Showing posts from May, 2012


By Barbara (UK) You can see the four earlier posts on Barbara's walk by clicking on this link . Click on this to see a large format version. Poster by Ruth AKA Kattaddorra This is the final installment of the series of four written by my sister Ruth ‘Sharing the fun of fund raising for needy cats’.   The day of the walk dawned and it was pouring down! The forecast had said rain to start with but clearing…it didn’t clear! Anyway I got ready with the help of my dear (patient) sister and we both went up to my work so Ruth could take some photos and she’d said she would go over the road to a shop and get me a Cats Protection balloon filled with helium to attach to the pushchair. As it turned out she got two and free of charge as the shop owner said it was to help a charity, so there was another kind soul. My manager Jenette was at work already as she was manning the office in my absence, she hooted with laughter when she saw me but said I looked good, just not like me,

Meeting the Asiatic Lions of Gir Forest

By Rudolph.A.Furtado (Mumbai, India). I have been on a four day "Lion Safari Camp" with B.N.H.S (Bombay Natural History Society) tour group  between Wednesday (16-5-2012) to Saturday (19-5-2012) to the Gir forests of Gujarat in India. The Gir Forest is home to the last species of the Asiatic lion in the world numbering only about 400 approx. It is situated in the north-west of India (see map). We visited the "Gir National Park" on 5 different occasions on 3 different days, lucky to spot the rare elusive lion. On the last day we saw an entire pride of 6 lions, sitting across our jeep trek road, approx 50 meters away from us. It was a life scene straight out of a "National Geographic Documentary". Pride of lions walking in a single file A young lion spotted in the undergrowth bushes of Gir Forest The pride sighted on Friday (18-5-2012). A rare situation Doesn't cat Matata my Persian cat resemble a miniature lion? What baffled

USDA Too Slow to Shut Down Dodgy Zoos

Great Cats of Indiana has been closed. Hurrah! It took about ten years to do it. In the meantime the great cats inside were turned into cats that weren't so great; just depressed, underweight tigers and lions with medical problems, and in poor health and condition. I have written about the dodgy private zoos of America before. There have been some high profile cases , which have resulted in deaths. Lion at Great Cats of Indiana - I don't the name of the photographer, sorry. Apparently the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) had filed a complaint about Great Cats of Indiana in 2007 and there have been breaches of regulations going back to 2002. A court application was filed by the USDA, as I understand it, in 2007 but the place was still open until now. Earlier inspections revealed negligent medical treatment of a cougar, leopard and lion. For example, the cougar had half a tail and a bloody open would where it had been severed. I am informed that the US

The Crow and the Bengal Cat

This happened about two hours ago, in London, in my communal garden and in a neighbour's garden. It is a slice of cruel natural life. Daniel A young crow was attacked by an F3 Bengal cat called Daniel when he was out in the garden under the supervision of his caretaker. The crow escaped from Daniel and managed to get into a neigbouring garden. A while later there was an enormous commotion. Crows and magpies were circling around and squawking feverishly. This went and on until I went out to investigate. I looked over the wall into my neighbour's garden. I saw the young crow that had escaped from Daniel on the ground, wings outstretched and on his back. On top of him was another crow who was stabbing his beak into the other crow's neck and head. The crow was deliberately killing the other bird. As I looked over the wall the attacking crow jumped off and flew away. The attacked crow flapped both wings gently and died. The squawking and screaming stopped. All w

Purina Pet Treats Made In China Killing Dogs

There are several reasons I chose to write about Purina® pet treats made in China killing dogs. First of all, many of us cat lovers also have dogs. And if we have dogs, there's a chance our cats may get a hold of one of these treats. Photo by NestlĂ© (on Flickr) The products being investigated by the FDA are Waggin' Train and Canyon Creek Ranch dog treats. Both products are made in China for the Nestle Purina® company. The FDA has now logged more than 900 complaints from owners whose dogs have gotten sick or died after eating these treats. Most were diagnosed with kidney failure. Dog owners should be warned as these products haven't undergone an official recall and are still on the shelves at retailers across America. Readers, keep in mind that just because a product is available for sale it doesn't mean it's safe! Another reason I'm writing on this issue as it brings to mind an article I wrote last year about Purina One® cat food. Its at http://www.

My Yellow Tabby Tomcat

Hi All! My name is Stefan and I have a 3 year old yellow tabby tomcat called Base. I will say some words on the big differences existing in the temperament and personality of my cats. It is my third attempt to raise and live with a cat in my life. I had in the past a cat who lived 4 years and another gray short-haired cat who lived 8 years before I adopted Base - so I can say a few words about this ;) Base Base Petrica So, Base is totally different from Petrica (the former gray tabby). Petrica was a very quiet person, he watched TV, slept almost all day and never left the apartment. And he made a crisis out of transporting him in my car.  Base is totally the opposite… he a strong personality, and is a very restless kind of animal. He is always running and jumping, asking for food or litter, and having a powerful and tonal voice when he meows. He patrols the entire building (6 floors), sleeps occasionally in the neighborhood (a old lady feeds him), and escaped twice out

Caboodle Ranch Custody Hearing Continues

All testimony in the custody hearing of the Caboodle Ranch cats concluded on May 29, 2012 and each side has until June 11 to submit their proposed order as to the fate of the Caboodle Ranch cats. On or before this date, the judge, who is a cat owner, will issue a ruling and draft an order based on his decision. This practice is common in this type of hearing. Caboodle Ranch in happier times The judge has requested briefs on whether the court or the sheriff has authority over disposition of the cats. Also in question is whether the court is permitted to return a portion of the cats or whether this is an all or nothing decision. A good many supporters of Caboodle Ranch turned out to witness the trial. Ron Grant testified on behalf of Caboodle Ranch. It was stated in an article at that their attorneys hope to prove the case against them is based on heresay, lies and that the PETA photos were "doctor

Cat foods that can cause health problems

We know that cats are true carnivores. They have a "unique metabolism" which means that there are some foods that should not be eaten at a quantity that is greater than 10% of a cat's overall diet in order to avoid potential health problems. Meat and Diary Products Despite being carnivores (meat eaters) cats cannot "survive on just lean meat" 1 . It has excessive amounts of phosphorus in relation to calcium and it is deficient in: sodium copper iron iodine vitamins A cat living on solely a lean meat diet may develop: skeletal abnormalities malformed joints essential fatty acid deficiencies secondary hyperparathyroidism Liver contains levels of vitamin A that are too high and it can result in unresolvable bone deformities that are painful. As to diary products , cats like them but cow's milk contains "large quantities of fermentable sugars". To break these down an enzyme called "lact a se" is required. In adult cats

Requirements of Cats Kept in the Home

The requirements of cats kept in the home is important in America but less so in Britain for the obvious reason that a lot more cats are kept indoors permanently in America than in Britain. There is a definite culture difference with respect to cat caretaking between the countries. One reason may be that there are more purebred cats in the US and also going outdoors may be more hazardous with respect to predation by wild animals. However, keeping cats indoors reduces the home range for the cats significantly. It also places individual cats in close proximity to each other. However studies indicate that neutered male and female domestic cats can be housed successfully indoors if there is enough space of sufficient quality and provided the cats have become used to these sorts of conditions from kittenhood. Cats require more space than we think and they need to be able to get away from each other and and out of sight of each other from time to time. Harmonious group - Photo by Bibi

Casual T. Cat

Casual T. Cat was a brown cat that walked upright (anthropomorphized). He was the cartoon cat who was electrocuted to death when a baby grabs his tail and stuffs it into a wall electrical socket. The baby had been playing with an electrical cord beforehand. This grizzly scene was in a public service announcement safety commercial produced for American television by the American Academy of Pediatricians . The title of the commercial was: The Shocking Adventurer of Casual T. Cat . The lesson was: "Childproof your home". It was first seen on television in 1989. The characters in the animated short film were made of plasticine clay, using Claymation or clay animation. In this form of animation the characters are photographed, adjustments made to their positioning etc. and then re-photographed and so on. The still images are then pieced together and played as a movie creating the illusion of moving characters with a sense of three dimensions as these are three dimensional o

Captain Jack Cartoon

Captain Jack is a cat cartoon character. He is a suave adult comic books hero who was created by Mike Kazaleh , a freelance funny-animal comic animator and artist. Captain Jack first appeared in 1986 in the comic book The Adventures of Captain Jack published by Fantagraphics Books who say they are a "Publisher of Comic Books and Graphic Novels by the World's Greatest Cartoonists". However, I cannot find a reference to this comic book character nor the creator of the character on the Fantagraphics Books' website. Captain Jack Captain Jack is a grey and white cat. Technically speaking he is a bicolor cat - solid and white. He likes to live well and wears a smart uniform and often smokes a cigar. Captain Jack is a space adventurer of the 23rd century, specifically 2200. He commands a crew that includes a dog called Herman Feldman who has a side kick, a small dog with a red tail who is conveniently called Beezlebub, a play on the name, as you have no doubt gues

Boo Cartoon Cat (Funky Phantom)

Boo Cartoon cat with Mudsy and Skip, April and Augie Boo is a cartoon cat and companion of Jonathan Wellington "Mudsy" Muddlemore. They are both ghosts from the American War of Independence (1775–1783) - American Revolutionary War.  They featured in a Saturday morning cartoon called The Funky Phantom , which had 17 episodes. The Funky Phantom was made by an Australian production company called Air Programs International and was first aired on television in 1971. It was made for Hanna-Barbera Productions who I presume were in contract with ABC television in the USA. Johnathan Muddlemore (together with his companion cat) was fighting in the American War of Independence, when they bumped into a couple of British soldiers in an old house that had a large free-standing clock in the hall. It was one of the old fashioned grandfather clocks you see in antique shops. They hid in the clock where they unfortunately met their demise as they couldn't get out . Moving to

The Abandoned Tiger

People who care about the domestic cat, who keep and love a domestic cat do not necessarily care about the tiger . This is not a criticism. You can like cats but the tiger and wild cats generally are different. They are somewhere else - in the wild. We are no longer connected to the wild. In fact we don't want any more wild places. We just want to control the whole planet. Wild places by definition are out of our control. Good people in Europe and North America who have learnt about the domestic cat and do a good job in caring for their cat through experience and knowledge often know little about the tiger. This beast is out there somewhere, thousands of miles away in wood or forest, slinking around avoiding humans. A lack of knowledge about the tiger leads to a lack of action to protect the tiger. Combine that with a long history of poor and corrupt management in the places where the tiger lives and you have the abandoned tiger. It actually goes beyond that; people are fearful o

Cat Hoarder The Truth?

There is another cat hoarding story going around the internet (May 26th 2012) and what is useful in this case is that we have the alleged cat hoarder on video having her say in the matter and defending herself. To hear her and listen to what she says helps us understand where the truth lies and gives us a bit of an insight into cat hoarding. In the United States cat hoarding stories are probably second only to feral cat population stories. This case concerns an 81 year old Frenchwoman, Lucienne Touboul, living in Arizona - an immediate culture clash. She has a strong French accent and she speaks poor English. I also sense that she may be suffering from slight dementia problems, which would be normal at 81 years of age. You can see immediately that there will be a communication problem with Arizona police who I would expect to be not that patient or sympathetic and I am afraid to say they may be prejudiced. I am not saying they are being racist but there will be an enormous clash of c

Animal Testing and European Directive (Directive 2010/63/EU)

I have seen the petition on the Care2 petition website . It is headlined, " Stop the UK Government from legalising the use of stray pets in lab experiments! " The petition basically says that the new legislation (law) created by the Commission of the European Union (EU) will have a detrimental impact on stray pets, and on animals generally, who are used in animal testing in the UK. The new law is in the form of a directive. This is legislation that the institutions of the EU create and then hands out to members of the European Union who are then obliged to incorporate what is European law into national law. The UK is part of the EU. When Europe creates new law on animal testing it is important for people who are concerned about animal welfare. Most of these people want animal testing stopped completely or a least controlled and restricted more severely and efficiently. It is an opportunity to improve animal welfare law. By "improve" I mean to reduce and restrict

Friendship Between Cats

This is about domestic cats and relationships between conspecifics. Conspecifics are organisms of the same species. We know that the domestic cat forms friendships with us too. This is quite a difficult subject because of the word "friendship". It is a word that was created by humans for humans. Scientists running studies about the behavior of domestic cats don't usually like to refer to the idea of friendship in relation to cats. They use terms such as "affiliative relationships", "close relationships" or "preferred associates" 1 . The same thing effectively. If you look in the index of respected books on the domestic cat you don't see "friendship". Information is therefore hard to find. However, concerned and observant cat caretakers can see friendship between cats all the time. We often see friendship between cats in feral cat colonies . These are groups of cats that have formed naturally because of a suitable food sour

Cat Obesity Effects and Management

Some more notes on cat obesity. The first point to notice is that cat obesity is defined as being greater than 15% over the ideal weight (9-12 lbs for a male and 7-10 lbs for a female cat - but cats vary considerably from breed to breed and from individual to individual). I am surprised because 16% over normal weight is not a lot overweight and yet a cat will be classified as obese. Cat obesity is the biggest problem regarding the feeding of cats in the USA and Western Europe. Apparently, up to 20% of cats in these regions are obese. My late lady cat Binnie was obese at one time so I have first hand experience of cat obesity . Nearly all cat obesity problems are because the cat eats too much in relation to the lifestyle that he or she leads. By eating too much I mean that the calorie intake is too high. By lifestyle I am particularly referring to the level of exercise the cat partakes in. As usual it is all about how much goes in and how much is burnt off. There are a lot of char

Housing Cats at Shelters

The method of housing cats at shelters has an effect on how adoptable the cat is to potential adopters. It also affects the amount of stress suffered by the cat at the shelter. I'd like to summarise the conclusions of three studies into housing at shelters. Ottway and Hawkins 2003 Cats that did not know each other and who were housed in communal groups were more stressed than cats that were either (1) housed singly or where (2) cats where housed as a group but the cats were familiar with each other. Durman 1991 When cats are housed in small groups of 4-7 cats in rooms in a shelter, newly introduced cats were stressed and were aggressive towards other cats. After four days of attempts to escape and vocalisations that showed signs of stress, these signs subsided. However, other signs of stress such as sitting underneath shelving changed more slowly. After two weeks an "equilibrium" was reached. After one year cats were more likely to have formed friendships. G

A Bevy of Black Cats!

I think you'll like this photograph, if you haven't seen it before. It was taken in 1961 at an audition for a suitable black cat for a film staring Vincent Price called, Tales of Terror . Obviously it was a horror film. I believe that this photo is in the public domain and if not I have reproduced it in small scale and claim fair use on the basis that it is educational! Which it is. Photo by Ralph Crane at Life Magazine So what is nice about this rare sight? Firstly, all the cats are on leads and they are behaving themselves nicely in a strange place on the street in the company of a great number of other black cats. I don't think I have ever seen so many cats looking pretty calm and organised. I wonder whether black cats are particularly well behaved. I don't think so. Black cats are more healthy though . It's to do with the underlying reason why they have black fur. See also black cat pictures .

American Veterinary Workers Against Declawing

The American Veterinary Workers Against Declawing Facebook community is fantastic. It is for American veterinary workers who are working in, or have worked in, the veterinary business. It is brave of people who currently work in the business to publicly fight against declawing. I admire them tremendously. I particularly like the concept of people inside the business working for a better service for cats. Vets have to admit that the declawing process is not for the benefit of cats. It can't be, can it? So working to stop declawing is working towards a better service for cats. I would hope that there will a gradual shift - and it will be gradual because declawing is an entrenched problem - towards a more enlightened attitude within the profession through the efforts of this Facebook community. I find Facebook hard to navigate so I am unable to discover who started the community. Whoever she or he is deserves a big pat on the back and a cuddle! :) If you have time please visi

Tiger Foot Size

Tiger foot size: More than 11 centimetres or 4.3 inches is the width of the hind feet of an individual male tiger in Nepal's Royal Chitwan National Park so says Charles McDougall, a scientist working as a Smithsonian Research Associate. A website says that the Sunquists in Wild Cats of the World write that the width of the tiger's front paw varies from between 15 and 17.5 cms (although I could not find this in the book). There has to be considerable variation because Amur (Siberian tigers) are generally larger than Bengal tigers and, of course, individual tigers vary in size. The image below is approximately to scale - a life sized male tiger paw print - at just under 14 centimetres across - top to bottom in the picture. It is on its side and cropped because it would be far too large for the page if it was presented upright. Female Bengal tiger hind paws in the area he studied were less than 11 cms in width, says Mr McDougall Tiger Foot Size Imagine a tiger wa

The Spirituality of the Cat

We know that the current Pope (2012 - Pope Benedict XVI) adores cats. This might be because when he was growing up, his parents kept cats. I feel certain that Pope Benedict XVI's parents were very good cat caretakers. The Pope has a gentle character. He is like an academic. We know that smart people like cats. Educated older women are a typical profile . Einstein kept cats (a male called "Tiger") and so did Hemingway ( polydactyl Maine Coon type ), Dickens and Churchill (he has a fondness for cats). There is a long list of great men who appreciated the cat companion. It is sad therefore that the Pope under the Vatican rules is forbidden from keeping his cat (any "pet") in his apartment. He must miss Chico, his black and white short haired cat, very much. However, he couldn't turn down the chance of being the Pope for that reason, could he? Previous Popes have kept companion animals. Leo XII  kept a dog and a cat for instance. I wonder why this rather har

Stop Drinking Starbucks Frappuccino and Save a Cat

You won't though will you? I guess Starbucks is pretty addictive. Apparently it cost $124.56 USD per year in America if you drink two Frappuccino's per month. On average it costs about the same to spay/neuter, vaccinate and feed a shelter cat per year. Just think of the effect it would have on shelter cats in America. Sure, Starbucks would moan! But who cares... Only 15% of Americans adopt shelter animals. I guess that is why 4 million out of a total population of 7 million shelter animals are euthanised yearly. If every American adopted a companion animal from a shelter they would save collectively about $2.4 billion and countless cat and dog lives. Maybe there should be a law for one year that everyone has to adopt from a shelter! Go on, think out of the box. There are 8,800 American breeders of companion animals. There are 70 people inspecting the breeders. I think the cat and dog associations should self regulate and inspect their members. They should know best and it w

Food Selection in Domestic Cats

There is no question that cats have food preferences. Some cats are finickity eaters. For me, one of the most important factors in feeding cats is variety. Cats do become bored with their food if they are fed the same food day in and day out. They will eat it if hungry enough but you will see signs of boredom with a certain food if it is provided monotonously. It may be a food that he liked but now seems to dislike. A change to something else for a while will rejuvenate his interest in the food that he became bored with. The different food may even be a food that in the past he did not show a great interest in, yet all of sudden he likes it. There is a counter argument though that says that we should not try too hard, too often, to please our cat as it can lead to cat obesity, a modern cat health problem . It is about good cat caretaking ultimately. There is the perennial question of whether cats will eat dog food or food that is missing vital nutrients. Apparently cats cannot te

One Reason to Dislike Politicians

There are many reasons to dislike politicians. In Europe, what about introducing the Eurozone, a concept that was and remains impossible in the long term. There will be some form of break up in due course. The politicians didn't provide any rules for getting out of the Eurozone.... Well, the Euozone crisis is part of the debt crisis and the debt crisis is about mismanagement by politicians and big business who work hand in hand. The average man pays for all the mistakes. But the politicians are not content to just tax the people a bit more and put us through "austerity".  In Italy they wanted to tax the cats, the dogs and any animal which receives our affection. The idea to tax companion animals in Italy is a sure sign of desperation, which must mean that things are bad in Italy. Fortunately the proposal by an faceless politician has been savaged :). Not by a dog but by the sensible public. The Italians and indeed any country in Europe would do better to spend l

A Note About Aerosols and Cats

It just occurred to me this morning, when I was spraying a dog bite wound on my knee with an antiseptic aerosol spray, that the sound of an aerosol spray in use can frighten cats. My cat, Charlie, showed signs of being frightened by it. This must be due to the noise it makes, which is little like a cat hiss . We know that cats hiss to mimic a snake as a way of frightening predators or animals that threaten him or her. It seems that the cat, in recognising that the hissing sound is frightening, are frightened by the sound of the jet coming from the aerosol. I am reminded of a recently advertised device that stops cats going to places where a person does not want them to go. It makes a sound similar to an aerosol and is probably similar to an aerosol in function. I think the answer is to not use an aerosol when close to your cat. Although I expect some cats won't mind. However, as cat hissing is an inherited characteristic I would expect most cats to be disturbed by the sound

Another Private Zoo Disaster Waiting to Happen?

May 2012: I wrote about Joe Exotic's private zoo a while ago ( see article ). I think he has the largest collection of big cats in America. His real name is Joe Schreibvogel. Mr Exotic is your archetypical American big cat obsessive. I am sure at the beginning he had no intention of ending up with nearly 170 big cats and up to 800 (yes 800) other animals in an area that would normally be quite large at 54 acres but must be considered pitifully cramped when you take into consideration the demands for territory of the large wild cat species and other animals. It just gradually happened in the same way a cat hoarder ends up with hundreds of domestic cats. Having changed his name to "Exotic" it would appear he is also obsessed with the exotic. In my humble opinion what he has created is very far indeed from anything that is remotely exotic. It is sad, unhealthy and dangerous. Mr Schreibvogel came to my attention in a television documentary program. He was visited by and i