Sunday 31 January 2021

Picture of black domestic cat spewing up ectoplasm

So what is ectoplasm? Well, the only time that I have seen it is in old photographs of spiritualist mediums spewing up a long trail of gunk from their mouths to prove that they are in contact with the spirit word, the 'other side'. I don't understand it. Perhaps the ectoplasm is from the other side and is evidence of its existence. The word appears to exist from it use to describe single celled creatures: 'clear outer layer of the cytoplasm in amoeboid cells'.

Black cat spewing up ectoplasm! No actually it is vomit!
Picture in the public domain.

There was a lot of fakery in spiritualism in those days and there still is. The picture of the black cat simply reminded me of the ectoplasm of fake spiritualists. It is a bit of fun. How spiritualists got away with it is beyond me as it looks patently idiotic. Cats are master vomiters. They can vomit with great ease. You only have to be concerned about a cat vomiting if it lasts for 24 hours or thereabouts. Then it is abnormal and questions should be asked as to the cause. Urgent action may be required. Click here for a comprehensive list of reasons for vomiting. Remember vomiting is a symptom of illness not the illness itself.

Fake ectoplasm using muslin. Pic: Wikipedia under
creative commons license.

P.S. A flashlight was used for the picture of the cat. You can tell because the reflective layer at the back of the eye behind the retina has reflected the light back out through the lens. The flash would have frozen the vomit as it was ejected. That is why the image is sharp and clear even though it was taken indoors and the cat is black.

Saturday 30 January 2021

Reducing feral cat numbers should be painstakingly precise and patient work

This is a boring and ubiquitous problem: how to reduce the numbers of feral cats in any one place. It is a perennial problem for thousands of local authorities who want to protect wildlife. They are eager to do it but sometimes they use blunt instruments in their panic and desperation to get a result quickly.

The only way to remove feral cats from areas which are considered important in terms of conservation is to do it painstakingly and precisely. There are no alternatives because you simply must distinguish between domestic and feral cat. And all the cats in between those extremities. There are, after all, many semi-domesticated cats outside.

Feral cats
Feral cats. Photo in public domain.

If your plan is to trap and kill cats roaming around the landscape on the premise that they are all feral you are mistaken. You may be liable for compensation and you may be engaging in a criminal act in killing someone's pet. It can be very hard to distinguish between domestic and feral cat. That is why the process has to be painstaking and precise.

All the methods that I have seen thus far are too blunt. To cite one in Australia where they have invented a machine which sprays poison onto animals that pass by. How can it be safe for owned cats? Perhaps they can make it as safe as possible but it can never be 100% secure. The problem once again is distinguishing between domestic and feral. The machine can't do it. Neither can it distinguish between a cat and another animal.

I've just written about Taranaki, a beautiful area in New Zealand dominated by Mount Taranaki. They have wildlife there which needs to be protected from freeroaming cats some of whom are feral and some aren't. Some are dumped by irresponsible owners. The suggestion is that all cats roaming around this area should be balled together and described as pests and vermin. Domestic cats are not pests or vermin. They are someone's domestic cat or were and they've been dumped. You can't kill these cats because they are still owned technically by the person who dumped them.

There has to be accountability. Cat owners acting this irresponsibly should be tackled and punished. They should be monitored. There should be standards preventing this kind of behaviour. Once again, I realise this is very difficult to manage. It is a challenge to improve cat ownership standards and force changes in habits which are against domestic cat welfare and conservation. I'm referring to abandonment in the countryside.

The conclusion is that dealing with feral cats has to be done humanely and in order to do that you have to be precise and painstaking: TNR comes to mind + enforceable laws governing cat ownership.

Friday 29 January 2021

Picture of the round head and cheeks of a white Exotic Shorthair bred to extreme

This is an extreme version of the Exotic Shorthair. The way this breeder has bred this cat to extremities is by making the animal more rounded. This is seen in the cat's cheeks which are incredibly large and, yes, round in appearance. I've not seen an Exotic Shorthair with such rounded large cheeks. The appearance reminds me of a Russian bred British Shorthair. I'm going to conclude therefore that this cat is the creation of a Russian breeder.

Picture of the round head and cheeks of a white Exotic Shorthair bred to extreme
Rounded head and cheeks of an extreme bred Exotic SH. Picture in public domain.

You can go to the breed standard to find out why this person decided to create such enormous cheeks. All the breed standards for this cat will be similar but I'll choose the Cat Fanciers' Association breed standard for the Exotic. It says that the cheeks should be "full". The head should be "round and massive". The face should be round with "round underlying bone structure". The word "round" is littered like confetti within the paragraph on the breed standard for the Exotic's head.

It is obvious, therefore, where this extreme version of the Exotic Shorthair comes from. We know that this breed is a short-haired version of the Persian. That's why you see this very flat face as well. This is the contemporary version of the Persian. To remind ourselves, the Persian cat was at one time, at the turn of the 20th century, a very standard looking domestic cat with long hair. The face back in those days of the Persian was fairly standard.

The general appearance of the Exotic should be of a "heavily boned, well-balanced cat with a sweet expression and soft round lines."

A contributing factor to this sweetness are the large round eyes. These are meant to mimic the eyes of a baby. And there's nothing more sweet to the eye than a baby (to some people). The coat should be plush and dense and the ears should also be round. I've never seen the word "round" used so much in a breed standard. As I said it's as if the word 'round' has has been thrown all over the page like confetti!

Carbon dioxide euthanasia of farm animals and cats

There is a story today in The Times newspaper about the inhumane slaughter of pigs in their millions using carbon dioxide. I've used the word "inhumane" because that appears to be how it is considered by the authorities and experts. In 1986, two British scientists came to the conclusion that pigs slaughtered in carbon dioxide gas chambers suffered "severe respiratory distress". 90% of the 9 million pigs slaughtered in Britain annually are killed this way. There are calls to change it.

Farm pig. Photo: Pixabay.

To the best of my knowledge, unwanted domestic and feral cats at shelters are no longer killed in carbon dioxide (or carbon monoxide) gas chambers (dependent on the country). There was a time when it happened and there may still be some gas chambers in America. They've been largely phased out. A study from 1973 concluded that carbon dioxide was a suitable alternative to chloroform for euthanasia of cats by non-veterinary personnel. That moment has passed I would suggest.

Over the intervening 40 years attitudes have dramatically changed, thankfully. It's interesting to note that the study I refer to concluded that cats did not show distress when engulfed by high concentrations of carbon dioxide i.e. at concentrations greater than 60%.

An article currently published on the PETA website states that carbon monoxide poisoning used to be routinely used at animal shelters. Carbon monoxide also causes animals to suffocate. It can take 30 minutes for some animals to lose consciousness. During this time they panic and grasp for breath. Carbon monoxide poisoning has been outlawed in many American states (Oct 2020).

The Humane Society of the United States have a statement about the use of carbon dioxide in animal shelters. The statement is undated regrettably. They say that carbon dioxide chambers are troubling and that they are against any type of gas chamber in animal shelters. Evidence suggests that carbon dioxide causes pain and distress even at low concentrations.

Photo from PoC. Link to the page.

When humans are subjected to carbon dioxide exposure it is described as "excruciating". We should take that as how animals feel under the same circumstances. They suffer for several minutes until they lose consciousness.

In 2014 the AVMA (American Veterinary Medical Association) questioned the use of carbon dioxide even at approved concentrations. Euthanasia by carbon dioxide poisoning does not meet the definition of euthanasia which means "a good death". A good death needs to be painless and rapid.

It seems that it is undeniable that carbon dioxide euthanasia or killing (the better description) is distressing and at worst excruciating. It should stop being used to kill pigs in their millions in Britain which is meant to be a country concerned about animal welfare.

The UK government has a job to do here. They sometimes hide behind the mantra that Britain leads the way on animal welfare laws. They don't always, if we are honest.

It's about an attitude change in which people respect animals even if the animals are reared to feed people, which in itself is also questionable.

Thursday 28 January 2021

Picture of a cat on hiking trip. Is it an unrealistic dream?

I'm asking the simple question whether it is a good idea to take your cat hiking. You put your cat in a backpack and off you go. The picture looks great. You are stimulating your cat to the maximum. Your cat has got used to it and therefore 'behaves'. It has taken some time to achieve this. Because at the beginning your cat wouldn't cooperate. 

You tried a lead and she just fell over so it's taken months and months to get her to the position where she cooperates and comes along with you on a hiking trip. But when you go for a walk along a hiking trail she wants to go left and right and stop and sniff. So you make about a mile of progress and consider that to be a great success. Then you go back to your campervan.

Picture of a domestic cat on a hiking trip. Is it an unrealistic dream that is being sold? Pic in public domain.

It is a good idea? That's why I have put the question inside the picture. Because it looks really good but we do not know what happens behind the scene? You see some wonderful photographs of cats in beautiful places on Instagram. You might see a cat with a dog and they have been carefully arranged. The background is magnificent with mountains and lakes or a superb forest. A lot of work goes into this photography and the distinct impression is 'great success'.

But is it just a dream that is being sold to people? It's a dream to people who live in the urban environment. Who struggle with day-to-day living. Their cat is a full-time indoor cat because it's unsafe outside. The owners of the cat love their cat and want to do more for them but they struggle to earn a living and therefore are not at home enough.

They worry that their cat is stressed and they want to enrich the life of their cat. The pictures on Instagram of a beautiful Bengal cat in front of a lake switches them on to the possibility that they could give their cat this kind of life.

But, and this is the big but, is it really feasible? Is it too complicated? Is it workable? Is it viable? Are the people who publish these photographs on social media simply doing it as a business to make money and to become influencers? That is probably what is happening but they are inadvertently or deliberately selling a dream. A dream that is probably and possibly unattainable for the vast majority of people. It may be impractical and probably is.

If my assessment is somewhere near correct then I don't think the social media cat hiking picture stories are helpful to people. Because it will lead people into believing that they are a failure in respect of cat caretaking.

Domestic cats and dogs may have to be vaccinated in the future against Covid-19 to protect people

This is a quick note but one worth making nonetheless. I think I can predict that in the long term, perhaps in about 18 months to 2 years time, governments in various countries, perhaps predominantly in the West, will be thinking about vaccinating companion animals as a second phase protective measure against Covid-19. 

This is because there is a concern among some scientists that animals may create a reservoir for mutant variants of the Covid-19 virus. As the virus is zoonotic it can theoretically and actually be transmitted from animals to people and this must apply also to companion animals.

Danish mink farmer with white mink due to be euthanised. Photo per credit

Perhaps because of the general panicked nature of governmental responses to the coronavirus pandemic, not enough work has been done on this aspect of the spread of the disease. In addition nobody wants to alarm anybody which may lead to companion animal abuse. In fact, in China, at the outset of the pandemic, there were indeed abuses of animals with some highly irresponsible owners throwing their cats out of high-rise windows. That was quite shocking but it does indicate what might happen when panic takes hold.

Experts at the University of East Anglia have suggested in the journal Virulence that the evolution of the virus in animals may pose a risk to the public in the long term. Everything I've read thus far about companion animals transmitting the disease to their owners has been very low-key. They say there is no evidence that it happens which is good to hear. But the truth of the matter is that not enough research has been done on this. Let's remind ourselves that the pandemic started by the virus being transmitted from an animal to a person.

There is no reason why companion animals can't transmit the disease to people in the home. The Prof of evolutionary genetics at the University of East Anglia said that dogs and cats can contract Covid-19 but there is no known cases of infection of humans by companion animal.

Despite the low key nature of this possibility, governments need to be alert to it and although it's too early now to be thinking about this, in the long term there will, I would suggest, be a need to address a vaccine for animals. 

It is known that domestic cats have caught the disease but they are largely asymptomatic or the symptoms are at a very low level. This, in fact, points to a need to research the difference between companion animals and people. The disease kills people. We are all painfully aware of that, but the symptoms are very low level in animals. Why is this? Research is required.

A classic example of how a mutation of the virus in animals can pose a threat to humans comes from Denmark. Denmark euthanised 17 million farmed mink last year after it emerged that hundreds of cases in humans were linked to a mutated variant in farmed mink of the Covid-19 virus. Denmark is the world's major exporter of mink pelts and is a major supplier to China. The Denmark mink culling cost, as I recall, about €2 billion in compensation to the farmers. Denmark should take the opportunity to close the mink farming business for good. It is highly abusive of animals.

The story indicates how fears can build up about animals forming a reservoir for the disease especially a mutated version of it.

Internationally 41 percent of cat owners keep their cats indoors full-time

This study is interesting because it looks at the attitudes of cat owners in respect of keeping them indoors full-time on an international basis. We know that geographically there will be variations in attitudes because some countries have more space in them than others. 

For example, the UK is heavily urbanised with a resultant increase in possibility of road traffic accidents killing cats. This should drive cat owners to keeping their cats inside all the time. Set against this, in countries like the United States, which is much less urbanised there are more predators of domestic cats (e.g. coyotes) which is another factor for keeping cats indoors.

Full-time indoor cat
Full-time indoor cat. Picture in the public domain.

In round terms, the 5,000 cat owner survey found that getting on for 50% of domestic cats are kept inside for their safety. The main safety factors are road traffic accidents, being attacked by a predator or stolen by thieves. The survey, which is published on the MDPI website is entitled: Indoors or Outdoors? An International Exploration of Owner Demographics and Decision-Making Associated with Lifestyle of Pet Cats. It was conducted in the UK at the School of Animal, Rural and Environmental Sciences, Nottingham Trent University, Nottinghamshire and the Jeanne Marchig International Centre for Animal Welfare Education.

One interesting finding was that in the US and Canada 80.6% of domestic cat are kept indoors at all times which is much higher than previous figures discovered in previous studies. Those studies reported that 63% and 60% of cats are kept indoors in the USA. In other words the figure is around 60% whereas this new study indicates 80.6%. Previous studies regarding Australia New Zealand indicated 44% of 46.5% of cats are kept indoors respectively. This study found in Australia and New Zealand 42.2% of cats are indoor-only.

A major factor with respect to Australia and New Zealand is not so much road traffic accidents driving cat owners to keep the cats indoors but an enhanced attitude of protecting wildlife from predation by domestic cats due perhaps, in part, by government campaigns to protect native species.

There is a generational shift in attitude between the more elderly cat owner and the younger cat owner. Younger cat owners in the age bracket 26-35 years old tend to keep their cats indoors whereas cat owners in the age range 46-55+ tend to be predisposed to allowing their cats to be indoor-outdoor cats. 

This would point to a greater sensitivity amongst younger cat owners towards domestic cat safety as set against allowing domestic cats to express the natural desires and going outside. The issue, here, is whether this admirable desire to keep cat safe is supported by allowing them to be healthier both mentally and physically which tends to be a product of being free to roam. It is that perpetual balance between safety and welfare which tests cat owners.

There is clearly a general trend towards keeping cats indoors full-time because there is a general trend towards higher human population numbers which leads to greater urbanisation which in turn, as you can imagine, leads to an increased danger from road traffic accidents. There is no doubt that the trend over the past hundred years has been towards indoor cats. I'm sure that you can imagine that in the 19th century there are probably almost no full-time indoor cats at all in countries like the UK. The overriding influence is road traffic accidents killing cats.

What I take away from this study, which you can read in more detail by clicking here, is that there is a strong trend towards indoor-only cats globally but this trend varies from country to country due mainly to the human population densities of these countries which increases the risk of harm through road traffic.

There is also a need, I believe, to a shift in attitude as to how to entertain for-time indoor cats and ensure their mental and physical well-being through substitutes to being allowed to roam naturally during which they are able to express the natural desires and motivations.

Please read on by clicking this link.......

Wednesday 27 January 2021

Picture of a big floof of a gray-and-white cat

Floof cat. Floof means a fluffy, longhaired animal. Pic: Reddit.

The man is in his gym lifting weights! Actually, he appears to be in his garage lifting weights. If all gyms had weights like this they would be more people in them. He is the epitome of a laid back cat, it seems to me. He looks like a random bred cat. He doesn't look like a Maine Coon. He might be, but the overall appearance does not tell me that he's a Maine Coon. It would not surprise me if somebody told me I was completely wrong as he might be a slightly non-typical cat of this breed.

My guess is that this cat weighs something in the order of 25 pounds. That would put him at the top end of the scale for domestic cat weights. He's one of those very big domestic cats which always impresses. I've got to say that he looks a little bit overweight without wanting to be critical. I think we can allow him to be a little bit overweight, if I am correct. It's just his character, his laid-back character which makes it very hard for him to burn-off calories! He likes to be carried everywhere on his back.

Don't ever yell at or in the vicinity of domestic cats!

Don't ever, ever yell at or near a domestic cat. Don't even yell in the same house which there is a domestic cat. Don't even think about yelling when you live with a domestic cat. You are liable to frighten your cat and your cat may well associate you with being a hostile creature and if this happens it will weaken the bond between cat and human. 

Don't yell at or near domestic cats. Please.

It is not clever to make a video of you yelling at your cat as this complete moron did. His video has received more than 8 million views because it's been on the Internet for about 8 million years. And the only people who want to see it are voyeurs who have a curiosity about how a domestic cat would react to being shouted at. You don't need to be curious because the answer is obvious. Domestic cats are frightened by yelling at them or in the same room as them.

They respond well to the exact opposite: soothing sounds, quietness, calm, confidence and reassurances (make a cat calmer with food). This is what domestic cats thrive on. It doesn't take much to upset them with noise. Remember they have far better hearing than we have in terms of high frequencies. And the hearing is more sensitive than ours. So if we shout we don't know how they hear that but it is probably a very loud sound. I watched the video on this page about 14 years ago to see if I could put it on my website and it shocked me then and it is still on the Internet which shocks me now. It should have been removed by YouTube 14 years ago. Why? Because it is animal abuse. And it is probably in violation of YouTube policy.

The bottom line is: never yell at or in the vicinity of domestic cats. If you do it a lot then you are the wrong person to live with a domestic cat. And if you shout at your partner either male or female because you're constantly rowing then that too, I think, would disqualify you from looking after a domestic cat because you have created a home which is to hostile and too upsetting for a cat companion. Here endeth the lecture.....

Pictures of cats used in myGP app cervical cancer screening campaign

In an act of enlightenment, the organisers of a campaign to encourage British women to attend a cervical cancer screening employed a picture of three cats; one hairless, one long-haired and the third shorthaired. They've equated the lack of hair or hair length on these cats to pubic hair on women and as to whether they shave or wax their hair or not. Apparently women are embarrassed to go for cervical cancer screening unless they have had their pubic hair waxed or shaved beforehand. I think that's the connection between this campaign i.e. hair length or no hair and cervical cancer.

MyGP cervical cancer campaign has got people talking

It's caused offence in some quarters of the female population while others see the benefit of it. The key aspect of this campaign is that it has got people talking about cervical cancer screening. This is the objective because it will help encourage women to go to a clinic. This will save lives.

Some women thought it was demeaning to equate cats with cervical screening. I think it is quite enlightened because it is a kind of a fusion between women's liking of domestic cats (or that is the perception) and cervical cancer. The connection comes in the amount of hair or fur people and cats have!

It's quite imaginative in that sense. My opinion is that women have been too sensitive about this campaign. The bottom line is that it gets people talking about it. Not enough women apparently are attending screening clinics and one reason is that they can't get waxed during coronavirus lockdowns because the waxing businesses are temporarily closed down because of social distancing rules. There is a connection then with the amount of pubic hair women have and cervical cancer!!

Gayle Maxwell, a cervical cancer survivor, found it amusing and laughed at it hard. She thinks any form of awareness is fantastic and found the campaign funny. Another lady thought that it was "seriously inappropriate". They thought it was making sexualised jokes about women's reproductive health. I go back to the original point: awareness. The campaign catches the eye and that equates to awareness. It is using the obsession with pictures of cats on the Internet to achieve this. Well done I say.

Tuesday 26 January 2021

Picture of ebony Oriental Shorthair show cat

This is a Flickr photograph by Terje Sund of a black (ebony) Oriental Shorthair (OSH) at, I believe, a cat show. The photographer describes the cat as a "world winner". I believe that this cat is female. The cat looks fierce but that's just chance and misleading which can happen sometimes in photography. The cat is simply opening their mouth at the same time as the photographer took the photograph. 

Black Oriental Shorthair show cat looking aggressive
Black Oriental Shorthair show cat looking aggressive. Photo: Sund

It gives an impression of aggression but I don't think this is true at all. Although the ears are flat which sorta gives the impression that the cat is trying to protect them, a precursor to aggression. However, I think this too is misleading because often Oriental Shorthair cats are bred with ears that come out of the side of the head rather than are positioned on top of the head. 

This is selective breeding and it looks odd to me and I wondered why it should happen. It should be in the breed standard but it appears not to be. The ears are meant to be "very large with a broad base and pointed. They are set so that the outer edges continue the sides of the wedge". 

There's nothing in there which indicates that they should be horizontal! I'm referring, by the way, to the World Cat Federation breed standard. I have referred to that standard because I believe that this cat is in Europe and has been bred by European breeder.

I recently wrote a short article about black Oriental Shorthair cats. This is another one and I think black goes very well with this breed because it helps to outline the body shape which is very particular for this breed being very slender. The head, too, has a particular profile with a very straight line between the forehead and the nose.

The photographer describes the picture as: Black (ebony) oriental shorthair, OSH n. World Winner, females, 2010 (St. Etienne France) and 2011 (Poland). Coco Chanel's V for Vendetta.

Monday 25 January 2021

Pictures of black leggy and slender Oriental Shorthairs

Here are some interesting and I think very nice pictures of black, leggy and slender Oriental Shorthair cats. The black coat delineates the cat's shape to the maximum against their background. And this cat has a very particular shape as guided by the breed standard. You don't have to look very far to see why the Oriental Shorthair is so slender with such long legs. 

Picture of black leggy and slender Oriental Shorthair
Picture of black leggy and slender Oriental Shorthair. Photo: in public domain.

The International Cat Association's breed standard for what they describe as the Siamese Breed Group which includes the Oriental Shorthair, the Oriental Longhair and Balinese, states that the body should be "long and tubular with equal width at shoulders and hips. Medium-sized. Fine-boned". As for the legs the guideline is that they are "long with hind legs higher than front legs; finally boned but proportioned to carry the body length and weight; firm muscles." The feet should be small and the tail long.

Picture of black leggy and slender Oriental Shorthair
Picture of black leggy and slender Oriental Shorthair. Photo in public domain.

Everything about this breed standard indicates slenderness and an elegant cat. I think this breed appeals to people who like elegance in domestic cats. I suspect that the interior of their homes may reflect this aspect of aesthetics. In many ways the black coat is highly suited to the Oriental Shorthair because, as mentioned, it shows off the elegant shape. You can make some extraordinary nice photographs of the Oriental Shorthair because they do form these wonderful shapes.

The only issue that I have with modern Oriental shorthair breeding is that they can be bred to extreme where they breed a bit too far in emphasising the breed standard's major characteristics. This can lead to overly long, unnatural legs and long faces (and huge ears). It is vital that breeders do not create animals which are so far from what nature would have given them that it affects their performance and health.

Black Oriental SH
Black Oriental SH. Photo: public domain.

Sunday 24 January 2021

Pictures of Blue British Shorthair cats with extreme features

The three pictures of blue British Shorthair cats on this page show cats that have been bred to an extreme appearance. They probably come from Russia where they are very good at this. But I'm going to refer to The International Cat Association (TICA) breed standard for the British Shorthair to point out how breeders end up magnifying a particular feature of a cat because the breed standard specifies it. How far they go down that road is up to the breeder because the cat associations don't prevent them breeding to extreme although they should because sometimes it creates inherently unhealthy cats which goes against the cat associations' policies.

Extreme British Shorthair
Extreme bred British Shorthair to emphasis the cheeks and to make the cat look very cobby and rounded per the breed standard. Picture in public domain.

So, the head shape of the British Shorthair under the TICA beach standard demands that a show cat should have "full round chubby cheeks. Broad, wide cheekbones with smooth transition to muzzle". It is self-explanatory. The outstanding feature of the cats that you see on this page is that they have enormous, chubby cheeks. It's as if they are giant hamsters. They been bred like this. It's called selective breeding. 

The breeders start off with foundation cats which have slightly chubby cheeks and they breed offspring back to their parents to gradually magnify this aspect of their anatomy (inbreeding). They select those offspring whose cheeks are particularly chubby! They select the cat hence the phrase "selective breeding". It is not letting nature take its course. It is an intervention by a person which is why you end up with an abnormal looking cat. A cat that nature would not create if left to its own devices.

Extreme British Shorthair
Another British SH bred to extreme. Picture in the public domain.

I'm not being particularly critical. I don't really care. I just want to write something about these cats and it has to be about their cheeks! Because they stare you in the face as if something is wrong. But the breeders like it. No doubt these cats have done well. They probably sell very well. However, the classic British Shorthair does not look like these cats. They look fairly normal with slightlyflat faces and slightly shortened muzzles. These cats are extreme in other areas of their appearance as well, such as being extremely cobby (stocky and rounded) for the same reason.

Extreme British Shorthair
British Shorthair. Picture in public domain.

P.S. There is a current craze for 'chonky' cats - big, robust male cats. These cats follow that trend.

Extreme British Shorthair
Extreme British SH. Photo in public domain.

Pictures of 'Poodle Cat' kittens

These are really nice pictures of cats; specifically pictures of "Poodle Cat" kittens. There are a few things to say about them. Firstly, they are an excellent example of the Selkirk Rex, which is how they should be referred to. It's an important point because journalists and people outside the cat fancy or cat world tend to refer to Selkirk Rex cats as 'Poodle Cats', which creates a bit of confusion because there just so happens to be a super-rare cat breed which you probably can't buy because there may be none left named the, guess what, Poodle Cat

It is also a curly-haired domestic cat looking quite similar to the Selkirk Rex but it is not. It is a distinct cat breed with a genuine name.

Selkirk Rex kitten, AKA Poodle Cat. Picture in the public domain.

Some people refer to the Selkirk Rex as a "cat in sheep's clothing". That's another way to describe this breed but 'Poodle Cat' caught the imagination and it sort of stuck. Despite a certain amount of celebrity being acquired by that interesting name, the Selkirk Rex is relatively unpopular in comparison to the other mainstream cat breeds. 

I'm not sure why because I think it's a beautiful cat. You probably know that the curly hair is caused by a genetic mutation. Quite a lot of breeds have been started that way because genetic mutations happen spontaneously and they often cause the cats to look interestingly different. Their anatomy is altered in a way which interests people.

Selkirk Rex kittens AKA Poodle Cat kittens. Picture in the public domain.

A classic example of course is the Sphynx cat which is hairless. Another is the Manx cat which is tailless. You can see that genetic mutations can sometimes remove an item of a cat's anatomy. In doing this they have lost a part of themselves which nature gave to them. Both the tail and the coat of a cat are important. Arguably, their behaviour is altered by losing these items of their anatomy. 

You might say that it is unfair on them that cat breeders created a breed out of what we have to regard as a defect. This is my beef with some of the cat breeds. They are built on a deficiency or a defect. This is not something that we would do with our fellow humans. It's quite the opposite. We try and avoid humans being born with anatomical defects due to genetic mutation for obvious reasons. Why then do we promote and become excited about the same thing when it concerns a cat? That is the beginning of a very deep and I would argue slightly unpleasant philosophical argument which I won't get into.

Saturday 23 January 2021

Pictures of cats: cinnamon British Shorthair

I have decided that this amazing looking cat is a Russian bred, cinnamon British Shorthair registered with The International Cat Association (TICA). I have speculated big time after carrying out a bit of research to reassure myself that this cat association accepts this colour of cat.The cat might also be registered under the World Cat Federation (WCF) which also no doubt allow cinnamon as a coat colour. The CFA does not. I must say it's a fantastic colour for a domestic cat. It is completely standout.
Cinnamon British shorthair cat
Cinnamon British Shorthair cat. Photo in the public domain on Pinterest

If a visitor came to your home and saw this cat they would be astounded because it's so rare to see a colour like this. Especially because the British Shorthair is really known for its grey coat which is described as "blue" in the cat fancy. We do see lots of blue British shorthair cats all of which are outstanding but cinnamon is unusual. This can also is very much in line with the breed standard in terms of its stocky i.e. cobby appearance, and the eye colour is the same as the coat colour which once again complies exactly with the breed standard. All in all I would expect this cat to do very well at competition. I would love a cat fancy expert or breeder to comment on this post to add some more detail to it if possible. I don't even mind if you disagree with me completely because I enjoy learning!

Pictures of cats: five sibling kittens

A top quality picture of five kittens smushed together keeping warm. They are a spectrum of coat pattens. This is how a litter of kittens turns out sometimes. They are tabbies. They looks incredibly healthy. All credit to the person who has looked after them in addition to the mom.
I would expect that these kittens have one father because they are similar. But sometimes the kittens in a litter may have different fathers. It is called superfecundation. I have written about this and if it interests you you can read the article by clicking here. I guess you might know that female cats can mate with different males when she's in heat. The release of her eggs are triggered during mating. Her reproductive tract contains the sperm of several males and chance dictates which male's sperm fertilises each of her eggs which have been shed from the ovaries. That's why you sometimes get a wide variety of appearances amongst siblings in a litter of kittens.

Friday 22 January 2021

Picture of a cat with a triple heart pattern when sitting

The title says it all. A heart pattern on a domestic cat is not very unusual. But when there are three heart patterns, one on the face, a second on the chest and a third formed by the forelegs, it has to be said to be highly unusual. It certainly caught my eye which is why I decided to republish it on this website. I don't know who took the photograph but I am confident that it is in the public domain because it must've circulated around the Internet and in doing so any copyright would have been lost in my humble opinion.

Picture of a cat with a triple heart pattern when sitting. Photograph in the public domain.

I don't believe that this cat is purebred but she/he might be a bicolor (2 colours) British Shorthair. I think that is the only cat breed which is possible. The cat is more likely to be a rare random bred cat. They do occur.

Wednesday 20 January 2021

Picture and video of cats lined up on wall platforms

This is a nice video. It is not abusive. It is beneficial to the cats. It is beneficial to the people who view it because it entertains people. And as I believe it was filmed in a cat café somewhere in Asia. The cats performance is also beneficial to the clients of the café because they can watch these wonderful cats carrying out their instructions. 

And they do carry out their instruction so well. The woman has done a wonderful job in training them. I am convinced having looked at this video that it is in a cat café and that what you see is part of the entertainment for people in the café. 

I may be terribly wrong on that and if so I apologise but that is my current assessment. It makes for a good video. It also tells you that cats can be trained quite nicely with a bit of patience and positive reinforcement.

How many cats can you count? 😹😻

♬ Lalala - Y2K & bbno$

Picture and video of cute white kitten washing her paws and face

Well, this is either a totally boring, fabricated video or it is interesting because it prompts the question as to why this cute white kitten is washing her paws and face so keenly? Of course, I am a bit of a conspiracy theorist these days being an old man and I tend to see the negative in a lot of things which goes with the territory of being elderly. 

The point that I am getting at is I think the video maker put something on this kitten's paws in order to make them lick the paws this keenly. I could be wrong. But it's the vigour with which this cute kitten grooms her paws which leads me to believe that she is licking something off them which was put on them. I've tortured that description but you get the point. 

And the kitten has been placed in a tunnel of some sort. It looks like a ventilation shaft which I guess is also meant to add a bit of interest in it. The key to the success of a TikTok video is to make it look different so you find any means possible to achieve that goal. In this instance I'd say that they've achieved the goal by putting something tasty on the kitten's paws and put the kitten in a ventilation shaft!! Job done. Funny cat video.

White kitten washes her face and paws keenly. Why? Screenshot

Picture and video of TikTok chonky tabby cat

Do you think this is fun? I find the music a bit harsh. Actually I find the music very harsh and the whole video a bit gross really but I'm out of touch with the rest of the world, it seems to me. I'm sure the video is pretty popular. I don't know whether to be serious or jokey. This is meant to be a fun video. So I'm not meant to be serious about it, but look at the size of the cat. 

This is an obese cat and the owner has allowed this cat to become obese. We have to criticise the owner therefore. This kind of obesity is going to lead to health problems. You can't really in all good conscience make a funny cat video out of a cat's health problems. Can you? Is this part of the modern day trend of making very short funny cat videos based on cat abuse. Am I being too critical? Is that a misconception? 

Perhaps I just don't see the world like other people see it. I certainly don't see the world in the same way that a lot of young people in Asia see it. I think this video is from Asia where arguably there is a different attitude towards animals and the human-to-cat relationship. I would love people to comment tell me what they think about it.

TikTok chonky tabby cat. Screenshot.

Tuesday 19 January 2021

Exotic pet insurance - UK - discussion

UNITED KINGDOM: ExoticDirect is BOUGHTBYMANY's sister insurer and they are said to be specialists in exotic pet insurance. They been going for 20 years or more and they get a decent 4.1 out of 5 stars on their Facebook page. BOUGHTBYMANY bought the parent company of ExoticDirect in 2015 which is why they are in this stable of insurance companies.

F1 Savannah cats except for the cat on the right! These are exotic pets as far as I am concerned. Photo: PoC.

Exotic Pet?

There is a discussion about what is an exotic pet and I can understand that. Technically it seems to mean in non-native species to the UK. In which case it would include rabbits because they've been wild in the UK since the 12th century but are non-native as I understand it. The issue with this definition is that I wonder how far back you have to go before you describe an animal as non-native. The other side of the coin to non-native is 'invasive species'.

I'm not sure that this is a good definition. I think we should take an ordinary dictionary definition of the word 'exotic' and decide that exotic pets are companion animals which are outside of the mainstream and which are not normally considered to be pets. In the world of cats, for example you might include the wild cat hybrids such as the F1 Savannah cat (see above) or the F1 Bengal cat. You might even include, in that vein, the wild cat component of these animals such as the serval and the Asiatic leopard cat. These are all exotic as would be a big cat or any other medium-sized wild cat species if they are kept as pets.

As for dogs, I would include hybrid wolves and wolves themselves as exotic. And of course you have to include birds and reptiles such as dragons et cetera. And it appears that snakes are quite popular amongst a segment of society in the UK and elsewhere. There is certainly a fascination with reptiles. Even large spiders I guess are in this bracket of animal. These are my personal views and I would think that the description of exotic pet is quite elastic. In short they will be non-typical animals.

You will have to make sure that you are allowed to own exotic animals as pets. You'll almost certainly need a license to do so and have facilities. Check with the local authority.

Insurance companies and what they cover

Another recommended company is E&L pet insurance. They appear to cover bird insurance and they get a good rating online in reviews. A third recommended company would be Cliverton Exotic Pet Insurance. This is a specialist company which is been around for more than 40 years. They insure dog walkers, wildlife rescues, falconry centres and farms. They appear to be more into businesses than individuals who want exotic pet insurance.

Exotic pet insurance by ExoticDirect covers veterinary bills, and for tortoises, parrots, birds of prey and large mammals they cover death as a result of an accident or illness, death by fire and extreme weather conditions. ExoticDirect does not cover the death of small birds and small mammals under these circumstances.

Cliverton offers public liability insurance but not insurance for veterinary costs. E&L's Bird Insurance covers veterinary bills as well as death by accident or illness. They also cover aviaries. It would be important that exotic pet insurance covers theft since they are exotic animals and therefore I would have thought liable to theft. ExoticDirect covers birds of prey, parrots, tortoises, reptiles and large mammals against theft but not small mammals or small birds.

Public liability insurance is important

Public liability is important because some of these exotic animals are dangerous. For example, there have been many servals escaping their homes. This is quite typical because this animal needs a large range in which to live and they are confined when they are regarded as pets. When they escape the home they present a danger or a perceived danger to the public. ExoticDirect provided policy for public liability for animals kept on private land and in case they escape. They also cover animal shows and displays and events, animal clubs and centres and animals included in the Dangerous Wild Animals Act. For example, if you have an exotic bird and they fly away and become lost and don't return then ExoticDirect pay out "some money" for replacement. You can arrange this insurance over the phone but it cannot be bought online.


Of course the cost varies depending upon all the factors including the animal insured. You can take out a vet fees only policy with ExoticDirect. As an example, for small mammals under this sort of policy you would pay 10 monthly instalments of £15.10 p for £2000 of veterinary fees. Please visit their website or phone for details. Providing a list here is unwise.

Worth it?

As to whether it is worth it to take out exotic pet insurance, this is obviously a personal choice. Insurance brings peace of mind. My personal choice would be to run your own self-insurance program by saving money for a rainy day. It's about risk and reward and whether you are risk-averse or prepared to take some risks in life. Perhaps a big factor would be public liability insurance. If an animal has a potential to cause serious injury to a person if it escapes then it would seem very sensible to take out exotic pet insurance because the cost of compensating somebody under these circumstances would or might be exorbitant and beyond the normal budget of an average person.

Monday 18 January 2021

Amigurumi Maine Coon - cute

This is such a cute Maine Coon crochet amigurumi cat. I knew that the cat was knitted or created by human hand, obviously, but I didn't know what amigurumi meant. Apparently it is the Japanese art of knitting or crocheting small, stuffed yarn creatures. 

Amigurumi Maine Coon - cute. Photo: Etsy.

Cute amigurumi are the most popular. A translation of amigurumi is "crocheted or knitted stuffed toy". So these are toys for humans I guess. I suppose they could be toys for cats to but they would destroy them. That said the best cat toys are the ones that can be destroyed because they mimic more accurately a cat attacking a prey animal. 

I'm wasting my time discussing that because no one is going to let their cat destroy such a beautiful amigurumi. What's so attractive about this object is that it only costs £5.45 p in the UK. I think that's a remarkably cheap price for such a beautiful object. The comments are good. There have been 408 reviews and these amigurumi are a 4.5 out of five star in reviews. You can buy this on Etsy, an online marketplace.

Amigurumi are usually crocheted out of yarn or thread using a basic crochet technique but they can be knitted. You can use single crochet stitch, double crochet or invisible decrease. It can be and is normally produced in sections which are then sewn or crocheted together but they can be made in one piece. The stuffing can be standard polyester, cotton craft stuffing or wool. It may also be an improvised material made from other sources. The amigurumi maybe stiffened so that it can sit up by using pipe cleaners or floral wires. In order to make the object stable pebbles and stones or plastic pellets can be inserted inside so the weight is distributed towards the bottom which lowers the centre of gravity.

The creator has really captured the essence of the Maine Coon with the large lynx tipped ears, square muzzle and plumed tail. Well done. Super cute and well made. Well done.

Sunday 17 January 2021

Cat owners in Cyprus are abandoning their cats because of the Covid-19 pandemic

This is what I would describe as a behind-the-scenes story. It doesn't hit the headlines because it concerns Cyprus, in the Mediterranean, a small island and not for example America which leads the way on domestic cat news. 

But it is a very telling and a sad story. It's reported that there has been a 30% increase in the abandonment of domestic cats on the island. They are sometimes left behind as people leave the island. I'm referring to expatriates possibly possibly British people who feel they haven't got the money to afford to take their cat back home with them.

Spotted street cats of Cyprus. Read about them by clicking here.

These people may have dual residency. I know that a lot of British people have second homes in Cyprus or they moved to Cyprus in retirement. But they've been squeezed economically by the Covid-19 pandemic. Dawn Foote who runs a rescue centre where there are 800 rescue cats, all of which are neutered, said that, "People, at the moment, have just got no money, and it's expensive to get a cat to another country. You've got passports to pay for, you've got transport carriers to pay. It's heartbreaking."

If it's not people going home is local residents who feel that they can no longer afford to look after a domestic cat. Once again is about money. The poignancy of this problem is that, currently, Cyprus is famous in the cat world for being the place where archaeologists discovered what is believed to be the first domestic cat in a grave with their owner. The grave is dated to about 9,500 years ago. So the island had a significance in the cat world. The cat would have been a domesticated Far Eastern wildcat. They look like rangy tabby cats.

There appears to be criticism of people who feed stray cats on the island without ensuring that they are spayed or neutered. I don't know how prevalent this is but simply feeding a stray cat is not enough sadly. You have to ensure that they are spayed and neuter otherwise you simply promote and increase in the number of unwanted cats that should be living in homes. There should be government-sponsored TNR programs which includes spaying and neutering at least as part of the process.

There is criticism of the government strategy with claims that it is not working that well.

Friday 15 January 2021

Domestic cat calcium levels low. A reason.

When a domestic cat is suffering from a deficiency in calcium i.e. their blood-calcium concentration is low, it may well be due to inadvertent damage to the parathyroid glands during a thyroidectomy operation. This is an operation to remove the thyroid gland because the cat is suffering from hyperthyroidism. A dramatic fall in blood-calcium concentrations can be life-threatening. Cats who have been through the thyroidectomy operation should be hospitalised for a few days after surgery so the blood-calcium concentrations can be monitored.

Thin, elderly cat suffering from hyperthyroidism. Picture: PoC.

Hyperthyroidism is fairly common in older cats and is caused by an increase in the production of thyroid hormones from enlarged thyroid glands in the cat's neck. Most often it is caused by a benign tumour hence the operation. It should be noted that second hand cigarette smoke may be a contributory factor in developing this disease. Surgery is an option to remove the cancerous gland. If both thyroid glands are removed the cat will need supplemental thyroid for the remainder of their life.

Alternative options are radioactive iodine to destroy the cancerous tissue or an oral medication called methimazole. This drug lowers hormone production. It is given daily. The administration of this drug can it seems be difficult but the manufacturers are making it more palatable. Perhaps they have done this because my information comes from a book written in 2008.

If hyperthyroidism is caught early before the heart and kidneys are damaged it is a treatable disease. However, if these organs are damaged they will need treatment after the thyroidectomy. A thyroidectomy is a straightforward operation with an excellent success rate but beware the parathyroid glands!

Diagnosis for hyperthyroidism is carried out by a vet examining the cat's neck area for enlarged glands and they check the heart rate and blood pressure. The cat's general health is also evaluated because hyperthyroidism is often associated with other conditions and it can predispose a cat to other conditions. Therefore they need to be checked for associated conditions.

P.S. Other potential reasons for low blood calcium in cats might be kidney or liver failure, parathyroid tumour, hypoparathyroidism or poor nutrition during pregnancy to name some examples. I'm not a veterinarian so I won't go on.

Sources: Dr Bruce Fogle, Drs Eldredge, Carlson, Carlson and Giffin.

Thursday 14 January 2021

Friendly clouded leopard climbs all over Patrick Aryee


I am sorry, I don't know the name of the photographer. Please advise.

Patrick Ayree is a biologist and is now a documentary filmmaker and wildlife television presenter. In this picture you see him with a clouded leopard all over his head. I don't know much about the picture except for the obvious which is that this clouded leopard must be domesticated. He is clearly enjoying the experience (and so is the cat!). The clouded leopard is a wonderful arboreal, medium-sized wild cat species. They live in Asia and are fantastic tree climbers. They have this beautiful coat after which they are named. Of course they are persecuted for their coat. What else can we expect?

Click here to read some articles about the clouded leopard.

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