Friday 30 April 2021

A hint of Harrison Ford in the face of Nutmeg the then oldest cat who died at 32

The snarl on Nutmeg's face is one aspect of it which provides me with a hint of Harrison Ford but perhaps my imagination is running riot. The photograph was taken when he was 31 but he lived for an extra year, approximately, dying at the ripe old age of 32. He died of heart failure after being taken to a veterinarian with breathing difficulties. His death was reported in the news media on 14 September 2017. His owners were Liz and Ian Finlay of Gateshead, Tyne & Wear, UK. The Harrison Ford snarl is probably dye to teeth issues!

A hint of Harrison Ford in the face of Nutmeg the then oldest cat who died at 32
 A hint of Harrison Ford in the face of Nutmeg the then oldest cat who died at 32. Photo: Reddit.

Mrs Finlay said at the time: "I feel as though my heart has been ripped out. He was a huge character who was dearly loved."

Cats are living longer thanks to better medical care, better nutrition and better monitoring of cat welfare although of course these benefits are not universal. It depends where you live and it depends upon how good the cat caretaker is. Nutmeg's age was actually estimated because he was adopted as a stray and taken to Cat Protection who estimated his then age as five based upon the condition of his teeth. Mr Mrs Finlay owned him for a further 27 years.

You probably know that the oldest domestic cat ever was Creme Puff who died on August 16, 2005, 38 years and three days after his birth. She lived in Austin Texas with his owner, Jake Perry. The approximate average for a domestic cat is about 15 to perhaps 18 years.

Note: videos on this site are typically made by people other than me and held on YouTube servers or the servers of other businesses (not the server storing this website). Sometimes the videos are deleted at source which stops them working on this site. If that has happened, I apologise but I have no control over it.

Pet puma kept in a one-roomed apartment in Moscow

MOSCOW, RUSSIA-NEWS AND VIEWS: It is reported by that the owner of a one-room apartment bought a mountain lion because he was getting bored. He lives in the south-west of Moscow. He calls the cat Hercules. We are told that the two have bonded. He likes the attention that he attracts to himself when he takes his mountain lion for a walk. 

Pet puma kept in a one-roomed apartment in Moscow
Pet puma kept in a one-roomed apartment in Moscow

He has become a local celebrity in the area. Some passers-by admire it and are in awe of a puma on a lead but not everyone is happy including a pop singer and reality television show contestant Vika Daineko who is shocked. 

The man walks his large, domesticated wild cat across the way from her apartment. She wants the man and his cat banned from the area and is in the process of collecting signatures on a petition to achieve that goal. She is also going to take legal action it is reported. She is scared for the area's children.

The Russians like their cats. There are some amazing cat breeders in Russia. They do take cat breeding to a fine art with certain breeds such as the Maine Coon and the hairless cats.

Note: videos on this site are typically made by people other than me and held on YouTube servers or the servers of other businesses (not the server storing this website). Sometimes the videos are deleted at source which stops them working on this site. If that has happened I apologise but I have no control over it.

You do not have to be an animal advocate to see the unsuitability of this arrangement. Some people might say that if the puma was about to be euthanized then the man is doing a favour and improving cat welfare but that is unlikely to be the reason why he ended up with this mountain lion. He says he was bored so be adopted one to alleviate the boredom; but the problem is wider than that.

It is also about the local authorities and a lack of oversight. The authorities should have prevented this happening. It would appear that you don't need a licence to adopt a large wild cat in Russua; an exotic animal and one unsuited to flat dwelling.

In the UK you would have to apply for a licence and demonstrate that you have the ability to look after a mountain lion and that you have the right facilities. There would be inspections of paperwork and facilities if they granted a licence. In this instance, if this man had applied for a licence in the UK it would have been rejected, quite obviously. Therefore, I'm back to my original point which is that the authorities are ultimately to blame for a lax attitude leading to this unsatisfactory arrangement.

I don't like to see it happening. How did this mountain lion get into Russia in the first place? Who imported the animal? It must have been imported because there are no mountain lions in Russia. It must come from America. Perhaps it belonged to a zoo or there is somebody in America exporting mountain lions to Russia. If that is happening then there is a lax attitude in America towards the exportation of wild cat species such as this puma. A lot of this is to do with the law, the enforcement of the law or the lack of both. Those are the root causes of this problem.

Cat-eye thread lifts have gone viral on Instagram but is it a good thing?

Instagram influencers in conjunction with high profile female celebrities such as the model Bella Hadid and the Kardashian sisters are fuelling a viral trend which is encouraging followers - of which there are millions - to go for a "cat-eye thread lift". So what is it? You may well know if you are one of those Instagram followers but to many people they will be a mystery. 

My cat with upward slopping eyes (slightly). Photo: MikeB.

Bella Hadid with cat eyes. Are they genuine? Photo: Getty.

It is a minimally invasive plastic surgery operation in which a dissolvable thread is placed under the skin in the corner of the eye which allows the surgeon to lift up the area at the corner of the eye to give the appearance of a cat eye.

For me, having some knowledge about the domestic cat, there is a weakness in this because not all cats have eyes with slope upwards at the outer edges. I think that it is a false presumption to say that they do. Some do, like my cat but others don't like the famous Persian cat or the shorthaired version, the Exotic shorthair which you see below.

The round eyes of an Exotic SH. These eyes don't slow upwards at the outer edges. Photo: Instagram.

The same applies to many other purebred cats which are known for their big round orbit-like eyes. These are meant to mimic the eyes of a baby and therefore there is no way that they can be like the eyes of a cat. 

Also, it is said that you can achieve a similar result by shaping your eyebrow and drawing an eyebrow in. That's a good idea I would have thought. It should be added, by the way, that domestic cats don't have eyebrows which also kinda undermines the analogy of having the eyes of a cat.

Also, there is an underlying problem to all of this which is that it is not mentally healthy, if we are honest, to encourage young women and teenagers to focus too heavily on their appearance. It is not mentally healthy for these teenagers to try and do the impossible anatomically. 

I say that with respect because a lot of these photographs on social media are digitally manipulated for a start off. And if they aren't there may be lots of professional make up and in any case a cat-eye thread lift is not a great thing for a young girl to desire. I would much rather they learn to love themselves, to boost their self-esteem without resorting to artificial and invasive methods which are only temporary anyway.

This minor operation fades after a few months because the thread is meant to dissolve. So what happens when your face goes back to the way it was? You might become depressed and have do it again so how much does it cost? What it might cost about $1000 in America. So where does a young woman find that on a limited budget? Another reason why she is liable to become anxious. Anxiety can lead to depression and stress. You can see where I'm going to.

My attention immediately is drawn to that wonderful icon of beauty, Brigitte Bardot. She said that she gave her life to men when she was in her beautiful prime and now that she is in the autumn of her life she gives her life to animals and their welfare. 

Brigitte Bardot. Photo in public domain (believed).

And, I believe that she has never had plastic surgery. Her face is lined and she's put on some weight which is typical of a woman of her age. However, she is still beautiful. Her beauty is in her character, her attitude and her love for animals and no longer in her physical appearance. 

She battles against the authorities sometimes and perhaps other residents in her neighbourhood in striving to improve the lives of animals. I admire her tremendously and I hope that many others do. She deserves it.

All teenagers should look to her for inspiration and not the Kardashian sisters or Bella Hadid.

Alec Baldwin and wife Hilaria buy a Bengal cat for daughter Carmen

NEWS AND VIEWS: So what is the big deal about the title to this post? Carmen, the Baldwin's daughter expressed a wish to adopt a cat companion from the age of 2. The trouble with satisfying that perfectly good request is that Alec Baldwin is allergic to cats we are told by his wife Hilaria. So they had a dilemma. Another dilemma that they had is that Hilaria and Alec Baldwin speak up for animal rights and support PETA.

Alec Baldwin and wife Hilaria by Bengal cat for daughter Carmen
Alec Baldwin and wife Hilaria by Bengal cat for daughter Carmen. Photo: Twitter.

They probably discussed, quite extensively, adopting a rescue cat from a rescue organisation as this would support PETA and support the idea that if people want a new cat they should always go to a rescue centre first. 

But the cat allergy problem scuppered that objective, they thought. So they decided to buy a Bengal cat from a breeder. Hilaria, we are told, did a lot of research and discovered that the Bengal cat is hypoallergenic meaning that the cat does not produce the allergen, or produces less of the allergen Fel D 1, which is a protein in a domestic cat's saliva which causes the allergic reaction in 10% of the population.

I suspect that the research included a discussion with a cat breeder of Bengal cats and the breeder wanted to promote her cattery so she convinced them that Bengal cats do not contain this allergen. I'm afraid they were misled if that is a true assessment. Bengal cats are not hypoallergenic. No domestic cat is in fact. 

They gave a false reason for buying a Bengal cat rather than adopting a rescue cat, which is that Alec Baldwin is allergic to cats and therefore they were forced to go down the route that they did. Note: they knew that all rescue cats will not be hypoallergenic but they did not realise that all purebred cats are the same notwithstanding what the breeders say.

PETA are annoyed but polite because they emphasised that the Baldwins have always supported them and do good in terms of animal welfare. But they say that they have inadvertently encouraged people to purchase a purebred cat rather than adopt a rescue and possibly save that cat's life from euthanasia at a rescue centre.

Perhaps the point of the story is that the Baldwins could have found a better route to compromise. The research should have thrown up the information that Purina have made a dry cat food which masks or suppresses the feline allergen that I mention above. It is called LiveClear and it is on the shelves at the moment. The reviews are pretty good and it seems to me that it works at least well enough to help control the problem.

And there are other ways to manage having a cat companion if you are allergic to them. Quite a lot of people who love cats are allergic to them but they find a way around the problem. An alternative to what I mentioned might have been to adopt a rescue Bengal cat. There are some unwanted Bengal cats out there at rescue centres and with certain organisations such as Purebred Cat Rescue. Her research should have led her to these sorts of organisations and to the Purina food.

I suspect, therefore, that Carmen expressed a strong desire to adopt a Bengal cat and therefore they could not get around that problem. And perhaps she wanted a kitten as well. Most of the rescue animals at shelters are adults.

Therefore, I have to reluctantly conclude that the Baldwins used a false reason for purchasing a Bengal cat but we don't know the full story behind it. I am speculating. There is one final point in that the higher filial wildcat hybrids are a little bit difficult to live with in my opinion and a lot of people don't prepare themselves for it. Although, I suspect that the kitten in the photograph on this page is probably an F5 Bengal cat. I hope so because if he is he will be very much like a typical domestic cat because the wild cat component is a very small percentage of the cat's DNA.

Thursday 29 April 2021

Terrifying moment Siberian tiger in China rams into car and knocks over farm worker

This video confirms that the Siberian tiger exists in China. If it does exist in China it has to be right up at the north-eastern tip of China near Vladivostok in Russia. The specialists are not sure if this tiger had wandered across from Russia because the area above Vladivostok is the prime area where the Siberian Tiger is found. There is a very precarious popution of Siberian tigers of around 540 as at 2017. But this will be an estimate. It might be inaccurate. Politically they want the number to be climbing. I don't believe we can trust the figure.

Terrifying moment Siberian tiger in China rams into car and knocks over farm worker
Terrifying moment Siberian tiger in China rams into car and knocks over farm worker. Screenshot.

This was an interesting story because this large Siberian tiger was on the rampage in a village and you get that distinct impression in the video. The people who encountered the tiger were terrified. The animal saunters across a field and attacks a woman farmworker, Li Chunxiang, but simply knocks her down and then carries on rather unusually it seems to me. Sh said she was dumbfounded. 

Shattered glass of drivers side window caused by charging Siberian tiger in northeast China
Shattered glass of drivers side window caused by charging Siberian tiger in northeast China

Then the tiger charges at a car which tries to get away but the tiger rams into the window with, I presume, it's face, breaking the glass. Perhaps the tiger wanted to attack the driver behind the glass and did not see the glass. I suspect the tiger hurt itself slightly, at least.

The tiger was eventually captured after about 12 hours of causing mayhem in this village by darting it with a tranquilliser. It was tracked with a drone (see photo above). The Chinese specialists were going to check out the animal's DNA and do other research on the tiger before, I presume, releasing it.

Note: videos on this site are typically made by people other than me and held on YouTube servers or the servers of other businesses (not the server storing this website). Sometimes the videos are deleted at source which stops them working on this site. If that has happened I apologise but I have no control over it.

I have another page on this which you can read by clicking this link.

The secret footage of the N.R.A chief's botched elephant hunt

I have written about this on another website so I won't repeat myself. In any case there is a video to watch and my thanks to The New Yorker. I have not watched the video. I can't watch this sort of video not because I'm squeamish, far from it, but because I don't think it is good psychologically to watch these sorts of videos. The images tend to stick in my mind and they return to me in idle moments which is upsetting.

LaPierre the NRA chief stands over the elephant he so inepty tried to shoot dead
LaPierre the NRA chief stands over the elephant he so inepty tried to shoot dead. Screenshot.

Wayne LaPierre is the name of the man that you see in the video trying to shoot this bush elephant which he fails to do despite trying several times. One of the other people there, a guide, actually dispatches the elephant because this inept, hopelessly inadequate man cannot even do that successfully.

On his watch, the NRA has descended into apparent chaos with claims against embezzlement by executives and the organisation has filed for voluntary bankruptcy as I understand it. This video was meant to promote the NRA but it was never aired because, I guess, it is a complete disaster and so embarrassing that they tried to bury it. However, The New Yorker got their hands on it and they allow people to embed the video into their websites.

Please remember, though, that embedded videos are held on other websites and therefore they are out of my control. If somebody deletes it on the server then it will stop working on this website.

The NRA vigourously lobbies the US government to maintain the proliferation of guns in America which results in the country having an abnormally high homicide rate by guns, almost the highest in the world which, as well, must be embarrassing to the government. And that habit of keeping guns and that attraction to guns spils over into trophy and sport hunting which is what you see in the video.

The NRA promote sport hunting. They do their best to keep it running and it is gradually dawning on people including Africans living in Africa who are in authority that it is not a means of conservation of wild species as they constantly proclaim to the world but it achieves the opposite, it gradually decimates these iconic species.

The decline in the elephant population in Africa is shocking and the same goes for lions and other iconic species. But the trophy hunters in America still come to Africa to shoot them for their entertainment and of course they do so with the cooperation of the governments of the nations of Africa including Botswana which is where this video was made (Botswana’s Okavango Delta).

They say that the heavy expenses of getting a licence to shoot one of these animals in Africa goes to supporting conservation but it is highly unlikely because most of that money goes in the pocket of corrupt officials. We all know that. There is no point in the NRA or corrupt officials in Africa trying to pull the wool over our eyes about this.

The sport hunters of the world normally come from America, Russia and the UK and perhaps Germany. Everyone of these people should be ashamed of themselves. LaPierre has been laughed at by animal advocates but with a sense of horror. The video elicits a sense of horror, shame and demoralisation in those people who want to genuinely save the iconic African wild animals.

The straight answer about the Scottish Straight cat

I am going to be quite blunt. I think, however, I am being fair. The Scottish Straight is a normal-eared Scottish Fold. And because the Scottish Fold is a normal-looking cat except for the ears which are folded to the skull, the Scottish Straight looks like any other cat including random bred cats. 

The Scottish Straight has lost the only thing which distinguishes the Scottish Fold from all other cats and because of that I don't see the point of trying to sell them to customers. The Scottish Straight is an accident or perhaps they are better described as an inconvenience because they have to be bred in order for the Scottish Fold to be healthy.

Scottish Straight kitten
Scottish Straight kitten. Photo and breeder: Елена Тюкачева.

This is because breeders have to outcross to a non-folded eared cat when creating litters of Scottish fold cats. They cannot create homozygous cats because when you do that the genetic mutation creates abnormalities in other parts of the body such as the vertebrae and the feet. 

The cat has abnormalities which seriously affects their health and well-being. The only way to avoid this is to create heterozygous cats and when you do that half the litter have folded ears (they actually develop later as kittens are not born with these folded ears) and the other half have normal ears. It is these normal-eared cats which are called Scottish Straight cats.

I don't want to be nasty or critical of people who genuinely are trying to do their best. I'm referring to cat breeders of the Scottish Fold which is currently quite a popular cat thanks to celebrities such as Taylor Swift who likes to carry her Scottish Fold around like a handbag. That is another thing which I disagree with by the way but once again I don't want to be critical because it seems to be fashionable.

The trouble is that there is a big questionmark about the morality or ethics of breeding Scottish Fold cats. This is probably a tiresome topic to many people. As soon as you bring up morality and ethics people tend to yawn and turn off. I understand that but cat breeders have a duty of care towards their cats and if their cats have an inherent health issue they will struggle to discharge that responsibility. The breeding process becomes flawed. It becomes impossible to behave entirely morally which begs the question whether the Scottish Fold breed should exist in the first place.

Silver classic tabby Scottish Fold kitten with a WOW appearance. Photo and breeder: Oksana Mazai.

In Germany, as you may know by now, they ban this sort of cat breed because they describe the breeding process as "torture breeding". They categorise other cat breeds in the same way such as the Persian because that cat is born with inherited health issues such as difficulty breathing and tear duct overflow and a high percentage of Persian cats have polycystic kidney disease.

So the moral of this story is: the Scottish Fold shouldn't exist (and neither would the straight variant either)! The cat fancy is ambivalent about this breed of cat and other cats with similar inherited diseases. Some associations accept them and some don't. The World Cat Federation is the cat Association to which Russian breeders are normally affiliated including The International Cat Association. The World Cat Federation accepts the inherent problems of the Scottish Fold which is why on Facebook Russian breeders of this cat advertise for sale Scottish Straight cats.

Wednesday 28 April 2021

Cats and dogs have been as important as human family members during the pandemic

A survey conducted online about the human-to-cat (and dog) relationship threw up the following information. The survey was conducted by the dog and cat well-being business Paws Group.

  • 70% of dog and cat owners believe that their companion animal helped them with their mental health during lockdowns during the Covid-19 pandemic;
  • 70% of children also benefited, according to their parents, from living with a dog or cat during the Covid-19 restrictions:
  • 61% of owners used their companion animal for comfort during the pandemic;
  • Of those cat and dog owners who are married or living with a partner, 67% said that their companion animal was just as important for their well-being as their human partner;
  • 49% agreed that talking to their dog or cat is easier than talking to a human family member;
  • 47% felt that their cat or dog might suffer from separation anxiety when the lockdowns end;
  • 38% agreed that they would like to take their cat or dog to work in the future (I guess this has come about because they have had much more time with their companion animal working from home under the coronavirus restrictions).

Comment: for me, the results are expected and perhaps predictable. To other people they might not be, particularly the statistic about it being easier to talk to a cat or dog than a human partner. Or perhaps, on reflection, it isn't unexpected when you think about it!

Cats and dogs have been more important than human family members during the pandemic?
Cats and dogs have been more important than human family members during the pandemic? Photo: Pixabay.

One of the perennial sayings from companion animal owners is that they love their companion animals unconditionally. It seems that they can pour more love into an animal than they can a person. And the love is reciprocated or that is they way feel. The love is purer, therefore, than perhaps a typical human-to-human relationship.

We also know of the very many search projects which confirm time and again that children benefit enormously from a relationship with an animal, particularly children with conditions such as ADHD and autism. You don't have to go far in your search on the Internet to find the truth in that statement.

The pandemic lockdowns have brought people nearer to their companion animals which is a good thing. However, the consequences of these lockdowns is not all good with respect to the health and welfare of these animals. There have been a lot of fresh adoptions by arguably unprepared new companion animal guardians who perhaps don't have quite the right mindset to take on the responsibility of looking after their animal for the life of the animal.

It almost seems that they wanted to adopt a cat or dog to see them through the pandemic and after that, when they go back to their offices, they intend to relinquish their pet either in an online sale or via a rescue centre. That paints a rather negative picture but there have been many reports from cat rescue organisations who have expressed this fear.

How do I know if my cat has a cold?

This is an easy question to answer, at least at a fundamental level, because the symptoms of a cat cold are very similar to those of a human cold. Veterinarians call cat colds "upper respiratory infections" or URIs. So you only have to think about people when they are suffering from a cold to recognise one in your cat. Remember, though, that cats cannot catch colds from us and vice versa because the viruses that cause cat colds are not zoonotic.

How do I know if my cat has a cold?
 How do I know if my cat has a cold? Recuperating. Photo: Pixabay.

So what are the symptoms? Well the symptoms from the herpesvirus last from 2 to 4 weeks and include sneezing and a discharge from the nose. There may be conjunctivitis in the eyes (pink eye) which is a secondary bacterial infection and possibly corneal ulcers if the disease is untreated. There might be drooling from the mouth and a fever. Pneumonia is rare from this disease and your cat is likely to be lethargic.

The symptoms from another well known virus causing cat colds, namely the calicivirus, includes a discharge from the nose, a discharge from the eyes, chronic gingivitis, ulcers of the mouth, fever (sometimes), pneumonia (common), lethargy (mild) and lameness.

I have mentioned the two major viral groups which are responsible for the majority of clinical upper respiratory infections in cats (80% to 90%). There are considerable variations in the severity of the illness. Some cats have mild symptoms while others have rapidly progressing severe symptoms which can sometimes lead to death. What percentage of cats have herpes?

Antibiotics can deal with any secondary bacterial infections such as conjunctivitis. As for the viral component of the disease, the patient should be rested and the atmosphere humidified. The patient should be confined to a warm room with a vaporiser. Eating and drinking should be encouraged because dehydration and anorexia can weaken a cat. 

Highly palatable foods with a strong smell should be provided. You can dilute with water. Supplemental fluids can be given using a syringe (ask your veterinarian about this or look it up on the Internet). Once your cat begins to eat and drink again the worst of the disease is over.

It is advised to wash and disinfect bedding, bowls, cages and other items that the patient comes into contact with to prevent a spread of the disease to any other cat in the home. Human caretakers can also be part of the spreading process and therefore they should change their clothing, wear disposable shoe covers and wash their hands frequently.

There is no substitute for asking a properly qualified veterinarian for advice but on recognising a cold in a cat, think about people and the symptoms that they display under the same circumstances.

Does your cat circle the food bowl as if scavenging from a dead animal?

Perhaps my cat is unusual but I don't think he is. There is one aspect of him which is a little unusual in that he was raised for the first six or so weeks of his life as a feral cat by his mother in the urban environment of West London. Therefore perhaps he has a little bit more of the wild in him than is typical of domestic cats. 

Does your cat circle the food bowl as if scavenging from a dead animal?
Picture: MikeB. He behaves like a North African wildcat.

Nonetheless, he sometimes likes to circle a food bowl when I put the food down as if he is gingerly and cautiously approaching the carcass of an animal that he has found in the wild and which he wants to scavenge from. He is unsure about food in the bowl even though he has been fed it countless times before. He sniffs the food carefully before consuming it. This is also part of an instinctively cautious approach to feeding which must be a throwback to his wild cat ancestor, the North African wild cat.

It is another reminder that domestic cats are a whisker away from their wild ancestor. Doctor John Bradshaw says that one of the big differences between domestic cats and domestic dogs is that dogs are more fully domesticated. And they've been domesticated for far longer than cats.

It is estimated that dogs have been domesticated for around 20,000 years although the experts are unsure. In contrast, it is believed that cats have been domesticated for half that time at around 10,000 years.

Can we speculate and argue that in a further 10,000 years domestic cats will be behaving more like dogs!? It is highly plausible. Domestic cats are on a road of domestication. It is an ongoing process. The journey is not over and I would expect the character and behaviour of the domestic cat to evolve through future domestication to one which is quite different to today.

Tuesday 27 April 2021

Man feeds the cat of the woman he raped and strangled to death

NEWS AND VIEWS-TURKEY: Allegedly a man fed the cat of the woman that he had raped and strangled to death before waving to security cameras as he left her apartment.

Photos: Newsflash.

Eray Hakver, 24, met his girlfriend Cennet Tuba Tokbas, 22 (see above) , at her apartment in the Turkish province of Denizli on November 10 last year. They dated for two months. They were having sex when he allegedly choked her to death. It is then reported that he fed her cat and left. He then called his mother to tell her that the woman might be dead. She was a final year art student at the Pamukkale University.

His mother called the police and reported her son. He repeated what he told his mother to the police. He said that she did not resist. His DNA was found under the woman's fingernails which suggested that the woman had tried to fight back in contrast to what he said.

Investigators believe that it was a planned attack because of his calm demeanour throughout. It's alleged that he is pretending that it was an accident during a sex game that went wrong. There are calls for him to be imprisoned for life and he is due to be tried in the high criminal court in the not too distant future.

Report: The Sun.

Comment: was this is a callous statement because the woman said to him that her cat was a better partner than him?

Sunday 25 April 2021

Cat love - squishy face

There is almost nothing more that I like with respect to cat photography than these sorts of photographs where that is a lot of love in the human-cat-relationship. This looks like a young woman or girl with her cat companion. I expect that it is set up with the photographer telling the girl that she might like putting her cat over her shoulder to see if it creates a nice photograph, which absolutely does. A lot of pleasure is given both ways in this sort of relationship.


Cat behaves like a defective robot when drinking from a tap

What is going on here? We know how naturally gifted domestic cats are at drinking from a faucet, and how much they enjoy it, so what is happening? This is a most peculiar video. The cat is being stimulated to drink water because the water is dribbling down the side of his face but he has not positioned his mouth correctly! It's as if his drinking action has been triggered by the sound of water flowing from the tap and it does not matter whether water is going into his mouth or not. It is like a mechanical triggering action. 

Cat behaves like a defective robot when drinking from a tap
Cat behaves like a defective when drinking from a tap. Screenshot.

You would have thought that he would only drink if there was something to drink: if there was water going into his mouth. Perhaps this tells us something about domestic cat mentality and behaviour. It gives the impression that domestic cats are more stupid than we give them credit for but I normally say the exact opposite, namely that they are smarter than we think they are. This cat is behaving like a robot that's got defective programming and it's a bit disturbing.

Bodega cats make great pictures

Admittedly the photographers are pretty good but Bodega cats make great cat pictures. Why is this? Firstly, they are working cats. People like to see domestic cat earning their living sometimes. It makes them more useful. They are doing more than just entertaining and keeping a person company. Working cats are an asset and Bodega cats keep down the mice and rodent population in these corner shops of which there are about 10,000 in New York City.

Bodega cat insists on equal rights to human customers. Photo: Facebook

Although the authority in New York City which is charged with standards of  health and hygiene object mildly to their presence because they present a potential for food contamination. But I do not think that people care that much and it seems that the law is unenforced. There is a fine apparently of $300 but as I understand that there is an equal fine for the presence of rats and rodents in stores. Net result: the cats stay.

And I am sure that customers like them, at least in general. If you did a survey on whether customers liked or objected to Bodega cats I believe that you would have a 90% approval rating. They add soul to a place as a well-known author said. I am convinced that they help increase sales.

Bodega cat insists on staying on the vegetable and fruit scales. Photo: Facebook

Personally, I love them. I am a great fan and I believe in cats living in shops, libraries, storage facilities and any other suitable place where there is somebody who can take care of them. And I do not believe that there is a genuine hygiene problem. Cats live in millions of homes and they eat their food in the kitchen where there is human food. Nobody complains about food contamination inside a home.

Tortie among the tortilla chips. Photo: Facebook.

And the danger from toxoplasmosis is highly exaggerated in my view. It can be ignored. I have ignored it all my life. If you are risk-averse, female and are about to become pregnant then all you have to do is take precautions with the cat litter. Far more infections of toxoplasmosis occur because people don't wash the vegetables properly or don't cook meat properly. Direct contagion from domestic cat poop is low down on the scale. There are more important things to worry about in terms of contagious diseases.

Saturday 24 April 2021

Coffee cat is amazing

Well, this is the best example of a coffee cat that I have seen. There is a habit among the creative people working in coffee shops to draw a cat on the top of the coffee but this goes several steps further as you can see. And the biscuits are a nice added touch. There is nothing more to say. Oh, except I don't know if it is real or photo-editing but it looks real. And I think it was created by @VanillaCherie (Twitter).

Coffee cat is amazing. Photo in public domain.

Cat microchipping is largely mandatory in Australia

There are six states and two territories in the Commonwealth of Australia. I will call these non-federal legislatures. Of these eight legislatures, six have mandatory micro-chipping of domestic cats. The two that don't are the Northern Territory and Tasmania.

Photo: Pixabay.

Tasmania has mandatory micro-chipping of dogs but not yet for cats. Although cat owners are encouraged to have their cat microchip and sterilised if they are over six months of age. There are plans to phase in obligatory micro-chipping by amending the Cat Management Act 2009. The introduction of the law is planned to be at the end of 2021.

As for the Northern Territory, although micro-chipping is not compulsory, it is compulsory if a citizen lives within the city of Darwin as part of the council's animal management by-laws.

As I understand it, in each case where micro-chipping of cats is mandatory in Australia the law is triggered when a cat or dog is sold or transferred before the age of 12 weeks. 

You can read more if you wish on this topic by clicking on this link which opens a new window and take you to the main website.

Comment: governments, both federal and local of various types throught the developed workd are gradually coming around to the idea that compulsory micro-chipping should be obligatory within their jurisdiction. This applies to the UK where there are advanced plans to make micro-chipping obligatory for domestic cats. It is already obligatory for dogs. The reason? To better control cat ownership, to enforce better responsibility in cat caretaking, and to reunite owners with their loss cats and finally to reunite owners with deceased cats who have been killed on the roads. There are other indirect benefits for compulsory micro-chipping which don't come to mind immediately but will no doubt surface once the law is in force.

Cat food made with 92% sustainable insect protein

About one year ago I wrote about my desire to see cat food made with insects. There are at least two compelling reasons why this is a good idea. Firstly, domestic cats eat insects naturally. Insects are on their list of prey items.  We've all seem them hunt and devour insects.

Catit stand at an exhibition. Photo: Catit on Facebook.
Dry cat food made with insects. Photo: Catit.

They make plant-based cat litter too:

Catit plant-based cat litter. Image: their Facebook page.

Secondly the environmental benefits of farming insects to make cat food are well known. It is time to move away from conventional processes. Cat food is made from raw materials that are unsuitable for humans such as diseased or contaminated livestock, roadkill and I would argue also from euthanized companion animals at shelters. That last point is not in any way advertised or discussed but, years ago, I confirmed that this happens.


You want to avoid all those things. We want to reduce the production of beef because it has a harmful effect upon the environment causing global warming through the methane emitted by cows. That's just one aspect of the process which is unsuitable in the modern world. Another is that forests are being cut down to farm beef (Brazil). That is a double whammy of negatives with respect to the environment and global warming.

I think we could all agree that cat food made from insects is a good idea and the sooner we can get there the better. Well, a Canadian company, Catit, has taken that step and on a publicity website it is announced that "Catit introduces cat food made with 92% sustainable insect protein!"

They want to reduce the ecological paw print. And domestic cats have quite a big paw print because there are around, it is believed, 500 million on the planet if you include all types i.e. feral, stray and domestic. And I like the way they are using sustainable insect protein. The product is Catit Nuna. They say that it is extremely palatable and easily digestible. The food is complete and balanced and they set "a new standard in premium cat food".

Their whole grubs contain protein, vitamins, omega 6, calcium, phosphorus, zinc and minerals. The grubs are dried and ground into a fine nutritious flour and then mixed with other ingredients to make the recipe. It looks like regular kibble.

Catit also make a line of plant-based cat litters: Catit Go Natural. There is no doubt that there will be many more businesses getting into the production of cat products, such as food and litter, which are environmentally friendly. There is a massive amount of pressure on businesses nowadays, thanks in part to the coronavirus pandemic, to become more conscious of the environment. Global warming is becoming quite a central part of humankind's thinking. It should be at the heart of business decisions, all business decisions.

Friday 23 April 2021

My cat instinctively lay down on a book to keep cool

It was quite warm today. It was interesting to see that my cat Gabs lay down on a small book that was on my bed. He could have avoided it. It looks a bit uncomfortable. But he chose deliberately to lie on top of it. The only reason why he did would be because he decided that the book was cooler than the sheet. He just wanted to cool off and he obviously recognises that a hard surface is likely to be cooler than a soft one. It's a very small aspect of feline behaviour and slightly trivial in terms of feline knowledge but I think it is worth mentioning which is why I captured the image. I suppose that if it teaches us one thing it is that cats are probably smarter and more switched on than we give them credit for.

My cat chose to sleep on this small book because he decided that it was cooler than the surrounding sheet. Photo: MikeB.

In addition to finding a cool object to lie on in warmer weather, cats might lie on a book for the purposes of scent exchange. The book has your scent all over it because you have handled it. They want to merge their scent with yours so they lie on it and all over it. Sometimes a cat might rub his cheeks against the book for the same reason. Scent exchange makes a cat feel reassured. It is almost like merging two bodies into one. It is a very cute and loving form of feline behaviour. It is a bonding process. If body scent is merged it becomes one and the sense of smell is vitally important to domestic cats. It's like a signature to them. It is as strong in identifying a person as a visual image.

Indoor cat likes to be carried around in a paper bag so owner tried it outside and it worked great

PORTLAND, USA: I think that this is an interesting cat story because it goes to the heart of feline emotions and insecurities and it also demonstrates to us away around those issues. The owner said that her cat, Charlie, is a full-time indoor cat. In a rather eccentric way she found that he likes to be carried around the home in a brown paper bag. I don't think the colour is important but being inside a bag is important because the obvious reason why he likes it is the actual reason why he likes it, namely, that it provides him with a feeling of security.

Indoor cat likes to be carried around in a paper bag so owner tried it outside and it worked great
Indoor cat likes to be carried around in a paper bag so owner tried it outside and it worked great. Screenshot.

I think, wisely, Seyoung Yeo, decided to try the method out when outside the home. Therefore, she took Charlie outside in a brown paper bag and made a video of it at the same time. I can't show the video on this page because I cannot embed the code into the page but I can provide a screenshot of the video from which you can readily see that the was as content as could be. She walked around the neighbourhood and Charlie enjoyed it. She said that he was completely relaxed and made no attempt to jump as she carried him.

So what can we take from this? Sometimes there is a way of providing a full-time indoor cat with the enjoyment of going outside in security. This is an unusual way but Charlie's life has been improved. And I think his owner is quite brave to do this. She must be quite strongly motivated to do her best to improve the life of Charlie which is a good sign of top class cat guardianship.

Thursday 22 April 2021

Syndaver makes synthetic cadavers precluding the need to use the real thing

In what I consider to be a major step forward in animal welfare, Syndaver is an American business which makes synthetic cadavers both animal and human which precludes the need to use the real thing to train veterinarians and doctors. It will also I hope in the long term preclude the need for students at schools to dissect domestic cats. Yes, this does happen and it does cause some controversy.

Syndaver canine. Screenshot.

Syndaver, I would suggest, is also a business that provides a stepping stone towards eliminating the need for animal testing. If anything can be done to prevent animal testing so much the better. Animal testing is about improving human health and it is naturally controversial. Science can create synthetic animals or parts of animals nowadays and I would hope that in the not too distant future these products will become sophisticated enough to close the animal testing laboratories.

In the video you see a Syndaver synthetic canine but it could just as well be a feline. The same principles apply and the same welfare concepts apply. And anatomically correct replica of dog can change the way veterinarians learn their craft. And anatomically correct piece of human anatomy created artificially can change the way humans relate to cats and other animals with respect to testing new medicines and testing commercial products.

It is impossible to justify the testing of cosmetics on animals. It still happens reflecting the disdain that commercial enterprises sometimes have for nature and non-human animals. A lot of people just don't get it. And me writing about it is utterly boring to a large percentage of people. I find this sad because we have to adjust our relationship with animals just as we have to adjust our lifestyle and a fundamental level in order to substantially reduce our carbon footprint.

There are some big changes afoot. We can't go on as we are but it is like turning around an oil tanker in the Suez Canal! It's almost impossible but it will happen.

Should a domestic cat lick her wounds and why do they do it?

I would argue that it is entirely natural for a domestic cat to lick her wounds but veterinarians object to it. After surgery there is a wound and veterinarians stop cats licking that wound by providing an Elizabethan collar. But nature dictates that domestic cats will naturally lick their wounds. It is what a wildcat would do. This is because there are both good things and bad things in cat saliva. 

Firstly, licking alleviates pain. And it has a calming effect which is why cats lick themselves when stressed.

Cat wearing a collar to prevent her from licking a wound. Pic: Pixabay.

Secondly, there is a long list of substances in saliva which are beneficial to wound healing. You can read the full list on Wikipedia. I'll quote a short section: 'saliva contains cell-derived tissue factor, and many compounds that are antibacterial or promote healing. Salivary tissue factor, associated with microvesicles shed from cells in the mouth, promotes wound healing through the extrinsic blood coagulation cascade. The enzymes lysozyme and peroxidase, defensins, cystatins and an antibody, IgA, are all antibacterial. Thrombospondin and some other components are antiviral'.

The problem is - and we all know this - that a cat's saliva contains some nasty bacteria. This is exactly why cat bites can become badly infected, sometimes, albeit quite rarely, in my opinion. You have to take antibiotics quickly on the first signs of an infection from a cat bite in order to prevent quite a lengthy process of healing.

So there are pros and cons in cat saliva with respect to a cat licking her wound. The bottom line, however, is that veterinarians have made the decision that the cons are much bigger than the pros or in other words the dangers and downsides of a cat licking a wound far outweigh the potential benefits brought about by the compounds that I mentioned above.

Therefore the answer to the question in the title is that cats should not lick their wounds. However, when left to their own devices they'll do it because it makes them feel better. It alleviates pain and it helps the wound to heal. It is part of evolution. It is a home-made way for cats to heal wounds. Sunlight containing ultraviolet light is also good at healing wounds which is why they are sometimes better left exposed to the sunlight.

Wednesday 21 April 2021

Jay Leno likes cats and lives with a black-and-white moggy

For the record, as some people want to know, Jay Leno likes cats and he lives with a black-and-white moggy, which I'm going to suggest he adopted from a cat rescue centre but I might be wrong on that. I get a strong sense that he would do the right thing and adopt from a rescue centre. This is the because he is essentially a decent person. In any case, anybody who likes cats is going to be a decent person! As you almost certainly know he also likes cars. He likes cars and cats a lot, the both.

Jay Leno and his cat. Screenshot from YouTube video.

He may live with more than one cat but I have seen him with his black-and-white moggy in a YouTube video from The Ellen Show in which he discusses cats and particularly whether cats are smarter than dogs. He believes that they are but it was tongue in cheek.

Over a period of time, Jay Leno made nine jokes about Asians eating cat and dog meat. He regrets doing that now. He thought he was doing no harm at the time. I have not heard these jokes. The fact is, though, that a lot of people in the West dislike Asians eating cat and dog meat.

What grates is that there is an unwritten contract both with cats and dogs as companion animals. It was written at the moment they were first domesticated. Cats were domesticated about 10,000 years ago it is believed (and maybe earlier) while dogs were first domesticated perhaps about 20,000 years ago. 

We don't know exactly. At that moment we agreed with cats that we would look after them and in return they would kill mice and rodents, be companions and occasionally entertain us. The functional aspect of keeping a cat has disappeared and now their role is to entertain us and be our companions.

Dogs were originally domesticated as working animals and they still are in very many areas of the world. But they also entertain and keep us company. The contract is that they do X and we do Y. It does not include killing them and eating them. That is why it is immoral and wrong.

It isn't just that it is a breach of this unwritten contract, the whole process is ghastly because they are transported in a very cruel manner. They are killed in a very cruel manner. There is no regulation on how they are killed. It is, to be frank and honest, a nightmare for the animals. It is surprising that it still happens in the 21st century.

Sorry to have gone on so long about it. It came to my mind because Jay Leno has apologised for his jokes publicly, which is fair enough. Perhaps he was being a bit nasty but the motivation was genuine. What I mean is that he loves cats and probably dogs and finds eating them objectionable and I guess he wanted to criticise the habit in a joke. It is a good way of getting a message across.

Tuesday 20 April 2021

Cat's Eye Nebula is a celebration of cat's eyes

There is a nebula in space, millions of light years away, which is called the Cat's Eye Nebula. It is a beautiful, gaseous object that was first discovered by William Herschel on February 15, 1786. Although it is difficult to measure its distance from Earth, it is believed to be 3300 light years away. This means it would take 3300 years to travel to the nebula when travelling at the speed of light which is 186,000 mi/s or 300,000 km/s. The photograph is a composite image of three different images taken at different wavelengths. The images were taken by the Wide Field Planetary Camera-2.

Cat's Eye Nebula. Photo: Wikipedia under CC license.

Surprisingly to me, it's estimated age is believed to be 1000 years ± 260 years.

Turning to cats! The domestic cat's eye is a beautiful object. There are two perhaps four things that come to mind, immediately. Firstly, we all know that there is a reflective layer behind the retina which directs light back onto the retina which in turn enhances the eye's ability to detect objects in low light conditions. The cat's eye also has a preponderance of rods over cones which are designed to detect light under difficult conditions and produce a black-and-white image. Thirdly, a kitten's eyes have no colour or pigmentation in the iris and are therefore blue due to the refraction of daylight through the eye. Fourthly, in the cat fancy, breed standards dictate the colour of the eyes of any one cat breed. They may be a wide selection to choose from but sometimes they have to be just one colour such as for the Russian Blue whose eyes have to be vivid green.

Russian Blue vivid green eye colour per breed standard. Pic: in public domain.

Serval bites firefighter as he battles a blaze in Vancouver

VANCOUVER, WASHINGTON, USA-NEWS AND VIEWS: a firefighter was bitten by a serval while battling a blaze inside a Washington home. The serval is an exotic pet for some people. It is a large cat. They are the size of a large dog. They are a wild animal and although exotic in appearance they make unsuitable companion animals in my honest opinion. This is borne out by the fact that many servals are abandoned to shelters or they escape their homes and our not infrequently killed outside the home.

Serval playing with a white rabbit at A1 Savannahs in Ponca City, OK, USA. Photo: Kathryn Stucki.

Around 2:40 PM last Sunday a fire crew from Clark County Fire District 6 together with the Vancouver Fire Department attended a house fire. As usual, they worked to extinguish the flames which spread, it is reported by The News Tribune, to the attic.

Some of the firefighters went through the home looking for any companion animals or people to make sure that all was clear.

One firefighter encountered the serval. He was bitten on his hand by the cat. The bite went through his glove and injured his finger. Comment: it appears that the firefighter was trying to rescue the cat from the building. In other words the firefighter probably tried to pick up or lead the cat out of the home. That was never going to work without a struggle but the firefighter perhaps would not be aware of that difficulty.

Accordingly, they called animal control who were able to effectively take charge and take the cat to a suitable facility. The cat was unharmed. The serval is not listed as prohibited under local legal provisions. It is not listed as a potentially dangerous wild animal under state law. You may know that the male serval is the parent of the F1 Savannah cat.

The firefighter was treated at a local hospital for his bite and returned to work today. The serval has been returned to its owner. It is reported that the owner agreed to make arrangements to make sure that it can't bite anyone else! Comment: if another fire occurs or some other emergency then there is no guaranteeing that the serval won't bite somebody. It's impractical to state anything else. The cat will become fearful and aggressively defensive under these sorts of circumstances. That is entirely normal and to be expected.

The story highlights, in my view, the unsuitability of keeping servals as pets in America. There are some people in the UK, as well, to keep them as pets. But once you have been near one of these cats, as I have, you quickly realise that they are quite intimidating especially the males who are bigger than the females. 

You would not want one in your home unless you are in enamoured with the concept of living with an exotic wild creature. In which case you might put to one side the downsides such as being injured or having to deal with urine scent marking within the home. In addition there is always the possibility that they might escape.

Being confined to a typical home is highly unsuitable for a serval who needs around 10 km² or more as their home range in the wild. There will be an endless desire for this animal to seek more space. That's going to be a constant worry for a concerned owner.

Monday 19 April 2021

Lilac British Longhair kitten

A nice photograph from Nathalie Bruyns of her lilac British Longhair kitten. He is a male born: Date of birth: 23/01/21. The British Longhair is a very attractive cat. It is very similar to the traditional Persian in appearance in my view. Very normal and balanced appearance which I like as I dislike extreme breeding. There is no need for it. The more natural look is more attractive and the cats are likely to be more healthy too. Click here to read and see more about this breed.
Lilac British Longhair kitten.

Why do lions kill cubs?

Male lions sometimes kill cubs. It works like this. A coalition or group of male lions take over a pride of lions. They kick out the other male lions, kill the cubs of the females and then procreate with the females to create their own offspring. They kill the cubs so the females become sexually receptive almost immediately. They need to do this quite quickly because another coalition of male lions will come in, in about two years or more, to kick them out. So they have to do it quickly to ensure that they protect their offspring. The objective of all this? The male lions want have their line of offspring, their family. Not all male lions achieve it. The bigger and the more virile they are the better the chance.

It does not always happen that males kill the cubs of the females in the pride that they are taken over. The female might be pregnant and she can then disguise the offspring as the offspring of one of the takeover males. Or she might be able to hide an existing cub and then raise a new cub and the existing one together as if they were the offspring of the incoming male lion.

Alternative description

Not all lions kill cubs. Male lions sometimes kill cubs. Male lions want to leave offspring of their own. They do this when they have tenure of a pride of lions through a coalition of male lions. The average length of tenure of a pride in the Serengeti is only 26 months. Some male lions, the smaller ones for example, don't get the chance to mate. Killing small cubs after a takeover of a pride reduces the time a lioness takes to produce new young.

Lion cub
Image by Ian Lindsay from Pixabay 

A lioness becomes sexually receptive almost immediately after losing her young and can conceive as soon as two weeks after the death of her previous litter although the interval is usually much longer.

So, when a coalition of males take over a pride the incoming males kill small cubs and evict older young, thereby inducing females to come into oestrus and mate. This makes sense from the males' perspective. It is infanticide. It represents the best chance for a male to leave offspring of his own.

Males killing cubs is a way of increasing their chance of having their own offspring. 

Also because cubs are vulnerable to infanticide for 2 years an incoming male sires his cubs as fast as possible so he can protect them by increasing the chance of being around i.e. before the next takeover of the pride.

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