Wednesday 29 September 2021

China: three domestic cats euthanized after they contracted Covid

NEWS AND COMMENT - HARBIN, NORTHERN CHINA: This is the first time that a government agency has killed domestic cats because they'd contracted Covid-19. Or at least it is the first time that such an action has been reported in the online news media. 

This is unrelated to the story except that it is in China. Pictures in public domain. Image by MikeB.

Ironically, the owner of the three cats tested positive for Covid on September 21 and went into isolation after leaving food and water out for her cats. Therefore, there is a strong suggestion that she gave her cats the virus. And further in a rather bizarre twist, the cats were euthanized because they might spread the disease to people and there is no treatment for Covid in cats.

Update: Some sites give Miss Liu the title Mrs. They say her cats were killed while she was in hospital. 

That's the reason given by the authorities in Harbin, northern China. And yet, all the experts say that it is unlikely that cats can transmit Covid to people. Personally, I argue that they can transmit Covid to people because the disease is zoonotic and therefore it travels between animals and people and vice versa but it is going to be rare and isolation steps can be taken. Notwithstanding that there have been no known cases of transmission of the disease from cats to people.

And, further, all the cases of domestic cat contracting the disease have shown that symptoms in domestic are mild and they resolve without treatment. That is the status regarding cats and Covid. Once again, notwithstanding this open information, which must've been known to the Harbin authorities, they decided to kill the cats.

"I never wanted to blame anyone, I just wanted to find them a chance to stay alive, but that chance was never given." - Mrs Liu.

The owner's name is Miss Liu and she appealed online to save the cats but her plea was ignored. The owner and cats live in an apartment complex. A community worker tested the cats for coronavirus twice and on each occasion the result was positive.

Shen Yi, a professor at Shanghai-based Fudan University said:

"From the perspective of public health crisis management and control, euthanizing the three cats is a decisive measure to minimize negative effects and avoid worst results."

ASSOCIATED PAGE: Authorities in China are threatening to cull domestic cats and dogs in coronavirus scare.

The story was original reported by Beijing News online. I have searched the website and I can't find it. I wanted to find it because it is said that the article drew 52,000 comments; an extraordinary number and I wanted to see what the citizens of China thought about the killing of the three cats. I will have to guess: they hated it. They felt that it was unfair and unreasonable. They could have been put into quarantine and then retested. To kill them callously is an indication of the low value that they placed on domestic cats. People who like cats will be upset by the story.

ASSOCIATED: City of Shenzhen, China prepares to ban cat and dog meat

Early on in the pandemic there was a spate of domestic cat killings by their owners. On occasion cats and dogs were thrown out of high-rise apartments because panic developed among the citizens of China. There are many great cat caregivers in China, probably hundreds of millions of, but they have the stain of the cat and dog meat markets in the south of the country. That stain overrides everything I say with respect to the human-to-cat relationship in China. As long as they brutally kill cats to eat them you can never claim that the citizens of China love their cats.

Blind rescue cat has two feline helpers (for now)

NEWS AND COMMENT: This story comes from Sioux City, USA and it's a cute one. The Sioux City Animal Adoption and Rescue report that they rescued a tuxedo cat who was born without eyes. They named him Keller. The cat was not neutered, either. Once in their rescue centre he was lost and bewildered. That, of course, was to be expected. So, within a day they rescued a female cat which they decided is his mother and helper.

Blind cat Keller on the left and his two feline helpers a young tabby female Trixie and his sick mom
Blind cat Keller on the left and his two feline helpers a young tabby female Trixie and his sick mom. Photo: Sioux City Animal Adoption and Rescue

Immediately on her arrival at the shelter they became inseparable. They stay close to each other and the female cat was clearly Keller's helper in navigating. The problem is that when veterinarians checked out Keller's mum, they discovered that she was quite ill. She had to have all her teeth removed and she had a large tumour in her sinus cavity. They removed the tumour and she appears to have recovered but they don't know whether the cancer will come back and her prognosis is not good.

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.


Keller, therefore, might soon be without his helper. And so, the rescue staff decided to introduce a new cat into Keller's life to take over the helping duties. They picked a nine-week-old shelter cat who has a bold and confident personality. Her name is Trixie. She quickly became a member of Keller's family, learning how to help Keller.

ASSOCIATED PAGE: Gorgeous Little Grey Blind Cat at Animal Shelter Adopts His Human Companions

And so, the shelter has a threesome to be adopted, all at the same time! A blind cat who is helped by his mother and the young tabby female who will take over those duties when her mother goes over the rainbow bridge.

Cindy Rarrat, the director of Sioux City Animal Adoption and Rescue, said:

"We've been looking for that special home, that special someone that would give these guys a chance."

If you're interested you can apply by filling in a form on their website which you can get to by clicking on this link. The shelter looks great in the photos.

Tuesday 28 September 2021

Daddy long legs are not poisonous to cats or dogs

In case you were wondering! Daddy long legs are not poisonous to cats and dogs. As they are insects a cat might be interested in nibbling one. No harm will be done. Domestic cats naturally eat insects or they might nibble on one.

Daddy long legs. Image by Strudders from Pixabay 

I can't bring myself to say anymore because there is no more to say. There is one page on the internet (wildlifeinformer.com) which takes about 2,000 words to say what can said in around 50. I have dragged it out by they take the prize in waffle and padding.

The only added point worth making is that in some countries such as the USA there are poisonous spiders which can do genuine harm to the ever-inquisitive domestic cat. I have a several pages on that. Here is one: Can cats get bitten by brown recluse spiders?

I also have a page on: 230 cat poisons (list). And finally: Insects and Snakes Poisonous to Cats (USA).

Black cat theft warning at Halloween is trying to be helpful and not a threat

BIRMINGHAM, UK-NEWS AND COMMENT: News media is reporting on a mysterious note that has been stuffed through letter boxes in King's Heath, Birmingham, UK. It appears that some people found this note a bit disturbing. News media state that the letter created "grave concern". As you can see it is a simple warning on lined notepaper in tidy handwriting. It is almost certain that the person who wrote it is a woman and probably a young woman. The handwriting is very female and the smiley at the end is also a female trait. This adds to the certainty that it was written with good intentions.

Black cat theft warning at Halloween is genuine and not a threat
Black cat theft warning at Halloween is genuine and not a threat. What I mean is that it is intended to be helpful. Picture: Facebook.

We can only see a part of the note but my interpretation of it is that it was written with a genuine concern for black cats in the area. Perhaps one of the residents felt it necessary to provide neighbours with a reminder that black cats can be a danger during Halloween.

One person responded on Facebook by saying: 

"I do worry extra about my 2 black cats around Halloween. Always try and have them both in by dark all year round."

And another said: 

"People have been hurting black cats on Halloween for years unfortunately due to the superstitions etc. I've never allowed mine out on Halloween or days either side just in case."

Both are sensible comments. Cats Protection, the cat charity, chipped in by saying that they had not come across this sort of human behaviour before and they had not seen any real evidence to suggest that there was a rise in cat thefts around Halloween. Although they did understand that people might be concerned about the note.

That is an interesting observation because in the USA where Halloween is much bigger, I feel that there is also a bigger concern about the welfare of black cats during Halloween. Cats Protection clearly feels that black cats are no more at-risk during Halloween than any other time. Although they agreed that keeping cats inside reduces the chance of possible theft or abuse and all the other usual problems that can occur when outside the home such as road traffic accidents and getting into fights with other cats.

Should a family of five living in a compact, subsidized apartment have two cats and a dog?

NEWS AND COMMENT: The Sun reports on the story of a family of five with two cats and a dog living in a mouldy flat in Manchester, UK. They want a three-bedroom house from the housing association from which they rent their home at a subsidised rate. They say they can't go on living in their housing association apartment because a daughter is suffering from health problems because of the mould. We don't know what is causing the mould but it might be condensation because after all there are eight sentient beings in their apartment breathing in oxygen and breathing out carbon dioxide!

Mum Charlotte says she cries herself to sleep as she's so desperate for her young family - and their three pets - to leave their cramped flat in Greater Manchester
Mum Charlotte says she cries herself to sleep as she's so desperate for her young family - and their three pets - to leave their cramped flat in Greater Manchester. Photo: The Sun newspaper.

But the question I always have when I read the stories is whether this family is in a proper position to adopt (or have) two cats and a dog. Many people would agree with me and say that they were never going to be in a position financially and in terms of accommodation to be able to properly care for three companion animals.

They are unable to care properly for their children without financial and accommodation support. They have to rely on the housing association to provide a home for them. That's okay. That's fully acceptable as some people have a difficult start in life but it is not clever to burden yourself further with six mouths to feed i.e. three children and three companion animals when you can foresee financial issues.

If financially they qualified for a housing association flat, they could have restricted their family to one child perhaps and perhaps one cat. That would be a state of affairs which fitted their apparent budget. But they seem to have gone over their budget and knowingly relied on the local authority to back them up financially. And the housing association is reluctant to take action. And it seems that they have gone to the press for assistance in pushing the housing association into taking some steps to rehome them.

I don't think people should have 3-child families and three pets on the basis they have to rely on subsidies to make it work. If you are self-sufficient, you can have as large a family as you like and as many cats and dogs as you like provided you look after them well. If you rely on a third party - the housing association or the council - to prop up your desires you are asking for problems.

No doubt, in due course, they will get their three-bedroom home but I believe that everybody should take responsibility for their financial affairs. They should also take responsibility for decisions regarding the adoption of companion animals. Animal adoption should be taken very seriously. It should be fully budgeted and people should be fully aware of the responsibilities that need to be discharged in order to care properly for pets.

Too often, people adopt animals on impulse or without proper preparation because they just want to live with a pet. The idea appeals to them and they bypass all the usual sensible processes of initially asking themselves whether it's a good idea and whether they can afford to do it and/or have the facilities to do it. This story is a case in point.

1939 Cat Stroller!

This contraption looks more like a baby's pram than a cat stroller, which I am sure it is. I do not think that they had invented cat strollers in 1939. I have got to guess and say that this is a pram that has been "converted" to be a cat stroller. I don't mean converted in the normal sense like actual work taking place on the pram. 

Cat stroller 1939!
Cat stroller 1939! Reddit user (u/Megatonin) said "My grandmother pushing a cat in a stroller circa 1939".

I mean that a cat was put inside a pram and pushed around. There is no top to it and therefore the cat can jump out at any time so, to all intents and purposes, this is not a cat stroller! It is a baby's pram but it is nice to describe it as a cat stroller. 

I'm sure that back in 1939 there was no need for one because almost every domestic cat was an indoor/outdoor cat. There was no real concept of full-time indoor cats at that time and therefore there was no requirement for a cat stroller. Cats were free to come and go as they please. That was 1939, just before World War II. The life of the domestic cat in those days was very different to today.

Monday 27 September 2021

Body parts of America's 10,000 tigers end up in China in their medicine

Tigers are still "the chosen one" for wildlife traffickers. There are many other animals which are also abused and used but I would suggest that the tiger is the number one product to be sold. And the number one consumer is China. I'm told that the Chinese government realise that traditional Chinese medicine doesn't really work but they allow the businesses to flourish in the interests of trade and keeping the peace. 

Tiger found in Houston residence was taken to a rescue facility
Tiger found in Houston residence was taken to a rescue facility. Photo: Godofredo A Vasquez/AP.


The trouble is that President Xi has no concern about wildlife conservation and in particular the tiger population which is being decimated by Chinese traditional medicine due to poaching. Yes, China has a large number of tiger farms where tigers are treated as livestock, like cows, but when you treat tigers like that you inevitably devalue their status in the world to the point where there is illegal activity in obtaining tiger body parts from other parts of the world. Tiger farms muddy tiger conservation.

It is estimated that there are10,000 tigers in America because America has either none or very lax tiger ownership regulations across their 50 states. The rules do vary between states but, for example, in nine states there are no permit or licence requirements whatsoever. In general, the requirement is very simple, a USDA conservation label form and a $30 licence according to The Guardian newspaper.

ASSOCIATED: Tiger Bone

And because there is such a vast number of tigers in captivity in America (about three times the number of wild tigers across the entire planet) when they conveniently disappear, as many do, you can probably assume that their bodies and body parts are being shipped out to China in illegal activity to be turned into Chinese traditional medicine. Tiger body parts are enormously valuable.

Tiger penis products?
Tiger penis products? Photo in public domain.

The authorities in America, through primarily the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, store about 1.3 million confiscated animal products but they say that this is the tip of the iceberg. They confiscate about 10% of all goods that pass through US ports. It's a losing battle it seems to me.

ASSOCIATED: Picture of seven frozen tiger cubs for Asian body parts market

John Platt, the editor of the Revelator, the media partner of the Centre for Biological Diversity said: "I would not be surprised if US tigers were turning up in China."

He suggested this because so many big cats in the US disappear, he said. There is a huge black market because the financial value of tiger bone and tiger penises (as two examples) is high. In a capitalist society where business is governed by market forces, if a product is valuable, businesses find a way to produce it or farm it and sell it internationally, if needs be. 

That's why I think we can say with some confidence that many of the 10,000 tigers in America end up in the form of body parts in Beijing, China. It is an unedifying thought. Humankind has debased and degraded the mighty tiger to a consumer product, no more. 

Pink tiger bone jewellery made by deboning a living tiger
Pink tiger bone jewellery made by deboning a living tiger. Photo: The Tiger Mafia (believed).

The animal is worth more dead than alive and when they are farmed in China, they live miserable lives before slaughter. Some have their bones extracted while they are alive! It's a complete failure of conservation even if 3,500 Bengal tigers are still in existence in India and Bangladesh. There used to be 100,000 of them at the turn of the 20th century.

Cats' mythical ability to foresee earthquakes is explained

Recently, in Melbourne, Australia, there was a 5.9 magnitude earthquake (Sept 2021). An English Staffordshire terrier dog began barking and running about before the ground began to shake. The dog ran back and forth and up and down the house barking. It was as if he had predicted that an earthquake was about to take place. The experts say that cats usually leave the vicinity when they predict an earthquake. Dogs do vocalise by barking and howling before an earthquake. I guess that this doesn't always happen but dog owners do report it.

Cats' mythical ability to foresee earthquakes is explained
 Cats' mythical ability to foresee earthquakes is explained


However, an Australian veterinarian, Dr. Anne Quain, says that there is no scientific evidence that cats and dogs have a mystical ability to detect when an earthquake is about to happen. She believes that these companion animals react to the foreshock or small earthquakes that preceded the main seismic event and which humans cannot feel. She does not believe that they have an extrasensory ability to predict them.

In the Melbourne earthquakes there were reports, on social media, that some cats were going missing. Many foreshocks occur 24-hours before the main shock. Sometimes the foreshocks can occur up to 30 days before the main shock. This gives companion animals plenty of time to apparently predict the main shock. What they're doing is simply reacting to an earthquake that people cannot experience and therefore it looks as though they are making a prediction of the main shock, which, of course, can be felt and seen by their human caregivers.

Dr. Desmond Morris in his book Cat World says that it has been established beyond doubt that cats are capable of predicting earthquakes but at the time of publication of his book (1996) he said that the experts were unsure how they managed to do it. He did suggest that cats may be sensitive to vibrations in the earth which are so minute that instruments cannot detect them. And he did also state that in the lead up to earthquakes there is a gradual buildup which provides an early warning system to companion animals.

He also suggested that cats may be responsive to an increase in static electricity which precedes earthquakes. Humans can also respond to a dramatic increase in static electricity in that they produce vague symptoms such as headaches. This makes it hard to relate them to foreshocks.

Morris also proposes that cats may be responsive to "sudden shifts in the Earth's magnetic field which accompany earthquakes". Perhaps they are responsive to all three simultaneously. He states that cats do become intensely agitated just before earthquakes. Cats run around the house desperate to escape. The same sorts of reactions occur before volcanic eruptions or severe electrical storms.

Superstitious Christians in mediaeval times or times of that era would put these skills down to cats being possessed of unnatural knowledge resulting in them being burned to death.

Sunday 26 September 2021

'My cat whenever I take my dog for a walk'

The title is the words of a Reddit user and I found them very sad in the context of the picture they accompany. 

'My cat whenever I take my dog for a walk'
'My cat whenever I take my dog for a walk'

The photo says one thing: the cat wants to tag along. She may have separation anxiety.

French expression of the Day: 'Comme chien et chat'

The French expression 'comme chien et chat' might date back to the 16th or 17th century. It means what you think it means: to fight like cat and dog. The strict translation is 'like dog and cat'. The English idiom is to fight like cat and dog whereas the French version is to be (in French 'comme' or like) a cat and dog.


The saying is based on the rather old-fashioned belief that cats and dogs always fight; not true in millions of households because the dog is socialised to cats and vice versa. 

However, the dog chases the cat because dogs are predators. But the cat might chase a tiny dog as cats are predators too.

The English version might be used like this: "They've been married for 40 years but for the past ten, they fought like cat and dog".

Or "They love each other but fight like cat and dog."

It is often used in the context of a love-hate relationship.

French abandon 60,000 pets each year when they head off on holiday

NEWS AND COMMENT: The French news media has reported that every year more than 100,000 cats and dogs are abandoned by their owners. Sixty percent of these pet abandonments occur during the summer as the French head off on their annual holiday. 

Stray kitten on the side of the road in Central Brittany seeks comfort from a cycling couple
Stray kitten on the side of the road in Central Brittany seeks comfort from a cycling couple. Photo: the couple: CĂ©line and Daniel.

So, 60,000 cats and dogs are given up at the beginning of their annual holiday so that they can go on their month-long holiday which normally takes place in August. I find that extraordinary. It seems that on that basis they adopt a pet when they come back from holiday and then give "it" up when they go on holiday next year. It's like pets are a stopgap comfort creature to entertain them between holidays. I am no doubt exaggerating but that is the impression I get.

As a consequence, the French Agriculture Minister has described the French as the "world champions at abandoning pets". He has, therefore, unveiled a €20 million plan to help animal shelters in conjunction with stiffening up the sentencing to a three-year jail term for people who abandon their animals.

Julien Denormandie outlined his plans in an interview with Europe 1 radio station in July. The government is going to give €20 million to France's 800 rescue centres to renovate and expand them. In addition, some of the money will go towards sterilizing dogs and cats.

As is the case in the UK, there has been an increase in pet ownership during Covid. In France this has resulted in a 14% increase in abandoned domestic cats and dogs at shelters as at July 2021 compared to July 2019. The increase in abandonments was, it seems, partly due to impulse adoptions and partly because less pets were being sterilised because, I presume, veterinary services were restricted.

One shelter manager, Claire Brissard, of an SPA centre in the Yvelines department said that her shelter was at a catastrophic point with respect to cats i.e. too many, and the situation was getting serious for dogs as well.

She said:
"During lockdown, the animal kept the person busy, and when they rediscovered the life they had before, they forgot about the animal.”
The government has plans for awareness campaigns using posters (and other means), which will be erected on the side of motorways where, apparently, most French abandon their pets during the summer.

Source: .thelocal.fr.

Cat makes a car engine his home in Hamburg

Hamburg - news and comment: This kitty was very lucky!  Walkers heard noises and meows under the hood of a van on Thursday afternoon. The de-registered vehicle was parked on the roadside at Billwerder Neuer Deich. The passers-by informed the police. Comment: this was not dangerous because the vehicle was non-functional. But the cat still wanted to make the engine his home. Normally cats like to crawl into engine compartments because they are warm. Not so in this instance. Not sure what the police would have done! Nothing is my guess. Perhaps they checked the cat for a microchip and if he had one, they might have been able to reunite the cat with his caregiver. The cat looks healthy. My guess: a domestic cat that was just outside for a while but he may be a stray.

Cat makes a car engine his home
Cat makes car engine his home. Foto: CitynewsTV

Saturday 25 September 2021

Madison, USA, looking at cat declawing ban

Kitty with her claws
Kitty with her claws. Pic in public domain.

This is an embedded audio file. Click on the start button to hear an interview of the alder who has proposed the ordinance to ban declawing. It is titled 'Madison alder introduces proposal to ban cat declawing'. Madison is the capital of the U.S. state of Wisconsin. 

Note: this audio-player may stop working one day. I can't control that. 

Pittsburgh is also looking at a declaw ban. There are already around 10+ cities where declawing is banned, and one US state: New York. Austin, Texas recently banned it. There are more bans in the pipeline. The House of Cards is falling.

In Canada a ban on declawing is widespread across many provinces but not 100%. The point being made is that if the vets don't voluntarily give it up on the basis that it is cruel and against their oath when done for non-therapeutic reasons (99.9% of the time), legislatures across the US will ban the bloody operation. 

Come on vets pull your bloody (literally) fingers out and give up on it! There is no reason for it and a study proves that declawing does not stop relinquishment of cats to shelters. That's the vets great defense and it isn't worth a hill of beans. We always knew it was a crappy defense.


Canine teeth of cats are dagger-like

The canine teeth of cats are designed to kill by piercing soft flesh (jaguar excepted). The canine teeth of the big cats such as the lion, tiger, jaguar, leopard and the cheetah (which is not in the same category as the first four) have some of the sharpest canine teeth in the animal kingdom according to a study published on Phys.org: 'How the canine teeth of carnivorous mammals evolved to make them super-killers'.

Cheetah canines
Cheetah canines. Screenshot from 3D video below

The canines are like daggers which for large prey animals are used to bite down deeply into the throat of the prey to suffocate them. 

The jaguar has the strongest bite of all the big cats; strong enough to bite into the carapace of a turtle. They do like turtles. It is remarkable that they can pierce the shell of a turtle. And they chomp down on the heads of caiman in the shallow waters. A truly devastating predator.

Jaguar’s Taste for Turtles

The cheetah is much lighter and quite delicate by comparisons but their teeth are classic canine killers. Predators that employ the throat bite have slender curved canines. The scientists say that they act as hooks to help hold prey and stop them escaping the cat's grip on them with their bite. These cats normally attack 'soft prey' meaning the skin can be pierced. But it seems to me that the jaguar is an exception.

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.


It is interesting that the canine teeth of a feline are called "canine teeth" because the word "canine" implies a dog. Perhaps we should call the canine teeth of cats, "felines"! The adult cat has 30 teeth: 12 incisors, four canines, 10 premolars and four molars. The premolars are shearing instruments used to cut flesh to pieces which are small enough to be swallowed. Cats do not masticate their food as humans do with blunt molars. Their molars are like scissors, chopping up the flesh. One problem with commercially prepared wet cat food is that it does not need shearing and cutting because it's too soft. This may be unhealthy for domestic cat teeth. The whole issue of what to feed domestic cats is a big one and we see lots of periodontal disease in domestic cats, in part because of their commercial diet.

Cat Health Tip: Checking for Gum Disease

Wednesday 22 September 2021

Friendliest and most aggressive cat breeds

The friendliest cat breed is said to be the Oriental and Siamese both long and short haired. This is according to a University of Helsinki study in which they questioned the owners of about 4000 purebred cats living in Finland. They admit that when you assess cat personality through a questionnaire you don't necessarily obtain accurate information because subjectivity can distort the results.  Although they did their best to make the results as accurate as possible:

For validation, we studied the internal consistency, test–retest reliability, inter-rater reliability, convergent validity and discriminant validity of this questionnaire and extracted factors.

The Burmese ranks highly in friendliness too. They friendliest originate in the Far East - coincidentally?

Friendly Oriental Shorthair
Friendly Oriental Shorthair. Photo: Helmi Flick.

I will also add that it is difficult to label an entire cat breed with a clear personality because by and large breeders don't breed for personality but for appearance. That said, it is known that Siamese cats or those cats within the Siamese family, as I call them, are vocal and interactive. If a domestic cat wants to interact, they have to be called friendly. Cats of the Siamese cat family are like this. They can be quite demanding and have loud voices. 

ASSOCIATED PAGE: Information on cat behavior – 13 snippets

But sadly, the Turkish Van has been branded the most aggressive cat breed by quite a margin by this group of scientists (but how big is the difference?). Once again there has to be a caveat against their conclusions. I suggested in an earlier post that it is possible that the human participants in this study all bought their Turkish Van cats from the same breeder. And what if that breeder had a foundation male cat who was a little bit aggressive but a beautiful specimen in terms of appearance. That would distort the results. Or perhaps the same male foundation cat's offspring were all used by various breeders in Finland. That, too, would have the same effect. I'm just suggesting that distortions in these sorts of surveys can occur and I'm sure the scientists would go along with that.

Aggressive Turkish Van?
Aggressive Turkish Van? No, but perhaps in comparison to the more friendly Siamese and Oriental. Photo: Helmi Flick.

However, I have read in the past, in a different study as I recall, that the Turkish Van has this reputation. It's interesting in one way to because I believe that the Turkish Van and Turkish Angora are the same cat. I believe that the cat fancy split one Turkish cat into two breeds. On that basis you would have thought that the Turkish Angora will also be aggressive but it is not listed in that way in the study.

There is difficulty in assessing a cat's personality in any case. The circumstances under which they live affects their behaviour and therefore the assessment of personality. A breeder can alter personality through selective breeding. This is a cat's personality being affected by inherited genes. But personality is also affected by environmental conditions and experiences. For example, a Turkish Van living in a slightly difficult human environment where the owner perhaps is not there a lot of the time and there are other cats, one of which might be a bully, would result in that individual Turkish Van presenting a less appealing personality to their owner.

ASSOCIATED PAGE: Siamese Cat Behavior Problems

I believe that when assessing cat personality, you have to do it on a cat-by-cat basis and in a good environment from the cat's perspective to ensure that you bring out the best in them. I don't know whether these conditions were wholly met by this study. I doubt it. The strength of the study is that they looked at 4000 cats or more. That's a large number and therefore some of these wrinkles that I have mentioned might have been ironed out to a certain extent. Therefore, the study has some value.

The friendliness of the cats of the Siamese cat family squares up with the views of Gloria Stephens who wrote the book Legacy of the Cat. She knows cats very well particularly cat breeds because she was a show judge. Her views validate the conclusions of the scientist. But I would make your own mind up on whether the Turkish Van is aggressive. I think that you will find many very friendly examples of this breed. But as for the Siamese, Oriental Shorthair, Oriental longhair, Balinese and Burmese, you'll find that they are friendly. But are they any more friendly than many other individual cats of other breeds or non-purebred cats?

That's an issue which needs to be mentioned briefly. If you're talking about friendliness and aggressiveness in individual cats, you will find millions of fantastically friendly shelter cats waiting to be adopted. You don't need to go to a breeder and rely on her and fork out $1000. You can pay the far cheaper shelter adoption fee and probably find an individual cat which is more friendly than even the friendliest of Siamese cats.

There is one last point that comes to my mind. If you say that the Turkish Van is more aggressive than the Siamese you have to ask by how much. If it is by a small amount, you might not even notice it in day-to-day living. It is a question of degree. Once again, I am watering down these results because I am sceptical about them although by all means read the study if you wish which you can do so by clicking on this link. It is called: Reliability and Validity of Seven Feline Behavior and Personality Traits.

Tuesday 21 September 2021

What's wrong with the registration of all animal shelters?

Is there anything wrong with the idea that all animal shelters of any kind should be registered with the authorities? I note that the state of Colorado has obligatory licensing for animal shelters but how widespread is this across the US? The intention would be to ensure that standards were kept high enough in the interests of the welfare of the animals at the shelter. 

Michelline Toulouse. Video screenshot.
Michelline Toulouse. Video screenshot. She ran her own 'rescue' while volunteering at another but was herself a cat hoarder who was later charged. Licensing would have prevented her behavior.


Registration would entail inspection which in turn would be taking preventative steps against those cases in which the animal sanctuary owner loses control resulting in neglected animals some of whom end up starving to death or becoming very ill.

Surely, it is wiser to take preventative steps rather than reactive ones? On an almost daily basis we read about well-intentioned cat owners looking after more than one cat which then becomes an informal cat shelter of sorts. This then develops into an out-of-control situation in which the shelter founder and owner fails to have sufficient funds to run the establishment. 

I am concerned about individuals who have good intentions but end up hurting the cats while running informal "sanctuaries" or "shelters". I put these words in quotes because they're neither shelters nor sanctuaries. They become hellholes for cats. Sometimes you can't really blame the person but it would be far better to take proactive steps and it might be cheaper for the authorities.

And there aren't enough volunteers to help or foster carers. The complexities and difficulties of running an animal shelter can bring them down unless the person is well-prepared.

Of course, you would have to keep a register and have somebody to inspect the property. I don't foresee that as being very expensive for the authorities because there aren't that many animal shelters. I read many cat-news stories and I'm forever being reminded of the failure of informal, private cat shelters.

A recent story (Sept 2021) concerns a cat hoarder who was 'rescuing cats' from other cat hoarders. A bizarre state of affairs as she was also working as a volunteer at another rescue facility.

Michigan State University say that as at 2014, in America, traditionally, there's been a lack of regulation and supervision in monitoring rescue and foster care organisations. Licensing, they argue, would subject rescues to inspections and hold them accountable for the animals that they take in.

Of course, rescues are governed by the general laws of animal welfare in any particular state and therefore they are indirectly monitored through the potential of being punished should they break those laws. But as mentioned this is reactive and in the meantime, cats are hurt or killed. It is not as good as registration provided registration is carried out properly and combined with inspections.

1. Pet Animal Care and Facilities Act or also referred to as PACFA - info on Colorado obligatory licensing.

Evi a small female bobcat who escaped from captivity under strange circumstances

A bobcat named Evi lived at the Reflection Riding nature preserve located at 400 Garden Road Chattanooga, Tennessee, USA. A young man whose name is Cayden Melia was kayaking on Lookout Creek after drinking alcohol (and perhaps during his kayaking).

Evi a small female bobcat who escaped from captivity under strange circumstances
Evi a small female bobcat who escaped from captivity under strange circumstances. Screenshot.

When he got to Reflection Riding, he got out and walked to the area where a bobcat and an eagle were kept in cages. I will have to presume that the reason why he broke into the cages with a rock was because of his inebriated state. He then broke into the bobcat's cage.

Once he was inside the bobcat's captive area, he decided the play with the bobcat. He was playing with a ball when the animal decided to escape. He tried to get the cat back inside the cage but failed so he returned to his kayak. Evi is domesticated and behaves like a domestic cat to a large extent.

He admitted that he knew the area was off-limits. A person had come forward who suspected that Cayden was the culprit. A city officer went to his home in North Chattanooga, read him his Miranda rights and took a statement. This brief article is based upon the statement and comes via The Chattanoogan.com.

He had his first court appearance on August 6 2020 before General Sessions Court Judge Alex McVeagh. The "crime" took place on June 11, 2019.  Melia is charged with vandalism and criminal trespassing. I expect he received a nominal sentence.

Evi was spotted numerous times on the side of Lookout Mountain. $4000 was donated by the public to cover the cost of the search. The police have decided that Cayden did not try and steal the bobcat and has been charged with vandalism and criminal trespassing. 

Evi was recovered 5 days later according to the video below. Evi is quite small, not much larger than a domestic cat.

Monday 20 September 2021

Picture of a calico American Curl with a blaze down the nose

The cat's name is Shiva. She is a calico cat; tortoiseshell-and-white, with a line down her nose demarking two colours (a blaze). She is also an American Curl. You can see the white on the cat's chest. The term "calico" is an Americanism. Like tortoiseshell cats the colour form is sex-linked and they are nearly always female. Males do sometimes occur but they are extremely rare. In 1989, at least one commentator said that calico cats should have a certain minimum amount of white fur: white feet, legs, underside chest and muzzle. This person thought that "once a cat has more than half of its body total in white, then it is a calico". On that basis this cat can either be a tortoiseshell cat or a calico cat. I think that is over complicating it and perhaps the best thing to do is to describe this cat as a tortoiseshell-and-white!

Picture of a calico American Curl with a blaze down the nose
Picture of a calico American Curl with a blaze down the nose. Photo: Pinterest.

There are a number of variant forms which had been developed over the years such as dilute calico which is white with unbridled blue and cream and a fawn-cream calico. There are others. The calico cat is not a cat breed but a colour type.

The American curl is a breed which appeared in 1981 in Lakewood California. A couple, John and Grace Ruga found 2 stray kittens on their doorstep. One of the cats had strangely shaped ears and they kept her. She gave birth to a litter of four kittens, two of which showed the same curled ears as their mother and they decided to use these cats as the foundation stock of a new breed.

Like a lot of other cat breeds the American Curl started with a spontaneous genetic mutation in the random bred cat population and which happened to be noticed by somebody leading to a cat breed through selective breeding.

You can read more about the American curl and the tortoiseshell coat by clicking on the links in this sentence.

Sunday 19 September 2021

CAT ALLERGY #shorts (funny video)


A cool little video about cat allergies. It's funny; the mix up is very easy to make. When we speak of a 'cat allergy' it can mean two things: a person who is allergic to cats or a cat who is allergic to certain things like food or environmental allergens.


So, if you say something like: I am looking for a treatment for a cat allergy it's not really clear what you mean. You have to rephrase it like this:

'I am looking for a treatment for my cat who suffers from allergies to unknown allergens'.

Or:

'I am looking for a treatment for my allergy to cats'.

It's boring, I know. But the jokey video is based on this weakness in the English language which is ambiguous on the issue of cat allergies!

Cat allergies video
Cat allergies video. Screenshot.

Saturday 18 September 2021

Come on America; Canada is beating you to a nationwide ban on declawing!

NEWSA AND VIEWS - SASKATCHEWAN, CANADIAN PROVINCE: Some more great news on the long journey to ending the declawing of cats in North America. Canada is miles ahead of America in doing away with this obnoxious operation. Saskatchewan have now banned it. They follow in the footsteps of other jurisdictions in Canada who've banned it: British Columbia, Alberta, Manitoba, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, P.E.I. and Newfoundland and Labrador.

The Saskatchewan Veterinary Medical Association's membership recently passed a new bylaw to ban the declawing of cats within the province. File / Global News
The Saskatchewan Veterinary Medical Association's membership recently passed a new bylaw to ban the declawing of cats within the province. File / Global News

Come on America. Please for the love of God get rid of it. You know it is no good, immoral and cruel.

The Saskatchewan Veterinary Medical Association (SVMA) passed the new bylaw on Sept. 12 during its annual general meeting. The law was proposed by members. The majority voted for a ban. The ban is currently active. It states: "No member shall perform elective and non-therapeutic partial digital amputation of any felid including domestic cats". It is the usual ban which prohibits declawing when it is not for the benefit of the cat; 99% are at the convenience of the owner.

Saskatchewan
Saskatchewan. Image: Wikipedia.

Associated: New York state declawing ban passes state legislature

The good vets of Canada who don't want to declaw anyway can now turn to their clients and explain why they can't comply with their request. It is now time to educate the cat owning public of Canada. I hope and presume the vets will do this.

There was already a decline in the number of people requesting declawing before the ban took effect. The message is clearly getting across to the public. They are beginning to understand that it is not removing the claw but a part of the toe from the last joint. It is an amputation. Vets have had a habit of downplaying the operation. Unethical behaviour.

And, yes, you know that cats walk on their toes! Think of it. Think what it means to a cat to lose the ends of all their toes on their forepaws. Confusion, pain, distress and sometimes complications. Too many complications. To many cats going back to the vet for a follow up because the cat does not feel well. Botched? How many?

Calls for zoo animals to be Covid vaccinated as 9 big cats at one zoo get the disease

NEWS AND VIEWS - WASHINGTON ZOO: The time has come to vaccinate zoo animals against Covid both in the interests of their health and welfare and of humans visiting these zoos and the employees. Nine big cats, lions and tigers, contracting the disease is the largest outbreak that I have heard about at a zoo.

Covid outbreak at Washington Zoo affecting 9 big cats
Covid outbreak at Washington Zoo affecting 9 big cats. Photos: Pixabay. These are not the cats in the story.

The zoo administration doesn't know how they got the disease. Their workers all wear masks apparently. In the past zoo animals have caught Covid from zoo workers. Who else? No one is near enough to them to transmit this zoonotic disease.

The cats are being treated with anti-inflammatories, anti-nausea meds and antibiotics (possible secondary bacterial infection in the lungs). The patients comprise: Six African lions, one Sumatran tiger, and two Amur tigers. Their symptoms are: decreased appetite, coughing, sneezing and lethargy.

It is believed that they are not a risk to customers. The USDA has approved the inoculation of zoo animals to Covid. The first jabs will be administered to certain zoo animals at the Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute in Virginia when they become accessible in the following months. Other zoos have started to vaccinate their animals.

It is time as the problem appears to be getting worse. Russia has or is developing a Covid vaccine for animals. I wonder if this story will prompt the vaccination of domestic cats and dogs? It has been on the cards for a while. It is thought that animals might become a reservoir for the disease and maintain it when it has been substantially diminished among humans.

Cat hoarder was rescuing cats from cat hoarders in Florida

NEWS AND VIEWS - FLORIDA, USA: This is a sad story because Michelline Toulouse was an animal rescuer worker volunteer. And now she's been charged with animal cruelty (9 counts) and theft. She had more than 50 cats at her apartment in very poor conditions. Previously she had allegedly stolen $300 from the rescue organisation she worked for: Saving Sage Animal Rescue. She was caught on surveillance cameras.

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.


She was sacked for the theft. A colleague visited her home to check on her and discovered the filth and 50+ cats. They were malnourished and 10 were dead. The scene was the usual cat hoarder scenario: mess, urine, faeces and the stench of ammonia. Some of the cats were living in the walls.

Michelline Toulouse
Michelline Toulouse. Video screenshot.

It transpired that Toulouse had been to cat hoarding houses to rescue cats! It is very strange that a cat hoarder was rescuing cats from cat hoarders. She had her own rescue called Love is Feral. She was involved in trapping, rehabilitating and rehoming homeless cats in Florida. That was her front, her image.

Toulouse was saving cats during part of her day and allegedly killing them during the remaining part through neglect and hoarding.

Cat hoarder was rescuing cats from cat hoarders in Florida
Cat hoarder was rescuing cats from cat hoarders in Florida. Screenshot.

Her boyfriend also faces charges. Cat hoarding is a mental health issue. It has been called a specific mental health issue but it is an extension to the hoarding of inanimate objects. Hoarders don't have the capacity to make a decision about divesting themselves of the objects they hoard so they never release them. It is about risk aversion and the inability to make decisions.

P.S. I am unsure but I think the rescue is named after Sage the cat who was brutally killed and the perpetrator never found

Friday 17 September 2021

Carole Baskin criticises pet store 256 Exotics

Carole Baskin has weighed in on the story of two African servals on the loose in Alabama. As you probably know, Carole Baskin is the founder and owner of Big Cat Rescue (BCR), in Florida. In a Facebook post, she has asked people to file a US Department of Agriculture (USDA) complaint against a Huntsville-based pet store called 256 Exotics (2421 Winchester Rd NE, Huntsville, AL 35811, United States). The store owner had reported that two servals were missing from a barn on her property. As at 16 September 2021, the servals had not been recaptured.

Serval
Serval. Image: Pixabay.

Baskin wants the USDA to seize the exotic cats at the pet store and send them to legitimate sanctuaries where they are not bred and where they cannot be bought by the public.

Associated page: Serval leaps vertically about 9 feet from a static start (and info about living with servals)

She also stated that Alabama regulations state that although dogs and cats need to be vaccinated against rabies there is no approved rabies vaccine for any of the exotic cat species. Vaccines have only been tested on domestic dogs and cats.

Also, she stated that it is clearly illegal to release servals into America because they are non-native to that country. They come from Africa so they're going to be stuck in an enclosure or a cage for the rest of their lives. Under these circumstances, it is only fair right that they live out their lives in a legitimate and well-run sanctuary.

The owner of the pet store mention said that the servals are being tracked and they believe that they are near the store.

Servals not infrequently escape their captivity which could be a person's home or an enclosure. You will find that there are a good number of stores on the Internet about servals escaping. Often, they end up being killed by the authorities because they are dangerous or believed to be dangerous to the public. In fact, domesticated servals are not really dangerous. There will tend to be fearful of people and won't attack anybody unless they are provoked.

23 cats killed in a fire at a Florida pet adoption facility

A blaze at the Pet Alliance of Greater Orlando facility killed 23 cats but all the dogs were saved by firefighters. The rescued animals have been taken to the organisation's facility in Sanford. Video footage from firefighters showed them quickly removing dogs from the facility. More than 30 animals were saved. The rescue was hampered when a roof collapsed inside the building which made access to all the shelter animals difficult. This may account for the fact that 23 cats died but no dogs. The dogs and cats were kept in separate places. The dogs were in a place where the fire had not quite reached. The cause of the fire is unknown at the moment.

23 cats killed in a fire at a Florida pet adoption facility
23 cats killed in a fire at a Florida pet adoption facility. Photo: Facebook.

Wednesday 15 September 2021

Woman allowed 6 cats under a rental agreement but keeps 11 and is now in trouble

WEST BROMWICH, UK-NEWS AND COMMENT: Midland Heart is a company providing affordable rental housing in the Midlands, UK. It seems to me that they have generous rental agreements because they have allowed this mother, Lindsay Simcox, 43, to keep six cats in her home. I don't think many housing associations would allow that, normally. To get permission to have one cat is pretty generous and six is exceptional. Despite those terms and conditions, Simcox kept 11 cats in her home with her autistic children.

Lindsay Simcox and cat
Lindsay Simcox and cat. Photo: Birmingham Live.

When I read these stories, I become very cynical. It is hard for me to adopt a generous spirit because I think this woman is playing the system. I don't think she works and she gets benefits which probably includes housing benefit. She is clearly very obese and has breached the terms of the rental agreement very conclusively. I also think that it is impractical to have 11 cats in a small home. However, despite the large number of cats, she keeps the home clean which indicates that she is making real efforts to look after them properly which is commendable.

She says that her children benefit greatly from the presence of the cats. And it is known that autistic children can benefit from interacting with animals. The point is this: she's been told by a representative of Midland Heart that the cats have to go because he has four dogs as well! Can you imagine? She has 15 animals in what must be a small home. It is just not viable.

The housing company has threatened legal action unless she gets rid of the cats. She is desperate because her children love the cats and she doesn't want to tear them away from her kids. She is not under threat of eviction but she is under threat of legal action for an injunction i.e. a court order which states that the cats must be rehomed.

Simcock said that she was ratted-on by a neighbour who probably doesn't like her or took offence to the fact that she has so many animals in her home. They might cause a nuisance to neighbours which is likely because it is very difficult to keep 15 pets in the home without affecting neighbours in terms of smells and noise.

Comment: the cats will have to be rehomed and it probably will do them good because I don't think it is a good idea to have 11 cats banged up together in a small home like this. They may be well looked after or at least to a reasonable standard but in terms of the amount of space they have it is unsatisfactory. Although domestic cats are of course very adaptable.

Tuesday 14 September 2021

If you help save a street cat God will help you

If you help save a street cat God will help you
If you help save a street cat God will help you. Screenshot.

The guy in the video who saves this kitten by releasing his head from the pipe said: You help them, God will help you (Public Message). The title to the post is a slight modification. It is a good one. But would this guy have done this if he believed God would not help him? Was his act, therefore, selfish? I'll let you ponder that one. In the meantime: great rescue. I'd have taken the little fella home :) 

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.


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