Monday 30 June 2014

Thirty-one Pound Australian Cat

Sumo from Brisbane, Australia is not only a large, big boned cat, he is also very overweight and as a result he weighs 31 pounds or just over 14 kg. The average cat weight is around 10 pounds or it should be.

31 pound Australian cat

They say that domestic cats in the West, especially the UK and USA are becoming more and more obese in line with their owners (I regret to say) but it appears something similar may be happening in Australia judging by the size and shape of Sumo.

Sumo is the largest cat that the RSPCA have looked after over the preceding four decades and I can well believe that. I think that his exceptional weight is, as mentioned, in part due to his physical size.  This is a big grey tabby and white cat.

Sumo was brought to RSPCA because his owners were moving home and they couldn't take Sumo with them. I regret to say that I have heard that excuse before and it may be a genuine reason but very often it is a rather glib excuse to abandon a domestic cat which it is clear they were unable to look after properly. I don't wish to be overly critical but anyone who lets their cat reach the weight of 31 pounds is doing something wrong like overfeeding their cat (on the basis that the cat is not a large Maine Coon or wild cat hybrid).

The RSPCA have put him on a strict diet but unfortunately it is a dry food diet which is high in carbohydrates. Dry cat food is exceptionally high in carbohydrates at about 30% carbohydrates when the figure should be 3% carbohydrates in cat food. Many obese cats have become obese free feeding on dry cat food. Fortunately in this instance the amounts he is allowed to eat is tightly regulated but I would certainly take him off a dry food diet as soon as possible.

A cat losing weight should lose it gently over a period of about 6 months. Obese cats are subject to health conditions that wouldn't exist but for the obesity such as heart and kidney disease, diabetes and arthritis.

Note: the photo is by Tanya Boland who works for the RSPCA.


Giving a cat an antibiotic pill using a favorite food

This is the 20,050th video on how to give your cat a pill!!  The reason why I made it was because I found a way that works and which is relatively easy.  In the past, like anybody else, I have struggled to get a pill down my cat.  The trick in this instance is not putting the food inside a wafer thin piece of high quality human grade chicken breast but to use an antibiotic pill which is tasteless and odourless or even better than that which smells and tastes as if it is something like cat food and of course to ensure that you are wrapping it up in food which your cat loves and which he is desperately keen to eat at that moment in time.

Alcoholism And Cat Ownership

Alcoholism And Cat Ownership

I want to briefly discuss whether an alcoholic can look after a cat properly.  This is a cross post from the main website. I do this to boost one of the pages so that Google search finds the article more easily.

I happen to know an alcoholic who is recovering.  I happen to know a lot about alcoholism and the underlying causes and how difficult it is to manage.  Indeed, alcoholism pretty much ruins a person's life because it controls the person unless they have managed to control it on a day-to-day basis.  These people are called recovering  alcoholics.

There are two main problems with alcoholics looking after a cat.  Firstly, the alcoholic has lost control of drinking therefore he will drink when the urge takes hold.  It becomes the first priority and nothing will stop it.  The alcoholic, at that moment, has a complete disregard for other things.  All responsibilities are thrown out of the window and the alcoholic's mind is focused on getting that drink.  This state of mind blocks out caring for a cat, obviously.  At that moment in time caring for a cat is a long way down the list of things to do.

Secondly, an alcoholic cannot control the drinking once started.  This does, however, depend upon the sort of alcoholic the person is.  Some alcoholics manage to live with it and function fairly well ("functioning alcoholic").  They drink every day and even work under the influence of drink to a reasonable level.  They probably could look after a cat to a satisfactory standard.  However, binge alcoholics, in contrast, have great difficulty doing anything during a binge other than drinking.

Often a binge alcoholic will drink 1 to 2 bottles of vodka per day and perhaps a lot more which totally incapacitates the person (the equivalent of 6 bottles of wine).  All they can do is sleep, wake up and drink some more.  Their home becomes a complete mess and everything is neglected.  The binge might go on for about 3 to 10 days and often ends in hospitalisation due to the severity of the poisoning of the body.  In addition, the alcoholic may injure themselves slightly or seriously during this time if they try to walk or for example go outside to get more alcohol.

Under these dire circumstances a domestic cat is, as mentioned, totally neglected.  If a subsequent hospital stay lasts for about a week, which it might, then once again the cat is neglected and nobody would be informed to help out because when the ambulance comes around to take the alcoholic to hospital he or she is totally out of it.

I'm not saying that, absolutely, a binge alcoholic cannot look after a cat but you can judge by the above brief description that it is unlikely to be possible and that at the least it would be unfair on the cat if a binge alcoholic decided to adopt a cat.

My conclusion is that all alcoholics should not care for a domestic cat.  Those are harsh words, I admit, but written in the interests of domestic cats.  That said, a genuine recovering alcoholic would possibly greatly benefit from the responsibilities of looking after a domestic cat.  The story of James Bowen and his cat Bob and in addition the more recent story of John Dolan and his dog George spring to mind.

Both of these people had drug problems and both of them say that their companion animal made a substantial contribution to their recovery and success in life after a dark period in their lives.

Sunday 29 June 2014

John Dolan And George. The Power of Companion Animal Friendship

John Dolan has spent a total of 12 years in prison.  It was mainly for theft and drug offences.  He was living rough in east London in 2010 when he was given a Staffordshire bull terrier called George.  Dolan says:

 “Just before I got George I was on drugs, it was terrible.  The day I got the dog I wasn't sure what to do.  I realised I had a big powerful animal on my hands that needed a lot of looking after and there was I, barely able to look after myself...  What George has given me over the past three years is a belief in myself and my ability to draw."

Dolan credits George with helping him to transform his life from a homeless criminal into a successful artist.  He now sells his drawings to £2000 each.  John Dolan knew he had some talent because he used to dabble with art when he was a teenager.  While he was sitting on the pavement doing nothing as a homeless person with George he decided to draw the buildings opposite.  I suppose it kept him occupied. Up until that time he was simply begging for money it seems receiving the odd coin here and there.  Then he started to supplement the donations by selling his drawings for £10 and £20 each.

John Dolan and George

Gradually John Dolan became known as street artist and a lawyer, Richard Howard-Griffin, got to hear about him and recognised his talent.  He organised an exhibition of his work.  And now a forthcoming book is about to be published about John Dolan and his dog George - John and George: The Dog Who Changed My Life.  It is due to be released next month.

Which brings me nicely to the next topic of this short article which is that John Dolan's story very nicely mirrors the story of James Bowen who adopted an orange tabby cat named Bob.  At the time James was a drug-addicted busker. His story has been well publicised and as I recall, two books have been published about him and his relationship with Bob.  More than 1,000,000 copies have been sold.  James Bowen's life has been transformed and he too credits that transformation, at least substantially, to Bob.

John Dolan says,

“If I had not had George, I would never have picked up a pen.  He is my saviour...  He's like my child, the one I never had.  He's given me a life."

Both the stories of James and John remind us of the power of the friendship of a companion animal.  Don't underestimate it.

Photo by Rob Weir

The Weirdest Place For a Cat to be Trapped

You will never see a stranger place for cat to be trapped. This cat was shoehorned into left rear suspension spring of a pickup truck. There appears to be no way to get into the space. But there he is, nonetheless.

Fortunately, due to the patient efforts of a group of men, he is freed. They had to dismantle part of the suspension and remove the component to release the cat and even then it wasn't that easy.

Cats Donating Blood: Receiving Veterinary Services without Payment

The conditions are strict if your cat is to receive some veterinary services without monetary payment but veterinary schools and large veterinary clinics, in the USA, will probably provide services in exchange for a blood donation from your cat. Such services may include:

  • pet food
  • routine physical examinations
  • blood work
  • potentially heartworm preventative action
  • screening for numerous infectious diseases (I presume this is part of the actual blood donation process)
  • haemoglobin level testing
  • metabolic screens

The value of this services amounts to something in the order of $700-$1000. Not to be sniffed at...but of course you are agreeing that your cat will donate his or her blood and that is the responsibility of a cat guardian. It requires responsible decision making otherwise it could be deemed to be immoral.

There are some strict requirements, however, regarding the sort of cat that they will accept as a blood donor.

The ideal cat blood donor meets the following requirements:

  • aged between 2 to 7
  • healthy
  • more than 10 pounds in lean body weight
  • currently not on medication other than flea treatments, heartworm treatments or preventative tick treatments
  • the cat has to be a full-time indoor cat which I find surprising
  • the cat must have tested negative for feline leukaemia and feline immunodeficiency virus
  • the cat is not a breeding cat
  • the cat has never previously been transfused.  I presume that this means the cat has not received blood in the past.

Cat guardians who wish to nominate that their cat participates in this process need to realise that he/she will be sedated.  Sedation carries risks. I would certainly think carefully about the risks associated with sedating a cat. I'd ask the vet but he may underplay it. Full anaesthetics carry more risk.

Another upside is of course that your cat will be helping to save the lives of other cats.

As at 29th June 2014 the Southern Arizona Veterinary Specialty and ER is seeking donors. Details: For more information or to set up a screening, call (520) 888-3177 or email


Saturday 28 June 2014

Feral Cats Attacking Endangered Seabirds In Hawaii

The video shows endangered seabird burrows in the rugged rainforests of the mountains of Kauai in Hawaii where ferals cat attack the birds and feed on them.

Scientists state that feral cats are killing the endangered seabirds in large numbers. I would like to know where they get their statistics from because a video such as this one does not confirm that large numbers of seabirds are being killed by feral cats.

In the video you will see the cats pulling a Newell's Shearwater and a Hawaiian Petrel out of their borrowers and then killing them.

Dr Andre Raine, a coordinator of an endangered seabird recovery project, says that this is yet more evidence of the impact that feral cats have upon the conservation of these birds.

The population of these endangered birds is declining.  The reason for the researchers to find out why.
“The cameras are showing that cats are regularly visiting seabird borrows in all of our monitored colonies." says Dr Raine.
Dr Raine also states that one cat visited nine burrows in a single day last year. He goes on to state that a Hawaiian Petrel chick was killed in the process.  I wish to remain unbiased but that makes one bird and hints at the possibility that the feral cats are less destructive than as implied. Feral cats don't decimate bird populations.

There have been examples of feral cats killing island birds but often the research is flawed. Rats kill birds too for instance (How feral cats affect wildlife - overview)

Clearly the authorities in Hawaii are concerned about feral cat populations and no doubt they will be taking steps in the future to reduce the size of the population and I hope when that time comes they use the humane method, TNR. They are working with the Humane Society of the United States to work out the best way to reduce the impact on indigenous wildlife.

The impact of feral cats on wildlife is frequently over-estimated and always based on estimates.

Neutered Feral Cats Act as a Buffer Against Rabies

This page has been moved, sorry. Please click here to read it.

Check For Threatened Species Before Building A Cat Sanctuary

This is a bit of a warning message to anyone who would like to setup a cat or animal sanctuary where they are living, if they have sufficient land, or anywhere else if they purchase the land.

The lesson is that if a threatened species lives on the land you may well require permission from the authorities before developing the site.

One such example is of a retired person's plans to open an animal sanctuary in upstate New York, USA.

Nancy Gibson didn't realise that there was a den of timber rattlesnake's living on her 80 acre property. She had already made some preparations in terms of construction for the sanctuary and has now been informed that she has to put development on hold while she awaits a decision from the state as to whether she can continue with her plans. 

It is tough because 80 acres is a large area and it was probably impossible to know the rattlesnakes occupied a part of it. Perhaps someone might correct me.

The Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) lays down the law on New York's endangered species.

The regulations employ a rather peculiar use of the word “take" or “taking".  This word means, in the context of these regulations, "to remove" or "to interfere with" as far as I can tell.

The regulations impose a burden on developers and landowners.  The existing law in New York state -- ECL § 11-0535, and previous regulations (Part 182) --  specifies that a person requires a permit for activities that may result in the “take" of endangered or threatened species.

Animal and cat sanctuaries are best when there's lots of space including outside space for the cats. The story comes from the Wall Street Journal.

Friday 27 June 2014

Insect Repellent Detected in Jerky Pet Treats for Dogs

Do you remember the scandalous story of the pet jerky treats made in China and people reporting over one thousand dog deaths and many more complaints of illness as a result of eating these treats?  The majority of the problems concerned dogs but some cats were also affected.  As I recall, the FDA was unable to establish hard evidence that the Chinese made pet treats were causing the deaths and therefore the product remained available to the consternation of perhaps hundreds of thousands of dog owners. Petco recently decided to remove it (in the near future) from their shelves.

Dog treats

Well, I read today a post on the website of Dr Mark Peterson a veterinary endocrinologist which he is titled “Insect Repellent, Anti-Viral Drug Detected in Jerky Pet Treats for Dogs".  The post is dated May 22, 2014.

This is not, therefore, strictly about cats but it is about pets and therefore relevant in my opinion.  Dr Peterson states that chicken jerky treats which are being eaten by dogs over the past few months have been found to be tainted by insect repellent which is known as a DEET (N,N-diethyl-meta-toluamide).  DEET is a rather nasty chemical that can affect a person's health in sufficient dosage. This product has also been found to be tainted with the anti-viral drug called amantadine.

This information is according to a veterinary pathologist who I understand is Dr Harr referred to below leading independent research into his long-standing pet jerky treat mystery which, as mentioned, remained un-resolved for a long time by the FDA.

Dr. Kendal Harr, leading the study remarks:

“The clinical significance is unknown … but these are contaminated treats,” Harr said. “I think what the illegal residues tell us is that we have a contaminated food source.”  

This information seems to be significant to me and I believe that it would be wise to pass it around the Internet.

This is a full report.

Thursday 26 June 2014

Campaigning against Declawing Is a Waste of Time Says a British Vet

Yesterday, I visited my veterinarian because Charlie, my cat, has a bacterial infection in his sinuses and nose. It is a form of persistent rhinitis. Anyway that is not the topic that I wish to discuss in this very short post. While I was in there with my cat I asked my veterinarian if he would let me ask a question about cat declawing in America and he kindly agreed.

I asked him why the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS), the governing body of British veterinarians, did not openly speak out against the declawing of cats in America as a way of putting pressure upon their counterpart organisation, the American Veterinary Medical Association. I have felt that if British veterinarians denounced declawing it may put some useful pressure on American veterinarians and support the campaign against it.

My veterinarian stated that it was unethical to declaw cats and he remarked that it is banned in the UK. He also said that he didn't like the other non-therapeutic operations that American veterinarian sometimes carried out on cats and dogs such as tail docking and the clipping of ears for aesthetic reasons.

However, despite his dislike of declawing he said it was a waste of time to write about it, argue against it and campaign against it because it is too well-established in the USA and whatever happened in the campaign against declawing, American veterinarians would not change their ways.

For this reason he said that it was not worthwhile to campaign against it.  I understood his message but I found it depressing. I'm not sure whether his thoughts about the anti-declaw campaign are typical of all British veterinarians but they might well be. There is a sense of disinterest or resignation about the declawing of cats in America by British veterinarians, it appears to me. It almost seems as if it is accepted by them notwithstanding that it is unethical as my veterinarian admitted.

One word: Sad.

Radioactive Iodine As a Treatment for Feline Hyperthyroidism

There are three treatments for feline hyperthyroidism: surgery, medication in the form of pills or via the skin - methimazole (perhaps the most common option), and a third, popular option: to use radioactive iodine to destroy the cancerous tissue.

Hyperthyroidism in cats is almost always associated with cancer.  Sometimes cats respond badly to the prescribed medication.  Surgery I suppose can be dangerous because care must be taken not to damage or remove the parathyroid glands which regulate calcium metabolism.  If these glands are removed, the cat will need supplemental thyroid for the remainder of his life.
Nottingham Vet School Flickr photostream. Published here with their express permission.

It is said that the cost of these three treatments are similar in the long term although a cat owner would probably believe that the medication administered orally would be cheaper but this may not be the case in the long term and is something that needs to be checked with the veterinarian.

Radioactive iodine does or is intended to cure the problem (as opposed to treating symptoms) because it destroys the cause of the hyperthyroidism.  The cost of the treatment in the USA is around $1,300.  To undergo this treatment cats have their hearts checked out by a echocardiogram because hyperthyroidism can damage the heart.  As I understand it, the radioactive iodine is administered by a pill.  Treatment can take about 2 weeks and it appears to be residential treatment meaning that your cat stays at the veterinary hospital during treatment.

The radioactivity that is administered to the cat is shed in the cat's urine and faeces which are checked until it is reduced to a safe level.

Cats treated this way may need supplemental thyroid for the rest of their lives.

Provided this condition is caught early and before the heart or kidney is damaged treatment can be successful.

One sort of cancer which causes hyperthyroidism, a malignant adenocarcinoma, is harder to treat and the prognosis is very poor because the cancer has spread to other parts of the body.

Criminal Wants Someone to Look after His Cats When He's in Prison

I had just read a comment on another page on this website from an anonymous person who says that he looks after 3 cats.  He says he is about to go to prison.  It also says that he lives alone, has no family and nobody he believes who can look after his cats when he is in prison.

I say 'he' but the person maybe 'she'. It doesn't matter. The problem is who does she contact to look after her cats when she is in prison.  It is the first time I have been asked that question and the answer may be difficult to find.

Normally, a prisoner who is about to embark on a short sentence will ask a friend or family to look after their cats until they are released.  If, notwithstanding that the prisoner has family to help, she is to embark on a road long prison sentence than it would seem necessary to re-home the cats.  This is regrettable but it seems to me a natural consequence of the crime that the person has committed. It is simply an additional loss or punishment.

A short sentence is a different kettle of fish.  In the UK there are individual cat fosters who work for large organisations like Cats Protection and The Cinnamon Trust.  I read that The Cinnamon Trust foster cats if, for example, the owner has to go into hospital or residential care.  In other words, The Cinnamon Trust appear to have a system whereby they will look after someone's cat for a long period time.  I would certainly contact them if I was about to start a prison sentence and had a cat or cats provided the sentence was not too long.  Cats Protection is a large national organisation in England with many volunteers who work from home and look after rescue cats pending re-homing.  I would have thought that they would be able to help and are certainly worth contacting.

The person may also talk to their veterinarian may have some contacts.

What about the USA?  In the USA there are also very many individual people who foster cats. These people are extremely knowledgeable about caring for cats.  The question is where are they and what might they charge for the service?

Once again I would probably start with my veterinarian as a first contact because they will no doubt be in the loop in respect of cat rescues in the area and cat rescue organisations have contact with cat fosterers.

The Humane Society of the United States might be able to help (contact).

One thing a person could do is to search for animal and cat rescue organisations who require volunteers to help them.  If an organisation is searching for volunteers then of course they have volunteers and the volunteers will very often be people involved in fostering cats. Accordingly, a Google search for “cat rescue organizations need volunteers" may bear fruit but some work will be required to drill down to find a suitable organisation.

If anybody other than better idea than please leave a comment.  My searches on Google have not produced a definitive answer.  I was looking for a list of organisations who used volunteers to foster cats but was unable to find one without spending more time searching.

Wednesday 25 June 2014

Weymouth Near Boston USA Decide Against Cat Leash Law

A proposal for what is in effect a cat leash law has been rejected by the Weymouth town committee and the council will probably take up the recommendation to reject the proposal at the next meeting. Under the proposal cat owners would be required to:

  • Keep their cats leashed or under their control when outside the home and;
  • clean up after their cats and;
  • the animal control officer would be charged with the duty of picking up stray cats.

Cat on leash

The committee decided against the proposal for the following reasons:

  • Animal control receive very few complaints about stray cats - three complaints in three years.
  • The town would have to be responsible for picked up stray cats for 30 days or more (presumably this would place a financial burden on the town that would be unacceptable).
  • Collars attached to leashes can choke cats.
  • The proposed ordinance was unworkable because the wording was imprecise.
  • The proposed ordinance was probably unenforceable.

Leash laws are often discussed by local law makers and on the other side of the coin, how to deal with stray and feral cats are also often discussed. They are both addressing the major cat problem in the USA: unregulated cat breeding and irresponsible cat ownership leading to unwanted and stray cats causing a nuisance. TNR is becoming more popular for dealing with strays. Leash laws are hardly ever created (I know of none).

Weymouth is about 20 km south of Boston city center. The photo is by Finn Frode living in Denmark.

Tuesday 24 June 2014

USA: different standards for foods intended for human use vs. for animal use

Quick note: US Food and Drug Administration allow a much lower standard of food to be sold for pets than for humans. It is called "diverting food" from human consumption to pet consumption because for a host of reasons it is at least unpalatable and at worst poisonous to humans.
FDA has authorized the salvage of human or animal food considered to be adulterated for its intended use by diverting that food to an acceptable animal feed use
Commercial enterprises which intend to use adulterated "food" which I presume can be almost anything including euthanised pets (I don't have firm evidence to support that), have to apply to the FDA:
requests for diversion should be submitted in writing to the appropriate FDA District Office
This page provides details. This shouldn't in anyway surprise cat owners. The way these adulterated products are dealt with is to heat treat them to kill the pathogens etc. This heat treated food is like cardboard and the flavour is added in the jelly etc..

I believe pets should get the same quality of sourced food as humans. For me this is all wrong and a symptom of humankind's sometimes unhealthy relationship with animals - from the animal's perspective.

I expect something similar happens in the UK and European countries.

Making Raw Cat Food From Easily Obtained Ingredients

This is a different approach to making raw cat food.  It's a bit like going to the grocery store and buying some extra items for your cat and then mixing them together.  Normally, when we see raw cat food being produced at home we see large quantities being ground up and then stored, whereas this has the appearance of simply making a meal for your cat on a one-off basis so perhaps it is something that is easier to try if you fancied having a go at feeding your cat a meal that is completely different to what he/she is used to if he is fed a commercial diet.

Everything he says in the video appears to me to make sense.  I will bet, however, that domestic cats fed a commercially made cat food diet may well struggle to adapt to this far more healthy and natural diet.  Any changes in diet should be gradually introduced if the new diet is dramatically different to the former.

Although the domestic cat is an obligate carnivore, as this gentleman says, when the cat eats a mouse there is quite a lot of non-meat items in his diet such as the stomach contents and the fur. This is why this gentleman adds to the diet quite a lot of non-meat items.

Introducing Neutered Male Bobcat To Spayed Female

When I watched this video I wondered what would happen if they were in the wild and they had not been spayed or neutered.  Reports indicate that bobcats maintained  in captivity show little interaction between males and females during non-reproductive periods.  This applies to bobcats who have not been neutered or spayed. In fact, females were extremely vehement in repelling males that approach too closely. Of course, things change with the onset of oestrus whereupon the behaviour of females changes to include more pacing and more affectionate movements.

We can't expect to see that sort of thing happening in this video because they have both been fixed so it seems to me we are looking at two bobcats who may or may not become friends.  The video indicates to me that these two could be friends although there are unsure and their initial encounters are defensive with a hint of something better to come once they get to know each other.

Americans falling out of love with the car. Good for some cats.

We are told today that Americans don't find car driving sexy anymore. Young Americans prefer an iPad app to a Mustang. For 2014 70% of 19 year-old Americans have driving licenses down from 87% 20 years ago.

The sprawling American suburbs will no longer continue to sprawl.  Suburbs were built around the car.

In San Francisco, Google is planning to move its suburban HQ to the city where it can integrate more with others, meet face to face, bounce of ideas. The coffee shop mentality.

This is a reshaping of the urban environment. If more people live in cities in the future it might be good for the wild cats and bad for the domestic cats.

There should be a reduction in the increased erosion of wild cat species' habitat so a slow down in the interference from people. As for the domestic cat, it means more apartment cats or full-time indoor cats. For me this is not good because I believe that domestic cats should smell the grass sometimes. It makes them happier and connects with their wild cat roots.

Source: Justin Webb -- The Times.

Don't Stop for Animals on the Highway

Yes, whatever you do, don't stop your car on the highway to help an animal get off it because you could very well be looking at a prison sentence for life! This is what Emma Czornobaj, 25, a Canadian is facing at the moment.

Emma, stopped in the fast lane of a highway to help a brace of ducklings. She faces a life sentence because she caused the deaths of a motorcyclist and his daughter who drove into her parked car while she tried to get the ducks into it.

Emma stopped her Honda Civic on the inside lane (the fast lane in Canada) to rescue the ducks. As soon as she stepped out of her car the motorcyclist, Andre Roy, 50, and his daughter, 16, Jessie, slammed into it at 90 kph. Roy's wife was travelling behind him on another motorbike but avoided the parked car.

Emma was convicted after three days of deliberations of causing death through criminal negligence. The crime carries a maximum sentence of 25 years in jail. In addition she was found guilty of two counts of dangerous driving causing death. The sentence for that can be 14 years in jail.

Is this prosecution in the public's interest. She was doing something good, innocently albeit very dangerously. The crimes mentioned really fit the activities of boy racers and rank crazy driving by irresponsible people not the sort person Emma is and activity she was involved in.

The prosecutor says:
"A clear message was sent to society that we don't stop for animals on the highway. It's not worth it"
It need not be ducks. Cats are often on the highway. Myself I have saved an injured squirrel on the highway. It was dangerous and people hooted but it was not the motorway. Emma stopped on the motorway. That is too dangerous for all concerned. She is a financial analyst and self-confessed animal lover. Sometimes you have to park your love and not act on it - this seems to be the message from the criminal courts.

Monday 23 June 2014

Fort Wayne Have Decided to Use Trap Neuter Return Rather Than Euthanise

Fort Wayne City Council are seriously considering changing the city's animal control ordinance from trap and euthanise to trap neuter and return.  My reading of the situation is that the ordinance will be changed and an efficient and organised TNR program will be set up by a coalition of organisations which include Animal Care & Control, the Allen County SPCA and the Humane Organisation to Prevent Euthanasia (HOPE).  I believe that they are calling this a Community Cats program.

For the past 30 years the approach of the leaders of the city of Fort Wayne was to trap free roaming cats and then kill them.  The peak year for this policy was 2010 when Animal Care & Control trapped more than 8,000 cats and euthanised about 7,000 of them.  In 1980 the figure was 2,000.  You can see it's been an ever increasing number which in itself is a sign of failure of this policy which no doubt encouraged the City Council to decide upon the only alternative, TNR.

Jessica Henry, director of the Alan County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, says this about trapping and killing:

“There's zero evidence that it works.  In fact all the evidence says the contrary...  It serves no purpose."

I suppose the evidence she is referring to is the past 30 years of trapping and euthanising leading to more cats.

I think that we can agree that trapping and euthanising stray cats simply provides temporary relief to the problem by removing the cats from the environment until a new population moves in. Killing stray cats has its attractions because you see instant results and historically people find it difficult to think long-term and map out strategies that produce results over decades rather than months.

We know that politicians are always seeking instant results to get votes so it does take some courage to do the right thing and plan in the long term.

An encouraging indication of the success of TNR comes from Indianapolis which started a TNR program in 2004.  There was an average decline of 35% in stray cat numbers across the city with one area reporting a decrease of 43%.

The people who support TNR do make a good point, however.  If TNR is to work it must be done effectively and completely with proper funding.

In Fort Wayne, the three organisations referred to as being involved in this program will work as a team.  They will each have separate responsibilities.

Animal Care & Control have the responsibility of retrieving the trapped cat's, scanning them for microchips and then take them to HOPE whose role it is to spray and neuter the cats if no microchip is found.  They will also notch one of the ears of the cats after the operation. The SPCA then collect the cats from HOPE and return them to their territory. Cats visually in decent health will be returned while cats that are obviously ill will be euthanised.

There are of course concerns with trap neuter return because you are ultimately going to be putting some cat back into the environment who are ill who may well spread disease to other animals.  On that argument you are perpetuating a lot of misery amongst stray and feral cats, which is the argument we hear repeated by PETA.

However, there is simply no better solution than TNR. There is really no choice in the matter so although TNR is not a perfect solution is the best solution based upon hard evidence.

There are many people who disagree that TNR works.  These people prefer to kill the cats. It is really about how effectively the programme is carried out and I hope that the city of Fort Wayne carries out the programme highly efficiently which will help to promote this far more humane way of treating stray cats. We created stray cats it is our duty to resolve it humanely. 

It Took a Ginger Cat 3 Weeks To Return to His Former Home Across Town

The moral of this tale is to bear in mind the wishes of your domestic cat companion if and when you decide to move home if, of course, you have a choice about moving.

If you wish to move home out of a preference then your cat will disagree with you judging by the stories that we read on the Internet and this one is a particularly good example. The story concerns a 2-year-old orange tabby cat and he was very used to his home in the St Johns' area of Portland, Oregon, USA.

The family moved across the town to East Portland. This was 12 miles away from their previous home.

Their tabby cat, whose name by the way is George, pretty well immediately set off to return to the place he knew. The only difficulty was that it was, as I say, 12 miles away and and it is known that there are coyotes in the area plus there were 3 interstate highways and I am sure many other roads in between where he was and where he wanted to be.

George made it but it took him 3 weeks and he lost a bit of weight on the way.  When it got there he appears to have been met by the people who rented the property perhaps from George's owners, the Champion family.  I presume they contacted their landlord, the Champions who collected him.

I think he's very impressive. He is now under house arrest and he won't be let out of the home unless he is on a leash. 

It just tells us how very connected the domestic cat is to his territory.  I think the connection between the domestic cat and the place he lives is stronger than the connection between people in the place they live.  A cat's territory is part of him.  It is a part of what he is. In the wild, cats patrol it incessantly and defend it from intruders and we know that unneutered domestic cats do exactly the same thing.

George preferred to live in his territory rather than with his human caretakers. I think that is significant.

There is a black-and-white unaltered (whole in that he has his reproductive organs) cat who patrols his territory and my home is within his territory so whenever he meets my cat who comes out with me into the garden we have the makings of an intense fight unless I intervene.  We are intruders on his patch.

Sunday 22 June 2014

Scottish Fire Service Charge £342 to Recover Cat Stuck Up a Tree

A Scottish fire service spokesman said:
"As a fire and rescue service we are regularly called to assist in animal rescue situations."
So with a revised 2004 law (Fire and Rescue Services Act 2004) which permits the fire service in Scotland to charge for their services under certain circumstances, notwithstanding it is essentially a tax payer funded public service, they decided to make some money.....Why not under the current budgetary constraints.

The amount of money mentioned in the title is for one hour's attendance at the tree where the cat is stuck! If it takes more than one hour they will charge pro rata, I suppose. No one has mentioned what happens but perhaps they will charge for every subsequent 30 mins with a call out charge of one hour or the full £342. The cost is inclusive of VAT (value added tax).

What do the fire service do where you are? I'd bet they don't charge like this. Can you imagine getting an invoice from the fire service for hundreds of pounds to recover your cat stuck up a tree?

In the long term it will inevitably lead to more cats stuck in trees for longer but they'll come down of their own accord!

Meet Gabriel the Cuddly Cheetah

You might love this but I am not sure about it.  I am not sure that I like this sort of thing.  Obviously Gabriel, the cheetah, has been raised by people all his life and you can tell he is still quite young because he has long hair from the nape of his neck to his shoulders.

The video was made at Volunteering at Cheetah Experience in South Africa where the man in the video, Gary Getz befriended this teenage cheetah Gabriel.  Gary says that Gabriel loves giving affection more than receiving it.

I think when Gary says that it hurts at the beginning of the video he is referring to Gabriel's tongue as he is being licked. As you know a cat's tongue is quite rough with hard keratin spikes on it.   Cheetah's seem to have many domestic cat traits and are quite friendly relative to some other wild cat species.

Canada: Two Cougars Killed Because They Killed Two Domestic Cats

I'm not sure that this is ethically correct. This is a story from British Columbia, Canada. Just over the border from the USA is a town called Cranbrook. The map shows you where it is.

Last Friday, a couple of days ago, a resident of the town, Karen King, found two dead cats outside her home. She telephoned the conservation officers who had a look at the dead cats. The conservation officers confirmed that cougars were involved in killing the domestic cats.

"We confirmed that, yes, cougars were involved with killing domestic cats," said Jared Connatty, one of the COs

It seems that the way they worked out that two cougars were involved in the killing of these cats was because they carried out an investigation by asking questions of local residents and the residents confirmed that two cougars had been hanging around the area for a few weeks before there were notified.

So what they did was to deploy tracking hounds who picked up the scent of the cougars at the last known location which led them to two juvenile cougars of around 10 months of age where they were killed (I presume shot). The hounds did not pick up the scent of the mother.

The conservation officers were a bit surprised that the mother was not present because cougar cubs don't leave the mother until about 16 to 18 months of age.

To recap: conservation officers who have a duty to conserve nature meaning wildlife decided that the only course of action was to kill two young mountain lions because two domestic cats that were wandering outside had been killed by them on their estimation. Might it not have been a better idea to have told the people living in the area to keep their domestic cat inside for a while and then to track the cougars. Once they had discovered where they were, to then capture them and relocate them. Perhaps that is impractical, I don't know but I do know that it makes more sense to me because I don't think the actions of these conservation officers was proportionate to the “crime" committed by the mountain lions.

I know it is extremely upsetting if one has lost one's cat companion. However, that might be a risk that one takes when living in Canada knowing full well that there are quite possibly mountain lions in the area. Knowing that, a cat owner therefore puts their cat companion in risk if they let them go outside wandering.

There is no information as to whether the two domestic cats were in fact domestic cats, strays or feral cats. There appears to be no complaint by a cat owner. It would seem that the reason why the conservation officers killed the mountain lions was because whenever a mountain lion wanders into a residential area they are killed on the basis that they are a potential hazard to residents. Once again I find that a poor way of dealing with the situation. If people build residential areas within the distribution of mountain lions then they are knowingly taking the possible risk of a mountain lion walking around their urban environment. On that basis, surely they can devise some method of dealing with mounted lives more humanely so that humans and wild cat can live harmoniously together?

These were young mountain lions and therefore relatively small in size and I will thought unable to genuinely harm people. They could have been dealt with more humanely. That is the point I'm making.

Saturday 21 June 2014

UK - Cat Tied Up By Neck - Call 0300 123 8018 if You Can Help

I am sorry to say that cat news is often bad news or it is about cat celebrities.  That is the nature of the world today.

In this instance I am simply spreading the word in the low expectation that somebody might pick up this post and call the RSPCA on the number in the title to pass on useful information which may lead to the prosecution and conviction of the person who did this act of cat cruelty.

This is a cat that was tied up to a railing at a building site by the neck with a nylon cord.  It's about as straightforward as that.  The cat's name is Archie and he went missing for 8 days so it is entirely possible that he was tied up for 8 days and as you can see from the photograph it very nearly killed him. In fact, I'm surprised that it didn't because often cats restrained under these circumstances struggle and end up strangling themselves.

One of the workers on the building site discovered him and Archie's caretakers had distributed a leaflet in their search for him.

The location is Hartley Wintney, Hampshire, UK.

Mysterious Reappearance Of Lost Cat After 13 Years

Shelby, disappeared from her home with the Jalong family in Australia 13 years ago.  Then she suddenly turned up covered in lice with heavily matter fur. Her owners, apparently, didn't recognise her at first until they checked against a photograph. I can understand the difficulty in identifying her after 13 years.

Shelby's return has been described as mysterious and very strange but something very similar happened to my mother's cat. I'm not sure that it is strange to be honest. My assessment is that some domestic cats don't like domestication too much so they leave the family home and live in the wild or semi-wild. Their natural wild traits, which are just below the surface, trump their domestication/socialisation.

Then when they get older, say at about 15 years of age, they are tired, perhaps arthritic and unable to chase prey, so they decide to come home. It is a bit like a person going into a residential care home for the last years of their lives. They come home because at that stage domestication becomes attractive.

In the case of my mother, she had cared for many cats in her life (she died 5 years ago) and one them was a ginger tabby male cat, who she called Tigger. My mother lived opposite a golf course. Tigger left one day, unannounced, when he was quite young to go to live on the golf course. He returned about 13 years later quite clearly arthritic because he walked almost sideways on. He looked old, tired and quite grumpy and was certainly ready for some warmth and care.

My mother tried to pick him up but he scratched and bit her. He had become wild again but he still appreciated the benefits of domestication in old age. My mother fed him but left him alone.

Cats do have wonderful memories, much better than people realise. Sometimes their memory relates to the scent of a person. Cats have very good memories of scent. They can remember a person by how they smell. And as we can see they can certainly remember where their domestic home is even after 13 years but it is quite likely that Shelby lived outside nearby. I suspect that she lived outside for most of those 13 years.

The cat that now lives with the Jalong family is upset at the new arrival.

Picture of Cat Shot with Air Rifle (not gruesome)

This is a photograph of a cat that has been shot with an air rifle pellet.  It happened in the UK because in the UK the cat hater and cat shooter only has access to an air rifle and so whenever you read a news article about a cat being shot it is invariably with an air rifle.  The alternative is a crossbow bolt. Cats are shot for the fun of it.

So, in the UK it is air rifle pellets and in the USA because of the far greater access to guns people who shoot cats often use .22 bullets. This is a small calibre.

The cat is Daisy, who lives on Raine Avenue, Haverhill, UK. The photo comes from the Cambridge News.

Daisy was let outside for a while and within 15 minutes she was back home crying loudly. The vet thought Daisy had been shot at close range. She may have to have a further operation. Daisy is a tortoiseshell cat.

Please God that the squeaky super cute sloth ends funny cat domination

It is time we moved on and let the domestic cat be himself. It is time people stopped training their cat to perform tricks and stunts to make money spinning YouTube videos of "funny cats". Perhaps (unlikely) the super cute sloth will push the super cute funny cat into second place for a while.

Surely the public has tired of funny cat videos by now. There must be a lifespan for them and we should be near the end of it.

Funny cat videos spawned celebrity cats, the new film stars of the catwalk! I just want to return to the good old days when cats were cats. I don't like seeing celebrity cats worshipped while millions of cats - who happen to not look quite so fascinating - are deliberately killed ("euthanised") at places where they should be saved ("shelters") because they are unloved.

Come on cute sloth from slothville! Beat the competition. Go viral. Spread the word. You're as good as a cat and we, the cat and animal lovers, want to see you consign the feeding frenzy of feline fun into second place.

Friday 20 June 2014

About Zylkene

About Zylkene

This is a medicating food supplement that comes in the shape of a pill and it calms cats and dogs down. It was launched in April 2008 but this is the first time I've heard about it. The active ingredient is stated to be a natural product derived from casein, a protein in milk.

The product website says that the active ingredient is a molecule well-known to promote the relaxation of newborns after breastfeeding.

The medication or food supplement is given daily. The capsule is opened and the contents mixed with the cat or dog's usual food or it can be mixed with liquids.

This calming food supplement should be given to your cat or dog a few days before it is required. The sort of situations for which it is designed are for example the introduction of a new cat or dog to the household or going to the vet perhaps or taking your cat on a long journey.  In fact, any number of circumstances and environments under and in which your cat or dog might become agitated and stressed.

How does this natural but effective tranquilliser work?  Incidentally, I say "effective" because if we are to believe Amazon reviews, they indicate 4 stars out of 5. This is not bad.

A scientific website states that the active constituent is a concentrated peptide found in cow's milk. It is apparently superior to Valium (diazepam) in “some models of animal anxiety".

Peptides are chains of amino acids that have a biologic activity within the body.  The product website does not explain how it works it but it seems that the peptides give a message to the brain and spinal-cord of the animal through GABA receptors which tells the animal to relax and calm down.

I believe that the peptide concerned is called Alpha-casozepine. This is a chain of 10 amino acids.

As I understand it, the same ingredient is used in a de-stressing medication for people.  In America in 2008 there was and possibly still is a product designed for people called De-Stress which is based on the same active ingredient.

Essay on the Scottish Fold (for students)

The first Scottish Fold was found by a shepherd on a farm in Perthshire, Scotland in 1961.  He noticed a white, female barn cat, whose name was Susie, who had ears that looked different.  The ears were folded like those of a puppy.  Other kittens in the litter were normal and as a result the folded ears were thought to be due to a spontaneous mutation.

Scottish Fold Breed Standard

The cat with flat ears was allowed to reproduce and two more folded eared kittens were created; and so a new breed was established.  Initially this new breed had considerable opposition in the cat fancy in England.  The premier cat association in England, the GCCF, would not accept the breed for competition.  Although the Scottish Fold continues to be controversial, it is still quite popular in the United States.  This is a medium-sized cat and you will see this cat in all colours and patterns except chocolate, lilac and, point.

The ears show a definite fold line resulting in a forward fold giving the impression that the cat is wearing a cap on his rounded head.

This cat's eyes are large and rounded which when added to the rounded head and flat ears creates a very cute and kittenish appearance, which has been attributed to this breed's popularity.

Despite being popular, the single dominant gene that causes the Scottish Fold's unusual ears is also responsible for other physical abnormalities, which can occur when the gene is in the heterozygous state but most commonly these problems are manifest and severe in cats that are homozygous for the mutation.

If a couple of Scottish Folds are bred the kittens have folded ears but they are also likely to have fused tail vertebra and abnormal cartilage formation in the joints of the legs and paws.

In homozygotes individual cats these abnormalities can be very severe and cause the cat to be crippled.

Responsible Scottish Fold breeders minimise these physical health problems by always breathing a Scottish Fold to a cat with a normal ear type, which avoids kittens being born with the homozygous combination of the mutated gene.

On a practical level, when the ear flap is folded flat to the head there are other potential issues such as a possible increase in ear infections and the inability to communicate with the ears.  As you are aware, cats communicate with their ears as a form of body language. Sound sensitivity may also be impaired.

The people who support this cat breed maintain that the aforementioned skeletal problems can be prevented with careful breeding practices and that in heterogeneous cats the gene is not detrimental to the cat's health.

Note: this essay is free to use under a creative commons license.

Lifestyle Link between Human Crohn's Disease And Cat IBD

Is there a lifestyle link between the soaring numbers of young people treated with Crohn's disease in the UK and the increase in feline inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) in the USA?

The causes of both feline IBD and human Crohn's disease are not completely understood.  One of the causes of feline IBD is thought to be the constituent ingredients in commercial cat food which triggers an immune response in the intestinal which is unnecessary and which aggravates the intestinal tract.  An alternative viewpoint is that an excess of bad bacteria in the gut causes the problem.  Both could be involved.  There is quite possibly, though a link between feline IBD and commercial cat food and antibiotics because antibiotics kill good bacteria and upset gut flora.

As for human Crohn's disease the condition attacks the intestines and is thought to be triggered by problems with the immune system.  Sally Mitton, a consultant gastroenterologist at St Georges Hospital in south-west London says:
“Definitely, if you have a lot of junk food before your diagnosis it actually makes it more likely that you will develop Crohn's disease."
She also says that she has noticed that people who have had lots of antibiotics in their youth are more likely to develop this condition.

You can see, therefore, that there is a connection between Crohn's disease and both the bacterial content of the gut and the immune system.  As mentioned antibiotics can kill the good bacteria in the gut leaving an excess of bad bacteria and we already know that GPs in the UK prescribe too many antibiotics.  This situation more or less mirrors the situation that causes feline IBD.

Both are underpinned by both poor quality food and antibiotics.  We know that the prescribing of antibiotics for cats by veterinarians can on occasions be excessive.

There is one final aspect to both these diseases and that is the development of a child's immune system being inhibited because they are exposed less nowadays to germs.  Once again, this mirrors the argument by some people that the domestic cat is gradually becoming less exposed to a natural way of life and therefore germs.

I therefore conclude that there is a lifestyle link between human Crohn's disease and feline inflammatory bowel disease.

As people in the UK tend to follow the lifestyle of American citizens - viz junk food and obesity - there is also connection between the US and UK.

Thursday 19 June 2014

Almost Forty Percent of Declawed Cats Have Issues Walking

Almost Forty Percent of Declawed Cats Have Issues Walking

The Paw Project is doing some sterling work at the moment in studying the damage that the declawing operation does to cats. They've already discovered that there are many more botched operations than the rest of us ever imagined and now they have come up with this startling conclusion from a recent study that 38% of the declawed cats  have some sort of issues with the way they walk.

They also make the important point that this figure of 38% only applies to those cats that have not modified their gait completely by walking on their wrists.  In other words some domestic cats stop walking on their toes (digitigrade) which is what they're meant to be doing and walk on their wrists instead.  This avoids putting pressure on their very sore and damaged toes which as you well know are all partially amputated on the front paws (sometimes all four paws are done).

If you work out what 38% means in terms of actual numbers you have to come to the estimate that about 8,000,000 domestic cats in the USA have some sort of walking issues because they have been through the declawing operation (25% of 90m are declawed - estimated).  We don't know how many walk on their wrists.

I find it a shocking number.  I'm sure there are many cat owners who support declawing who will also find these figures surprising and disturbing.  I hope so and if they do I hope they join the campaign against declawing.

China: Eating Cats Leads To Rat Problems

It is common knowledge today that the people of Guangzhou Province in southern China like to eat the stray and, I'm sure, the domestic cat.  It is part of their culture.  We have learned that they eat about 10,000 cats per day. Obviously, this is a very large number.

I have also read that because they consume some many cats they have to ship them in from other parts of China. I have read that there are lorry loads of cats coming in from the North.  The same incidentally applies to dogs, to the best of my knowledge.

Recently, there has been a report that in Hunan Province which is adjacent and exactly north of Guangzhou Province there is a plague of rats.  We are told that the country suffers from a plague of a reported 2,000,000,000 rats which were displaced by a flooded lake.  I believe that this lake is in Hunan Province. you can see it on the map.

So my assessment of the situation is that in Hunan Province, China they have a plague of rats and they're also shipping cats from that province south to the Province where they love to eat them.  I wonder whether these two events and facts are connected.  Just a thought.

Stray cats will feed on rodents and if you're shipping tens of thousands of stray cats from one area to another it occurs to me that the rat population in the area from which the cats are shipped may increase.  There is no evidence to support what I have stated (as a possibility) but nonetheless it is a sensible deduction.

Ironically, there are now shipping rats to the south as well because in Guangzhou Province the citizens eat anything that moves without compunction and without any regard for any other factors.

The official reason for the plague of rats is a lack of snakes and owls.  Snakes are also eaten in the south and owls are killed for traditional Chinese medicine.  I would like to add the lack of a sufficient number of stray cats in Hunan Province as a more likely reason why this plague of rats exists.

Note: the map is a merged one (by me) of two maps from Wikimedia Commons.

Nova Scotia Veterinarians Decide Declawing is Alright

In October 2013, I reported that the Nova Scotia Veterinary Medical Association were debating whether to ban the declawing of cats by changing their code of ethics. If they did, would it have actually stopped them declawing? I am not sure because these associations have little authority it seems to me.

Anyway, the bad news is the predictable news; the esteemed senior veterinarians of Canada decided it was OK to partially amputate the toes of a cat for the convenience of the owner. I am not surprised one bit. In fact the vote was predictable.

We are told that 34 vets votes against the ban. Eight voted for the ban. If the vote is representative of Canadian veterinarians it means that almost a quarter of Canadian vets are for banning declawing in Canada. In the parlance of football coaches we can take some positives from that!

They also voted to form a committee to further study the issue - a big joke to be frank. What do they need to study? Declawing for non-therapeutic purposes is obviously wrong on common sense principles and it is already in breach of their oath yet they still vote for it.

There is one glimmer of light at the end of the long tunnel in the campaign against declawing.
One of the vets, Dr Chisholm, who is firmly against declawing and who stopped in the early 1990s says:
"It's a barbaric mutilation that does nothing to benefit the cat...It is something that should become history. It is an embarrassment to our profession". 
Dead right it is an embarrassment to the profession. Clearly most members of the veterinary profession are thick skinned and able to shrug off the embarrassment.

The other "positive" to take from this waste of time of a meeting is that Dr Ross Ainslie has decided to stop declawing cats. What is remarkable about it is that he has been a veterinarian for 60 years. It is never to late to see the light, the light of a new way and a more moral way.

Dr Ainslie's change of heart is an example of how long the process will take to change the intransigent and profit-orientated opinions of veterinarians who can't really care about the health and welfare of their patients.

Source story.

Wednesday 18 June 2014

Domestic Cat Supports Wild Cat in Prison (zoo enclosure) - Feline Solidarity!

I love this. The stray calico cat wandered into the lynx enclosure at St. Petersburg Zoo and made buddies instantly. Then they engaged in mutual grooming. It is like the domestic cat wanted to support his wild cat friend because he is in prison. I wish the domestic cat could have got him out. Why can't he take the lynx back the way he came in?!

This is probably a Eurasian lynx.

Not Enough! $80m To Save the World's Wild Cats

A global alliance of environmental philanthropists from China, the United Arab Emirates, the US and India have joined together to try and do something about saving the wild cat species, which is entirely admirable but their agreement to provide funding of US$80,000,000 is nowhere near enough.  When set against the profits made from the business of trading and trafficking internationally wild cat species and their body parts, $80,000,000 as a pittance and don't forget you have to complete and beat very devious and very clever businessmen who know how to corrupt officials and politicians in order to get their hands on those precious tiger body parts.

When you think of the wealth of the countries involved their combined funding towards conservation of the wild cat species truly is a very small sum of money.  There are many billionaires living in any one of these countries who could write a cheque for $80,000,000 right now without blinking. It would be like me writing a cheque for £100.

They have guaranteed a 10 year commitment to wild cat conservation so the $80,000,000 funding is spread over 10 years.  That also, I regret to say, is not good enough because species like the tiger have arguably 20 years left in the wild in India before they become extinct in that country in the wild.  Therefore, there is an immediate requirement for substantial funds to resolve the problem.

In addition, the conservation of the Bengal tiger goes well beyond simple funding.  It's about the reserves, which are too small and not managed well enough. There is no point throwing millions of dollars towards the conservation of the Bengal tiger without tackling corruption and management at the same time.  Otherwise all the money will simply go down the drain, the drain of corruption and bad management. Note: it is impossible to stop corruption - too many vested interests and too entrenched.

I almost think that this is a PR exercise but I'll try not to be too cynical.  The objective of the fund is to reduce poaching and international trade, reduce retaliatory killings due to human-animal conflict, reduce the hunting of the prey of the wild cats and try and resolve the unresolvable problem of the loss and fragmentation of the habitat of these cats.  How can anyone resolve the problem of fragmentation of habitat? It is impossible to turn the clock back and create a habitat for a wild cat species that is complete and whole because people are living in parts of this habitat with their farms.  It would mean relocating tens of thousands of people, wouldn't it?

The funding is being channelled through an organisation called Panthera.  The Alliance is called the Panthera Global Alliance. Good luck. I wish I was more optimistic.

North London Residents Psyched up About Roaming Bengal Cat

Some residents living in north London think they have wild cat lookalike roaming around their back gardens and many find it a bit disturbing.  They really haven't seen anything like it before but they think it might be the same cat that terrorised the community in 2011, which they called the "Beast of Shepherds Hill". The area concerned in Highgate; quite a fancy area.
Very domestic looking and far from a "beast"!

This wouldn't happen in America, absolutely not because this "miniature leopard" is in fact a Bengal cat and what's amusing is that the newspaper which reported on the story describes the cat incorrectly in my opinion as a Savannah cat.  They are quite different.  The cat as far as I'm concerned is most definitely a spotted Bengal cat and the spots are what are called donuts (doughnuts). At least no one shot it! That is something that would not happen in the UK.

The Bengal cat is a wild cat hybrid but at fifth filial level it is all but domestic. They have been around the cat show circuit since the 1970s - well established and popular. There are many breeders in the UK too so I am surprised they got this wrong, or did they. It seems like one of those, we-have-no-news-today stories; let's find a cat that is terrorising the neighbourhood.

Alley Cat Allies Calls For Dismissal Of Ohio Animal Humane Officer

Barry Accorti

There is a police officer (title: "humane officer" whatever that means - not much apparently) who works in an area around North Ridgefield, Ohio, USA.  About a year ago he shot 5 kittens who were hiding in a woodpile while children watched. The woodpile was in someone's backyard. The whole thing smacks of madness but the officer got away with it.  Nothing happened. The mayor of the city, Mayor G David Gillock, and the police chief, Michael Freeman, both turned a blind eye to this officer's behaviour. The officer's name is Barry Accorti (see photo).

Of course, there was a public outcry but still nothing happened. How many times have you seen that? It doesn't just happen in America. It happens in the UK as well and many other places where police officers do bad thing and nothing happens despite a public outcry. It simply serves to undermine the police force and if you keep on doing it long enough you breakdown the trust between the police and the public.

This is a follow-up post because this completely animal-insensitive police officer has now shot a baby raccoon, which as I understand it, he'd trapped. He shot and killed the baby raccoon in her cage while children watched. He does like to let children watch his cruelty to animals, doesn't he? What in heavens name does he think he is doing?

The well-known cat charity Alley Cat Allies has written a letter to the North Ridgeville Mayor requesting immediate termination of Mr Accorti's employment contract and the dismissal of the chief as well...
“We are also calling for the immediate dismissal of Humane Officer Barry Accorti and Police Chief Michael Freeman......These cruel practices cannot and will not be tolerated,” says Becky Robinson, president and founder of Alley Cat Allies. “The fact that a duplicate incident has arisen, with the same officer—who was, against advisement, permitted to keep his job—and the same supervisor, demonstrates the clear need for real change after last year’s cruel event."
Click this for the full letter.

Hands up those people who could shoot a kitten or a baby raccoon at close range with a pistol?  Imagine what it's like when the bullet hits the animal.  Imagine the destruction, the blood, the fear and terror in the other kittens who are nearby, the distress caused to the children who were nearby and the continued desensitisation of the person who did it.  Every time a person does something like this he simply reinforces his insensitivity and so he becomes more and more inured to gross animal cruelty.  This is not the sort of person who should be a police officer and to call himself a humane officer is turning the world upside down. Sack him.

Tuesday 17 June 2014

Almost a quarter of British men talk to their cat on the phone

Almost a quarter of British men talk to their cat on the phone

A snippet of information which is quite interesting.  You can click on the link above if you want to read more and see more statistics about the Brits and their cats.

An interesting extra bit of information is that not only a quarter of British men talk to their cat on the phone, more men than women talk to their cat on the phone.  That seems to go against the trend. And this slightly odd statistic begs the question as to how this happens.

After all, a cat does not put a phone to his ear.  Perhaps, therefore, the man's partner who is at home puts a phone to the family cat's ear allowing the man who is at work to talk to his cat.  That is the obvious solution.

However, there are devices that you can buy these days which not only deliver food remotely via your iPad but also allow you to talk to your cat.  The whole process is done wirelessly via the Internet.  This means that a single man can feed his cat, keep an eye on his cat provided his cat is within range of the camera and talk to his cat in a reassuring way.  That's modern life.

Another interesting statistic is that almost 40% of British men have tried to teach their cat a trick or stunt which tells me that, quite possibly, they are trying to train their cat to perform an interesting stunt for their camcorder in an attempt to make a viral video published to YouTube with the intention of making vast sums of money through advertising!  There will be hundreds of thousands of failures but even one major success can earn pots of money for the cat caretaker provided the video gets tens of millions of hits.

Source: Hallmark survey

Heath Robinson's Multi-Movement Tabby Silencer

Heath robinson tabby silencer 1

A museum is to be built to house the work of William Heath Robinson (1872-1944).  The work will start this autumn (2014).

W Heath Robinson

The name of Heath Robinson is part of the English language.  “That's a bit Heath Robinson-like isn't it?!"  I've used that myself a number of times.

His bizarre contraptions always consisted of wheels, pulleys, weights etc.  They always looked very fragile and totally impractical but fascinating nonetheless.

One of his contraptions possibly gives us an insight into his thoughts about the domestic cat: the Multi-Movement Tabby Silencer.

This is a device to spray water over noisy cats to silence them.  It is the classic way of stopping a cat doing something.  It is not recommended by me because it is a form of punishment and punishing cats is ill-advised as it tends to simply alienate the person's cat.

The Heath Robinson Multi-Movement Tabby Silencer consists of an extendable arm and a long stick.  There is a wheel and numerous ropes which are tied together in places.  There are 2 candles and a mirror together with a patterned china job containing water!  Two people operated while hanging out of open windows.

Trespassing Cats: A Neighbourly Battle Of Biblical Proportions

Lady releases trapped cat
It happens everywhere especially, as far as I can tell, in the United States of America.  A neighbour likes cats and looks after lots of them. She can't help it. She just loves cats too much and can't stop herself from helping them.

Her next door neighbour either dislikes cats or is neutral about them.  His young boy is allergic to cats. His neighbour's cats wander into his yard. They urinate in his yard and occasionally defecate there as well. He puts up with it but after a while he decided to put down traps then take the cats that are trapped to the local rescue centre.

The cat loving neighbour finds out that she is missing some cats and then discovers what is happening so at 4 in the morning she sneaks out of her property onto her neighbour's property and releases the trapped cats. The person who trapped the cats figures out something is going on because he knows the cats were in the traps at one stage.

We have the makings of a war between neighbours which is something to be avoided at all costs.

Anyway the guy who set the traps sets up surveillance cameras to record what happens at 4 in the morning when his neighbour comes onto this property to release the cats he has trapped. He uses the video material to tell the police what has happened and she ends up facing what in America is called a “criminal trespass charge" for walking onto her neighbour's property.

Trespass is normally a tort meaning a civil wrong and not a crime. In addition, I do know what crime she has committed. Opening traps? Perhaps she damaged the traps.

This must be an American law.  Anyway she will probably end up with a criminal record and the guy who got her prosecuted will end up with an extremely angry neighbour who will carry on doing exactly the same thing as you did before.

No one's a winner, everyone's a loser.  The answer has to be a common sense answer which is that the lady who'd like to look after cats continues to do so but at the same time respects her neighbour's rights and wishes in order to keep the peace with her neighbour. I say that being a cat lover but even cat lovers need to respect other people's rights.

Being a cat lover does not trump everything: the behaviour of a cat lover has to fit in with society just like the behaviour of everybody else.

This is not a made up story but a real one. The lady who looked after the cat is Jean Kerdock-Locke and her neighbor is Ben Sanchez. The live in southeast Albuquerque, USA.

Monday 16 June 2014

North Carolina Cat Sanctuary Fights Shooting Range Neighbor

June 14th 2014: I am astonished by this story. There appears to be a clear breach of planning regulations. However, I do not know the planning regulations for this area of the United States.

The Goathouse Refuge near Pittsboro have been in existence in the area for about 7 years and they currently care for about 200 cats including some other animals such as goats and dogs. This is a cat sanctuary and the pictures of it indicate that this is a well managed organisation

A business opened up next door.  The business is a shooting range, which is referred to as "Range 2A".  The range uses about 15 acres of a 71 acre plot owned by the business. They have plans to expand so even more noise seems likely!

You can guess what I am going to say next, I hope. The shooting range creates an awful lot of noise.

The domestic cat is very sensitive to noise and particularly the sort of noise that firearms make when they are fired. These are exactly the sorts of noises that domestic cats detest. They scare cats and create stress.

The cat sanctuary is appealing to Chatham County Board of Commissioners to close the shooting range. They have started a petition online. This is all very worthy stuff.

However, the question that I have is how did this shooting range business obtain planning permission to open up their business next door to a cat sanctuary that has been in existence on this site for 7 years?

It seems grossly unfair to me. Perhaps the business did not need planning permission at all but I would doubt that because every organisation or individual in any environment in the West requires some sort of planning permission when opening a business.

Did the cat sanctuary have sight of the planning application?  And if so did they have an opportunity to contest it?  Did they object to it? Was their voice heard and did they have a hearing at the local authority pursuant to the rules to put their case forward formally? These are the questions that need to be answered and if I was the owner of the cat sanctuary I would be making enquiries along these lines unless of course I am barking up the wrong tree because either there are no planning regulations in place, or there are regulations and there been complied with.

If the latter has happened I would appeal the decision of the local councillors. An appeal could take place in a local court for judicial review.

My gut feeling is that the best course of action is a legal one because petitions and requesting something from councillors has little chance of success in my opinion.

The shooting range business has issued a bland statement justifying their existence, unsurprisingly. But it does not address the central issue which is why they're there in the first place.  They have not responded to a request by the reporters of the Daily News to comment on the matter.

The Goathouse Refuge may have to close unless something is done about this shooting range.

Three-quarters of NZ Cat Owners Don't Exercise Their Cat

Owners contribute to cat obesity - 16-Jun-2014 - NZ Living & Travel news

Surprised? No, of course not. New Zealanders are not alone. I should think that anywhere in the world about 75% of cat owners totally ignore the need to ensure that their cat gets some sort of exercise. A bit of exercise is like a good walk for a human; it is good for you both physically and psychologically and the same applies to the domestic cat. Exercise is the opposite side of the coin to feeding.

The trouble is that the majority of New Zealand cat owners don't really exercise any control over the amount their cat eats. That, too, is not unusual. According to a Royal Canin survey of 315 cat caretakers 75% leave food out all day - free feeding relying on the cat to eat the right amount.

You should be able to rely on your cat to eat the right amount but you can't if she does not exercise at all and if the food is high in carbohydrates and far from ideal. Boredom can lead to overfeeding and addictive food can too.

I fully understand the difficulties some cat owners have in finding the time and space to ensure their cat exercises but....ultimately there is no excuse.

What do I do? Well I am typing this outside in the garden using my wireless router (or my iPhone as a router) while Charlie my cat messes around in the garden within my eyesight. Not bad. Not great, but he is doing something other than snoozing.

Wheat Litter Produces the Least Amount of Dust

16th June 2014 -- You will have to check it out for yourself. There is, though, anecdotal evidence which suggests that wheat litter produces the least amount of dust.  This is a timely post because I have recently written an article about a cat litter product that could be described as the cat litter which produces the greatest amount of dust.

Dust from cat litter is a genuine hazard to both the cat and the cat's caretaker (especially if the person is susceptible to asthma). Cats sniff their litter. They are prone to inhaling dust and the dust is a chemical (silica dust or sodium bentonite) which absorbs moisture. Imagine what that does in the moist cavities of a cat's lung. As I said, this is a genuine health hazard.

Wheat litter,  specifically SWheat Scoop,  gets a good write-up from a person who appears to be very sensible writing on the Yahoo website. It's quite expensive but as she states you can't spend your money more wisely than in the furtherance of the health of both yourself and your cat. In addition to being virtually dust free it appears to be highly effective in suppressing odour.

There will be negatives. One user says her dogs liked to eat it. What about clumping? Appears to be poor according to some - it clumps but in a bad way. It may be good but how does it react if left for a day? Odour control? Less good than some it seems These are things that a buyer will have to check out themselves in use. There are pros and cons for all cat litters. The key is to decide the most important features and prioritise. Clearly the health of your cat comes first.

This is an American product which is only available apparently at PetSmart but I would check that out. Only a few supermarkets sell it. If perchance you have used this product it would be very nice of you if you could leave a comment reviewing it.

Kenyan Government Protects Poachers: What Happens to the Wild Cats?

Elephant Serengeti. Photo: Feans
Richard Leakey, one of the world's best known conservationists tells us that the Kenyan government is working with (yes, not against) poachers. This is a classic example of the well rehearsed dark-side of governments the world over which continues to have a catastrophic impact on wild species living in the wild.

Leakey refers to the ivory of elephants and the horns of rhino which feed the insatiable market in China but it could equally well be the bones of a lion from the plains of the Serengeti. The body parts of these glorious and increasingly precious species of popular wild animals are desired by many people. The more they are killed the rarer they become and in turn more desirable; one of the distortions of human existence.

Richard Leakey is the founder of the Kenya Wildlife Service. He says he is convinced that the Kenyan government knows who the criminals are.

The "last great wildlife species" are being slaughtered because of corruption in high places. Wasn't it ever thus but it won't change. We read these stories year-in-year-out and nothing changes in the long run, which tells me the end of poaching can only happen at the end of these species in the wild.

The reason why governments are involved in poaching themselves is because either (a) they are the poachers or (b) they get a skim-off from the profit of the poachers.

There may also be a link between wildlife trade, corruption and terrorism as the funds generated might be supporting terrorists groups says United States Trade Representative Michael Froman.

Leakey took an uncompromising stand against poaching in his role as the former head of the Kenya Wildlife Service. For example, he persuaded the then president of Kenya to burn their 12 ton ivory stock pile. They used to shoot at poachers on sight. Not anymore.

Leakey is the victim of a plane crash in 1993. He lost his legs. Was it sabotage? He has enemies. These criminals will stop at nothing. The money is big. The devastation to wildlife is also big.

It seems that Leakey doesn't know who the perpetrators are otherwise he would have gone to the police. Perhaps he knows that it is pointless because the police are corrupt as well.

John Scanlon of CITES states that the African elephants are under threat of extinction in the wild. Shocking isn't it? This is an iconic creature. The world just watches and waits for the inevitable. We are too wrapped up in our own mess i.e. the rise of Al Qaeda terrorism, which will affect us all even if it is thousands of miles away from people in the West.

Big business pays poor Africans a pittance compared to their profits to poison elephants and wild cat species. Most of the ivory (a better description is the tusks of an elephant) is shipped to China.
If we are honest the corruption almost certainly runs through every aspect of government; local and national, police and customs. It is so deeply entrenched it is impossible to stop and therefore it is impossible to stop the demise of the iconic wild species of Africa.

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