Wednesday 31 March 2021

Rainbow of colors and patterns of Bengal cats

 This is a nice photograph from F1 Savannahs in Los Angeles, California, USA. It is described by them as "all the colours of Bengals". It actually isn't but it is a damned good photograph nonetheless. These cats are amazing in their variety of colours and patterns. You have super-high contrast solid spots and donuts (doughnuts - spots with holes in the middle) with a three silver cats and three golden brown cats of different shades. Awesome breeding. 

Rainbow of colors and patterns of Bengal cats
Rainbow of colors and patterns of Bengal cats. Photo: F1Savannahs

At least some of them look like second filial Bengal cats which means they have a lot of wild cat Asian leopard cat DNA in them, if I'm correct. They may all be F2s but I am not sure.

I have a full page on the Bengal cat and many other pages on this popular cat breed so I won't go over the same ground here. If you'd like to explore more please click here (a range of pages on the Bengal cat coat) and here (a single comprehensive page) and here for a range of pages on the breed. Thanks.

I am not affiliated to this breeder. I just like the photograph. I am not keen on cat breeding of any sort to be honest as in this world were there are too many unwanted cats in rescue shelters it seems wrong to me and many others. But it is democracy and capitalism and we have to respect it. 

Tuesday 30 March 2021

Difference between Savannah and Bengal cats?

There is one major difference between Savannah and Bengal cats which dictates all the other differences: the wild cat genes of the Savannah cat are those of a serval while the wild genes of the Bengal are those of an Asiatic leopard cat.

Difference between Savannah and Bengal cats?
 Difference between Savannah and Bengal cats? Photos
(left: Jim Child - right: Kathryn Stucki)

They are both wild cat hybrids. Therefore they both have some wildcat in them. The amount depends on whether the cat concerned is a kitten from a mating between a serval and a domestic cat (first filial or first generation) or if the cat concerned is several generations from that offspring (fifth filial for instance). But they all have some serval in them.

The same basic rule applies to the Bengal cat only the wild cat element is a much smaller wild cat: the Asiatic leopard cat aka leopard cat. The serval is quite a large wild cat and much larger than the leopard cat.

And the serval has a different character to the leopard cat. So taking the first filial (F1) Savannah and Bengal cats the former is larger than the latter and the legs are longer. The character of the former may be a little more amenable to human company than the latter because the leopard cat is vehemently independent while the serval is more pliable I'd say. But that is a fine point.


The big difference is the appearance. Also the coat of the Savannah cat reflects that of the serval: plain dark spots on a yellowish background. The Bengal has rosettes and a more intricate pattern usually. Some of the differences are due to years of selective breeding which has separated their respective appearances more such as spotted Bengals and blotched tabby Bengals. There are arrowhead spots and donuts and so on.


The F1 Savannah cat is better known than the F1 Bengal. Quite a lot of people live with the exotic F1 Savannah because they are so glamorous and large. Also some say that they are slightly hypoallergenic (unproven). Very few people live with F1 Bengals. They are rarer. They are hard to live with. So are F1 Savannahs but probably a bit easier than living with an F1 Bengal.

The most common version of each breed is the fifth filial. These behave like classic domestic cats but they may be a bit more challenging on occasions.

Monday 29 March 2021

Decriminalising possession of all drugs, prostitution and minor crime to improve animal welfare

Baltimore in the USA had done something radical. Baltimore's top prosecutor has decriminalised the possession of all drugs, along with prostitution and other minor street crimes. The objective: to improve public safety in what was one of America's most dangerous cities. I say "was" because it has worked. In this city the drug war is over said Marilyn Mosby. They have, in the words of the mayor, "reimagined public safety". In other words they have taken a completely different position on how to improve public safety. And I'm going to argue in this post that if you improve the safety of the public you also improve the safety of companion animals who live with the public.

Baltimore, USA. Image by emitea from Pixabay 

And the safety of companion animals, particularly domestic cats, is my overriding concern. Baltimore won't even prosecute criminals who possess heroin. They don't prosecute for non-violent crimes of attempted drug distribution, possession of drug paraphernalia, trespassing and minor traffic offences and, as mentioned, prostitution. These infractions are now dealt with as community health problems and the perpetrators are redirected to social services or other sections of Baltimore's public health system.

Over the past year, during the coronavirus pandemic, many American cities have experienced a spike in violence whereas violent crime in Baltimore has fallen by 20%. Property crime has dropped by 36%. The number of prisoners has fallen by 18% and there has been a fall in the number of people entering the criminal justice system by 39%.

In Baltimore they measure public concern by the number of emergency calls about drug use and sex work. Between March and December 2020 these calls dropped by one third with respect to drug use and by one half with respect to sex work.

They are going to focus on violent offences like armed robbery and carjacking together with drug distribution organisations. These are the underbelly of violence in Baltimore.

I think this story need to be digested by anybody who is considering how to improve public safety and reduce levels of crime in their city or municipality. It's a good test case. It has probably released some of the tension in Baltimore. If law enforcement is constantly cracking down on petty crime there is a constant level of tension between the authorities and the citizens. 

I don't know for sure because I am not an expert but to try and help drug takers through social services and health systems is far more ameliorative and palliative and therefore more gentle than cracking down on these people who certainly need help.

Perhaps that attitude from the authorities has feed through to society, making these perpetrators less aggressive and with less aggression you are less likely to have incidents of violence against animals. Often animals are the victims of spontaneous acts of aggression from citizens either on drugs or alcohol. Alcoholism is  an outlet for aggression and anger. If you reduce the level of anger in society you should reduce the level of animal abuse and cruelty. I'm thinking aloud so I don't know for sure but it makes sense to me.

Friday 26 March 2021

What eats a lion?

Humans eat more lion body parts than any predator of the lion. I am going to take an odd approach in answering this question. I know people want to know which animals eat lions and I suppose there are referring to lion cubs being attacked by hyenas and perhaps leopards. The lion cub is vulnerable to predators, there is no question about it. But the adult lion in Africa has no predators and there is little chance that they'll be eaten by another predator unless they are very infirm and elderly.

Humans eat more lion body parts than any other animal
Humans eat more lion body parts than any other animal. Pic; Getty Images.

But the point that I want to get to is this: by far the biggest eater of lions are humans. The question doesn't ask what animals eat lions; it asks what eats a lion. And if you wanted to add up the amount of flesh and bones that come out of a lion which is eaten by people the tonnage would be far in excess of any other animal or perhaps all animals combined. This is because people like to eat lions. They eat lion bones and any other part of a lion to give them health and strength.

This superstition emanates from Asia. They also eat tiger body parts as well as you probably know. But as long as they are eating a big cat which is renowned for being strong and powerful they think that eating the body parts of such a creature imbues them with that power and strength. It's all complete madness and it results in lions being bred to be killed for their carcasses in South Africa. These are canned lion hunts. They are cruel and despicable in the eyes of any animal advocate.

The life of a lion cub bred in captivity for canned lion hunts is brutally sad. It is mapped out and all of their life is for the commercial market. None of it is natural. It is a total abuse of lions.

But wherever a lion is killed and for whatever reason they can be butchered and the body parts channelled into this other market which is supplies lion body part products to be eaten or drunk by people. I don't want to go into it in detail because it's too gruesome. But I believe that any lion which is kill for any reason is channelled into the lion body part marketplace where it ultimately ends up in Asia.

So, for example, if a farmer kills a lion in retaliation because the lion killed his livestock then that deceased lion is valuable in the marketplace. But they are so valuable that they are bred to be killed and slaughtered like livestock. It's exactly the same for tigers in China. There are 8,000 tigers in China in tiger farms been bred to be slaughtered their body parts.

Humans are the most prolific eaters of lions and they eat these big cats with great eagerness in the firm belief that it does them some good but there's no science whatsoever to support this attitude. It's all idiotic superstition. Of course meat is a product and therefore it feeds people but to kill lions and endanger their survival in the wild because people want to eat their body parts is a form of madness in humankind. It's a descent into callous idiocy.

It is also a bit of ancient history which has survived to today. The belief comes from a thousand years ago. Anyone who believes eating lions and tigers makes them stronger etc. has failed to develop. They are trapped in the ignorant past.

Mother who treated her daughter as a cat

The child who acted like a cat
The child, Datse, who acted like a cat. Photo: Ministry of the Interior.

This is a story from Russia, specifically a town 80 miles north of Moscow called Taldom. A girl, Datse, aged six was living with an adult man and woman. It is believed that the woman is the child's mother. The mother appears to be obsessed with neo-Nazi ideology. There are pictures of her performing the Nazi salute. All three lived in a disgusting and filthy apartment with 19 domestic cats.

Mother who treated her daughter as a cat
 Mother who treated her daughter as a cat. Photo: East2West

The child apparently moved around the apartment on all fours, responded to the call "kitty kitty" and ate cat food. She has an older sister aged 12 who can't remember going to school. She had difficulty walking and doesn't know how to speak properly.

The girl looks as if she is about three years old, half her real age. It appears that the police stumbled upon this disastrous scene when they spotted what they believed was a suspicious man. When the man saw the police he tried to hide from them and entered a house located in Saltykov-Shchedrin Street. The police followed him into the house where they discovered the distressing scene.

Mother who treated her daughter as a cat
 Mother who treated her daughter as a cat. Photo: Ministry of Internal Affairs

The man apparently was born in 1955 and the woman was born in 1986. Both girls were taken to hospital for health checks. The older girl has been taken into care. When the younger girl was found she was naked and emaciated. 

Comment: the story is not as extraordinary as it seems. Every now and then these sorts of bizarre stories pop-up of families allowing themselves to generate into chaos. They give up. They totally lose any attempt to maintain standards. The problem is that the vulnerable members of the family, the children and no doubt the cats as well, are the ones who suffer. I hope the cats are rehomed but I would be very surprised that they are or have been. There should be criminal prosecutions for child neglect but as this is Russia I'd doubt it will happen.

Although we should be slow to criticise. We don't know the history of backstory. Why did it happen? There must be an underlying reason. Perhaps the mother's parents indoctrinated her into Nazi obssessiveness and traumatised her.

This is also a case of cat hoarding but that is a secondary issue sadly.

Source: The Sun. There are no pictures of the child except for the pixelated one on this page which I presume was taken after she was rescued from her hell.

Thursday 25 March 2021

Why do cats love laser pointers?

Well I think everyone knows why domestic cats and even the bigger cats, and every cat in between, love laser pointers (big cats aren't stimulated by them). But for the sake of complete certainty here goes. It is because their brains are hard-wired to respond to the kind of movement laser pointers make: fast and jumpy as the 'prey animal' tries to evade the cat.

Why do cats love laser pointers
Why do cats love laser pointers? Because they elicit the predator response.
Picture: Pixabay.

Laser pointers trigger the predator response which is deep within them. The defect with laser pointers is that they are silent and they can't be caught and killed.

Domestic cats are also very attuned to the sounds that prey animals make, especially mice. They can accurately pinpoint the location of a mouse from the sound the mouse makes.

The fact that cats can't kill laser pointers is bad news because they will eventually become turned off by the device. Perhaps the solution is short bursts. 

Are they unfair on the cat? I think they are. They are very effective but limited and I can't really recommend them. The best toys are homemade and fragile enough to be destroyed by a domestic cat.

Wednesday 24 March 2021

Should we genetically engineer cats to curb their urge to kill?

Not long ago I proposed genetically engineering feral cats to make them infertile as an alternative to TNR programs which includes spaying and neutering. But it might be a better idea to genetically engineer feral cats. That would seem to be a more elegant way to control the feral cat population. I don't know whether it's been discussed but what is also being discussed is genetically engineering cats to modify their behaviour, to stop their urge to kill.

Photo: Pixabay

That would mean altering the most fundamental aspect of a cat's behaviour which is to hunt, stalk, attack, kill and eat prey animals. In the case of domestic cats that usually means small mammals such as voles, mice and even rats occasionally (plus reptiles, birds and insects). I'm not sure if it is viable. I'm not a good enough scientist to decide how you'd go about doing that.

The obvious initial downside is animal testing. I can see animal testing taking place which would be cruel. I could not justify it. I don't believe that any animl testing is ethically and justifiable today. It is time to stop it.

You can achieve character changes to a certain extent by selective breeding. This is breeding through artificial selection so you only select those cats which are very passive and mild mannered with a known trait of a disinterest in hunting. That might be hard to believe but some domestic cat hardly hunt at all whereas others are obsessed with it such as my cat!

The average domestic cat will certainly enjoy hunting to a certain extent but it would seem fair to suggest that we could select the least motivated hunters and selectively breed from them to the point where you only had domestic cats that were disinterested in what should be their primary activity: hunting.

Brief research tells me that that scientists genetically engineer animals by introducing a beneficial gene into their DNA. I suppose, therefore, it would mean scientist deciding which genes and on which chromosomes behavioural traits such as hunting are located. 

Then they could remove those genes and replace them with the genes of a cat with known traits including a disinterest in hunting. I'm guessing wildly at this point. But the concept of genetically engineering cats to modify their behaviour to eliminate hunting is fascinating but it seems to be a bridge too far at this stage. What do you think?

Why it is wrong to say that domestic cats are disloyal

An experiment was carried out some time ago at Kyoto University, which has been reported widely in online news media websites. I'll summarise it. Both cats and dogs observed a person either helping or not helping their owner. Dogs observed this difference in approach and were uncooperative to the person who would not help their owner whereas cats remained cooperative with these people. It appears that the cats were unable to evaluate third parties who might be hostile or friendly. Dogs, in contrast, were able to evaluate them and decide whether they should receive their friendship and cooperation or not. 

Cats are self-centered and disloyal. Discuss.
Cats are disloyal?? Photo: Brittney Gobble

The experiment clearly indicates the evolutionary nature of these different species. Dogs are utilitarian animals. They've been used over centuries to help and work with people. Domestic cats, in contrast, are companions to people. They do not really have a utilitarian role to play. And when an animal works with people they naturally learn how to evaluate them. It's part of the learning and cooperation process.

The cat's difference in approach has been perceived as being disloyal by the news media. To be clear: because a cat can't evaluate the motivations behind a person interacting with their owner they are being called disloyal. This is incorrect. Loyalty means providing support or allegiance to a person. Domestic cat support their owners all day long. Of course it depends upon the relationship but domestic cats wouldn't exist if they didn't support the people they lived with. This is not a question of a lack of loyalty but an inability by the cat to evaluate the motivations and intentions of potentially hostile people towards their human companion.

And this stems from the well-known fact that the domestic cat has the character of its wild ancestor the North African wildcat. This wildcat is essentially solitary. The domestic cat has learned over 10,000 years of domestication how to be quite sociable. But this inherently solitary attitude comes to the surface sometimes and apparently it affects a cat's evaluative abilities. I think we should confine the conclusion of this study to that particular point and not hype it up and generalise about loyalty and disloyalty.

I have written about this before and you can read my earlier article which I've approached from a different angle, if you want to, by clicking here.

Saturday 20 March 2021

Do you use antibiotics for cat diarrhoea?

Dr Bruce Fogle says that cat owners often ask if he will use antibiotics to treat their cat's diarrhoea. The answer is that the vet needs to know the species of bacteria in the gut to be treated or if the intestines are severely damaged. Administering antibiotics in other circumstances to treat diarrhoea risks upsetting the good bacteria in the stomach and making things worse. A vet might suggest probiotics.

Do you use antibiotics for cat diarrhea?
Do you use antibiotics for cat diarrhea?
No unless you know the species of bacteria to treat.
Photo: in public domain.



Your vet will tell you the causes of diarrhoea. There are many possibilities. If your cat goes to the toilet outside it can hard to know if she has diarrhoea. Vomiting often accompanies diarrhoea and the remains of poop stuck to the fur on the cat's backside is a giveaway.

Coronavirus pandemic should stop unregulated cat and dog meat businesses

Just a quick note on the grisly and sad topic of cat and dog meat. It is still big business in Vietnam and Southern China and elsewhere in Asia. At one stage Vietnam had a rat infestation problem and believed that the cat meat industry was allowing rat numbers to increase so they introduced a government directive to end 'cat-meat eateries' (Directive No.09/1998/CT-TTg). That law was revoked a year ago. It failed clearly.

Cat meat trade
The sad and disgusting cat meat trade can expose people to zoonotic diseases.
Pic in public domain in my view.

So there appears to be rumblings in parts of Asia on the subject of how to change people's habits in eating people's pets. It is deeply engrained. How it got to that stage is beyond my comprehension. It is obviously immoral. 

But a reason to stop eating people's pets goes well beyond morality. It is all about human health and wellbeing. The coronavirus pandemic tells us that when humans slaughter animals in an unregulated way in open markets they expose themselves to being infected by zoonotic diseases present in those animals.

Cats are the number one vector for toxoplasmosis for instance. I am sure a lot of Chinese and Vietnamese have caught toxoplasmosis from the domestic cats that they have eaten. They might not know it. They might feel a bit ill persistently. They have no idea that their low level illness is due to their careless approach to animal welfare and their unthinking habit of eating cats, sometimes pet animals.

It is not beyond the bounds of possibility that another zoonotic coronavirus-type disease could be transmitted from domestic cats slaughtered for human consumption in a seedy market in the south of China. Surely the coronavirus pandemic must be a lesson to these people to be far more careful to avoid zoonotic diseases?

The Chinese conurbation of Shenzhen banned cat and dog meat because of the coronavirus pandemic. Clearly the authorities are concerned. Their eyes are open to the inherent dangers of unregulated slaughter and consumption cat and dog meat. Others need to follows asap.

A study found an association between Toxoplasma gondii infection and psychiatric disorders in Zhejiang, Southeastern China. This is not far from the epidentre of the cat and dog meat industry in China as I understand it. Is there a link between the conclusion of this study and eating cat meat?

Nature has a way of 'punishing' animal abusers. The pandemic is the paradigm example. Abuse nature and nature will strike back. If they can't stop eating cat and dog meat for reasons of morality then do it in the interests of human health.

Nature has taught humankind a lesson. Some Asians refuse to learn the lesson and digest it.

Friday 19 March 2021

Males cats try harder when females struggle during mating

I am referring to domestic cats. My personal research indicates very clearly that during mating when the female struggles or complains the male tries harder and continues beyond the point at which he'd normally have stopped.

Cats mating
Savannah cats mating at a cat breeder. Photo: Mike B

You know that the male prevents the female moving away by grasping her by the scruff of the neck in his mouth (as seen in the photo above). It is quite a brutal process. It sort of looks a bit like rape as it includes violence of a sort. The biting of the females neck to keep her compliant and the barbed penis raking her vagina when it is withdrawn. It's not a loving event, let's put it that way!

My cat likes to have sex on my arm when I am wearing an old fleece dressing gown. This is not uncommon. Or this sort of vestigial sex is seen in various forms by male domestic cats and dogs even after neutering. Testosterone is not the only motivator for sex.

But if I move my hand when he is about to stop, he continues. And he will continue as long as I move my hand. He stops eventually but he sees my hand moving and decides that the female he is having sex with is struggling to be free of him. His response is to deny her that release and continue.

If my imaginative interpretation is correct, I am unsure why he does this. It may simply be a process of dominance and the struggle by the female may provoke him to continue. It may even excite him as violence can excite humans during sex.

I am speculating wildly but it is very noticeable so something is happening. It has never been reported before perhaps because it is hardly important.

The photo is by MikeB.

Thursday 18 March 2021

A lot of people say that this cat is super cute

A very cute  young cat for your entertainment. A lot of people say that he is very cute. I think he is male but I am guessing. His ears are flattened indicating some Scottish Fold genetics but he does not look like a Scottish Fold.

A lot of people say that this cat is super cut
A lot of people say that this cat is super cut. Photo: Twitter.

What makes cute? Answer: baby-like features such as large, round eyes a round head. Also he needs to be fluffy and innocent with a charming character. He has it all.

Tuesday 16 March 2021

Nevada may be the second US state to ban declawing

Cat lovers: keep your fingers and everything else crossed because Assemblywoman Susie Martinez has introduced a bill into Nevada's legislature to ban declawing across the state. New York State was the first in and they did it some time ago (2019). There are 9 cities (as I recall) who have also banned declawing. All bar one are in California. The ninth is Denver if my memory serves me correctly.

Martinez is not a cat lover but she is clearly a decent person. She regards declawing as inhumane and cruel - correct!

Her bill will be a classic declawing ban. All declawing will be prohibited except when it is in the interests of the cat's wellbeing and health, which is the way it should be if the veterinarians obeyed their damnable oath which means almost nothing.


There will be a penalty for violators: a $1,000 fine as a starting point apparently, according to the website

The bill also provides for other penalties that the State Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners will be able to take against violators.

The vets will fight tooth and nail to block the bill's progress. They hate the thought of losing the lucrative declawing market. It is of no interest to them that it is cruel and against their oath.

The say it will be expensive to set up a tracking system and to train vets (on what? - to act decently?!) and to investigate violations.

Comment: this bill is brave. It is liable to fail. If it does she and her supporters should try again until it passes. At some time in the not too distant future declawing cats will be voluntarily stopped because it will be perceived as an outdate and inhumane process which originated in a different era, the 1950s.

The vets will realise that it will be good for business to stop declawing when the cat owning population finally understand that it is immoral and utterly unacceptable.

Saturday 13 March 2021

The first domestic cats in North America?

The first domestic cats in North America?
 The first domestic cats in North America? No cats visible in the 
picture! But there were some and they were the first domestic
cats of North America. Picture in the public domain (assessed).

We don't know exactly the date of the first domestic cats in North America but it's likely that the English and European settlers who first arrived in 1607 and thereafter in the 1700s brought domestic cats. These were the first domestic cats in North America. They settled at Jamestown which is located as per the map below:

Christopher Columbus set foot in the Americas on Oct 12 1492 but we don't have any record of cats being aboard that ship! What if there was a ship's cat and it came ashore? It would have been the first domestic cat in North America. He made landfall in the Caribbean.

The Europeans settled on the east coast such as Maine. These cats were the forerunners of the Maine Coon cat.

I have nothing more to say as I have answered the question. I hope! :)  -- I forget to mention one thing: there were no native domestic cats in North America, never have been, which is why they had to be imported. In other words no small wild cat was domesticated in N. America. The bobcat was and is too big and the ocelot has the wrong character.

First domestic cats in Europe

A study published on July 28th 2020: Ancestors of domestic cats in Neolithic Central Europe: Isotopic evidence of a synanthropic diet, states that 'the early migration of the Near Eastern cat...preceded the known establishment of housecat populations in the region by around 3,000 BCE (Before Common Era). The Common Era means AD (Anno Domini). So 3,000 BCE means 3,000 BC (Before Christ).

African wild somewhat like the first domestic cats of Europe
African wild somewhat like the first domestic cats of Europe. Photo: Pixabay.

To recap, they believe that the Near Eastern wildcat migrated to Poland around 4,200 years before Christ (BC) and after around 1,200 years the first Near Eastern wildcats in Poland were domesticated or semi-domesticated.

The first domestic cats worldwide are estimated to be dated at 9,500 BC on Cyprus. It is believed that this cat was similarly a domesticated Near Eastern wildcat that was imported into Cyprus by ship with its owner.

One theory is that the wildcat followed the migration of farmers into Poland as 'synanthropes'. Synanthropes are animals or plants which live near humans because it benefits them.

Back in those first years of domestication of the wild cat it was a successful process as both species benefited (not so successful today). There were no feral cats. All domestic cats were first generation domesticated wild cats at the very beginning. Then subsequent wildcat offspring were domesticated and true domestication began. 

At present there are an estimated 500 million domestic and feral cats in the world. At around 3,000 BC the number of domestic cats was probably in the tens of thousands worldwide if that.

What are cats' whiskers made of?

Cats' whiskers are made of keratin. This is the same substance that makes our finger nails and the claws of our cats. And a cat's fur is made of keratin. A rhino's horn is made of keratin too, by the way, which is why it is so strange that some people think it has medicinal properties. It does not. The reason for the gradual extinction of the rhino is because people think eating rhino horn is beneficial. They might just as well eat their finger nails. It would be a lot cheaper and it would protect the precious rhino.

Cat whiskers are made of keratin
Cat whiskers are made of keratin. Image by Pexels from Pixabay

Keratin is also the material that makes an animal's scales, feathers, hooves and calluses.

So what is keratin? It is a fibrous structural protein. At the cellular level the production of keratin is called 'cornification' which is the process of 'forming an epidermal barrier in stratified squamous epithelial tissue'. Yes, it is very technical.

Keratin has to be strong and it is. Science Direct tells me that "keratins are cysteine-rich proteins endowed by nature with high mechanical strength owing to the large number of disulphide bonds". More technical stuff.

Never trim a cat's whiskers. They need them for a range of tasks. They are connected to a mass of nerves in the muzzle which allows whiskers to 'feel' air currents which in turn allows cats to detect objects that they can't see. They are also used to detect the exact location of the vertebrae in the neck of prey so the cat can severe it with a precise bite.

You might see whiskers being trusted forwards like tentacles when a cat has something interesting in front of him. They are reaching out to detect what that interesting object is.

Do neutered domestic cats hump and get boners?

Yes and yes is the response. Neutering of male cats removes the testes. This removes the organ that produces testosterone. How do they feel emotionally going forward? I did an article about how a man feels when castrated to try and get inside the head of a cat. Click here if you'd like to read it.

Do neutered domestic cats hump and get boners?
Do neutered domestic cats hump and get boners? Yes and Yes.

Testosterone is not the only trigger or motivator for a feline's desire to have sex. It is a complex interaction of psychological, neural, vascular, and endocrine (hormone) factors, and is associated with sexual arousal. 

I guess that losing the ability to create one important hormone, testosterone, is not enough to stop a male cat's desire to hump and get an erection. But this be a personality issue too. It'll depend on the individual cat.

My male cat humps my arm when it is in a fleece dressing gown. He loves it and it substitutes having sex with a female cat. He was neutered when very young as is normal for rescue domestic cats.

He is also still territorial. He is still an aggressor to other cats who he likes to boss around. 

Some commenters say that cats gradually get used to not having testosterone in their bodies and will stop humping about 12 weeks after the operation.

This has not happened for my cat. He was neutered 5.5 years ago and he still humps my arm daily. It is as regular as that. Something more than testosterone is driving it.

Some say that when male cats are neutered at an older age they don't lose the desire to hump. Not so for me and my cat. As mentioned he was neutered at the earliest opportunity as directed by the cat rescue. This is about 8 weeks old.

Friday 12 March 2021

Shaggy Maine Coon caricature on cat exercise wheel

A characture of a Maine Coon - super-large with overly long fur
A caricature of a Maine Coon - super-large with overly long fur. Pic: Pinterest.

caricature of a Maine on a cat exercise wheel which he dwarfs because of his size. This is a strange and large cat looking like a shaggy Maine Coon. This cat looks like a lynx but it is not. The fur length is too long for a Maine Coon. The ear tufts are correct. The tufts of hair sticking out between the toes are correct but outrageously long. The cat is a characture of the real thing. A living cartoon character of a Maine Coon.

Apologies for misspelling caricature in the first attempt! Working too fast.

Here is the video. No doubt it will go wrong at some time in the future as they nearly always do. If it does not work try clicking on this link.

Tuesday 9 March 2021

Domestic cats perform circus tricks on America's Got Talent

What do you think about this? The cats are undeniably impressive. They are almost bound to be because domestic cats are so athletic. Training them is not that difficult as long as you have the patience and the commitment to see it through.

Trained cats perform tricks on America's Got Talent
Trained cats perform tricks on America's Got Talent. Screenshot.

On the downside, you could argue that it is not a great example of cat welfare. Although I don't know how much the cats dislike doing this. They probably actually quite like it or certainly do not dislike it. And when you train cats you have a very close connection to them which is good for both the cat and the person. And also when you train a cat to do these circus tricks they are challenged and fully occupied.

One of the great problems, I think, of modern day life for a domestic cat, particularly full-time indoor cats, is that they do not have enough to do. They are not challenged enough. Training them to do things, and it need not necessarily be circus tricks like we see in this video, is good for them.

That's the argument about training although nobody does it because it's too boring I guess for most cat owners. And some cat owners simply disapprove.

The point, though is that both the person and the cat are automatically trained in a good relationship. There is a lot of informal training going on and of course cats probably train their owners more than vice versa.

Arguably, all domestic cats need to be trained to live with people in their homes. They are self-trained very often. They learn by observation how to fit in.

The most basic form of training is to request your cat to come on a call. A lot of cats respond because they learn the sound of their name. It is a "command" which enhances their safety if they are outside cats. This basic training like all training is based on positive reinforcement. The cat comes because there is a reward at the end of it.

You can link a another sound to the sound of their name. Dr Bruce Fogle trained his cat Milly to come to him on calling her name. And at the same time he shook a pot of vitamin tablets that she craved. The shaking of the vitamin tablets in a container enhanced the command. It made it sharper and it made the command more recognisable. 

And after a while he dispensed with the name and shook the container to elicit the same response. That's a classic example of associating a sound with a call to the point where the original call is no longer required.

CATS! TALENTED Cats On America's Got Talent Are FELINE Good! | Amazing Auditions

Monday 8 March 2021

8 cat tense cat rescues provokes admiration for the rescuers

I am in awe of these people. The guy who is walking his dog and decides to swim across a canal fully clothed to rescue a cat perched on a pole on the opposite side. He didn't set out that afternoon to go for a swim in a canal in his clothes. He did it to save the cat and I suspect he did it without a second thought. And the cat disappears without a second thought as well!

8 cat tense cat rescues provokes admiration for the rescuers
8 cat tense cat rescues provokes admiration for the rescuers. Screenshot.

And the guy who climbed a tree to fetch down a cat. See the camera pointing down towards the ground. I don't have a head for heights and that viewpoint disturbs me! I certainly couldn't do this but he did it with a smile on his face. His patience was awesome. And when he came down he just said to the lady "You're welcome".

And what about the young woman who, without compunction, without thinking about it for more than a couple seconds, climbed into a roadside drain to fetch out a kitten because no doubt she heard the squeaks and squeals of this cute and vulnerable animal stuck down the drain. 

Perhaps the kitten was washed into that drain by a storm. This woman is kindhearted and brave. She has courage and I suspect that the majority of people would not do this. They simply wouldn't have wherewithall or courage and determination and commitment to attempt it. She did and I am in awe of her.

I stopped there on the video but please see it all. These are men and women who we have to admire. They have a sensitivity towards animals which is admirable. They take risks to save animals. On the face of it they are like anybody else but perhaps they are not. Perhaps they're more courageous. These are the people who should be rewarded with praise and recognition.

Sometimes it bugs me to see civil servants and politicians getting awards and recognition when really, in truth, the people who should get rewarded are those invisible and anonymous people at the bottom of the pile who grind out the days and years surviving and occasionally do wonderful things as you see in this video. It doesn't have to be a cat rescue or a dog rescue. It can be any other charitable deed.

Often these deeds go unrecognised. These are the people who should be rewarded by governments. They are the ones who should be on pedestals to be admired. Not the bullshitting, networking elite who never fall, never fail even if they do fail. They end up with a damn good pension and in the UK they end up in the House of Lords.

P.S. Meghan Markle likes to rescue animals. In her interview with Oprah Winfrey the Duchess added: "I just love rescuing". Her two dogs, Guy and Pula, are rescue dogs.

Cat revived from near-death by firefighter in Volgograd, Russia

This is a video that I missed when it was first aired on February 28, 2018. It is a dramatic cat rescue and it is quite hard to watch because the cat is clearly near the point of death having been pulled out of what appears to be an apartment fire which killed three people.

Cat revived from near-death by firefighter in Volgograd, Russia
 Cat revived from near-death by firefighter in Volgograd, Russia. Screenshot.

The cat appears to have been poisoned by inhaling smoke. We don't know whether the cat also suffered from heat exposure. Both smoke and heat can have long-term effects upon the health of an animal or a person.

We know that firefighters can suffer from heart attacks due to constant exposure to heat and of course we all know that people can die of suffocation in fires because of the smoke and fumes. Therefore, this cat's rescue is quite special. It is also nice to see firefighters attempting, often times successfully, to rescue companion animals from fires.

In these acts they are treating companion animals on an equal footing to human beings. Both are being rescued from a life threatening situation. The dedication to rescuing animals is the equal of the effort and dedication required to rescue the people. This is something that we should all strive for and which pleases me no end.

What is dramatic and harder look at is how the cat is near death and the firefighter administers heart massage, referred to as CPR, because it in addition to the heart massage he forces oxygen down the cat's throat. He does not use one of those special masks but does the best that he can with what equipment he has.

The cat revives but at one stage you think he's going to pass away. You can see this moment etched on his face. It's that close. He is on the cusp of life and death. He falls on the side of life. His owner is distraught. She is distressed and relieved at the same time. Starkly contrasting and conflicting emotions swill around her head.At the end, the cat looks noticeably better but the long-term prognosis might not be good. 

What of the smoke and carbon particles inside the cat's lungs. Will that cause health problems in the future? What would a veterinarian provide as a prognosis for this cat? And the heat may have damaged his heart as it does the heart of firefighters.

It's great to see his survival but I fear for his longevity.

PETA gives "Hero to Animals Award" to the Thai Navy

This is a quick follow-up to a story that went viral. The Thai Navy saved 4 cats from a sinking boat after the engine caught fire. The cats moved to the bow of the ship and the men got off and were rescued but the cats were left behind. In an act of great enlightenment and a delight to animal lovers the Thai Navy rescued all 4 cats. It was great to see animals given equal rights to humans under the circumstances.

PETA grants "Hero to Animals Award" to the Thai Navy for their rescue of 4 cats from a sinking boat.
PETA grants "Hero to Animals Award" to the Thai Navy for their rescue of 4 cats from
a sinking boat. Photo: Thai Navy.

It wasn't an easy rescue. It's quite hard to take hold of 4 cats on a large boat that has almost sunk and transport them across about 30 yards of water to the Navy's ship. It was quite a dangerous operation. The cats cooperated which indicates how frightened they must have been and they appear to have been appreciative of the rescue.

You can read about the story by clicking on this link.

The senior vice president of PETA, Jason Baker said:

PETA hopes that their example will inspire everyone to keep an eye out for animals in danger and do whatever it takes to get them to safety."

He also said that the sailors' courageous and compassionate actions made a big impact across the world. They certainly did. As mentioned, the news went viral. It indicates, by the way, that the average citizen in the average country really appreciates animal welfare. They want to see animals treated properly.

It is therefore always shocking to me that there is so much animal abuse in the world. It appears that there is a minority of people, perhaps a very small minority of people who abuse animals and exploit them. If that's true, surely it is not beyond the bounds of the imagination of humankind to tackle animal abuse more effectively by targeting these people.

Has there been a study on the kind of section of society where animal abuse takes place? I know that we can profile animal abusers. I just think more work needs to be done on targeting abusers. Society wants to see it happen. The viral story of the Thai Navy strongly indicates that people like to see animal rescue and therefore they want to see an improvement in animal welfare. Let's try and achieve that with a bit more purpose.

Sunday 7 March 2021

Can cats be piebald?

Yes, cats can be piebald. In fact, they are very common. They are referred to as 'bicolour cats' or cats with a 'solid-and-white' coat. But the cat below is not common. Not by any stretch of the imagination. This cat is amazing. I think this rare cat is a piebald but a rare pattern.

Unusual bicolor cat
Very unusual, in fact strange, piebald coat. Photo: Facebook

The word piebald is an amalgam of 'pie' from magpie (a black-and-white i.e. two coloured bird) and 'bald' meaning a bald or white patch.

Unsurprisingly the gene that causes the piebald or bicolor coat is called the piebald gene. It is also referred to as the white spotting gene.

People ask if cats can be piebald because we are far more familiar with the word being used to describe a horse. You'll see the piebald coat pattern on many animals including dogs too.

The location of the white fur and how it migrates during development of the cat in the womb is governed by the piebald gene and how it operates on the migration of the melanoblasts from the neural crest to paired bilateral locations in the skin of the embryo.

Strange bicolor cat
Strange bicolor cat. Photo: Facebook

Sometimes the gene causes cats to be deaf and sometimes one eye may also have no pigment in the iris causing it to be blue. Blue eyes are caused by white light refraction and not pigmentation.

There is an amazing mainly white bicolour cat on the internet (see photo above). I have just written about her. She is very rare. But she is a piebald cat in my opinion although the pattern is incredibly unusual. There may be a polygene effect (multi-genes working together).

Black and white cat - a piebald cat
This is my late female cat.  A black-and-white. I loved her deeply.
Photo: MikeB

The coat looks genuine by which I mean the photo is not edited or the cat is not dyed. Yes, some people do dye their cats to make waves on social media.

Australians: 'We need more responsible cat ownership'. True?

This neat little audio presentation gives us a snapshot insight into cat ownership in Australia. But it depends on the state of Autralia where you live. Nontheless the domestic cat is less popular than dogs in Australia and the feral cat takes a bashing almost daily as it kills precious Australia native species. Of course there'd be no feral cats if there was better cat ownership. 

Aussie feral cat with ear tipping
Aussie feral cat with ear tipping. Image in public domain. All feral cats originate in
domestic cats.

There is an ongoing debate about how to reduce predation by outside domestic cats and feral cats on native species. This particular discussion is about controlling domestic cats. The authorities have already decided to kill as many feral cats as possible. Cruel? Yes. TNR would be more humane but impractical as the problem has gone on for too long.

There is a real possibility that an Australian state will introduce a leash law for cats. The authrorities are struggling with the best way to manage indoor/outdoor domestic cats.

The ideas mooted are such schemes as nighttime curfews which keep domestic cats indoors between the evening and the next morning. This would prevent a lot of domestic cat predation and drive them mad as they like to hunt at dawn and dusk. 

Introducing this sort of restriction after a cat has had years of going out at will would be problematic for the cat and therefore also for the owner. It would be chaos actually if the cat was a keen hunter.

Leashes are another possibility but it is hell trying to get domestic cats to walk on a leash. They tend to flop over onto their side! This is a reflex response. If you get them to walk they'll stop all the time.

Obligatory enclosures is another idea but it forces home owners to fork out high costs and a lot of cat owners rent and they won't have the permission under the lease or agreement to build an enclosure.

It is a tricky subject: stopping domestic cats killing wild animals. Historically domestic cats have enjoyed complete freedom outside and legally they can't be done for tresspass. This feline right to freedom might change in Australia as the pressure builds to protect small native mammals and birds.

Mycotoxins in extruded (dry) commercial cat food

There is a fairly recent study called: Occurrence of Mycotoxins in Extruded Commercial Cat Food, which supports the news media story of 28 dogs in the US dying of aflatoxin poisoning (late Dec 2020). Aflatoxins fall under the umbrella term 'mycotoxins'. 

Fungal spores
Fungal spores. This is to illustrate the page only. Image: in the public domain.

Both highlight a hidden danger in dry cat food which is rarely discussed: the presence of this fungal (mould) toxin produced by the Aspergillus flavus mould. There are other species of mould which also metabolise into mycotoxins.

The underlying point is that extruded dry cat food has grain in it. The mould referred to feeds on these grains which is why it ends up in cat and dog food. Why is grain in cat food? Because it is cheaper despite cats being obligate carnivores. 

It seems that poor quality grain is sometimes bought by the smaller pet food manufacturers which perhaps increases the risk. 

Two scientific studies that I have read indicate to me that there can be worrying levels of these toxins in dry cat food. One study analysed foods from Poland, Italy, Brazil, Poland, South Africa and Austria. Not the USA. 

But they concluded the following:

The results from the present study showed that mycotoxin contamination represents a critical point for pet food safety. Certainly, given the high stability of mycotoxins through the cooking process used to produce dry pet food, scrupulous monitoring of incoming ingredients undoubtedly represents the most effective strategy to prevent mycotoxin contamination.


Pets are traditionally fed with the same type of diet for long periods of their life. Therefore, the scientific community should be aware of the potential chronic exposure of dogs and cats to relatively low levels of different mycotoxins and the consequential detrimental risks to their health.

The toxin is very dangerous. It seems that there is an ever-present possibility that they will be present in dry cat and dog food. It is simply a question on the level of contamination. If it is low there is low-level poisoning which would go unnoticed.

When the contamination is high it can kill as evidenced in the Sportmix dog food recall scandal in which 28 dogs have died. This figure may climb. 

The purpose of this post? To educated cat owners about a hidden potential danger.

The toxin damages the liver causing jaundice, lethargy, vomiting and loss of appetite. It can kill.

Prevention? Buy the best quality food that you can. Avoid the smaller manufacturers. I buy Hills Oral Care as the kibble pellets are larger which helps with teeth cleaning and it makes him chew the things. Cats sometimes swallow small pellets whole. Not good for digestion.

The study referred to is published on the US National Library of Medicine - National Institutes of Health website.

Dog Food Recall:

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is cooperating in the recall. Sportmix is based in Evansville, USA, as I understand it.

Recalled lot codes are as follows:

50# Sportmix Energy Plus Lots Exp 03/02/22/05/L2, 03/02/22/05/L3, 03/03/22/05/L2
44# Sportmix Energy Plus Lots 03/02/22/05/L3
50# Sportmix Premium High Energy Lots 03/03/22/05/L3
44# Sportmix Premium High Energy Lots 03/03/22/05/L3
31# Sportmix Original Cat Lots 03/03/22/05/L3
15# Sportmix Original Cat Lots 03/03/22/05/L2, 03/03/22/05/L3

Saturday 6 March 2021

Cat and dog Covid vaccine given to orangutan at San Diego Zoo

This is a quick note to record the fact that San Diego Zoo has vaccinated 9 apes, one of them an orangutan named Karen, against Covid-19. The connection to cats is that the vaccine was developed by Zoetis with cats and dogs in mind.

Karen an organgutan first non-human primate to be vaccinated against Covid-19
Karen an organgutan first non-human primate to be vaccinated against Covid-19.
Photo: San Diego Zoo.

The reason for the vaccinations? Their lowland gorillas caught the virus. There is a discussion about the potential for animals to form a reservoir for the virus. This is the first time non-human primates have been vaccinated for this virus.

All nine apes have had both doses. No adverse side-affects have been noted. A 49-year-old silverback gorilla got the virus last month and suffered from pneumonia. He's recovering after receiving experimental antibody treatment. Eight other gorillas are also recovering after falling ill.

Karen is a Sumatran orangutan born at the zoo on 27 August 1994. She is the first orangutan to have open heart surgery.

Did cats domesticate themselves?

It claimed that 'cats domesticated themselves'. But what does it mean? Firstly the statement should be amended to read, 'wildcats domesticated themselves'. That makes more sense and is more precise.

The cat domesticated itself?
The cat domesticated itself? This is a European wildcat. The African-Asia version
of this wild cat species allowed themselves to be domesticated around 10,000
years ago but they did not 'domesticate themselves' in my opinion. Photo: Creative Commons
license on Flickr.

Specifically the African-Asian wildcat domesticated itself. But I am unsure if this is correct. The process of domestication takes two parties: the animal and the human. They play at least an equal role and perhaps in this instance the human played the major role.

What it means is that wild cats liked to be around farmers' grain stores about 10,000 years ago because there were hordes mice and other rodents there providing a supply of food. It was very attractive to a wild cat and it still is.

You'll still see wild cats near human settlements in Africa which is why they become hybrids having matted with domestic or semi-domestic cats.

Anyway because the cats willingly came to the farmers and hung around allowing the humans to get to know them it is said that the cats domesticated themselves. 

The better description would be that they allowed themselves to be domesticated as a consequence of being in contact with people. And of course the people desired that wild cat domestication. A two-way process.

The leader in the process must be the human. It is still the same now in the human-domestic cat relationship. The human leads and largely dictates the terms of the friendship.

Although there is a large amount of training that goes on by the domestic cat of the human. It is a gradual, informal version of training but equally effective but it once again relies on the agreement and cooperation of the owner.

Friday 5 March 2021

Do male cats mate with their siblings?

Yes, male cats do sometimes mate with their siblings. They are not choosy it seems. Neither are the females as they will mate with a series of males such that their litter might have different fathers. But it depends on the opportunity and the personality of the cat. 

Cat mating on a car's hood (bonnet in the UK)
Forgive the rudeness of the photo. Cat mating on  a car's hood (bonnet in the UK).
Photo: in the public domain.

Male domestic cats are often neutered as are female cats. And male cats arrive to mate with a female in heat and then disappear as they are solitary animals. Except when they are forced to live cheek by jowl for example in a rescue setting where many cats live in the same home of perhaps a cat rescuer who has turned into a hoarder.

I remember seeing a photograph of about fifty white cats in one home. Clearly the parents had procreated and the male had mated with some of the offspring on a regular basis to create this huge colony of lookalike cats stuffed into the tiny kitchen looking for their dinner.

And there is that well-known picture of a Japanese island famous for its cat colony. There are hundreds of ginger tabbies or that is the impression. They family has inbred for donkey's years to create this massive family of orgiastic felines going at it from one year to the next.

Japanese island colony of look alike ginger tabby cats
Japanese island colony of look alike ginger tabby cats. Photo: public domain.

The thing is you don't read about it in the books on cats. It seems that the top writers on cats don't like to write about it.

Notwithstanding the apparent reluctance to write about cat orgies, Dr Desmond Morris in his book Catwatching states that a single breeding pair of domestic cats can procreate their way to a staggering 65,000 cats in five years, at least in theory because many die. The calculation is based on the presumption that males and females are born in equal numbers and that they all start breeding when they are a year old.

Kittens can grow into unneutered adults who are content to mate with their mothers. The males desire to mate due to their testosterone is not concerned with the finer points of life. Their mother is another female to mate with. A friend of mine tried to get his male white Persian to mate with his mother. The male was entirely disinterested. Is that a personality trait issue?

Thursday 4 March 2021

Austin City Council could vote to ban the declawing of cats

Austin City Council could vote to ban the declawing of cats. The video on this page says more or less all you need to know but I'll add something. Austin could follow 9 other cities who've banned declawing (and did so some time ago), 8 of which are in California (Los Angeles, San Francisco, West Hollywood, Burbank, Santa Monica, Berkeley, Beverly Hills, and Culver City) and the 9th is Denver in Colorado. New York State banned declawing a little while ago. Large parts of Canada have banned declawing. 

Anti-declawing poster
Anti-declawing poster by Ruth aka Kattaddorra.

The first part of the news bulletin is on a different topic to declawing cat but the section on declawing is useful. They mention the pain it causes. It is one of the most painful veterinary operations. It is 10 amputations as you might know by now and there is no medical or other benefit for the cat. In fact the operation is very detrimental to the health and welfare of the domestic cat or kitten. Yes they put young kittens through it. Can you imagine the cruelty of it? A kitten looking for love and care from their human companion and all they get is hell and piles of pain. Not a good look

Declawing only takes place in North America and the USA is by far the biggest perpetrator. I think America is a great country but declawing is a horrible blind spot. It is a nasty stain on the character of the country. It tells us that millions of Americans simply do not have a good relationship with their cat companion. They don't have true empathy and sympathy for their cat. They are insensitive to their cat's wellbeing and welfare. 

I can say those things with confidence because no one with a grain of sensitivity towards their cat's welfare would put them through the brutal declawing operation for what they believe is their exclusive benefit. But it is a fallacy that cat owners benefit. They think they do because they can't be scratched. But declawed cats compensate by biting more. And their cat may be in pain for a long time or indefinitely. This may change their character for the worse. They may avoid the litter tray and urinate on the carpet. See what I mean?

For outsiders it looks completely bonkers. It looks like a crime to Europeans if they thought about it and it is a crime by the way. If a vet did it in the UK, they'd end up in prison! But a lot of Europeans hardly know about it. It would never occur to them. It is alien to them. So alien they don't think of it.

Yet for millions of Americans it is one of the first things they think of when they adopt a poor kitten. And the vet does it on request even though in doing so he is in complete breach of his oath to do no harm.

I just can't get my head around it. My message to people who want to declaw their cat: you do realise that cats walk on their toes and the declaw operation removes the end of each toe of the forepaws. Think about it: how would you like it if someone cut off the tops of each of your toes? You'd struggle to walk and humans are not digitigrades.

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