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Showing posts from February, 2009

Human and Wild Cat are Forced Together

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The ever present expansion of the human population means that human and wild cat are forced together unnaturally. Neither party want it this way. The wild cat tries to avoid humans because we are dangerous to a wild cat. Wild cats, even the large ones, do not naturally attack people as prey. They have their prey but unfortunately their prey and habitat is being depleted by human activity which grows and grows in line with human population growth. we try and avoid the big cats because we are fearful of them. We think they might attack us but if we leave them alone they won't. This problem is typically encountered in places like India. This clash of two entirely different species, big cat and human (two top predators, the human being the number one predator so he always comes out on top) takes place countless times every year in India and Bangladesh for example. Bangladesh is the most highly populated country in the world so it is not surprising that human and wild cat are forced t

Cat Show in India

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I have just noticed that they do have a kind of cat show in India . Actually it is a pet show that included cats, domestic cats, that is. Maybe it was more of a dog show. Dogs are more usually kept as pets in India probably because dogs can "do something" tangible such as be guard dogs. Cats don't seem to do anything but that is incorrect. Their presence is very beneficial to us , it has been proved in scientific research. A nice picture of Namil Nadu by puss_in_boots . The "pet carnival" took place in Coimbatore in Tamil Nadu. The show always takes place in Tamil Nadu, it seems. That is an extraordinary place, on the face of it, to have a carnival where companion animals are celebrated. This is because, in this state it is reported, and I have reported on this, as has this website: http://www.thaindian.com , where some farmers (a small number, I hope) eat the humble domestic cat (they are in fact, Irulas and Boers of Tamil Nadus Krishnagiri District). I di

Cats Are Not Truthful

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There is an animal whisperer in America (Bill Northern) who says he can talk animals, all animals. He says that cats are not truthful and he prefers to talk to dogs who are, if anything too polite and try and say things we want to hear. There may just be a tiny bit of truth in this but I have never heard my cat lie and believe me I know how to talk to a cat. How do we talk to a cat? Simple: by being very close, emotionally, to our cats we can sense when our cat asks or needs something and we should know what by previous routines etc. Even the tone of voice will say a lot. That and the direction she is moving in etc. It is more about habits, routines and history that give us the information that our cat is trying to give us. Above all an emotional closeness is essential. But what about a cat lying? Do cats have the guile to lie? I doubt it. They are too straight forward and innocent. Dogs are pack animals and might be too willing to do as we please, which might give the impression of

Inbreeding the Curse of Big Cats

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Inbreeding is the curse of big cats in captivity. And it is in captivity, that increasingly they are to be found. We kill them in the wild and kill them indirectly in captivity. The poor big cat is in the wrong hands. He should steer clear of humans. He tries to but there are too many of us.     I am talking here , specifically, of a report from India but other big cat reserves will have similar problems, I am sure. How can we breed with diversity when there are so few big cats around? Inbreeding is a perenial problem with all cat breeders, wildcats big and small and domestic cats too. In respect of domestic cats the problem of inbreeding arises because of the desire to improve "type", the appearance of the cat.  There is competition to produce the most desirable cats for purebred domestic cat breeders. The same goes for dogs and it is worse in the dog world. The famous Kennel Club in the UK being a good example of what can go wrong over time when overbreeding or breedi

The Price of Keeping a Cat

Astonishing, the cost of keeping cats in India. What, though, is the price of keeping a cat ? It depends where you are and what your expectations are (and the cat's expectations too!). In the UK you can buy a box of 12 sachets of decent cat food at a local supermarket for about £4-50p. It would be cheaper at a big supermarket. It is estimated that with all bills taken into account, it costs about £10,000 over the lifetime of the cat on average in western countries (see Pet Care Costs ). But here is the astonishing thing; in India there is a fine upstanding lady who has a husband, 2 children (who might work though), and 15, yes 15 cats, all rescue cats who she adores and she looks after them all including the people (!) on 80 rupees per day, which converts to 1.106275 British pounds or 1.60432 U.S. dollars. Now lets look at that a bit. Lets say that of that approximate £1 she has, say, 30p left over after providing for the people in her family. 30p to feed 15 cats. 30p might buy on

Cat Agility

Cat agility is legendary. Of all the domestic cats the standout breed (purebred cat) for agility is the Bengal cat . There are many others and most of the best will be the wild cat hybrids. But that said I can think of a Sphynx cat , behaving like a monkey at a major cat show in London. Sphynx cats are very intelligent and like to behave like monkeys!. They have monkey like toes as well. Back to the Bengal. A fantastically quick runner (max speed 30 mph in short bursts) and athletic climber. Here is an example: But the good old moggie ( mixed breed or more accurately not a purebred cat) can be pretty darn agile to. And cats can be trained to go around an agility course just like a dog. There is the case of a white cat called Fly, an Australian rescue cat, who has been trained go around a cat agility couse, albeit slowly. But they aren't all slow. I am sure that a lot of cat keepers who train their cats to complete a cat agility course are keepers of Bengal cats. And here is

Cat Speed and Dog Endurance

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This is a post about cat speed and dog enduranc e. These companion animals run differently. The cat is built for speed. The chase to catch and kill prey in the wild is designed to be fierce, rapid and over quickly. This means that the cat has to be close to prey before attempting to chase it down. This is turn means stalking low to the ground. Stalking is an inefficient use of the body's energy ( src: Duke University study ) . But as the prey is successfully caught a sufficient number of times to survive things are in balance. The classic sprinter as opposed to long distance runner is the cheetah. The classic long distance runner is the humble Mongolian ass. Here is a chart comparing speed, which comes from a web page on the cheetah's speed : Animal Speed mph Distance (yds) Human (male) - 2008 Usain Bolt 30 (max) 220 Human

Cats, Mosques and Temples

Cats, mosques and temples (and religion) go together in some unexpected and conflicting ways. There are temple cats in Thailand. This website funds an entire colony of cats at one such temple , for example. Then there are the famous temple cats of Burma and the legend of the Birman cat . And in the video above we can see the Sandali mosque cats being treated in a way that is not seen throughout India. Quite the contrary, in fact. What is astonishing (actually it's normal human behavior) is that we can see Hindu mendicants, swamis in India who flout animal welfare by decorating themselves with animal parts including domestic cat skulls etc. Then there is the gradual destruction of he tiger in India. The complete range of peoples' treatment of animals from abuse to worship is seen in relation to cats. Not forgetting the worship of cats in ancient Egypt (see Egyptian cat art ). But in worshiping the cat goddess Bastet, pilgrims would come from afar and purchase recently killed

Maneka Gandhi India's Greatest Woman

For me Maneka Ganghi is India's greatest woman . She is totally awesome. She is fighting the greatest of battles for the animals of India including, of course, cats both wild and domestic. Here she is being interviewed about wildlife conservation including the conservation of the tiger in India. And, you know, it is shocking to hear and see this video and Maneka Ganghi is so wise, enlightened, intelligent and above all right in what she says. India should be at the forefront of animal welfare, teaming as it is (or was) with wildlife. It is a country made for wildlife species. Unfortunately humans also inhabit the country and most of them want to use and abuse animals for financial gain in a short term way. Better long term planning on how to live with our fellow creatures would bring far greater reward in the long term. And what good is CITES and the IUCN Red List for Indian wildlife? When you listen to Maneka Gandhi in the video it seems that there is open trade in animal part

Cat Shelter in India

Apparently the first cat shelter in India is being built or has been built (probably the former). The website www.thaindian.com says that a Bollywood actress, Hema Malini and a MP have "allotted funds" for the shelter. I am not sure what that means. I don't know how it is being funded. Shelters are normally funded privately through donations from the public. It is unusual to, I would have thought, to actually build a cat shelter rather than simply convert an existing building, but that many in fact be the case. The shelter is to be constructed in the West Bengal capital. That on my reckoning is Kolkata, which is here: View Larger Map Hema Malini says that the numbers of stray cats is increasing daily and I guess she is behind this shelter, which is fantastic. For any Indians that might bump into this posting, I have been to India and I like India. And I didn't go to there as a tourist. I went there in a bus (I drove the bus) and stayed for several weeks, drivin

Vidya Balan is scared of Cats

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Bollywood - photo by trayser What a shame that Vidya Balan is scared of cats . Vidya is a an award winning actress and star of Bollywood films and films are very big business in India. She made her debut in the film Bengali film, Bhalo Theko (2003). Yes, we like her and her acting but she doesn't like cats and it doesn't matter if they are big, small or inbetween. This must be due to some sort of experience she had when she was young, perhaps very young - I don't know. There is no reason to be frightened of cats, except they do have strong jaws, sharp teeth and claws but then people can cause lots more damage. Apparently she has to have a cat chased out when she is working as she becomes petrified. I find this hard to believe but understandable. Cats and companion animals have been proven to provide great psychological benefit so perhaps one day she will overcome her fear and enjoy all those benefits. Vidya Balan is scared of Cats to Home page

Cats Can Protect Children Against Asthma

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Well, we know cats have psychological benefits as companion animals . In addition cats can protect children against asthma . Research carried out at Columbia Centre for Children’s Environmental Health (CCCEH) at Columbia University suggests that children who are around cats at an early age can develop antibodies to allergies. I can remember reading somewhere a long time ago that children today were too protected and lived in an environment that was too sterile. I think this latest research is saying the same thing from a different perspective. What is happening, it seems to me, is the child develops an immunity to the well known allergen produced by the cat Fel d1 ( Felis domesticus allergen 1). This is a protein in cat's saliva, which dries on the cat after she/he washes herself. It then flies off as what is commonly called cat dander (saliva, skin and hair). Forcing a young body to deal with this promotes a strong immune system, it seems. About 10% of the population are immun

They Said They Wanted Their Cat Back

A couple gave up their cat to a local rescue center and changed their minds. They said they wanted their cat back . Should the cat be given back without question? The matter concerns a couple in Orkney. Orkney is north east of the Scottish mainland:- View Larger Map The couple had decided on re-homing their cat after the wife was unable to get out due to illness. The wife might be confined to a bed for some time, the husband said. This was the reason given for giving up their cat. The rescue center, Cats Protection, refused and asked for the couple to apply with others. Are they right? Absolutely yes. The couple said that they hoped commonsense would prevail and the cat returned. Yet, I see more commonsense in the Cats Protection for not just returning the cat. Although I don't have all the facts, on the face of it, the reason given (if it is as stated) is not really inadequate. The man's wife "might be confined to bed". What does he do? Can he care adequately fo

Clouded Leopards

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Photo by fuzuoko (creative commons, see below) Clouded leopards are so named because of their cloud-like pattern (see picture below right). This is a truly beautiful animal. It is why it is assessed as threatened by the IUCN Red List (population is estimated at 10,000 adults) as people want a piece of it. This wild cat is banned under the Conven tion on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). This is intended to stop trade in body parts of this cat. I am not sure that CITES is that effective though. This is a relatively small wild cat. We might get the impression that this cat is similar in size to the well known tiger , for example, as it looks similar. Yet it is a fraction of the size weighing 25-50 lbs. The tiger is the largest wild cat species weighing 397 - 569 pounds for the male. A well known large domestic cat the Savannah or, in fact, the Maine Coon can both weigh in the order of 20+ lbs. That gives us a clue as to size. This video s

Desert Cheetah

The rare desert cheetah has been photographed by a camera trap in the Algerian Sahara. The desert cheetah is (as I understand it) a sub-species of the cheetah and it was thought that there were no more than 250 adult Sahara or Northwest Africa cheetahs in the wild. They are considered therefore to be critically endangered. Yet, it has to be said that little is known about population size so I am not sure how the authorities (presumed IUCN Red List - see IUCN Red List for cats ) came to that conclusion. Probably by common sense. The camera traps (cameras set up to be fired off by the movement of animals in front of the camera) were set up to provide information about population size, interaction with the environment and movements. Apparently 1,750 square miles of the Sahara is being surveyed. The research is being carried out by ZSL, Office du Parc National de l'Ahaggar and the Universite de Bejaia, supported by the Wildlife Conservation Society and Panthera. My mind wanders to

My Cat Bites My Ankles Advice Please

I'd like some advice as my cat attacks my ankles and it is getting to be a problem. This is the plea from a cat keeper and the answer is pretty clear. This cat might be young, probably is. What the cat is doing is playing, chasing and, yes, practicing hunting skills. Nothing wrong with that, totally normal for the cat. What we as humans forget is that what we perceive as "cat behavior problems" are, in fact, human expectation problems. We expect and/or hope our cat will behave as we want him or her to. We want the cat to fit into our life style. This attitude is manifest in many ways, the most cruel of which is declawing cats. We should accept that the domestic cat is a whisker away from the wild cat. After all the domestic cat was a wild cat some 9,000 years ago. They are still very close in character. A domestic cat can leave our home and survive with nothing. We couldn't do that. So, if our cat is chasing and biting our ankles, we should rejoice in the play and p

The Maine Coon is Rare in England

A story about a stolen cat in Berkhamsted, England tells us that the Maine Coon is rare in England. When writing about the cat fancy and purebred cats one can get a bit blaisé about the wonderful cat breeds. And, of them all, the Maine Coon, the all American cat, is perhaps the most popular and attractive. In this instance a large cat wondered into the home of a retired (aged 75) and rather sick gentleman. This cat was either a "time share" cat (sharing homes) or abandoned or he had just gone walkabout. I favor the first. Cats tend to migrate to the better places and this person clearly appreciated this straying cat. He named him Jezz. Jezz took care of the old man through 5 heart attacks and a stroke. Cats can be of great comfort to people. They are known to have beneficial effects on the health of people . Jezz, apparently is a Maine Coon cat . I have no idea if he is purebred or not. Well, Jezz was stolen allegedly by a woman in a white van. Has Jezz been stolen? Is she

Anger and Cat Cruelty

Anger and cat cruelty go hand in hand and drink and drugs as well, maybe. Cats are vulnerable. Cat cruelty is a form of cowardly bullying and more. It is akin to child cruelty. We see a far bit of child cruelty. Children are as vulnerable as the domestic cat, even more so, in fact. People, often men, who are not able to manage themselves or their lives well enough (and I am not being critical of that as we all have our moments) can become angry. They might drink to alleviate the distress and the anger resurfaces and wants to strike out at something, almost anything within range. On this instance a young man in Victoria, BC, Canada, punched his girlfriend's cat repeatedly in the head causing fractures. The reason he did this? Because the cat wouldn't listen. I guess people don't listen to him. Not surprising, I suppose. This is where Victoria is: View Larger Map The person concerned has been charged with animal cruelty. In Canada in the state of British Columbia (BC) i

Cat Collars Can Kill

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Yes, cat collars can kill sometimes. It might be quite rare but once is enough. People put collars on their cats for decoration (the cat looks better to a person - not to the cat of course), to control fleas and/or for identification. My neighbor puts a collar on her cat (I call her Pippa) for decoration only. She doesn't even use the collar for identification. So all this person is achieving by putting on a cat collar is making the cat look better in the eyes of the owner while putting Pippa under a risk, albeit slight, of injury. That cannot be right, surely? My neighbor is stupid like that (sorry but it is true as she also lets her cat regularly roam over a very busy road). Anyway back to the subject of cat collars can kill. A charming and sad story got me on to this subject. It is the story of Millie. An abandoned cat in Beverly, Mass, USA. View Larger Map Here is a picture of Millie on the right, as I am sure the people who took the picture won't mind me using it as

How Fast are Eurasian Lynx

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How fast are Eurasian lynx? The domestic cat can run at a top speed of about 30 mph . The lion can run at 40 mph over a short distance. The cheetah is the fastest as we know at about a top speed of 64 mph over a short distance - see Cheetah Speed to see why this figure is not the usual 70 mph. The Eurasian lynx is a great jumper with powerful legs. Her size is more than 5 times (at about 60 lbs - male) that of the domestic cat (about 7-11 lbs). I can't find an actual figure but my guess is that this cat can run at about 35-40 mph top speed . Wikipedia say this cat is not very fast but that is relative.

Lynx is Hunted in Romania

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The lynx is hunted in Romania with the consent of the government. The figures present the lynx population as healthy at over 2000 in 2001 (the last date figures are available -this seems strange?). The figure is an "official estimation" and to me is seems dangerously low not healthy. According to the website, www.kora.ch , the data is inconsistent. I presume that this is data from the Romanian government. It says that there is a clear need to improve the consistency and transparency of data. Note: the lynx in Romania is the Eurasian Lynx. I have to ask then, how can an assessment be made as to whether it is viable to hunt this wild cat. For myself, I would ban hunting whatever the figures. There is no need to hunt today. It is cruel and outdated. But when the government has its latest figures up to 2001 and even these old figures are unreliable then the most pro-hunting person would be hard pressed to argue that hunting of the lynx should take place until a proper analys

Domestic Cat Kills 16 Animals a Year

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The domestic cat kills 16 animals a year , so say research scientists at University of Reading, UK. As there are an estimated 626 domestic cats per square kilometer that makes 626 times 16 animals killed by cats every square kilometer per year. The figure is 10,016. This translates to 92 million animals a year, of which 27 million are birds so the researchers say. How accurate is it? There are some estimates and uncertainties (to me) in this: the figure of 16 per cat is estimated the figure of 626 cats per square kilometer seems to be estimated these estimates are based on the area around Reading, how typical is the area? Does the research differentiate between domestic cat and feral cat? the researchers say there are 9 million domestic cats in Britain. I don't know how accurate this figure is or how it was arrived at. There has been a constant argument about the impact of the cat on native wild life none more so than in Australia, where the feral cat is persecuted for killing na

Austalian Feral Cat Laws

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The Australian feral cat laws are gradually being developed (happily). I have talked about feral cats in Australia a lot, mostly in a critical manner because in Australia they do some pretty horrendous things in relation to the feral cat including shooting it on sight: see Ground Shooting of Feral Cats . View Larger Map In Port Augusta, SA (see map above) the local authority has introduced compulsory microchipping and neutering for cats over 6 months old. This, at least, tackles the root of the problem as it is law that is focused on the people who keep companion cats rather than the cat her/himself. This is sensible. The big problem is how to enforce the law? This is a really tricky point. Perhaps the local authority has felt the difficulty of enforcement as the despite the legislation the feral cat population has dou bled over the past few months. And Australians really do think they have a feral cat problem, hence the desperate measures of allowing shooting them in some stat

Fourteen million cats are destroyed each year

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Yes, fourteen million cats are destroyed each year (in the United States) according to the author of an article on feral cats on the seacoastonline.com . I had thought that about 2.2 million feral cats were euthanized each year in the United States. Maybe the figure has gone up. Can someone confirm the true figure. The author also says that there are 60 million feral cats in the USA ( src: HSUS - a good source). Apparently, as far as I can remember, there are about 80 million domestic cats, in homes, in America. So that means the feral cat population is similar to the homed domestic cat population. Feral cat - photo by Sister72 - this photo was taken Aug 19th 2007. I wonder if this cat is still alive? On that basis, is it fair to make out an argument that the domestication of the cat is now beginning to fail, where once it was a success? The idea behind domestication is that human and cat gain out of it. It is meant to be mutually beneficial. But if one party to the arrangement,

Big Cat Sightings UK

"The head was similar to a domestic cat, but slightly bigger", says Mr Vine working up a tree 50 feet away. Here is another one of those mysterious big cat sightings UK . But look, guys, if a cat has a head a little bigger than a domestic cat it cannot be a big cat. The head of big cats is 5-10 times larger (estimated) than a domestic cat's head. It can, though, be a domestic cat that is larger than the type of domestic cat that Mr Vine is used to seeing. But big deal! This latest UK sighting happened in Churchdown, Gloucestershire: View Larger Map This large domestic cat (I claim it is that) was jet black with a tail that "floated". The black domestic cat is very common. This one was jet black as stated. The purebred domestic cat with the most beautiful of jet black coats is the Bombay cat. See Bombay Cat PASSION . The Bombay, cat, though, is not the size of a Labrador (the size of the "big cat" sighted) but a medium sized cat. Also a Labrador

Ashera Cat Constroversy

The Ashera cat controvers y rumbles on. A lot of people say that the very expensive Ashera GD (the claimed hypoallergenic version of the Ashera) is simply a high fillial (F1 or F2) Savannah cat . The F1 is a cat one removed from the wild cat ancestor, Serval cat . No one has yet, it seems to me conclusively pinned down the claim that the Ashera GD is a misdescribed Savannah. And no one has yet conclusively pinned down the claim by skeptics that the Ashera is not hypoallergenic. Are they allergy free cats ? Lets not forget that Life Style Pets Inc. claim that the Ashera GD is hypoallergenic, which would make it the only cat of its kind, other than the other claimed hypoallergenic Life Style Pets cats. The Ashera GD costs about $22,000. But please note that he very special Savannah cat from A1 Supremes - the ultimate hybrid domestic felines, cost a similar figure. These are difficult cats to breed and rare and special and the market it there at that price. The cost shouldn't be t

Tribal Lion Tattoo

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Lion Head - from tribalshapes.com Introduction This is an article on the tribal lion tattoo. I know and like lions. This site is about cats and I have made a post about tattoos ( picture of cat tattoo ). Tribal tattoos interest me. I am not an anthropologist but I do know that a society based on a tribal structure predates the concept of states and larger groups of people. We only have to look at Africa to see some countries going backwards (or perhaps, it could be argued, forwards) into a tribal structure. When the typical government breaks down it seems that people form or revert to tribes, in which they feel safer and more comfortable. Is this the reason for the upsurge in teenage gangs and tribal tattoos? Tribal Lion Tattoo - unfinished - photo by gregm51 In London, UK teenage gang culture on the poorer estates is common. These teenagers, it could be argued, form gangs (or if you like tribes to use an older term) as a means of finding "belonging". This is perh

Cat Wounds

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Cat wounds are best taken care of by first (a) stopping the bleeding (if the wound is bleeding) and (b) preventing infection. Care should be exercised in treating a wounded cat for obvious reasons. Careful and proper restraint may be needed. Note: once immediate care has taken place a trip to the vet is recommended as wounds if treated correctly and promptly may not become infected. Cat wound - cat fight - photo by natmeister Bleeding There are two types. When an artery bleeds the blood is red and if a major artery it might spurt. When a vein bleeds the blood is dark red and the bleeding oozes. There are two methods to control (stop) bleeding (a) tourniquet (b) pressure dressing. Tourniquet This is used for heavy bleeding from an artery, for example. It can be applied to the legs or tail above the wound. It should be released every 30 minutes for 3 minutes to let blood into the limb. Pressure Dressing If a gauze is to hand this should be placed over the wound and bandage