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.

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