Friday 10 December 2010

Black Cat Earrings

Yes, this is a diversion from the serious stuff and in any case black cat earrings are pretty popular judging by some online market research, which is a bit surprising actually because it is said that black cats are the least likely to re-homed from cat shelters. Also black cats are abused sometimes at Halloween and there is a ridiculous connection between black cats and bad luck. Although in some places they indicate good luck - just superstition basically. People also search for ideas on black cat names. I have two black cats incidentally! Well one is all black (Charlie) and the other is B&W.

OK, back to the task at hand; black cat earrings. Here are some for sale:

The first pair (above) perpetuate the unfortunate connection between the black cat and witches (see cat history). I know this is a bit of fun and I like that but I have a slight doubt about it as there is abuse of black cats even today as I said and there are still satanic cults that feature cats and probably black cats etc.

Here are two more from Amazon:

And finally some more from Animal Den a decent online resource:

Black Cat Earrings

Black Cat Earrings

Nothing beats the exceptional look and quality of our Black Cat Earrings. Among the finest made, you will be provided with great satisfaction and long lasting enjoyment. Why not pamper yourself or give a loved one a Black Cat gift to show them how much you care. The Black Cat Earrings will make the perfect gift for any Dog lover. Shop with confidence, because all products come with a 100% customer satisfaction guarantee. Click over now to see the big selection of Black Cat gifts we offer.

Black Cat Earrings

Black Cat Earrings

Nothing beats the exceptional look and quality of our Black Cat Earrings. Among the finest made, you will be provided with great satisfaction and long lasting enjoyment. Why not pamper yourself or give a loved one a Black Cat gift to show them how much you care. The Black Cat Earrings will make the perfect gift for any Black Cat lover. Shop with confidence, because all products come with a 100% customer satisfaction guarantee. Click over now to see the big selection of Black Cat gifts we offer

Well, I think that they are pretty nice black cat earrings but what do I know! Here is picture of a melanistic F4 Savannah cat. She is gorgeous:

F4 Melanistic Savannah cat

Black Cat Earrings -- Associated pages:

Black cat pictures

Black cat cartoon

Black cat coats

Michael Avatar

From to Home Page

Tuesday 27 July 2010

Roaming Cats Aren't Natural - Discuss

Cindy Kemper, wildlife biologist and (indoor) cat lover says that "roaming cats aren't natural". That sounds like rubbish and it is rubbish. The most natural thing in the world for a cat is to roam and patrol territory.

She argues that domestic cat predation kills hundreds of millions of birds and more than a billion small animals in the USA annually. She produces not a shred of evidence to support that wild assertion, which is surprising coming from a "wildlife biologist" (see for example: Domestic Cats Don't Decimate Bird Populations)

She says that "this is unnatural predation". Her argument is that Canadian songbirds did not evolve with domestic cats as predators. Well that is a very poor argument. The domestic cat has been in North America for at least 400 years and perhaps longer. It has evolved alongside birds over that time. And the domestic cat lived side by side with songbirds in the Golden Crescent some 9,000 years ago. Before that the domestic cat was a wildcat. Surely that qualifies as evolving with songbirds and it doesn't make a jot of difference if they are Canadian or Middle Eastern songbirds.

Then she says that there are no songbirds in New Zealand because of predation by outdoor domestic cats "and other non-native mammals", whatever they are. These are wild unsupported statements that harm the domestic cat and she claims to be a cat lover!

Yes, cats are in danger if left to roam but there must be a better way than simply banging up cats all their lives. I am convinced that the domestic cat needs to be in the open air. It is entirely natural and healthy. Full-time indoor cats can be healthy too, of course, but I would bet that there are a considerable number who suffer illnesses through being full-time indoor domestic cats, one being stress related illnesses.

Cindy Kemper's thinking is narrow minded, biased and unsubstantiated. Her article damages the image of the domestic cat and encourages more to simply take the easy route and imprison their cats. A middle way must be the best, namely a decent sized cat enclosure. And at the same time we should start thinking wider and more profoundly. Is it right that we can only keep cats indoors full-time? If that is the case I don't think we should keep cats. Lets change the entire philosophy of keeping domestic cats. Lets stop finding a poor compromise as a solution which is keeping them indoors all the time and look to improve our standard of care of our companion animals at a much more profound level.

A nice cat enclosure must be the minimum requirement:

Photo: AJ Russell - Flickr

See her article here.

From Roaming Cats Aren't Natural - Discuss to Home Page

Saturday 17 July 2010

Beautiful Burmilla Cat

Here is a beautiful Burmilla cat, which I publish under a creative commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic license:

Beautiful Burmilla Cat - photo Marc Jordan (Flickr)

This cat lives in Long Ashton, England. I think her name is Liessa. Wrong? and you see this please correct me!

Monday 5 July 2010

Arm & Hammer Cat Litter

In the Arm & Hammer® advert in Cat Fancy magazine (Vol 53 August 2010 - issued June 2010!), it says that cats and people prefer cat litter that destroys the worst odors. Well, it doesn't actually say that but there is a cat next to the litter and a line of text below it that strongly implies that a cat prefers litter that does not smell as cats and a person raise their hands. I can't quote it as it would be a breach of copyright.

Is this true? I think the opposite is true. We (people) don't like litter box odors because we like a sanitised life so the advert is right to that point. But a cat's life revolves around scent and smell and as the litter box will smell of the cat that uses it (each cat should have their own litter box) a cat cannot dislike a litter that smells.

In fact a cat will feel comforted by its own smell. Therefore I think this advert very strange indeed. It seems to be saying this...

"We hate litter box smells. Because of that our cat doesn't like them. Because of that a cat might not use the littter. As a result if you want a cat to more reliably use the cat litter use Arm & Hammer® cat litter as things will get better..."

Wrong obviously. It might be nice clumping litter but please don't bend the truth to sell a product. If the product is genuinely good at neutralising litter odor then just say it. This is probably not perfumed cat litter but if it was a cat might object to it. Cats seem to prefer neutral and natural cat litter and as mentioned it should smell of them not perfume!

 From Arm & Hammer Cat Litter to Home Page

Cat Vitamins: Functions and Imbalance

A list of vitamins, what they do and some signs that there might be a deficiency. This page is for informational purposes and not for self diagnosis. That is the domain of the good veterinarian.

Vitamin A - necessary for: proper vision, cell maintenance, bone development, teeth development, normal skin. Deficiency results in impaired growth and skin infections and lesions.

Vitamin D - necessary for normal calcium absorption and metabolism. Deficiency is rare and results in rickets in kittens and osteomalacia (softening of the bones due to defective bone mineralization) in adults.

Vitamin E - protects cells from oxidative damage. Deficiency results in impaired immune function, reproductive failure.

Vitamin K - for normal blood clotting. Deficiency leads to increased clotting time.

Thiamin (B1) - for carbohydrate metabolism. Deficiency leads to anorexia and neurological disorders.

Riboflavin (B2) - for "normal oxidative reactions and cellular metabolism". Deficiency results in skin lesions and neurological disorders.

Niacin - for oxidation and reduction reactions and metabolism. Deficiency: skin lesions.

Pyridoxine - involved in metabolism of protein and amino acids. Deficiency: anemia, anorexia and weight loss.

Pantothenic Acid - involved in carbohydrate, fat and amino acid metabolism. Deficiency: impaired growth, weight loss and anorexia.

Biotin - necessary for the metabolism of fats and amino acids (skin and hair health). Deficiency: dermatitis and skin lesions.

Folic Acid - for normal red blood cell development and  DNA synthesis. Deficiency: pernicious anemia. Cats eat grass to ingest folic acid, it is thought. Snow leopards living at high altitude eats lots of vegetation.

Cobalamin (B12) - function is linked to folic acid. Deficiency: pernicious anemia, leukopenia.

Choline - part of the cell membrane (constituent of phospholipids in cell membranes), Deficiency: Neuroloogical disorders and fatty liver.

Vitamin C - necessary for the formation of collagen. Deficiency: none - cats synthesise this vitamin themselves so it need not be ingested in food.

Source: The Cat, Its Behavior, Nutrition & Health by Linda P Case

From From Cat Vitamins: Functions and Imbalance to Home Page

Sunday 4 July 2010

Treatment of Overly Fearful Cats

I am not sure that there is a truly successful treatment for overly fearful cats. Overly fearful cats are those that are extremely timid and who either freeze, run or fight when presented with a "stimulus" that elicits fear. The typical trigger to run for many cats is the entrance of a stranger (to the cat) into their territory (the house usually). The person may even be a certain type of person. This is certainly the case with my old lady cat. She is very sweet and a bit timid but has a fear of noisy men, usually workmen and even the lorries or vans that they arrive in!

She runs to a secure bolt hole. At the moment, in the dry weather, that happens to be outside under dense undergrowth, where even I had difficulty seeing her. When the stranger has gone, I call her and in her own time (a long time) she turns up as if nothing had happened.

There are many other types of stimuli that prompt fear responses. Of course, a natural part of any animal's make up is fear. It is a useful emotion in respect of survival. But overdone it can present problems to some people but not the cat lets remind ourselves. The cat feels comfortable running. That is fine with me. I can accept that and indeed I accommodate it, but I don't encourage or reinforce it.

If a person wants to moderate or gradually try and eliminate a disruptive fear response to low level stimuli, the way forward is by desensitising your cat to the stimulus.

This is done by introducing a similar stimulus to the one that elicits the overeaction but at a low level, at which the cat shows no fear. In showing no fear the cat is rewarded with a food treat. Provided the stimulus is within the cat's comfort zone it can be gradually increased and more treats given. Following this path, in the end the cat will be desensitized to the original stimulus and not freeze, run or fight.

That is the theory. I would have thought that this retraining would be necessary in only the most extreme cases of timidity as the usual flight/fight response is not only natural (and it must vary from cat to cat) it is also of little consequence to us most if not all of the time. To try and retrain would therefore bring little reward to us and definitely not much to the cat.

 From Treatment of Overly Fearful Cats to Home Page

Cat Experts Aim Too Low

When cat experts give advice about cats they often aim too low. What I mean is their advice is too heavily compromised and modified by what suites us and not what is in the best interests of the cat.

Let me give you a good example. The expert in this instance is Linda P Case who wrote a book I sometimes refer to and which is called, The Cat, It's Behavior, Nutrition & Health. She writes on page 180-181 about, "Undesirable predation". How can predation by undesirable for the cat? It is completely natural for a domestic cat to prey on small animals. We all know that. This advise is too people orientated.

In order to stop this undesirable behavior we are advise to bang up our cats, indoors, on a permanent basis. Job done, problem solved. Or is it? A lot of cats who are full-time indoor cats will find alternative outlets for their desire to hunt and some of these will be abnormal behavioral conditions; conditions that are stress related such as overgrooming or OCD conditions such as tail biting. The cat might suffer hair loss through stress in my opinion.

More importantly, I feel that the advise should be more optimistic and more adventurous and certainly more in keeping with the best interests of the cat. And it should seek to provide as natural an environment as possible surely?

The better and more absolutely correct advice is to encourage people to build enclosures. In my view, in an ideal world we should be thinking much wider than simply forcing the domestic cat to acclimatise to an unnatural life indoors to suite us. Of course a cat indoors can't get run over by a car. But if we gave more effort to figuring out how to protect cats from cars or keeping cars away from cats or slowing down cars, that sort of thing, then we would come up with a better solution for us and that cat in the long term.

For instance, in an ideal world no one should keep a cat unless that person had safe enclosed land to allow the cat to roam and behave naturally. And people who keep cats should sign a declaration that they accept all of the cat's behavioral traits. We need to accept the fact that our cat might bring in a half alive mouse and then play with it. If we can't accept that don't keep a cat. How simple is that?

The bottom line answer to "undesirable predation" is to relabel it "desirable and acceptable predation" and to thoroughly accept it. To bang up a cat to stop it behaving naturally is little better than declawing it.

Linda, for me, your advise is too conditioned by conventional human experience and knowledge. It is not expansive and novel enough. It is predictably American and in America there is a tendency to see the cat as a fluffy moving object whose purpose is to amuse people and not as the most effective predator on the planet.

 From to Home Page

Cats Can't Give Informed Consent

The obvious fact that cats can't give informed consent places us in a position of responsibility that a lot of cat keepers don't recognise. How do I know that? Well, it's easy really. In the USA there are about 20 million cats that have been declawed for the benefit of the person and to the detriment of the cat. Clearly millions of cat keepers in America have not taken on the burden of responsibility to protect the rights of their cats.

It is very easy for us to become complacent about the rights of our cats. They are in fact quite vulnerable despite being under our care. We have total power over them.

The concept of informed consent, in relation to medical procedures for a human, means that we are clearly informed about the procedure and then we make a decision whether we should undergo it. The objective is to improve our health and wellbeing.

In respect of medical matters regarding our cat we listen to the veterinarians advice and make a decision. We are the vet's client from the vet's perspective. This is wrong. For the vet the client should be the cat and the cat owner or keeper is the cat's guardian and spokesperson. With that perspective in mind, it is possible to envisage a lot of decisions concerning the health of cats having a different outcome.

For a start there would be no declawing  - none whatsoever because the cat would obviously object to it. In the same vein of thought, a cat would not accept the administering of drugs to modify its behavior. Some cats might be considered troublesome with so called behavioral problems when in fact the behavioral problems could well be ours in not accepting a cat's normal but sometimes disruptive behavior.

When administering medical treatment to a cat, both the veterinarian and the cat's owner should place themselves in the shoes of the cat and make a decision accordingly. In short both human parties should protect the cat's rights and give informed consent on behalf of the cat.

A cat has no legally protected rights in a general sense in the USA as far as I am aware other than standard animal cruelty laws. In the UK there is the Animal Welfare Act 2006 which also sets a framework for animal welfare. There appears to be a gap in the law here. A cat is protected against cruelty under criminal law. But a cat is not protected in respect of the need to obtain informed consent before medical procedures are carried out on the cat.

The only way around this is to make it law that veterinarian medical procedures must only be for the promotion of the cat's health and not for the convenience of the person. A vet's oath and guidelines say that this must be the case at all times. But it is flaunted and ignored in the USA hence the need for legislative protection.

From Cats Can't Give Informed Consent to Home Page

Thursday 1 July 2010

Litter Box Aversion

Litter box aversion is a favorite topic on the internet. Piles of words have been written on it. Here are some more!

Litter box aversion is not spraying for territorial marking. It is when the cat simply stops using the litter box for urination and defecation. The cat will do it elsewhere on horizontal surfaces as opposed to vertical surfaces for spraying.

For example, the cat might try to use the litter box, half in and half out, without touching the litter itself and dig outside the box.

Two common reasons for litter box aversion are:

  1. a dislike of the litter (technical term: "substrate") - heavily scented litter although marketed as beneficial for the human might not work out that way if the cat dislikes it and pees on the carpet! Apparently finer clumping litters are preferred by cats over the coarse clay litters.
  2. less commonly - a dislike of the location of the litter box

A dislike of the substrate could be because of its feel and smell. A change in the litter might provoke an aversion and the cure is therefore obvious.

Another reason why a cat might not like the litter is because it is not clean. Some cats are fussy or more fussy than others.

Another entirely separate cause of litter aversion is because another cat is using it. Or the use by another cat might exacerbate the problem. The presence of another cat would also alter the status of the existing cat, which might also exacerbate an aversion.

The initial diagnosis is to assess whether there is a medical condition such as cystitis that drives the cat to urinate frequently and outside the litter box. This is one example. Once medical issues have been successful dealt with or eliminated the other reasons can be ticked off.

Moving the box and employing more than one box in a multiple cat household might do the trick. Then the litter type can be changed and the litter kept spotlessly clean - twice a day should be OK.

Punishment is a definite no no as it does not work and makes the cat fearful. It will damage the human caretakers relationship.

Confining the cat to a small area with the litter without carrying out tests on the preferred litter type and without ensuring the litter box is clean may work within the confined space but not when the old routines are recommenced.

Cats who stop using the litter box for whatever reason may develop a certain area in the house as a substitute and as this area then smells like a cat toilet is will be reused. The area must be thoroughly cleaned with an enzyme odour eater that are available on the internet to remove all traces of the smell. Conventional cleaning won't work.

The cat should then be prevented from returning to the area while being retrained to use the litter box. The key to solving litter box aversion is to discover the underlying cause and remove it, whilst remaining patient and constructive in re-habituating the cat to use the litter.

From to Litter Box Aversion Home Page

Photo by Wunderkrafts (Flickr)

Monday 21 June 2010

Some Strange Weird or Sick Cat Stuff

The first bit of strange cat stuff is a weird picture of a….well it is obviously not real. There are a lot of sites peddling a wide range of sensationalist images and videos of any subject.

It is all circulating around the internet.

Here is this weird photoshopped image:

photoshopped cat

Despite being a bit disturbing it is well done.

Next comes a video. This is a nice video but the title is…Little lion survived in Siberia due to “adoptive dogmother” . This gives the impression that the lion cub was in the wild in Siberia. As there are no lions in Siberia the cub must have been born in captivity in Siberia.

The strange bit is not the dog nursing a lion but the title.

Next comes “Cat Missile”

cat missile

This must also be a clever piece of photo editing using Photoshop or some other similar software.

Next one…You have to figure out what the image is..can you see the girl?

Strange image of a tiger

Next some images that I find disturbing:


Picture above: He was up there for 18 hours! These are power cables!


Not a clue how this cat ended up like this. Someone must have put this tape on. Although the caption on the original says that the cat achieved this all on his or her own. Possible? Not sure.

cat shot by crossbow

This last picture makes me feel ill. A tabby cat shot by a crossbow for fun no doubt. He survived. He wandered around like this for a week before making it home. That is the story. I have one slight doubt. Is this a genuine photograph. It almost looks like the arrow is resting underneath the cat and not piercing it. I hope that is the case. If I am right then it is sad that people publish this kind of thing.

This is the real world of the internet where people crave weird and strange images and videos for instant gratification. It is a sad reflection on us.

All the images are in the public domain.

Some Strange Weird and Sick Cat Stuff to PoC Forum

Wednesday 16 June 2010

Witchcraft banned cats from the bible

Witchcraft banned cats from the bible. Crazy? Absurd? No not really. Here is my argument. The bible contains no reference to the domestic cat whatsoever. The domestic dog is mentioned but not that frequently. Lions and leopards are referred to rarely.

At the time of Christ the cat had, by mutual consent, been domesticated for more than 6,000 years. In Egypt the African wildcat had been well and truly domesticated also by consent with the cat. In other words the cat and humans gained from the relationship.

For a while, the domestic cat in Egypt before the time of Christ (a cat that is the Eyptian Mau even today), was revered and worshiped. We know about that. As a result, a lot of potential existed for a least a mention in the bible. But nothing. Zilch. Rien. Porquoi?

It may simply be that the authors of the bible found nothing in the domestic cat that related to their stories. That seems a fair assumption as the bible is about people. And the bible was written second hand many, sometimes hundreds of years after the event. It is not necessarily an accurate account of events.

And then we have the translation. Lost in translation might apply to the bible. Did the 47 Church of England scholars who translated the Greek text of the bible into the King James Version do it objectively, accurately? Or were they tempted (as I would be) to put in a bit that I thought is more important and which would guide readers in the direction that the Church of England wanted them to go?

At the time (early 1600s) cat familiars (black cats that lived with so called witches) were thought of as real. People believed in them. Might it have been very easy to erase the few references to the domestic cat that might have been in the original text to "clean it up" for modern England? What I mean is modern in relation to the origins of the bible.

Three Legged Black Cat
Black Cat - Charlie

You know, translating text from one language to another, particularly an old language allows for a good amount of artistic enterprise. The translator is looking for the true meaning of the text as they understand it. It is objectivity built upon subjectivity - a dangerous concept.

So, if as I say witchcraft and cat familiars were part of the national consciousness in the days when the bible was translated into the most widely used languages, it is not beyond the bounds of reasonable thought to suggest that the cat was removed from the text. After all, witches familiars revealed the devil to the witch. It was possessed by the witch. How could an author put a cat in the bible on that basis?

My conclusion as to why there is no reference to domestic cats in the bible is:
  • They were not that relevant to the stories in the bible
  • Cats were seen as evil and possessed of the devil at the time translations of the bible were being carried out
  • The bible was written 50 to hundreds of years after the events. The stories are second had and somewhat historical. Under these circumstances only the broader issues where referred to. Detail mentioning the cat were irrelevant to the stories as mentioned.
The Islam faith has a more practical and open culture and teaching regarding the domestic cat because Mohammed kept a cat as far as I remember. A great start for a domestic cat. I don't know what the modern Muslim feels about the domestic cat but if they read the books they will be tender and compassionate because that is what is taught.

Michael Avatar

From witchcraft banned cats from the bible to Home Page

Monday 14 June 2010

Wildlife Conservationists Can't Do It Alone

It is perhaps obvious but little discussed. Wildlife conservationists can't preserve wildlife on their own. They can't work in isolation, which sometimes seems to be the case.

There are two "ends" to the wildlife conservation problem and it is a problem as wildlife is being hounded off the planet by increased human activity.

At one end is the conservationists, the people who wrestle with symptoms of ever increasing human activity that destroys habitat and destroys wildlife directly as it frankly gets in the way of human activity. Most human activity is commercial activity.

The conservationists are the equivalent of the veterinarians, they try and cure the illness. But despite huge efforts they are weak compared to the "illness" and, in fact, effectively powerless. They certainly are not curing the problem, just sticking a plaster over it.

This is because the illness is not being tackled at source by the other party to wildlife conservation; the businesses.

Some businesses are concerned with wildlife and help to conserve it but generally wildlife and wildlife habitat just gets in the way and it is an overhead to business that is best cleared out of the way.

So the other end of the problem is business, human activity. This is far bigger than conservationism. Nothing is being done about human population growth. Little if anything is being done about world pollution damaging the planet and wildlife habitats.

Forests are continually chopped down for pristine white paper - it is madness of course but nothing changes because the model of "economic growth" remains supreme and unchallenged.

We need to think again about the ideal model upon which we are to govern activity on this planet. Economic growth cannot go on increasing without massive investment in protecting the planet. Better still it must slow and cease. We must get used to zero economic growth and find a way to make that work.

Then we must shrink the world population and rejig everything. Then and only then will the tiger and all the animals below it be safe.

Michael Avatar

From to Home Page

Sunday 13 June 2010

Male Serval Morpheus

This is a picture of male serval Morpheus looking inquisitively at me. The picture is in fact a bit misleading as he was probably figuring out how he was going to spray urine all over me. This he did not long after this photograph was taken.

Male serval Morpheus

As mentioned, his name is Morpheus and despite looking rather sweet in this photograph, when I was with him in his enclosure I cannot say that he behaved in a particularly sweet way.

That is not to criticise him. He behaved exactly as I would expect a wildcat to behave towards a human who he is unfamiliar with. He was a bit hostile and wanted to make me smell more like him! And it was pretty well impossible to avoid his spraying particularly as I was fully occupied trying to tease him into position and photograph him at the same time.

Decent compositions and interesting expressions were extremely fleeting. On one occasion I placed by cat tease (a feather attached to the end of a flexible stick) to close to him and he caught me with his front claws. I felt that.

Morpheus lives in an enclosure with his girlfriend or spouse. They are breeding serval cats. There is a market for servals in the United States, which is where Morpheus lives.

Breeders want to buy servals for breeding and individuals want to keep them as domestic cats.

Servals, however, are not great domestic cats in my opinion. They are too large and too wild no matter how well domesticated they might be. They also spray as I have mentioned.

I don't see the point of keeping a serval as a pet. Many people in America will disagree with me, which is fine. Although I was relaxed and got on well with Morpheus in his enclosure, he was a bit intimidating. If that is the normal feeling one gets when close to a serval I don't see how a relationship with one can be ideal.

Hope you like the picture. Here is another:

Male serval Morpheus hissing

Michael Avatar

From Male Serval Morpheus to Home Page

Saturday 12 June 2010

Siamese Cat Personality

Classic looking Siamese cat (left) and a grey cat (right) at Cat sanctuary
Foz do IguaƧu, Brasil - Cats: Bishop and Bella-Donna,  Photo by fofurasfelinas

In the cat fancy - the world of purebred cat shows and breeding - the Siamese cat personality is very well known as it is very distinctive.

What comes to my mind immediately is the relative intelligence of the Siamese cat and its desire to speak to us, or to put it more technically its vocalisation skills.

Before I go on though, let's remind ourselves that there are a number of cats that are in effect Siamese cats or at least Modern Siamese cats in terms of personality. The only difference between the following cats and the Siamese cat is their coats:
  • Balinese - long haired Siamese (update: Marie Clements a Balinese and Siamese cat breeder says that the Balinese has a similar but different personality. She breeds traditional Balinese cats. Read her page here).
  • Oriental Shorthair - wide range of coat types
  • Oriental Longhair - long haired version of the shorthair
Let's also remember the Thai cats (classic Siamese cats in my opinion - between modern and traditional Siamese in terms of body shape). These too will have the same or similar personalities subject to selective breeding practices within those breeds. And lastly the Applehead Siamese (traditional). See all three shape varieties of the Siamese cat.
    So, beyond ranking highly in cat intelligence testing (ranked second below the Sphynx), what else does the Siamese cat personality offer us?

    They are vocal to the point of loudness on occasions. They produce a certain type of cat sound - very Siamese, demanding. They are quite active as well. Of course this is relative to the other breeds. They take pleasure in sitting on their human companion's lap and occasionally sharing their human's pillow!

    In short, this group of Siamese cats like to get close to their humans. That I guess makes then demanding on occasions and it is a sign of confidence. But let's not forget that individual cats have their own characters and that their own personality may well supersede the breed personality.

    Being intelligent they are bound to be more demanding and it also means that they will be inquisitive, investigating whatever takes their fancy. They may get under your feet and god forbid annoy you sometimes.

    The bottom-line is that they demand our love. Is that so hard? In doing that we satisfy the demands it makes through increased contact and play.

    The Siamese is a very popular breed presently third in this websites long standing popularity poll (see an overview of the Siamese cat). That tells us that its personality is liked, loved and preferred by many people. This is borne out by the fact that many well known personalities and actors favoured the Siamese cat including the Jean Cocteau and Anna Pavlova to name two here (see Siamese cats and films stars)

    You know..the Siamese cat personality is really like the personality of all cats, except a little heightened.

    Associated pages:

    Siamese cat health

    Siamese cat history

    Michael Avatar

    From Siamese Cat Personality to Home Page

    Friday 11 June 2010

    Laser declawing is as bad as the knife

    This is a photomontage created by Ruth who is a passionate anti-declaw campaigner. I admire her greatly for her consistency and perseverance.
    The point that she is making is that although vets say laser declawing usually causes less pain, it still causes pain and in any event it is still unnecessary mutilation of the cat.

    declawing by any method is cruel

    Vets in the USA should be spending their time educating cat keepers not chasing the almighty dollar with new methods and gimmicks to deceive the public into thinking that declawing is acceptable and reasonable.

    Traditional, Classic and Modern Siamese

    I think this is quite a nice picture for showing the three types of Siamese cats. The original Siamese cat shape is the top one. The is the Traditional Siamese and it has the nickname, “Applehead Siamese” because of the apple shape head (i.e. rounded in comparison to the long Modern Siamese head shape).
    The Modern Siamese is the bottom one and the backlash or change away from the slender (oriental body shape) is the middle Siamese cat that I would call a classic Siamese cat and which is now a new breed called the Thai cat and which is registered with TICA but not the other cat associations.

    Thursday 10 June 2010

    Indoor Outdoor Cat Debate

    I feel that I have to revisit the indoor outdoor cat debate. People have strong views about the subject. And they are often very polarised views. In the USA people tend to keep cats in full-time. This is a culture thing, the norm it seems. One reason for this, I sense, is because there is a much greater possibility in the US for cats that are outside to be attacked by large wild animals. There are few large wild animals in the UK that would attack a cat. It is extremely rare for a domestic cat in the UK to be attacked by a wild animal whereas in the USA coyotes are commonplace it seems to me and they attack cats. Coyotes are dog like animals to people who are unfamiliar with them.

    I see many indoor outdoor cat debates on the internet and many words written but I have never seen anyone mention or discuss the philosophical or more profound issues behind the whole thing.

    We must admit that the outdoors is the cat's natural home. It is full of fantastic stimulation, the smells, sounds and activity is exactly what a cat needs to satisfy its natural innate drives. Deny these to a cat and you are asking for trouble, I say. But the full-time indoor advocates will rightly say that to let a cat outside is to place a cat into a potentially very dangerous environment. I suspect that more domestic cats die from road traffic accidents than any other cause. The car is the enemy of the domestic cat.

    We have responsibilities towards our cat, of course. The first responsibility is to keep him or her safe. That points to a full-time indoor cat existence as the correct choice. We also have a responsibility to make our cat's life as natural and therefore as interesting as possible. I would wager a bet that the lives of a great percentage of full-time indoor cats is not very interesting. We like our cats there for us, nice and safe but do we do the extra work required to make their lives interesting in what is a very unnatural and potentially unstimulating environment.

    So, is a long boring life better than a interesting short one?  I think on average and in general it comes down to this choice.

    I think that to keep a cat indoors full-time is a complete admission of failure on our part. I believe that people generally should not keep cats at all if it means providing them with such an unnatural life. That is a provocative thing to say and if followed would lead to there being far fewer domestic cats in the world but that I say is not a bad outcome.

    We need to raise the bar in terms of standards of cat caretaking. I think we need to turn the clock back in respect of keeping cats. The outdoors of 2010 is very different to the outdoors of thousands of years ago when the cat was first domesticated. With human population growth we have massively increased the dangers for outdoor domestic cats. As mentioned the car is the biggest killer. Lower human population would result in less cars. We can't turn the clock back in terms of human population but we have created a hostile world for the domestic cat and we then fix the problem by making the cat's life dull by keeping the cat indoors. I just feel that we have it all wrong at a fundamental level or that we can do a lot better.

    As a compromise the cat enclosure must be the best solution but few people take up this option. The next best "solution" is to let a cat outdoors but take precautions. This is a compromise again but one that I think strikes a better balance between safety and letting our cat live a normal interesting life.

    How do we achieve cat safety outdoors? We also need to ensure that our cats do not cause a nuisance to neighbors who don't like cats.

    Careful preparation and/or thought is required. One suggestion from Dr Bruce Fogle the well known veterinarian and writer is to train your cat to speak back to you when you call his or her name. If a cat can do this, you will be in a better position to find your cat if it has gone missing, is trapped, injured or too frightened to return home.

    He suggests that the best way to train your cat to "meow on command" is to hold a food treat in front of your cat while it is hungry and repeat its name. During training most cats will meow to demand the food. When this happens the cat should be rewarded with food and plenty of verbal praise. The sound to which your cat meows need not be your voice, Dr Fogle says. It might, for example, be the sound of a dry food container being shaken. This may be more appropriate if more than one person will do the calling. A cat is more likely to respond the voice of one person.

    I would be remiss if, in the indoor outdoor cat debate, I did not mention cat identification. For an outdoor cat this seems sensible. The modern method is to microchip. Dr Fogle says this is a safe option. I am not entirely sure that that s true (Microchipping pets including cats). There is some risk in microchipping. He also suggests that an outdoor cat should always were a collar with an identity tag containing the cat caretaker's telephone number. Collars can be dangerous too so it should be one of the fail-safe kind that prevents the possibility of strangulation. A person should be able to slip two fingers under a collar that fits correctly. If travelling with a cat the ID tag should contain a local telephone number of course.

    Outdoor cats should also use cat friendly gardens. There are such things. But God knows how many people even think of this never mind create one. The cat friendly garden should cater for a cat's natural behavior. One such piece of behavior is scratching. Wooden posts can be used to edge flower beds. These are ideal as scratching posts. If the wooden posts can be placed at different angles and heights so much the better as some cats like to scratch horizontally and some like vertical objects.

    Posts at the edges or boundary of the garden could also serve as places where a cat can mark his territory by spraying. This would mainly apply to unneutered male cats. Most cats should be neutered for obvious reasons. Garden decorations such as brick for paths are cat friendly as brick retains heat. Cats as we know like a bit of warmth to lounge on.

    If you want to avoid your cat using your garden as it would cat litter, soil can be covered using ground covering plants that are effective all the year. I am sure the local garden center can advise. Personally, I would prepare a special area where my cat could go to the toilet!

    Such a toilet could be a small sand pit, for example. It should be sifted regularly like cat litter. It should be sited away from children play areas as there is a slight risk of passing toxoplasma (feral cats spread disease).

    Other outdoor cat hazards to be aware of are:
    However, one good element of outdoor life is that we have the chance to grow herbs in the garden and cats love herbs and that goes far beyond catnip. See these posts:
    The last and obvious note to make about outdoor cat life is the fitting of a cat flap. In my experience cats use cat flaps naturally in much the same way that they use cat litter naturally. They will be drawn to using it because it leads outside to the smells and sounds that are so attractive to cat. A bit of commonsense and gentle encouragement can help if the cat is reluctant.

    Checklist for a safer outdoor life:
    1. Prevent access to roads - this is a difficult call but vital. We must be aware of the potential for being killed by a car. If there is a road nearby the only way a cat should be let out is under close supervision (with a leash for example) or in an enclosed garden or enclosure. Or if the cat is very old and will not travel far. 
    2. Train the meow response to calling the cat's name.
    3. Provide ID tag and microchip.
    4. Make garden interesting and useful.
    5. Don't force a cat outdoors. These suggestions only really applies to cats who crave outdoor life and who have problems adjusting to FT indoor living. Some cats demonstrate clear signs of distress when confined to indoor life.
    6. Vaccinate cat - outdoor cats are obviously more open to receiving infectious and contagious diseases
    Indoor Outdoor Cat Debate - Note: 

    Photo of cat on wall: by lambertwm
    Photo of feral cat in tree: by * starrynight1
    Photo of cat on patio looking at another cat: by :: Wendy :: 

    From Indoor Outdoor Cat Debate to Home Page

    Wednesday 2 June 2010

    Harmony in a Meadow in Oklahoma

    Well, this is not about cats. A relief to change the topic for a while, to be honest. But there is a connection between the photograph below and cats.

    The photograph was taken in a meadow or very large field belonging to A1 Savannahs near Ponca City in Oklahoma. A1 Savannahs is probably the best cat breeder anywhere.

    I spent a very enjoyable 12 days there recently. I stayed in the guest house, a large three bedroomed house next to the farm.

    Harmony - A1 Savannahs Farm
    Harmonious serene dawn in sunny Oklahoma May 2010
    - photo by Michael @ PoC

    The cattery is of course on the farm and next to this glorious field.

    For an English person (me) the weather in Oklahoma is more extreme than in Britain. Although it is probably more accurate to say that the weather in England is more dull than anywhere else.

    There were storms about while I was there. The hail storms are ferocious. The hail can be very large and damage property and people. Staying in the guest house it was like someone throwing tons of stones onto the roof of the house at 4 in the morning.

    However, on the morning of this photograph the weather was fine and hot. A hot day was to come. I had determined to go out into the field at dawn, at sunrise to see what the light and the farm animals could produce in the way of a photo.

    Luckily things clicked nicely together. First the animals followed me into the meadow. All of them, it seemed. They swarmed all over me. They were very curious.

    All I had to do was to move away from them towards the rising sun and then look back. That sounds easy but it was not that easy. I waited and stalked these lovely animals for quite some time until they formed a nice composition.

    A major factor in the success of the image is that these animals were all best friends! They got on like a house on fire, sticking together and following one another around. One of the horses gave a ram a love bite.

    From Harmony in a Meadow in Oklahoma to Home Page

    Wednesday 19 May 2010

    Daria F2 Savannah Kitten

    This is a wonderful F2 Savannah kitten from A1 Savannahs that will grow into being a fine looking and behaving adult cat of real presence. The photo was taken by me yesterday under what I would consider to be difficult conditions as it was very dark at the time. The only light was from a tungsten light source.

    Daria an F2 Savannah kitten from A1 Savannahs

    In order to get workable sharp picture I had to use flash light and the only flash light that I had was on the camera.

    It was fortunate that Daria went into this tunnel cat play area. Using a shutter speed that allowed some of the background to also show despite not being illuminated by the flash I was also lucky enough to get a nice wildcat type expression.

    I had all but given up getting a decent photograph and at the last gasp got one that works OK.

    Daria already has a new owner and was about to be picked up or shipped out. The photo was taken at A1 Savannahs and Daria was born on their farm and raised by Kathrin and Martin Stucki.
    Michael Avatar

    From to Home Page

    Monday 19 April 2010

    Cat Breeders Should Warn of Genetic Diseases

    Senator Larcenia Bullard in Florida has introduced a bill (a draft law - actually, I think it is a proposed amendment to an existing law) that breeders of cats and dogs should provide a sort of 'health warning' to buyers. The proposed written warning notifies buyers of purebred cats and/or dogs of the potential of a genetic disease being present but not apparent and recommends that the buyer has the companion animal screened.

    This is of course being opposed by breeders. They like to fight for their rights. And I agree that it sounds a bit insulting as decent breeders will monitor genetic diseases themselves and minimise the risk of the disease occuring. Indeed sometimes cat associations stipulate breeding practices that are intended to eradicate or minimise unwanted deliterious conditions that are manisfest through the transmission of mutant recessive genes.

    But and this is always the case, there are breeders who go a bit too far in their desire to create the perfect cat that is exactly to type and more. That requires inbreeding and the recessive genes can show in physical characteristics under these conditions.

    This is because there is an overemphasis, it is said, on a cats appearance. This drives breeders to breed for appearance sometimes to the detriment of health or at least risking health issues arising.

    So the bill is intended to sharpen up the cat breeding business. What is wrong with that? It will help the cats. There are many instances of regulations that govern the freedom to contract. This is just one more. People need freedom, yes, but they also require a degree of regulation. Look at the banks.

    There does seem to be a gradual focus on cat related issues and their regulation. I am thinking of the declaw bans in California late last year. And the bill in California to stop landlords insisting on cats being declawed.

    The law needs to protect animals that are part of a profit making enterprise as these animals are always open to abuse even on a minor scale. See Genetic Diseases in Purebred Cats.

    Cat Breeders Should Warn of Genetic Diseases Home Page

    Martin and Kathrin Stucki in the News

    Kathrin and Martin Stucki of A1 Savannahs are in the news, and rightly so. They have a fantastic business breeding Savannah cats. It is more than a business, though. Their passion comes through in the commitment to their work and the quality of the cats that are created at A1 Savannahs. The video below comes from News OK, an Oklahoma new website. A1 Savannahs is at Ponca City in Oklahoma.

    All being well (volcanic ash permitting), I will be visiting them in May and I intend to bring back some decent photographs for the website: Pictures of Cats org.

    View Larger Map

    From to Home Page

    Sunday 18 April 2010

    The Cat Mountain

    Charlie, Three Legged Cat in Classic Meerkat Stance

    Here is what I would call a 'cat mountain'. He is Charlie. Now, before anyone thinks that I staged this, I didn't. Charlie just likes to stand up like a meerkat. He uses this position to see better. He can have a good look at what is going on.

    He also uses the position to get attention. If he is asking me for food and I don't respond quickly enough, he jumps up like this. I then get the message loud and clear.

    From The Cat Mountain to Home Page

    Monday 12 April 2010

    More Burmilla Photographs

    I have just bumped into some more nice Burmilla photographs on Flickr that I am permitted to publish her under a creative commons license (Attribution-Non-Commercial-No Derivative Works 2.0 Generic). Thank you kind Flickr photographer. Here they are:

    Burmilla cat

    See the above in larger format on the original Flickr page. Next is Priscilla:

    Burmilla cat

    See the above photograph in large format on Flickr

    Photographs are by Oz-Aspects (Flickr)

    Michael Avatar

    The Burmilla is part of the Asian Cat Group

    The Burmilla is part of the Asian cat group in the UK. In fact, it is the first in the group.  Accordingly, it is one of the Asian cats.

    I have made a post about the Asian cat on this page: Asian Cat where I discuss it in some detail.

    You know I am not sure why the word 'Asian' was selected except that the Burmese is one half of the parents of the Burmilla and the Burmese hails from Burma, in Asia - or does it really? - see There were no Burmese cats in Burma.

    The Burmilla is an "Asian Shaded". It includes both shaded and tipped cats. The coat should not be so lightly tipped that it appears white. The undercoat should be pale. Tabby markings should be limited to the face, legs and tail and broken necklaces1.


    1. Encyclopedia of the Cat by Dr Bruce Fogle.

    Michael Avatar

    Thursday 1 April 2010

    Siberian Tigers Starved

    I guess you have heard about the Siberian tigers starved to death, all 11 (or is it 133) of them in a Chinese  Zoo (I have seen a picture of one of the starved but living tigers and it is horrendous). The zoo couldn't afford to feed them so they fed them all manner of rubbish that was highly innappropriate and eventually they starved to death at which point the zoo buried them to keep it all quiet until they were dug up.

    That is not the whole picture though. This same zoo was allegedly, illegally, selling the ubiquitous tiger bone wine or is it "tonics" (a quite ridiculous product based on pure ignorance). Some zoo. The Siberian tiger is becoming extinct in the wild because of people's activities in destroying habitat and sport hunting etc. and this largest of all the tigers is being starved to death in captivity.

    How bad does our behavior have to become before we take steps to change things? The whole thing disgusts me frankly. And I find it acutely depressing.

    Here is some detail on the Siberian tigers starved to death:

    The zoo is the Shenyang Forest Wildlife zoo. It is a semi-private operation, which means part is owned by the local or national government, which in turn means that they are equally to blame. But we already know that the Chinese government has no regard for tigers or indeed wildlife. There are thousands of captive tigers in "zoos" and horrible tiger farms (6,000 in fact1) in China and I allege that all are involved in the tiger body parts trade. That is why they exist! The tiger body parts trade is simply ridiculous and idiotic because there is no health benefits associated with consuming tiger body parts and there are alternatives that actually work. It is fraud built on fraud while the tiger is treated dispicably.

    This is where this dispicable place is:-

    View Larger Map

    The problem is much wider and deeper. Of the 6,000 captive and farmed tigers it is said that 1,000 are starving2.

    The "zoo" was created as a tourist attraction but I allege its true purpose was to supply the tiger parts business - utterly cynical behavior. But is there a silver lining? If I am correct it might mean that the tiger body part business supplying the Chinese medicine trade is on the wane, in decline. This is unlikely but possible as the tiger (Bengal or Siberian  - the others are as good as extinct) is on the very edge of extinction and that may have put more pressure on conservation albeit massively late in the day. Horribly late and in fact almost certainly too late in my opinion as tiger population sizes in the wild are unsustainable it would seem.

    The assessment that the tiger body part business might be in decline is borne out by the fact (it seems to be a fact) that the zoo in question had to store tiger parts in freezers as they could not sell them. That cost money which would otherwise have been spent of tiger food. The freezers are thought to contain hundreds of tiger carcasses.

    To add insult to injury the people (police and senior forestry officials)  charged with protecting wildlife including the tiger were allegedly involved in the open secret of the illegal tiger bone tonic wine. It is all horribly corrupt and a hopeless lost cause.

    We must remind ourselves that there are no animal welfare or cruelty laws in China. Where there is little in the way of human rights how can there be animal rights? So not only are they starved to death they are maltreated by being declawed and detoothed2.

    To round off this depressing post, it is alleged that tigers were being fed sweet buns instead of meat. Can you believe the scandal, the horror of this callous, careless, and cruel place labelled a bloody zoo?

    2. Guardian newpaper
    3. Sky News

    From to Siberian Tigers Starved Home Page

    Friday 26 March 2010

    Three Legged Black Cat

    This is my three legged black cat, Charlie. I love him, of course. He gets around well but his disability has made him adapt considerably and he is no where near as mobile as he would have been if he had not lost his front right leg.

    Three Legged Black Cat
    Charlie my 3 legged cat - photo: Michael Broad @ PoC

    I don't know, by the way, how he lost his leg. He was adopted by my mother from an RSPCA shelter in Hertfordshire, England.

    You can see this picture on the main website, Pictures of Cats org here: Three Legged Cat Picture. This linked page talks a bit about the photography too.

    Right now it is 7:30 pm and he is out in the garden exploring. It is dark and I am a bit concerned. We get foxes in the garden but I don't think foxes can cope with a large cat like Charlie. He is still quite macho despite the lost leg.

    He has a fine single coat that is easy to comb and which fleas don't like as it is too thin. Fleas like nice warm and thick double coats with a nice density packed down layer. Here is a video of him too:

    Charlie is a decent boy cat. He is loving. He comes to me in the morning and evening after he has been out seeking some affection, which he gets in abundance.

    He then washes himself. He does this slowly and thoroughly. He likes me to use a flea comb on him all over. He purrs throughout. He has very few fleas if any sometimes because of his relatively thin coat. He is my three legged black cat.

    From Three Legged Black Cat to Home Page

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