Wednesday 9 December 2015

Domestic Cat First Brought to Australia in 19th-Century

It appears to have been confirmed that the domestic and feral cat in Australia was first introduced onto that continent in the 19th century by Europeans. This probably coincided with the 162,000 convicts which were transported to various Australian penal colonies by the British government between 1788 and 1868. I, for one, had always thought that that was the case. We know that there are no wild cats in Australia and there never has been because of the water barrier between the Asian mainland and Australia.

A study examined the genetic structure of Australia's feral cat populations and found the link, it appears, to 19th-century European immigrants. I say European because that's what my source says but it seems to me that most of the Europeans would have been British.

Before the study there are various suggestions as to where this "invasive species" had come from. Perhaps, it was suggested, they come from ship's cats or European explorers in the late 18th century. Others had postulated that Malaysian fishermen, in the 17th century, had brought cats with them to Australia.

Other cats were deliberately introduced into certain parts of Australia in order to control other species of animal such as rats and in one case this applied to an island. There are misconceptions and misleading articles about how cats devastated bird populations on certain islands in Australia. You will find that on occasions these articles misdescribe what has happened. Sometimes domestic and feral cats are scapegoats in Australia. In one case rats not cats killed the birds after the cats were killed by humans. Typical human stupidity.

Yes, the feral cat is an invasive species in Australia but that is the fault of humans. As it is the fault of humans it is beholden upon humans to do the right thing (e.g humane processes) in order to control feral cat populations on that continent. This, regrettably, is not happening as there have been several proposals to eradicate feral cats all of which have been very cruel, impractical, unhelpful, and doomed to failure but they do indicate a distaste for the feral cat on that continent by the authorities.

Shelter Kitten Euthanised Because She Was Black

At a shelter in or near San Diego, USA, a tiny black kitten named Ember was euthanized (in truth killed) because she was considered to be either unfriendly or unadoptable. No doubt she was considered to be unadoptable because black cats are unpopular. They are not unadoptable and neither are they unfriendly. They are just unpopular because people still harbour strange misconceptions and superstitions about black cats even today in the 21st century.

The shelter concerned changed their policy in July 2015 to allow them to euthanize animals that they considered to be unfriendly or unadoptable. It is, though, a bit of a shock to read that they decided that a small, sweet black kitten was automatically deemed to be unadoptable without any effort to see whether she could be adopted. Sometimes somebody comes along who is unconcerned whether a kitten is black or any other colour. Couldn't they have tried a bit harder? It all seems very harsh to me.

The same shelter, through San Diego County officials, have acknowledged that many cats are killed by animal services at the shelter simply because the shelter runs out of space. This may be true but I wonder how committed they are to exploring alternative ways to find adopters for their cats rather than through the conventional channels.

Some shelters use enlightened ideas to maximise the chance of adoption and these shelters have lower kill rates. It is, as usual, about commitment and valuing the lives of each individual cat.

This information comes from the San Diego Union-Tribune via the Santa Maria Times.

Tuesday 8 December 2015

Kiwi Cat Hoarder Fails in Bid to Overturn Ban on Keeping Cats

Fifty-one-year-old Tatyana Kondratyeva (she must be of Russian extraction) was convicted on animal cruelty charges and banned from owning animals for ten years. The reason she was convicted is because she hoarded 50 cats in appalling conditions. There were 38 dead cats in freezers etc.! We know these sorts of cases and this appears to be clear cut cat hoarding/cruelty.

Her appeal to New Zealand's Supreme Court (the highest court in the land) via a failed Appeal Court application, was based on the absurd claim that only 22 of the fifty cats in her "care" were suffering significant health problems! That is more than 50%. Come on Tatyana! Your application was flawed and doomed to fail from the outset. She has more money than sense.

It makes me wonder why someone with a bit of money was so negligently cruel to so many cats.

She also argued that New Zealand's prohibition orders lacked clear criteria. This was a technical point she was trying to use to her advantage but failed.

In any country there will be a very small proportion of cat owners who end up becoming cat hoarders and nearly all cat hoarders end up inadvertently being cruel to the cats in their charge. It is about neglect and a lack of moral bearings. They just don't get it. They don't understand that they are being cruel.

Often cat hoarders have mental issues but not always.

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