Wednesday 30 September 2020

Cat leaps and knocks over dog food

A pretty classic event in a home where there is a cat. They always scram off after they have created the mayhem. Is this guilt or fear of the noise that they have created? It is the latter in my opinion. It seems that there is a disconnect in their minds between their actions and the noise. I love the woman who shouts after the catastrophe has occurred. You don't know what you are going to face when you investigate. Note: if the video fails to work I apologise. It is embeded from a another website and I have no control over its existence.

The power of Facebook in rescuing animals internationally

This is an uplifting story from both Scotland and Egypt. The story starts badly with pictures of what would have been a beautiful white, long-haired, yellow-eyed cat of what appears to be of Persian origin, covered in purple and cyan paint. We are told that this beautiful cat was badly beaten and then covered in this toxic paint. We don't know the reason. There is no reason. It's the sort of cat abuse that you see anywhere in the world. Probably caused by a couple of kids having fun.

Rainbow - before and after. Photo: Debbie Stephens (SWNS).

Fortunately, the story picks up and gets a lot better because Debbie Stephens saw a picture of this cat on Facebook on the cat rescue page Safe Haven Egypt.

Debbie, 56, agreed with her husband, Craig, to fly this beautiful cat to Scotland. The cat rescue organisation named the cat Rainbow and he's arrived in Scotland after months of delay because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The picture of the painted cat broke Debbie's heart. She said that he is very loving and that his ordeal has not changed his character. The struggle to adopt was quite long because Debbie first approached Safe Haven Egypt in November 2019.

Rainbow's coat was shaved off and has regrown. A few blotches of paint remain. The cat's name is a reminder to Debbie of what happened to him so she kept it.

"It feels good we have been able to give him a forever home and we are very pleased as he could have died after what he had been through." - Debbie

Safe Haven Egypt is a cat sanctuary run by volunteers in Cairo. They have been in operation since 2015 and it was set up by a couple of friends, Kareema Ibraheem and Walae Besade. Kareema said that when they found Rainbow he was terrified. No doubt he is now relaxed, contented and in good hands. Well done to Debbie and Safe Haven Egypt.

Tuesday 29 September 2020

Geoffroy's cat species spotlight

This video from Big Cat Rescue (BCR) shows a melanistic Geoffroy's cat. The point being made right away is that this small wild cat species is not always dark charcoal or black like this. The "normal" colour of their fur varies from smoky grey to lion-coloured and there are many intermediate shades of colouring. The four subspecies (as at 2002) vary considerably in colour as does their body size. Although you can't see them on this melanistic Geoffroy's cat, there are numerous small black spots on the body. The tale is ringed with dark bands. On a sad note, as at 2002, the pelt of Geoffroy's cat was the most frequently traded cat skin after the bobcat.

However, melanistic forms of this cat are common. Melanism is due to a dominant autosomal allele. "Melanism" refers to cats going black or dark charcoal when they should be normally brown with tabby-style markings.

Image: PoC. The cat is a screenshot from the video.

This cat is found in South America only. If you visualise South America and draw a line across the middle, this cat lives below that line and on the right hand side.

They spend most of their time on the ground but they are extremely good climbers. Their habitat varies depending upon where they are. In Chile they like areas of dense cover while in Uruguay they prefer open woodlands and "remnants of open savannas associated with marshes".

In the video you can hear the presenter, one of BCR's staffers, mentioning that they like to sit upright on their haunches or stand on their hind feet while using their tail as a balancing aid. I call this the meerkat position. Some domestic cats do it particularly dwarf domestic cats. Interestingly, it is on record that one individual cat held this position for 10 minutes. That is quite remarkable. The position is normally taken up to check for predators and the scan the landscape.

Sometimes Geoffroy's cat use the crooks of trees as defecation sites. This is unusual as well. In one park, the Torres del Paine NP in Chile, 93% of all faeces were in trees. They are described as "arboreal middens". The faeces were deposited 3 to 5 m above the ground usually where the main trunk splits into several branches.

Melanistic Geoffroy's cat. Screenshot from video.

Even in a landscape which has very few trees this cat likes to go to the toilet in the crooks of trees. In an almost treeless landscape 18% of 190 Geoffroy's cat scats were found in the crooks of trees.

The Geoffroy' cat is mainly nocturnal with their main activity taking place after sunset and before sunrise. In Chilean Patagonia the cat is most active at night or daytime activity was restricted to the early morning or late afternoon.

They mainly feed on small rodents and birds. A male Geoffroy cat in Uruguay had the remains of a hare in its stomach. In one park, 80% of scats contain the remains of small animals and birds occurred in 50% of scats. Sometimes this cat goes fishing and will also eat frogs. They do not have an aversion to water and will jump in water to fish.

It is believed to be a solitary cat and their home ranges vary between about 3 km² for a female to around 12 km² for a male.

Gestation varies between 62 and 67 days. Litter sizes vary from one to 3 kittens with the average observed in captivity being 1.5 kittens. Kittens are born with their eyes closed and they are opened at 19 days of age.

Source: Various - primarily Wild Cats of the World and referenced works.

Is this lion greeting the dog or asking for forgiveness?

A funny bloke on YouTube said that the lion was "taste testing!". It made me laugh. The video maker said that this white lion is asking his dog companion for forgiveness. He picks up the dog's right leg and it is almost as if he kisses the paw. It is a very gentle and friendly act. You will find nothing on this type of lion behaviour in the best books on the wild cat species so we have to work it out for ourselves.

In my opinion the lion is not asking for forgiveness. He is simply greeting the dog in a friendly manner. It's almost like handshaking and it practically mimics the handshake of humans (but not during the corona virus pandemic!). There may be an element of reinforcing friendship in the greeting which is what friendly greetings are all about anyway. 

Immediately after the "handshake" the dog turns and leads the way. The lion follows. Perhaps the dog is the leader in this super duo? This is my interpretation. There is one thing certain: they are very close emotionally. They have formed an incredibly strong bond which clearly indicates that they were raised together and have lived side by side since they were toddlers to use language designed for people.

Emotions and self-awareness

The act of asking for forgiveness requires that the non-human animal or human animal (human) asking knows that they're done something wrong. The way that they know they have done something wrong is by measuring their behaviour against some standard or norm. Those standards and norms come from society in the human world. Can dogs and lions have their own standards and norms that relate to a friendship like this? I would doubt it. 

Also the act of forgiveness probably also requires the ability to be self-aware. You have to be able to look at yourself from outside yourself, objectively. It's as if you are measuring your behaviour against some standard and this requires self-awareness. There are doubts, considerable doubts, as to whether cats can be self-aware. There are also doubts about the higher emotions in domestic and wild cats. Forgiveness is born out of a feeling of guilt and perhaps shame. These are higher emotions. I would doubt that the lion feels these emotions. This is not to in any way denigrate this beautiful relationship and the tender behaviour of this fantastic looking lion. I'm just trying to look at it realistically.


It is well known that cats make friends with other cats and have interspecies friendships with, for example, dogs. Cats have friendly greetings like the tail-up position and the nose touch. Friendship is based upon affection and affection is an emotion which most people agree cats can experience. Of course dogs make friends with other dogs and their owners as well. These thoughts support my assessment that what we see in the video is a very friendly greeting which may have been trained into the lion and the dog by their owner. We don't know.

You cannot say that all cats hate water!

I have to confess that I have become a little bit frustrated and perhaps irritated by a large number of articles on the Internet which state with complete confidence that cats hate water. They are generalising about all cats. You can't generalise like that. You have to drill down and analyse the situation in far more detail.

The originan Van kittens swimming. Please click this link to read about the real Turkish Van

Firstly, you have to decide whether you are referring to cats walking outside in the rain and getting wet or whether you are describing bathing a cat or a cat falling into a bath or pond. When a cat, and I'm referring to a domestic cat in this instance, is submerged in water they will in general dislike it. You can pretty well bank on that. But it depends upon the individual cat as to how much they dislike it. Some may hate it and some may simply put up with it while others will love being in the bath.


However, you have to compare that situation with being out in the rain. We know that in the UK 99% of cats go outside whenever they like through a cat flap. They might go out in the rain. My cat actually goes out when it's raining sometimes. Clearly the rain does not perturb him. Or he is caught in a downpour and comes in soaking wet. It doesn't worry him particularly. Therefore this is, at least, one cat who does not hate water. He just doesn't mind getting wet.

So among the domestic, random bred cats you will find individual cats who might even like water and those who are ambivalent about it and those who dislike it or even hate it. There is a full spectrum of personalities which affects how they relate to getting wet.

Turkish Van

Then you have the cat breeds. There is quite a lot of talk about the Turkish Van swimming in water and liking it. This is a bit of a myth (see picture and link above). All the current Turkish Van cats in Turkey are random bred cats and they will behave just like random bred cats in America or the UK or anywhere else when it comes to getting wet. The person who started the Turkish Van breed was an English lady and she was driving home from Turkey with some cats and they went for a swim in a lake. This does not mean that all Turkish Van cats like to swim in ponds or lakes.

Maine Coon

I read somewhere that the Maine Coon cat likes to swim as well. This is a myth if you've heard it. In general, purebred cats will be no different to random bread cats in this respect.

The wildcat hybrids are much more likely to like or accept getting wet. Photo: in public domain.

Wild cat hybrids

You have to mention the wild cat hybrids. These cats such as the Savannah and Bengal have serval and Asiatic leopard cat DNA in them respectively to varying degrees depending on their filial. This affects their character and their relationship with water. Both the higher filial variants of these breeds are much more amenable to getting wet and even going into showers than the average random bread or purebred cat. 

This is because the serval and the Asiatic leopard cat live in wetter landscapes. The serval lives in and around watercourses and the Asiatic leopard cat lives in rainforests. They are habituated to wetter landscapes and climates. This has been brought forward in their DNA as a form of memory which has been embedded into the characteristics of these two wild cat hybrid domestic cats. That's why they accept or even like water.

Wild Cats

And then if you're talking about cats in general you must talk about the wild cat species. The tiger loves water and spends a lot of time in it. They are great swimmers and can swim in the open sea for miles. The jaguar in South America loves water and spends time in it as well. The small wild cat species, the fishing cat, spends most of its time in and around watercourses where it, yes, fishes. 

There are other the small cat species such as the flat-headed cat which also spends a lot of time on river banks near water. The Geoffroys' cat dives into water to hunt so once again a small wild cat looking much like the domestic cat likes water. All these species actively get into the water and therefore don't mind being wet. You can never say that "all cats hate water". Please don't do it! Rant over.

Monday 28 September 2020

Britons prefer dogs to cats 2020

At 2020, Channel 5 surveyed 2,000 people to find the UK's favourite animal. 51% named the dog and 38% named the cat. The hedgehog, horse and robin were also in the top five.

Cat and dog lovers! Poster by Ruth aka Kattaddorra.

Channel 5 commissioned the survey to mark the airing of this week's episode of "All Creatures Great and Small". Callum Woodhouse, the actor who plays Tristan Farnon is a huge dog lover said. He adores the golden retriever who is also an actor in the series. 70% of companion animal guardians consider the animal to be part of the family. The best things about living with a companion animal were (1) company and (2) the affection they give you.

40% of those surveyed said they did not have a companion animal to live with and the main reason given was a lack of space for people living in London. Comment: this might apply more to cats than dogs because you can take a dog on a lead and therefore living in London should not be a big barrier although there is no countryside to enjoy. That said there are some great parks in London.

41% of citizens in Yorkshire who would like to adopt a companion animal said that they could not afford to look after an animal properly to ensure that they had a happy life.

27% of the participants wanted to be a veterinarian because they loved animals so much when they were children.

Comment: Statistica, the website concerned with statistics, tells me that at 2019/20, 23% of households have a dog living in the home and 16% of households have a cat. I find the percentage to be low in respect of cats in particular. Dogs are certainly more popular than cats on the basis of the statistics.

The General Social Survey which is run by social research organisation NORC at the University of Chicago found that 36% of dog owners report being very happy compared to 18% of cat owners. The survey was reported in The Washington Post. In the US, the dog appears to be more popular than the cat as well. I don't know how accurate these surveys are but there is a clear trend in the information that I have which, as stated, is that dogs are more popular than cats.

Cat owners should call a veterinarian under these circumstances

Richard H. Gebhardt, former president of the Cat Fanciers' Association, tells us that cat breeders and cat owners should call their veterinarian under the following circumstances. He refers to illness symptoms and whether you should call a veterinarian immediately or the next day i.e. he is grading the importance of dealing with the matter.

My cat inspecting the fence of his enclosure. He eventually escaped!
Picture: Michael. Only 1 in 1000 escape thse enclosures I was told.

I will list them as he writes them if I may as I don't think that there will be any copyright issues in doing this. It ensures the information is accurate. His book was published in 1991, almost 30 years ago.

  • Any deep wound or wound still bleeding after pressure has been applied: see a vet at once.
  • Seems drowsy after ingesting a foreign substance: see a vet at once
  • Stopped breathing after chewing on a poisonous plant: see a vet at once
  • Temperature elevated beyond 105: at once
  • Temperature between 103 and 105, and other signs of illness present: next day
  • Decreased appetite coupled with coughing, vomiting, diarrhoea: next day
  • Sudden weakness in hindquarters: at once
  • General lameness in any leg lasting more than three days: next day
  • Red, ulcerated sore on the lips or other part of the body: at once
  • Abscess that is warm and painful to the touch: at once
  • Any general swelling that is warm and painful to the touch: next day
  • Runny nose accompanied by elevated temperature, pale gums, weakness: at once
  • Runny nose accompanied by lethargy, puss in the eye, or rapid breathing: next day
  • Coughing accompanied by elevated temperature, difficult breathing, depressed energy level: next day
  • Foul breath accompanied by increased water intake, increased urination, excessive appetite, lethargy: next day (this is kidney disease by the way)
  • Evidence of trauma accompanied by shortness of breath, elevated temperature, pale gums, lethargy, at once
  • Vomiting accompanied by lethargy, frequent attempts to urinate, elevated temperature, blood in stools: at once
  • Diarrhoea accompanied by bloody faeces, elevated temperature, vomiting: at once
  • Diarrhoea accompanied by dehydration: next day
  • Constipation accompanied by straining and failure to defecate: at once
  • Abnormally thin stools accompanied by elevated temperature: next day

I hope that this helps somebody at some time. The list presents the symptoms only but that keeps it nice and straightforward and simple.

Feral cat feeders cannot let their cats down by stopping

NEWS AND OPINION: Sometimes, kind people who feed feral cats start doing it accidentally. Perhaps they were in the wrong place at the wrong time. This is how Pauline Tribe and Rose Magic of Durban, South Africa started. Pauline said something which brings home one of the underlying problems (if that is a fair description) of feeding feral cats. You can't stop because once you start the cats rely on you for feeding them and you cannot let them down at that point. If you start you have to continue because you take responsibility and the cats rely on you. It is as if you become their owner (guardian).

Pauline and Rose. Photo:

It is a self-imposed situation born out of an emotional connection with the cats and a desire to help because some people cannot walk by and ignore vulnerable animals. And they cannot stop for the same emotional reasons.

This is a good thing because it provides a constant source of motivation and there's no doubt this is needed because both Pauline and Rose get up at 2:30 AM every morning and have done so for the last 10 years to feed the cats! The total number of cats fluctuate but it is more than 70. They finish feeding by 7:30 AM and then go to work. It is quite amazing when you think about it. They both work and spend half the night feeding cats.

They also take in some cats and care for them at home. These cats are sick or injured in some way. After they've done that they prepare the food and water for the next morning. They get to bed by about 10 PM, said Pauline.

They first started when they were walking down the promenade on the beachfront and saw four or five cats crying for food. They popped into the local supermarket and got them some biscuits. They ate them up eagerly and so they decided to carry on feeding them. She said that "we were in the wrong place at the wrong time". She's joking but there is a hint of an admission in that statement that this pair of kind ladies started a long journey of caring for unwanted animals which is a burden to them in one respect. There can be no doubt about that. They have to do it because, as mentioned, they can't stop on an emotional level. But there's no doubt that on occasions they must feel that they wish that they could stop.

There are other issues. What do the other residents think about what they're doing? I think they are fantastic and long may they go on doing it but there are some people who strongly dislike the feeding of feral cats for various reasons. They may dislike the people who feed feral cats and therefore Pauline and Rose may have some enemies. So despite their kindness and decency they may have acquired people who dislike them. That is hardly a reward their efforts.

Source of news: These are my thoughts.

Sunday 27 September 2020

Patellar luxation and Abyssinian cats

Abyssinian cat. Photo: Helmi Flick with her express permission.

Patellar luxation is more common in some cat breeds than was once thought. Rather disturbingly, surveys of Abyssinian cats from California in 1991 and1992 discovered that 26/69 (38%) of examined Abyssinian cats had "patellars that could be dislocated, compared with 1/84 other cats tested". This condition can sometimes be found at the same time with hip dysplasia. The kneecap slides to the inside of the leg rather than remaining on top of the joint i.e. in its trochlear groove. There may be intermittent lameness and a reluctance to jump.

The source of the information comes from the studies listed below:

  1. Giger Urs, P.A. Green and G.K. Smith: "Hip Dysplasia and Patellar Luxation in Cats", Veterinary Proceedings from the North American Veterinary Conference, 1992 Vol 6:321. This study is referred to in Medical, Genetic & Behavioral Risk Factors of Devon Rex Cats by Ross D Clark DVM.
  2. Guger Urs; Presentation at the 13th Annual Robert Winn Foundation Symposium on Feline Health, June 20, 1991. "Patellar Luxation and Hip Dysplasia" summary by Diana Cruden. Cat Fanciers' Almanac, Nov. 1991, p. 84.

Pets at Home business overhaul is bearing fruit

Following an 80% slump in profits last year, an overhaul of the business is bearing fruit as shares in Pets at Home rose by 10% to 236.6p as indicated by their half-year results. The Telegraph newspaper put some of the success down to the burgeoning sales of pet cats and dogs and increased prices for these animals due to increased demand during the coronavirus pandemic.

Pets at Home interior. Photo:

In truth, they radically overhauled the business by launching new services in store, getting rid of underperforming veterinary in-store practices and acquiring a dog walking business called Tailster. Their veterinary business increased by 6.4% in the period. Overall, like-for-like sales increased by 7.8% in the six months to October 10.

I go to the local Pets at Home in New Malden and I notice from the photograph that they have improved their interior layout and design. It looks appealing. Prices have also been reduced. Group revenue rose 9.4% to £546.3 million in the first half of the year and profits rose by 10% to £41.7 million. The boss, Peter Prichard, said that he now expects the business to return to profit growth a year ahead of the planned timetable. Pets at Home have a good online presence which must have helped with online sales.

It seems remarkable to me that they have done so well during the coronavirus pandemic. It seems that the pet business has been unaffected although this is not entirely true because animal rescues have had a very difficult time in part because they are charities and all charities have suffered tremendously because of a heavy curtailment to fundraising and store closures. Although set against that, as mentioned, there has been an increase in dog and cat adoptions, particularly dogs, during the lockdown because people saw a need to adopt a companion animal for company. Perhaps also, they were thinking about this for a long time and chose this moment to proceed.

Can you drown cat fleas?

It takes 24 hours underwater to drown a flea! This is an interesting question and a pertinent one because cat owners sometimes like to kill fleas by drowning them. There are two aspects to the question. If you place a flea onto water they don't sink into the water. Therefore they do not drown this way. Fleas are too light to break the surface of water. And they are covered in a water repellent wax. A flea left on the surface of water in a bowl will eventually starve to death because they can't jump out, but not drown.

If you force a flea underwater and hold it there for about 24 hours they would drown. Apparently it takes much longer to drown a flea than you might have imagined. Forcing a flea underwater for 20 minutes will not kill them. In fact a flea submerged for 12 hours may appear dead but will reanimate itself once removed. After 60 minutes or so they are revived. If a flea is underwater for up to 20 hours they can still revive themselves but it takes about 4 to 5 hours.

If you are flea combing your cat and you catch one, my preferred method of killing is to use my thumbnail to squash the flea against the comb. If the comb is a metal one with a ridge where the combs enter the plastic handle you can squash them against that ridge. It is satisfying because you can hear the exoskeleton pop. This method may be too grizly for some people. It gives me pleasure because I hate the bastards. But if there are a lot of fleas this method is unworkable. You'll need an insecticide but use it with extreme care please.

P.S. Fleas have flat bodies which makes it easier to move around their host in that forest of fur!

Sources: various and on the internet.

How long do cat fleas live without a host?

Adult fleas live for between one and two weeks in favourable conditions. The flea needs a host on which to feed continuously and they prefer humid and warm climates.

Fleas in a jar. Photo: PoC.

However, the flea pupae can live for up to 5 months without food or light. I think you need to understand the life cycle to know where the pupae fit into it. The mother flea is on a cat feeding on blood. She lays eggs because the blood provides the energy to do this. They are laid in clusters of 20 maximum. She can lay a maximum of 50 per day. The eggs fall off the cat as the cat walks around. They fall into, for example, carpet. 

The eggs hatch into legless embryos called larvae. They burrow deep into the carpet or the roots of plants in the wild. They live off pre-digested blood from their mother flea. They develop into cocoons or flea pupae. They can live in this state for up to 5 months without food or light.

They mature into adult fleas with a lowered metabolism so that they don't need feeding. A potential host passes by and the adult flea senses the change in thermal energy. The flea emerges from the cocoon and jumps onto their new post to feed immediately.

Fleas cannot fly but they have an enormous ability to jump. If they were the size of humans they would jump up to a thousand feet into the air. This is their mode of transport.

Saturday 26 September 2020

Stray cat sprints across finish line during 100m race in Turkey

The big questions are how and why did this cat get into the stadium but no matter. Nobody was hurt and I don't think that it affected the outcome of the race. Domestic cats are very good at avoiding things even faster moving humans.

The dependence and independence of the domestic cat

The domestic cat is both dependent and independent. In many respects domestic cats are far more independent than we are but in one major respect they are highly dependent: for safety, security, sustenance and warmth.

However, unlike us they are not dependent upon water, shampoo and soap in order to wash themselves (unless they fall into a paint pot). In this respect they are entirely independent relying, as they do, on their saliva and their comb-like tongue to do what is necessary. And they do a great job in keeping their coat in first class condition provided they are not overweight, infirm, ill or they have been bred to extreme with overly-long coats. Sometimes they do enjoy some help from a feline friend although this is not strictly required.

British SHs allogrooming. Photo: Karen Goldsmith (Germany)

The domestic cat is also completely independent with respect to clothes. Humans have a wardrobe full of clothes or they normally do. My wardrobe is incredibly small but I am dependent upon wearing something whereas domestic cats wear the same clothes day in day out, whatever the weather conditions and whether they are inside or outside the home. It is a self-generating coat. It is constantly being renewed and it never wears out unless, once again, they are ill in which case there could be hair loss.

Of course, the domestic cat's wild ancestor is entirely independent in every regard. It is only domestication which burdens the domestic cat with a reliance upon people the sustenance and safety. But for domestication, the domestic cat would be entirely self-reliant.

We should, perhaps, marvel at the purity of the self-reliance of the domestic cat in the clothes they wear on the showers that they do not need. 

Is your cat meowing too much?

An author on the website asks whether your cat is meowing too much. My first thought was that a domestic cat cannot meow too much. It's impossible to envisage that situation. For a start off, domestic cats are not, in general terms, that vocal. Some cat breeds such as the Siamese are more vocal in others. The Siamese' rather raucous and harsh voice may grate sometimes but when you adopt a Siamese cat you know what you're getting. You are adopting a loyal, vocal creature and you like it. So no complaints. Cats start to meow at around 4 months normally. And they only meow at humans. Feral cats don't meow at each other.

The only time that a cat can meow too much is not when they're meowing but when they're howling at night at midnight in the morning! Yes, cats can be too vocal but it will be when they are vocal at times which are undesirable from a human's perspective.

Image: PoC

The reason why this should happen is because cats are essentially nocturnal hunters. Or to be more precise they are crepuscular creatures. They like to be active when we like to be inactive and fast asleep. The vocalisation aspect of this behavioural trait is an adjunct to the more important behavioural trait as described.

Howling at night, can be caused by a cat who is elderly and who may suffer from early-stage dementia and is therefore confused. The howl is a call for company. The response should be to provide them with company even if it is highly inconvenient. If you're awake because of the howling then it is not much of an added burden to get up and deal with it. We should be very sympathetic and sensitive to our cat's emotional problems.

However, if your cat wants to wake you up at four in the morning by meowing and you don't like it, the classic treatment is to ignore it. For the immediate future your cat will try harder and then eventually she will give up. That is the argument. The argument is to ignore demands that you don't want to meet because if you respond to demands you feed them and encourage more. Personally, I don't subscribe to ignoring requests from my cat. Maybe that's just me but if he is asking for something there's good reason for it and I feel duty bound as his caregiver to do something about it.

The cat's meow may irritate some people some time. This is because it is a demand or polite request depending upon your viewpoint for food. And sometimes cats can linger around your feet as you walk around the kitchen meowing at you and rubbing their bodies against you. They can get in the way. Cats are persistent and they will go on until they get what they are asking for. As I said, this may irritate some people if they are not in the mood to respond. The best response is to respond! Cats get their way. It's an example of the cat training the human rather than vice versa.

Caterwauling is rarely heard in my opinion. It is described as "an aggressive, threatening sound made by sexual or territorial rivals.... It may be heard at any time when two or more cats are fighting and may, on occasion, have nothing to do with sexual encounters". I am quoting Desmond Morris.

The author on Catster says that an indoor cat when seeing an outdoor cat may vocalise their frustration or excitement. My experience tells me that under these circumstances the indoor cat is normally quite silent. They may look intently and wish to get out side and do something about it. If they are allowed outside they will go but this is more about action rather than vocalisation. It's like the hunt: cats are silent when in pursuit.

If a cat owner is going to complain about meowing it will normally be because their cat is not meowing enough. And on this subject, some cats produce silent meows. If a person wants to adopt a cat and wants that cat to be relatively quiet then they should consider seeking out a cat who likes to meow silently. This happens when the cat opened their mouths as if to meow but no sound comes out.

My conclusion is that domestic cats can never meow too much. They can never vocalise too much and if you are irritated and consider their noise-making too much then I think you should look at yourself and ask whether you might be unreasonable.

World's most dangerous cat?

The answer depends upon whether you are referring to people or animals. If you're referring to the most dangerous cat species in respect of small animals then you will go for the black-footed cat. This cute looking and diminutive wild cat species is considered to be the most efficient hunter of all the cats. They hunt relentlessly, mainly at night. 

Lions lose teeth in old age through hard usage. Picture: Ernest Porter.

So to small mammals and birds this fast hunting and relentlessly efficient cat is highly dangerous. They employ three methods one of which is called "fast hunting". The cat jumps along through tall grass flushing out prey. Another method is to sit outside the burrow exit and entrance and wait for the animal to emerge. They can stay immobile for two hours (reminds me of my domestic cat). The third method is in between these two in which the cat employs a careful weaving action as they walk through their habitat sneaking up on potential prey.

If the question relates to people then you have to say that the world's most dangerous cat is one of the big cats. You would have to choose the tiger or lion. Their sheer power can prove fatal very quickly. There are numerous stories of zookeepers either making mistakes or being reckless in their interactions with captive tigers. Quickly the tiger can kill a zookeeper with a bite to the neck.

I don't think the bite force of the cat is particularly relevant because all the big cats have a very strong bites. The jaguar has the hardest bite of the big cats. They can bite through the shell of turtles. They got to have strong canine teeth as well! I'm sure that you will see jaguars with broken teeth. Lions often are broken teeth as well in their old age. Perhaps their bite is too strong for their teeth.

At the time of writing this there are no individual cats that are notoriously dangerous. When there were more big cats in Africa and more conflicts between them and humans, it was more likely that an individual big cat could be regarded as a man-eater. These were often injured cats forced to prey on humans (easy prey). The cats were tracked down and shot by specialist hunters often white men described as big game hunters. One such person was Jim Corbett. He has a tiger reserve named after him in India.

Friday 25 September 2020

Thirty pound tabby cat abandoned by her owner

There is a report today (20 Sept 2020) that a Philadelphia tabby cat weighing 29.5 pounds was abandoned (and fortunately rehomed). We have to presume that her owner abandoned her. If that is the case, and of course I am speculating, then the owner is the person who made her obese. He or she then decided that having done that to their cat they didn't like it so they got rid of her. They didn't even have the decency to take her to a rescue centre. They probably avoided a rescue centre because they were embarrassed by what they had created.

Obese cat Lasagna was abandoned in Philly, USA. Photo: ACCT Philly

The cat's first name is Lasagna which is appropriate considering her weight. She was found abandoned in a dog crate overnight in Hunting Park by ACCT Philly shelter workers last Sunday (20 September).

Having posted her picture online they have been inundated with offers by people who fell in love with her. They like a chunky frame. She was quickly adopted by the Hammer family who live in Vineland, New Jersey. She is very sociable and friendly and likes her belly to be rubbed. They're going to work, I hope, with their local veterinarian to help Lasagna lose weight. We know all about feline obesity and how it can cause health problems such as bad joints, heart problems, diabetes, thyroid issues and others! She already suffers from stiff joints and cannot groom myself.

She still quite young at five years of age and therefore there is time to get her on a good diet and to gradually lose weight. The point of the article is the oddity about Lasagna being abandoned by her owner. If the owner did abandon her then it is a double whammy of irresponsible cat ownership.

Feeding your cat once a day improves their health

You may have heard about the study from the University of Guelph (Ontario, Canada). The researchers say that feeding your cat once a day with the same quantity of food that you would have given them over the entire 24 hours, improves their health. They suggest that a once-a-day feeding to some extent mimics a mild form of fasting and fasting improves health. This is a known benefit in people. So I think that this one meal a day suggestion is partly based upon the concept of intermittent fasting to improve health.

Does once a day feeding mimic wild and feral cat feeding? I think not.
Photo in public domain.

The researchers say that when you feed a domestic cat once-a-day they have higher levels of protein in their blood, leaner bodies and higher levels of hormones which are linked to appetite regulation. The regime allows cats to build more protein and improve muscle mass. The cats are more satisfied with their food and they are less likely to beg for food throughout the day.

The once-a-day feeding goes against the general consensus of all cat experts. The general feeling is that domestic should be fed several times a day with small amounts. The stomach is small and therefore small and frequent amounts is the better policy. I would suggest that the stomach size of cat is a barrier to feeding one large meal in 24 hours. A domestic cat's stomach is the size of a ping-pong ball approximately. How can you provide them with 24-hours of nutrients with a stomach that size?

I get the message about fasting and the improvements that it might bring but I think in practical terms and in the sense that it goes against the general consensus, this advice is probably a nonstarter. It may apply to certain cats and it certainly may help obese cats. We know that obesity is widespread amongst the domestic population in the West.

Another practical aspect of this advice is that the majority of cat owners, I would suggest, allow their cats to free feed on dry cat food. This is not good but it happens. It is convenient. To ask these cat owners to go to once-a-day feeding with wet cat food may be too big a call. The transference from dry to wet would benefit their cats, however. There are health negatives associated with dry cat food and health positives linked to wet cat food. Some of the current major feline health problems are arguably linked to their diet and obesity.

The study concerned 80 healthy cats. One group was fed four times a day for three weeks. A second group was fed just once a day with the same amount of food. For another three weeks the participants were switched over. The researchers monitored their health outcomes, metabolism, physical activity and body weight. The admit that their suggestion goes against the grain and say that the regime should be considered on an individual cat basis.

Most common domestic cat diseases treated under pet insurance policies in America

The most common domestic cat diseases treated under pet insurance policies in America in 2018 were reported as: undiagnosed diarrhoea and vomiting, urinary tract diseases, kidney diseases, gastrointestinal conditions, hyperthyroidism, diabetes, periodontitis and general oral health problems. This information comes from five different pet insurance companies: Trupanion, ASPCA, Pets Best, Nationwide and Embrace. 

You can see a trend there or at least I can. Urinary tract problems including kidney disease are a major issue in domestic cats and also it seems are diseases of the gastrointestinal tract. These would appear to be related to diet because what goes in has to be digested and waste is expelled. Both ends of the food processing channel are affected.

Photo: Pixabay.

I have this feeling that there is something hidden is going on in homes in the West which is affecting the health of domestic cats. The high incidents of kidney disease is unacceptable. And I don't think anything is being done about it. I'm referring to food and the chemicals in the home such as fire retardants and carpet chemicals. These are volatile chemicals which give off fumes and these fumes linger in the atmosphere inside the home. I wonder whether the air quality inside homes is sufficiently good for domestic gas. If it isn't it can't be good for people either but cats are nearer the surfaces.

Cats lie on sofas. If that sofa has a fire retardant inside it then the cat is more likely to absorb these chemicals. The same goes for carpet chemicals. These are examples. And as for cat food, I think we know now that the cheap dry cat food is simply not good enough. A lot of people rely on it because it is cheap and convenient. They allow their cat to graze at any time day or night. Arguably this is overly convenient.

You add to poor quality dry cat food the extended daytime absence of solme human caregivers and you create a slightly toxic world for the domestic cat which can result in urinary tract health problems such as cystitis, a bacterial infection of the bladder, exacerbated by stress.

If there is a high predominance of gastrointestinal diseases causing vomiting and diarrhoea then surely this points to food. Doesn't it? Shouldn't veterinarians be looking at the quality of food provided to domestic cats? Perhaps they don't want to look at it because they want a huge number of cats coming through their doors vomiting and shitting diarrhoea. I am too cynical. One pet insurance company said that they paid out US$9,650 to treat a cat with a gastrointestinal condition.

They also said that they paid out US$40,000 to treat a cat with kidney disease. Do the insurance companies investigate the cause of these diseases? Do they dig around and try and prevent the diseases happening? Do they have a vested interest in doing nothing about these diseases? Do they work together with veterinarians and pet food manufacturers to try and eliminate them? I know there are lots of questions but can you find the answers? I don't think you can. I know that the pet food manufacturers work with veterinarians and this to my mind creates a conflict of interest.

Two pet insurance companies rated diabetes as their third most common cat illness claim. Arguably, feline diabetes, which I presume refers to type II diabetes or sugar diabetes, might be caused by the high carbohydrate content in dry cat food. Dry cat food has to have a high carbohydrate content in order to make it. It is there simply as a manufacturing necessity. Domestic cats don't need this sort of carbohydrate level in their food. It is unnatural to them and it is causing, it is argued, hypoglycaemic cats and overburdening the pancreas which produces insulin. This upsets the insulin/sugar balance in domestic cats which can lead to type II diabetes. This is the argument of a well-known veterinarian in America called Elizabeth M Hodgkins DVM.

I am harping on about cat food. And I do give my cat dry cat food although it is the highest quality I can find. And I also feed him lots of high quality wet cat food. But I am dissatisfied in general with the quality of cat food. It does not reflect accurately enough the perfect domestic cat diet which is the mouse which is 40% protein, 50% fat and only 3% carbohydrates. The average dry cat food for cats contains 35-50% carbohydrate calories according to the website. Do you see the massive difference and how that could impact a cat's metabolism and ability to cope with it?

Sale of clothes containing fur in shops in Britain will be banned

The UK government is drawing up plans to prohibit the sale of clothes containing fur in shops after Britain leave the European Union's single market and customs union. This is the result of Brexit. The government is currently negotiating a Brexit agreement with the European Union and it looks more hopeful at the moment. 

The European Union banned the import and sale of fur from domestic cats and dogs across the EU in 2009. However, an investigation by the Humane Society International in the UK discovered that fur described as faux fur is in fact real and can be found in some clothes and shoes. Faux fur is not better than the real thing.

Objectionable fur clothing. Photo: Pixabay. Note: I am not criticising this man
who is probably a model. Also I am not sure if the fur is fake or genuine.

The point to make is this: it is very pleasing to animal advocates that the UK government is going to put an end to the sale of clothes containing fur in the UK starting next year (all being well) but they will have to be particularly observant and rigourous in weeding out real fur masquerading as faux fur. My research indicates that faux fur is actually more expensive to reduce than the real thing, which is a terrible indictment of the amount of cruelty perpetrated on captive animals who are killed for their skins.

Apparently the faux fur is cat fur. Retailers should take responsibility for ensuring that the fur on the clothes that they sell is genuinely false. They should trace the source and insist that their suppliers provide certificates that their products are genuinely faux fur. Genuine fur disguised as faux fur is apparently quite a big issue in the high street. Fur traders find ways to wriggle around regulations.

I sincerely hope that the British government get a handle on this. There are a lot of unscrupulous producers, wholesalers and retailers who don't care about animal welfare. Changing the law and banning the sale of fur in clothes in the High Street in the UK is not enough although very welcome. There needs to be strict enforcement which is going to prove very difficult.

The move to ban fur in shops is being driven by Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park who is the Defra minister with responsibility for animal welfare. He is working, as I understand it, with Carrie Symonds, Boris Jonson's partner who as we all know is a keen animal advocate. The ban would be a strong signal of Britain's post-Brexit freedoms. It would be very popular because opinion polls have indicated that about 80% of Briton's think that fur on clothes are unacceptable nowadays. They dislike the trade in fur. Northern Ireland will be exempt from this proposal because they remain in the EU's single market and customs rules.

The British Fur Trade Association, as expected, say that the proposals are "irrational, illiberal and misjudged". Animal advocates would say the same thing about the association. It is time for change, there is no doubt about it.

Thursday 24 September 2020

Are Oriental Shorthairs healthy?

Like most purebred, pedigree cats Oriental Shorthairs (OSH) have inherited certain health problems due to selective breeding. One major issue for me, is that there is a family of Siamese cats which includes the Oriental Shorthair. They are all centred around the Siamese cat because the Siamese cat is in their breeding lines. And the problem here is that, on my reckoning, and based upon my extensive research, the Siamese cat has the most inherited health problems of any cat breed. So the question is: is the Oriental Shorthair susceptible to many of the medical problems that potentially affect the Siamese cat?

Oriental SH - photo: Helmi Flick

In addition to that long list of possible illnesses it is said that these animals are susceptible to respiratory illnesses and cardiomyopathy has also been reported in some lines. This information is according to Dr Ross D Clark DVM in his book Medical, Genetic and Behavioural Aspects of Purebred Cats.

A pet insurance company say that the OSH can suffer from progressive retinal atrophy and glaucoma. In addition, about nine years ago I wrote an article about hepatic amyloidosis in Siamese and Oriental cats. The article was based upon information provided by a visitor to the website, Lisa Lyons, who lives with Oriental Shorthair cats. The symptoms of hepatic amyloidosis include jaundice, a high white cell count, a low red blood cell count, vomiting, anaemia, general malaise and cyst damage to the liver causing bleeding. It is a very serious disease which is incurable and fatal. Some cats die within 2 to 3 years. That does not paint a very pretty picture in terms of the possible health problems affecting the Oriental Shorthair cat. But I have to be truthful and straightforward in answering the question in the title.

I would recommend that you read my page on Siamese cat health problems. It might surprise you. I decided at the Siamese cat was the most unhealthy cat in the world certainly amongst all the pedigree cats.

Cat and dog owners won't obey governments if they insist that their animals are quarantined because of Covid-19

It's emerging, gradually, that a considerable percentage of cats and dogs can get Covid-19 from their owners. They even have the same symptoms. A recent study suggested that 88% of cats contracted the disease from their owners or other people in the home as they had Covid -19 antibodies in their blood. And their owners said that they had symptoms similar to theirs such as breathing problems. Where does it leave us?

Montage: PoC. Pics in the public domain.

If further research reveals that our beloved cats and dogs present a danger to their owners because they are a pool or reservoir for the disease then it may come to pass that governments place restrictions over cat and dog ownership. I'm speculating wildly but it seems quite feasible that this may happen. It depends how the coronavirus pandemic develops. However, it is not going away. A second spike is developing and winter is arriving. Humankind is depending on a vaccine to see us through this and to get back to normal.

However, we know that vaccines take a long time to develop (many years normally). We also know that vaccines are less effective in people who are overweight and obese. In Britain around 60% of the population are overweight. Will a Covid-19 vaccine arrest the disease sufficiently for life to get back to normal? These are known unknowns but there's no doubt that we're going to have to live with this disease for the foreseeable future, perhaps indefinitely. That being said, I can see restrictions being placed upon pet ownership. Even today there are calls by some experts to treat companion animals who have showed signs of having the disease in the same way that we treat people who've had the disease. This means social distancing from our companion animals.

I foresee that this is going to be impossible to do and to enforce. It's also going to cause some consternation. And here's the deal: people are becoming tired of being dictated to by governments on how to curb the spread of this disease. A lot of people regard the current regulations as an attack on their freedoms and civil rights. They'd rather take the risk of getting the disease that have their rights constantly curtailed and restricted. Therefore governments will lose their authority. There may be civil unrest. We are seeing it already in fact with people responding angrily well asked to wear a face covering inside shops by staff members.

My personal view is that people should adopt the Swedish model which means going for herd immunity and taking the risk of getting the disease. People should make their own decisions. They are sensible enough in my view. Older people and those who are more vulnerable can self isolate and protect themselves while younger people can get on with life normally. Leave the decision-making to the citizens rather than dictate downward to them from a floundering government which is failing going forward, stumbling and making mistakes as they go. 

The citizens can apply common sense to their own individual situations provided the government gives them all the information that they need to make those decisions. They should give clear statements to the public about the risks so that people can judge for themselves. This will allow for a much more finely tuned and nuanced approach to tackling the virus.

The government say that they have followed the science but it seems to me that they have followed a very narrow form of science. We regularly see two senior science officials. One is an epidemiologist and the other is the chief medical officer for the country. What about the behavioural sciences? I think the UK government needs to take a wider picture. At the moment they're focusing on saving lives and keeping down the infection rates at the expense of the economy. I feel greater emphasis needs to be placed on the economy. After all, at the moment although the infection rates are showing a second spike, the death rates are probably lower than many other illnesses on a month by month basis. We are not locking down the country for reasons of cancer for instance.

Wednesday 23 September 2020

Polystyrene cooling boxes modified to be used as homes for feral cats

Polystyrene cooling boxes modified to be used as homes for feral cats
Photo: Regina Cat Rescue on Facebook

This is a cool (excuse the pun) way to quickly make feral cat homes. They keep the cats warm during winter which is coming up. The idea comes from Regina Cat Rescue. They are based in Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada. The boxes were used to transport blood products before they were modified by the volunteers. It's great to see recycling like this. Last year they found that the boxes kept a temperature of 20°C during the winter. I presume this is with a cat inside! They hand out about 75 shelter boxes annually to residents who want to help feral cats in the area. I flag up some potential health issues with Styrofoam in another post.

Source: CBC.

Greater bilbies are to learn how to be frightened of feral cats

In a NSW conservation programme the Australian authorities are going to put greater bilbies into an enclosure where there are a limited number of feral cats. Those which learn to survive will then procreate and teach their offspring to survive in a landscape where there are feral cats. The objective is to create a large enough group of greater bilbies with an inherent fear of feral cats and the means to avoid them so that they can be released into the wild in Australia and survive.

Great bilby atTaronga Zoo. Photo Rhett WymanCREDIT:
RHETT WYMANAdd caption

The experts are calling it "accelerated evolution". It's a reference to the fact that this small native marsupial species did not have time, they think, to evolve avoidance skills of predators such as feral cats. They are giving them the chance to evolve quickly and develop that skill so that they can prosper in an environment where there are too many feral cats according to the authorities.

It's another take on how to protect native species. The authorities believe you either kill the predators or you train the prey animals or both at which point the prey animal has a greater chance of survival in the wild.

It had been thought that greater bilbies were extinct in the wild in New South Wales. They are rabbit-sized marsupials. The plan kicks off by placing 10 bilbies, five of each sex, into a 2,000 ha enclosure, within the Sturt National Park, which is free of feral cats and other predators (I presume). This small group of ten were bred in a zoo and selected to be as wild as possible. Once they have bred in their 2000 ha enclosure they will be placed with feral cats into a much larger Wildlife Training Zone within the National Park. The government is backing the program to the tune of AU$8 is expected that it will take two years before the animals are released into the wild as I understand it. They are fast breeders!

Source: Sydney Morning Herald.

Are cats allowed to roam free in NSW?

NSW is an acronym for New South Wales, Australia. At 23rd September 2020, under the provisions of the Companion Animal Act 1998 domestic cats within NSW are allowed to roam free (laws change). And they can't be picked up by rangers because they might be someone's pet. They can't assume that the cats are stray and unowned just because they are outside. However, rangers can seize cats in areas where they are prohibited. These are areas such as wildlife protection areas, commercial kitchens, restaurants or cafés.

Feral cat in Australia. Image in public domain

Also, cats can be seized by rangers if they have injured a person or another domestic animal. Against that information, there is a general trend in Australia to restrict the movement of domestic cats and to regulate cat ownership in the interests of native species because there is concern that many native species are endangered and heading towards extinction in the wild. Small mammals are the domestic cat's menu. One player in that scenario is the outside domestic cat and the continent's 2 million estimated feral cats. The authorities want to slaughter all of them.

It is sensible to ensure that inside/outside domestic cats are spayed and neutered, microchipped, wear a safety collar with ID and in Australia kept inside at night to protect wildlife. A brightly coloured collar can protect wildlife from domestic cat predation.

Pet insurance improves companion animal welfare

I have decided that pet insurance is a socialist concept. Sweden is a very socialist country. They pay high taxes and they are willing to do so because it improves society. It is a fairer society. And in Sweden pet insurance for dogs, I am told, is at 90% of the dog population. I am sure that it is not dissimilar for domestic cats. A 90% pet insurance rate is far above that of the UK which I believe is somewhere around 25%. In general, pet insurance uptake is quite low in part because it is uncompetitive compared to self-insurance which is a savings scheme run by the companion animal guardian.

However, I have decided that an important aspect of pet insurance is animal welfare. Pet insurance does two things. First it spreads the risk. If you are unfortunate cat owner and your cat is chronically ill out of pure bad luck for a long time but you have insurance then those heavy costs are paid for out of your insurance policy. Part of that policy is paid for by the lucky person who has a healthy cat or dog all their lives and never has to use the policy. Some of the money from the lucky person goes into helping the unlucky person. Pet insurance spreads the risk and therefore it has a socialist flavour. I don't think that this is something which has been raised very often.

But it certainly sounds more fair to me if an unlucky person and an unlucky cat or dog gets their vet bill paid for high quality treatment thanks to an insurance policy. If that person did not have insurance their cat or dog might suffer because they would not be treated adequately as the owner might not have sufficient funds.

Yes, of course, the person who has a policy and never uses it is out-of-pocket but they get what they want which is peace of mind. They do obtain some benefit, although not as much as they might have. But their luck means that their cat and dog is healthier and that they don't have to go to the veterinarian all the time.

Obviously, whether a companion animal is healthy or unhealthy is not always down to pure luck but a lot of the time it is. You can't be sure how things will pan out. You can take precautions and for example select a random bred cat over a purebred cat because random bred cats are more healthy in general than purebred cats but you can never be completely sure that your cat will be healthy for all or most of their lives. 

Luck plays a role and pet insurance provides a counterbalance against bad luck and it improves the health of companion animals through superior veterinary care provided more often and more promptly because there is no brake on paying the bill. Pet insurance also means that veterinarians get paid better which means they can afford better equipment which in turn means you end up with a virtuous circle of improvements. This is all paid for by cat and dog owners but the beneficiary is the patient: improved welfare for cats and dogs and other companion animals.

P.S. The picture is in the public domain in my view.

Tuesday 22 September 2020

Cat cafés are struggling because of the pandemic

KitTea Cat café. Photo from the fundraising page.

Cat cafés are in the hospitality business. Well, they're actually in the cat rescue business as well but essentially they are in the hospitality business which is on its knees because of the coronavirus pandemic. The lockdown has pretty well stopped these businesses and social distancing has undermined them and the people work from home are less likely to visit cafés of any sort including cat cafés.

In this instance San Francisco's first and only cat café is in financial trouble and the owner is asking for help. KitTea Cat café in Hayes Valley opened in 2015. It is owned by Courtney Hatt who said that it was closed for much of the pandemic. It is now operating at a fraction of its normal levels and the income can nowhere near cover their expenses including a $10,000 rental. She wants to move to a cheaper place but the landlord won't release her from her five year lease.

She became emotional when people offered to help. She needs food and supplies including cat litter. She has a Go Fund Me page if you'd like to contribute. It has raised a huge $43,000 at the date of this post. The anchor/reporter at ABC7 News, Dion Lim had visited the place and she tweeted about it, I guess with the intention of publicising their plight.

The major reason why the Internet is expanding rapidly and continuously

The major reason why the Internet is expanding rapidly and continuously is because Google wants it to be like that as they can make more money if the Internet is bigger. And the way they encourage the Internet to grow so rapidly is because their search engine penalises websites that do not constantly add fresh pages.

If you leave a website alone for several months it will basically die because Google's search engine will stop finding it or find it less often. Conversely, if you constantly add to a website with fresh pages Google's search engine likes it and it will tend to find the site more often. It will rank the pages higher in search results. The more pages you can add the better the search results will be provided the content is good. It's pretty much as simple as that.

So Google dictates the Internet. They manage it and what they want they get. If they want an expanding Internet they can manage that through their search engine as described. This is not a criticism of Google. If anything it is praising Google because it is probably a good thing that it does expand as by and large the Internet is beneficial to people.

It is interesting, though, to speculate how things could have been different. If Google's search engine rewarded sites which had been dormant for a year by ranking them at the top of the search results, Internet expansion would come to a grinding halt quite quickly. The whole complexion of the Internet, of how we live, and such phenomenon as social media online would have been entirely different if Google had set up their search engine differently. It's a thought worth bearing in mind because it is at the foundation of how we use the Internet. And that greatly affects our lives.

Monday 21 September 2020

YouTube video makers are staging kitten rescues for money

I've been watching some cat and kitten rescues on YouTube. I thought I would catch up with what's going on in that marketplace. Immediately I smelled trouble; the two videos I saw made me doubt their veracity. They both appear to be staged. 

It is as of the film maker planned the whole thing like a mini-movie. Particularly the one on this page. It shows a kitten with a piece of cast-iron drainpipe around her body. This is a heavy piece of iron. The video maker walks up to the kitten who is struggling in what appears to be a part of a farm near some abandoned machinery. 

The filmmaker very, very slowly removes the cast-iron drainpipe from the kitten. It is done in the most elaborate and theatrical way. The moment is teased out over several minutes. It is quite ridiculous and it is shameful. The person uses one hand while the other holds the bloody camcorder! Shit. It is so crappy.

There is no way this kitten would end up with a piece of cast-iron drainpipe around her body unless it was put there by somebody. And I allege with complete conviction that it was put there by the filmmaker. Why would a kitten push their body through a piece of tight drainpipe like that? What was at the other end of it? What reward was there for the kitten to do it? How did the kitten manage to do it? They are all so unlikely as to be impossible to envisage.

If I'm correct, and I am convinced that I am correct,  this is shameful behaviour. This filmmaker is conning YouTube into believing that they are involved in genuine kitten rescue. They are conning Google AdSense who are paying them for adverts on their video. And they are conning the advertisers who want to place their adverts on their video. Finally, they are conning the public into believing it is genuine.

YouTube need to investigate this sort of thing because I believe that it is more widespread than people believe. The comments under the video indicate that those who have watched it don't understand what is going on. Nobody is asking the common sense question as to how this happened. As I said, it is likely that the only way it could happen is if it was staged.

Sunday 20 September 2020

The reason why newborn kittens don't squabble over nipples

The picture is from Wikipedia Commons. The mother is Sugar. She gave birth behind the TV as it was warm. Her kittens were named: Channel 3, Channel 5, Cable 8, Circuit Overload!

Newborn kittens do not squabble over their mother's nipples because each one is labelled distinctly by subtle differences in smell. As Desmond Morris says, each nipple is labelled as if they were school lockers. I think it's a wonderful analogy. It highlights both the sophistication of the domestic cat and the wonderful sense of smell with which they are born. If you remove the distinguishing fragrance of a mothering cat's nipples, the kittens become disorientated and confused and start squabbling. Nature found a beautiful way to allow the domestic cat family to live in harmony from the get go. I love the thought of that.

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