Showing posts from October, 2020

Cat heads follow the action through 'cat television'

This is a particularly good example of cats following action with their heads. You will see a lot of videos on the Internet like this but they won't be as good as this one. I really like this example especially the middle cat. Watch his or her head. He's really intrigued about what is going on. They seem to be full-time indoor cats and they are watching cat television as the experts call it. This means looking out through a window at the activities taking place outside. Cat TV is a great way for a full-time indoor cat to be entertained and stimulated. Make the area by the window comfortable so a cat can spend long hours there if they want to. And notice how the sun passes through windows to find the best spots to place cat beds to give them as much time as possible in the warmth of the sun.

My cat catches a rat but doesn't want to eat it

In the video I ask whether my cat has caught a large mouse or a rat. I am now convinced that it was a rat because not soon afterwards my neighbour started to poison rats because they were chewing at the roots of her roses. In doing so she threatened the lives of a number of cats who walk along a right of way behind her house including mine. She also threatened the lives of two foxes and two badgers. Why were they threatened? Because it takes about three days for a rat poisoned by the poison used to die and in that time they can be caught and eaten and thereby poison the predator which eats it. So my cat caught a rat and he didn't want to eat it. This happened later on as well. In contrast, he eats mice very quickly once he has caught them. So is there something about a rat which is unappetising to cats in general or my cat in particular? There may well be. It may be something to do with the way the carcass smells. Perhaps this rat was poisoned and my cat could smell the poison. Who

More than one tonne of plastic produced per person since 1950

The amount of plastic sloshing around the planet is equivalent to one tonne of plastic being produced by every person alive on the planet since 1950 (8.3 billion tonnes produced over the past 70 years). And clearly not enough is being done to rectify the problem. It's getting worse and worse annually . The problem is exponential. Dame Ellen MacArthur's foundation has called for an international treaty. Such a treaty would obtain the agreement of signatories to commit to doing something substantive about plastic production. Others say that it is too late to mess around with treaties. It can take years to get countries to agree to treaties and when they are signed they don't stick to the agreement. This happens all the time. Of the 8.3 billion tons of plastic produced in the past 70 years, three quarters has become waste and a third of that has been mismanaged which includes being dumped or dropped as litter. There is 150 million tonnes of it in the oceans already and every y

Scotland's first Minister, Nicola Sturgeon says that the coronavirus is no one's fault

How can it be that the coronavirus pandemic is no one's fault? This is what Nicola Sturgeon believes or it is what she stated before the cameras at one of her coronavirus updates to the nation. There is no rhyme nor reason why she should say this. Does she believe that the coronavirus pandemic is no one's fault? Surely it must be someone's fault? It would not have happened if the relationship between people and wild animals had been better regulated in China. This catastrophic disease would not have jumped from animals to people. Go to 13:23 on the video: The experts state that the cause of it is abuses of nature and that abuse or mishandling to put it more kindly of nature took place in the more than 20,000 wet markets of China. These are places where wild animals are slaughtered in unhygienic places and under circumstances where the killing of animals was and probably is not properly regulated. All the evidence points to fault being placed at the feet of the au

Sainsbury's expansion versus hedgehog conservation

Sainsbury's, in Guildford, Surrey, UK, want to expand their facilities because they need to expand their online presence having discovered that Britain is moving towards an online purchasing world. Online purchasing has been spurred on by the coronavirus pandemic as we probably all realise by now.  Sainsbury's Guildford surrounded by hedgehogs where there are hedgehogs. Map: Google Maps. In order to accommodate a vastly increased online delivery service, Sainsbury's have placed an application with the local authority to demolish 67 trees in a designated green space next to its superstore. The place where these trees live is important for hedgehog conservation. And as the UK hedgehog population has fallen from 1.5 million in 1995 to 500,000 in 2018 there is added pressure on conservationist to protect this much love species of wild animal. One of those people is Brian May, the Queen guitarist. He has accused Sainsbury's of chasing profits at the expense of wildlife co

Watching television nature programmes improves mental health

In an extension of the well-known benefits of walking in the natural environment as a means to improve mental health, researchers also believe that simply watching television nature programmes can lift your mood and spirits, reduce negative emotions and help alleviate boredom during isolation, which is particularly prevalent at the moment during this nasty coronavirus pandemic. Watching nature TV programs benefits mental health. Picture in public domain. If you want to go further you can buy into virtual reality and buy a headset which apparently may bring even greater benefits so say the scientists from the University of Exeter. They studied 96 participants who were subjected to short videos. They first subjected to the participants to a very boring video to try and get them bored. They were then shown video footage supplied by the BBC Natural History Unit film for Blue Planet II . It showed colourful underwater scenes of fish and corals. Some of the participants used VR headsets w

My cat is dying. How long will it take?

People actually asked this question. What does the question tell us about the person? If the question is genuine and I have to say right away that it is Google which presents this question to me. Google  auto-completes questions for people conducting searches. Google bases its auto-completions on actual searches. Therefore, I have to conclude that somebody has asked this question and it implies that this cat owner is negligent. CAT AT A VET. THIS IS WHERE A CAT SHOULD BE IF YOU THINK THEY ARE DYING. PICTURE IN THE PUBLIC DOMAIN AS ASSESSED. If your cat is dying you should know through your veterinarian. Your vet will tell you well before your cat is entering that very last phase of their life when they are seriously ill and the question of euthanasia should be discussed. Nowadays, in a well organised home with a decent cat owner, a dying cat should be euthanised to allow their passing to be as calm and as pleasant as possible. You do not watch your cat dying because of a chronic dis

Is it true that cats only meow at humans?

I am referring to domestic and feral cats. It is not 100% true that cats only meow at humans but you will find that feral cats do not meow at each other very often. This is because the meow is a learned request by the domestic cat living in the human home for something such as food or interaction.  It's been learned over thousands of years. That's what the experts say. It is quite rare for the average person to mingle with feral cats in a colony to check this advice. But it makes sense. Feral cat colony. All shorthairs. Photo: in public domain. In fact the domestic cat has refined the meow sometimes so that it sounds a little bit like a baby crying. Some cats have learned that this slightly modified meow is more effective in getting their way. Long-haired feral cats? As an aside, you will also rarely see long-haired feral cats. Why is this? It must depend upon how long-standing the colony is. You will get new cats coming into a colony and some of them may be strays having be

Tabby cat sits on a ledger during evacuation of Bank of England from London during WW2

Picture in the public domain at this time (deemed).

Conservation is about protecting communities of wild animals and their habitat

Sir (double Sir by the way as he has 2 knighthoods) David Attenborough explains some fundamentals of wildlife conservation. He explains too that the world leaders must work together otherwise we are sunk. Conservation is about commitment by world leaders and international cooperation. Fortunately the young are pressurising the middle-aged leaders of the world. Sir David Attenborough supports the World Land Trust because if you're going to protect wildlife you have to protect the land on which they live as a community. He explains this in this five minute video. Please watch it if you want to learn a bit more about conservation.

Do cats get dementia?

Yes, as you may well know, domestic cats can suffer from dementia but we are unsure how commonplace it is because not enough studies have been carried out on domestic cats (although see below). It can be quite difficult to tell whether a cat is suffering from dementia because they compensate so well for disabilities. Vets call this condition Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome (CDS). My beloved cat who suffered from mild dementia when at the end of her life. Photo: Michael One reason why we might be seeing it more often nowadays than before is because domestic cats live longer lives thanks to better nutrition and health care. Spotting behavioural changes is the way to detect feline dementia symptoms. You may see CDC in cats older than 10 years of age. Domestic cats with CDC can become disorientated, interact with people in different ways than normal, have alterations to their sleep-wake cycle, urinate and defecate inappropriately, have lower activity levels, and they may howl at night du

Modern prefabricated homes should have a catio option

Modern prefabrication techniques for the building of homes is far superior than the way it was after the Second World War. Even some of those small prefabs, that were put up quickly, still stand today so I think we can expect good things about modern factory built homes. It goes without saying, when you think about it, that if a house is built in segments and those segments are manufactured within an enclosed space where conditions are warm and stable and where machinery is used to cut the parts accurately, that the homes are going to be of a higher quality than if they are built piecemeal by possibly unskilled or semi-skilled people in all weathers using old-fashioned techniques. Timber prefab home which should have the catio option. Photo in public domain. Perhaps a problem with prefab homes is their image because in the UK people perceive the prefab home as the Second World War version. Times have changed dramatically. I would expect factory built, prefabricated homes to be of subst

Are domestic cats native to North America?

No, domestic cats are not native to North America. In other words, the domestic cat does not originate from a wild cat species in North America. You can tell that because the only small wildcat that could possibly have been the precursor to the domestic cat is the ocelot which at one time lived in North America but no longer (although some people claim it still exists in America). The domestic cat could not have originated from the ocelot because it's too large. The domestic cat is a domesticated and socialised North African wildcat. So the domestic cat is native to Africa and the Middle East. The domestic cat exists in North America because they were imported by Europeans to the east coast in the 1600s. The cat hating fraternity like to remind the cat loving fraternity that the domestic cat is an invasive species in North America. And because the cat is an invasive species and because they prey on birds there are some people who think that the domestic cat should be exterminate

Investing in ethical companies with a concern for the environment

The public has demonstrated a changing culture or let's say it's an ongoing process and we are perhaps at the beginning of it. People with money to invest see the advantages of investing in funds which support businesses which are run ethically and which have a concern for the environment and sustainability. It is dawning on people that you can make a profit out of sustainability and environmental concerns. There was a time many years ago when the modus operandi in the West was to abuse and use nature as much as you could get away with to enhance profits. Developing countries still have that mentality by-and-large. They state this because the West abused nature in their pursuit of economic wealth then they can do the same until they have caught up. China is an example of this. But the West has moved on and certainly in the UK there are signs that ethical investing i.e. sustainable funds are outperforming mainstream funds for the first time. As people see that they can make dece

Why do domestic cats have vertical pupils?

Domestic cats have vertical pupils for two reasons: On a scientific level it is said that a vertical pupil provides better depth perception which allows a domestic cat to measure distance better and/or focus on prey better. A scientific study by researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, decided that with vertical slits, predators see vertical lines behind the point of focus quite sharply but horizontal lines at the same distance are blurred. This allows them to have a greater ability to pinpoint prey animals. The vertical pupil in conjunction with the eyelid allows the cat to restrict light to the retina more effectively than a circular pupil under bright light conditions. The eyelid passes down the vertical pupil like a blind which, to use a photographic term, stops down the lens to a smaller aperture than normal. This is needed to protect the retina which has a mirror-like film behind it (the Tapetum lucidum) , which reflects light back to magnify the capture of light so

Pronouncing "felidae" and "carnivora"

These are two words which are often used when you're discussing cats. Some people aren't sure how to pronounce these word so I thought I would have a go myself. I made the video a long time ago. It was done very quickly as you can tell and spontaneously. The scientists like to use Latin in taxonomy i.e. the classification of the species. And they like to use Latin when sounding important! "Felidae" refers to the family of cats which are mammals in the taxonomic order called "carnivora". Taxonomy is still slightly unsettled. It has changed a lot because of DNA analysis of the species which is far more precise. Over 100 years ago the classification of the species was all done through observation and even the best scientists got mixed up sometimes. Because one species of cat can look different in different places the scientists thought they were looking at two different species. Some small wild cat species' coats look quite different depending on their loca