Sunday 31 October 2021

Model spends $500 to feed her three cats and a dog for dinner on one day!

Camila Elle, a model with 61,000 Instagram followers says that she spends far more on her three cats and a dog than on herself. She says that she thinks nothing of spending a fortune for their dinner.

"I'll think nothing of dropping $500 on something really tasty for their dinner but I’ll only have cheap noodles."

Overall, she has spent more than $200,000 on her four companion animals. One of her cats is on Prozac for anxiety. The 3 cats are named Tuumi, Miso and Tigger and her dog is Zed. She says that she earns a seven figure sum annually. She buys them the best of everything. She loves them more than anything in the world and they are her life.

Yuumi and Elle
Yuumi and Elle. Photo: Elle on Instagram.

Two of her cats are purebred, one is a Persian (Misco) who cost her $2000 and the other is a British Longhair (Yuumi) who also cost $2000. These two cat breeds have very similar appearances if you compare the traditional Persian with the British Longhair. Her dog was also bought from a breeder and cost her $4000. Her third cat is non-purebred. I don't know where she adopted him/her from.

She claims to spend around $1000 a month for medications, food and grooming. She says that her fluffy kitties need to be groomed twice a month because they have long fur. This costs her $150 a time. Comment: I wonder why she doesn't do it herself. It would be a very good bonding experience.

The Persian is on Prozac because she is anxious. The medication costs $500 monthly. Comment: Persians to have a reputation for being anxious which is why there can be mishaps in the litter tray. So this news does not surprise me.

She is a raw cat food aficionado, which I like. She obviously is very careful how she provides the raw food to her companion animals. They all eat raw food because it's the best thing for for them. And she spends $200 weekly on "the best delicate cuts", minnows, Greek yoghurt and chicken hearts.

ASSOCIATED: When a child, Kloé Kardashian was incorrectly told she was allergic to cats by her mom

For their birthdays she splashes out on something extra special. And in that vein, she has splashed out on two treadmills for her pets so that they burn off any excess calories. The home has five cat condos/towers to ensure that they play and enjoy themselves and have a high place to rest. She is having a custom-made cattery built specially.

It will cost her $5000 and will be 6 feet wide and 10 feet tall with a real tree in the middle of it. Zed her dog is also treated in the same way. She buys him lots of toys which he gets bored of but she takes him to the beach every day for walks which she loves. If she can't fit the walk in she will pay for a dog walker to take him out. And she takes him to see a police trainer to learn new tricks.

ASSOCIATED: Hailey Bieber confesses that their Savannah cats are ‘psycho’

She always takes her four companion animals to the veterinarian for regular checkups. She is a model and a model cat owner although maybe she is being a little bit generous by the standards of the average cat caregiver. But as far as I'm concerned she's doing a fantastic job based upon this report in The Sun newspaper.

Saturday 30 October 2021

Owner deliberately provokes kitten to attack her hand and arm

This is a deliberately provoked attack by the kitten's owner on her hand. You can see her offering her hand to the kitten in a way which is bound to provoke an attack, in my view. The owner knows this and expects it. She films the action as it unfolds. 

Screenshot. Sorry for the poor quality.

This is great and all very well. However, this wouldn't work for an adult cat because she would be hurt. If you have an adult cat clinging onto your arm and hand like that they will rake your arm with their hind legs and bite your hand in their jaws. The prey killing behaviour of a domestic cat. This kitten is killing their owner's hand. 😊

You're going to get injured to a certain extent dependent upon the athleticism and commitment of the individual cat. And of course it depends upon how keen on hunting the cat is. Some domestic cats are quite mild-mannered and not that interested in hunting while others, such as my cat, are very adept hunters and enjoy hunting every day. 

I apologise to the wildlife conservationists about that. However, he only or nearly only catches mice and keeps down the rodent population. I don't think wildlife conservationists can criticise me under those circumstances.

There is a wider issue in fact. In doing this you are training your kitten to attack your hand. I don't think it is wise for cat owners to use their hands and arms as play toys for their cat. It tends to create a bad habit in their cat which can lead to injury. Perhaps the person won't mind but they will eventually. 👎

ASSOCIATED: Masochist allows cat to damage their hand?

Cat owner allows their cat to extensively bite and scratch their hand. Photo in public domain.
Cat owner allows their cat to extensively bite and scratch their hand. Photo in public domain.

I can remember a picture of a hand that had been badly scratched and it was if the owner of that hand was a masochist because they constantly allowed their cat to scratch it. It was not a pretty sight and I reproduce the photograph above.

She’s painfully adorable and the clingiest cat I’ve ever met

The title comes from a tweet. It's good but of course all cats are adorable and some might be described as 'clingy'. However, I'm not sure that it is fair or reasonable to describe a domestic cat is "clingy". It's a negative or derogative term. It means that they want to be in contact with you all the time and are insecure and nervous. It's a mis-description as far as I am concerned. 

She’s painfully adorable and the clingiest cat I’ve ever met
She’s painfully adorable and the clingiest cat I’ve ever met. Photo: Twitter. She looks like a Burmese or Burmese-type (non-standard as per the breed standard). I say that because he paws are white. This is not good for a Burmese. She is probably a moggy to be honest. Moggies are great, the best.

Some cats will like being with their human caregiver a lot which is beneficial to both parties. That's what you want as a cat owner. I normally see domestic cats been criticised for being too aloof and distant. And then you see people criticising domestic gas because they're too clingy. What do people want? Domestic cats are there to be companions and entertain. If they want to be with you they are better companions.

ASSOCIATED PAGE: Are pregnant cats clingy?

And sometimes, if a person raises a cat from a new-born kitten that person is imprinted on their brain as their mother. And as they are kept in a permanent state of kittenhood they will constantly perceive the person as their mother and be more than normally dependent upon them. This should be accepted. It is actually charming to be needed.

When you have a cat you voluntarily take on the responsibility to care for the cat. And in discharging the responsibility you know that you will be needed by your cat. Of course that must be the case because they rely upon their owner for being fed and for the provision of security and warmth both emotional and physical.

Let's put away the concept of clingy domestic cats and think more about domestic cats would like to be with their human companion a lot. Another criticism of some domestic cats is that they are "attention seekers". This is another version of "clingy". I disagree once again.

ASSOCIATED PAGE: Attention Seeking Behaviour in Cats

If a cat is being neglected then they might seek attention which is entirely normal. It is to be expected. If a cat is attention seeking then the cure is to pay attention and attend to the needs of your cat and enjoy it. 

If you find your cat is attention seeking then to be perfectly frank I'm not sure that you should have a cat companion. I'm not been critical because a lot of people are unsuited to have cat companions. That's okay as long as they realise it and don't adopt a cat.

If you weren't sure that cats have facial expressions this will change your mind

This is a cross post because I think the subject matter is interesting on a number of levels (see the other post by clicking here). Perhaps the most outstanding aspect of the video is that it shows quite clearly that domestic cats can have strong and clear facial expressions. A lot of people don't see facial expressions in domestic cats. They consider them as aloof and inscrutable. Or they don't believe they have them. This video should correct this misapprehension.

If you weren't sure that cats have facial expressions this will change your mind
If you weren't sure that cats have facial expressions this will change your mind. Deeply annoyed and irritated cat probably a Burmese. Screenshot.

And also the sound of the cat makes is interesting. It's a bit like a dog's bark. Sometimes domestic cats do bark like dogs. It's wrong to pigeonhole their vocalisations into well-defined categories because it doesn't quite work like that. Each individual cat has their own range of sounds which can be categorised but which are far more fluid and variable than people sometimes think.

Cat annoyed by owner and asks to be put down
Cat annoyed by owner and asks to be put down. Screenshot.

When you take the facial expression of clear annoyance and irritation together with this strange non-feline sound it is quite clear what the cat wants to say to his/her owner. He wants to be put down because he's being held in the wrong way and in any case he doesn't want to be picked up and filmed like this. I think the woman is deliberately provoking this kind of reaction in her cat for the camera to make an interesting video.

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

ASSOCIATED: Cell phone app understands your cat’s facial expressions

Once again, this is a mild form of cat abuse in order to gather a large number of viewings to a video. We see a lot of this. It irritates me but I'm not making a strange sound and I don't have a strong expression of annoyance!

ASSOCIATED PAGE: Noticeable difference in facial expression when feral cat is rehabilitated

What I like about the video is what I've said namely that it kind of proves that domestic gas can have very strong facial expressions. I think the cat is a Burmese and Burmese cats are talkative and they express their views in the sounds that they make! They are also loyal and friendly but not immune to being annoyed if mildly abused!

Thursday 28 October 2021

2.3m unowned cats in the UK and 70m in the USA

If anybody is interested, there are 2.3 million unowned (stray and feral) cats in the UK. The figure was worked out by Cats Protection. Is it accurate? They decided that there were 9.3 unowned cats per square kilometre in the UK. As the UK is 248,532 km² there are 9.3×248,532 unowned cats which makes 2.3m.

2.3 million unowned cats in the UK and 70m in the USA.
2.3 million unowned cats in the UK and 70m in the USA. Stray, scavenging cat. Photo in public domain.

However, they also said that there are about a quarter of a million stray cats living in UK cities or urban areas. That would mean there are around 2 million unowned cats living away from urban areas, in the countryside. I don't think their calculations are correct, I have got to say. I don't think there are about 2 million unowned cat wandering around the British countryside. There might be but I would doubt it.

My distinct impression is that nearly all feral cats in the UK are in urban areas. They used a computer model I think to work out an average of 9.3 unowned cats per square kilometre in the UK. They also admit that this figure varies from 1.9-57 dependent upon the location.

USA comparison

On a like-for-like human population basis with America, the figures don't really add up because the experts say that there are about 70 million feral cats in America. The human population of America is currently 330 million which is about five times that of the UK. If we take the human population as a guide as to the number of feral cats in the US there should be around 11 million feral cats in America i.e. 2.3×5 which is around 11 million. This is about one seventh of the estimated figure.

It is hard to know what is going on. Perhaps the problem is that both the estimated number of feral cats in America and the calculations of Cat Protection are simply not that precise and therefore you can't really make a comparison between the countries on this matter. 

USA - overestimation of feral cat numbers?

Perhaps Americans have overestimated the number of feral cats in the USA? It is possible. A lot of the information about feral cats concerns predation on wildlife and this comes from ornithologists who want the numbers to be high as it fits their agenda of keeping cats inside.

Blue mackerel tabby Exotic Shorthair (video)

Posted by Gergana Stefanova on Tuesday, October 26, 2021

This is a lovely little cat. Super coat. I am not a great fan of the Exotic Shorthair or contemporary Persian as they both have the extreme face but they are popular. It is nice to see a video. 

Note: videos from Facebook sometimes disappear or stop working for one of many reasons, usually because it has been removed at source.

The details as per the breeder posting on Facebook: 
  • Exotic shorthair
  • Male
  • Cute
  • Blue mackerel tabby 
  • Birthday 14.06.2021 
  • CFA registration

Here is a still picture from the video. I think the breeder lives in Russia or one of the satellite countries. Not sure.

Blue mackerel tabby  Exotic Shorthair
Blue mackerel tabby  Exotic Shorthair

Doctor faced 31 counts of animal cruelty and one count of child endangerment

NEWS AND COMMENT-VACAVILLE, CALIFORNIA: A qualified doctor (for humans) was facing 21 counts of animal cruelty and one count of child endangerment. However, she has not been charged by the Yolo County District Attorney Office. It is an interesting case because the public does not generally associate doctors (I believe that she is in general practice) and what appears to be animal hoarding resulting in neglect, negligence and abuse. I feel sorry for her. There but for the grace of God go I is what I think when I read these sorts of stories. It's quite easy to get into the situation where you can no longer cope, where you are vulnerable and sinking slightly or greatly.

I suspect that she has not been charged because it wouldn't be helpful. She needs help rather than punishment. I am sure that is the reason why the District Attorney decided not to prosecute. It's a shame in some ways because you end up with animals that suffer and in a strict sense there should be some punishment for that. Her child also suffered it seems. I have to make it clear that these are allegations at the moment because I don't know anything about it other than what is reported on the news media online. Sometimes they can be imprecise and inaccurate.

I had some concerns about publishing a photograph of the woman but I think I have to because her details are spelled-out and therefore it is not difficult to find a photograph on the Internet. She looks entirely normal and pretty happy in the photograph. It's a great shame. There is an argument that cat and animal hoarders should be counselled and treated rather than punished because ultimately it comes down to mental health which is often beyond the control of the person involved.

Keeping deceased cats and kittens in freezers is commonplace for cat hoarders. I don't think there's anything malicious about this behaviour. I think it is probably more to do with wanting to keep the animal close to the person rather than buried or cremated at which point they have conclusively lost the animal.

Her son was removed from her home because the conditions therein were dirty and unsafe. She is no longer seeing patients but she is qualified to do so. Her name is Dr. Rebecca Darsey. Her biography is still out on the Internet. The police found six dead kittens in her freezer. They also found 24 adult cats, six of which were deceased, five dogs and eight exotic birds at her home. 

We are told that her home was a mess which goes with the territory of being an animal hoarder and out-of-control. Her son was unable to sleep in his room because it was used to house animals.

Sadly, Dr. Rebecca Darsey was self-medicating for anxiety and depression. She was taking prednisone, Effexor and Maxalt. The last drug is used for the treatment of migraine headaches. Effexor is an antidepressant of the serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor class. It can also be used for chronic pain. And it is used to treat generalised anxiety disorder, panic disorder and social phobia. It seems that she didn't have her own doctor.

Her medical license is valid. News media reached out to the medical board for comment without success at the time of the report. The doctor's medical license expires at the end of 2021.

Wednesday 27 October 2021

Two experts attested that Carole Baskin's missing husband's will is a forgery

NEWS AND COMMENT: This is controversial because Baskin inherited millions it is reported on the BBC website ('Carole was left with millions of dollars'). And her former husband Jack 'Don' Lewis disappeared. Joe Exotic, accused animal rights activist Carole Baskin of killing her second husband Don Lewis, who went missing in 1997. It is strenuously denied and there is no evidence to support the allegation. And she has never been charged. But the sheriff's candid and confident statement puts the cat among the pigeons to use an appropriate analogy.

Don Lewis' children ex-wife and kids allege that they were cut out of his will and their inheritance went to Baskin (source: BBC). Personally I have a lot of time for Carole Baskin and her fight for big cat welfare in the face of a bevy of private zoo owning men in the USA who abused and abuse big cats for monetary gain. These private zoos were and are an abomination. Baskin inherited Joe Exotic's zoo to settle a successful defamation claim. Carole Baskin did not cooperate on Tiger King 2 as the producers behaved badly towards her in the first series.

Feral cat has been living on a roof for four years

NEWS AND COMMENT- Sungurlu, a town in central Turkish province of Çorum: A feral cat who appears to be thoroughly unsocialised has been living on a roof for 4 years and her lifestyle is ongoing. It is highly unusual because it appears to be an example of self-isolation but she is being fed regularly. This may, indeed, be partly why she refuses to come down. She is female and most ginger tabbies are males.

Female ginger tabby has lived on a roof for 4 years and has no intention of coming down
Female ginger tabby has lived on a roof for 4 years and has no intention of coming down. Photo: IHA Photo.

This certainly isn't the case of a cat being stuck up a tree or in a high place. She remains on the roof voluntarily. Locals and firefighters have tried to get her down without success. We don't know the details of those efforts. It would be interesting to hear them. It is certainly possible to get her down by placing a trap on the roof and then bringing the trap down from the roof. So I think we can probably argue without knowing more that efforts to bring her down have not been carried out effectively.

The roof is on a building which is part of a bazaar. Muttalip Yavuz, who runs a coffeehouse said that this ginger tabby cat jumped onto the roof from a building opposite. He also said that firefighters have come multiple times to bring her down and failed. And shopkeepers have tried a few times but they couldn't capture her either. They have, therefore, decided to leave her and feed her.

The cat is unsocialised and fearful of people said Ahmet Köylü. She eats the food left for her but it appears that people who feed her have to remove themselves from the roof before she feeds. Apparently she constantly meows when she begs for food as it is not always provided on time. This is not a satisfactory state of affairs!

As mentioned, the solution is to employ standard TNR techniques. I'm surprised that this is not been carried out but of course no one is to blame. It's a question of finding somebody in Turkey, living nearby, who knows about TNR work. That will resolve the problem. I am sure there are TNR operatives in Turkey who'd assist. The cat can then be socialised with patience and hopefully rehomed.

Perhaps, the shopkeepers below quite like the idea of a cat living on the roof because it is a form of advertising for them. I sense that that is part of the problem too.

The story comes from İhlas News Agency (İHA) via Daily Sabah.

Tuesday 26 October 2021

Cats are 'at least mildly susceptible to Covid-19' - Cornell

This is the first time I have seen this remark from a distinguished institution whose word counts. Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine say that cats are 'at least mildly susceptible to Covid'. Do you find that troubling?

Cornell's opinion about Covid comes on the back of a story about 15 lions in Utah, Denver zoos testing positive for Covid's Delta variant. 11 lions at Colorado's Denver Zoo and 4 lions from Utah's Hogle Zoo (UHZ) caught the disease based upon observed symptoms such as coughing, sneezing and acting lethargically.

The lions at Denver Zoo are between the ages of 1-9 years old. They were tested using nasal swabs at Colorado State University Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory in Fort Collins. The tests were confirmed as positive by the United States Department of Agriculture's National Veterinary Services Laboratories.

ASSOCIATED: Can captive big cats in zoos get Covid-19 from their food?

The vast majority of the lions recovered without, as I understand it, the intervention of medication and treatment from humans. The lion's were exhibited in the same way because the zoo's administration believed that customers are safe from infection from the cats. There are no other animals at the zoos which have contracting the Covid virus.

ASSOCIATED: Pictures of two tigers being tested for Covid-19

UHZ have protocols to protect the animals such as increased use of personal protective equipment, increased cleaning procedures, staff health monitoring and regulated staff involvement. They vowed to be "extra-cautious and vigilant during the pandemic, with a key focus on the safety of staff, guests animals" - Dr. Nancy Carpenter at UHZ.

I was surprised to read Cornell's opinion about the susceptibility of cats to this disease. I wonder if there will be any further developments - reservoir issues? Until now the number of cats either domestic or wild contracting the disease has been minuscule in comparison to the number of humans. However, there seems to be an increase in the number of big cats in zoos contracting the disease despite precautions being taken. 

It seems to me that the lions can only be contract the disease from zoo workers which begs the question as to why the administration of the zoos are not fully up to scratch on testing their employees combined with full vaccination programs.

Vet tech lost her cool when she provided advice on Reddit and it was justified

Male cat with serious urinary tract disease. Pic:

I like this response from a vet tech on the website to the question: "My cat has kidney problem, he is urinating blood, does anyone know how I can help him?" - serious urinary tract disease and they are fiddling around on social media!

Can you believe it? A cat owner looking for advice on a social media site/forum on a serious illness suffered by their male cat. It is madness. The only thing to do is to call the vet and by the looks of it they have already delayed doing this. But this either didn't occur to them or they shunned the thought because they wanted to save money at the expense of seriously jeopardising their cat's life.

There is a terrible resistance to taking cats to vets. It is not quite the same for dogs. Some cat owners will do all they can to avoid going to the vet. This must lead to unnecessary deaths from time to time. 

The post is indicative of a section of cat owners who don't have the financial resources to discharge their responsibilities as a cat caregiver to a necessary standard. Or to put it another way: they can't afford to keep a cat. Perhaps there should be a mandated threshold by law. Only people with X amount of money can have cats. That's dreamland as it will never happen but it would save the lives of cats.

Note: This is an embedded Reddit post. 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.

Classic stand-off between resident cat and invading cat

This is a classic stand-off between a resident cat, the orange cat that you see in the video, and an invading cat which is the grey-and-white cat. The resident cat wins the stand-off. It's entirely classic and normal and the intention is to avoid a fight which would harm both of them. Common sense dictates that they don't want to be harmed if it can be avoided. 

Apparently these two meet frequently like this and on every occasion the resident ginger wins the argument. This is probably because he is the resident cat. It's his territory and the grey-and-white knows it. If the roles were reversed I would expect the grey-and-white to win the argument. 

Although, of course, you get cats who are inherently more dominant and those that are inherently more submissive in the same way you get cats that are more confident and those that are more timid. This would be a factor in who wins this kind of stand-off argument.

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.

ASSOCIATED: Cat ear positions.

You can hear this strange yowling sound which has bemused people in the past but thanks to the Internet it is now understood. It's just a close-range sound to intimidate the other. You'll note that the ears are pulled back slightly. They are not pulled all the way back to fully protect them. I think this is because they probably both knew that they were not going to physically fight because of the fact that they've met before under similar circumstances and know the outcome.

ASSOCIATED: Do domestic cats fight to the death?

The video was made in the town of Gudauta in the Republic of Abkhazia, Georgia. She must have sent the video into the Daily Mail newspaper who pay for videos. It was made by student Salima Sanguliya, 20, who is the caregiver of the ginger cat, Simon.

She gets very close to the cats at one time which I think was unwise because there was lots of aggression on display and one of them might have redirected it against her.

Monday 25 October 2021

If we exonerate Scotland's witches there should be a memorial to their cats

There are calls to exonerate Scotland's forgotten witches. This could be widened to the whole of Europe but at the moment Claire Mitchell QC is campaigning for the exoneration of Scotland's witches who were so deeply and horrendously abused, often with their domestic cat companions, from the mid-16th and early 18th centuries. 

If we exonerate Scotland's witches there should be a memorial to their cats
If we exonerate Scotland's witches there should be a memorial to their cats. Picture in public domain.

ASSOCIATED: Time to pardon witches and their cats. I wrote this 4 years ago!

Scotland has the dubious distinction of being the country which carried out five times more executions of witches per capita than the European average according to a Euro News report. So they were particularly fervent about persecuting ordinary and no doubt decent women who were accused of being witches. Back in the day superstition was more prevalent but it still exists today particularly in developing countries such as on the African continent.

Over the course of nearly 200 years around 4,000 women were put on trial for witchcraft. Over 2,500 of them were executed. One of them was Lilias Addie. She wasn't burned at the stake but imprisoned where she died. Most women convicted of witchcraft were burned rather than buried. Addie's coffin was converted into a wooden walking stick with the engraving "Lilias Addie, 1704".

The persecution of these normal Scottish folk was instigated after the enactment of Scotland's 1563 Witchcraft Act. The identities of convicted witches was erased by the authorities and families "out of fear and shame" said Claire Mitchell QC. She wants a legal pardon and a monument to the estimated 2,558 Scots executed during what is described as "the brutal centuries of femicide".

But this was an era of the persecution of domestic cats as well. They are commonly called witches' familiars, because they were often seen as companions to witches. Not only were the humans burnt at the stake, their cats were as well or killed in some other equally barbaric way. Cats were abused cruelly. 

If we exonerate Scotland's witches there should be a memorial to their cats
Picture in public domain.

Incidentally, in England witches were hanged not burned. During the entire era of "witch persecutions" about 30,000-60,000 people in total were executed. About 75% of witches is put on trial were acquitted. It wasn't just the Catholic Church that persecuted them. All four of the major Western Christian denominations i.e. the Roman Catholic Church, Lutheran, Calvinist and Anglican churches were involved.

Men were also tried for witchcraft and in Scandinavia more men were put on trial than women. Across Europe, around 10-15% of the total put on trial were men. This information comes from Diane Purkiss a professor of English literature at Keble College University of Oxford.

We mustn't forget the cat companions of these women. Both of them were cruelly abused. If the women are pardoned and a memorial is erected in Scotland so that we can remember them, I would ask that the memorial also includes a recognition that their cat companions also need remembering. We have that obligation in the interests of decency and animal welfare.

Sunday 24 October 2021

4,000 feral, 100,000 indoor and 96,000 indoor/outdoor domestic cats and strays in Washington DC

In a recent census of the number of stray, feral, indoor domestic, indoor/outdoor domestic and those cats in between, the conclusion was that there are 200,000 cats in the District of Columbia a.k.a. Washington DC or just plain Washington, the capital of the USA. That 200,000 cats is made up of 3000-4000 feral cats, about 96,000 indoor/outdoor domestic cats + strays and 100,000 indoor-only cats. That's my interpretation of the figures as provided online. The conclusion was that cats are at a high density in Washington DC.

4000 feral and 196,000 indoor and indoor/outdoor domestic cats in Washington DC
4000 feral and 196,000 indoor and indoor/outdoor domestic cats in Washington DC. Photo montage: DC cat count on Instagam.

Tyler Flockhart, a conservation biologist and science lead on the District of Columbia Count project, said: "I don't think that you can find another wild mammal—another wild carnivore—that occurs at that density anywhere in the world," he said, of cats and urban environments. I think that this is really sort of an interesting idea that we can have so many cats in such a small location."

This was a bold project. There was a determined and committed attempt to genuinely count the number of cats in a fixed area to include, as mentioned, indoor-only domestic cats (50% of the total domestic cats). In order to count the cats they surveyed more than 2,600 residents. They used camera traps at more than 1,500 locations. The researchers followed the routes that the cats followed. And they analysed 14,500 animal shelter records.

Of course, the camera traps recorded the activities of a whole range of animals residing in Washington DC such as squirrels, raccoons, foxes, deer and a bobcat. Flockhart concluded that there is a huge diversity of wildlife in the cities of the USA.

Below is an Instagram post by the team. I don't expect this embedded post to last long as they frequently turn to links. Here it is anyway:

Unusual. Cat wanders onto neighbor's backyard. Neighbor shoots cat owner dead.

I've prefixed the title with the word "unusual". I'm being deliberately low-key to emphasise the extreme behaviour of the man who has been charged with second-degree homicide. His name is Clifton Anthony Bliss Jr.. He has a history of instigating fights with members of the community according to Corporal J Lightle as reported on NBC News.

Unusual. Cat wanders onto neighbor's backyard. Neighbor shoots cat owner dead.
NOTE: THIS IS A STOCK PHOTO -- Unusual. Cat wanders onto neighbor's backyard. Neighbor shoots cat owner dead.

The victim is a neighbour of Mr Bliss, 41-year-old James Arland Taylor Jr.. His cat had wandered onto Bliss's backyard. Bliss was so upset by this simple, innocent act that he grabbed his .22 rifle, walked across the street to Mr Taylor's home and shot him twice. Taylor died at the scene it is believed.

The usual outcome in this kind of story is that the perpetrator shoots the cat with a .22 rifle not the cat's caregiver. An extreme act as mentioned.

Sergeant Paul Bloom of the Marion County Sheriff's Department stated that Taylor pleaded with Mr Bliss to not shoot his cat. It looks as though Mr Bliss complied with that request and decided to shoot him instead.

The unusual cat-related events took place near the central Florida city of Umatilla. The matter was reported on NBC affiliate WFLA.

Comment: Cat's 'tresspassing' (cats can't legally tresspass) can rile some property owners when they are in the anti-cat brigade. It wouldn't surprise me if these two had had words before on several occasions although that isn't reported.

ASSOCIATED: Audio recording of Steven Mishow admitting to shooting neighbors’ cats

An awful lot of friction can be generated between neighbours over a tresspassing domestic cat. Many home owners in the US shoot feral cats when they come onto their land. They believe that they have to right to do it. Although my research tells me that in every US state it will be a crime under animal welfare laws unless a rare exeption applies in some states. The police are disinterested in enforcing the law or the shooting is unreported.

Saturday 23 October 2021

How do cats keep warm in winter and cool in summer?

I am applying the question to domestic cats which can keep cool in summer by staying inside in a cool corner of a room somewhere or the garage or a shed. And they can keep warm using the central heating! Heat pumps and not gas boilers please!!

Norwegian Forest Cat. Tabby-and-white. Photo copyright Helmi Flick.
Norwegian Forest Cat. Tabby-and-white. Photo copyright Helmi Flick.

Colder climates

But at an anatomical level (which is what the question is all about), you'll find that some cat breeds are selectively bred from cats that have adapted to either hot or cold climates. For northern climates you can name the Maine Coon (Boston area and Maine), British Shorthair (UK) and the Norwegian Forest Cat (Norway). 

Their coats are dense with insulating down, which, in cold weather, stands up erect and traps a thin layer of air as double glazing traps air in a wall of warm air between the panes of glass. 

Under the skin is a layer of fat which retains body heat. Heat is lost one third as fast through fat as through muscle.

It is said that in extreme cold a cat will curl up and place its tail over its mouth.

Warmer climates

Breeds adapted to warm climates radiate heat from their bodies more efficiently. The classic breed with the silky, single coat that does this is the Siamese which hails from Thailand, a country with a hot climate. Although you don't see or rarely see Siamese street cats in Thailand which is strange or which makes me question the origin of the breed.

Oriental SH. Photo copyright Helmi Flick
Oriental SH. Photo copyright Helmi Flick. Single-coated beauty.

ASSOCIATED: Single cat coats are better than double coats

Siamese cats lack down hairs. They can shed primary hairs and their blood vessels dilate which speeds up heat loss from the body.

Although cats don't sweat like humans through their skin generally, they do from their paw pads and they pant like dogs when very hot or stressed.  They also lick their fur to deposit saliva on it which evaporates. The latent heat of evaporation removes heat from the body.

Are there any cats that don't shed?

I am referring to domestic cats and the answer is NO. They all shed fur as it is an entirely natural thing to do. Indoor cats shed all the year round while indoor/outdoor cats shed when there is more light as in spring and summer. Spring light stimulates a heavy spring moult.

Hairless cats shed much less - they can have whiskers that shed or break. If you hate hair around the home choose a hairless cat but there are downsides to these breeds which outstrip the downside of non-shedding in my view. Photo in public domain.

Associated:The wrinkly skin of hairless cats

The only other point worth making is that single coated cats shed less than triple and double coated cats as there's less fur to shed. The hairless cat breeds such as the Sphynx, Don Sphynx and the Elf (as three examples) don't shed except for their broken and short whiskers. Whiskers shed from time to time or they break and snap off for hairless cats. So there is some depositing of hair from hairless cats albeit much reduced compared to a class double coated standard domestic cat. But the demands of looking after a hairless cat are higher than for a normal cat. This cancels out the benefits of non-shedding in my opinion.

ASSOCIATED: Are Siamese cats aggressive or predisposed to being mean?

Pointed and angular head of the Siamese. Photo: Frangipani Balinesecattery.
Pointed and angular head of the Siamese. Photo: Frangipani Balinesecattery. Siamese have very close to the skin silky single coats and therefore there is less fur to moult during the lighter months.

Feline hair grows to a predetermined length as per the cat's genes. After growth there is a transitional phase called 'catagen' followed by 40-60 days of rest called 'telogen'. It then falls out (sheds) and gives way to new hair. As hairs are at different stages at any one time the shedding is gradual.

Friday 22 October 2021

Young woman adopted an older kitty who had been returned to the shelter a few times

The picture is very good if not excellent and the behavior of this young woman was also excellent. She's being rewarded by the love of her elderly cat. You get back what your invest plus more when you adopt unwanted shelter cats. We know that older cats tend to 'stay on the shelf' at shelters. They are just less popular but there are many advantages. They are more domesticated. They know how to live with humans and they are more placid and pliable. They fit in better. And I think they appreciate their new home more as they have managed to escape the shelter sometimes after a long stay.

Here is the picture. A nice one. It must be a selfie so the photographer is the lady you see in the pic.

Young woman adopted an older kitty who had been returned to the shelter a few times
Young woman adopted an older kitty who had been returned to the shelter a few times. I took the liberty of improving the image quality slightly but the original was still very good.

I recommend adopting the shelter cats that are unwanted. Invest in the cat. Look beyond the appearance. Invest in the relationship and focus on it plus the personality of the cat. The rewards will flow.

I don't know anymore about this brown tabby cat or the woman as she posted the photo and the title but no other information. But the most important thing is known: she did something great and took a nice picture to boot.

Chonky, square, grey tabby is eye-catching

This chonky fella has become a hit with guests at the Best Western Silver Fox Inn, in Waterville Valley New Hampshire, USA. Well, at least that was the case in 2016. That's five years ago but Logan was eight years old at the time weighing 31 pounds which is about three times the weight of a normal domestic cat. That makes him 13 today and if he maintained that weight I would suspect that he is ill with conditions such as diabetes and arthritis but perhaps I am being too negative.

Logan a grey tabby cat weighing 31 pounds
Logan a grey tabby cat weighing 31 pounds. Photo: Jim Cole (AP).

His appearance is certainly eye-catching so it is no surprise that he has become a feature in the area. One Facebook video was viewed 29 million times or more. He was adopted by Susan and Tor Brunvand from Meredith, New Hampshire from a shelter. At that time he was a normal-sized cat. Sadly, they allowed him to become obese. It is fun to see a chonky cat like this but on a more serious note it is very unhealthy. Apparently he had a habit of eating the food of other cats in the household.

ASSOCIATED: 3 life stages of the domestic cat in terms of body weight and nutrient requirements

Perhaps I've been a bit unkind because I read that his weight may be due to 'slow metabolism'. They took him to a vet for advice. I suspect, though, that he put on weight because he ate too much. The fact that he was normal weight when adopted supports that assessment. 

Sometimes you just don't realise how much you and your cat eats. People have a habit of normalising the things that they do and the weight that they gain. That is why it can be difficult to recognise weight gain. I recently wrote a page about that which you can read if you want to by clicking on this link.

Although he's very popular there were (still are?) people who were criticising Susan and Tor because it does indicate an irresponsible attitude to cat caregiving. Although we shouldn't be too critical. One person threatened to report them for animal abuse. And another, Janet Lynn, a guest to the hotel from Manchester, New Hampshire asked: "I just wonder why a person would have a pet and let it get that heavy?"

The Brunvands seem to have laughed this off because they think they can't do anything about his weight. Susan says that he is happy and that "He doesn't think he's fat".

The likely reason why Logan is as fat as he is, is because he eats too much and doesn't exercise enough. It is not rocket science. A consistent dietary change over a long period of time would be beneficial. In the meantime the guests of the hotel can continue to be amused. However, I am sure that in the back of their minds they are also concerned for his health.

Thursday 21 October 2021

Michigan, USA has its first domestic cat testing positive for Covid

NEWS AND COMMENT: This is not really news but it is all over Bing News. I think I need to report on it and comment. The press is saying that a domestic shorthair cat living in Ingham County, Michigan, USA has tested positive for Covid which makes the cat the first pet to test positive for the disease in that state. And as expected, the cat got the disease from his or her owners because they both had the disease a week before their cat became ill according to the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development.

Michigan, USA has its first domestic cat testing positive for Covid
Michigan, USA has its first domestic cat testing positive for Covid. Image: MikeB

ASSOCIATED: Scientists should positively state that pets can't spread coronavirus through a new study

The symptoms for a cat when they get the disease are often quite mild and including fever, sneezing, coughing and nasal and eye discharge. In previous reports I have read that domestic cats resolve the disease themselves quite quickly. It appears that their immune systems are superior to those of humans certainly in respect of this disease. Concerning zoo animals, when they get Covid, sometimes they are treated but once again it seems that the big cats have good immune systems with respect to Covid-19.

The experts say that people should not be worried about catching Covid from their pets. My reading of the situation is that in all the cases I have read there has been transmission from people to pets rather than in the opposite direction. This is why the authorities say that people who have Covid should take precautions which I doubt happens.

It is fairly clear that the pets who catch Covid have been in general contact with their owner or caretaker. Ideally people who have contracted the disease should isolate themselves from their companion cat in the home. This would seem to be a very difficult task but at least they should avoid kissing and snuggling with their cat or allowing them to sleep on the bed while they are infected with the disease. My guess is that cat owners are unlikely to take effective steps to protect their pet.

News media reports that Michigan State officials said that as at Monday there have been 257 confirmed cases of Covid in animals throughout the US including 99 domestic cats since the start of the pandemic which is now around 19 months ago.

The report comes from USA Today.

Tuesday 19 October 2021

Mum has cried herself to sleep for 8 weeks over her lost, possibly stolen, snow Bengal cat

NEWS AND COMMENT: The story is a reminder that people who live with glamorous purebred cats really have to keep them indoors all the time. And because of that they should also seriously consider building a catio or a garden enclosure for their full-time indoor cat. The story concerns an 18 months old snow Bengal cat called Meeka. She has been lost since August 21, 2021. This post is dated October 19, 2021.

Snow Bengal cat lost for weeks and owner cries every night
Snow Bengal cat lost for weeks and owner cries every night. Photo: Asia Sattar.

It seems that the owner, Asia Sattar, 51, and her family including her 20-year-old daughter Mariyya allowed Meeka to go outside unsupervised. That is quite unusual for a snow Bengal cat because they really are striking in appearance. They are bound to catch the eye of anybody who notices them. You're going to get somebody who perhaps isn't a thief but who is predisposed to being a thief being provoked into stealing this cat. That may be what has happened.

Meeka and Mariyya
Meeka and Mariyya. Photo: the family.

It is unusual to have professional cat thieves roaming around your area but you will have ordinary citizens and neighbours who suddenly want to possess this wonderful looking cat and they can't resist it. And then when they keep the cat inside all the time you are never going to know where she's gone to.

Sattar believes that Meeka has been stolen. The presumed theft was reported to the police on August 28 but they did nothing as far as I can tell and they have closed the file. That's another problem in the UK at the moment. The police are sitting on their hands. They do not get off their bottoms for this sort of crime.

They don't do anything for a whole range of crimes including thefts up to thousands of pounds. They simply wash their hands of them. The criminals know this and they know that they will not be caught. This promotes criminality. The police are in acute dereliction of their duty at this present time. It is shameful behaviour and citizens like myself and this lady who has lost a cat are on our own. We have to deal with things without the support of law enforcement in the UK.

Asia's father was very close to Meeka and he still searches for her. He still puts up posters and they have offered a £1,500 reward. Judging by the length of time that the cat has been missing I think we can be very confident that they will not get their cat back unless something big changes.

They might seek the assistance of the cat detective. There is one in the UK who is pretty successful. I am surprised that they haven't contacted him. Sometimes cats do come back after a very long time. Perhaps she hasn't been stolen and is just wondering, having become a stray cat living in the wild. Sometimes domestic cats do that. But I doubt it.

And this, I think, is one of the downsides of owning a purebred cat especially the glamorous ones. You have to keep them in. A lot of people would say you have to keep all cats inside but in the UK it is not the default position. She got to build a catio if she has not done so already, and you've got to leash train your purebred cat if you want to take them outside unsupervised. There are extra things to do and extra responsibilities when you own a snow Bengal cat.

What colours do British Shorthair cats come in?

The British Shorthair is shown in all colours and all divisions of the traditional category. The original British Shorthair was grey and was called the British Blue. It was the only colour the cat was shown in. Apparently, even today, some organisations still recognise blue as the only accepted colour. They say that blue British SHs have a thicker coat than black-and-white British Shorthairs, for instance. I have provided details for the 3 premier cat associations.

Cinnamon British Shorthair.
Cinnamon British shorthair. Photo: Pinterest.

GCCF (British)

Below are the accepted colour colours and types for the British Shorthair under the GCCF (UK cat association). Within these categories there are subdivisions relating to the various colours and types. You can see these in more detail if you click on this link which takes you to the GCCF breed standard for the British Shorthair.

Self British Shorthairs (solid colours), tabby, spotted, ticked tabby, tortoiseshell, tortoiseshell and white, bicolour, van-pattern bicolour, van pattern tortoiseshell and white, smoke, tipped, colour pointed, colour pointed and white.

Top 3 photos copyright Helmi Flick. Bottom: TICA Best British Shorthair Alter of the Year.
Top 3 photos copyright Helmi Flick. Bottom: TICA Best British Shorthair Alter of the Year.

CFA (American)

The CFA's breed standard states that the following colours are accepted for the British Shorthair: white, black, blue, red, cream, smoke, shaded silver, shaded golden, chinchilla silver, chinchilla golden, shell cameo, classic tabby, mackerel tabby, spotted tabby, silver tabby, silver patched tabby, silver patched tabby and white, red tabby, brown tabby, brown patched tabby, brown patch tabby and white, blue tabby, blue patched tabby, blue patched tabby and white, cream tabby, tabby and white, van tabby and white, tortoiseshell, calico, dilute calico, van calico, van dilute calico, blue cream, bicolour, van bicolour, Other British Shorthair Colours (OBSHC).

TICA (International)

TICA's breed standard is very short as they don't list, item by item, the various colours that are acceptable for this breed. They say that this cat breed is shown in all traditional and pointed categories, all divisions, all colours with no permissible outcrosses. They state that the coat is so dense that it is difficult to see the skin when parting the hair. A cross-eyed British Shorthair will be disqualified in competition. Lockets result in all awards being withheld.

Domestic dispute: man allegedly threatened to drown woman's cat

BELLINGHAM USA-NEWS AND COMMENT: This is a classic case of the vulnerable domestic cat becoming a victim at the centre of a domestic dispute. It is annoyingly common for men to either threaten to abuse or abuse a woman's cat companion in domestic disputes as leverage to get her to do something or to emotionally hurt her.

Image: MikeB - free to use.

In this instance, the Bellingham Police Department booked a guy called Kapier Akana Robinson, 27, who was extremely angry (as is always the case) on suspicion of first-degree animal cruelty (domestic violence), harassment (domestic violence) and third-degree malicious mischief (domestic violence). Quite a catalogue of alleged crimes.

It is alleged that during an argument with his presumed girlfriend, Robinson threatened to drown her cat. He held the cat in the bath with the water running. The cat managed to get away which is unsurprising to me because when cats are under those sorts of situations they find a way to escape as they are so athletic and strong.

The woman, "the victim", took her cat and escaped the property. The police officers spoke to the woman who reported the threat against her cat. Allegedly, Robinson had also threatened in text messages to kill her cat in other ways and to hurt the victim.

After the incident, the woman returned to her apartment and found that the bathroom door was broken off its hinges and the doorknob had penetrated the wall. This accounted for the loud bang that she heard when she fled the apartment.

The police officers obtained Robinson's cooperation by threatening to taser him. Until then he was uncooperative. He was placed under arrest at that time.

It is mean and nasty for men to leverage their argument against women with threats of harm against womens' cats. It is cowardly. Perhaps sometimes the man thinks that their girlfriend prefers her cat to them which drives them crazy. Or the man believes that the cat gets in the way of their relationship.

To a lot of women, cats are better friends than boyfriends!

Source: The Bellingham Herald. My thanks.

Monday 18 October 2021

Jet black mom and her dozen jet black kittens with luminous golden eyes

This photograph has been banging around the Internet for a while I think. I picked up on it quite late in the day. I don't know what to make of it to be honest. It looks as though it could be photoshopped but you never know nowadays. It just seems a little bit artificial, to put it mildly. And this is one litter of kittens. I have counted a dozen kittens which is at the very top end of the number of kittens for a domestic cat litter. Anyway, I don't know but it is an interesting image which I think needs to be featured on this website. 

The cats are all jet black with gold, luminous eyes. If the kittens are genuine, the photographer has creatively placed them in a pumpkin bed which is a hint of Halloween. Black cats go with Halloween but often in the wrong way. I'm sure you know all about the potential hazards for black cats during that holiday period. It's a ridiculous throwback to witchcraft and it amazes me that witchcraft still has a place in society today. Some people even believe in it which tells you how inherently superstitious humankind is.


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