Tuesday 31 August 2021

Hairless cat poses like a celebrity starlet at the Cannes Film Festival

A hairless cat, probably a Sphynx, poses like a celebrity starlet at the Cannes Film Festival. A very strange photograph. Was it posed by the photographer by positioning his/her cat and rapidly taking the photo or was it photo-edited? I have no idea. I'd go for the former because it seems highly unlikely that a cat would take up this pose without human intervention and it sure looks odd. Hairless cats are prime candidates for odd but interesting photos. Of course, this hairless cat is entirely nude. So, it is rude if I say it looks like a film starlet. This adds to the strangeness of the image.


Hairless cat poses like a celebrity starlet at the Cannes Film Festival
Hairless cat poses like a celebrity starlet at the Cannes Film Festival

12 K-Pop idols who love cats

Here's a list of a dozen K-Pop idols who're said to be seriously in love with cats. But I wonder if they truly are sometimes. Aren't these pop idols artificially created by producers and entrepreneurs? They are the guys who make the big bucks. They filter some of the money down to the artist. Minimum wage stuff! It is a production and I wonder if part of that production is the cat. The cats are always beautiful, sometimes pristine white to match the beautiful girls and androgenous boys.

Jisun and white cat. She is said to love cats
Jisun and white cat. She is said to love cats. Photo in public domain.
  • Jooheon (MONSTA X)
  • Lisa (BLACKPINK)
  • Kun (NCT)
  • Jisun (fromis_9)
  • Kang Daniel
  • Rina (WEKI MEKI)
  • Jaejoong (JYJ)
  • Jimin (BTS)
  • Hyolyn
  • Yura (Girl’s Day)
  • Handong (Dreamcatcher)
  • Kyulkyung (PRISTIN)
To a Westerner it looks a bit strange. It certainly looks artificial. No doubt these are talented girls and boys but they are plastic caricatures of real people. And I believe that the cats are there to dress them up. They are the accoutrements of being a South Korean pop idol. You've got to throw all these bits and pieces into the mix. Domestic cats are innocent and popular and therefore if a pop idol likes domestic cats, they have got to be decent people. They've got to be pure of heart and the producers and creators of these K-Pop idols want that kind of image. It is the innocence of the cat adding gloss to the innocence of the pop idol. Just my take on it. 

As mentioned, the boys are nearly always androgenous. Sometimes you can't tell if they are male or female. Why is this? They are not very real as mentioned. They look very pure and innocent too. There are lots of tweets on the internet of the K-Pop boys sometimes with a cat or behaving like a cat or juxtaposed against a cat. It is all feline association to improve the image of the artists.

Lisa and terrified cat
Lisa and terrified cat. Photo in public domain.

TNR volunteers spend money on cats before they spend it on themselves

Often, TNR volunteers spend money on cats before they spend it on themselves, which is why Feral Friday's free spaying and neutering service provided by the Golden State Humane Society, in Long Beach, is so welcome. They don't operate the Friday service every week because of insufficient funding but on this occasion, on August 23, they operated the discount service because of a $1,500 grant from Petco Love, the pet supply company's non-profit foundation.

Registered Veterinary Technician Tracey Murphy, left, and Ruby Areilla prepare a cat for a neutering surgery at Golden State Human Society. Photo by Harry Saltzgaver, Grunion Gazette/SCNG
Registered Veterinary Technician Tracey Murphy, left, and Ruby Areilla prepare a cat for a neutering surgery at Golden State Human Society. Photo by Harry Saltzgaver, Grunion Gazette/SCNG.

Golden State's Executive Director, Alexandra Casswell, correctly stated that the volunteers won't stop. They really don't stop because they are driven by compassion. There is a huge body of people, nearly always women, who can't let feral cats struggle and starve and do nothing about it. 

They have to get involved. So, this service is a welcome relief to the expenditure which I'm going to guess is potentially or actually a constant worry because a lot of volunteers are on tight budgets. Perhaps they are women living alone who obtain a lot of satisfaction from what they do and rightly so.

The first Feral Friday event took place in October 2019. Golden State has neutered 88 feral cats with this discount service so far in 2021. They believe that in neutering 88 feral cats they have prevented the births of 352-562 kittens. That's a lot of pain and distress avoided.

These cats are probably better described as 'community cats' as they become semi-domesticated through their contact with the volunteers. Long Beach's Animal Care Services endorse the TNR programs.

In case you are unsure, TNR stands for trap-neuter-release which is the standard and most humane method of stabilising feral cat populations. It is far superior to the concept of elimination through inhumane means which almost invariably leads to the vacant space being occupied by incoming feral cats.

Inflatable prosthetic hand can pet a cat

This is an article for people interested in technology and people who have unfortunately lost both hands (hopefully very rare) and who want to stroke their domestic cat. Prosthetic hands are normally very expensive and quite heavy because they are made of metal and motors. Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) together with engineers/scientists at Shanghai Jiao Tong University, China have come up with what appears to be a brilliant alternative. This is an inflatable prosthetic hand that can be controlled with the mind and is 20 times cheaper to make than the metal and motor variety.

Inflatable prosthetic hand can pet a cat and do lot more besides
Inflatable prosthetic hand can pet a cat and do lot more besides. Photo: MIT.

It picks up electrical signals through the wearer's arm. When the person imagines making a fist with their absent hand the prosthetic hand picks up the muscle signals and carries out the command.

It can do four types of grasps including making a fist, cupping the palm, pinching two fingers together and pinching three fingers together. In tests it could pour juice, shake hands, zip up a suitcase and most importantly for me stroke a cat!

Rather than using motors, the hand's movements are controlled and driven by a pneumatic system which inflates and bends the fingers. The pump which drives the pneumatic levers is worn around the wearer's waist.

The materials used are much cheaper and cost about US$500 (£364) which compares very favourably with the $10,000 for materials used in motorised hands.

It weighs 225 g (8 ounces) which also compares very favourably with the metal variety as it is a fraction of the weight. The prosthetic picks up signals from electromyography sensors at the point where the device fits the body. The sensors pick up electrical activity when a nerve stimulates the muscle. The fingers can be fitted with a pressure sensor so it can restore some sensation.

This last benefit may also be very useful to a cat owner because there is nothing better than feeling your fingers as they pass through the fur of your cat companion. They say that one of the best cats to stroke is the British Shorthair because the fur is very dense.


The researchers' work is published in the journal Nature Biomedical Engineering. During the research they found that the inflatable prosthetic was as good or even better than the conventional, rigid, commercially available bionic hand in carrying out functions such as stacking checkers, turning pages, writing with a pen, lifting heavy balls and picking up fragile objects.


Further, the device is very durable and has a 3D-printed palm to mimic a human hand. One volunteer was able to successfully shake a person's hand, touch of flower and pet a cat.

Source: The Times - thanks.

Monday 30 August 2021

Online adoption hub Pets4Homes clamps down on fraudulent sellers

The website Pets4Homes has decided to clamp down on unscrupulous breeders and fraudsters who use the Pets4Homes website as a portal through which they sell puppies imported illegally or bred under cruel conditions and then sold through the site despite being sick or dying. In short, Pets4Homes want to stop criminals using their website to sell sick animals, particularly puppies which are imported illegally.

Cawley travelling family were engaged in fraudulent practices in conning customers
Cawley travelling family were engaged in fraudulent practices in conning customers. Photo: SWNS

Pets4Homes has employed digital forensic experts in collaboration with the charity Animal Protection Services to secure 85 prosecutions with 35 cases pending decisions. They've used cyber analysts to block 40,000 adverts in five months on the website. A significant percentage of these adverts were created by gangs shipping dogs from abroad and/or using litters from stolen pedigree dogs kept under very poor conditions.

On one occasion 'travellers' in the UK made at least £300,000 by selling sick and dying cocker spaniels, schnauzers, Chihuahuas, springer spaniels, Labradors, beagles and poodles. Six members of the Cawley family, from Milton Keynes, together with seven accomplices were convicted.

These enterprises have been fuelled by market forces because of the Covid pandemic which encouraged people who were socially distance to impulsively adopt dogs forcing up prices resulting in criminal activity to take advantage of the market.

The administrators of Pets4Homes decided to take action because of a series of abuses in recent months. Their software now prevents fraudsters from selling animals when they do not possess those animals.

They check the IP addresses of those who are advertising in order to establish the veracity of the advert. They want to make sure that people who are selling these dogs live in the country and at the address listed on their account. Also, pictures of puppies for sale are scanned by software to show that they haven't been duplicated.

Another person who was prosecuted is John Lawrence from Liverpool. He sold two German Shephard puppies who died shortly after being purchased. He was convicted of knowingly selling seriously ill puppies. He was jailed for eight weeks.

Further, Animal Protection Services brought a private prosecution against Leonard Greenough from Salisbury. They used information supplied by Pets4Homes. He was selling poppies worth about £16,700 without a licence.

First pictures of Mr Farthing's animals in the UK at a Welsh animal rescue centre

Mr Paul 'Pen' Farthing and his animals landed at Heathrow Airport, near London, UK, on Sunday morning. He was accompanied by 173 cats and dogs. They have to enter a four-month quarantine period as I understand it. With that number of animals, they have to be distributed to other shelters around the UK. And one of those shelters is the Wales Ape and Monkey Sanctuary who took to Twitter to share images of the animals. The only animals that I have seen are dogs. A staffer at the sanctuary said in a tweet that they are very happy to be able to help.

Note: all the pictures that I have seen of Nowzad animals are dogs. I have not seen one cat. Do they really exist? I am concerned I have to admit. Surely, we would have seen some cats by now. I have seen all the photos from Nowzad and no cats.

The Sun headline: "Pen Farthing says most of his 173 cats and dogs are lined up for new homes in UK as he praises ‘phenomenal’ UK troops" - good news.

First pictures of Mr Farthing's animals in the UK at a Welsh animal rescue centre
First pictures of Mr Farthing's animals in the UK at a Welsh animal rescue centre. Photo: Wales Ape and Monkey Sanctuary.

It is nice to see these animals in what I hope is the calm and safety of a British animal shelter. And let us hope that they find beautiful new homes after the expiry of the quarantine period. I am hopeful that the animals are healthy because Nowzad, the shelter in Kabul which was managed by Mr Farthing until he had to evacuate, has veterinary support. They have a decent veterinary clinic as far as I can tell and therefore, I would hope that the animals coming in with Mr Farthing are healthy.

First pictures of Mr Farthing's animals in the UK at a Welsh animal rescue centre
First pictures of Mr Farthing's animals in the UK at a Welsh animal rescue centre. Photo: Wales Ape and Monkey Sanctuary.

I know that the veterinarians at Nowzad used to treat the 25-30 stray cats that were fed at the US Embassy. I do not know what is happening to those cats now that the embassy staff have evacuated. It's a concern to me and I am sure others. These cats were fed by embassy staff so are they going to survive?

Here is a tweet:

Sunday 29 August 2021

Pen Farthing flew back to the UK last night with his menagerie of animals rescued by the Nowzad charity

Mr Paul 'Pen' Farthing and his rescued cats and dogs from his Nowzad animal rescue charity based in Kabul, Afghanistan, landed at Heathrow airport last night and immediately took a connecting flight to Oslo to see his wife who had left Afghanistan last week. The cats and dogs are in quarantine and they will remain there for four months as per the usual procedures. This will obviously be a very difficult time for them to add to the trauma already suffered.

The cats and dogs in Kabul on the way to the airport
Some of the cats and dogs in Kabul on the way to the airport. They were probably offloaded to get air. Photo: The Daily Mail.

I understand that his flight from Kabul went via Muscat. Initially the reports were that he was going to fly to Uzbekistan first and then on to Heathrow. Mr Farthing said that he has mixed emotions in his tweet which stated:

"Arrived Heathrow with partial success of #OpArk Mixed emotions & true deep feeling of sadness for Afghan today. Heathrow Ops centre, Border Force, HARC & Air Pets were all bloody amazing. Witnessed 1st hand the compassion Heathrow is showing Afghan refugees."

Mr Farthing's tweet on landing
Mr Farthing's tweet on landing.

To be clear, he used a privately funded chartered jet for the evacuation operation. He did not commandeer any military plane and therefore we did not take any seats for people. In fact, he offered available seats on his plane but there were no takers. This runs entirely counter to what we read in the news media that a lot of people qualified to evacuate Kabul have been left behind. Why couldn't they have been found and placed on Mr Farthing's flight?

Also, to be clear, Mr Farthing has evacuated 94 dogs and 79 cats as I recall. A large number indeed but some animals have been left behind at Nowzad. The report indicate that Nowzad is currently closed because the staff are at home perhaps for their own safety. The staff could have evacuated because they were issued with visas but because of the chaos and complications of getting to the airport they couldn't make it. I think the Taliban stopped them.

Mr Farthing blames the MoD for being obstructive and an audio recording is on my website of Mr Farthing leaving a voicemail on Peter Quentin's answerphone in which he threatens him. At that time Mr Farthing was obviously very desperate to get his animals out. There is quite a big discussion about Mr Farthing's behaviour but I wholly support him because he was under great stress as were the animals. And it does seem that the MoD was being obstructive. They appear to have decided that the optics, to use a modern term, were not good if animals were seen to be evacuated before people.

Indeed, there are people now, quite senior people, who are continuing to criticise Mr Farthing for evacuating animals over people. But that is entirely incorrect because Mr Farthing was adding to the aircraft inventory at Kabul airport and was not taking away one of the military aircraft. He was adding seats and therefore had the right to evacuated animals. In fact, he offered seats for people on that particular flight but there were no takers. And he says that you can't put people in the hold where there are cats and dogs because it is not allowed.

You have to admire Mr Farthing and his forcefulness for achieving this. And for setting up Nowzad in the first place. It would not have been set up without this kind of forceful personality. The issues now do not go away because the animals concerned will have to leave quarantine, all being well, and be rehomed. And there are issues back in Kabul to do with animal welfare because Nowzad which he founded will now have to be entirely about rescuing animals in the region rather than reuniting support animals with military personnel who have returned home. This will be a repositioning of the operation as I see it. How will they manage to do this and will they be successful?

And the evacuation of Americans and the military is going to weaken animal rescue and animal welfare in Afghanistan. A lot of money was sloshing around which help animal welfare. That's going to go away because the donations were provided to operations like Nowzad on the basis that animals were reunited with military personnel. Will Nowzad be able to raise that kind of money to rescue cats and dogs that were owned by Afghanistan citizens?

One British politician, Tom Tugendhat has criticised a decision to use soldiers to evacuate Mr Farthing's animals while the lives of Afghans who assisted the British were under threat. I think he's wrong and being melodramatic. As mentioned, Mr Farthing added to the aircraft inventory. He added seats and did not take them away. And why shouldn't animals have some rights as well? Even under the most severe circumstances. Why should people be always superior to animals under these circumstances?

The story actually divides people between those who care about animals and those who don't. But for me, it is entirely correct that the animals were evacuated. We're talking about less than 200 animals that have been rescued from Kabul compared to 100,000+ people. Is that not fair, sensible and reasonable?

Domestic cat recovered from nine stab wounds and was happily rehomed

NEWS AND COMMENT-WIGAN, UK: I am very reluctant to write about the story because nowadays I shy away from writing about cat abuse stories of this nature. There's too many of them and it's been overdone. Unfortunately, the news media do tend to rely upon cat stories which involve abuse. I suppose all news is bad news and it applies to cats like any other topic.

Domestic cat recovered from nine stab wounds and is happily rehomed
Jasmine Dickinson and Katie. Photo: Jam Press/RSPCA.

But I also think that the news media should not have picked up on this story. They say that the cat was stabbed nine times and survived. The cat's name incidentally is Katie and she is a black and white cat as you can see. But, in truth, if this cat had been stabbed nine times she would not have survived. These were not genuine stab wounds but slashing wounds which cut the skin but they weren't very deep. That is why Katie survived. So, the news media have exaggerated this with their title which I have adopted in order to emphasise the point that it is actually misleading.

Another thing about the story which I don't like is that the person who slashed at Katie was mentally ill. He or she didn't know what they were doing. We can't blame them, can we? Perhaps we shouldn't write about people who are mentally ill because it is using their mental illness to make money. The news media are using the mental health problems of this individual, indirectly, to write a story which helps to support their newspaper. I don't think that is ethically correct. I am probably being a little bit picky but I think you have to be if you want to analyse the sorts of things accurately.

Another aspect of the story which is perhaps interesting rather than troublesome is that they say that Katie recovered and was rehabilitated. In other words, she appears not to have been affected mentally and does not suffer from PTSD. Can cats suffer from PTSD? In my view, domestic cats do forget these sorts of incidents if they are adult cats and Katie is seven years of age.

If this sort of trauma had happened when Katie was within her formative first seven weeks of life it would have traumatised her in my opinion. But the news media story focuses on whether she is traumatised by saying that she is a bit scared when strangers come to the home. But this is entirely normal and it will happen to most cats including those who have not been through any trauma. So that aspect of the story is, in my opinion, slightly misleading.

But the good part of the story is that Katie survived and is doing well. She was rescued by the RSPCA and rehabilitated at the charity's Oldham and Bury branch. After two months she was fully recovered and adopted by Jasmine Dickinson, 28, an attractive young woman. Before adoption, Jasmine said that she enjoyed the company of a cat when she was younger and was looking forward to adopt Katie. She applied to the RSPCA and was told about Katie's traumatic story. This made her even keener to adopt her. The adoption was finalised in March and, as mentioned, Katie is now settled into her new home in Wigan.

Jasmine says that Katie is sweet-natured and likes to be near her. Katie is a lap cat and very affectionate. She likes to be petted. All is well, it seems to me.

We don't know the circumstances of the stabbing. Sometimes cat owners become mentally ill. And sometimes people who are mentally ill are able to adopt cats or acquire them. In a better world, in an ideal world, mentally ill patients should not be able to adopt a domestic cat unless they've been cleared by a specialist as not being a danger to animals. 

Domestic cats can probably help a mentally ill person as can domestic dogs. There are many therapy dogs for instance. But I don't believe you can put a mentally ill person with a cat or dog unless you have assessed that form of mental illness carefully and decided that it will not result in animal abuse of any kind.

Source: Metro.co.uk.

Stupidest video I have had the misfortune to see and a form of cat abuse


What is the effing point of this ridiculous video? It is horrible but thankfully it is short. It is a minor form of cat abuse. The video was made to amuse people. And, ridiculously, some people on YouTube are amused but I'm afraid they are airheads with nothing between the ears. The person who made this video thought he would do something cheap and easy to try and get the attention of people so that he could make a bit of money. It is the usual scenario; abuse a domestic cat to entertain people!

Fortunately, the video is a failure because only 2000 or so people have seen it. You don't make a lot of advertising money with those kinds of numbers. But it is remarkable the number of videos you see on YouTube which are based upon animal abuse. And I have seen a similar video to this one many years ago in which a man yells at his Maine Coon cat to see the reaction. He even called the video "Yelling at Cats" or something like that. It was monstrous, worse than this one. But this one is pretty idiotic as well.


The current rash of YouTube videos in which animals are ostensibly rescued but which are in fact entirely fake is not mild animal abuse but gross animal abuse. People are putting animals in great danger and then supposedly rescuing them while videoing the whole thing. These videos get a lot of views and these people do make money which encourages them to do more of the same thing. And the great shame of this is that the administrators of YouTube do nothing about it or if they do something about it, it is not enough.

It is truly time that social media stopped people abusing animals in order to garner views and celebrity. The trouble is that social media is out of control. The administrators simply don't have the number of people and the resources to monitor the millions of videos which are uploaded weekly or even daily. I don't know how many but it is an enormous number.

And this particular video has been shared amongst other platforms such as Buzz Videos. And Viral Hog should not have put this video on their YouTube channel. Where are the ethics? What is the matter with the administrators and managers of these companies?

Saturday 28 August 2021

Has Paul 'Pen' Farthing left Afghanistan?

Yes, he has left. Finally, after much animosity between Farthing and the MOD, he took off with his 94 dogs and 79 cats at 4:30 pm, Saturday 28th 2021 from Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul. It's been reported that he travelled to the capital of Uzbekistan initially with the ultimate destination being England.

The report is from The Telegraph online newspaper. Earlier reports in various news media outlets support this as they reported on a gradual, tortuous and dangerous progress towards the moment when they were evacuated. However, the news that Farthing has got out is not 100% guaranteed as news from Kabul is a bit shaky at times.

Has Paul 'Pen' Farthing left Afghanistan?
Has Paul 'Pen' Farthing left Afghanistan? Yes.

Mr Farthing was highly critical of the MoD, particularly the special adviser to Ben Wallace the Defence Secretary who he claims unreasonably delayed evacuation. Farthing claims that if the MoD had been more efficient and reasonable, he would have got his staff out as well. As it happens, they have stayed behind.

Also, there were other animals, not cats or dogs, who have remained at the Nowzad animal sanctuary in Kabul. His staff had visas to leave. It must be particularly galling for him and for his dedicated staff members to be left behind through, as he sees it, MoD inefficiencies.

The MoD argue that they didn't want anybody queue jumping. I suspect that the MoD thought the 'optics' to use a modern term were not good because it would have meant seeing dogs and cats being prioritised over people. But that was not the case because Mr Farthing had made his own arrangements using private donations to charter an aircraft.

Therefore, he was not queue jumping. He was adding to the number of aircraft available. In fact, he suggested that because there were seats available on his aircraft, he could take some people as well. I'm afraid it looks like the MoD were bogged down in their own bureaucracy and it indicates poor decision-making but that is a personal comment.

It has to be said that it has been a very trying saga to get his animals out of Afghanistan. There were numerous obstacles, difficulties and dangers. It must have been enormously stressful for all concerned. And I include in that the animals who at one stage were in a vehicle, cheek by jowl, in cages, in sweltering heat for 10 hours. And he said that at one stage he had an AK-47 stuffed in his face. He may have been lucky to survive the experience.

I think at that point Mr Farthing was concerned whether the animals would actually survive the journey to the airport which must have been quite a short one in terms of distance but a mountain in terms of time.

At one stage he got into the perimeter of the airport but not into the airport itself as he was turned back. He blames that moment on President Biden who just before had changed the rules about who was allowed out.

If you want to read some background information on this then please tick on this link.

Cats with concrete pillows

Clearly, this is a couple of street cats but curiously they are using concrete parking stops as pillows.

Cats with concrete pillows
Cats with concrete pillows. Photo in public domain.

The lumps of concrete are designed to stop a driver driving into the low wall at the edge of the parking lot. The tyres contact these blocks to remind the driver that they are at the limit of the parking area. They remind me of my cat actually. My cat likes to rest his head in this position on my leg. It's an alternative to the curled-up position. However, it does not look that comfortable. I have a feeling that they are siblings. 

Probably like you, when I see this photograph, I want to help them. They should not be living like this. It is an interesting photograph but also a sad one.

My friend's grandad feeds the local strays, this is what he woke up to today

'My friend's grandad feeds the local strays, this is what he woke up to today', said Reddit user: u/Gaib_Itch. I sometimes think that these guys see a photograph on the Internet that they like and figure out a caption to it which will catch the eye on Reddit.com. It's a way of generating a post on this well used website. 

I don't think the photograph was taken by this Reddit user. I think it was taken by somebody else under entirely different circumstances. That said, who cares because it's a nice photograph and it shows a whole bunch of young cats snuggled up in a flower pot. I think that you would call this a 'clowder of cats'. I am going to suggest that the photograph was actually set up by the photographer. I might be accused of being cynical but I would say that I'm being realistic. It looks too neatly arranged to me to believe that it happened spontaneously. 

My friend's grandad feeds the local strays, this is what he woke up to today
My friend's grandad feeds the local strays, this is what he woke up to today. Photo: Reddit.com

Hospice patient gets Sylvester the Cat tattoo as a final wish

NEWS AND COMMENT - KANSAS CITY, USA: I don't have much information about this but it caught my eye. A hospice patient, Clara Burnett, 83, had a lifelong wish fulfilled last week when she received a Sylvester the Cat cartoon to her forearm. 

Hospice patient gets Sylvester the Cat tattoo as a final wish
Hospice patient gets Sylvester the Cat tattoo as a final wish. Photo: Opera News.

Clara is a resident of Harbor Hospice in Johnson County. That's all I know! The reason is because the website is barred to me because I live in Europe and the website owner does not want to comply with European website regulations on privacy.

Quite a lot of people have Sylvester the Cat tattoos! Incidentally, I have a page on cartoon cats (click here to see it).

Here is a little bit of information about Sylvester. He is a Warner Bros cartoon star. His biography would include the fact that he has a lisp and is a bird-craving, black-furred, white-bellied cat who began his screen career in Life with Feathers in 1945. He had a saying which is very well known for this cartoon cat: "Sufferin' succotash". 

He starred in 104 cartoons and was animated by Friz Freleng who said that the cat was designed "subtly to like a clown with a big red nose and a very low crotch to look like he was wearing baggy pants". Mel Blanc provided the voice. Click here to read more about Sylvester.

Back to Clara. When you are dying, it is a moment when you really must do the things that you thought about doing for the previous decades of your life. We tend to look to the future and tell ourselves that we will do 'that' in the future, whatever it is. And then suddenly the future arrives and 'that thing' has not been done.

I think this scenario applies to this lady so she decided to go for it. She had to travel across the state line to Midtown Tattoo for the procedure. It took commitment and no doubt it has made her happy.

Friday 27 August 2021

What parts of lilies are toxic to cats?

All of the lily is the answer to the question. I have spent a reasonable amount of time researching an answer to the question in the title, in terms of the specific chemical, without success I have to confess. I have searched the Internet using Google Scholar looking for studies on this topic. The studies that I found are quite old (e.g. 2009) and they tell me that they don't know the specific chemical that causes such toxicity to cats. But they do tell me that all parts of lilies i.e. the whole plant-petals, stamen, leaves, and pollen are toxic.

What part of lilies are toxic to cats? All of it.
What part of lilies are toxic to cats? All of it. Image: MikeB

Not all lilies are toxic, funnily enough. You can click on this link if you wish to find out which lilies are not toxic. However, as a cat owner you should not have any lilies in the home at any time in my honest opinion. This is because they are lethally toxic. They are just too dangerous and only a small amount of pollen from a stamen can harm or perhaps kill a cat.

There are many hybrids of the lily which is another confusing point. And as little as two leaves or part of a single flower can kill a cat. The onset of poisoning is rapid which suggests a rapid absorption of the toxin concerned. It is disappointing to realise that the scientists don't know what this toxin is. If you know better than me then please leave a comment and tell me exactly what this chemical is.

Click for the top 10 cat poisons in the USA and lilies are in the number 1 spot.

The experts say that the renal tubular epithelium appears to be the target of the toxin. A water-soluble fraction of the lily is nephrotoxic. The symptoms of lily intoxication include depression, anorexia, vomiting and salivation. Polyuria renal failure leads to dehydration and anuric renal failure and death results.

Specifically, it is called nephrotoxicity which means toxicity to the kidneys in my understanding of the word.

Thursday 26 August 2021

Nervous golden retriever meets new family member: a tiny kitten

They got to know each other and are in a close relationship. The dog is timid and enjoys the kitten's company. The kitten is braver as they climb on top of the dog to rest and feel warm and secure.

Nervous golden retriever meets new family member: a tiny kitten
Nervous golden retriever meets new family member: a tiny kitten. Screenshot.

One day the video will stop playing but, in the meantime, enjoy. I don't control the existence of these videos.


Help for skittish kitties?

Your cat is skittish. You want to help. He or she is probably skittish for three main reasons (1) he is timid and shy or (2) he is in a new home and has not settled down properly or (2) the home is unsettled in terms of ambience.

Background animosity between humans and cats can make a cat skittish through anxiety. Image: MikeB

The last factor I think is a key one. It is now common knowledge that domestic cats like to live in a calm environment with solid routines and rhythms which are integrated with their human caregiver. If you add into that a home which is adapted, at least to a certain extent, to a cat's behaviour plus plenty of play a cat should not be skittish for environmental reasons. It would be hard to shake skittishness due to timidity which is inherited. The best you can do there is to once again create a very calm, friendly environment to enable a skittish cat to feel calmer and become more confident in their environment.

Skittishness is a product of anxiety or fear. This, as mentioned, can emanate from an inherently shy character. But if the cat is not inherently shy but is still skittish it's going to be environmental factors which cause this. In a multi-cat home, there may be bullying by a dominant cat or a cat might not get along that well with the other cats. It is said that at behavioural problems most often start in multi-cat homes where domestic cats are brought together in a confined space. This is especially true if they are all full-time indoor cats which is probably going to be common for the simple reason you can't let a lot of cats outside to roam freely.

The kind of person who keeps a lot of cats as pets is also the kind of person who keeps their cats indoors all the time. This can build up some anxieties in some cats if they lack confidence. It would be hard to beat this problem. What I mean is if a cat is skittish because they feel unsettled due to the other cats around them, there is no cure for that other than separating the cat from the other cats which is not going to be practical.

Play is a great way to bring a shy cat out of their shell. They forget where they are when they are playing because their instinct takes over and they chase and hunt a cat toy. It also helps to create a stronger bond between person and cat. With a stronger bond a cat is likely to feel more settled and therefore less skittish.

It all comes down to the environment. At one end of the spectrum, you might have a retired person like myself living with one cat. If that cat has a normal character i.e. neither nervous or overconfident, then they will be calm and they will not be skittish. It may occur temporarily for some extraordinary reason but in general they will be calm. At the other end of the spectrum, you might have a home where people come and go all the time, which is noisy, and where there is more than one cat. This sort of home opens up the door to a lot of potential conflicts or situations which could unnerve a domestic cat even one who is not inherently skittish.

It may be impossible to make that noisy, active and unsettled home into one which is calm and quiet for practical or functional reasons. In which case the cat will not lose their skittishness unless they are able to adapt to it. Domestic cats are very adaptable and they can get used to some extraordinary situations. I have seen a community cat in Asia sleeping at the top of an underground railway escalator at the exact point where the passengers leave the escalator. Clearly that cat is completely adapted to a noisy and active environment.

One big problem for domestic cats is ensuring that they have enough space i.e. their home-range. If they are able to enjoy their home range, which they feel they can control, it does help to calm them. And skittishness overlaps with aggression. Domestic cats who suffer intrusions into their home range can become defensively aggressive which may be perceived as agitated or even skittish by some observers. Once again it is down to the environment.

The last resort in dealing with a skittish kitty is to consider drug treatment. I'm talking about tranquilizers for domestic cats. It does happen but I think you have to be quite desperate to take this route. All the other normal steps must take place first because drugs simply mask the symptoms whereas what I discussed on this page gets to the root of the problem.

As an afterthought, if the problem is the other cats in the home, then creating a room or rooms which are for the exclusive use of the skittish kitty and their human caregiver will certainly help the cat to recover some confidence.

And it might be easy to forget about the skittish kitty because he or she is hiding some of the time. Out of sight out of mind is the motto and this can happen with domestic cats. People are too busy and they take it for granted that cats are "independent" when they are not in truth. But leaving an anxious kitty alone without plenty of human interaction of the right kind will make her condition worse.

And of course, it goes without saying, that patience is a vital ingredient in getting a wallflower to bloom. Jackson Galaxy calls timid cats 'wallflowers' but you can get them to bloom. They have to believe that the place where they live is not hostile but is very friendly. If you achieve that he will be relaxed and come to you.

To conclude, the key to helping a skittish cat to feel calmer is to ensure that the environment is as suited as best as possible to a feline character. In the words of Jackson Galaxy, the owner needs to tap into the raw cat beneath the domestic cat to find out what makes them tick. This will allow them to find their mojo which means to behave normally in a balanced way.

America's children fatter than ever. No chance of cats slimming down then?

We been told over and over again that America's domestic cats are overweight. There is a pet obesity epidemic we are told by the country's veterinarians. One reason, perhaps the overriding reason, is that people are losing their perception of what is a normal weight. If people think fat is normal then their pets will be fat. And today, The Times, tells us that America's children are fatter than ever. I take from that sad information that there is little chance that domestic cats will be slimming down in the future because America's next generation are going to be fatter than the previous.

Obese and diabetic tabby cat
Obese and diabetic tabby cat. Photo: Pixabay.

It isn't just America, although it's the worst, which is suffering from an obesity epidemic. The report says that American children eat more junk food, are fatter and suffer more from diabetes than they did 20 years ago. The prevalence of type II diabetes in the age range 10-19 rose by 95% between 2001-2017. Cases of type I diabetes increased by 45%.

The study was funded by the CDC and the National Institutes of Health. In a second study it's been found that 33% of paediatric patients are above the expected weight for a child of their age.

At present, 10% of Americans, which is 34 million people, have a confirmed diagnosis of diabetes. Diabetes is a serious illness but unfortunately a lot of people believe that they can manage it so well that it is hardly any illness at all. However, if left untreated it causes heart, liver and kidney disease, and damage to nerves and blood vessels which can result in blindness and limb amputations.

Diabetes is preventable by losing weight and adopting a healthy diet. It is believed that the situation in America is so critical that an expert panel has advised that anyone older than 25 years of age who is overweight should be screened for type II diabetes.

There is an epidemic of diabetes and pre-diabetes by obesity in America and the same applies to their companion cats which is distressing for both creatures but, for me, particularly the cats because they are the innocent victims of wayward human behaviour.

90,000 evacuated from Afghanistan but what about pets?

This is a note, no more, but when I read about 90,000 people being evacuated out of Kabul to the West, to safety, I am naturally pleased but also concerned. This is a very large number of people and surely some of these families must have pets. There must be cats and dogs in these homes as companion animals to the families. So, what happened to them? 

90,000 evacuated from Afghanistan but what about pets?
90,000 evacuated from Afghanistan but what about pets?

There is only one possibility which is that they've been left behind to fend for themselves. There is no way that the UK and US governments would allow them to take their cats and dogs with them. Although I have seen a photograph of a dog in the passenger seat on a plane taking off from Kabul airport. The dog apparently was owned by an embassy staff member. There were some complaints because it was claimed that dogs should not take precedence over Afghani people.

So, embassy staff can take their dogs back home but Afghanis can't. And, it is almost certain that these cats and dogs are going to suffer tremendously and probably starve to death. And to add to the complexity and disaster of the situation, Nowzad, Mr Farthing's well-known animal rescue charity based in Kabul has permission to take staff and the animals out of there on a privately-funded chartered jet (after much wrangling and objections by the Ministry of Defence).

American service dogs given precedence over Afghanis waiting to be evacuated by air

So, there will be one less animal rescue charity available in Kabul to pick up the pieces if indeed there is more than one in any case. I would doubt that there are any animal rescue centres in Kabul but I could well be wrong.

The point of this note is that animals will suffer because of human madness. It took a lot of effort for Mr Farthing to convince the UK government to allow him to transport his animals out of Kabul because initially they did not want to see images in the news media of animals taking precedence, apparently, over Afghan citizens who have the right to be evacuated. 

This resulted in the UK government prohibiting him flying the animals out of Kabul even though the flight was privately funded and not a burden on the British taxpayer. A quite bizarre decision which has been overturned thankfully. Mr Farthing, his staff and animals, I believe, are making arrangements now to fly out of the country. There will be complexities over such things as bio-security i.e. rabies and Covid et cetera, but essentially the animals will be saved.

The Taliban have a very bad reputation regarding dogs because in the Muslim faith dogs are seen as unclean but cats are seen as more acceptable because of the faith's hadiths i.e. teachings, and of course the Prophet's reputation as being a cat lover. The future of dogs in Kabul is tenuous because of this gross act of speciesism.

P.S. Animals can't board RAF planes according to the MOD. This perhaps explains the lack of pets on planes?

Couple claim that their cat killed their 10-day-old daughter

NEWS AND COMMENT: A Virginia couple have been charged with the homicide of their 10-day-old daughter, Raven, but they claimed that her death was caused by the family cat who they say was sitting on her neck when they discovered her.

Couple claim that their cat killed their 10-day-old daughter. The father Mathew Sebolka
Couple claim that their cat killed their 10-day-old daughter. The father Mathew Sebolka. Police photo dressed up.

Elizabeth Sebolka
Elizabeth Sebolka. Police photo.

Matthew and Elizabeth Sebolka are being held in jail pending the outcome of the investigation. The father claimed that his daughter was sitting in a car seat at the time that he went to a bathroom. When he returned, he said that the family cat was sitting on their daughter's neck. The news media does not explain how this indicates that the cat killed their daughter but judging by the statement he appears to be implying that bruising to the baby's head, a fractured skull, and other suspicious injuries consistent with child abuse were caused by the innocent family cat.

It appears to have been a desperate attempt to pass off their alleged fatal child neglect and abuse on their cat. Raven was taken to the VCU Medical Centre which is local to this family because she had a rash and her eyes were puffy. It is reported that they went to the hospital in a public bus which seems unusual because they have a car seat but apparently no car or no functioning car.


An autopsy was carried out and the Medical Examiner determined that the cause of death was homicide. The father was taken into custody just after 7 PM on Monday by detectives attached to the Richmond Police Department together with US Marshals working with the agency's Regional Fugitive Task Force.

Specifically, he was charged with abuse and neglect of a child causing serious injury and further charges may be placed against him.

Elizabeth Sebolka, the mother, was arrested just after 9 PM on Monday and charged similarly as well as making false statements to police which I presume partly relate to the claim that the family cat killed their child.

They are due to attend court on September 21 at 10:50 AM. A lawyer chipped in to say that they will have an uphill struggle to defend themselves.

Criminal records indicate that the father had previously been charged with animal cruelty in Richmond. The charges were dropped but he was found guilty on three separate accounts of inadequate care of an animal by their owner.

Wednesday 25 August 2021

An opportunity to adopt blind rescue cat brothers Arthur and Gabriel

Brothers Arthur and Gabriel are both blind and they are going to make somebody very happy. There are a lot of advantages to a cat caregiver in adopting a couple of blind cats who are best buddies. That may sound strange but I have a strong feeling that it is true.

Arthur on the left and Gabriel
Arthur on the left and Gabriel. Photo: RSPCA

Firstly, you will have to keep Arthur and Gabriel inside all the time. That's a great relief to a lot of people. You won't need to trouble yourself about letting your cat outside to live a full life while being tormented about the dangers that there are outside the home. That decision is off the table. They will be full-time indoor cats and they will be happy because they can entertain each other.

A great problem with full-time indoor cats is ensuring that they are fully stimulated but being blind they have challenges which they cope with very well. But these challenges stimulate the brain and because they come as a twosome, they can also stimulate each other. I would expect them to live really nice lives; contented lives. Their human caregiver can feel relaxed about what they're doing. And blind cats cope incredibly well as mentioned. They almost act as if they have eyes once they have settled into their new home and know where everything is. Ideally objects in the home should not be moved once they are familiar with their locations.


Gabriel is the timider of the two. He is a ginger tabby and Arthur is a ginger tabby-and-white. He is the more adventurous. He is very affectionate and loves to be petted and close to his human caregiver. Ginger tabbies are known have nice characters. They almost always males because their coat type is sex-linked.

They are both at the RSPCA. Arthur gets into trouble whereas Gabriel tends to be more cautious and sleeps or snoozes more. They will need a good and experienced caregiver who appreciates the advantages of looking after a couple of blind cats.

They were both rescued last Christmas from a building site in Peterlee, UK by the RSPCA. They weren't born blind but they got cat flu which appears to have developed into a secondary bacterial infection in their eyes which can often destroy the eyes. This is what appears to have happened.

If you are interested you can click on this link which takes you to the relevant RSPCA cat rehoming hub page. That link will eventually stop working as and when the brothers have been adopted.

Katy Perry says women are like cats

Katy Perry started off loving dogs and became a cat lover. I figured out that as at Monday 20th April 2020, Katy Perry possibly has one remaining cat, Monkey because her other had just died. But tell me if things have changed since then which I expect they have. She thinks that cats are like women. This is what she said in the video:

"Women are like cats, like, you know they want to be loved on their own time. They want people to earn their affection and they'll eat whenever they want but do not shove food down their throat."
Katy Perry says women are like cats
Katy Perry says women are like cats

Her interviewer says that it is a brilliant analogy. I don't think it is brilliant. It's passable. It seems that the wanting to be loved in their own time is a reference to the stereotypical image that cats are independent which is inaccurate. Or they are aloof. That, too, is inaccurate. It certainly is for me in my relationship with my cat. We're bonded. Perhaps my relationship is closer than normal or perhaps the stereotypes are wrong. It's the latter. And who shoves food down cat's throats? Not sure about her analogy. Pretty weak but women do like cats more than men which points to the fact that the domestic cat character is a match for a woman's character.

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.

Ricky Gervais is wrong on domestic cat behavior

Ricky Gervais is on YouTube talking to Ellen DeGeneres on her show about cats and dogs. Ricky Gervais is a well-known animal lover (well-done). He doesn't keep dogs because he travels too much which is entirely understandable. But he gets it wrong on cats. I'm a bit surprised by this.

Ricky Gervais is wrong on cats
Ricky Gervais is wrong on cats. Screenshot.

He says that you can leave cats alone for as long as you want because they don't care. But you can't do the same thing with dogs. He thinks cats are highly independent. This is his first error. And before I go on, I want to say that I respect Ricky Gervais for his love of animals. But the fact of the matter is that cats are not independent. They are dependent upon their human caregiver for company, sustenance and security. And they mind when left alone for long periods.

Perhaps the problem in this instance is that Ricky does travel too much and therefore he does not have an ideal connection with his cat. It would appear that he leaves his cat without his company for considerable periods of time. This is not going to help the relationship. He thinks dogs can't cope with this and cats can but I would argue that cats can cope with that separation better but it does not promote a strong relationship.

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.

And I think there is a huge misconception about domestic cat independence. In the right homes where the caregiver is good at their job domestic cats are very emotionally connected to their human companion. They miss them when they're gone (separation anxiety and idiopathic cystitis). They welcome their human companion when they come home having waited by the door for hours. They want to be next to their human companion. They like to place their paw against their human companion to make sure that they are in contact with them. There is a plethora of indicators which scream to us that domestic cats are connected to their human caregiver very strongly.

And you can't simply turf a domestic cat out onto the street and expect them to survive which is what you are more or less saying if you call them independent. Ninety percent of domestic cats are almost entirely dependent and very often cats are in a codependent relationship with their human caregivers. I am for instance and I'm proud of it. It's a good relationship. It is a good substitute to the human-human relationship. There is nothing wrong with it. It is mutually beneficial. But in effect the parties are mutually dependent.

Secondly, he talks about brushing his cat and then stroking her. He says that she asks to be brushed which is very typical because cats enter into a routine with their human caregiver and they know that if they meow in a certain way their human caregiver will respond by doing what they want which is in this case to brush them. But Ricky Gervais says that after he has brushed and then stroked his cat, she bites him. And he puts that down to his cat asking to be brushed and not stroked. His cat is complaining that he should not have stroked her. He's sort of joking but at the same time he is being serious.

The truth is that this is not a question of his cat receiving something that wasn't requested and therefore complaining with a bite; it is that Ricky Gervais has overstimulated his cat because he is brushing and stroking her too vigorously, forcefully or for too long and his cat thinks that this is play rather than petting (which cats perceive as being licked). 

So, his cat is being stimulated to play and for a domestic cat play involves slapping with the paws (claws out) and biting with the mouth. That's why his cat bites him when he strokes her after brushing. He puts it down to his cat being fickle. I'm afraid it's not; it is down to him brushing and stroking her not quite in the right way. I don't want to be critical but that is the truth of it.

You can tell that Ricky is very close to his cat because he understands variations in her meows. This is partly, though, because a cat will request certain things at certain times under certain circumstances which can be interpreted not necessarily through the vocalisation but because of those circumstances.

Black-and-white cat gives birth to tortoiseshell kittens

This black-and-white female cat was living under a motorcycle cover in America somewhere (I believe). The person who owns the motorcycle saw her. At the time she was scared and pregnant. This unknown person whose Reddit username is: u/mama-and-babies, provided her with a beautiful, secure, safe and warm home for her family. 

Everything looks perfect and you can't beat cardboard for keeping cats warm. She looks content and safe. Whoever the person is they've done a very good job. It sort of restores faith in the human race!

Black-and-white cat gives birth to tortoiseshell kittens
Black-and-white cat gives birth to tortoiseshell kittens. Photo: as per above.

As I said, the mother is black-and-white, while her kittens appear to be tortoiseshell-and-white with plenty of white (calico). They have very interesting and beautiful patterns. I think they are going to be popular cats for rehoming when the time comes. 

The father can't be a tortoiseshell because tortoiseshells are always female and if they are male, they are usually sterile so not sure how these cute kittens came to come into existence! They do look as if they have orange, white and black fur which indicates to me a calico cat.

Perhaps both parents (non-tortie) carried the recessive gene for the tortie coat. I am guessing. Actually, it is far more complicated than that!

Perhaps the male is a rare sexually functioning tortoiseshell. If that is the case, might he be valuable? Find him immediately! :). 

I have overcomplicated things. If the male cat was orange the offspring would be calicos. The commenter is correct.


Tuesday 24 August 2021

Jaguarundi - the cat that looks the least like a cat

This photograph of the jaguarundi reminds me that this wild cat is the one that looks the least like a cat. And I am not the only person who might think it. It is the most widely distributed and commonly seen cat in Central and South America although you will be hard-pressed to see one! But it's biology and behaviour are still largely a mystery (as at 2002). And the experts have said that "Taxonomically, the jaguarundi is an enigma".

Jaguarundi. Photo: unattributed.

The scientists have put this cat by itself when categorising it i.e. they have assigned the jaguarundi to its own genus (as at 2002). This cat has 38 chromosomes while all other small South American cats have 36 chromosomes. It is also unique in that it has five pairs of E group chromosomes and no F group chromosomes. it has been suggested that the jaguarundi is more closely related to the cheetah and puma than to the other South American cats.

It has been difficult to categorise this cat taxonomically partly because of its appearance as it hardly looks like a cat at all. Its appearance is reminiscent of a marten while some cat experts have compared it to a weasel or an otter. It is said to superficially resemble a blackish-brown neotropical mustelid called a tayra.


It has two main colour phases, grey morph and a red-brown morph. The pic shows the gray morph.


The picture is one of the best that I have seen of the jaguarundi. It comes from The Board Panda website but is unattributed. In the language of the cat fancy and domestic cats, its coat is ticked tabby.

In America, particularly in Florida, some people like to keep them as pets and sometimes they escape which leads to the belief among a certain section of society that they still exist in Florida, USA. They don't not according to the official records anyway. They don't make good pets. Damn, they aren't pets at all. They want to escape.

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