Monday 29 December 2014

Was the BBC Top Gear Patagonia Programme Fixed?

You know that the news stated that the Top Gear Team were attacked in their cars in the extreme south of Argentina by an angry mob who where protesting about the presence of the Top Gear team (31 of them plus the three presenters: Clarkson, May and Hammond) because Clarkson's Porche 928 V8 had a number plate that hinted at the Falklands war lost by Argentina.

To the Argentinians the number plate was provocative. I have watched the two part program and I sense the whole thing was set up by Clarkson and the BBC because they needed something special and entirely different to keep the program vibrant and maintain audience figures.

What I mean is the offensive number plate and even the protest was arranged before the filming started. That is my allegation.

Why? Because of the way the presenters acted. They finished on a Sundance Kid style ending and in the middle of part one they visited the house where Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid stayed (when escaping the law). It all tied in nicely and conveniently with the attack by the protestors. What I mean is the middle of the program tied in with the end indicating planning.

James May defends the number plate stating that it was was pure chance.

The number is: H982 FKL. The date: 1982. FKL = Falklands. The BBC say it was pure chance and deny any set up.

Friday 26 December 2014

When the love of someone else's cat overcomes money considerations

This is a cat story to warm the cockles of your heart. It comes from Victoria, Canada and it concerns a veterinary assistant whose name is Nadine McCully. She is aged 26. One of the veterinary hospital's clients was a Mr Sutton and his one-year-old cat is Leo. Leo had urinary ttact problems and after a week's treatment with catheters the clinic was unable to resolve the problem and accordingly Mr Sutton decided he had to say goodbye to Leo because he couldn't afford the surgery required which was to enlarge the urethra. The cost of the operation was $3000.

It appears that Nadine had become attached to Leo in her work and she had also apparently noticed the attachment between Mr Sutton and his cat Leo. It was those two emotional factors which compelled her to pay for the operation out of our own savings which I guess must've been a sizeable chunk.

Nobody at the clinic had ever heard of this happening before. Mr Sutton was staggered by this young woman's generosity. He described the whole process of mentally adjusting the saying goodbye to his cat as drowning and then suddenly the water recedes on hearing that Miss McCully had decided to fund the operation.

This is a comment by a co-worker:
First of all, I just want to say that I work with Nadine and she is one of the most caring people I've ever met. We all fell in love with Leo and his owners, and were so happy that Nadine was not only willing, but (barely) able to provide them with a much needed miracle.
It is an awful lot of money to give to a cat charity when you don't have an awful lot of money yourself. In fact, it reminds me of the generosity of Marc, a regular contributor to the main website, PoC, who on one occasion gave $1000 to help a cat caretaker he had never met and never seen. It was an Internet donation given blind and given on trust which had a total wow factor about it.

Sometimes money isn't that important. Its importance diminishes under certain circumstances. Most people spend all their lives saving money and making sure that they have enough. Then when you get older and you don't care about anything much anymore, money no longer has the same value. But for this young lady her money had a real value and she must have been protecting it, saving it for something important perhaps but she gave it all away to save the life of a cat who belong to another person.

Source of story

Saturday 20 December 2014

What Causes Struvite Crystals in Cats?

What Causes Struvite Crystals in Cats?

If you click on the link above you can read a full article on this topic but in summary the most likely cause of struvite crystals in urine is stress in combination with dehydration which may be caused by a diet of exclusively dry cat food. Add in a bacterial infection and other reasons why a cat is not drinking enough (i.e. poor water quality) and the likelihood is increased. Another compounding factor is not urinating enough perhaps due to an unsatisfactory litter box. The cure is to keep flushing out the urinary tract and a pleasant environment.

Tuesday 16 December 2014

Confusion over What the Pope Said or Didn’t Say about Animals Going to Heaven | PoC

Confusion over What the Pope Said or Didn’t Say about Animals Going to Heaven | PoC

This subject has been chewed over endlessly now by a plethora of Internet news websites and the vast majority of them initially, it appears, made a mistake in stating that Pope Francis made an off-the-cuff remark that animals go to heaven.

To be honest, if you believe in heaven then animals have an equal right to go to heaven as humans.  In fact, you could say animals have a greater right in humans because they are all innocent whereas humans are far from innocent. So this discussion is rather pointless unless you are a devout Catholic and a conservative Catholic.

In any case, the initial stories about Pope Francis appear to be incorrect and the whole thing has been fabricated by the news media not intentionally but in the same way that a message handed from one person to another becomes distorted, gradually.

The beginning of this sorry saga starts with an Italian newspaper which appears to have taken the saying of an earlier Pope who did in fact say that animals go to heaven which was then attributed to the current Pope.

In addition because the current Pope is a very natural person who likes to behave like an ordinary person to make a remark that animals are allowed to go to heaven was believable.  Pope Francis's character encouraged the newspapers to create this story.  It is believable that he would agree that animals can happen.  Perhaps he does believe this but he has not stated it as far as I am aware.

In fact, he has said something which indicates otherwise. He has said that people spend too much money and time on their pets and not enough time on the welfare of vulnerable children or something like that. I can almost agree with that.

In any case, if you click on the link above, at the top of the page I go into the subject into more detail

Friday 12 December 2014

Domestic cats that look like tigers

There is one particular cat breed which is wholly designed, and which has been bred, to look like a tiger and that breed is the Toyger. This is an amalgamation of the word "toy" and "tiger". Below is a picture of the Toyger. As far as I'm aware, there are no known cat breeds other than the Toyger which are specifically designed to look like the tiger. I expect many people have heard of this breed. It remains relatively rare.

Photo copyright Helmi Flick.
I suppose you have to ask the philosophical question as to whether it is foolhardy to try and replicate the tiger in miniaturised form through selective breeding of the domestic cat. From my perspective it is a ridiculous idea but there are many people who would disagree with me. It seems that the policy behind the project is the same the lofty ideal behind the wild cat hybrids: to bring the wild into the living room. The big defect with the Toyger is that they'll walk like tigers because that is dictated by size. And the tiger gait is very much part of the cat.

It is still work in progress many years after beginning. The breeders are even trying to recreate the way the tiger walks. It is far better to adopt a rescue cat and in any case within all domestic cats whether they look like a tiger or not there is a tiger because the behaviour of the domestic cat is a whisker away from that of the wild cat.

Plastic in the Oceans Affects Us All Including Cats

The Mediterranean Sea is the worst of them all in terms of the amount of plastic floating around in it. There are 900,000 pieces of plastic per square kilometre in the Mediterranean Sea. Most oceans had up to hundred thousand pieces per square kilometre. Overall, there are 5.2 trillion pieces of plastic in the seas and oceans of the world which weighs a quarter of 1 million tonnes.

These are estimates but they are based on what I consider to be a fairly sound basis. There were 24 expeditions to all oceans and two forms of counting plastic. Plastics were collected in fine nets. The larger pieces of plastic were counted at sea. The observations were conducted at more than 1,500 locations over a six-year period. The results are published in the online journal, Plos One.

What is disturbing is that a lot of the plastic in the seas and oceans is going missing and the conclusion that the scientists have tentatively come to is that the fish and sea birds are eating it. For example, the study stated that 288 million tonnes of plastic was produced in 2012 whereas the estimated weight of the plastic in the oceans was only 0.1% of that total.

A Japanese study conducted in 2012 found that the compounds in plastic had entered the tissue of seabirds. There is a lot of plastic in the sea and it appears to be entering the food chain. If that is the case then both humans and cats may very well be affected by this.

After the Mediterranean Sea the most polluted oceans are in this order: North Pacific (700,000 pieces per square kilometre), North Atlantic (680,000), South Atlantic (481,000), South Pacific (396,000), and the Indian Ocean which had an estimated hundred 161,000 pieces of plastic unit per square kilometre.

The final worrying bit of information in this article is that it takes 450 years for a plastic bottle to break down!

Source: Plus One via The Times

Cat hair loss health tip

I think you will find that the most common reason why cats lose hair is because of over grooming. The question that follows is, "why is the cat over grooming?".

Perhaps the most common reason why cats over groom is because of stress. Stress can be caused by a number of situations and events and it would be impossible to list them all here but perhaps the most typical would be stress caused by other cats in a multi-cat household. Another cause of stress would be the owner being away too much causing separation anxiety. It is up to the owner to figure out what is causing the stress. This will take a certain amount of observation of the behaviour of the cat or cats in their home and should become quite apparent very quickly what is going on.

After stress, the obvious reason why cats over groom is because their skin feels itchy. This leads to another secondary question namely why does the skin feel itchy? The most common reason for this is probably the flea bite allergy. Secondary to that would be irritation caused by other external parasites. After that I would suggest that either airborne or ingested allergens are the cause of the cat's skin feeling itchy.

In conclusion, therefore, if a cat is losing hair in a symmetrical way in easy accessible places then it is due to over grooming due to stress. If there are areas that are missing hair and the skin can be seen to have inflamed areas in it then this could quite likely be the flea bite allergy.

The cat flea is probably the most common cause of cat health problems and it is very important that cat owners ensure that the cat is free of fleas which obviously means for a high level of vigilance especially if the cat goes outside a lot.

Facebook becoming unfashionable among younger users

This is hardly about cats but it is, perhaps, indirectly about cats. Internet users appear to be falling out of love with Facebook and Twitter. This may be because the majority of users on Facebook are younger people and they have taken to using new services such as Instagram and Snapchat.

Ofcom, the regulator of telecoms and media in the UK, said that the portion of people who checked their social networks weekly had fallen from 65% a year earlier to 56% in October 2014.

Apparently Facebook and Twitter are also on the wane in the United States and Japan together with China. The rate of decline in those countries is slower than in the UK.

It appears that Facebook has become unfashionable with younger people which indicates that it is more fashionable with older people and with respect to this it may be the case that middle-aged and older cat lovers now spend more time on Facebook than they did on cat websites.

A lot of Websites have a Facebook presence and it is almost as if that the people who would have visited the website now visit Facebook instead. The idea of a website having a large Facebook presence is to promote the website but the danger is that people migrate to Facebook instead.

The way Facebook has dealt with this is is to buy up companies such as Instagram, which appeal to the younger market.

Instagram, which is a photo sharing network, say that they have 300 million users which overtakes the number of Twitter users (284 million).

New Zealand's Veterinarians Want a Humane, Scientific and Holistic Approach to Better Manage Cat Population

New Zealand's veterinarians have decided that there is a need in their country to take a serious look at the growing cat population which they say requires urgent action.

I'm pleased to read that they wish to take a humane and scientific approach to what they describe as cat management. In addition, they stress that the focus must always be on responsible cat ownership.

In addition there needs to be an all-encompassing, holistic approach from local and national government in order to achieve real results. I think we can see that when there are ad hoc, piecemeal changes made to legislation it doesn't work very well.

The president of the New Zealand Veterinary Association, Mr Merchant, states that "a strategy to address our growing stray cat population is long overdue, and must include a clear focus on responsible cat ownership."

What Mr Merchant is saying is in stark contrast to what was put forward not so long ago by a NZ scientist who recommended that in effect there should be mass killing of unwanted cats in New Zealand. That provoked outrage from many people. Killing cats is not the answer. It is simply a reaction. The much better method is to prevent the creation of cats through responsible cat caretaking.

What New Zealand's veterinarians are saying really apply to other countries because they have the same problems. I'm a firm believer that the time has come to create an alternative culture and attitude towards the ownership of the domestic cat. For a very long time there has been a laissez-faire attitude which has resulted in too many unwanted cats.

The focus as Mr Merchant says must be on highly responsible cat ownership and there has to be a coordinated approach at various levels of government including animal control organisations in order to reduce the numbers of unwanted cats humanely while at the same time reducing the supply of unwanted cats through better ownership.


Thursday 11 December 2014

What sort of news is cat news?

Cat news is invariably about one of quite a narrow band of topics. One of these topics is feral cats. There are quite a lot of people who dislike feral cats and some of these people are in authority. You could say in fact that the people most likely to dislike feral cats are those who are in authority. Some of these people are scientists and they write up studies about the feral cat and they are often derogatory.

There are critical articles about the feral cat. With respect to the feral cat the real issue is that there are too many of them and they spread disease and of course above all else they kill too many birds and there's a huge amount of bias. With respect to the feral cat these are the stories we see on the Internet.

With respect to the domestic cat,  the most common news story about the household cat is the fact that he/she is far too often unwanted and finds his or her way into shelters where regrettably too many are put to sleep because nobody wants to adopt them. The great story about domestic cats is that there are too many unwanted domestic cats.

Then there is a topic of cat shelters. This is the sharp end where cats that are lost or unwanted and indeed feral cats find their way to be euthanized or to be rehomed. Being the sharp end of the existence of domestic and stray cats, news stories regarding animal and cat shelters are very poignant and they reflect very strongly on humankind and how we relate to cats in general.The existence of many millions of unwanted cats in the USA is a reflection on our relationship with them and our inability to care for them satisfactorily as a whole.

Then we have cat news stories about the wild cat species. These are nearly always about the illegal and abusive trade in iconic cat species such as the tiger. Most of the stories about the wild cat species are to do with conservation and the failure of conservation which has occurred over many years and even decades. Nothing has changed to make one more optimistic about the future of the wild cat species.

If new stories about the wild cat species are not about conservation and its failure then they are about attacks by the big cats upon the indigenous people of the country in which the cats live. These are normally tiger attacks because they are the most newsworthy. However, the newspapers never or hardly ever refer to the underlying reasons why tigers living in the wild attack people. The reason is often because the tiger is old or infirm or has been injured by a person and therefore has to rely upon attacks upon a person rather than the usual prey. In addition people are forced to live in close proximity to tigers because the population of people is expanding. In short, the underlying cause for a tiger attack is humankind.

Another news story we often see with respect to the domestic cat is celebrity cats. This is a new phase and celebrity cats have taken off and you could argue that at the moment celebrity cats are the most common news item concerning the cat. The entire globe has been unable to avoid news about Grumpy Cat, for instance.

Another popular news item regarding the cat is the abuse of outdoor cats. There are many stories on this topic. These are criminal matters and people will note that we hardly ever find out whether a person who has abused the cat is prosecuted and punished as a consequence.

Another popular news item regarding the domestic cat is cat hoarding. Cat hoarding is quite prevalent and is due to a mental health condition by the person involved. Sometimes cat hoarders are quite devious and they give the impression that they are trying to help cats and even ensure that other people send them cats to be rescued but once they are sent to the cat hoarder they quite commonly end up dead due to neglect.

Once again we rarely find out how the stories pan out. We don't know how they end up . We don't find out whether they were successfully prosecuted in the criminal courts and what sort of sentence they received. It is possible that cat hoarding is a symptom of modern life and it may be an expression of anxiety and stress in which case there are probably more cat hoarders today than there were in the past.

Also, with respect to wild cat species you will quite commonly see stories about the conflict between human and cat. This is a conflict which exists because two species, human and cat, are forced to live in close proximity, which is unnatural. The reason why these two species live in close proximity is because there are too many people living in a certain area in that area originally belonged to the cat, which is usually a tiger.

Another topic is considered newsworthy concerning the cat is the private zoos and backyard setups housing exotic big cats in the USA.

There is a gradual building up of a groundswell of opinion against people who keep tigers as pets in their backyard and, in addition, the private zoos where often quite a large number of large wild captive cats are kept. Private zoos are gradually being perceived as places which damage conservation and which reflect a culture of a bygone age.

I think the point has to be made that almost all the news regarding domestic, feral and wild cats emanates from the United States of America. You rarely see any interesting cat stories coming out of the United Kingdom or Europe. Europe is particularly quiet in respect of cat stories.

As for Asia cat stories which come out of that region of the world are often to do with wild cat conservation and in places like China the topics concern a distinct lack of animal welfare which has resulted in practices which the West detest such as eating domestic and stray cats. This is a highly controversial topic and things are changing because there is a groundswell of opinion in China that this must stop.

The above are the major topics which create cat news stories in 2014. I may have missed something out because this article was written without reference to anything.

Tuesday 19 August 2014

Increase in Pet Obesity Is a Worrying Trend

British dogs are now amongst the fattest in the world.  35% of British dogs are overweight or obese which is a larger proportion than in France (39%) or Australia (31%).  The United States of America has a special place in obesity rankings as we are told that 55% of cats and dogs in America are obese (USA trends).

In this article I will discuss dogs but the same sort of principles obviously applie to all pets including cats and I have written about cat obesity before.
Obese dog in Morocco. Photo Jeremy Vandel (Flickr)

There appears to be a world trend particularly in developed countries of couch potato owners and obese dogs.  With respect to dogs it isn't just about obesity.  We are also told that many of Britain's dogs are also aggressive and disturbed because they are not getting enough stimulation through play and activity.  This is all part of the couch potato mentality which has begun to afflict British people.

The British say that they are a nation of dog lovers indeed pet lovers but it appears that many of their dogs are unhappy because they are providing their dogs with a life which mirrors their own.

The research was carried out by Alex German who analysed 30 scientific papers.  Mr German runs a specialist veterinary clinic for obese dogs and conducted the research at Liverpool University.  He says that there is a shocking and rapid rise in the weight of the British dog.  He not infrequently sees dogs who are twice the weight they should be. Even greyhounds he says are overweight.

He says that there is a parallel rise in the weights of dogs and people. Fat parents begat fat children and develop fat pets. This is because people treat their cat or dog as another child.  It's all about overfeeding and under exercising and there's no getting around that simple conclusion.

In Britain 64% of adult British citizens are now overweight or obese. The British are doing their best to match up their pets to the same level of obesity. With obesity comes health issues such as diabetes and arthritis. We all know that yet it doesn't change the habits of the couch potato pet owner.

Veterinarians say that being overweight can shorten the life of a dog and I presume therefore a cat by around 2 years on average. Some British people overfeed their pet by as much as 60%. The problem is often treats. Fatty treats such as fast food leftovers and crisps or biscuits and chips given to the dog is the problem.

With respect to exercise, dogs are being taken for shorter walks. This is partly because many people rarely let their dog off their lead in case they run away or perhaps get into a fight. When the dog is taken out on a lead the dog walks a lot less and therefore gets a lot less exercise. Dogs which are allowed off the lead cover 5 times more ground than those on the lead.

Dogs need long walks because without them obsessive-compulsive disorders can develop such as spinning around in circles. Dogs have got their own Facebook which is meeting up with another dog and sniffing the dog. Dogs need to do this sort of thing.

The cure is strict and permanent dieting with increased exercise but will people do this? As long as  people themselves are unable to exercise or eat less it is highly unlikely in my opinion that they will care for their dogs to a higher standard.

A reason why the cat is more reliable than the human

The domestic cat is more reliable than the domestic human! And, yes, there are feral human beings, quite a lot of them actually so I think it is fair to compare the domestic cat with the domestic human.

Why is a domestic cat more reliable than the domestic human?  Well, my theory is that the domestic cat is more pragmatic and practical and less emotional than the human which because of his or her alleged intelligence combined with emotions which are often out of control becomes unreliable on occasions.
The reliable cat. Photo Nikos Koutoulas

Cats have emotions too.  They can be sad and happy, anxious and fearful.  They can be content, and so on, within their relationship with other animals, and I include in this the human animal, but they do not have a connection which is as needy and as demanding on an emotional level as our's is.

I read in a newspaper the other day that over half the people who get divorced regret it and want to get together again.  Some of them do and they make a success of it.  This breakdown in relationships is sometimes due to unfettered emotional reactions to situations within the relationship.  If the couples were more pragmatic and practical like a cat they would stay together and many couples are exactly that. They realise the advantages of staying together. This is how cats think, isn't it?

The domestic cat has this level the practicality and pragmatism in their relationship with us which ensures that they are always doing and requesting the same things. They are much less likely to have emotional hangups about us. They don't envisage us being unfaithful.  We can't be unfaithful with our cat. Yes, some people abandon cats but there is a different emotion at play in that instance.

By reliability I mean a cat companion is always there doing things that we expect him or her to do at the times we expect him or her to do it. They don't let it down. That predictability and reliability is very comforting in a semi-chaotic world where it is almost impossible to remain in control of one's life because so much impinges upon it over which we have no control whatsoever.

Feline reliability is one of the attractions of the domestic cat. Unreliability is one of the behavioural traits of the human animal that repulses many people. It is lovely to have your partner or spouse there for you when you need him or her.  It is a great quality to be reliable. For a person to do as he or she says is a sign of integrity and a very important quality in a relationship.  It fosters trust and understanding.

We trust our cat companions. We can't always trust our human partners.

Saturday 9 August 2014

What do cat lovers think about the Gaza vs Israel conflict?

Cat lovers are generally independent-minded, intelligent people. I'd like to know what they think about the Gaza vs Israel conflict. Are cat lovers for Israel or the Palestinians? Or perhaps they are neutral.

Hamas should not be sending over rockets but they suffer a blockade which prevents them from doing business which hobbles their economy. Israel say they have to retain the blockade to stop Hamas acquiring weapons but Hamas get weapons.

The Gazans complain that with the blockade in place it is like living in a prison and they have a right to freedom like any other people.

The Israelis believe they must not show weakness. They believe they must demonstrate their strength. However, you can't behave that way towards your immediate neighbour.

Hamas's actions are obviously highly provocative but their rockets have not killed a single Israeli civilian as at the date of this post as far as I am aware. There have been 67 Israeli dead but all soldiers.

We know there have been about 1800 Palestinian civilians killed, many of them children.

The Israelis have shelled three UN designated safe houses where uprooted Palestinians had found shelter despite the fact that the UN had told the Israeli authorities about these "safe" buildings on many occasions beforehand and yet the Israelis still shelled them killing many innocent lives. This is surely disappropriate behaviour by Israel in defending their citizens.

The Israelis will say Hamas use these buildings but is that true for UN designated safe zones? I doubt it but I wish to remain neutral.

Both sides are mistaken and stupid. I would have expected more from Israel because they have the Iron Dome mobile defense system funded by the US which is very effective in blowing up Hamas rockets in the air. This defense system appears to have dealt with the almost all the rockets so why does Israel still shell and rocket attack civilian areas in Gaza?

This will damage Israel and in the long term will achieve nothing except for more trouble. It will harden the resolve of Hamas and it will generate more Palestinians who hate Israel. It has also caused widespread protest against Israeli policy in Europe.

Israel can do better. I fully understand why they are being aggressive against Gaza but the time is right for constraint and building relationships rather than creating more instability and hatred.

Monday 28 July 2014

Can you overdose a cat on flea medication?

Can you overdose a cat on flea medication? Yes, is the short answer. Flea meds are poisonous. We are told to handle them with care yet we put it on our cat's skin. Does that strike you as strange?

It is also dangerous to interchange flea medication for cats and dogs. Never do it. It can kill the cat as can too much cat flea meds on a cat.

This page explains:
  1. Flea treatments can kill
  2. Dog flea treatments kill cats

A Week in the Life of Wanderers' Rest Animal Shelter, Canastota NY

It has been one of those weeks at the Wanderers' Rest animal shelter. It probably isn't all that different from normal though.

Firstly, a lady saw someone throw a garbage bag from the window of a moving car. You can guess what was inside the back, can't you? Yes, you're right, the bag contained 12 kittens and cats, of which 2 had died.  The lady who watched this despicable act recovered the bag and found homes for 5 of the cats. She gave the remaining 5 to the shelter. We read quite a few stories about kittens and cats being thrown out of the window of moving cars. It is totally beyond my comprehension how anybody can do it. The people must be totally desensitised to any form of decent behaviour.

On the same day a woman who appears to be a serial cat hoarder received a visit from animal control who remove 15 cats from her home. The year before 20 cats were removed from her home.  Eight cats remained. No doubt something similar will transpire in another 12 months. The humane educator at the shelter says something that we probably already know, namely that cat hoarding is a mental illness so there is not much point being very critical of the cat hoarding lady. She needs treatment rather than punishment.

In the same week on July 18 a dog control officer discovered a cage in bushes outside his home. Inside the cage were 12 cats. Somebody appears to have abandoned the 12 cats in a rather peculiar way but in an equally abusive and callous way.

The week appears to have been a bit unusual due to the nature of the abandonments but I suspect not that unusual because the shelter housed almost 1000 cats over the past year and about 600 dogs. They are stretched to capacity and make the usual plea, “We need foster homes desperately".

Source story.

Sunday 27 July 2014

Florida cat dials 911 and gets adopted

By Elisa

This is the story of Zeke, an office cat at Cat Depot, which is a rescue and adoption facility on 17th Street in Sarasota, Florida.
Tina and Zoe adopted Zeke

Zeke was hanging out in the office this past Monday when he decided to be proactive about finding a forever family. So the 3-year-old did what he's known for-playing with gadgets in the Cat Depot office. Unfortunately, the phone is no exception.

Here's a short clip of what happened

Sarasota dispatch picked when Zeke placed the call, and were concerned when no one said anything. Fearing an emergency of some kind at the rescue facility, dispatch called the front desk at Cat Depot. A volunteer stated she had no idea who had placed the call. They found Zeke snoozing away, stretched out across the phone, which was off the hook.

Lynn Rasys with Cat Depot says this incident ranks right up there with one of the craziest things to ever happen there. She also confirmed Zeke had been known to call outside numbers on his own, as well as hang up on callers while Lynn was still holding a conversation.

Tina and Zoe, a nice couple who heard Zeke wanted a home badly enough to start calling around on his own, adopted the sweet cat.


Saturday 26 July 2014

Money Stolen from Clarksburg Cat Shelter

The Clarksburg Cat Shelter rely on volunteers to run the shelter and their store. They rely on donations from the public to care for the 60 or more cats in their care. It is all for the good.

Yet, someone, totally devoid of scruples decided to steal the donation box on their counter.

From now on they bolt down the donation box. Good isn't it? Modern life I guess.

Siamese Miniature Cat

The Toybob is a Siamese miniature cat with a short tail. The short tail for a cat is called a "bobtail". This very rare cat breed originates in Russia. Miniature cats are rare anyway so is particularly rare to see a Siamese cat with a bobtail which is also a very small cat. This cat breed ranges in weight from 2-5 pounds fully grown.

Annie - photo by Giselle who lives with Annie.
 Annie the cat in the photograph is about 4 pounds in weight.  This qualifies Annie as a miniature cat.

You can read more about this cat breed on this page.

Siamese Cat Cartoon

Sagwa, the Chinese Siamese cat is a Canadian-American animated television series.   It is also educational.  It aired with PBS Kids.  In this television series the action is set in about 1840 during the Quing Dynasty.   The series is about family obligations and loyalty.

Sagwa lives in the palace of a magistrate in Hong Kong before it was colonised.  Sagwa is part of a colony of cats living in the Palace who have the ability to write with their tails.

The Siamese cats are involved in adventures incorporating moral lessons to educate children which is typical of children's shows.  Chinese culture is also on display which helps to raise awareness of an alternative culture.

See cartoon cats for stuff.

Choupette Lagerfeld's Cat is Not a Siamese

Choupette is described as a Siamese cat.  She is arguably the most spoilt cat in the world. Apparently, her blue eyes inspired Karl Lagerfeld (her owner) to use sapphire blue in his collections for Chanel.  The blue eyes of a Siamese cat should be sapphire blue.

However, the coat of the Siamese cat is described by the breed standard as as short, fine textured, glossy.  Lying close to body (Cat Fanciers' Association - CFA).

It is clear from the photographs of this darling flame pointed cat that her coat is too long and too dense and in fact too upright to be the coat of the Siamese cat. Her coat is more that of a Balinese cat which is the long-haired version of the Siamese cat.

The picture on this page clearly indicates the type of coat that this cat has and it is completely different to what the breed standard states. The Siamese cat coat is very silky and close lying to the body. This is noticeable and quite a feature of this popular cat breed.

Friday 25 July 2014

What An Animal Gas Chamber Looks Like

What An Animal Gas Chamber Looks Like

This is a cross-post to an article I wrote a while ago but Google is not picking it up.
"..During this process the animals are put into a small box with many other animals (sometimes up to 30. The gas is turned on they are scared and cramped as this gas fills their lungs it starts burning their insides and eyes. They then begin to panic and cry for help as they bleed from their cavities, vomit and defecate all over (literally) and finally after enduring this for several minutes they take their last breath... As all of this is going on they are usually fully conscious." (Olga's email to me - thank you Olga)

To think that animal shelter volunteers and staff deliberately place dogs and cats into these horror machines to kill them in a way that is for me reminiscent of the Holocaust.

Sorry to mention that but it has the same flavour about it and I don't see why we can't mention it in relation to animals as well as people. I don't know how widespread gas chambers are at shelters today in 2014 but at one time they were not that uncommon in the USA.

There has been a cutback in their numbers towards more humane methods but very late in the day because after all gas chambers are cheaper. You just stuff the animals into the chamber, let them writhe around in fear and terror in their own vomit and faeces and when it is all over you drag out the corpses and stick them in a bin and hose down the gas chamber, I guess.

That's the human race and their relationship with domestic animals at the dirty end, the end you don't want to see and don't get told about -- the end of the operation that is brushed under the carpet and conveniently forgotten.

Fish Pets Cat Health Care Tips

If you are one of many thousands of people who has typed the above words into a Google search, I presume that you are looking for tips about general pet healthcare while focusing on fish and cats.  I don't know much about fish but I do know a lot about cats.

I also know that the most important aspect of pet healthcare and looking after a companion animal is the preparation that a person does before making the adoption.

The preparation is about ensuring that the person has sufficient knowledge about the companion animal they wish to adopt and, as importantly, sufficient funding to care for the companion animal throughout the life of the animal.  Abandonments should be ruled out.  Abandoning a companion animal to a shelter for example is obviously very bad for the health and welfare of that animal on a number of levels. Giving up on a pet through abandonment or relinquishment can end up with the death of that pet which is the worst kind of animal welfare.

I don't think enough people research what looking after cat entails before making the adoption.  The casual adoption of a domestic cat is the one which most often leads to a casual abandonment.  The committed and careful adopter is far more likely to look after their pet throughout the life of the pet.

If you want to find out about cats who can go to the main website.  It is full of pages about cat welfare.  Please consider things carefully.  There is a page on cat health facts which is written in a simplified style targeted at children but adults can read it to and I think it explains the point that I wish to make.

One of the greatest issues is the cost of looking after a pet.  It may surprise people to read that it can cost around $15,000 (USD) over the lifetime of a cat to look after her properly.  Do you have the projected funds to support that expense?

People who do not work out the cost before adopting are often the people most likely to resist taking their cat to a veterinarian.  This is counter to good cat welfare.  It is the exact opposite.  It causes a lot of suffering in a cat at least potentially.  A lot of cat owners spend a lot of time searching the Internet for answers about cat health.  Looking for a free service when to be honest the only way to ensure a cat is healthy is through good observation backed up by some cat health knowledge together with a willingness to take your cat to the veterinarian promptly when required.

What about fish?  Those who know, say that the most important thing to do before setting up your aquarium is to make sure that you are prepared.  Once again this is about ensuring that you have at least some sound, basic knowledge about caring for fish in an aquarium before embarking on the project.  It means making sure that you have all the equipment and the tools you need to set up the tank.  There are many websites which can assist a person.

One interesting aspect of this search term is that fish and cats are in the same term.  It may be inappropriate to keep both fish and cats as pets because for the obvious reason that fish are prey to a cat or a least potentially they are prey.

Even if the cat cannot get at the finish you are not sure whether the fish are going to feel anxious about the presence of a cat.  That may sound absurd to some people but scientists are gradually learning that fish have a higher intelligence than once thought.  They have decent memories for example.  How do you know they don't have emotions?  They may become stressed and anxious.  I would certainly research that subject.  Stress in any animal can seriously affect health.

Laser Declawing (the truth)

By Kirsten Doub, DVM State Director of the Paw Project-Utah.

Paw Project-Utah has been doing paw surgery on cats with fragments. Clearly these cats with “pebbles in their shoes”, fragments of a mutilated bone that they have to walk on, and nails regrowing under the skin are in pain. The P3 fragments are left behind when the declaw is performed with a pair of unsterile Resco nail trimmers. A very imprecise, quick and dirty way to do 8 amputations in a few minutes. Proponents of declawing tout the laser declaw as a humane alternative. We are here today to show you why the laser is just as bad. It may not leave behind P3 fragments in as high numbers as the Rescos but it can cause thermal injury to P2 and set up these cats for painful osteomyelitis.

What is osteomyelitis?

Osteomyelitis is inflammation and destruction of bone caused by bacteria, mycobacteria, or fungi. Common symptoms are localized bone pain and tenderness with constitutional symptoms (in acute osteomyelitis) or without constitutional symptoms (in chronic osteomyelitis). Diagnosis is by imaging studies and cultures. Treatment is with antibiotics and sometimes surgery. Osteomyelitis is caused by:
  • Contiguous spread from infected tissue or an infected/non sterile instrument.
  • Bloodborne organisms (hematogenous osteomyelitis)-not common with declaw unless cutting instrument is dirty. 
  • Open wounds (from contaminated open fractures or bone surgery).

This is what declawing is all about! Declawing is an amputation; a bone is being removed. Most declaw surgery sites are not sutured shut. They are just glued shut with non sterile surgical glue. Trauma, ischemia, and foreign bodies predispose the paw to osteomyelitis. Osteomyelitis may also form under deep pressure ulcers. This is how it works:
  • Declawing = Osteomyelitis waiting to happen.
  • Trauma = The amputation, trauma to the P2/P3 joint space
  • Ischemia = A restriction in blood supply to tissues, causing a shortage of oxygen and glucose needed for cellular metabolism (to keep tissue alive). Ischemia is generally caused by problems with blood vessels, with resultant damage to or dysfunction of tissue. Proponents of the laser declaw technique talk about how it is more humane because there is less bleeding post op. With the laser declaw the tissue is burned and cauterized making it less likely to become inflamed and bleed. Any good surgeon knows that blood supply is essential to wound healing. So without that blood supply, ischemia can easily result.
  • Foreign bodies = The GLUE that they use during the amputation does not belong in a cat paw. It is a foreign body. It isn't sterile and can migrate from the incision site and attach to the surface of P2 or into the joint space where it can incite a foreign body response.
  • Pressure ulcers = Those paw pad abscesses and callouses we are always talking about! P2 is not a bone designed to bear weight. The paw pad if cut during the declaw will not be able to function as a perfect cushion for P2. Even if not cut, the paw pad over time can callous and abscess from having to cushion a pointy bone (P2) instead of a flat one (P3).


Osteomyelitis tends to occlude local blood vessels, which causes bone necrosis and local spread of infection. Infection may expand through the bone cortex and spread under the periosteum, with formation of subcutaneous abscesses that may drain spontaneously through the skin. If treatment of acute osteomyelitis is only partially successful, low-grade chronic osteomyelitis develops. It is common for most cats to go home post declaw without pain meds, let alone antibiotics. When a joint space has been compromised, as it is in EVERY declaw, antibiotics are warranted to prevent osteomyelitis. Additionally, a one time injectable antibiotic is not acceptable to treat infections in the joint space. Bone infections require aggressive antibiotics that are administered until the infection has cleared.

How do I know if my cat has osteomyelitis?

Patients with acute osteomyelitis of peripheral bones usually experience:
  • Weight loss.
  • Fatigue fever
  • Localized warmth, swelling, erythema, and tenderness.
Radiographs of the declawed paws are the only way to definitively diagnose osteomyelitis. Reminder: declawing is not a nail trim! It is an amputation!!! Declawing ALWAYS involves trauma to the joint space, no matter the surgical technique used.

So what does this mean for a declawed cat?

Well, we aren't talking about pressures sustained for 3-4 hours. We are talking about pressures sustained for the ENTIRE CATS LIFE! Additionally, when we show images of paw pads that are abscessing or callousing that look painful, that is only the beginning of the damage that is going on below the surface of the skin. The deeper tissues surrounding P2 are also like it's inflamed and infected as well as the periosteum of P2. Thus, we can assume that any declawed cat with a paw pad callous or abscess is likely to get osteomyelitis from the deep pressure sore as some point if that pressure is not relieved.

How can we relieve the pressure?

Rochelle - declawed cat
We can’t put P3 back! So we have to treat these cats medically.....and some of these cats may need treatment for life. Which brings us to the PPU cat we want to highlight this week:

Meet Rochelle. She is a victim of declaw surgery. She doesn't have bone fragments, but she has painful osteomyelitis. For her to live as pain free and comfortable as possible, this is her medical plan:
  • Royal Canin Mobility support diet.
  • Therapeutic Laser once a week. This deep penetrating infrared laser addresses bacteria, inflammation, and infection deep in the tissues.
  • Cosequin on food once a day. This supplement helps in maintaining the joint health in the paws.
  • Clindamycin by mouth twice a day for 20 days minimum (needs to be continuous), then recheck x-rays. This is an antibiotic that will help clear up the infection in her paws.
  • Torb/Val syrup and gabapentin regimen for pain. The torb/val syrup is an opioid painkiller. The gabapentin is a prescription pain medication that helps with extremity pain. Give both as needed.
  • TriCOX UC II joint supplement soft chews, 1/2 a chew a day.

Thursday 24 July 2014

Tame Fox Loves Her Caretaker

A lot of people dislike foxes. In fact a lot of people hate foxes. They think they spread disease and are pests. Personally, I love them. I think they're great and they survive against all the odds in the human world.

The fox in the video, Dawn, was raised as a young cub and lives in a sanctuary in the UK (Nuneaton and Warwickshire Wildlife Sanctuary). There are 5 other foxes at the sanctuary.

 My Charlie has frequently bumped into a fox when he is outside in the evening but nothing happens. The fox more or less ignores him and Charlie hisses at the fox. On one occasion Charlie was aggressive towards the fox, who I was feeding.

What To Feed Feral Cats

Although dry cat food is not as good as wet (high in carbs and too dry), it is more practical for feeding feral cats because it can be left and it won't go off. Any brand of dry cat food would do; the best quality affordable.

Update: Experienced feral cat caretaker writes this:
No, no, no to an absolute dry kibble diet for ferals. That's a lazy mans' way. It's time consuming, but what I do is prepare my feeders as much as I can ahead of time. All feeders have wet food layering the bottom and then covered with dry. They don't get any less than what I give to the darlings inside my home. I don't see them as "less than". They are equals. I make no less than 4 visits to my colonies per day. Early morns are the big feed fest, late morn is checking water supply and taking up leftover food, early afternoon is "snack" feeders put down, and late afternoon is taking up feeders and replenishing water. Because it's scorching hot in summer here, fresh water is a must. I'm especially vigilent during these months.

If the person can supervise the feeding then wet could be put down but it needs to be taken up quite soon afterwards depending on the ambient temperature. It goes off rapidly in warm weather in my experience. I can remember Martha Kane's husband, Richard Vella, feeding feral cat colonies in Malta with dry cat food. Here is the video:

When feeding with dry food, fresh water should also be put down. There should always be a supply of fresh water  - common sense.

Feeding early in the morning would seem to make sense. Feral cats feed throughout the day. Evening and morning are probably favorite times as they coincide with their hunting activities.

One cup of dry cat food per cat per day would appear to be sufficient. If there is food left over it is probably too much and vice versa.

Dee an experienced cat lover may like to add to this in a comment. 

Cat Eye Color Change

A cat eye color change will take place at about 7-9 weeks of age in the life of a kitten. Until then the eye color is created by light refraction. Thereafter the formation of pigment in the iris of the cat's eyes creates the color. The change in eye color is due to a delayed creation of pigmentation in the iris of the young cat.

Below are pictures which show (a) the difference between the iris and pupil and (b) why kittens without pigmentation in the pupil always have blue eyes:

Blue Cat Eyes

These images illustrate this page which explains things.

Blue Cat Eyes

Pallas Cat Domestic Ownership California

The title is a rather clumsy phrase used by people searching for information about keeping the Pallas cat in California as a pet.  That is my reading of the search term.

Without going into lots of detail as to why it is inappropriate to keep a Pallas Cat as a pet in California, suffice to say that the keeping of a wild animal by individual person is banned in California.

There is one qualification.  If the person owned the animal in question before in 1992 they are allowed to keep the animal until I presume the animal dies.  In 2014 that would not be applicable to any wild cat species because none of them live beyond an absolute maximum of around 20 years.

Most often small wild cat species in captivity die relatively young because they are unsuited to that sort of lifestyle. Private zoos and public zoos have great difficulty in maintaining their stock for this reason.

The Pallas Cat is very cute looking and quite a few people think about having one of them as a pet but it won't work and it is not good for the cat. Even wild cat species known to be quite amenable to being domesticated are a handful and will challenge even the most dedicated exotic pet owner.

Below is a map from the excellent Born Free USA website which provided information about the banning or otherwise of exotic pets on a state-by-state basis:

Do Companion Animals Exhibit Jealous Behaviour?

Dogs Engage in Jealous Behaviours 

The answer to the question in the title is probably, Yes.  But the underlying reason for jealousy is probably not what you think it is.  We think of jealousy as losing a girlfriend or boyfriend. We think of jealousy in terms of human behaviour and at a rather superficial level.

It is believed by some scientists that jealousy originates in siblings fighting over family resources.  In short, it is more about survival than being jealous over a potential interloper into your love life.

In respect of domestic dogs, a study conducted by the University of California indicates that dogs exhibit behaviour which is consistent with what we describe as "jealousy".

36 dogs were involved in the study.  The owners were asked to pay attention to objects other than their dogs and the attention that they paid to these objects was the same as if they were paying attention to their dogs.

The objects were a pop-up book, a plush dog toy and a bucket.  As you can see, one of these objects is very similar to a living domestic dog and the test was to see whether a dog responded more actively when the person was petting and stroking the plush toy compared to engaging in similar behaviour with the other objects.

As it transpired, the dogs were twice as likely to try and gain attention of the owner when he or she was petting and interacting with the plush dog toy when compared to the bucket. Dogs were 4 times as likely to intervene when the person was engaged with the plush toy compared to being engaged with the book.

A clear indication is that the dogs perceived the plush toy as an interloper into their relationship and the situation needed to be stopped through the dog's intervention.

This was perceived as jealous behaviours by the scientist but they appear to recognise that the underlying purpose of these behaviours was probably more to do with survival than as we perceive the meaning of the word “jealousy". How cat I stop my cat's jealous behavior? (note: the article linked to was written some time ago and what is written may clash with this page).

Once again, a study has indicated that dogs are able to experience an emotion which human regard as a secondary emotion and beyond their capabilities. Humans are rather egocentric and find it difficult to believe that other species of animal are able to feel what they feel and are driven by the same sorts of motivators that humans are.

My wish is that these sorts of studies educate people to respect the domestic cat and domestic dog more and learn to treat them as an equal in value to themselves.  This should help to reduce the number of unnecessary acts of companion animal euthanasia across the countries where companion animals are kept by people.

Notes: this is a cross post from the main website to increase exposure. The study referred to is published on the Plus One website. Associated post: Attention seeking behavior in cats. Dogs participated in the study for the convenience of the researchers, I suspect. My feeling is that cats display similar behaviors.

Wednesday 23 July 2014

Cat Ears Warm to Touch

The reason why the ears of a cat are warm to the touch is because the blood vessels are very near the surface.  The blood circulates around the body. The body temperature of a domestic cat is 100 to 103°F.  This is 37.7°C to 39.4°C.  

This is quite a warm temperature and when you touch the earflaps of a cat you more or less feel this temperature less a certain amount because you are not in direct contact with the blood and the blood will cool temporarily as it passes through the flap.

Cat ears

The fact that the ear flap (pinna) is so fragile and thin and that the blood vessels run near the surface within the flap, provides an opportunity for a veterinarian and a cat owner to administer medication via the ear flap.

Certain medications placed against the ear flap are absorbed into the bloodstream. One such medication is transdermal Methimazole.

Transdermal means through or across the skin. You can see a video on this page about the application of this medication which is for feline hyperthyroidism.

Feral vs Indoor Cat Lifespan

I have seen a lot of variation in the estimated lifespan of feral cats compared to indoor cats. In general people say that about 3-5 years is the lifespan of a feral cat and 14 years is the average lifespan of a domestic (not specifying whether the cat is a full-time indoor cat or not).

The truth is no one has been analysing cat lifespans. These are estimates or to be more generous "guesstimates" based on a reasonably assessment.

Another point to make is that a full-time indoor cat might not, on average, live longer than an indoor/outdoor cat.

ASPCA says that the average lifespan of an indoor cat is 13-17 years with some living to 20 plus but that is not an average is it? That is a very generous spread based on informed guesswork.

My late lady cat aged about 16 years of age at the time. I had just wiped her coat
which is why it looks a bit wet. She lived four more years.

Petco says that an indoor cat has an average lifespan of 12-20 years (even more of a spread and not an average in my view). They also say that outdoor cats (cats kept outdoors full-time I presume) live for 1-5 years. This is highly simplified. No one keeps a domestic cat full-time outdoors - well, very few people do. I suppose they are referring to feral cats but don't say that. This is neither scientific nor accurate information.

Wikipedia confidently state 12-15 years as an average "life expectancy of a cat". They must mean the domestic cat as opposed to the feral cat.

Wikipedia quote a study as assessing the feral cat lifespan at 4.7 years. The links to the study are broken so I could not read it.

Indoor cats need more play to make them active. People in general don't play enough with their cats. An indoor cat arguably is more likely to become obese and obesity is the cause of many serious illnesses which can be life threatening. Outdoor cats within a secure enclosure will get exercise safely. This is rare however. People aren't bothered to build decent enclosures to be honest.

We know that outdoor cats, meaning stray cats and feral cats, live shorter lives than well cared for domestic cats who live mostly inside the family home. We can probably rely on 14 years as being a reasonable guess at the domestic cat lifespan. I'd favour a bit longer say 15 years. Like people cats are living longer but also like people dementia is more commonplace. Are cats living too long sometimes?

Feral cats will be lucky to live beyond five years on average but many may live to a not dissimilar age as domestic cats if cared for by a feral colony carer i.e. a person who feeds and TNRs the cats as part of a program. Many feral cat carers provide winter housing as well as feeding. There are many factors so averages don't really help. It is about individual cats.

Can I Get Toxoplasmosis From Kissing My Cat?

Can I Get Toxoplasmosis From Kissing My Cat?

The simple answer is that technically a person can get toxoplasmosis if they have a habit of kissing their cat on the lips or near the mouth.  The reason is this: a cat washes her bottom with her tongue. Somewhere near half of cats have been exposed to toxoplasmosis at some time and many of them have it but without symptoms. However, and this is the important bit, only for a period of about 10 days in the life of the cat can there be toxoplasmosis eggs in the cat's faeces which can be transferred to the person.

You can tell, therefore, that the chances of getting toxoplasmosis from kissing your cat is extremely rare to the point where, my opinion, it could be ignored.

It should also be recognised that worldwide about 50% of people have been exposed to toxoplasmosis. This is a similar number to the percentage of cats, interestingly. Note: in America the figure is about 30%.

Another interesting point is that by far the most common cause of getting toxoplasmosis is through handling raw meat inappropriately. Clearly vulnerable people such as people with very weak immune systems and pregnant women should take particular precautions but there is never a need to get rid of your cat because you are frightened of getting toxoplasmosis in anyway from your cat including by kissing him or her.

In short, the answer to the question is "yes you can" but don't stop kissing your cat if you want to. There is a tendency amongst the news media to hype up cat stories particularly about toxoplasmosis which can mislead people and make them frightened. The reality is quite different.

If you click on the link following this sentence you will can read three articles in PDF format on the subject of people and toxoplasmosis which I hope will alleviate any fears that a reader of this article might have.

Info about Toxo

One final point, very few people actually kissed their cat on the lips. Most people kiss their cat on the forehead or above the eyes ,for example. That is another reason why the question in the title is rather pointless but it is the title to this article because it is what is called a "keyword" -- people internet search using the words in the title.

Crystal Meth And Cats!

On Tuesday, July 22, 2014 at about 3 am in the morning a call out was made to the police on US 395, north of Conway Summit.  This, by the way, is in Arizona, USA.

By the time the police got to the car there was a passenger in the backseat,  a 33-year-old woman, but no one in the driver's seat. The driver had run off because both the passenger and the driver had been taking drugs and in the car was paraphernalia concening the use of crystal methamphetamine.

The passenger was under the influence of this drug. There was a second passenger, a cat hiding under the passenger seat. The policeman decided the cat should be taken under the care and control of Mono County County Animal Control until the lady was able to care for her cat herself.

A gentle wrestling match ensued as the police officer extracted the cat from the car. There was the usual hissing, scratching and “feline defensive mechanisms".

It seems that the policeman did a good job. The only worry I have is whether the cat is safe under the care of animal control, in a shelter.  Without wishing to be overly critical, these are potentially dangerous places for cats.

Let's just hope that the lady in the back seat of the car genuinely cares for her cat. Or perhaps the cat belongs to the driver who ran-off. Not a good endorsement for for her commitment to cat ownership if she is the owner.

The whole episode begs the question whether a person who uses crystal meth is able to care for a cat to a satisfactory level. I think the answer depends on the person. If the person is a genuinely good cat caretaker then he or she will probably be able to work around the addiction, if it is an addiction.

However, if the person is an average or what I call an ambivalent cat owner then when you add drug taking to that mix you end up with inadequate cat caretaking.

Your Online Pictures of Cats May Tell Us Where You Are

Your Online Cat Photos Tell Others Where You Are | PoC

These days pictures of cats taken with smart phones and modern digital cameras contain metadata which is information about the photograph such as the shutter speed, whether flash was used, the aperture and also where the photograph was taken using a built-in global satellite system (GPS).

When you upload the photograph to a Instagram or Flickr or any one of the large photo hosting websites the metadata goes with the picture and in the case of Flickr, for example, the information is set out on the page where the photograph is.

There are millions of photographs with this data attached to them and an entrepreneurial professor, Owen Mundy, at the University of Florida has extracted the GPS metadata and built a website around it which uses Google mapping to show the location of the photographs on a map. Very often the pictures of cats are taken by the cat's owner and also very often the cat's owner is in the photograph with the cat either because it's a selfie or her spouse took the photograph.

As a result, pictures of cats uploaded to the Internet can tell others where you are, where you live etc.. It could be argued that this is a an invasion of privacy. It is another example of Big Brother looking down upon you and every move you make. Most of us won't care about it but some will, particular the rich I suspect as it weakens there security.

You can actually remove the metadata online using using Yahoo™.

It works well and it works quickly and you can then upload the photograph to your chosen photo hosting website afterwards.

Tuesday 22 July 2014

Cruel Way To Kill Birds By U.S. Department of Agriculture

Who said cats are big killers of wild bird species? The ornithologists and Woody ;) LOL. People who know better realise that people are the biggest killers by far either by direct of indirect means.

The method employed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture at George Bush Intercontinental Airport, Houston, Texas, USA is particular nasty and quite shocking to some people.

Rather than take humane proactive measures (deterrents) the authorities have put down a poison, Avitrol®, mixed with corn kernels. This has resulted in birds species such as grackles and pigeons writhing in their death throes for upwards of an hour having fallen from the sky. Some of this was filmed. Avitrol is a particularly nasty poison as it causes the birds to writhe and convulse which is intended as it frightens the living birds to stay away. Charming human behavior, isn't it? At least cats kill birds to eat. But let's remember birds are down the list of prey for the cat.

Of course passenger safety at airports is of paramount concern and bird strikes can, very rarely, bring an aircraft down. However, as mentioned, one wonders whether there are better more humane ways. The most humane methods should be used.

The Wildlife Services department of the USDA kills 3-5 million birds annually we are told. My personal view is that the USDA and perhaps all government departments are unsympathetic to wildlife if it gets in the way of commerce and "growth" meaning economic growth. And as there always has to be ecomonic growth, the only model capitalism understands, there is likely to be more birds killed in the future.

Source story.

Monday 21 July 2014

Cat Saves Boy From Bullies

You may remember the famous cat saves boy story in the USA. A dog attacked a boy and mauled his leg. It was a deliberate attack on a boy as if the boy were prey and the family's tabby cat charged out of the home to the rescue and flew at the dog pushing him of the boy. The boy and cat were close and it showed.

This is a UK version; not quite so dramatic. I wonder whether the news media were just looking for the UK version; jealousy I say! 

In the UK version a group of bullies were....well, bullying a boy who just happened to have a close feline companion. The bullied boy is 5-year-old Ethan and his cat defender is Smudge (see above) another tabby cat.

Smudge brave cat stop bullies

Smudge sprang (literally) into action and pounced onto the chest of one the bigger bullies. Ethan's mother says:

".....they shouted him again and then one of the boys got in Ethan's face and said, 'Oi! Why are you ignoring me?' and pushed him over.

"That's when I rushed outside and saw Smudge fly out from under our car and jump on the boys chest.

"I think it was shock more than anything but the boy stumbled backwards, burst into tears and then ran off.

The shock! The typical behavior of a bully exposed by a tabby cat.

Cats Protection run a National Cat of the Year award and Smudge has been nominated. Fame at last. Yawn...cats don't seek fame. 

UK Version of Jackson Galaxy

In the UK, according to the Daily Star, we have an unknown cat expert who wants to become an recognised feline behaviourist with his own television show just like Jackson Galaxy in the USA. His name is Louis Denver, 29, and I have a feeling he has been watching Jackson Galaxy in action on his website.

Louis denver 1

He calls himself a “cat man" and says that he has built up his skills as a cat psychologist over time.  He lives in the north of the country in Lytham St Anne's, Lancashire.

Regrettably, he says things which tell me that he does not know enough about cats to be the UK's version of Jackson Galaxy.

Louis says the main problems facing cat owners are inappropriate elimination, loud meowing at night and spraying around the house. These are not the main problems.  Very few domestic cats spray around the house because spraying, as I'm sure Louis knows, is a form of territorial marking but although some rarely do this, 95% of domestic cats don't, especially if they are neutered.

Also, meowing at night is not in my mind a major problem.  You can see a list of the reasons for cat relinquishment on this page and they tell us what the major reasons are for a breakdown in the relationship between person and cat.

Louis says if a domestic cat misses the litter tray it is because the cat is territorially insecure and keen to mark his territory. Marking territory through spraying horizontally is not the same as peeing into a litter tray. The reasons behind both actions are completely different and unrelated.  You can read about how to stop peeing outside the box on this page.

Louis also states that cats try to be naughty. I would certainly dispute that especially as he implies that it is the reason for not using the litter tray which is completely incorrect in my opinion.

Louis claims to have learned everything he knows about cats from TV programmes and online tutorials. With respect to Louis, you cannot substitute actual cat caretaking over a long period of time with YouTube videos. To learn about cat behaviour solely from the Internet from words written and videos made is not enough.

He does have a good point when he says that cat caretakers need to play with their cats more often. And he doesn't like the mistreatment of cats which obviously tells us that his heart is in the right place.

I am not sure that the actually cares for a cat. That has not been stated in the article in the Daily Star.

The truth about treating cat ear mites

The truth about treating cat ear mites | PoC

If you click on the link above you will be taken to what I believe is a good page on this subject but it is not getting enough exposure from Google search and therefore I'm cross posting the page (in summary) on this website.  I apologise for duplication in what I'm saying about this but it needs to be done.

cat ear mite

Essentially what I say is that a lot of people look for either a homeopathic home cure for cat ear mites or some sort of quick fix at home to avoid a trip to the vet. They are looking for ways to clean their cat's ears and kill the ear mites.

It is possible to clean the inside of the ear flap but only the part that you see. What about the beginning of the ear canal that goes to the eardrum?  Ear mites are going to be in that area and when you try and clean that area you are quite likely to do damage to the ear canal and even the eardrum unless you are extremely careful.

As cat ear mites are very irritating to the cat and as they also infest the cat outside of the ear plus bearing in mind what I have written about, I think that the best course of action is to take your cat to the vet and bite the bullet on the cost and trouble.

There is no sure way of fixing the problem at home and you can make things worse.  Do you want your cat to be in extreme discomfort for a very long time simply for the cost of a veterinarian visit?  The cost should not be that high because for a veterinarian treating cat ear mites should be straightforward but importantly effective with no risk to the cat.

Websites providing instructions on homeopathic cures for feline ear mites are fine but should be treated with caution and some skepticism.

Sunday 20 July 2014

Is the tuxedo cat a breed or not?

I'm sure that most people know the answer this question because cats have been discussed on the Internet for about 10 years now.  The tuxedo cat is not a breed of cat.

This is a certain type of cat coat that is black-and-white with not much white so that the cat has the appearance of wearing a tuxedo which is formal dress wear the men: the penguin suit.

The classic pattern gives the cat a button of white on the chest but as shown in the photo the area of white can be more extensive.

A lot of the breed standards for a wide variety of cat breeds allow their cats to be black-and-white and some of these cats will be tuxedo cats.

It all depends on the breed standard as to what is allowed regarding the coat of the cat with respect to a particular cat breed.

History of Cat Food

History of Cat Food | PoC

The history of cat food as shown in the spreadsheet above tells us that just after the Second World War things started to take off. It was during the Second World War that the concept of dry cat food was first tried. It was successful because it was convenient and then during the era 1950 to 1970 and beyond there was a proliferation of pet food lines and products. The manufacturers of human food jumped onto the bandwagon.

A major development was to create extruded dry cat food which although first developed in the 1950s is still the same today. The great deficiency in this process, which makes attractive looking albeit inappropriate cat food, is that it requires carbohydrates to work. The high level of carbohydrates in dry cat food is not there by choice but by necessity and only because the process demands it. That is not a good reason why dry cat food is high in carbohydrates.

Domestic cats cannot taste sweetness and therefore they have no concept of the sugary taste. The domestic cat is unaware that the dry cat food that they may be fed full-time is not a replica in terms of constituents and ingredients of what they would be eating if they were preying on mice.

Not only is the high carbohydrate level potentially damaging to the cat's health, so is the lack of water which can leave a cat in a state of permanent mild dehydration.

The natural food of the domestic cat is as stated: the mouse and the mouse contains 70% water whereas dry cat food contains, as I recall, something in the order of 10%. It is known, these days, that the domestic cat does not compensate for this lack of water in his food by drinking more. No doubt the domestic cat drinks more than normal but not enough to completely compensate.

Although I am going on a bit about dry cat food, after all these decades of manufacturing it you would have thought that the manufacturers would have placed more concern upon the appropriateness of the food rather than focusing on the method of manufacture.

The 1950s was a time in America when there were the greatest number of new cat breeds. It also seems that this time, let's say about 10 years after the Second World War, when the domestic cat became more popular and an the cat fancy was at its height in the twentieth century. Just after this period the wild cat hybrids were first developed indicating an active cat fancy in their desire to expand the number of cat breeds.

An interesting development was the idea of marketing dry cat food as a food that can improve health with respect to certain illnesses. You will see from the spreadsheet that pet food to ameliorate health problems occurred for the first time in the 1930s. This was canned wet food for dogs.

Ultimately for cats this concept evolved into primarily Hills dry cat food for a range medicinal purposes.

It is interesting because, as mentioned, dry food is not particular healthy so the motivation in part to create this food appears to have been a desire to mask that fact.

Fewer Approved Drugs and Medications for Cats than for Dogs

Fewer Approved Drugs and Medications for Cats than for Dogs | PoC

This appears to be another example of discrimination against a domestic cat!  Apparently, there are more FDA (the regulatory body in America) approved drugs and medications for cats than for dogs. Vets use non-approved medications for cats in substitution.

The reason is that it is not commercially viable for the manufacturers to turn out drugs and medications for cats, requiring obtaining FDA approval, which I presume costs a fair bit of money.

I also presume that the reason for this is that the manufacturers do not think there will be a sufficiently large market for the drug that they had considered to produce because cat owners do not take their cats to the veterinarian anywhere near as often as dog owners take their dogs to the vet.

I'm guessing that that is the reason.  I have almost certainly simplified things but it is remarkable that there is a disparity in the number of available medicines between dogs and cats.  It can't be the case that dogs are less healthy than cats and therefore require more available treatments.  The only reason can be that the market for drugs for cats is smaller than that for dogs which leads me to the conclusion about. If I am incorrect then someone please tell me.

In the opening paragraph I state that there is discrimination against the cat.  This conclusion comes from the fact that if a person abuses a dog they are more heavily punished in the USA than would be the case if they had abused a cat.

Also, more unwanted cats are killed in the USA than dogs.  This happens at shelters.  My reading of the situation is that at animal shelters in the USA a higher percentage of cats are killed - because of inability to find an adopter - than dogs.

Although there is no hard evidence to support this, I have a feeling that the domestic cat is less valued as a sentient being then dogs.  Another reason might be the fact that the cat is more independent and therefore potentially less connected to human society.  There may also be more cat haters than dog haters for the same or similar reason.  The independence of the cat also encourages the lack of knowledge of the cat and ignorance breeds hatred.  What a person doesn't understand they fear and what they fear they kill.  That is an old native Indian saying, apparently.

Friday 18 July 2014

VE Kitty Tubs Help Cat Parents Transition to RAW Meat Diet

GREEN BAY, Wis. (July 18, 2014) (PetPR News Distribution) – Vital Essentials® has launched VE Kitty Tubs Frozen RAW Entrees with a “Take the 5-Day RAW Challenge” campaign. The promotion has been created to help pet store retailers educate cat parents about the “essential” benefits of RAW cat food and to provide helpful tips on transitioning kitties to RAW meat diets within 5 days.

VE Kitty Tub Frozen RAW Entrée line began shipping in late Spring 2014. VE Kitty Tubs offer complete RAW-meat meals with essential nutrients that cats instinctively crave. Each Kitty Tub Entrée is “Purely RAW” – made with only fresh, whole, single-sourced USDA animal protein and is Grain Free, Gluten Free, and Guilt Free. Varieties include – Chicken & Liver, Classic Chicken, Cold Water Catch, Duck, Turkey, and Duck & Rabbit.

The “5-Day RAW Challenge” brochure is available to cat-parents through pet store retailers that offer VE Kitty Tub Entrées. This brochure provides the essential reasons for switching to RAW including:

Absence of “Junk Food” Ingredients – As carnivores, cats are not designed to handle a steady diet of carbohydrates like corn, rice and potatoes.

Instinctively Healthier – “A RAW meat diet is exactly what nature designed the cat to thrive on.” – Dr. Richard Patton, pet nutrition expert and author of Ruined by Excess, Perfected by Lack (the paradox of pet nutrition).

Vital Nutrients from the Whole Animal – Cats get essential nutrients from all parts of their prey – meat, organs and bones. It’s important that a RAW diet provides whole animal nutrition.
Every cat has their own personality. Despite being an obligate carnivore by nature, most cats in America have been trained and are accustomed to eating kibble or canned food. While some cats may take to RAW meat quickly, others may require more persistence and patience.

The best transition strategy is to remain flexible, pay attention to your kitty’s responses and adjust according to your kitty’s needs. Never starve your kitty into accepting the new diet as denying food for more than a day may be unhealthy. The “5-Day RAW Challenge” brochure includes some useful tips for helping kitties switch to RAW.

About Vital Essentials®
Vital Essentials, maker of the ALPHA Prey-model diet, is the most tenured RAW pet food producer in the nation, providing RAW pet nutrition since 1968. The family owned company operates facilities in Green Bay, WI, where they manufacture high quality RAW frozen and freeze-dried pet food, snacks and treats. Sourced, made and packaged in the USA, every Vital Essentials product stands up to the same promise – Purely RAW, Instinctively Healthy.

  • Learn more about Vital Essentials at
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