Saturday 23 December 2017

If your cat has fleas he is also likely to have a tapeworm

The cat flea is part of the tapeworm life-cycle. When a cat ingests a flea while grooming, he might also ingest a tapeworm egg which is inside the flea.

The egg got inside the flea because larval fleas hatching in the area consume tapeworm eggs. These eggs have been deposited on the ground from a segment of tapeworm which has exited a host such as a cat via the anus.

And so you can see how the lives of the two organisms are connected to each other. It probably pays to both de-worm a cat and use a spot-on treatment to de-flea the cat at the same time.

Do cats shed tears?

This page has been moved and upgraded. The reason? Google is killing this website so it is time to move it piecemeal to the main site.

Please click here to go to the new page.

Actually I believe that Google is preparing to shut down Google Blogger. Watch this space...

Friday 22 December 2017

Julian Assange dresses up his cat in collar and tie

This is not live, current news, not at all as it harks back to November 2016. And I am not even sure whether Julian Assange still has a domestic cat at the Ecuadorian embassy. I think he has. He was gifted him/her by a friend as a companion and I believe that his Internet access has been denied him. If this is true it would be a great loss to him.

In any case, the photograph caught my eye. Either he or somebody else at the embassy is dressing up his cat companion in collar and tie. All cat lovers won't like that. It's not a good idea. It is also slightly sad, perhaps hugely sad, that his cat is confined to a very small space at the embassy because Julian Assange occupies quite a small part of it. I don't think this is right either.

I know cats sometimes live in apartments but as I understand it Julian is living in an area not much larger than the size of a bedsit or studio flat (in UK parlance) which I think is too small for any domestic cat. It really must be.

What value a rescue cat with FIV?

In a world where there are too many unwanted cats at rescue centres, the FIV positive cat has less value than other adult cats. In just the same way that black cats have less value than a calico cat, for instance, and kittens have more value than adult cats. Decisions about life and death at shelters are made upon these issues.

The reason why I have mention this is because I have just written a story about a rescue cat in Britain who fell into a canal in Blackburn. He was stuck on a log in the canal for two days before firefighters turned up. They did a great job. It was quite an effort to rescue him.

They handed the cat over to the RSPCA who evaluated the cat. They decided he was FIV positive. It should be said that the test to decide whether a cat is FIV positive can be inaccurate and misleading. Nonetheless, because of this test they decided that he had to be killed.

An RSPCA spokesman said that he was unable to live outside amongst feral cats because he might infect other feral cats. The chance of that happening are quite small because FIV is transmitted by a cat bite. In addition this cat appears to have been a domestic, stray cat.

However, the RSPCA said that he was unfit to live as a domestic cat in a home. He was unsuited they said. Therefore he was unsuited to live outside and unsuited for domestic cat life. He had to die on their reckoning. I disagree with the reckoning.

I think the real reason why he had to die is because there are quite a large number of unwanted cats in the UK and as mentioned in the first paragraph each has a value and when that value is low and when you have to make a decision about euthanasia, the low value cats are killed. It shouldn't be this way quite obviously. It's a sign that domestication of the cat has gone wrong.

FIV positive cats can live good, happy lives in the right home. You have to care for them carefully to prevent infections and illnesses developing but if you do that they are normal cats and they look normal. In an ideal world this cat should have been rehomed and it could have happened. No doubt the firefighters were disheartened by the fact that all their efforts came to naught.

The point really is that the reasons why the cat was euthanised, as explained by the RSPCA, must be incorrect because this cat could have been rehomed and therefore they are making excuses.

Without wishing to be overly critical, I don't think the RSPCA should make this kind of decision because it presents to the world the wrong public relations image for their organisation. They are there to save lives and they shouldn't make excuses like this which subtly indicates a lack of commitment to that task.

Thursday 21 December 2017

Why are there so many feral cats in Israel?

The simple answer to the question in the title is that the people of Israel in general accept and don't mind the presence of community cats in their country. They are part of the fabric of life in the country I think it is fair to say. They are there because of the usual reasons which is some cat owners not spaying or neutering their cats and some of these cats become stray and feral cats and they procreate and so on. Unless steps are taken the numbers continue to grow. I have been to Jerusalem. There are lots of feral cats. The crucial point is to prevent the creation of stray cats in the first instance. There comes a time when it is harder and more expensive to resolve a 'feral cat problem'.

Jerusalem. Woman feeds community cats. Photo: EPA/ABIR SULTAN

There are apparently 2 million of them in Israel and the numbers are of course increasing because not enough of them are spayed and neutered under TNR programs. Despite the fact that there is no real commitment to deal with them in a humane way at present there may come a time when things change due to sheer numbers.

Someone predicted that there will be 8 million feral cats in the country in several years which would match the number of citizens in Israel.

The agricultural Minister apparently believes that the country should not neuter or spay cats because it would go against God's wish to be fruitful and multiply! That sounds rather far-fetched to me but I am open to an alternative viewpoint.

This Minister wants to ship out either all the male cats or all the female cats to another country which agrees to accept them. This would of course mean the feral cats of Israel could not multiply and it would solve at a stroke the feral cat problem. In fact they would all die out in about 15 years in theory.

Israel have a good relationship with their feral cats. They have banned declawing. They are good at animal welfare in my opinion. They won't want to deal with the cats inhumanely. There will probably start funding TNR programs more efficiently and also funding veterinarians to spay and neuter community cats free of charge. They should rely upon volunteers to help. Volunteers very often want to help and be involved. They keep the costs down.

Wednesday 20 December 2017

My First Cousin Is Billy Idol and He Brutally Killed a Kitten

My first cousin is Billy Idol. He was having an argument with his then girlfriend and this is back in the 1980s as I understand it, and I suppose in order to get at his girlfriend he allegedly threw his girlfriend's kitten against the wall of the room and killed the kitten. That's about it. It's in complete contrast to me because I am an animal advocate.

I hate animal cruelty. It is obviously entirely unnecessary. It is objectionable. It is horrible. It is criminal behaviour but there is little chance that he will be prosecuted because it happened such a long time ago.

The information comes from a memoir by a guy called Adam Bomb. He refers to Billy Idol's then girlfriend Claire O'Connor. It was Claire O'Connor who owned the kitten as I understand it. She disclosed the information to Adam Bomb. She said that Billy could be nasty sometimes. This was an example of that behaviour. But this is an allegation let's not forget.

We don't know whether Billy Idol was drunk or drugged at the time but what he did was unforgivable quite obviously. I am ashamed of him. I am connected to him because Billy Idol is the son of my late father's brother (also now deceased). He is therefore my first cousin. My name is Michael Broad. Billy Idol's name is William Broad.

As I recall, I played with William many years ago when he was a teenager or even before that. I can't recall. I could have met him at a party that he attended which was a party to celebrate Billy Idol's father's life because at that time he was dying. He did not come down from a bedroom in his father's house so I was unable to meet him.

Sunday 17 December 2017

Do cats have a collarbone?

Cats do not have a collarbone. This anatomical peculiarity allows a cat to fit through any opening which is the size of his/her head. A cat's forelimbs are attached to the shoulder by free-floating clavicle bones.

What was the penalty for killing a cat in ancient Egypt?

In ancient Egypt's the penalty for killing a cat was death. However, I have decided that the ancient Egyptians were not really cat lovers because they killed hundreds of thousands of cats, perhaps kittens, in sacrifices to their gods. This seems to have been a trade, a business involved in breeding cats and then killing them to appease the gods. Any nation who loves cats and who worships them would not do that.

Although the penalty was death for killing a cat, I wonder how efficient enforcement was! You can imagine how bad it was. There was no police force in ancient Egypt as far as I'm aware. You can kill cats surreptitiously without anybody seeing. And there would have been no animal welfare laws. So saying that the penalty was death is missing the point somewhat.

Can a cat see in pitch black?

The answer to the question, "can a cat see in pitch black?" must be NO because you need some light to impinge upon the retina for the retina to then send a signal to the brain. Pitch black means absolutely no light. Despite the fact that the cat's eyes are more sensitive to ours and their vision at night is excellent, they cannot see in total darkness. No animal can.

Light reflected from the cat's retina. A typical nighttime scene. Hence the phrase "cat's eyes" to mean the center line road markings by reflective glass marbles invented in Yorkshire, UK.

Wilmington, North Carolina, smells like cat urine. Why?

When I read the headline of an online newspaper, Winston-Salem Journal, "N.C. town stinks so badly of "cat pee" that there is an official state memo about it", I felt that this was another attempt to denigrate feral cats and to find a reason to kill them. It seemed as if the article was about a town being overrun by feral cats. However, that positively is not the case.

These cats did not cause the smell! The picture is for illustrative purposes only.
Wilmington has been suffering from a intermittent and faint cat pee odor for many years apparently. The NC Division of Air Quality has received several complaints about a cat urine-like odor. It is investigating but is yet to pin down the cause.

Some residents believe that it's caused by illegal manufacturing which takes place at night and others believe the cause is a naturally occurring swamp gas and/or decaying vegetation.

One resident, Sue Newell, said that she has smelled the odor since the late 1980s which seems extraordinary because you would have thought something would have been done about it by now. She said:

"The pungent odour is a concoction that can include swamp gas and fumes from a number of industrial plants along the Cape Fear River".

Apparently living near downtown Wilmington you will probably wake up to the smell of cat urine. I wish they had not chosen to use the phrase "cat urine" to describe the smell. I'm very sensitive to people who dislike cats using health issues and the like to denigrate the cat particularly feral cats as it can lead to abuse.

I am pessimistic about cat domestication

This morning I am pessimistic about the domestication of the cat. I am in a negative mood. However, I think it is justified. The more you read about the domestic cat, the more you understand the history of domestication of the wild cat, the more you see that it has gone wrong or at least not as intended. It has not gone entirely wrong but there are sufficient fault lines to see that it has turned out rather badly.

One of the problems is that most cat owners don't know about the problems. I am not criticizing them but many are ignorant of the large numbers of cats which are unwanted, euthanized at shelters. Think of the millions upon millions of feral cats in America. Feral cats should not exist. Every feral cat is a symptom of our failure of the domestication of the cat. And there are an estimated 80 million of them in America. They cause untold numbers of arguments between cat lovers and cat haters. Untold numbers of feral cats are shot or abused by cat haters. Millions are euthanized at shelters. Many of them are domestic cats turned feral. They were someone's pet.

Every day we hear stories about cat hoarders living with dead, dying, and injured cats. Sometimes these people are criminals and they are charged with the crime of animal cruelty but sometimes they are simply people who have tried to help resolve the unwanted cat problem and failed. They've lost control and they quite possibly have mental health issues as well.

Every day in the paper "cat news" is nearly always bad cat news. It concerns the shooting of cats or cat abuse. A lot of people like to shoot cats in America. They want to harm cats and I think it is an expression of anger against society. They want to strike back and harm something so they harm what is available to them which will be a stray cat. The stray cat is incredibly vulnerable.

 Increasingly it is becoming apparent that cat owners need to keep their cats inside or at least confined in some way or other. When you ask people why they keep their cats confined they say there are too many nutcases out there who want to hurt cats. And then in America there are predators such as coyotes which kill cats. Perhaps the greatest fear is from neighbors. It just takes one who doesn't like cats and you start seeing cats going missing. It is quite easy to kill a cat surreptitiously at night when outside cats can be active. There is no evidence. There is no proof. It is impossible almost to catch the perpetrator. And then the police are sometimes disinterested in this sort of what they would regard as petty crime and so the criminality against wondering cats goes on.

Many cat owners don't even report the matter. They just believe that their cat is lost and has not returned. They seem to accept it. But all these factors indicate a failure in the domestication of the cat. We can surely do much better than this? Then there is the declawing of cats in America. Millions of cats have been declawed. Once again this operation indicates a failure in our relationship with domestic cats. Veterinarians do it for money. Cat owners are unaware of the true consequences and gravity of the operation. 60% of cat owners in America support declawing. This is partly due to ignorance and a lack of education. The other part is a culture issue.

The veterinarians are largely to blame. There is a gradual change against declawing and one day it will be banned or the veterinarians will stop voluntarily. In the meantime millions more cats will be mutilated. Declawing is a symptom of a broken relationship between human and cat. If people don't like the claws of the cat they should not keep a cat as a companion. That is the answer: not to mutilate the cat.

In China cats are routinely, brutally "murdered" for their flesh to eat because some Chinese think it is beneficial to their health. At the same time many millions of cats are killed for their fur and the same goes for dogs. There are no animal welfare laws in China. These animals are not euthanized brutally killed. Before being brutally killed they are held in cages in the most inhumane of conditions. Vietnam has a similar tradition. America imports Chinese fur and a lot of it will be from domestic and feral cats in China. It seems impossible to stop this. Real fur from China from the skin of a cat is cheaper than artificial fur. That tells us that a lot of cats are being killed and that there is an abundance of cat fur on the market.

Turning to the wild cats. They are under constant pressure from human activity, from poaching and habitat loss. In general their numbers are declining. Sometimes the decline is rapid as is the case for the lions. Tigers are routinely poached for their body parts to be eaten by Chinese for health reasons. This is mumbo-jumbo medicine and a ridiculous tradition which is out of place in the modern world but the Chinese government does nothing about it. Conservationist are engaged in a rearguard action, a reactive conservation process to try and save the tiger but nobody does anything about trying to stop Chinese poaching tigers in India and importing them via Burma and Thailand into China.

The IUCN Red List is, I believe, being lobbied by hunting associations and big business to relax their classification of the wild cat species. When a wild cat species is classified as endangered it is protected and when it comes out of this classification it becomes vulnerable to poaching et cetera and international trade in body parts and live animals. I don't trust the IUCN Red List. Big business will always beat conservationists because they have more money.

Even in countries such as the UK which is meant to be full of animal lovers we have serial cat killers wandering around at night trying to make some sick point by killing cats, mutilating them and leaving the body parts around to try and send a signal to cat owners. They are probably trying to tell them to keep their cats inside. And the truth is that increasingly it is becoming necessary to keep your cat inside, confined to a decent garden cat enclosure together with your house. I don't know how cat owners can live with the anxiety of knowing that there cat is vulnerable to being hurt either deliberately or accidentally when wandering outside. I can't do that. I don't believe a true cat lover can do it either.

It is hard to know how the situation can be improved. It is a very big issue. How can America substantially reduce the number of feral cats from around an estimated 80 million? Perhaps there are many less than that (some estimate 12m - we need to count them more accurately). People don't know the true number of feral cats but it is in the millions. There are constant discussions in council chambers among community leaders as to how best to deal with feral cats. Authorities in Australia are constantly scratching their heads as to how to deal with (kill) feral cats. These are all reactive measures.

I believe there will come a time when there will have to be regulations, much more strict regulations about cat ownership. I regret it but I think it is true. It will be necessary because a minority of cat owners resolutely fail to change their ways from being irresponsible to being responsible, thinking of the wider issue such as neighbors who don't like cats and the environment because domestic and feral cats do prey on wildlife and this causes constant friction, a kind of cat war between ornithologists and cat owners. A solution needs to be found. We can't go on arguing and failing in the domestication of the cat.

Thursday 14 December 2017

How can I make my cat a lap cat?

By Cindy Grant

Our four-legged doggie friends are often more than eager to respond to our commands such as “Up,” “Sit” or “Stay,” yet, the same can not be said of Kitsy. She often bares her nails when the kids want to pick her up, refuses to be picked up or cuddled, or, by accident bites you when you rub him to long.


While many cats love to be touched as much as dogs do, just as many are not that keen about about it. To date, the reason to why this is, is still a mystery and very much misunderstood. Yet, many animal behaviorists believe that similarly to as many humans there are on the planet with their own unique personality traits and preferences, there are cats with the same.

Recent studies have although observed that a friendly cat mom, tend to have friendly kittens. This might indicate that cats learn their behavior through modeling (nurture), very much the same way toddlers observe and then do what their parents does.

Another reason kittens might be more inclined to curl up on your lap is genetics. Some cat breeds can be cuddlier than others, therefore, ensure to find out which ones, before purchasing or adopting if you are interested in a cuddly, curl-up-in your lap type kitten.

  • Birman
  • Burmese/Bombay
  • Kuriliam Bobtail
  • Oriental Shorthair/Siamese
  • Ragdoll
  • Scottish Fold/Scottish Straight
  • Sphynx
  • Tonkinese
  • Cat’s Don’t Like Staring – Cats (especially kittens) often see eye to eye contact with a human (or any animal large than them) as aggression towards him / her. 

If you notice your cat gets anxious or tense when you stare at him, then you know why . . .

To-Do: Glance away regularly instead of gazing for to long at your cat / kitten.
  • Start Socialization Early – Just as with dogs, cats can be socialized when they are a young age, in order to improve their overall social behavior, and perhaps, learn to sit on your lap.

To-Do: When your kitten is between the age of 3 – 7 weeks, gently start to touch him / her. When they are comfortable with touching, move on to picking them up, and hold them just for a couple seconds. Once they are comfortable with that, place them on your lap for a couple sends, and gently stroke them.

If they don’t like any of the above, don’t force them. Be gentle and take your time.
  • Safe Sleeping Quarters Of Their Own Is Key – Cats, like humans, enjoy security. They like to live in an area away from ‘predators,’ often making their sleeping quarters high on a cupboard, inside a basket or atop a shelf. 

In nature, cats instinctively slept inside trees, high on branches, away from the prying eyes of predators. Therefore, even after being domesticated, they still instinctively seek a safe place to make their own.

To-Do: Ensure your cat has a safe place to sleep, where he / she feels comfortable. Naturally, they often select their own ‘hiding spots,’ as sleeping areas. Respect your cats ‘safety nest,’ and don’t bother him / her once they are there.
  • Peace & Tranquility – It is said most cats have a sixth sense. 

More and more human are suspecting the truth to this longtime wisdom. Apart from a secure sleeping spot, your kitsy will enjoy a peaceful and tranquil environment where they can sleep (which they do a lot), stretch, and where you are not stressed, which might make them stressed in turn.

You see, your cat can pick up on your ‘vibes,’ and if your ‘vibes’ are a little on the negative side, they might refuse to sit on your lap.
  • To-Do: Whenever you wish to train your cat to sit on your lap, do so when you are in a good mood.
Strange we know! But true.
    Offer A Bribe – Cats are clever creatures, and know a bribe by a mile away. Although, don’t worry about offering a little snack when you want your cat to sit on your lap. Cat’s love these kind of bribes. LOL.

To-Do: Sit on the floor. Have a couple of treats in your hand, and start by throwing them a couple feet away from you. Each time, wait for your cat to eat the treat, then throw the next treat a little closer. Do so until the last treat is laid out on your lap. Wait for kitsy to jump on your lap, and gently pat him / her if they like it, while keeping the last treat as the final reward.
Cindy has her own website: No Longer Wild.

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