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Showing posts from June, 2012

The Big Cat Scratching Post

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The more I think about it, the more I realise that a cat scratching post needs to be large and well sited. There are a lot on them on the market which are not large enough. They don't work because a cat won't use it or is reluctant to use it. This has ramifications. Kitten climbing a 'tree' - a large scratching post. One consequence that comes to mind is that people who have thought about declawing their cat but resisted and bought a cat scratching post instead might then decide to have their cat declawed thinking that it is impossible to get their cat to scratch in the right place. I hope people who have decided against declawing try again and purchase a large scratching post and put it where cats might mark territory as if they were wild cats. These places are normally in prominent locations within the cat's home range. An example might be near the back door if the cat is allowed to go out. When my cat goes outside he scratches trees. These are solid obje

Manx and Sphynx Cat Breeds Becoming More Popular?

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The Manx and Sphynx have entered the top ten of most popular cat breeds. This is interesting to people like me who get involved with the popularity of cat breeds. Perhaps they were always there but not on my reckoning. They are not one of the core mainstream cat breeds. But a survey by Vetstreet.com tells us that the Manx and Sphynx are the 8th and 10th most popular cat breeds for 2011. There are various ways to measure cat breed popularity. Each is likely to produce a different result. I cover that in more detail on this page which is a similar but extended article to this one. Vetstreet used the number of births on their database for 2011 to come to the conclusion that the Siamese was streets ahead for popularity. I can believe them but - there is always a but, isn't there - who are Vetstreet? They seem to be a general content website about pets. They have disclaimers about their advice. I don't know why they have a database of purebred cats especially one that cont

Ohio Restrictions on Private Captive Wildlife Programs

Ohian legislators have responded to the horrifying carnage of wild animals, including large wild cats, at Zanesville, Ohio. It is referred to as the Zanesville massacre . It occurred on October 19, 2011. It was the classic, private zoo disaster waiting to happen and it could happen again . Neither do I believe it was a freak event . The silver lining to come out of this very sad story is that legislation backed by HSUS was introduced into Ohio's state legislature and has been passed and become law. It was a speedy bit of law making prompted by the shock of the event. Of course keepers of exotic cats etc. were against it. It is one more piece of legislation that erodes the freedoms of Americans to indulge their passion for interacting with exotic animals. The trouble is that ultimately it is an indulgent hobby (it does not pay). And to be brutally honest I don't think it does anything or hardly anything for conservation although the benefits to conservation is the argument u

Pets Are Not Animals

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I have stolen the title from Craig McFarlane's site . I think he makes an interesting but very refined point. He also refers to an article from one of those Homes and Gardens type magazines. This one is called, ' Fresh Home Magazine". They had a page which was on the subject of "Decorating Mantras to Live By". That is a big statement for one of these magazines. The author lists five points to live by. One of them is: Every room needs something living, flowers, goldfish, a pet . Fair point. A good point. But, it is the way the point is made that indicates that pets are not animals. You can see what Craig is getting at. It is something I have mentioned before myself. It is unfashionable mind you; very unfashionable with a large section of society but it is true and therefore worth mentioning again. When you write about decorating your home and refer to 'a pet' - any pet (' a ' pet), as part of the decorating process you are on dangerous grou

Doctors are no more that specialist veterinarians

To those of us who love cats and are aware of our cat's needs and behavior I think we knew this all along . What do I mean? I mean that animals suffer from the same or similar psychological and physical health problems that we do. They are more like us than billions of people realize. This is gradually dawning on the human race, rather late in the day, and it may put some resistance into worldwide animal abuse and misuse . The title is a reference to the fact that doctors (General Practitioners let's say) treat the human animal, one species of animal amongst all animals on the planet and are, therefore, specialist vets because vets treat all animals. Vets should be funded better through a state subsidy perhaps. They are paid less than doctors. Although in America they call themselves doctors. Being paid less can create distortions and anomalies such as declawing cats, a highly profitable process for vets . Some never declaw . I would like, as well, to refer to the book,

The First Siamese Cats of the Cat Fancy

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Cat history is often annoyingly vague unless the cat breed was created through selective breeding on the back of hybridization . The Siamese cat, though is a naturally occurring type of cat with dark fur at the extremities of its body and which was found in Siam (Thailand) for centuries. Of course it may have occurred elsewhere in the Orient. But we know that someone from the West saw the cat and wanted to import it to Europe, specifically England. We are talking about the 1880s. 1889 Siamese cat - Illustration by Harrison Weir. The first person or one of the first people to import the Siamese cat to the West was Mrs Vyvyan. She lived in Dover, Kent, on the south coast of England. We can say this with some certainty because she is quoted directly by the founder of the world cat fancy, Harrison Weir, in his book Our Cats and all about them (that is how the title looks by the way. I have shortened it a bit). You won't get a better authority than that because the book's author w

@ChoupettesDiary Tweets

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I had to look up Choupette Lagerfeld's tweets on Twitter . In case you have not noticed the story of Choupette in the press, Choupette is a Siamese kitten . I think it is interesting from the standpoint that the person doing the tweets might be Karl Lagerfeld. It is probably a mixture of people who make the tweets including the two maids who look after Choupette. Of course it could be Choupette because she can use an iPad which brings me nicely to the first tweet from Choupette (they are in blue): Gucci may have gotten a horse but can the horse use an iPad? I THINK NOT! I am kitty no.1 who wears # Chanel no.5 (cc. @ UYS_Blog ) . (does she really wear perfume!?) Daddy may not dress me up but little does he know how good I look when he leaves & I try on in his black blazer. ME-OWWW! (comment: Mr Lagerfeld thankfully does not agree with dressing up cats. There might be a temptation in Karl's case because he is one of the world's most famous designers. He likes bl

Desdemona Cartoon Cat

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Desdemona was a cartoon cat in a comic strip called Mutt & Jeff . Desdemona belonged to Cicero, who was the son of Mutt. Incidentally, this is not the cartoon "Mutt & Jeff", the videos of which you see on YouTube. However the Mutt & Jeff detectives starring in this movie cartoon were created by Bud Fisher and the creator of Desdemona was created by Al Smith who took over (after ghosting?) from Bud Fisher. Therefore, there is clearly a link and continuity. Nor, by the way, is she the cat that was seen with Cicero on November 18th 1907. It is a bit complicated as you can see. Cicero's Cat Desdemona made her debut on December 3rd 1933 in Cicero's Cat . It was "tacked onto" the Mutt & Jeff Sunday comic strip. The strip varied from one row to a half page of panels. It was mainly a two panel comic strip. In was (is?) a long lasting comic strip because it was still around in 1991, when it was a single panel. Desdemona is a white cat wit

Jordan the Foundling

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by Jeri (NY, USA) I was given Jordan, the sweetest and most mischievous cat I have ever known. When he was a kitten too small to be away from his mother--he'd been treed, and was rescued by friends who could not find his mother. Jordan stares me down!   His fluffy tail was about twice as large as his little body, and he spent most of his time grooming it--that is, when he wasn't galloping around, ambushing my unprotected feet, knocking things off shelves to get attention, and literally climbing the walls, jumping onto the tops of 7 foot bookshelves, ricocheting off the kitchen and hallway walls... ! He had a stare of concentration that made him look a little angry sometimes, even as a kitten: but he has always had a serious side, and he doesn't take any guff! He still hangs out on top of bookshelves, occasionally making heroic leaps from one to another across the room. He was named after the courageous and mischievous June Jordan. Jeri

Killing Boxes For Cats

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I am writing about gas chambers for cats and dogs. They are still used in the United States you know. It must be convenient. It is a form industrialized killing. Injections aren't fast enough. Of course there is little (or no) concern for the suffering of the cats and dogs of which many will be former family members. It takes the breath away, when you think about it. But don't think about it because it just makes you unhappy. IMPORTANT PETITION: http://www.thepetitionsite. com/12/stop-gassing-shelter- animals/ As the person who uploaded the video said, gas chambers were deemed inhumane for the killing of criminals on death row some of whom are the worst kind of serial killer. Yet it is perfectly acceptable and normal to kill our companion animals this way. They shouldn't even be killed never mind this way. They say sometimes the cat or dog drowns in his own vomit. They are all terrified. I have not watched the video and I won't watch the video. This is because whe

Karl Lagerfeld's Siamese Cat

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Karl Lagerfeld has that robotic looking face and style. Apparently he is a man of deeply entrenched habits. Perfectly understandable. He is the designer for Chanel. He is very rich. He has a rich man's habits. He was asked to look after a Siamese kitten for the model Baptiste Giabiconi - his 'muse'. What is a muse? A person close to you who inspires your creative process. I think that is right. Mr Lagerfeld liked the Siamese kitten too much to give her back. She was too cute, he says. His muse accepted his wishes. The cat is called 'Choupette'. You can see a picture on Twitter here . Naturally, Choupette has everything a cat desires and more. She has two maids to look after her and who write a diary about her every move. It is already 600 pages long and will be made into a book (possibly). Choupette likes to use an iPad along the lines of what we see on YouTube. She eats with her human companion on the table. Mr Lagerfeld makes sure she eats cat food and not h

Where can I get pictures that are not copyrighted?

I will tell you where you can get pictures that are not copyrighted. There are only so many options. The bottom line is there are three basic types of picture when it comes to copyright: Pictures protected by copyright; Pictures that are copyright protected but which you can use under license (permission) from the creator of the picture; Pictures that were copyright protected but are no longer because the protection has expired under copyright law. The picture is in the "public domain". Note : Copyright law is complicated. It varies across the world. Therefore assume all pictures are protected by copyright unless there is some obvious reason why it is not. For example, next to the picture the creator says you can use it. Note 2 : Obtaining permission to use a picture does not mean the picture is not copyrighted. It just means that for you it can be used. Here is how you get pictures that are not copyrighted: 1 . License to use . Assume the picture is copyright pr

A Very Important Cat Event

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Two Amur leopards have been born in captivity at the Wildlife Heritage Foundation (WHF) in Smarden, Kent, UK. Why is this an important world cat event? There are thought to be about 35-40 Amur leopards in the wild in the far east of Russia, in a region called Primorskii Krai through which the River Amur flows. It is also the region where the Amur tiger lives (Siberian tiger) . I think this figure of 35-40 is actually incorrect. It comes from newspapers and is the conventional view but a more scientific and modern assessment is 12 Amur leopards in the wild . Yes, exactly 12. Strange isn't it?  Add to that the 100-140 Amur leopards in captivity in Europe as part of a European breeding program and you have about 150 Amur leopards in the world excluding those in America and other continents. It seems there are about 200-300 in captivity in total worldwide. They are the rarest big cats in the world. It would seem doubtful that the wild Amur leopard can survive because of geneti

Is Wildlife Services Doing Its Job Properly?

I am writing about the USA in this post. I say that because "wildlife services" is a generic term. There is a petition on the causes.com website that tells us that Wildlife Services are killing too many animals unnecessarily in discharging their duties.  It has almost reached its goal of 10,000 signatures. The petition's author says that 50,000 non-threatening animals of various species have been killed over 10 years. She questions the need to kill so many animals, some of them protected species, and believes that Wildlife Services have gone beyond their remit in favoring killing as a means of wildlife management over non-lethal methods. Also mistakes have been made and covered up, she says. The petition's author does not imply that there is something underhand going on. Remember, though, that government agencies are vulnerable to lobbying from big business. Wildlife gets in the way of business. The recent massive BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico was partly a res

Does Your Cat Sleep In Your Bed?

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By Elisa Black-Taylor (USA) Does your cat sleep in your bed? I've done a little research on the subject and found that female cat owners are much more likely to allow their cat to cozy up in bed with them at night. According to a survey taken by webMD, 62% of cats sleep with their owners and another 13% sleep with children. Care to join us? Is it a good idea to allow your cat to sleep with you? That's a whole different story. The CDC (Center for Disease Control) reports that more than half of all pet owners allow their pets to share their bed. Personally, I'm a sucker for a cat meowing at my bedroom door wanting to join me for a little snuggle time. Whether my cats want to share the bed or hide under it for a long nap, I'm not one to deny it. Unfortunately, the CDC also has a lot of information trying to scare us about out four legged bed buddies. Cats can carry fleas and ticks. They may also carry diseases classified as Zoonoses, which are infections transmi

Dead Cats and Politicians

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In the distant past in England, UK, "Dead cats which not infrequently were cast into the streets, or accidentally killed there, were sometimes used as objects of sport by the silly, low-minded, and vulgar...." Lambeth Hustings 1865 In the 18th century and perhaps less so in the 19th century the "time of times" to use a dead cat was to throw it at an unpopular politician as he attempted to deliver his political views during an election. If it was not a dead cat it would have been a rotten egg. In 1784 a certain Mr Fox was a candidate for the borough of Westminster, the area where the Houses of Parliament (The Palace of Westminster) are situated. "During the poll, a dead cat being thrown on the hustings (the platform from which the politician pronounced his views - called a "stump" in America), one of Sir Cecil Wray's party observed that it stunk worse than a fox; to which Mr Fox replied there was nothing extraordinary in that, considerin

Are Cat Adoption Applications Too Strict?

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Are cat adoption applications too strict? Have any of the readers here even looked at a cat adoption application lately? Gone are the days when you went to your local shelter, picked out a cat, paid a fee and took him or her home. Pippa - one of my rescued cats. Photo by Elisa Black-Taylor Thanks to the internet, both good and bad have come out of what used to be the pleasure of adopting a cat. We've all heard the horror stories of how animal abusers will search the freebie advertisements for animals to abuse. Some will even go so far as to pay the price a shelter asks for a cat just to have a new cat to torture. It's these abusers who have paved the way to turning a simple adoption into a nightmare. That and a lot of other questionable information most shelters and rescues have the right to investigate before adopting out a cat. Some of the information that may get you turned down for a cat adoption include the following: Age. Some shelters and rescues require an ad

Not A Tribute But An Abuse

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This Dutch artist has turned his dead cat into a helicopter in the name of art and, he says, as a tribute to his cat that was killed in a road accident. I say he has simply decided to try and produce something that he thinks will get played on YouTube and thereby get some publicity for his "art", which is an abuse of his former cat companion. I don't think it is art either. He probably knows that there is a massive cat cult thing on YouTube.  He just wants to jump on the bandwagon. Whatever way you look at it, it is disrespectful of his cat and cats in general. To be honest a lot YouTube cat videos have the same problem for me. What do you think?

Cat Coat Composition

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The cat has three types of hair: Guard hairs - part of the top coat. This is a protective coat to the undercoat and the hair strands have a sensory function. They are straight and taper to a fine point. They are the longest of the three types. Bristle or awn hairs - part of the top coat. They form a protective coat to the undercoat and have a sensory function. They are thinner than guard hairs but variable in thickness. They thicken near the tip before tapering to a point. They are intermediate in length between guard and down hairs. Down or wool hair - undercoat. They serve as an insulating barrier against heat loss. These are the thinnest and finest and of similar diameter throughout their length. To which can be added: Whiskers ( vibrissae )- these are very sensitive and play an important sensory role when travelling in dark conditions and are used to feel prey when killing prey. The above is the classic coat structure for long haired cats but some cats have single coats

Kibble Kats

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There have been three recent cases of famously obese cats: Meow , SpongeBob and now Garfield. Meow was 39lbs. SpongeBob started off at 33lbs and Garfield is just 40lbs in weight. He's the latest in this line of large cats. He is a big boned cat anyway so that extra size puts him above the other two. Both Garfield and SpongeBob are New York state cats. Garfield weighing in at 39.75 lbs. The interesting bit for me is what the shelter people say. They believe that Garfield was fed a diet of kibble constantly. I suppose that means there was always a large bowl of dry cat food on the ground for him to graze from. It must have been very tasty kibble. As you know it is the high level of carbs in kibble that causes weight gain - and potentially other health problems such as urinary tract problems and diabetes . Garfield, though has been checked out and is in good health, except for his weight which could cause bad health. Another interesting thing to come out of this is that som

The Sick Kitten (1903) is Not Sick

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The title comes from video. The video is piece of 1903 film about a sick kitten. The kitten doesn't look sick to me but you can't really tell. It is just that the kitten drinks up vigorously and frankly looks perfectly healthy. The interesting bit for me is what are the children feeding the kitten  - a tabby cat incidentally? The boy brings a container of "medicine". On the bottle is the word "FISIK" as far as I can tell. The boy makes sure the bottle is facing the camera so that the name of the product is visible. My guess, therefore, is that this is a promotion film for a product called FISIK! As I said, pure guesswork, of course. If I am right it would explain why the kitten does not look ill. What do you think?

The FDA and Chinese Dog Treats

This is a bit smelly. It is a bit bizarre. If you are an old geezer like me you tend to become a bit cynical when you think what might be behind stories such as the FDA and Chinese dog treats. Elisa wrote about Purina Pet Treats Made In China Killing Dogs . This is a short follow up after I read a bit of material about it. There is a lot of information (too much) on the internet about this. The major interest in this story is that the FDA today, 3rd June 2012, some 5 years after this problem first appeared, are still doing tests on the product to try and discover the contaminant that is causing dogs to fall ill and some to die after eating these treats. Despite lots of reports of dogs dying shortly after eating the product, the FDA decided that the product can remain on the shelves. They have a bland notice on their website which cannot satisfy a concerned dog caretaker. In fact it makes me positively suspicious and dog owners angry. There are similar stories coming out of Austr

Overweight Cats Should Cut Out Dry Food

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The good thing about the current heaviest domestic cat in America (probably) is that we can find out what the experts are doing about getting some weight off him. It is a crash course in weight loss for cats. Obesity is a big problem in America and the root cause of it is an unregulated supply of dry kibble packed with carbohydrates. Or that seems to be the case. SpongeBob (Bob) weighed 33 lbs when he entered Animal Haven. He is healthy apparently so his obesity was not due to health problems. The world's most recent heaviest domestic cat was the late Meow at 39lbs . All you have to do is listen to the nice lady in the video. She says that they cut out dry cat food and are feeding Bob with a "special protein diet". It contains lean chicken some fish and pumpkin and other vegetables. But no carbohydrates. We know that dry kibble contains a high level of carbohydrates . Is dry cat food a major contributor to cat obesity? It could. It probably is. The pet food

Cat Cruelty Person Gets Off

This is very disappointing news. In November of 2011 there was a news story about a case of cat cruelty in which some CCTV footage was shown on television of a young man swinging a black cat around by his tail while walking down the street. The place was Ramsgate in the UK. Ramsgate is known as a bit of a dump by the sea (I am being a bit cruel myself).  The cat is Mowgli and the cat's companion is Michelle Buchanan. I videoed the television for a few seconds (sorry about the copyright issues): That tells you all you need to know. Unfortunately the person who was charged with the crime has got off after a court appearance. The reason? The CCTV footage was too poor and other means of connecting him with the crime failed. I am surprised. What is the purpose of CCTV cameras if the image is not of sufficient quality to identify the perpetrator of a crime? And what is more surprising is that a woman, Miss Jarvis, 62, protested with the perpetrator and forced him to drop the cat. W

Four Other Companies Recall Pet Food

We have heard about the Diamond Pet Food recall and its subsequent expansion. The company's name is Diamond Pet Food Processors of SC, LLC. The place where the contamination took place was at their facility in Atlanta: Gaston, SC 29053. The facility was inspected by the FDA on 12th April 2012 and several health problems were reported in three observations such as, "failure to maintain equipment, containers and utensils used to convey, hold and store food in a manner that protects against contamination". This is the company's page on their recall . Salmonella was found in bags of pet food. In one case the open bag of pet food at the home of a person who had salmonella poisoning. There were other cases where testing on the pet food revealed salmonella bacteria. At least four other pet food manufacturing businesses manufacture their products at the same facility or at least some of their products at this facility. Diamond Pet Food Processors manufacture it for the

British Royalty Keeping Cats

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With it being the Queens's 60th wedding anniversary and with the massive jubilee celebrations taking place in the UK I thought I would find out if I could add the domestic cat into the mix and see whether there are any royals who keep cats and if so what type of cat. By the way, I'm going down to the Thames tomorrow to have a look at the flotilla of boats accompanying the "Royal Barge" that cost a million quid - we can't afford it, I say. I came to a rapid conclusion that the royals of Britain are dog people. That probably would not surprise most visitors who read this (very few!). The royals are sort of upper class (actually very upper class), hunting, shooting, fishing sorts and with that kind of background you are much more likely to prefer dogs. You know...the outdoor life, country sports lifestyle with hunting dogs etc. The Queen is famous for her Corgis and that is about all I know about the Queens's animal preferences other than her love of horse

Creepy Cat Cartoon

Creepy cat was a bungling cartoon cat who appeared in two issues of Film Funnies from 1949-1950). This was the golden era of Marvel Comics . Creepy cat has a similar role to Tom in the famous Tom and Jerry series . Creepy had to catch a smart mouse in the home where he lived. Unfortunately for Creepy, the mouse was smarter than him so his task ended in failure. Creepy studies the art and science of catching a mouse. He reads How to Catch Mice . The mouse looks over his shoulder! In another episode, the smart aleck mouse puts a lobster in Creepy's bath. Creepy is scared and tries to run out of the house. Mr Mouse tells him to jump out of the window which Creepy fails to do because it is shut. He would have been hurt less if he had jumped into the bath with the lobster. I think you can get the drift of this cartoon character's exploits. Creepy cat was a large orange cat with visibly sharp teeth. It is rare for cartoon cats to show sharp teeth. Note 1 : in real life or

Top Cat: The Movie 3D Review

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2nd June 2012: This is a quick review of Top Cat: The Movie 3D . I have included a video trailer below. I have a page on the cartoon character Top Cat , based on the savvy television character Sergeant Bilko who was popular on both sides of the Atlantic. The movie was released on 1st June 2012 in the UK. I believe the movie was released earlier in other countries - in 2011. It was directed by Alberto Mar. He is either Argentinian or Mexican! I have failed to find out which (I think Mr Mar is Argentinian). What I think has happened is that the film was made in Spanish and distributed in Argentina and has then made its way to England having been dubbed in English and the titles changed to English. If I am incorrect please tell me! That transformation would account for the time difference between making it and its release in the UK. Apparently, this is a poor film. The video trailer on YouTube gets more dislikes than likes (129 to 101), which is unusual and Kate Muir

Santa Ana Has Typhus Outbreak

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by Elisa Black-Taylor (USA) Santa Ana, located in Orange County, California, is experiencing a typhus outbreak and the feral cats in the area are getting caught in the middle of a bad situation that's not their fault. View Larger Map Driving Directions Officials set six traps at Frances E. Willard Intermediate School on the 1300 block of North Ross Street. They've also set traps at El Sol Science and Arts Academy. This is being done in an effort to catch feral cats after a child in the area contracted typhus last month and had to be hospitalized. The victim has since recovered. Due to privacy laws, all that's known about the victim is the disease was contracted in the Broadway-Washington Avenue area of Santa Ana. Now Vector Control officials have set traps for feral cats, possums and other small animals that may carry the disease via fleas . They have said any animals trapped will be tested and euthanized. Officials have already handed out information to the p