike of feral cats (not all Australians, but certainly some of the politicians). They are keen to solve a problem that they created and don't know how. So, they resort to shooting them. Pretty basic I guess and a sure sign of three things (a) a lack of imagination and understanding of the problem (b) a cruel streak (c) desperation.

See Ground Shooting of Feral Cats
Bengal Cat Shot in Australia
Savannah cat ban in Australia

Well, the local authority at that well known place, Alice Springs, decided to institute cat licenses to attempt to better manage cat "ownership". A brave effort but the problem is people don't want to bother to register. Obviously registration is voluntary. And that tells us why it is unlikely to work. The authorities don't know who has the cats so can't enforce licensing. Being voluntary will probably mean that the responsible people will come forward and apply for licenses while the people the local authority want to better control (and punish) will not bother. The system of cat licenses is therefore fundamentally flawed. However, I personally applaud them for trying. It is far better than simply encouraging Australians to go around shooting up cats like the Bengal cat mentioned above. Dog licensing was abandoned in the UK in 1987 as far as I understand; recognition that it doesn't work.

Cat Licenses to Home Page

Monday 19 January 2009

Chester Cheetah

cheetosFound this nice video on drawing Chester Cheetah. The artist is a young guy (girl?) who has talent. he wants sponsorship for college. Give him the money! Anyway back to Chester. First, he's a cat and we do cats on this website. Yes sir. Chester Cheetah is (was?) an advertising mascot for Cheetos cheesy snacks. I don't think I've ever tried them. Maybe I have once or twice -- nice!

In the adverts, Chester Cheetah insists that other cheese snacks "ain't nothin' but fluff" and is constantly doing his utmost to get hold of a bag of those cheesy Cheetos. He has chased a lorry full of 'em on a motorcycle and failed once again (a manhole got in the way). The single minded Chester is massively hip, which comes across very clearly in the drawing in the video. The cool dark glasses. Chester also wears red trunks and white sneakers with an orange spot on the side.

Chester Cheetah began appearing in adverts in January 1989. In the real world Cheetahs generally have a rough time and the population is falling year by year.

Chester Cheetah to Cartoon Cats | Cheetah Habitat

Picture of Cheetos bag published under Wikimedia® creative commons license license = Attribution-ShareAlike License

Sunday 18 January 2009

Stone Cougar Cat

The Stone Cougar cat is a rare domestic cat. This cat is a cross between the domestic cat and the wild Jungle cat (F. chaus). The cat is therefore a wildcat hybrid.

Stone Cougar Cat

This is a still from YouTube video showing (apparently) Stone Cougar kittens. The video is by neogrotesque. I have given a link to the person's YouTube "channel" (webpage at YouTube) in thanks. The video cannot be embedded. I can't confirm whether they really are cats of this breed. 

The idea behind this proposed cat breed follows the path of other wildcat/domestic cat hybrids such as the well known Bengal and the Savannah cats, namely to create a cat that resembles a wild cat but which is a domestic cat. In this case the wild cat that is the "model" is the Cougar, Puma or Mountain Lion (different names for the same wild cat - also see Florida Cougar). 

The foundation cats (early generation, F1) are 50% domestic and 50% Jungle Cat. The appearance of a Stone Cougar cat should be cobby it seems (thick set) with small ears and a thick tail. The color "stone" is used widely in commerce, which gives us a clue as to the desired color of this cat breed. The coat color of the kittens above would seem to be true to this goal.

A much better known Jungle cat/domestic cat hybrid is the Chausie. The Stone Cougar is another name for the Chausie, apparently. I have built a couple of pages on the Chausie, which you can see here if you like:

Chausie | Chausie - Helmi and Ken Flick's experience living with an F1 Chausie

Stone Cougar Cat to Wild Cat Hybrids

The Future of Cat Breeding?

Can we see a part of the future of cat breeding by observing what has happened to the Kennel Club in Great Britain? The Kennel Club has had to change the breed standards of 209 of its registered dog breeds as a result of a BBC program (Pedigree Dogs Exposed) that claimed that the club encouraged the breeding of unhealthy dogs through misdirected breed standards and judging at shows (including the biggest show of all, Crufts) that focused on appearance over health and temperament.

The program led to loss of sponsorship forcing the club to give way and change what was an ingrained practice established over decades. This has come as a major shock to the club and more particularly the various dog clubs and breed committees affiliated to or working on behalf of the Kennel Club. The committee members are often traditionalists. They have been doing what they do for generations. They became blind, I would argue, to what they were actually doing, focusing on the wrong thing, appearance, for the sake of status and profit at the expense of the animal they so loved and cared for.

However, grass roots members of the Kennel Club seem to disagree with the club. One committee member was kicked out of the King Charles Spaniel committee for assisting the BBC. The grass roots wanted her back and voted her in. The senior members of the committee all resigned forcing this member to back down. I am not sure why she did back down though. Anyway the point is, it is very hard to change well entrenched ways and one wonders sometimes whether the senior dog breeders are actually concerned about their animals' health as they no doubt claim to be. But they will be obliged to follow the new breed standard. Change will occur.

The same kind of thing, I believe, may well happen with the major cat associations. The CFA (Cat Fanciers Association) in the USA is the bastion of tradition but a tradition based on breed standards that have gradually veered off course under their management, resulting, albeit on a lesser scale, in some cat breeds being bred with health problems. Will there be a similar television program about cats? What is the future of cat breeding? The world is changing and the breeders aren't.

The CFA would do well to snap out of its cosy world and face the modern world. It will then ensure a long future but without change there will be mounting pressure from animal rights and grass roots to change, which may jeopardize its position and standing in the long term. Other cat assocations follow the ways of the CFA. These may face similar problems. The associations need to care more for the future of cat breeding.

See Cat Breeders and Animal Rights | Cat Breed Standards Need Reviewing | Persian Cats | Complete Book of Cat Breeding, The

Saturday 17 January 2009

Cats in Cold Weather

Cats in cold weather, if they are outdoor cats, can get into difficulties associated with the cold. Here's some brief examples:

Going in and out from warm to very cold can, it is thought, raise the potential for catching a cold and cats get 'em just like us.

cat on ice
Cat on Ice -- DoBe not sure about ice -- photo by yeimaya

Cats if locked out will seek warmth. That could be under a recently parked car or actually in the engine compartment - very dangerous. People say we should bang on the car before starting off in very cold weather, to frighten off any cat inside.

Roads are salted in icy weather. Fine, but not too fine for the humble domestic cat as the salt and perhaps other chemicals used to de-ice roads gets picked up in between the toes and on the paws. This then gets licked off and into the cat, which can cause health problems. Sometimes salt is not used as it is too expensive. Substitutes could be more toxic to cats.

Cats with a single coat (see cat hair) such as some moggies or the purebred Oriental Shorthair will feel the cold more. How about a coat!? Specially tailored, very flashy.

Older cats will be more susceptible to falls and breaks in the cold just like us. If it's very cold it is probably better to keep our cats in all the time, which is commonplace in the USA anyway. Cats in cold weather need special consideration really.

Feral cats are more able to survive in the cold particularly if they have a reliable source of food.

Cats in Cold Weather to Home Page

Photo published under:

Cats Lick Plastic Bags

Why do some cats lick plastic bags? This is potentially dangerous as cats also like to crawl into spaces and play and that could lead to suffocation. Ideally, cats should not have access to plastic bags. Clearly if the bag tastes good to a cat that makes it potentially more dangerous!

cat in plastic bag
Milo likes plastic bags. He might just like playing in them. It could be as straight forward as that. Photo by Malingering

What is in or on the bag that makes it attractive to lick? This is a hard one to crack. Plastic bags are usually made of polyethylene, which is made from ethylene. The bags are pretty much just that except for some lubricants used in manufacture. It is hard to see what is attractive to lick if the product is plastic. After all it shouldn't taste like food. However, the other type of "plastic bag" is biodegradable and is made of starch. The starch is obtained from corn or potatoes and converted to lactic acid, which can be polymerized into biodegradable plastic called polylactide. Starch is also used in the manufacture of dry cat food as it is needed in the manufacturing process. So there is a connection here between cat food and plastic bags but I am not sure that it is one that explains why cats lick plastic bags. This is just a thought I had (but see below)

The conventional view is that the plastic originates in manufacture from animal fat, which provides the attraction. I am not sure about that as it is made fro ethylene. There is also the medical condition called PICA. Cats and other animals including humans can suffer from it. They have a compulsion to eat non-food products or non-nutritious objects and/or food ingredients such as flour, starch or raw potato. We have here then another connection with biodegradable bags mentioned above as they are made of starch .

My current theory as to why cats lick plastic bags is because they are suffering from a mild version of PICA and the bag is a biodegradable one. The underlying cause of PICA is unclear but could be due to biochemical deficiency, and more often, iron deficiency (src: Wikipedia). In short it may be due to a mineral deficiency and the substance eaten or licked contains that mineral. The first port of call would be the vet and a look at the diet, I'd guess.

Your Cat: Simple New Secrets to a Longer, Stronger Life and see my review of this book.

Cats Lick Plastic Bags to Cat Health Problems

Friday 16 January 2009

Cat Welfare in the USA

Cat welfare in the USA is not in bad shape on the face of it. More, lots more, though, can be done. There are too many feral, stray cats. Too many unnecessary deaths of innocent and unloved cats. Far too much declawing. The almost automatic declawing of domestic cats indicates a deep rooted misunderstanding of the human/domestic cat relationship, which I find deeply disturbing. Lots of people support HSUS and PETA. And lots don't like the way that they operate.

Do you think these organizations should have a voice that influences the new government of Barak Obama? Well, we know how the President-elect likes to be in touch with the mood and feelings of the people. He has a website on which you can vote the above point. A cat breeder or someone who dislikes the animal rights movement has "petitioned" the President-elect with this ainimal welfare vote. It argues that the powers of HSUS and PETA should be limited. Do you agree?

President-elect Citizens Briefing Book - Animal Welfare - HSUS & PETA - for or against?

Cat Welfare in the USA may be affected by this vote.

Cat Breeders and Animal Rights

Sarah Palin and dead bear
Sarah Palin and dead bear, sport hunted. Photo: smiteme

Cat breeders and animal rights activists are really the two sides of the same coin or they should be. But you wouldn't believe it the way they attack each other. Cat breeders should (and most are) sensitive towards animals. They care about their cats. They grant their cats lots of rights. They are, in one sense, animal rights people.

However, although I am not against cat breeders I don't like they way that some tend to brand people who fight for animal rights, "AR extremists" (Animal Rights extremists). Some cat breeders tend to brand all people who fight for animal rights as extremists. It seems to be some sort of defense mechanism. Breeders sometimes feel under attack from AR people and defend themselves by insinuating that animal rights people are "extremists", meaning unbalanced people of criminal intent thereby insulting them and giving the impression that they are not worth listening to.

This is clearly wrong. Only a very tiny minority of people who are concerned with animal rights become "extremists" and most of that tiny minority take peaceful and legal action. This is a good thing, surely, and cat breeders should welcome it. In the eyes of some people, even the AR people who break the law have a good reason to do so. The law, after all, is not always that effective is it? How effective are animal rights laws in protecting vulnerable animals? Take laboratory experiments, for example. I would bet that a decent number of cat breeders are against animal experimentation but feel powerless to change things. It is legal after all. Yet they would criticise AR extremists who fight at the sharp end to change the law and protect innocent animals (including cats) who are experimented upon in the name of commerce, the making of a buck.

For me the point is this. Cat breeders and animal rights should and most often do go together. I don't see an absolute reason why cat breeding should not exist. Provided it is done in a highly responsible way and the global and wider picture is noted. I don't think cat breeders cause the feral cat problem; it's the buyers. Anyway cat breeders breed purebred cats and buyers of purebred cats are usually, nearly always, very responsible people in relation to caring for their cats.

So, AR people should lighten up a little on attacking cat breeders and cat breeders should start talking to AR people and find a common method of proceeding. Cat breeders and animal rights people should be two sides of the same coin.

Update 16th Jan 2009: A visitor made a comment saying I didn't know the meaning of animal rights. I think this person has a narrow view of animal rights. This is a definition: The concept that animals are entitled to certain fundamental rights such as the right to be spared undue suffering. Such fundamental rights are not necessarily compromised by cat breeders. The small wild cat of his/her own volition became domesticated and lives a more secure life domesticated than in the wild. That is why they became domesticated.

Update 12th Feb 2009: I have just noticed Ingrid Newkirk's views on breeding and pet ownership. I agree with her that we should use the term companion animal and not ownership of animals. The law is slow to change on this. But she is against the concept of companions animals totally it seems. I wonder why. The concept of companionship is a positive one. The idea being that both sides benefit. After all, as mentioned, the wild cat would not have allowed herself to become domesticated if the process did not benefit her. Yes, pet ownership and the domestic cat situation has got out of hand. There are a number of negative these days for the cat that is domesticated. For instance, the cat has to live indoors to be safe. We have created a world hostile to the cat outdoors. Humans have screwed up, no doubt, but at the beginning of domestication many thousands of years ago the relationship worked well. We shoudn't throw out the baby with the bath water but modify the process of cats or dogs as companion animals not eliminate it.

Update 21-2-09: A thought: Do cat breeders of purebred cats (responsible cat breeders by and large) affect the rights of feral cats? - ANS: No. Do cats have rights before they are born? ANS: No. Do purebred cats receive excellent animal rights? ANS: Yes nearly all of the time.

Cat Breeders and Animal Rights to Home Page

Animal Rights: Current Debates and New Directions

Photo: creative commons

Thursday 15 January 2009

Robot Cat

I've just seen the robot cat and it's the end of the feral cat problem!! Just joking but it may have an impact in that direction. This is a typical piece of clever Japanese robotics and at what should be a reasonable price when it is released in July 2009. The cat is called the 'Yume-Neko Venus', or 'Dream Cat Venus' apparently. I'm not going to waffle about the cat because you can see it in the video:

You know, a robot cat will no doubt satisfy a lot of people who would otherwise have bought or adopted a real cat. This is certainly the case in relation to Christmas buying of cats (the short term irresponsible type of buying).

Lets say it takes off and does really well as I think it will. How will it impact the world of the real domestic cat? Will the impact be good or bad for the cat? Well, it would seem to cut two ways. Initially, it would mean less adoptions from rescue centers. This would mean (should that happen) more euthanasia, tragically. Yet in the long term I think the robot cat might benefit the domestic cat. It would mean less real cats adopted/bought. This would bring down the number of cats that are not neutered and are abandoned. This would translate into less feral cats and therefore less misery for feral cats who find it hard to live in a human world.

There is an argument that there is an overpopulation of cats. The robot cat would tackle that problem. Some people (one person?) thinks there is no overpopulation problem however (see this article: solutions to cat overpopulation). This robot cat might well satisfy the casual cat buyer, the people most likely it seems to me to be irresponsible. The Australians will love it. They are desperate to solve their feral cat problem and allow and encourage unspeakable things to happen to achieve their objectives (see Bengal cat shot in Australia).

See also:
From Robot Cat to Home Page

Monday 12 January 2009

More Cat Cruelty

More cat cruelty in the UK. A novel way to kill kittens. Kittens in fact that the person concerned just bought.

This person who lives near St. Albans, Hertfordshire (a place where I have an apartment that I let), allegedly (he/she has been charged by the police so the evidence must be reasonable) smashed the kittens on the car's steering wheel. They suffered broken bones (surprised?) and died.

The event was witnessed, apparently. That is all I have read about the awful act - more cat cruelty.

If he is prosecuted and convicted it will probably happen under the Animal Welfare Act 2006. See the penalties here: Imprisonment and/or Fine.

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Saturday 10 January 2009

Cats Early Neutering

"Reasons we do not do early altering:

First, FIP can be "triggered" at an early age and even before a kitten is sold at 12 weeks. In their new home, an apparently healthy kitten can later begin to decline at about 8 months of age but the triggers to produce the disease actually occured prior to 3 months of age. Some believe that 3 triggers within a 30 day period can result in FIP. Some triggers are: 1) early weaning; 2) vaccines; 3) poor quality food; 4) change of environment; 5) early alterning.

Kittens go through enough stress without the additional stress of altering. Second, kittens need to develop trust in humans. To take them away from their mother, put them into a vet clinic for the day, leave them to go through fear, stress, anesthesia and pain seems not only cruel but a break in that trust.

Third, we believe hormones are what results in males looking like males, and females looking like females. This is why we suggest altering at about 7 months of age.

Fourth, there is no conclusive proof that early altering is not a cause of health issues down the road."

Cats Early Neutering

Neutering Cats

Travelling Bengal Cats

"I’m so sorry to hear about your kitties fear in the car. My Bengals all truly love riding in the car and start running ahead of us to the door when we load out, but we do have a pound kitty that stressed badly when we first started taking him on rv trips. Poor baby would dig and dig in the litterbox, his feet would sweat leaving puddles where ever he stepped and when we went over wolf creek pass he even threw up.

He’s adjusted with time and travel but I did talk to my vet about what might help his situation. He wrote down for me that I could give pound kitty Smokey (10 to 12 lbs), Dramamine (12.5 mg – one to three times daily) or Bonine (5 mg – once daily). He felt the Bonine would be the better drug, but Dramamine is available over the counter almost everywhere. We’ve never needed to use the drugs as we’ve traveled enough that he’s worked through the worst of it, so you might want to visit with your vet to see if it would be appropriate for your Bengal. I know my vet told me that valium has little or no effect on cats as they metabolize it so quickly. Good luck with your move and your kitty."

If I Didn't Have a Dog or Cat

If I Didn't Have a Dog. . . or a Cat . . .

I could walk around the yard barefoot in safety. My house could be carpeted instead of tiled and laminated.All flat surfaces, clothing, furniture, and cars would be free of hair. When the doorbell rings, it wouldn't sound like a kennel.When the doorbell rings, I could get to the door without wading through fuzzy bodies who beat me there.

I could sit on the couch and my bed the way I want, without taking into consideration how much space several fur bodies would need to get comfortable.I would have money and no guilt to go on a real vacation.

I would not be on a first-name basis with 6 veterinarians, as I put their yet unborn grandkids through college.The most used words in my vocabulary would not be: out, sit, down, come, no, stay, and leave him/her/it ALONE.

My house would not be cordoned off into zones with baby gates or barriers. I would not talk 'baby talk'. 'Eat your din din'. 'Yummy yummy for the tummy'..My house would not look like a day care center, toys everywhere.My pockets would not contain things like poop bags, treats and an extra leash.

I would no longer have to spell the words B-A-L-L, F-R-I-S-B-E- E, W-A-L-K, T-R-E-A-T, B-I-K-E, G-O, R-I-D-E.I would not have as many leaves INSIDE my house as outside. I would not look strangely at people who think having ONE dog/cat ties them down too much.I'd look forward to spring and the rainy season instead of dreading 'mud' season.

I would not have to answer the question 'Why do you have so many animals?' from people who will never have the joy in their lives of knowing they are loved unconditionally by someone as close to an angel as they will ever get.

How very EMPTY my life would be!!

Cat Buyers

How many cat buyers of cats could say that their vets want to give 5 or 6 different vaccines, spay or neuter and declaw etc., a few days after the kitten arrives in it's new home. Does this happen fairly frequently? Are some vets money hungry? Is the situation out of control? Is the recent recession making things worse?

Finally, are vets truly concerned about improving animal health or making money or something in between. Doctors take an oath to act in the best interest of people. Solicitors in England are obliged to act in the interest of the client and in default can be "struck off" (prevented from practicing).

Are animals and cats in a more vulnerable position? Should there be better control over vets? Cat buyers should ask questions. Declawing is out, out, out. Vaccinations are sometimes unnecessary and can result in damaging the health of cats.

See: Are Cats Hurt by Commercial Food and Vaccines and Cat Vaccination Recommendations.

Helmi and Ken Flick

Helmi Flick cat photography

Here's a picture of Helmi and Ken Flick busy at work that I just found on my camera that I had forgotten that I had, which I like a lot. OK, technically the quality is poor because the ambient lighting was poor and the camera cheap! That's my excuse anyway.

But the picture shows the dynamic nature of Ken's cat wrangling and Helmi's focus and concentration. And the photo has a nice, almost theatrical feel about it. It's like being at the circus with Ken Flick the ringmaster! The little object on top of Helmi's camera is not a flash, it is a trigger for the flash lights above, behind and to the left and right of the cat that is diligently obeying Ken's tease.

To see more try these links:

Cat Photography with Ken and Helmi Flick
More on Helmi and Ken at the Waxahachie Cat Show

Helmi Flick Cat Photography
About the famous cat photographer, Helmi Flick

Helmi and Ken Flick to Home Page

Best Water For Cats

The best water for cats is pure "energized", alkaline and toxin-free, so say those that know but are they right? And what is this kind of water? It certainly isn't the tap water in the United States. I am not sure about the UK or other countries but the situation in Europe is probably broadly similar. And it isn't bottle water either.

 cat drinking from a stream
photo copyright gari.baldi under Creative commons license.

Tap Water - best water for cats? No.

Tap water in the USA (and I'll refer to the USA as people from that country are the major source of visitors to this site) is obviously drinkable but some say that it is not ideal for the maintenance of either human or cat's health. Examples of the chemicals found in tap water are:

Chlorine: Some health authorities think that on balance chlorine is beneficial in tap water but others disagree including some doctors. For example, Joseph M. Price, a doctor working in the USA thinks that it is an insidious poison. Chlorine kills bacteria in the water making it healthier but the downside (and there is always a downside) is that it reacts with other substances in the water to form toxins called trihalomethanes (THMs - they are also called organochlorides). THMs are dangerous to health and can suppress the immune system (for info about boosting a cat's immune system see: Immune System of Cats). Ozone is better at disinfecting water, apparently.

Flouride: This chemical when added to tap water helps prevent tooth decay. In some areas of the UK flouride is added it to tap water. 70% of people use fluoridated water in the USA. In Australia 67% apparently use fluoridated tap water.. It has been added to the supply of all US cities. (source: Times Online).

There could be dioxins, parasites, inorganic poisons, pathogens such as bacteria, viruses, and fungi in tap water too. That said we shouldn't get panicky about it. It keeps us alive most of the time.

Some eminent medical people advise against the use of fluoride in tap water. "I would advise against fluoridation.. Side-effects cannot be excluded ..."- Dr. Arvid Carlsson, co-winner of the Nobel Prize for Medicine (2000). And "I am appalled at the prospect of using water as a vehicle for drugs. Fluoride is a corrosive poison that will produce serious effects on a long range basis. Any attempt to use water this way is deplorable." Dr. Charles Gordon Heyd, Past President of the American Medical Association. Once again there is disagreement about the health benefits. In short though tap water is not the best in terms of preserving health and well being of cats. It is not the best water for cats.

Bottled Water - best water for cats? No.

Then we have bottled water. Some cynics might argue that bottled water is the biggest scam perpetrated on mankind until the financier Maddof (the $50 billion fraudster) came along. Bottled water is a triumph of marketing over substance. Studies in the USA have found that 30% of bottled water has a degree of chemical contamination such as neurotoxins and carcinogens (styrene, toluene and xylene). Antimony is used in the manufacture of the plastic (polyethylene terephthalate (PET)) and this leaches out into the water, even more so in when it is warm (source: National Resources Defense Council (NRDC) studies, Shirley's Wellness Cafe). I think all right minded people can write off bottled water unless it is supplied by the US armed services to troops in Iraq or Afghanistan. More water is used in the manufacture of the bottles than there is in it when sold. A billion USDs worth of plastic water bottles is dumped in landfill in the US yearly. This has a sense of parrallel universe about it. Oh, and sometimes bottled water comes from taps!

Super Clean Water - best water for cats? No.

This very clean water sounds wonderful. Yet it is not good for us. Water produced by reverse osmosis has been called "hungry" or "death" water. Not a recommendation. There is nothing in it. Also it has positive and not negative ions and it is acid rather than alkaline (high pH). Water should bring nutrients and flush out free radicals.

Best Water for Cats

In contrast pure "energized", alkaline and toxin-free has, it seems, no critics, except it is probably beyond the means of most. This is claimed to be the best water for cats (and of course any higher animal) by Shirley at Shirley's Wellness Cafe. Were and how do we get this almost mythical elixir of life? Well, it can be produced in our homes using a machine purchased on the internet. Isn't life wonderful? They are called alkaline ionizers.

The water produced is a powerful antioxidant, an effective alkalizing and hydrating agent and a detoxifier. So it is claimed. Here is a book that claims this: The Miraculous Properties of Ionized Water - The Definitive Guide to the World's Healthiest Substance. Clearly this water is designed to be drunk by humans but it is equally beneficial, it is claimed, for cats and other animals. The best ionizers sell for: $1,795 ( in the US and for a similar price in the UK (

Disease thrives in an acid (low pH) environment. These machines produce alkaline (high pH) water. The antioxidant properties are important for health.

Update: There may be downsides to this water. Please read another article on the quality of water for cats by clicking on this link.

My current conclusion is that good old tap water is probably the best for cats. You know what it is and you know it is safe for humans and therefore must be okay for cats.

For lots more information on antioxidants by "the experts" these books may be of interest:

Immune System of Cats

Can the immune system of cats be improved by transfer factors? What in heavens name are transfer factors? Transfer factors are immune messenger molecules. "They are found in white blood cells, colostrum, and eggs. They are often given credit for the perpetuation of species by transferring immunity against many pathogens that would otherwise kill the offspring." (published under Wikimedia® creative commons license license = Attribution-ShareAlike License).

They are said to the smallest molecules in the colostrum (mother's milk). The mother passes on her immunity to her offspring through transfer factors. She is also passing on information about her immune system through the transference of transfer factors.

Transfer factors are manufactured for sale to be used by people. The same product can and is used by veterinarians to treat cats. This commercially available preparation is claimed to enhance and stimulate the body's own immune system to fight against all pathogens, viral or otherwise. The people who sell this preparation say that there are 3 important functions of transfer factors - (a) boosting the immune system, (b) increasing the intelligence of the immune system and (c) modulating the immune system - suppressing an over-active immune system (a overactive immune system can damage the body it is designed to protect and some nasty illnesses are as a result of an abnormal immune response)

So to recap transfer factors are produced in the body of higher animals, naturally, and can be manufactured for sale and are important in the creation of an effective immune system. More information is available in this book: A Guide to Transfer Factors and Immune System Health. This is another recommended read: Transfer Factor: Natural Immune Booster (Woodland Health)

Some (all?) veterinarians that practice holistic and homeopathic medicine recommend treatment by transfer factors. It is a proactive measure. For example Rob Robertson, M.D. says that almost all pet illness can be referred back to a failure of some sort of the immune system. So boosting it and making it more effective can help prevent disease. Another example is provided by Dr. Falconer DVM in response to a question about treating bone cancer in pets. He recommends the transfer factors product used for humans at 2 capsules a day as part of the treatment (src: Shirley's Wellness Cafe)

The concept, then, is that the immune system of cats can be compromised (suppressed) by various factors including poor commercially available food, unnecessary vaccinations and a host of other reasons and prescribing transfer factors can help to boost, balance and repair the immune system to aid recovery from illness. There are testimonials that support the claim that transfer factor treatment can cure a pet where all conventional medication has failed and the cat or dog is being prepared for euthanasia.

If we are interested, I guess the next time we are seeing the vet we should ask about them. My bet is that vets not practicing homeopathic medicine will scoff at this treatment. They may not even know about it. Where can we get the preparations? Well you can get the preparation designed for humans on Amazon for a start: 4LIFE Tri-factor transfer factor plus. The vets practicing homeopathy use human transfer factor preparations on animals it seems. However there is a feline preparation available on Amazon too: TF Feline Complete (Contains Transfer Factor) 60 - 2 gram servings.

OK, over to your guys if you want to explore more. It is important that the immune system of cats is optimized and this is one way of getting there it seems to me - worth a try I'd say.

Immune System of Cats to Cat Health Problems

Feline Allergies

Feline Distemper Symptom

Friday 9 January 2009

Are Cats Hurt by Commercial Food and Vaccines?

Are cats hurt by commercial food and vaccines? It is argued by some that poor commercial food that are low in nutrients suitable to a cat and high in toxins (for commercial manufacturing reasons) can damage cat health. Combine this with the still prevalent concept of yearly vaccines and some veterinarians argue that there has been an increase in chronic ill health of cats and dogs.

One such person is Michael E Dym, who practices Classical Veterinary Homeopathy. He argues that illnesses and behavioral problems that were rare in the 1960s are more frequently encountered today. He blames, as I mentioned, pet food and unnecessary vaccinations. He says that most of the health problems originate in a breakdown in the immune system.

This can result in a wide range of illnesses such as: degenerative arthritis, chronic skin/ear allergies, digestive upset, seizures, gum/ teeth problems, kidney and liver failure, thyroid, adrenal and pancreatic disorders and cancer across all ages and breeds.

Sometimes diseases are being treated with cortisones and antibiotics to suppress the symptoms when a more fundamental diagnosis of underlying causes should be made. He recommends Homeopathy as an alternative.

My highly cynical thoughts for what they are worth are these. Vaccinations are profitable for veterinarians. Vets have high overheads and need big salaries because they are well qualified. That indicates a motivation to over treat either by way of vaccination or by suppressing symptoms with drugs. It is easier to suppress symptoms than find the underlying cause plus the problem is still there needing more treatments. Vaccinations can it seems cause more ill health than they are intended to prevent. In addition there are the huge drug companies. They need to sell lots of drugs and who buys them and on what terms? Of course vets buy them. There is a kind of juggernaut effect. Health has become too commercial. You cannot effectively combine health and profit without some negative aspects creeping into the equation.

Cats and dogs can get a hard deal. They have no voice. They hide pain and discomfort. There is an element of guess work. Food is cheap, which means poor quality. It should be more expensive. This would reduce the number cat owners, reducing ultimately the number of stray cats and euthanized feral cats (over 2 million per year in the USA).

Another vet, Dr. Pat Bradley, DVM, Conway, USA says that the most common problems that he sees related to vaccines on a regular basis are ear or skin conditions, such as chronic discharges and itching. He also sees behavioral problems such as fearfulness or aggression.

And yet another Dr.Blanco, D.V.M says that you can take healthy animals and often soon after the vaccination, things like itching of the skin or excessive licking of the paws can be seen, sometimes even with no eruptions. There are probably many more vets with similar opinions.

Are Cats Hurt by Commercial Food and Vaccines? Yes, sometimes. I think we need to think more about these aspects of cat care. I don't have my cat vaccinated anymore. She is old and has had enough of them. Anyway she stays at home all day with little chance of catching anything. And I think about cat food more. It is hard though to get involved in these things as it takes time and that is often in short supply unlike the drugs.

The only real food for cats is properly made homemade cat food. This is raw supplemented cat food. And vaccinations should be seriously considered and discussed with the vet and don't get bullied!

Are Cats Hurt by Commercial Food and Vaccines? to Cat Health Problems

See the website of Michael E Dym, VMD

See Cat Vaccination Recommendations

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Is This Pet Food Dangerous?

Is this pet food dangerous as the video maker says? It is Wellness® Pet Food and in the video below the video maker says that fish bones are present in the food that have not been sufficiently crushed, which makes the dried food dangerous. The bones are very sharp.

Viewers of the video are unsure if this allegation is true or if it is a competitor slurring Wellness® for financial gain. If it is a deliberate slur, I would be very surprised if it was a competitor as it would leave them open to damages in a court of law.

If it is a deliberate slur designed to damage Wellness® then it is more likely to be an individual, who is frankly living very dangerously. If the video is taken off YouTube and no longer visible below please don't be surprised.

So who made the video? Well, the video maker's channel (the webpage provided by YouTube to him) is very thin indeed, meaning he has only made one video, the one above. His profile states that he is 85 years of age and living in the United States. The voice of the commentator on the video is not 85 years of age. There is no information about the person other than his as stated. This is unusual.

Some of the fish bone is embedded in the food, which would be hard to fake, it seems to me. There are some pieces of loose bone in the bag as well. But as a commentator said, it would be very unusual for loose bone to be floating around at the top of the bag. It would have settled on the bottom of the bag during transportation, unless the bag was stored upside down. It is possible then, although unlikely, that there could have been loose bone fragments at the top of the bag.

Other commentators have said that their purchases have been OK. For my part, I am more or less convinced that the answer to the question, is this pet food dangerous, is a categorical NO. Why? Because the product is so obviously inedible and dangerous as to expose the manufacturer to a large claim for compensation. And that, I would have thought, is highly unlikely to happen.

Yes, there have been some horrendous pet food recalls. The last was the melamine in pet food recall. But this was a hidden poison in the gluten additive of pet food. The ingredient came from China. In this case the defect is very visible and quality control would surely pick this up? This though begs the question as to how bones were embedded in the dry food? My thoughts are that this is not that hard to do for someone who is determined enough to fake this.

OK, I conclude that this is probably a scam but everyone will have to make up their own mind as I could well be wrong.

Is This Pet Food Dangerous? to Home Page

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Thursday 8 January 2009

Autralians Confused About Cats

Yup, it seems to me that Australians are confused about cats. On the one hand they are allowed to shoot 'em up in some States (Queensland and NSW for example - there are probably more) as they simply don't know how to control the feral cat of Australia and on the other hand they save one cat that was trapped in a burning house. See:

Bengal cat shot in Australia
Ground shooting of feral cats

What is it to be? Aussies killing feral cats by the tens of thousands (and that isn't fast enough for some Aussies) and yet (rightly) they save the life of a 7 year old Persian cat (actually he looks like a Himalayan a pointed Persian) in Adelaide.

The point is that the Aussie government is confused about how to deal with the feral cat. The Persian cat was saved by a fireman, a completely non-political person, I suspect, just doing his job in a compassionate manner.

Politicians shouldn't be making self-interested decisions about feral cats. It should be in the hands of objectively minded apolitical scientists who understand cats and how to control feral populations.

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Wednesday 7 January 2009

Do Big Cats Roam in Britain?

Do Big Cats Roam in Britain? -- The papers are awash with the latest story of how big cats really do roam in Britain. But do they? This time the evidence is stronger than ever. It comes from a Forestry Commission Surveyor who was carrying out a deer survey using thermal imaging equipment at night in the Forest of Dean. View Larger Map The surveyor says this, "I couldn't tell you how big they were or what they were. They were just large, full cats." How can this be good evidence then? He couldn't tell how big they were. They might be a Lynx a medium sized wildcat extinct in Britain since the middle ages but they could simply be feral cats. Some domestic cats can be as large as or larger than wild cats (see a comparison). The Lynx weighs about 22 lbs the top end of domestic cat weight. Some Maine Coons weigh more though. Then there are the F2 Savannahs that can weigh more than 22 lbs. So there is a real possibility that these cats are feral or even stray cats. They might even be domestic cats out for a stroll at night to return to their cosy home in the morning! There are far more feral cats in the UK than wildcats. Maybe there are a few wildcats other than the Scottish Wildcat (which is exclusively in Scotland). But the chances of this "sighting" being a standard feral cat are higher than the cat being a Lynx or Panther, for example. Anyway, that's just me. But we are yet to actually see for sure a big cat in the wild in Britain despite the ton of supposed sightings. Do Big Cats Roam in Britain? -- the jury is still out. 

Tuesday 6 January 2009

Unconditional Love of Cats

There was a recent article in the press about the outgoing president's lack of unconditional love of cats. He had two it seems. One, Ernie, a stray moggie that Mr Bush adopted when he was running for president in 2000. He gave away Ernie to a friend when he moved into the White House to protect the furniture. The Bush's other cat was called "India" and was, I am told, a black American Shorthair (purebred) who has sadly just died (but after a long life) . The Bush family kept India throughout her/his life. It looks like Mr Bush used Ernie to help him get elected president. When the job was done, it was goodbye. Does this show a lack of integrity? Have I got the story wrong?

unconditional love of an animal
Yes, this is a dog. The same rules apply and it's a great photo in which there is a lovely sense of relaxed acceptance and tenderness between these two. Photo by carf

Frankly this all seems rather typical and one can't really criticize because Mr Bush did improve the moggie's life, it seems. However, the unconditional love of cats is the mark of a true cat lover and animal lover. It also might be the mark of a better kind of person but one who finds it more difficult to integrate into life.

Wikipedia states that, "Unconditional love separates the individual from his behaviors. The individual is loved unconditionally as a "perfect" child of the Higher Power. However, the individual may exhibit behaviors that are unacceptable in a particular situation." (reproduced under Wikipedia's creative commons license - this is an extract from the full article).

So, it seems the Bush family had unconditional love for the purebred but not the stray. The point is that to love truly unconditionally is, I would argue, quite rare. It is an almost saintly act in this flawed word. Mother Teresa comes to mind and even she was flawed. But with cats it is particularly important to love unconditionally as a cat's behavior can frequently clash with our ideas of what is acceptable behavior. Cats do behave differently to humans and anyone thinking of keeping a cat needs to ask themselves whether they can fully accept that behavior. In other words accept the entirety of the animal not just the appearance and presence of the cat. The unconditional love of cats will result in no behavioral problems of the cat provided the cat is healthy. If people turned their minds to these things before adopting there would be less adoptions and less abandonments and less feral cats and less pain and less killing of feral cats.....

The concept of declawing is a good example of a lack of unconditional love. It demonstrates a highly modified and truly conditional form of love. "I'll love my cat if she is turned into a modified cat, a human version of what I want a cat to be." In fact, highly conditional love of cats can lead to poor or abnormal behavior in cats and so is self defeating. To love unconditionally allows the cat to behave normally. A normally behaved cat is easy to live with. People who dislike cats (see e.g. i-hate-cats) are also unable to love anything unconditionally.

A person who is able to provide unconditional love of cats is a person who is able to behave in a way that is very pure. It is behavior that is untainted by self interest. I argue that this sort of person will sometimes have difficulty integrating into society because most peoples' actions are driven by self interest. There is a clash.

Book: Unconditional Love: Love Without Limits

Audio Book: Four Pathways to Success: Succeed in Life Using Discipline, Wisdom, Unconditional Love, and Surrender

Unconditional love for cats to choosing a cat breed

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