Wednesday 25 November 2020

Cat in mountains on leash. Bad or good cat caretaking?

This tweet shows a beautiful grey cat on a leash high up in the mountains on a rocky ledge overlooking a beautiful lake. It's a great picture and for me it is the best sort of cat caretaking you can do. Do you think it is good or bad cat caretaking? If it's done properly with care and responsibility and with a healthy dose of common sense that it must be good for a domestic cat to do this. 

Video screenshot

It gives the domestic cat, who is perhaps confined to a home, the chance to smell the mountain air, feel the dirt and grass under their paws, and pretend for a while that they are just like their wild cat ancestor. If you can give a domestic cat the chance to behave safely as their wild cat ancestor did you have done them a good service. 

You've injected some mojo back into their lives. They really do need this and if you think I'm wrong I'm sorry because there is no doubt that I'm correct. I'm not saying people should take their cat to the mountains like this guy. I'm saying that somehow cat owners have to let their cats tap in to their raw wild cat personalities and satisfy that personality in order for them to be whole.

American Veterinary Medical Association 'condemns' declawing of wild cats but 'discourages' it for domestic cats

The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) take different positions with respect to the declawing of wild cats and domestic cats. This point has been highlighted by The Paw Project in a tweet on Twitter. You can see it below. They ask why there's a difference in policy. They don't explain therefore I will provide my reasons.

Declawing of domestic cats

The AVMA wants their member veterinarians to be allowed to declaw domestic cats because it provides a very good income for them. In order to not rub their members up the wrong way they argue that their veterinarians should have the option to declaw based upon their discretion in conjunction with a consultation with the client. 

The problem is that often American veterinarians quietly or overtly promote the declawing of domestic cats. And we don't know what goes on in these conversations between themselves and their client. There's no doubt in my mind that they do not discourage the declawing of domestic cats as advised by their association. Often they do the opposite. I repeat: the vast majority of American veterinarians do not discourage declawing and they do it for monetary reasons. This is obvious because millions of these operations are carried out annually. It is impossible for there to be a reason for it other than the cat owner wants it.

It is a very cruel procedure and completely against the veterinarian's oath in which they state they will only do surgery in the interest of an animal's welfare. Declawing is done at the convenience of the animal's owner not in the interests of the animal's welfare.

Recently declawed cat. Horor and a vet did this legally. Shame.

Declaw exotic and wild cat species

The AVMA condemn the declawing of wild cats because they say there's no reason to do it. They allow it for true medical reasons, of course, which is extremely rare but they argue that there "appears to be no justification for performing the procedure in this population of cats". Of course, I completely agree but exactly the same assessment applies to domestic cats!

They argue that sometimes domestic cat owners need to be protected from the claws of their cat companions. But this is exceedingly rare and in any case those people who are perhaps vulnerable to being scratched can take measures to avoid it. That's part of being a good cat owner. If they can't do that then they should not have a cat in the home. That's the ultimate solution and the best solution because it avoids animal cruelty. To try and find a feeble and brutal compromise by modifying the anatomy of a cat to fit in with the mentality of humans who do not have the attitude necessary to be a cat owner is completely immoral.

Sunday 22 November 2020

Domestic cats follow our energy levels

This is a short note, no more, about something which occurred to me the other day. Domestic cats do follow our energy levels. It is not a direct formula but in general if a cat owner is moderately active their cat will also be more active than they would otherwise be if their owner is very passive.

Photo in public domain.

It can be more precise than that. If, as I do, you do some exercises at home on the floor (due to coronavirus lockdowns), this in my experience stimulates a cat companion to participate. Conversely, if a person spends a lot of time in bed or sitting down it encourages their cat to either sit on their lap to join them or curl up somewhere else and be passive. If they are allowed outside they may go outside at that time to find their own activities.

So what's the point of the article? It is healthier for a cat to be active at least a part of the day. My argument is that if a cat owner is highly inactive perhaps because they are elderly and infirm it is far from an optimal situation. By and large elderly, retired people are good cat companions because they are with their companion all day every day, normally. But the downside is that due to infirmity they may become too passive with a consequential decrease in animal welfare.

A side effect is that it can encourage feline obesity especially if the cat is allowed to free-graze on dry foods which is likely as it is highly convient.

Thursday 19 November 2020

Covid-19: potential human-cat-human transmission chain

Research needs to be carried out to look at in detail the potential for a human-cat-human transmission chain with respect to Covid-19. This is because recent research studies published from Kansas State University has confirmed that domestic cats can be asymptomatic carriers of the virus. We actually know this already but as I understand that this is more recent research.

Cats and people wear facemasks in 1918 during Spanish Flu pandemic. Picture: Dan Eskenazi.


The researchers say that Covid-19 is being transmitted, and can be transmitted, from human patients to cats both domestic and captive large cats such as lions and tigers. Because of the obvious close association between humans and companion cats there is a question to be answered about whether cats can transmit the disease to people. Logic dictates that it does happen. This is been a question, actually, for quite a long time and until now and even today nobody can answer that question with any conviction or in any detail.

Jürgen A. Richt, the Regents distinguished professor at Kansas State University in the College of Veterinary Medicine, said that, "This efficient transmission between domestic cats indicates a significant animal and public health need to investigate a potential human-cat-human transmission chain".

He is referring to the fact that their research indicates that cats transmit the disease between themselves through the nasal, oral and rectal cavities and this transmission can take place within two days.

Why cat hiccups dilates the eye's pupil

This is an embedded video and sometimes they stop working overtime. If that has happened I apologise but I have no control over it.
This is an interesting little video which repeats itself. I am sure that it has been all over the Internet. However, I have just spotted it. The cat hiccups and immediately afterwards the pupil of the cat's eye opens slightly because the muscles of the iris relax. That is my theory. The pupil of the cat's eye is made smaller when the muscles of the iris are contracted. It requires muscular effort for the pupil to be in a contracted state. When the cat hiccups the purposefulness of that process of contracting the muscles of the iris is temporarily stopped as the hiccups distract the brain. Therefore the pupil enlarges and the eye becomes more dilated. That of course is a personal theory which I simply worked out because you cannot find the answer on the Internet. It makes for an interesting little video on a different level namely that you can see how the iris works and the pupil forms a slit. This slit pupil is very important to the domestic cat because it allows the animal to see in bright light and in extremely dark conditions as well. The slit aperture of the cat's pupil work sin harmony with the cat's eyelid which goes over the slit like a blind at the window of a person's home. The slight pupil also enhances a cat's depth perception.

Wednesday 18 November 2020

Weird Scottish Fold Pic

 If you'd like to read some articles about the Scottish Fold please click this link.

Photo: Twitter. This is a gray Scottish Fold.

Mouse eye view of being chased by a cat

TikTok video screenshot.

This is what it looks like from mouse to be chased by a cat down your burrow 😏

Tuesday 17 November 2020

More domestic cats jumping into vans and being lost during Covid lockdowns

NEWS and VIEWS: The Edinburgh Evening News reports that, in Scotland, there has been a dramatic increase in the number of domestic cats being carried away from their home by delivery vans or removal lorries. This is because during lockdown many more people have taken to ordering products online which of course necessitates the arrival of a delivery van. The driver darts up to the front door leaving the van doors open. At that particular moment the family cat is wandering around the front of the house and being as inquisitive as ever jumps into the van and is driven away.

Photo by Dids from Pexels

Fortunately it appears that the majority of cats lost this way are microchipped but there are calls for delivery van drivers to check their vans before driving off which won't happen because they are so pressed for time. They barely have time to wait for the owner of the house to come to the front door. In fact nowadays they simply bang on the front door, leave the package by the door and scarper.

One worrying aspect of this is that at the next stop the van driver opens the doors again at which point the cat jumps out but this could be several miles away and therefore the cat is lost. Perhaps they can make their way home because cats are fantastic navigators but it's a worry.

Nicola Zellent, a senior warden at the Lothian Cat Rescue, suggested that drivers should not leave the doors open when delivering or someone should guard the van but neither of these suggestions will be taken up. I know that because, as mentioned, the job is too demanding to be distracted by these added activities.

Perhaps the best prevention is for cat owners to become enlightened to the problem and when the delivery van turns up they go out to the van to collect the item. Of course, this is only viable if they are at home and often they are not. Microchipping nearly always saves the cat but it's troublesome.

13.5% of domestic cats suffer from separation anxiety problems

The figure seems a little low to me but I'm going to rely upon a questionnaire survey sent to 130 owners of adult cats living in the city of Juiz de Fora in Minas Gerais, Brazil. There were 223 questions for each cat. The research is published in the journal PLOS ONE and it was published on April 15, 2020.
Photo: Pixabay

Information collected showed that 13.5% of the sampled cats i.e. 30 out of 223, had at least one symptom of separation anxiety or a separation problem such as destructive behaviour (which was the most frequently reported behavioural symptoms), excessive vocalisation, inappropriate urination, depression-apathy, aggression, agitation-anxiety and inappropriate defecation. Inappropriate defecation was the least encountered behavioural problem at seven of the cats while inappropriate urination occurred with 18 of the cats surveyed. 

The cats lived in households whose owners varied in age between 18-35 years and in homes where there are no female residents or two female residents. 

 Comment: having read lots of literature of on cat behaviour and cat ownership, I sense that there is a real problem with cats being labelled as independent and being left alone all day while their owners have to go to work. You can't really criticise the people but I don't think that they are fully aware of the mental difficulties that their cats experience when left alone. 

Also, not infrequently, these cats are left alone as full-time indoor cats and therefore they can't entertain themselves outside. I'm not saying that they should be outside because it is more dangerous outside. I'm just saying that it's an issue about cat ownership and whether people are in the right place in terms of their lives to be high quality cat caretakers. 

Friday 13 November 2020

Domestic cats like to touch their friends which includes humans

You must have experienced this as well: your cat likes to touch you. Your cat might stretch out their foreleg to touch your hand. Or, alternatively, your cat might simply touch your hand with their paw. In this instance the man has offered the palm of his hand and his contented and relaxed cat placed his 'hand' into the hand of his owner. I described the cat's paw as a hand which is not strictly correct (!) but for the sake of argument I have chosen that description. The point to make though is that it is very typical of domestic cats to do this sort of thing. They really like contact. My cat will make direct contact paw-to-hand all the time. He takes pleasure in it and I'm sure that it reassures him. Reassuring our cat is something we should always try and achieve because anxiety is not far from the surface for the domestic cat. They are very sensitive to things that happen around them. And they live in the human home where the other sentient beings are much larger than them and occasionally there are visitors who might, simply by their presence, unnerve the resident domestic cat. These are all well-known situations. I won't go over them. Let's just say that when a cat touches your hand with his/her paw enjoy it because it is a reassurance to your cat and a way to strengthen the bond between cat and human companion.

Declawing cats is not a last resort for almost all US vets

According to the AVMA, declawing of cats in the USA is meant to be a last resort after a thorough consultation between veterinarian and the cat's owner. This can't be the case because a lot of the animals declawed are young kittens. How can they be a problem to anybody? It's a good argument but you don't need that argument because everybody knows that the declawing of cats is not a last resort for the vast majority if not all veterinarians who carry it out. It's a first port of call. It's an option which they grab with both hands. They convince the client, the cat's owner, to have it done because she might moan about being fearful of her cat's claws. Or they might say that they have a young child who might get scratched and are nervous about it. Or they might say that they live with their elderly mum and she is vulnerable, blah blah blah. It's all the same guff and veterinarians jump on it because it gives them the right to take that option immediately. It is never a last resort. It is a first resort. They do it for money and in my view veterinarians who do this are evil. Yes, strong words but they have totally lost their moral compass. It's a complete disgrace to the American veterinary profession and yet it goes on over and over again by the millions. It is legalised animal cruelty under the guise of bona fide veterinary work. It is not. It is plainly cruel to anybody with eyes to see. Unfortunately the veterinarians eyes are firmly closed.

Indoor cat loves the smells of the outdoors

I've taken the liberty of deciding that this cat, who is so enjoying a car ride, lives inside their owner's home all the time. When they're taken outside in a car ride and the window is wound down all the smells of the exterior come to her. You can see she's taking it all in. She loves the breeze and the gentle smells of the countryside. Her dog companion is enjoying the journey as much. I could be wrong about the cat being full-time indoors. But you can see the owner has brought her cat on a lead which is sensible as the cat is allowed to perch at an open car window while the car is travelling but this looks like a trip that the owners have taken for both their pets to give them a bit of fun and stimulation and also make a neat little 10 second video.

Toothbrush makes newborn kitten purr

This tiny kitten thinks the toothbrush is her mother's tongue so she enjoys being "licked" by her mother. She starts to purr and offers up her chin for a wash. I think it is the first time that I've heard such a young kitten purring and you can see her left arm juddering slightly in pleasure. That is my reading of her behaviour. It is a form of feline allogrooming only the human is using a toothbrush very gently to simulate an adult cat's tongue.

Thursday 5 November 2020

It looks likely that lynx will be re-introduced to England

The Eurasian lynx was exterminated from the UK in the Middle Ages about 1300 years ago. It was over-hunted to extinction. We have a moral duty to right that wrong although farmers do not want to see the lynx reintroduced into England or Scotland, for that matter, because they think this handsome wild cat will attack and eat their sheep. Despite the resistance from farmers, there is talk, again, of wolves and lynx being reintroduced into the UK because the project is being backed by the new head of Natural England, Tony Juniper. 

He became chairman of the organisation last year and is much more of a supporter of rewilding than his predecessor. Between wolves and lynx, he said that it is more likely that the lynx will be reintroduced into England at Thetford Forest which straddles the Norfolk-Suffolk border.

Mr Juniper said that he wanted to build on the success of the reintroduction of beavers in Devon and white-tailed Eagles on the Isle of Wight. In November 2018 Michael Gove the then environment secretary rejected an application for the reintroduction of lynx because at that time Natural England objected to it. But things have changed and Mr Juniper wants to study the feasibility of the project partly because it would help to control deer numbers. One of the prey animals of the Eurasian lynx is the deer although it is at the top end of the scale for size.

I've described this cat as the "Eurasian lynx" because I have to, I believe. I'm being more specific because often people refer to it as the "lynx" without specifying the subspecies. The Eurasian lynx is the largest of the three linked species: Canada lynx, Iberian lynx and Eurasian lynx. The bobcat is also within this family of cats. They are medium-sized cats. They aren't that large.

Another reason why there's more optimism about the project is the success in the Netherlands where wolves have crossed the border from Germany, taking up residence in Holland with minimal impact on people and farmers. The Netherlands is also a highly populated country like the UK and therefore there are bound to be concerns about medium-sized predators roaming around the wild freely but it works.

Another place where either or both wolves and lynx might be reduced is the Kielder Forest in Scotland. It would be a wonderful addition to the UK to have a genuine wild species of a decent size in the countryside. I can see tourism in Thetford Forest to see the lynx. Something like tourists visiting tiger reserves in India.

Tuesday 3 November 2020

Tasmanian farmers believe that cat excrement makes their ewes lose their lambs

I have to be brutally frank and state that Tasmanian farmers are behaving in a pretty crude way. I'm told that some of them believe that the excrement from feral cats makes their ewes lose their lambs. This must come from the belief that toxoplasma gondii oocysts in the faeces of cats are ingested by the sheep which causes them to abort. Science proves that this happens but surely there is a less cruel way of dealing with the matter? It looks like ignorant behaviour to me. What I mean is ignorance of decency. I have learned that there is an effective vaccine against toxo. Why can't they use it?

They have a problem with toxoplasmosis although they probably don't realise that cats only shed toxoplasma gondii oocysts for a very short period of time and not all cats carry the disease (but apparently more than half do) but they kill them brutally nonetheless. The problem is that the oocysts are hardy and present a health problem.

I can't show a picture of feral cats strung up on fences as it is too crude and unpleasant so I'll show some sheep in Tasmania instead:

Tasmanian sheep. Picture in public domain.

This stringing up of cats on fences occurs apparently in remote areas of Tasmania and has done so for years. A conservationist has warned that the practice could "polarise" people's attitudes about feral cats. I think what he means is that cat advocates will hate it and therefore hate the people who do it and that will antagonise the ignorant farmers who do it. That's called polarisation.

Dennis Turner, a resident of Tasmania's Midlands said that hanging dead cat from fences is a statement to the government that not enough is being done about feral cats i.e. to get rid of them.

He believes that feral cats are the most destructive pest that you can come across. The uncle of Cindy Brook who lives in Longford, Tasmania, says that her uncle at Blackwood Creek near Cressy often hung dead cats from fences. It obviously isn't against the law to do this. I presume therefore that the Tasmanian law allows farmers to kill feral cats as they wish. In Britain it would be a clear violation of the Animal Welfare Act 2006. And the person who did it would be subject to a maximum prison sentence of two years together with a possible fine. In Tasmania? It's all part of day-to-day life. No bother, no worry just go on killing cats because you think they are pests.

The chief executive of Landcare Tasmania, Rod Knight,indicated that he didn't like the practice of stringing up dead cats because the debate about feral cats becomes too emotive and he hinted that it is cruel and unpleasant. Which it is by the way. He thinks it will divert the discussion away from the real issues which it does. It should stop and you don't need to find a justification for stopping it. It's just cruel, plain and simple. That is why it should be stopped.

The Australian Government's National Environmental Science Programme has quantified the cost of cat diseases in Australia at 6 billion Australian dollars annually and said that it caused 550 deaths and 8500 hospitalisations in Australia annually. We don't know how those figures were arrived at. No doubt there was a pile of extrapolations and guesswork. Apparently the report says that one in five cases of schizophrenia are caused by toxoplasmosis. They also say that 1 in 10 cases of suicide are caused by this protozoan. Once again we don't know where those numbers come from.

I think I'll leave it there because it's boring. The point to be made is that Tasmania is almost waging a war against the feral cat. The government hates the feral cat it seems to me and ignorant farmers killing them willy-nilly. It looks pretty barbaric and Wild West to me but I'm a cat advocates so what do I know?

Don't do anything bad which your cat will remember

In my experience, domestic cats have a very good memory for bad experiences. Something you may have done which frightened him or her will stick in their minds for a very long time. In fact they may never forget it. You might, for example, accidentally walk on your cat's paw because he's right behind you. Or you might lose your temper one day and shout at your cat. It is likely that your cat will remember these events. It may alter his behaviour. It may create a bit of doubt in his mind. It certainly won't help the relationship. 

Zen cat. Photo: nosenekoshiro (Instagram).

The worst thing you can do is to aggressively slap your cat or shout at him because he's annoyed you. I can understand the desire to do this if you're stressed for whatever reason, and at the moment there are good reasons to be stressed with the coronavirus crisis. It's a particular moment when cats might be the victim of domestic violence. It only takes a moment when tempers are lost and the domestic cat is shouted at or abused even in a very minor way for that cat to remember it. 

It's not a deliberate or conscious memory. Your cat isn't saying I'm gonna remember that and make him pay for it. It's just a mental scar which sits there in the back of the cat's brain and alters his behaviour at least potentially. 

Of course the impact depends upon the individual cat. Each cat reacts differently but it is my belief that there is a level of anxiety in domestic cats which is higher than people believe. Or let's put it this way: millions of cats are very relaxed and content but it doesn't take much to introduce anxiety into their lives. 

This is because they live in a human environment to which they adapt but it is often not the best of environments for a domestic cat who is wild at heart by which I mean in terms of character and behaviour they are a short step from their wild cat ancestors. Always seek to create a calm and friendly environment for your cat. It is an ongoing mission of the concerned cat caretaker/guardian.

Featured Post

i hate cats

i hate cats, no i hate f**k**g cats is what some people say when they dislike cats. But they nearly always don't explain why. It appe...

Popular posts