Wednesday 30 June 2021

Man in violation of local ordinance for assisting in a TNR program

PLATTSBURGH, NY, USA - NEWS AND COMMENT: Mike Clowney has been issued with a "court appearance ticket" to use an American term which I presume means that he has been ordered to attend court because he has been feeding, caring for and neutering and spaying stray and feral cats under a TNR program. 

Man in violation of local ordinance for assisting in a TNR program
 Mike Clowney in violation of local ordinance for assisting in a TNR program. Photo in public domain. Sorry for the poor quality.

He's been doing this for more than 10 years as he looks after a cat colony. He provides food and water twice a day every single day and he builds winter shelters and finds homes for kittens. Everything he does is good and decent. It benefits animal welfare. You could argue that he does the job of council workers because he is helping manage cats in the community. Arguably the local authority should be helping to do this because it is a community issue.

He has said that the authorities are going to have to put him in jail to stop him looking after the cats. A neighbour alerted the Plattsburgh city police department to his activities on Friday, June 18. An investigation took place. God knows why because they must have known about him as he's been doing it for 10 bloody years for God's sake! What is there to investigate?

The police took statements et cetera. The city's mayor cited section 128-2 of the city code which apparently forbids the feeding of feral cats. Across America, the feeding of feral cats as part of TNR programs is incredibly commonplace but it is slightly contentious and arguments have bubbled up from time to time in various cities about this. And therefore it doesn't surprise me that it has happened in Plattsburgh.

The police didn't arrest him but they relied upon, I guess, sworn statements by witnesses as to what he was doing. The violation of the city ordinance falls under the Pigeon and Other Wild Animals section of the city code. On a separate issue, the ordinance compels cat owners to maintain an enclosure to prevent cats wondering or escaping from their property to other neighbouring properties. And cats are meant to be micro-chipped and not abandoned. I had no idea that there is a place in America where it's illegal to let cats roam outside. That's my interpretation of this local law.

It appears that the law has been interpreted to mean that those who care for feral cats under a TNR program are deemed to be the cats' owners. But city councillors have said that this is not the way the law should be interpreted.

Clowney strongly objects to the law and argues that if you didn't do TNR programs it would mean that you let the cats starve and he questions how that could be the response by the city to the presence of community cats i.e. unowned cats in the community. He says that the law should be changed. He has seen the abuse of cats in the city such as cats being thrown out of windows and tied up in garbage bag.

He hopes that his story encourages the city administrators to change the law. It would be remarkable if he were successfully prosecuted for doing something good for the community and for animal welfare. The story is reported on after it was originally published on: Mckenzie Delisle Press-Republican, The Press-Republican, Plattsburgh, N.Y.

Do cats recognise laughter?

Do cats recognise laughter? No, but they recognise friendship and affection. I take that from first-hand experience with my cat. I often laugh with him and, of course, I love him. We interact in a happy way. When I laugh in his company it is clear to me that he does not understand the meaning of it. It doesn't help him to create a stronger bond. He doesn't laugh back or even smile back. His face is deadpan. We know that cats don't really smile and they certainly don't laugh. Laughing is not in their vocabulary. It is not a part of feline behaviour. It is not part of their culture in any shape or form.

Do cats recognise laughter? No but they recognise friendship and affection.
 Do cats recognise laughter? No but they recognise friendship and affection. Photo: Axelle Spencer from Pixabay.

Laughing is meant to help with bonding. That is its purpose, apparently. It strengthens connections and indicates that people are comfortable with each other. They say that a woman falls in love with a man when he makes her laugh. It might be the single most important factor in the male-female relationship in terms of attraction from the woman's standpoint.

But for cats, it is not a part of their relationship with their human companions. There are absolutely no signs whatsoever to me that domestic cats comprehend and recognise laughter. It is not on their radar.

There is zero response on his face when I laugh with my cat as I have stated in the first paragraph! Cats don't use laughter as a bonding mechanism. They use grooming to do that job. We pet e.g. stroke our cats which to them is as if they're being licked and they lick us back. Mutual grooming or allogrooming as it is called by the experts is a major way in which cats bond with each other if there is an initial chemistry between the two.

And when humans pet their cats, it is the equivalent of allogrooming in the mind of domestic cats. So that's it, cats don't recognise human laughter and they don't need it to strengthen their connection with their human guardian.

Jaguar gargoyles at the Basilica del Voto Nacional

I have spotted this pair of jaguar gargoyles on the largest neo-Gothic church in South America, the Basílica del Voto Nacional. The church is littered with gargoyles. It is a Noah's Ark of animals circumventing the basilica. There are goats, turtles, what appear to be sharks or ominous-looking sea creatures in addition to this pair of jaguars.

Jaguar gargoyles at the Basilica del Voto Nacional
 Jaguar gargoyles at the Basilica del Voto Nacional. Photo: in public domain.

The jaguar is a revered animal in South America. For thousands of years the people of South America have worshipped and been fearful of it. And the animal, remarkably, is still in South America including Ecuador. The basilica that I referred to is in the historic centre of Quinto, Ecuador. It is no surprise, therefore, that there are a pair of jaguars decorating the exterior of this impressive church.


The jaguar is in these countries as at July 2021: Argentina; Belize; Bolivia, Plurinational States of; Brazil; Colombia; Costa Rica; Ecuador; French Guiana; Guatemala; Guyana; Honduras; Mexico; Nicaragua; Panama; Paraguay; Peru; Suriname; United States; Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of.

Gargoyles are also called grotesques. As you can see in the photograph, they are carved out of stone very often and attached to the exterior wall of a cathedral or basilica. Architecturally they have a spout at the end farthest from the building from which rainwater is ejected having run off the roof via a channel into the gargoyle. I'm told that architects use multiple gargoyles to divide the flow of rainwater off the roof to minimise any potential damage to the building during downpours and storms. It seems that this functional aspect of a church's exterior is also combined with, in this instance, an interest in the animal and its importance to the culture of society in which the church is located.

The basilica remains unfinished as local legend says that when the Basílica is completed, the end of the world will come. One of those myths which they have kept going. Similar myths surround the jaguar in the minds of many because they are, powerful, mysterious and often black being melanistic.

Tuesday 29 June 2021

Lion ate 73 pounds of meat in one night

The food consumption of wild lions is very impressive. They can eat enormous amounts of meat at one sitting. G. B. Schaller in his book The Serengeti Lion published in 1972, records one male lion eating 33 kg or 73 pounds of flesh during a single night while another ate 27.4 kg during the night. He also reported that 4 lionesses each ate 25 kg of zebra in 5 hours and 2 males ate an estimated 43 kg of topi in 20 hours. He estimated that lions fed at an average rate of 20 minutes per kilogram per lion.

Lion eating. Photo in public domain.

If a large group of lions can't finish off the entirety of the animal that they've have killed by consuming it they occasionally try to protect the remains by staying nearby and sometimes they may try to bury the carcass. The trouble is that scavengers are very numerous over their entire distribution and their habitat is very open. Therefore, it is difficult to hide and protect animals that they have killed.

Perhaps lions realise this because Schaller recorded only 13 instances of lions covering the remains of their kills. Lions tend to eat the viscera, size and rump first. Sometimes they disembowel their prey and bury the viscera but it's rare in the Serengeti (C.A. Guggisberg in Simba: The life of a lion). It is in the interests of lions to eat very quickly and sometimes it is not worth the effort to move a kill to protect it. They can consume an entire animal as a group within an hour.

They will eat rotten flesh covered in maggots. It is said that the estimated minimum daily requirement of food intake for a lioness is 5 to 8.5 kg per day. Whether they achieve this or not depends upon the kill rate and the number of lions feeding together with the prey size and prey abundance. Sometimes they go through a season when prey is less abundant and the average daily food intake of a pride can be less than 3 kg per lioness. During a 'prey-good' season their intake will increase to about 6 kg per lioness per day.

Even small groups of lions prefer large prey animals in order to allow each member to eat their required daily minimum. It depends in which park/reserve the lions live as to whether there is a good percentage of large prey animals such as buffaloes. In the Kalahari large ungulate densities are extremely low and small mammals and juvenile ungulates constitute more than 50% of kills.

The paradox and unusualness of the lion

The lion is the most famous cat in the world (with the tiger) and at the same time the least typical member of the cat family. While other cat species are solitary hunters, the lion is a cooperative group hunter or at least the lionesses are. Male lions like to hunt alone in denser vegetation using the stalk and ambush technique whereas lionesses, as you've seen in video, cooperate with wing lionesses and a central lioness when chasing prey.

Male lions in a coalition. Photo: Daily Mail. These are black maned lions. The dark mane is attractive to females.
Male lions in a coalition. Photo: Daily Mail. These are black maned lions. The dark mane is attractive to females.

This difference in the behaviour of the female and male lion is also shown in the quite stark difference between the male and female in terms of appearance. Most cats do not have great gender differences in appearance. 

There will be size differences but other than that they look very similar. But with lions the huge mane of the male sets him apart from the maneless female (some females have manes). Lionesses prefer males with dark manes. They presumably sense that they are more likely to have better genes and more able to create a healthy family.

Black knob at the end of a lion's tail and a cub who wants to play with it. Photo: Pinterest.
Black knob at the end of a lion's tail and a cub who wants to play with it. Photo: Pinterest.

And unusualness about the lion is that it is the only cat species to have a knob-like tuft of dark hair at the tip of its tail.

The paradox of the lion is that it is both the most popular animal in the world or at least in the top three. It is also the most admired with the tiger and yet trophy hunters seek to destroy it for their entertainment. And the rarer the individual lion the keener trophy hunters are to shoot it dead. It's a great paradox that there is both admiration and the desire to destroy present in the minds of these people at the same time.

And it also appears that the lion is both in the top 10 of animals loved and hated. It is loved because of its power, courage, aggressivity, dignified bearing and handsome appearance but it is also hated because it is a killer of nice animals, pleasant animals such as antelopes and zebra. The lion is a brilliant killer with huge amounts of aggressivity.

Our admiration for the lion is tinged by a fear of its ability to kill. The general consensus is that the lion wins in a lion versus tiger fight but genuine fights between these species are rare because they live in different parts of the world.

Monday 28 June 2021

HOW do cats purr?

This is NOT about why cats purr but how they do it. I'll say it again for Google, this article is about how cats purr. And I'll tell you right away that the scientists are slightly unsure even today how they do it. There have been several theories postulated over the years. 

One looks very outdated now which is based upon turbulent blood passing through a cat's veins and heart causing the sound of the purr. I think we can dismiss that categorically for obvious reasons. 

Another theory was called the "false vocal chord (cord) theory". This theory refers to the presence of a 2nd pair of chords thought to be the secret behind the extraordinary purring mechanism. That theory states that purring is no more than noisy breathing of the type that humans indulge in when they are asleep i.e. snoring.

I think we can dismiss that theory too. The modern theory is the one stated in the video below.

Note: This is a video from another website. Sometimes they are deleted at source which stops them working on this site. If that has happened, I apologise but I have no control over it.

This states that the laryngeal muscles are the source of the famous cat purr. These muscles are responsible for the opening and closing of the glottis, which is the space between the vocal cords. They separate the vocal cords. Studies have apparently shown that the movement of the laryngeal muscles signal from a unique neural oscillator in the cat's brain. 

Like I said it is all very mysterious and hard to visualise. I would love to see an animated film on it to allow me to better understand it. One important factor about the cat purr is that it takes place on the in breath and out breath i.e. on inhaling and exhaling which means that it is produced during the entire respiratory cycle. Vocalisations such as meowing occur on the exploration of the breath.

Kittens purr while suckling. They drink and vocalise the purr at the same time.

Image in public domain and created by MikeB.

There have been some studies (not many!) on how cats purr. One was 1st published in January 1991 titled How Cats Purr. It's published on the ZSL Let's Work for Wildlife website. It is highly complicated but they measured the purring in domestic cats, mountain lions and cheetahs. Some large cats can purr but the big cats can't. They can roar instead although the roar is a long-range call whereas the purr is obviously a short-range vocalisations.

The study states that the frequency of the domestic cat purr is 26·3 ±; 1·95 (S.D.) Hz. The frequency at mid-expiration exceeds that at mid-inspiration by 2.4+ or -1.3 Hz. Mid-expiration means the middle of the outgoing breath and mid-inspiration is the middle of the incoming breath. The frequency of a domestic cat's purr does not change with the age of the individual.

Cats can purr simultaneously with other vocalisations. They can also of course drink simultaneously with purring. The scientists used two-channel acoustic measurements and they confirmed that the "primary mechanism for sound and vibration production is a centrally driven laryngeal modulation of respiratory flow."

This supports the statement made above. They are saying that the laryngeal muscles alter the flow of airflow while breathing causing the purring sound.

On an associated subject, one study published June 28, 2020 titled Emotion Recognition in Cats states that domestic cats are able to recognise human emotions in detecting visual and auditory signals. In other words, they are recognising the sounds that humans make and their body language and movement in order to assess human emotions. That's what I glean from the summary. I would argue that they also employ their knowledge of the history of the relationship through rhythms, habits and routines.

Domestic cats are very much into the rhythms and routines of life in a human home. They understand and recognise the movements of the human companion and caretaker. When that changes, they can read something into it when combined with the human's voice i.e. vocalisations and their body language. That's my take on the conclusions to the study but I've added a little bit to it.

If you can add some info, it would be very welcome. I have written on this three times before!! Click this link for the last in that trio.

It's interesting but judging by the viewing statistics very few people want to know how cats purr. I put quite a lot of effort into this page but nobody is viewing it! I don't mind that much but it would be nice if they did. And while I'm adding an update, I will tell you why cats purr. It is not simply because they are content, although cats do purr when they are content, it is also delivered when they need friendship. You could say purring is a thank you for friendship given and a request for friendship needed. That's why you will see (correction: hear) domestic cats purring sometimes when they are frightened and in pain. It is said that the frequency of purring can heal which may explain why they sometimes purr when they are in pain.

Ragdoll Kittens are available again from 'American Ragdoll Kitten'

I wouldn't normally do this and in fact this is perhaps the first time that I have done it but I'm going to promote an American Ragdoll breeder - American Ragdoll Kitten - because they emailed me. They saw the potential for emailing me which tickled my fancy! I don't know how good or bad they are but they look good. Their website looks good. You can click on the link below to go to their website. As they say, Ragdoll kittens are available again. It is that time of year for them.

Ragdoll Kittens are available again from 'American Ragdoll Kittens'
Ragdoll Kittens are available again from 'American Ragdoll Kittens'. Photo: the cattery from their website. These are satisfied customers with their gorgeous Ragdoll cats.

When I think of the Ragdoll cat, I think of a cat which is probably the best suited to modern life. They are perhaps the only purebred cat where the breeder is concerned about both appearance and a specific character. Normally the appearance is 90% of the task for a breeder but in respect of the Ragdoll it is a 50-50 situation. 

The Ragdoll is built around their laid-back character. They pretty well have to have this character to be described as a Ragdoll. Which is why I think they should be suited to living full-time in the home which is a growing trend for various reasons, one of which is because more people live in the urban environment.

Although Covid has changed that, certainly in the UK where a lot of people have moved out of the country to work from home on a permanent or semipermanent basis. This may also be relationship between human and cat for the better it should be said.

The Ragdoll is in the top 5 most popular cat breeds and is gaining in popularity. It is a better cat than the flat-faced Persian which topped the popularity charts for years. Click the link below to read much more:

American Ragdoll Kitten say this about themselves:

We are a CATTERY of Excellence and Distinction with TICA and CFA. American Ragdoll Kittens located in USA, serving all round the States and the international community!
They ship internationally which should interest the citizens of countries other than the US.

Sunday 27 June 2021

Lucy the 'bat cat' nude kitten with hydrocephalus

Lucy is described by her owner as "the bat cat". Not a particularly flattering title I have to say. You might know me and that I dislike these sorts of Instagram accounts because you get owners of strange cats vicariously achieving some fame for themselves through their cat. 

Often these cats are misshapen through a genetic defect or in this instance this hairless cat suffers from hydrocephalus which is a buildup of fluid on the brain which puts pressure on the brain and which can damage it. It is treatable and for humans and the survival rate for treated hydrocephalus is high. 

Lucy the bat cat
Lucy the bat cat. Photo: Instagram

Sorry if I upset some people in disliking these sorts of social media accounts. The pics are from Lucy's Instagram page. They were taken by her owners.

Lucy is called 'the bat cat' because of the obvious reason: she looks a little bit like one of those strange bats. And the stranger the cat looks the better for the celebrity cats.

My research indicates that a cat suffering from hydrocephalus may be asymptomatic. Alternatively, the symptoms might include, wetting or soiling in the house, sleeplessness, blindness, seizures, excess globalisation, hyper-excitability, a large dome-shaped head which is due to intracranial swelling, walking abnormalities, cross-eyes, abnormal breathing, arching their head back and extending all four legs and coma.

Lucy the bat cat
Lucy the bat cat. Photo: Instagram.

There are various causes including, inherited (congenital), genetics, prenatal infection, vitamin A deficiency, intracranial inflammatory diseases, masses in the cranium, brain haemorrhage in newborn after a difficult labour, exposure to teratogens (these are drugs which interfere with the development), coronavirus. We don't know which cause is applicable for Lucy. My guess is that it was inherited.

Credits as per above.

Lucy is a Sphynx cat by the way. She has 35,400 followers on her Instagram page. Her birthday is on March 15. She was born on March 15, 2019.

Lion copulation information

Lions copulate in a way that puts humans to shame in terms of frequency and speed! Here are some statistics. This is a slightly sensitive subject but the information that I have is interesting so I thought I would present it to the public. When a male lion attempts to mount a female, she may evade his advances and swot him away or growl and snarl.

When he is finally allowed to mate with his chosen female, which might be his daughter, he sometimes grasps the female by the neck and the typical way that we see domestic cats mate.

Lions mating. Montage by MikeB based on images in the public domain.
Lions mating. Montage by MikeB based on images in the public domain.

When a lion copulates, the act averages 21 seconds in duration. Across all copulations it lasts from between 8 to 70 seconds (G.B. Schaller 1972). Captive lions under observation in one study copulated 360 times in 8 days (J. Kingdon 1989).

G.B. Schaller, in his study observed one nomadic male lion mating 157 times in 55 hours. During this period, he did not eat despite the fact that some lionesses were feeding on a wildebeest about 100 meters away.

For the female, oestrus lasts on average 4 days and recurs every 2 or 3 weeks until the she conceives.

As is the case with domestic cats, when the male lion withdraws his penis is very painful because it is barbed just like the penis of domestic cats. She may twist around and attack the male who has finished copulating. This is why the males grasps her by the scruff in his jaws. This helps to pacify the female. It invokes the kitten response - the response the female desires when carrying cubs.

Female lions, like domestic cats, are stimulated to ovulate by the trigger of the pain caused by the withdrawal of the male's spiny penis. Cats do not ovulate like humans. They only ovulate after they have been mated by a male. It takes a little while, about 25 to 30 hours.

Females differ from other large wild cat species in that they don't advertise their impending sexual receptivity in the way other cats do with calling or by increasing their scent marking. The females don't need to do this as males in the pride are already there.

The males can figure out if a lioness is receptive by smelling her anal area and by her willingness to mate. If she's in heat or about to be in heat the male lion will attempt to stay with her.

Female lions in oestrus are restless, they roll, turn, twist and jump up and walk a few paces and lie down in front of the males who are close by. They move as the males move.

Brachycephalic Persian cat with bulging eyes can have corneal problems

In this article I want to point out the bulging eyes of the Exotic Shorthair and the Persian, two associated breeds because the former is a shorthaired version of the latter. In this picture we can see the "punch-face" appearance of the Persian. It almost looks as if this cat has suffered a catastrophic injury to the face as it's been flattened. And this, to my mind, leaves the eyeballs bulging outwards beyond the protection of the bones of the face. This leaves the cornea exposed because there is a reduced ability to close the eyelids.

Brachycephalic Persian cat with bulging eyes and flat face
 Brachycephalic Persian cat with bulging eyes and flat face. Photo: Irina Gerasimova.

And of course, the cornea is exposed anyway as it sticks out so far. This contributes to 'exposure keratitis' and it is said probably contributes to corneal sequestrum development (the development of an opaque, dark brown to black plaque on the cornea). Persian cats are predisposed to this.

Exposure keratitis also occurs in people and it is described as a medical condition affecting the cornea of eyes which can lead to corneal ulceration and permanent loss of vision due to corneal opacity. Normally the cornea is kept moist by blinking and during sleep it is covered by the eyelids. When the cornea is exposed to the air, it can cause increased evaporation of tear from the corneal surface leading to dryness of the corneal surface. This can lead to corneal epithelial damage based on my research on Wikipedia.

I'm not saying that this particular, individual in the photograph is going to have problems with their cornea. I wouldn't say that. I'm just commenting generally about this desire to create flat-faced brachycephalic Persian and Exotic Shorthair cats with these bulging eyes

I think the bulging eye problem is particularly noticeable with the Exotic Shorthair cats. I've seen a lot of this and I think it is an unfortunate side effect of this extreme selective breeding. I don't think the breeders want this but it goes with the territory of the flat-face as does other health problems which you read about by clicking on this link.

I think you will find that the majority of the public would like to see the breed standards of the Persian and Exotic Shorthair 'detuned' by which I mean made less extreme so that the breeders follow guidance which doesn't drive them to creating unhealthy cats which arguably look less attractive than the traditional Persian. I think you will find that the vast majority of the public prefer the appearance of the traditional Persian over the contemporary variant. So, there's no need to breed cats like this in the first place.

Perhaps the problem is that the cat fancy is too inward-looking. Perhaps they should conduct a poll with the public and ask them what they think. They may have been encouraged to breed cats like this because the Persian has been very popular for many years but they have gradually drifted into this extreme look without, I believe, touching base with the public on the issue as to whether this was a wise thing to do. It has taken the cat fancy around 60 years to create this strange appearance.

Why does my cat spend so much time away from me?

The question in the title is asked by a cat owner whose job requires them to work long hours leaving early in the morning and coming home quite late at night. They think that their cat should be particularly pleased to see them when they arrive home but he barely acknowledges her existence. Sometimes he misses meals and he has stayed away for a couple of days at a time.

Outdoor Cat. Photo by Andrew Currie on Flickr.

This, on the face of it, is a classic case of a cat migrating away from the home in which he lives to find a new one. And sometimes, albeit rarely, domestic cats return to the wild, voluntarily. That might seem strange but it does happen. It happened to my mother about 40 years ago when her ginger tabby upped sticks and went to live on the golf course opposite her home. He came back about 15 years later riddled with arthritis for some warmth and attention. She put him down which I think was an extraordinarily cruel thing to do. I don't like my mother although she's been deceased about 10 years now.

Back to the point of this article, sometimes domestic cats do leave their home and find a new home as you probably know. They don't understand the concept of ownership, as you also know, and they might go to where they think life is better. Particularly if the current owner is rarely there. Many domestic cats visit neighbours' homes either to simply visit as part of their meanderings and wanderings and sometimes to feed and perhaps meet another cat to play with. The concept of trespass does not apply to domestic cats incidentally.

Being away from home a lot would encourage this and indeed neighbours sometimes encourage it by feeding neighbours' cats. It's just one of those things and it happens quite a lot. But what can you do about it?

Your lifestyle might not give you many options. If your work demands are high, you will be torn between caring for your cat and earning a living. You may find yourself in the position where you have, through no fault of your own, become a poor cat owner. You may have started off as an excellent cat guardian but end up being rather bad at it through a lack of available time.

You may consider rehoming your cat. You may consider allowing your cat to migrate to your neighbour's home. You might do a bit of research and try find out where your cat is going. I have used a radio transmitter on a collar for my cat. The receiver picks up the transmission. You can locate your cat this way from about 100 yards. It is not as good as a GPS tracking but it is much cheaper and reasonably effective.

My cat was not disappearing and is not disappearing. He loves me tremendously and vice versa. It's just that I wanted to know where he was going and I found out; it was a neighbour's garden where I think he rests. I do feed a neighbour's cat as well who pops in from time to time and plays with my cat. I quite like her visitations because it gives my cat the opportunity to play with a cat rather than me, a human.

But sometimes domestic cats visit a nearby home and eventually stay. At that point they've chosen a new caretaker. This would normally be distressing to the original owner. I'm sure that there have been many difficult discussions between neighbours on this topic. Sometimes neighbours become very fond of a visiting cat and they might surreptitiously try and adopt that cat.

The owner may complain and there may even be civil litigation in the courts about ownership. It's an interesting concept because cat ownership can be very fluid. It can be difficult to pin it down.

What can you do then? Well, you can ask your neighbour to stop feeding your cat if that is happening. Try and keep the peace because you want to have good relationships with your neighbours. There's nothing worse than having a constant row with your neighbour because it affects the amenity of the area in which you live quite profoundly.

You can think about giving your cat better quality food if that is a problem. Give him some treats but not to the point where he becomes obese. You can try and reschedule your work to enable you to work at home more often. The Covid crisis has certainly benefited cats in this regard. These long lockdown periods have been fantastically beneficial to the relationship between people and their pets but when it comes to an end the reverse happens and there will be some distraught cats and dogs suffering from separation anxiety.

Try and play with your cat more. Play is a great healer and it's a great exercise for creating a good bond between human and cat companion.

You might even consider keeping your cat indoors but that probably won't work because once you've allowed a cat to explore the outdoors for a long period of time it is impossible to keep them in in my opinion. Although you might think of a compromise which is a large enclosure around the back garden. This, too, might prove difficult for a cat who has a habit of wandering for hundreds of yards around your property. Back garden enclosures can be constructed for about £3,000-£4000 in the UK.

My cat Gabriel in his garden cat enclosure. He is very active. Photo: Me.
My cat Gabriel in his garden cat enclosure. He is very active. Photo: Me.

It is, though, a difficult problem to resolve because it comes back ultimately to the cat owner and how much time they have to interact with their cat. If they are hamstrung in this regard, they may not be able to find a solution. And cats do have their own preferences and there can be a chemistry between cat and cat and cat person. There may be a breakdown in the chemistry between the owner and their cat. Perhaps the owner was never quite up to the task in any case i.e. he or she was ambivalent about cat ownership.

On that topic, I think that there are many instances of cats leaving their home and going to a neighbour to live for the right reasons. These owners are probably quite pleased that their cat has left them because it resolves a problem that they've been chewing on for quite a long time namely how to get rid of their cat in a moral and humane way?

Saturday 26 June 2021

Do male lions hunt?

Yes, male lions do hunt but they are solitary hunters in contrast to lionesses who hunt in groups, in partnership. Further, male lions use the cover of dense vegetation to stalk and ambush in the classic style of wild cats. The general feeling before about 2013 was that male lions sat around to let the lionesses do the hunting and then they would be the masters of the feast afterwards. 

Scared male lion waits for a herd of buffalo to go in the Masai Mara, Kenya
Scared male lion waits for a herd of buffalo to go in the Masai Mara, Kenya. I suspect that this male was not hunting at the tine but came across the buffalo who intimidated him because of their numbers. Lion can be killed by buffalo. Photo: Olav Thokle, 54, from Norway.

But using GPS collar trackers and airborne Light Detection and Ranging measurements which provided 3D mapping of the landscape and vegetation, researchers found that male lions did indeed leap out of thick vegetation to ambush their prey.

The researchers studied a pride of 7 lions in South Africa's Kruger National Park. The females hunt in the open savanna while males tend to hunt in places where there is more vegetation and brush. Both females and males tend to hunt at night.


Success rates vary substantially. The success rate for zebra is about 11% whereas for wildebeest it is about 30%. This success rate in hunting springhare was found to be 52% in a different study. In one study it was found that the hunting success rate was higher on moonless nights. In this study in Uganda, they found that the overall success rate varied between 27.1% and 30.5%. Lions are generally more successful hunters than other wild cat species.

Sometimes male lions are scared of their prey animals. It depends upon the circumstances. There is a photograph today in the news media online of a male lion scared of a large herd of buffalo. The lion clambers up a tree to safety and stays there for hours while he is surrounded by the buffalo. It happened in the Masai Mara, Kenya. Above is a photograph of the lion waiting patiently.

And there's a story from a study carried out in 1972 about the spotted hyena which stated that "in a non-feeding situation, two lionesses climbed trees to escape from a mob of 18 hyenas". It depends upon the balance of power. If there is one lion at a kill after the others have left and the hyenas move in then that lion will disappear. But in general, quite a small number of lions can clear away quite a large number of hyenas.

Weird cat-like creatures found in South Africa in 2017. What were they?

Back in January 2017 it was reported that bizarre cat-like creatures had been found behind a cupboard in a home in north-western South Africa. The photograph shows us that they are indeed bizarre-looking. But what is equally bizarre, for me, is that there was no follow-up story telling us more about these creatures. Sometimes I believe that they were a prank. A photo-editing exercise to jazz up the news on a quiet day. You know how people are taken in my stories of weird creatures.

Weird cat-like creatures found behind cupboard in South Africa
Weird cat-like creatures found behind cupboard in South Africa. Image in public domain.

Were they domestic cats bred by somebody in the home? They might be a hybrid cat which looks a bit like an Oriental Shorthair. The very slender body and large ears points to the fact that they were Oriental Shorthair siblings but that's a wild guess.

The news media described them as 'half-rat, half-cat' creatures. I guess I can go along with that description. In the photograph they appear to be wet and black. What is sad is that when they were discovered 4 of them were killed immediately and the remaining 2 were taken to the SPCA to be investigated. They believe that they were an unusual cat breed but they didn't report back to the public via news media.

And to kill 4 of the 6 is ridiculous. It was obviously done out of fear and ignorance. But they were living creatures and I presume they were sentience animals and therefore you don't just kill them because you're frightened. You do your best to do the right thing which is to gently investigate and protect them if you can.

It's a very mysterious story which needs to be cleared up. The point is though that the world does not produce weird and wonderful new creatures that have never been seen before. Perhaps, you might find a weird creature in the deep darkness of the ocean which has never been seen before. But you don't find an animal behind your cupboard in South Africa that is entirely new to the world! Therefore, this is an animal that already exists and it does not look like a rat but it looks more like a cat.

The best guess is that these were young, black, Oriental Shorthair cats or an example of clever photoshopping. If anybody has information about this find, please write a comment to enlighten the world!

Can a neutered male cat still mate?

Yes, neutered male cats can still mate because they are driven to mate by 3 things including testosterone, but they can't procreate.

This question has been asked thousands of times and answered pretty comprehensively but I'm going to throw my hat into the ring. In this article I interpret 'mating' as the desire to have sex with a female.

It seems to me that there are 3 drives which make a male cat want to mate with a female and they are (1) it's in his DNA i.e. it is inherited, and (2) behaviourally he has learned to do it after mating with queens (unneutered female cats normally breeding cats) and (3) the presence of the hormone testosterone in his blood.

Gunner an unneutered male Sphynx cat. Photos: Helmi Flick.
Gunner an unneutered male Sphynx cat. Photos: Helmi Flick. As he is hairless his testicles are very visible. Sorry Gunner, I realise it is a bit rude to talk about you like that.

It is the last factor which is the most relevant and certainly the most relevant in this instance because it is the male cat's testes (testicles) in which testosterone is produced. Neuter (castrate) him and you remove the testes and you remove the testosterone although some of this hormone may remain in their body afterwards for a while. So, there should be less motivation to mate with a female once a male cat has been castrated.

But it's not true that there is no motivation because you will read stories on the Internet of male cats who want to mate with female cats even though they have been castrated. Certainly, male cats who have been neutered later in life may still want to mate with females although it is uncommon. It appears that they have a habit or a practiced mating activity which continues instinctively even though they're not driven to have sex with a female because of their testosterone.

And there must, it seems to me, be some inherited desire through their genetics to procreate and therefore that innate desire is present even without the hormone testosterone.

It also seems, though, that even young male cats who have been neutered at about 7 months old can retain their sex drive. And I have personal experience of this because my male cat regards me as his mother and when I wear an old dressing gown, he likes to have sex on my arm. He treats the dressing gown as his mother. It does feel a bit like a cat because it's woolly and about the rough shape of a cat! I know it sounds a bit ridiculous and bizarre but I let him do it. Given the opportunity he would do it at least once per day.

In short, he has a very strong sex drive even though he totally lacks testosterone and is about 6 years old so he's been without testosterone for 5.5 years. It seems that the two factors I mentioned above other than the testosterone drive have come into play for my cat. Instinctively, he wants or needs to procreate. He instinctively wants to mate with a female. This is strongly evident in his behaviour towards me.

And, it has to be said, it is not that strange for domestic cats to hump a person's arm or to hump something inanimate. The same thing happens with dogs. It entirely instinctive and we should not laugh at them or belittle them for it. Humans are no better when you think about it!

To get back to the question in the title, can a neutered male cat still mate? Yes, they can and I don't think that it is as uncommon as people think. However, they can go through the act of mating but they can't procreate because they have no sperm due to their missing testicles. That's obvious but perhaps it needs to be stated just in case it isn't that obvious.

The neutering operation is called an orchidectomy. Both testicles are removed and the cat can go home the same day. Neutering does not change the cat's personality except to reduce or eliminate the desire to roam and his sexual impulses. Clearly it does not entirely eliminate his sexual impulses but it presumably varies on a cat-by-cat basis. Also, males become less aggressive when neutered and this is partly because they are less territorial and a lot of their aggression is expended in protecting their home range.

Early neutering produces a cat which is slightly taller in size due to delayed bone growth plate closure. Early neutering might cause the inability to extrude the penis! For that reason, I insisted that my cat was neutered no sooner than 7-months-of-age. I wanted him to at least have a decent willie that worked for Christ's sake! It does and he has it out (it is erect) when he is humping my arm for around five minutes. He only humps my arm when I am wearing the same dressing gown.

He becomes very excited and makes a pleased squeak before he starts. He grips the cuff of the garment in his teeth in the classic mating position to stop the 'female' turning and slapping him when he removes his barbed willy. Yes, I am being a bit graphic but it is the reality of it. Oh, and he washes his willie after the mating. And then jumps back on my lap for a pleasant snooze.

Friday 25 June 2021

How do cats cool down? 6 ways.

I'm going to refer to domestic cats mainly. I can think of 6 ways which help a cat to cool down. Cats do sweat but in a much more limited way than humans. They sweat from their paw pads and the latent heat of evaporation cools down their paw pads. You will see the sweaty pawprints of a cat in a veterinarian's consultation room on the table. This is because as they are nervous and agitated, they over heat and they sweat.

Licking helps to cool a cat as well as clean them
Licking helps to cool a cat as well as clean them. Photo: PDSA.

Another way is licking their coat. The saliva deposited on the coat evaporates and once again through the physical properties of the latent heat of evaporation, it's cools the cat down slightly. This is a substitute for sweating.

A third way is panting like a dog. I'm sure that you have seen this before. My female cat used to plant in the car in her cage when I took her to the veterinarian. She became agitated and overheated and so instinctively she panted to cool down. Panting as a cooling process works in the same way as sweating.

A fourth way is to find some shade! If a cat is lying in the sun, and they do like to lie in the sun as we know, after a while they will remove themselves from that hot spot and find some shade and a patch of cool ground to lie on to cool down.

In fact, using shade is the most natural and obvious way for a cat to cool down. You see the big cats like lions and tigers resting in shade, particular the lions because they live in quite open territory which is sunbaked and quite arid. They find a tree to rest and snooze under. Whereas tigers live in landscapes that are far lusher and more covered with vegetation and trees.

If a tiger wants to cool down, they jump into the water. Tigers love water and they often spend a long time in it because they live in parts of the world, Asia, where there are high temperatures. Jaguars also spend quite a lot of time in cool water. Domestic cats don't usually jump into water to cool down. Some individual cats might though such as an F1 Savannah cat.

Some lions rest on the branches of trees. This takes them off the ground where there are less flies and also where it is cooler. There might be more of a breeze 10 or 15 feet above the ground as well. This may help them keep cool.

I have just thought of a sixth way: drinking cool water from a faucet. Some domestic cats are particularly fond of this. It quenches the thirst and cools the insides a little bit.

The physics of the way sweat cools the body is quite technical. The latent heat of vaporization (evaporation) is the heat consumed or discharged when matter disintegrates, changing from fluid to gas.

Here is a video on the topic:

Note: This is a video from another website. Sometimes they are deleted at source which stops them working on this site. If that has happened, I apologise but I have no control over it.

Is it cruel to shut my kitten out of my bedroom at night?

It is not cruel per se because your kitten will be well looked after, I hope. However, it is a strong curtailment of a kitten's desire to be in that room and they really want to be in that room because your bedclothes smell very strongly of you. Cats are attracted to the smell of their owner. They want to be in it, so to speak. They want to be surrounded by that smell. They want to lie on your bed clothes and take up some of that scent onto themselves. This is scent exchange, which is a merging, in their minds, of themselves and their human companion. It is highly reassuring to them. You should let your kitten do this as it pleases him or her. And it makes them feel happier.

Ideally you should let your cat be in your bedroom at night
Ideally you should let your cat be in your bedroom at night. Pic in public domain.

It is obviously beholden upon all cat owners to make their cat as happy as possible. So, if you want to keep your kitten out of your bedroom at night you are doing it for yourself primarily. There may be a safety issue for a small kitten who's jumped up onto the bed at night because you might roll over onto the kitten and harm them but I think this is highly unlikely.

The primary reason why people discuss on the Internet how to keep their cat or kitten out of the bedroom at night is because they don't want to be disturbed. This is completely understandable. I don't know the percentage of cat owners who do ban their cat from their bedroom but I suspect it is quite high. In each case the cat is missing out on something that they love. And therefore, it is a small dent in the human-cat relationship.

The problem, as mentioned, is that the bedroom is a special place for a cat because of the smells. The bed is soaked in the scent of the person who sleeps in it. More so than for clothes. I know for a fact that my cat adores it. He wants to come under the bedclothes every day and lie under the duvet for about 15 minutes to soak up the smell of me! As I know it makes him very happy, I allow it. I'm used to it. And it helps to create this wonderful bond between person and cat. You want that. That is the objective because the closer the bond, the more enjoyment the relationship brings you.

As the old adage goes: the more you put in, the more you get out. The more you put into the relationship in this case and the more you allow your cat to expresses natural desires, the more you get from the relationship because your cat loves you more. There is a compromise as suggested by Jackson Galaxy which is to put your cat's bed within your bedroom. On that bed you might place some of your personal items which smell of you. This will allow your cat to be in your bedroom at night but not on your bed. That should satisfy people who don't want to be disturbed.

I'm a believer in this sort of compromise although I don't compromise when it comes to making my cat as happy as possible within the limitations of safety and practicability. Jackson Galaxy calls a human bed a "scent soaker". He means, as I am sure you can guess, that it is soaked in the scent of the human who sleeps in it.

When you observe your cat, you see how they check out everything with their nose when they approach new things. Domestic cats recognise objects through their sense of smell. The notice things visually and then they confirm what they're seeing through the odour that it gives off. The point being that the smell of things is highly important to domestic cats. It is of equal importance to their sight.

When my cat approaches me, for example in the kitchen, after I have got up, he might sniff my leg. He knows me obviously incredibly well but he still likes to have a little sniff just to reassure himself. Cat owners need to focus on how to satisfy that olfactory element in the lives of domestic cats. It is a big part of their lives and so is getting into the bedroom at night.

How many cats scratch at the bedroom door trying to get in at night? I wonder if cat owners are as disturbed by that is they might be by their cat being on their bed?

Wednesday 23 June 2021

DIY inexpensive outdoor catio cat enclosure

You can build your own catio for $80 in the USA. It sounds incredibly cheap but of course you have to put the effort in as this is DIY. The video shows you how to do it. You can see that it is quite a small catio. Catios very tremendously in size and they can be as basic or as luxurious as you want them to be. I would classify the one in the video as small but nonetheless very useful.

DIY inexpensive outdoor catio cat enclosure
DIY inexpensive outdoor catio cat enclosure. Screenshot.

For many years, I have considered the catio to be a great compromise between providing a safe environment for your cat while, at the same time, allowing him or her some outside space where they can smell the air and feel the grass under their feet. The added benefit is that it protects wildlife. Attitudes are changing on wildlife conservation and cat predation.

Although, it should be said, that the catio in the video does not have any grass under their feet! I think she could have grown some grass. Update: I just noticed some grass or foliage on the other side of the catio so she has not forgotten about it.

Catio's enhance the life of a cat and in doing so, I argue, that it can change their behaviour for the better. It means they are more able to express their natural behaviours which should result in a better-balanced cat in terms of their emotions. It can reduce stress and we know that stresses can affect health and health affects behaviour.

This is a window box, which in effect is a mini-catio:

Cat window box. A mini-catio.
Cat window box. A mini-catio. Photo by Catio Spaces.

And this is another mini-catio on the cheap:

Mini-cat preassembled and sold commercially
Mini-cat preassembled and sold commercially. Photo in public domain.

And here is a pretty one being enjoyed by a cat:

Pretty catio
Pretty catio. Photo in public domain with words added.

In the video below, the lady who did the building with a bit of help it seems has a specific reason for building the catio. She wanted her cat to keep distant from another cat when going outside. And that's quite a good reason. A lot of indoor cats are going to see cats allowed outside who are strangers to them encroaching on what they perceive as their territory even though it is outside and beyond their reach.

A catio can create that compromise as it allows the full-time indoor cat to sample the air and be within nature to a certain extent while keeping distant from any other cat who might be hostile.

The biggest advantage obviously is that there is zero danger of a road traffic accident. Road traffic accidents are probably the biggest cause of domestic cat death in many countries. In America, I'm going to guess and say that predation by predators such as coyotes are probably the biggest cause of death to cats allowed outside.

And there is the conservation angle too. This is very important nowadays.

Note: This is a video from another website. Sometimes they are deleted at source which stops them working on this site. If that has happened, I apologise but I have no control over it.

This should be a postscript to this article. Many years ago I sent £100 to a man in Pakistan who was rescuing feral cats he said. I wanted him to build an enclosure, a catio, for the cats. He stole the money instead and it rankles with me. His name is: Ahsan Ulhaq. If you get involved with him remember that he cannot be trusted.

Tuesday 22 June 2021

Standard domestic cat slides through 3-inch gap under interior door

This looks entirely genuine: a standard sized moggie gets through a 3-inch gap (max) under an interior door. He or she twists onto their side when half way through and seem to compress their rib cage to get under.  It is remarkable. On this page is the video which may stop working as they often do when they are stored on a third-party site (this time TikTok) and three still images (screenshots) of the feat.

Standard domestic cat slides through 3-inch gap under door
Standard domestic cat slides through 3-inch gap under door

Then she turns over half way through:

Standard domestic cat slides through 3-inch gap under door

The last bit, the legs are the easy part!

Standard domestic cat slides through 3-inch gap under door
Standard domestic cat slides through 3-inch gap under door.

And this is the TikTok video:

Note: This is a video from another website. Sometimes they are deleted at source which stops them working on this site. If that has happened, I apologise but I have no control over it.

Laser declaw is NOT humane, do not listen to their lies

Laser declawing is, in my opinion, an invention by veterinarians to try and better sell to the paying and gullible public their gruesome operation which is their bread-and-butter and which is worth billions of dollars annually across North America. 

They effectively con millions of cat owners out of their money in convincing them that declawing is okay and that their cat is not going to be harmed 'that much' and will recover from the operation very quickly et cetera. Declawing is never a last resort for the veterinarian despite what their association tells them that it must be. Declawing is bloody painful and there can often be complications and long-term behavioural consequences.

Laser declaw is NOT humane, do not listen to their lies
Laser declaw is NOT humane, do not listen to their lies

Some veterinarians promote declawing by giving discounts and vouchers and this sort of objectionable promotion. As the Twitter post says laser declawing is not humane. The veterinarians of North America are deceiving the public. In one post I decided that they were genuinely evil because they place profit before everything else, deciding to conveniently brush under the carpet the enormity of the cruelty in leaving kittens without their claw upon which they so obviously rely. 

Nature gave them claws for a purpose. If people don't like cat claws, they should not adopt a cat. It's a simple formula. You don't modify your bloody cat as if you're modifying or customising a car or something like that. These are sentient creatures.

A cat's claws are very important. They allow a cat to stretch, they deposit scent on objects when they scratch those objects. They use claws to hold on to prey animals and to grasp objects. And above all, a cat owner can avoid being scratched with a little bit of prudence and common sense. 

If a cat owner understands their cat and understands when they are going to use their claws in a certain way then they can be avoided. It is beholden upon the cat owner to take steps to work around claws. That is part of good cat ownership. It is part of responsible cat ownership. It is highly irresponsible and cruel to declaw.

It's remarkable that many cat owners who declaw their cat say that they love them. These cats are members of their family. And yet they brutally mutilate them for their own convenience! It's a form of madness. And the veterinarians are part of this criminality, as I would describe it. Of course, it is not criminal but the kind of mutilation perpetrated by veterinarians in this operation would be criminal if anybody other than veterinarians did it!

Trial of Steve Bouquet the 'Brighton Cat Killer' who allegedly stabbed 16 cats

Steve Bouquet, 54, from Brighton is on trial for the "murder" by stabbing of 9 domestic cats and seriously injuring a further 7. He was described as the "Brighton Cat Killer". His spree of serial 'murders' came to an end when he was allegedly filmed by a security camera attacking a 9-month-old black kitten called Hendrix was sitting on a wall near his home. 

Bouquet the devil incarnate
Bouquet the devil incarnate. Image: MikeB based on pic by GARETH FULLER/PA

UPDATE JUNE 30, 2021
: He has been found guilty 16 offences of criminal damage, in relation to the cats, and possession of a knife. Judge Jeremy Gold QC said: 

“I suggest it is only really during lockdown it has been particularly clear how much many of us who have pets rely on them for companionship and comfort. One can only imagine the distress that was caused to the owners of those various cats in this case at the very thought of having a knife plunged into their beloved pet.”

Please read. The page has been continually updated....

The camera had been installed by the owner of another cat who had been stabbed and who died subsequently, Hannah, in October 2018. The attacks took place between October 2018 to June 2019. The court papers named the cats, either killed or injured as: Hendrix, Tommy, Hannah, Alan, Nancy, Gizmo, Kyo, Ollie, Cosmo, Alistair, Wheatley, Rigby, Samson, Jasper, Maggie and Gideon. There are some harrowing tales from the cats' owners. 

Dail Mail list of killings by the Brighton Cat Killer
Dail Mail list of killings by the Brighton Cat Killer.

Carolyn Green, found her short-haired tabby cat Tommy lying on her doorstep at 6:15 pm when a neighbour told her that she thought Tommy had been hit by a car. He had been let out 'a few minutes earlier'. He was severely injured. She picked him up and noticed blood on her T-shirt. She rushed him to the veterinarian who reported that he had been stabbed. Green was shocked to learn that Tommy had suffered a 4 cm cut. He died despite the veterinarian's best efforts.

The alleged 'Brighton Cat Killer' Steve Bouquet on trial for 12 cat 'murders' by stabbing
The alleged 'Brighton Cat Killer' Steve Bouquet on trial for 9 cat 'murders' by stabbing and 7 seriously injured. Photo: Eddie Mitchell.

In the trial the prosecuting barrister, Mr Jenkins, said that in the video footage you can see a passerby (allegedly Bouquet) stop and show affection towards Hendrix. But then Bouquet takes something out of his rucksack and you see a sudden jerking action from his arm which is the moment that he allegedly stabbed Hendrix with force.

Hendrix immediately sits up and runs back to his home. He was stabbed through both his kidneys and although he was rushed to a veterinarian his life was lost and he died later.

Bouquet returned minutes later to look at the CCTV camera which had filmed the incident and indeed he returns again repeatedly during the following 2 days indicating a concern that he'd been filmed.

Kyo one of the cats allegedly killed by Bouquet
Kyo one of the cats allegedly killed by Bouquet. Picture supplied by owner. RIP Kyo.

Hendrix's owner, Stuart Montgomery, learned about the video footage and approached his neighbour to view it. And then 2 days later Bouquet walked past on the same street and was filmed by the same camera live. Mr Levy (Hannah's owner) immediately called the police who had been investigating the matter for about 12 months. They turned up and thankfully stopped Bouquet a few streets away. They searched him and found a Leatherman multi-tool which I presume contained the knife. There was feline DNA on the blade. He was arrested and taken into custody and charged with the series of stabbings.

Bouquet's technique, as recorded in the video, was to befriend indoor-outdoor cats who were wandering around the streets near their homes. Once he had befriended them, he immediately stabbed them with force causing severe injuries. Sometimes the cat survived but often they didn't.

One of the cats allegedly stabbed by Bouquet
One of the cats allegedly stabbed by Bouquet. Pic in public domain.

It was obvious by veterinarians that the cats that they'd treated had been stabbed by a sharp knife. They knew that somebody was inflicting the injuries deliberately. This is quite different to a somewhat similar case which occurred in Croydon, London, UK and which spread across the UK, in which cats were being mutilated. It was decided by the police that it was foxes attacking and killing cats. That conclusion was disputed by the cat owners by the way.

Of course, when a person such as the accused stabs a dozen cats with the intention of killing them, it is also emotionally stabbing the cats' owners. There is a huge amount of emotional trauma. In addition, there is a huge amount of financial expenditure in veterinary bills but that is beside the point in terms of this man's guilt.

At the moment this is an allegation against Steve Bouquet and the old adage applies: he is innocent until proven guilty. The evidence is strong. I expect him to be proved guilty. I expect and hope that he receives a severe sentence but historically crimes against cats are treated too leniently in the British courts.

Bouquet is not attending his trial. He is therefore being tried in his absence at Chichester Crown Court. That is highly unusual but it seems disdainful of him to behave like this. It is more likely, however, that he will be found guilty. Perhaps he has foreseen the outcome and is demonstrating a kind of bravado about it.

Update June 25, 2021: Steve Bouquet is on trial at the moment. I can confirm that he is not attending this trial but it is strange that we are seeing all these photos of him apparently outside a court. We are, therefore, getting information from the court about his modus operandi. He apparently liked to take photographs with his camera phone of the places where he either planned to commit the crimes or had committed them. For example, he was seen acting suspiciously near to where Nancy, a 9-year-old tabby suffered a stab wound to her torso.

His trial is at Chichester Crown Court and the jury heard how Mr Carter, a cat owner, had seen Bouquet taking photographs outside his home. Also, Craig Neeld, saw him looking at his phone and walking off. Soon afterwards he received a message from Mr Carter on his smartphone asking him for help with this cat who was bleeding heavily from a wound.

The predicted outcome is that he will be found guilty. I think he has accepted it. He seems disinterested. Strangely, The Times reports today June 26th, that he said that he liked cats when interviewed by police. He had snaps of a black male cat on his phone. This might have been Hendrix.

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