Tuesday 10 December 2019

Children should be encouraged to explore the natural world in the interests of wildlife conservation

I agree with two children's authors, Sir Michael Morpurgo and Julia Donaldson, when they say that children should be encouraged to explore the natural world on their own and take risks. They should not be crowded out by regulations but exposed to the countryside.

"People tell them to love the planet, but if you don't actually know what the planet is, and love things about it, why would you? You need to get dirty." - Julia Donaldson.

They should get dirty. They should scratch their knees and talk to trees. They need to smell the earth and cut grass. They need to feel the wind in their face. Silently falling rain should please them.

They should listen to the landscape, look up at the sky and admire the clouds. See them scuffling against a blue-grey backdrop and learn how to read the weather.

They should love to watch squirrels and birds feeding. The sound of the fox at night should not disturb them but make them smile. All these things will give them an understanding of nature. Through that understanding they will be more sensitive to the needs of wildlife.

And through their sensitive they will wish to protect wildlife rather than abuse it, use it and trash it as it is so commonplace nowadays.

And when they understand wild species better they will also understand and respect their domestic cat companions. In the domestic cat they have a miniature wild animal in their home. The traits of a wild cat are in the domestic version.

It is a great pleasure to have such a special relationship with our domestic cats. Two completely different species getting on beautifully. One is almost wild and the other is us, full of baggage and contradictions. They are innocently pure. Such a joy to experience it.

Why are domestic cats so small?

Because they are descended from the North African wildcat, a cat of similar proportions and appearance even after about 10,000 years of domestication. I suppose you might ask why was the North African (African-Asian) wildcat domesticated?

Comparison domestic and wildcat ancestor.

It is because the place where they were first domesticated - the Fertile Crescent (in the area of Syria) was suited to farming and it so happened that this wildcat was present in that landscape. The cat and farmer met to mutual benefit and the rest is history as they say. 

The North African wildcat has a relatively nice temperament suited to domestication. They kept the rodents down and the farmer had a working cat and some company and fun. This happened around 9,500-12,000 years ago it is believed.

There are other small wild cats who are also suited to domestication to various extents e.g. the margay, but it just happened that the North African wildcat got their first perhaps because 10,000 years ago the Middle East was a developing and active area for farming. 

Farmers would have encroached onto the wildcat's territory forcing them together. There may have been conflict between human and cat but some farmers liked their presence for their rodent killing habits.

There must have been the very first domestic cat. At that time there was a single domestic cat in the world. Now there are around half a billion domestic and feral cats.

It is worth arguing that the question is incorrectly formulated as what is 'small'? There are smaller animals than the domestic cat and there are larger ones. They are small compared to us. It might be argued that the domestic cat is somewhere in the middle range of animal size. 

Therefore it could also be argued that they are not small. I think perhaps the reason why the question has been formulated is because the questioner is comparing the cat to the size of humans. Therefore relative to humans the domestic cat is small. That is not a good reason to ask, "Why our domestic cat so small?"

Thursday 5 December 2019

Luka Magnotta the babyfaced kitten killer and then a man killer

A page which I wrote some time ago has suddenly gone viral (at 4th and 5th Dec. 2019) and I think it is because Netflix have made a documentary about him and it is going to be aired on television on 18 December 2019.

Please click this link to go to the page I wrote about Magnotta a while ago. It has been regularly updated as more information has been revealed.

Photo: Rex Features.

The man that I am referring to is the Canadian Luka Magnotta. He is a classic psychopath and he is truly infamous. First he killed two kittens and made sure that he was videoed doing it and he uploaded the video to the Internet. It was subsequently deleted but screenshots were made of it.

Then he met up with another gay person who he murdered and dismembered. He sent body parts to politicians and teachers. You can read about it on the page that I have referred to above. It's a classic case to of a psychopath moving from animal cruelty and torture to doing the same thing to people. You could write a textbook about this boy as he was when he kill the kittens but is now a man and a very dangerous one.

As I said, he so infamous that Netflix decided to make a full-blown documentary about him. He has that baby face: a veneer to a truly evil mind.

Monday 2 December 2019

Pennsylvania man who fed cats fish hooks sentenced to jail time

This was perhaps the most notorious cases of cat abuse in 2019. In April it was reported on the internet. A man called Dougie Doug named Kenny Rowles as the person who feed food to stray cats with fish hooks.

The cats took the food and were badly injured. They recovered and Mr Rowles was charged and tried in the criminal court. Elisa, a colleague of mine has reported on the sentence (click this link to read her report). At one time he was thought to be insane. It was an insane act but I don't think he is mad, just sad and bad.

Comment: It takes an evil mind to dream up placing cat treats on fish hooks and feeding it to stray cats. It takes a particular sort of personality disorder to do it. You can't be normal. It is good to see Rowles successfully prosecuted and punished. You might think that it is entirely normal to punish this madman. But it isn't because most cat abusers are never caught and therefore never punished and when caught their punishment is often not severe enough for the millions of animal advocates who fight for animal welfare.


It is a bizarre world to me, a mad world actually because in Australia the government has spend probably hundreds of thousands of Australian dollars to dream up ways of poisoning feral cats with 1080 - sodium fluoroacetate.

In doing so they are committing a crime as bad as that of Kenny Rowles but no one is being prosecuted. It is entirely legal. It is state sponsored cat cruelty. How do we reconcile Rowles' actions and society's reaction to his crime to that of the Aussie government?

Saturday 30 November 2019

Woman sues Albuquerque mayor over TNR program

Marcy Britton has started a claim in the courts for monetary compensation for, among other things, losses to the value of her house because those estimated losses have been caused by the numbers of feral cats around or near her house. She claims that the city of Albuquerque is responsible (through the Director of Animal Welfare Department and the Mayor) and has in effect taken her home but failed to pay for it. It is called inverse condemnation in the American judicial system.

It’s disgusting. I mean you come home from work and there are cats on your porch. They get hit by cars. They get poisoned. This is where I live. My property value has been reduced…
The claim is doomed to complete failure. I guess she is peeved and wants to make an expensive statement. She has certainly got some press coverage.

It’s a gruesome, inhumane, illegal, thing to do to any animal…....

She hates TNR, sees it as inhumane and a failure. She regards the presence of feral cats around her home as disgusting and above all, I sense, she is very angry at the devaluing of her house. But she is speculating that her house is worth less as far as I can tell unless she has got an expert's report to support that claim and even that won't carry much weight.

The mayor of Albuquerque is being sued by Marcy. He is Tim Keller, aka the city's chief executive.

The city says that TNR is working in reducing the feral cat population as it does. The city supports TNR and it is the only humane way to manage feral cats. That is the exact opposite viewpoint to Marcy's.

There are however quite a lot of people who don't like TNR and who'd prefer the cats were trapped and killed. Marcy wants that outcome although she suggests some of the cats can be adopted through animal shelters.

I think it is unique to sue a government for running TNR programs or for supporting them or for failing to stop them. I have not seen the entire court claim.

This is just one more battle over TNR. It happens in many US cities all the time. Americans who are interested in feral cats can be divided into 2 groups. Those that support TNR and its humane but slow management of feral cat colonies and reduction in numbers and those that want to essentially trap and euthanise (actually more accurately described as kill).

Source: Various news websites.

Friday 29 November 2019

This domestic cat is a pacifist

One of these cats is the aggressor and the other, the star of the video, is the pacifist because she strikes a defensive pose as if to say, "Stop that, it's enough". Her behaviour reminds me of Japanese martial arts. The pacifist cat is the tabby-and-white while the aggressive one is a tabby.

Humans looking like Martians attacked by super aggressive Sphynx cat in madhouse

'Cat Can't Get Over The Loss Of Her Kittens And Becomes Aggressive' - is the title of the video but it looks more like a madhouse to me with the people in it dressed like monsters to the cat. They are dressed in full cycle gear with cycle helmets and to any normal cat they, I think, would look incredibly hazardous. I think this a joke video. If it is not something is terribly wrong.

These people are making things worse. It is said that the cat became aggressive after she lost her kittens and she is locked inside a room alone. This is going to make her very agitated and then when they let her out they are wearing clothes and headgear which protect them from her. This makes them look incredibly strange to a cat.

I have got to say that they look incredibly strange to me as well. It looks like a complete madhouse and a totally bizarre situation that has got fully out of hand. This cat is in a desperate situation. She is completely isolated emotionally and lost. This is not the solution. The answer is to totally normalise her life by making the home warm and friendly. She needs to be totally re-socialised. She has lost her socialisation in an entirely hostile environment devoid of emotional support.

The problem really is with the people looking after. Yes, she may have been emotionally disturbed by loss of kittens but I believe that she will overcome that in a proper friendly environment. This cat is also a full-time indoor cat so the environment is already somewhat artificial. It also looks incredibly sparse and unfriendly. Jackson Galaxy would have a field day in this place.

I feel very sad about this cat and an entirely different approach needs to be taken by these people if it is genuine and not a Mickey take.

The 'cat lean' is a feline sign that your cat likes what you do

I'll be brief. You may have seen it yourself. You should have seen it yourself! You are emotionally close to your cat. She likes it when you stroke her on the side of her body - her shoulder and flank. She likes it so much that she (a) tells you she likes it and (b) encourages you to do it. She does this by leaning towards your hand when you bring it up to her body. It becomes a natural reaction to your action. You can see it very obviously in the video below from Twitter. I call it the 'cat lean'.

I think that it is a quite important example of domestic cat body language because it is a clear signal that your cat likes what you doing. Your cat is communicating with you and, in addition both making a request and giving you feedback on the standard of your petting. Well done. You have done it right.

It is nice to get a 9/10 for petting technique. If you have seen this in your cat please share in a comment. Thanks.

Sunday 28 July 2019

Former police officer has to teardown her catio because of complaints from neighbours

A former police officer who adopted, with her electrician husband, four rescue cats (her fur babies) built a cat enclosure in her front garden which has a cat flap entrance and which contains many ramps and places for her cats to enjoy the outside safely. She checked with her neighbours first (not all it seems) and they didn't mind it. In fact her immediate neighbour finds it okay. However some neighbours complained and got the local council involved who have demanded that she takes it down.

The offending catio.
She says that she built the catio at least in part because there are cats around who were bullying her cats. So she's keeping them inside in this enclosure. It is claimed that the catio is out of character with the rest of the houses and that it impedes access to a narrow nearby lane and creates a blind spot for motorists.

The council is Kirklees Council in West Yorkshire. This is a British cat problem! The catio is certainly out of character with the rest of the houses but I doubt whether it's a blindspot for motorists and I also doubt that it impedes access. It is just, according to some neighbours, an eyesore.

Sue Haworth in her catio.
Sue Haworth has appealed the council's decision and hopes to keep the 9 foot high and 13' x 11.5' feet catio. It's a really nice catio and in almost any other place and if was built in the back garden it would probably be perfectly acceptable to everyone including the local authority.

The trouble is this; it is incredibly obvious and intrusive but it is very useful and it keeps four rescue cats very safe whilst being able to enjoy the outdoors. It's a shame she didn't seek planning permission at the outset. One issue is that she only moved in 2 years ago so some neighbors see her as a newcomer and trouble.

I don't know why she could not have built it in the back garden. Perhaps there wasn't enough space but then she could have built a small one. I fear that she is going to lose this battle. The construction cost £10,000 and the cats' names are: Chloe, Floyd, Freddie and Millie.

Wednesday 24 July 2019

Cats gets brain freeze. Why?

Why do cats get brain freeze? Well, in this compilation on YouTube they get what is called "brain freeze" because they are eating ice cream. The reason why they like eating ice cream is because it contains quite a lot of fat in the milk and cream. Cats always like that. But then they find it is cold which causes pain and discomfort so they stop and open their mouths and pause giving the impression of 'brain freeze'.

I can only presume that they do this for the reason that (1) it allows them to warm up the interior of their mouths quite quickly because the ambient, warmer air impinges upon it and because (2) they are in pain and pull a face as humans would under these circumstances. When it is warmed up they continue to eat ice cream. It's as simple as that in my view.

Wikipedia provides me with a more technical description of feline brain freeze. They say that it is a cold-stimulus headache which is a brief form of headache associated with the consumption of cold food or beverages such as ice cream.

The authors argue that the coldness of the food in touching the roof of the mouth results in a nerve response which in turn causes a rapid constriction of blood vessels. The capillaries in the sinuses constrict and then they warm up and dilate. This is picked up by pain receptors which send a signal back to the brain. It is referred to as "referred pain".

Brain freeze pain may last for a few seconds to a few minutes. They do not explain why the mouth is held wide open which common sense dictates is for the reason that I have stated.

Cats, Rats, A.I., Oh My! - Ben Hamm

Ben Hamm discusses his cat and how he developed his special cat door which prevents cats bringing prey into the home.

Idris Elba Reacts To 'Cats' Trailer, Says He Lived His Dream In ‘Hobbs &...

The doomsters and gloomsters who criticise the film adaptation of Andrew Lloyd Webber's 'Cats' are wrong

The film version of Andrew Lloyd Webber's theatre show "Cats" is going to be fantastic. The doomsters are completely wrong. The Internet is awash with idiotic remarks about the scary trailer to the movie. They think it looks crazy and weird and that it's odd to see cats with human breasts and whatever else they can find to criticise which is all mumbo-jumbo to me. Maybe it is a wind up and good PR.

Cats the Movie - fabulous.
I have seen the movie trailer I think it's fascinating and a brilliant way to turn this highly successful theatre show into a movie. It had to be something different and the director Tom Hooper I believe has made some excellent choices. The use of CGI brilliant. The dance routines are great and the atmosphere and ambience of the movie is mysterious. You ask questions and it draws you in.

TS Eliot's Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats upon which theatrical show is based would have liked the film because the poem itself is quite mysterious and this is reflected in the movie.

There was criticism about one cat being too small and the size of a butter knife. But this is incorrect as there are some very small domestic cats. That's a practical point and I think the criticism is over the top anyway so perhaps I don't need to make a practical point about it.

Perhaps I'm being over the top myself because the amount of publicity that this film is getting, most of it criticism, is phenomenal. It is all about public relations in my view. I wonder whether it's been planted, a lot of it. It looks that way. I will make a prediction here and now and say that the film will be hugely successful and all this nonsense about the trailer being weird and mysterious and frightening will all wash away with the success.

Tuesday 23 July 2019

New York state bans cat declawing and advances cat welfare in the USA by leaps and bounds

New York state's Gov Cuomo signed off the statewide cat declawing ban very recently and the law is effective immediately. It is reproduced below. It is an amendment of an existing statute. It's quite clear that it bans cat declawing for nontherapeutic reasons which accounts for 99.9% of declawing in America.

Going forward, veterinarians can still declaw cats with their client's informed consent if there is a genuine health reason for doing so. The operation has to be done in the interest of the cat, the patient. No longer can clients protect their furniture by declawing their cat.

This, to me, is a massive step forward in cat welfare in America. It is almost certainly the beginning of the end of cat declawing in that country. It should please millions of cat lovers both in America, Europe and in other countries of the world. In represents an advancement in cat welfare by leaps and bounds. Going forward, it is highly likely that other US states will follow in a domino effect and I'm hopeful that perhaps in several years cat declawing will be no longer exist in this great cat loving country.

It is highly ironic and a distortion of attitudes that in America with more cat lovers than anywhere else and indeed more domestic cats than any other country that they should be brutalising their companion animals from no reason other than to protect furniture. This is completely nuts and utterly incorrect. The ban will chang attitudes for the better. People will learn that they can live with cats who have their claws.

It shouldn't take a legal ban to achieve this result. The veterinarians should have stopped voluntarily years ago. Indeed, it should never have been invented (in the 1950s) - this damned operation. But there it is and here we are. The time has come to stop it.

Is highly likely that the recent bans on declawing in Canada has had an effect on the New York State legislature and possibly upon Cuomo, himself. In Canada large parts of the country now ban declawing.

Monday 22 July 2019

Woman who hunts to eat says vegans and shooters have common ground

Rachel Carrie. Photo: her FB account.
Rachel Carrie says that hunters can eat meat without guilt because they have no problems of animal welfare. She is a woman who has currently hit the headlines and is a former vegetarian and a mum. She says that she has fed her family for a year on 125 pigeons, 80 pheasants and partridges and 40 ducks and 4 deer.

"Vegetarians and vegans, shooters and hunters need to be educated. We are not the enemy. We have common ground."

Rachel comes from Yorkshire, UK. As a girl she was a vegetarian because she was upset by factory farming. She remained a vegetarian for five years from the age of seven. She changed her views when her father acquired a hawk. He took her out rabbiting. She says that she was okay about eating something where she had seen where it had lived. She said that she hopes that makes sense. It doesn't to me.

She says that she feels no guilt or qualms abour shooting deer. She believes that it is not an act of cruelty.

"You place a clean shot straight through the heart and that animal never knew you were there."

She believes that the animals don't suffer when they are shot and that they are not scared. The animal is not transported miles and miles to an abattoir.

Further, she says that when you shoot an animal dead to eat it you don't waste the food as people do when they buy food at a supermarket.

She firmly believes that she does not have the animal welfare issues surrounding the usual livestock farming and killing in abattoirs.

She likes to pose for photographs of the animals that she has killed. Judging by the photographs she does not only kill animals in the UK.

Comment: her argument is based upon the fact that she always makes a clean kill straight to the heart. Can she guarantee to do that every time? I don't think so. It's a very poor argument. Looking at her face in the photographs I get the distinct impression that she enjoys killing animals. I wonder whether she is making an excuse for the enjoyment of killing animals. Is she justifying it? Is she finding a reason why she kills animals and masking the true reason: entertainment.

I have heard this argument before namely that when hunters kill animals to eat then what they do is justified. Another justification that they wheel out is that it is good for conservation. I simply don't get it. There has to be some cruelty involved because you cannot guarantee killing an animal instantly without any pain with a rifle.

I get the argument about animal welfare issues with respect to farming and abattoir. There are definitely big animal welfare issues in farming which drives people to be vegans or vegetarians. But the answer is not in hunting and pretending this is good for conservation or animal welfare.

This woman likes to kill, she likes to take photographs of herself and present them online on social media. She is all over social media. If she was genuinely concerned about feeding herself why should she publicise the whole thing so energetically? Why should she embrace social media? Why can't she just get on with it quietly? To me she enjoys the celebrity. The news media has picked up on this. She is a good-looking woman. You put her face with a dead animal and it turns some people on. It turns on the hunters and shooters who are normally macho type men in America.

It's all a lot of nonsense in my opinion. I am tired of hearing these false justifications for shooting animals. There is no need for it today and a lot more needs to be done to improve animal welfare in respect of livestock. One area would be halal meat. In the UK the authorities are far too soft with respect to how halal meat. They allow it out of political correctness. I disagree with this attitude.

Stray dogs save life of tiny baby thrown into drain

Forgive me, but I want to write about dogs today and I need an outlet for it so I have chosen this website. This is a story from India where female infanticide is not that uncommon because it is linked to extreme poverty and the need to provide a marriage dowry.

Screenshot from video. The dogs paw at the package containing the premature baby.
In this instance a woman was caught on a security camera throwing a plastic bundle into a muddy drain in the Indian town of Kaithal, in the state of Haryana in the early morning. She disappeared immediately.

The baby started to cry and a pack of street dogs picked up the sound perhaps instinctively searching for something to eat. They pulled the crying child out of the drain and pawed at the plastic package and started to bark. This alerted passers-by who discovered the child. They called the police.

The police are examining the security camera footage to try and find the woman. They want to identify her in order to charge her with a criminal offence. It is said that the baby was born prematurely after about seven months of pregnancy judging by her size and weight.

They are keeping the baby under observation and don't want to transfer her to a larger hospital because that might be in life-threatening to her.

The baby weighs 2 lbs 4 oz and was in a serious condition. The story is about dogs saving the life of the baby. They saved the baby's life accidentally in truth. It wasn't a deliberate and consciously made decision to save this baby's life. They simply alerted people to what was going on. But it is nonetheless an interesting story of life in India, on the ground and at the sharp end.

I'll mention cats just to make this article relevant to this website. In India there are community cats. Yes, people do own domestic cats and sometimes they keep them in their apartments just like they do in the West but there are many more stray cats wandering around the community scavenging and surviving and occasionally being fed by shopkeepers et cetera. It's a very harsh life for community cats.

I recall the director of PETA in India mentioning how harsh it was and how the cats can be injured and killed by traffic and cruelly abused by some people who dislike them. As a result PETA in India decided to operate a TNR program which somewhat goes against the grain for this organisation because they tend to believe that feral cats should be euthanised in order to put them out of their misery. That's a misdescription really because in America PETA does advocate TNR provided the cats can be properly cared for and are in an environment which does not make their lives intolerable. That must be a difficult decision.

Clearly a lot needs to be done about domestic cat ownership in India. To me, it is way too careless and thoughtless. There far too much suffering by cats and dogs who end up as strays. It's frankly quite horrific. That's not to take anything away from genuine cat loving cat guardians of which there are probably a good numer in India.

Saturday 19 January 2019

See moment 11 abandoned cats were cut out of sealed cardboard boxes (video)

An astonishing moment when 11 abandoned cats were cut out of large cardboard boxes heavily sealed with tape. There are several women cutting the cats out..read more

These cats were in real danger of suffocating. They were released in time by staff at the Celia Hammond Animal Trust, a London-based animal advocacy group.

RSPCA cats looking for a home in Bolton

THIS pair of cute kitties are looking for a new home in Bolton. They are both in the care of the RSPCA, who need two families to adopt them.....read more on The Bolton News...

The cats are Bob (left) and Isla.

Call Bolton RSPCA on 01204 521160 who will explain the adoption process. There is an adoption fee of £50.

Note: this is a deliberately short post with a link to the article in order to spread the word on these cats to enhance the chances of adoption....

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