Monday 31 January 2022

Cat owner calls the police because her two cats were fighting and one of them attacked her

OMAHA, USA-NEWS AND COMMENT: This is, for me, a case of very poor cat management. It appears to me that the woman simply lost control. The story also points to the problems that can arise when you adopt a new cat into the home of a resident cat i.e. your first cat. It can go badly wrong.

Feline aggression. Generic image. Not the cat
Feline aggression. Generic image. Not the cat. Image: Pixabay.

In this instance a couple of cats living in an apartment near 37th and Dodge streets, were fighting. The 52-year-old woman owner tried to intervene but one of her cats retaliated when the owner called timeout. I'm not sure what that means in this instance but it seems that the owner tried to intervene and was quite strict with the cat in telling him off, who, rather than submitting, retaliated and attacked the woman.

RELATED: Famously violent cat ‘Lux’ may have been systematically abused by man living in the home.

As a consequence, the owner called the police for help. Mistake 🤔. What were the police going to and in any case, it was not a police matter? There was no crime. The woman then said that she was able to lock the aggressive cat in a bedroom. The woman received a multitude of superficial scratches and treated at hospital. The cat was taken into custody by officers from the Nebraska Humane Society. We are not told what happened to the cat. I hope he is rehomed.

Comment: it seems to me that this was a house where the two cats were not getting on. There was a fight and the owner tried to intervene without success. One of the cats fought back and scratched the lady. It all seems rather typical. The problem appears to have originated in incompatibility between two resident cats. The woman mishandled the "argument" between the cats.

It would have been better if she had simply placed one cat in one room and the other cat in another room to allow them to cool down and used thick gloves for protection. She could have tried some tricks to stop the confrontation such as introducing a favorite toy to play with and/or catnip and/or some treats. These may have cooled tempers and distracted the cats.

If there is an underlying and unresolvable hostility between the cat then she would have to seriously consider rehoming one of them. That would certainly resolve any simmering hostility between the two.

It was, in retrospect, ill-advised to try and tell off a cat that was in an aggressive confrontation with another cat. It may be the case that the aggressive cat transferred their aggressivity towards the lady in a kind of repositioned or redirected aggression. The aggression was meant to be made against the other cat but it ended up being made against the woman.

Sunday 30 January 2022

Prettiest pet cat (British Longhair) likes to play fetch

Here is the celebrity cat Smoothie, a British Longhair who likes to play fetch, a dog-like behavior. Although if a cat likes to play fetch you can't say that cat is dog-like because some cats like to do this. It is fun. It is a form of play-hunting whereas dogs do it because they are working dogs trained to fetch birds that have been shot by their owner.  A horrible thought. There is a different motivator I believe.

Female British Longhair: devastating pretty and likes to play fetch with a ball. Photo: Instagram.

RELATED:  Smoothie is a British Longhair cat who should make this breed more popular.

Many years ago, I decided that the British Longhair was probably the most attractive breed because it incorporated all the positives of the Persian without the health problems of that popular breed. Also, the British Longhair is not bred to extreme. It is just a nicely balanced all round cat but exceedingly attractive. 

RELATED: British Longhair Cat.

Surprisingly, the breed is not that well-known and is far less popular than the Persian. The reason behind this defeats me. It just may be publicity. Once a cat breed becomes popular it gathers more publicity and the same happens if the cat is overlooked and lacks publicity. A breed needs to gain traction in order to gain in popularity. Smoothie should continue to help publicise the breed.

Driver encounters 10 cats huddled in the middle of a snow-covered country road

NEWS AND COMMENT-BERKSHIRE COUNTY, USA: This is a particularly unpleasant variation of how to be cruel to domestic cats by dumping them by the side of the road. In this instance a man, Joshua Christman, was driving along a country lane in the snow when he came across 10 cats hunched up or wandering around in the middle of the road. They had been abandoned in 3°C temperatures, with the temperature falling apparently, and with a storm on the way.

10 cats left abandoned on snow covered road in Berkshire County, USA
10 cats left abandoned on snow covered road in Berkshire County, USA. Videocam screenshot.

The site where it happened is near Richmond Pond. Christman knew that he had to help and as it happens, he filmed the encounter which accounts for the video on this page.

Christman called the police and animal control. He posted on Facebook Live asking people in the area to help. Christman, himself, was unable to take any rescue case because he had six already. About 20 people responded to the request to help and organisations such as Berkshire Humane, Berkshire Animal Dreams and Bluebird Farm responded and helped.

Christman is shocked that someone could abandon cats outside in the cold weather like this.

He said:

"I couldn't get over the fact that someone would dump them right before a storm. This storm is not just snow, the temperatures are dropping here in the Berkshires. They said it was three degrees out. If you're cold, they're cold. And they were laying in the road. They wanted to help."

Some of the cats are at Berkshire Humane Society. There are three cats still missing who are still out there in the cold and snow. Berkshire Humane Stuff have left traps in the area and are hopeful that they can trap them.

The underlying tone of the story is one of horrible callousness and cruelty. The video is quite unpleasant. Seeing cats like this in the middle of a country road in the snow is not something that you want to see. It highlights the psychopathic nature of some people.

Note: This is a video from another website which is embedded here. 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.

Saturday 29 January 2022

He’s 60 years old in cat years but clings to me like a new born child. Why?

A user, Faris-Hilton said: "He’s 60 years old in cat years but clings to me like a new born child". Why is this? The man was impliedly asking a question. It appears that he couldn't understand why. I think I know why. And I am using the knowledge of Dr. Desmond Morris a world-famous zoologist and animal behaviourist. 

His theory, and I totally agree with him, is that we keep adult domestic cats in a state of mind where they believe that they are kittens for the simple reason that we provide all their needs. We are their surrogate mothers. This suspends their growth in terms of their mentality. It doesn't stop them developing as adults but it is suspended until they bring home a mouse at which point, they believe that we are their kitten and they need to train us how to kill a mouse.

Reddit user Faris-Hilton says his middle-aged cat is 60 in cat years but a child in his behavior. Photo: Faris-Hilton.

This might not happen every time but in the wild, the wildcat trains her kittens by bringing home prey animals which are still living. She might kill them in front of the kittens to teach them how to kill. Eventually they follow her outside the den to watch her preying on animals. In due course they become independent.

It would seem, therefore, that domestic cats can flick a switch from being a kitten to being a mother and in their minds, we can be the mother and a kitten. But to get back to this gentleman. He says his cat is 60 years old in cat years but behaves like a kid, in his mind he is a 60-year-old kid 😂.

There is another reason why he clings to him like a kid. He loves to be near him and in contact with him. Cats like to physically connect with their caregiver and other animals with whom they are friendly. Just like humans. It is a natural consequence of a close relationship. And it emotionally and phyisically warm.

Waseca Police Department will no longer transport and impound feral cats. Discuss.

NEWS AND COMMENT-WASECA, MINNESOTA, USA: This is an interesting little snippet of a feral cat story coming out of America. The Waseca Police Department has in the past been handling feral cats; specifically transporting and impounding feral cats. It seems that they have been involved in the management of feral cats by taking them off the streets and sticking them in shelters. A version of animal control as I understand it.

Generic police car image in the public domain.

Waseca Police Dept. announced:

Starting today, with the guidance of the City Council at their January 18th meeting, The Waseca Police Department will only transport and impound cats with collars. Hopefully, their collars will also have a City of Waseca license on it since cats should be licensed with the Waseca Police Department (City of Waseca ordinance 95.17). The Waseca County Sheriff’s deputies will no longer impound cats from the County.
They've announced a change in their policies. They have declared on Facebook that they will no longer be transporting and impounding cat without collars because of the cost to their organisation and because it's inhumane to place feral cats in shelters. There is also the additional and unjustified cost they say of keeping feral cats in shelters where they will often be unadopted. No doubt many of them are killed anyway.

As we start 2022, we would like to share with you some important decisions regarding the impoundment of feral cats by...

Posted by Waseca Police Department on Wednesday, January 26, 2022

They refer to "cats with collars". What they are saying, on my understanding, is that feral cats don't have collars and therefore it's a sign that they are feral cats. Whereas domestic cats have collars and therefore they don't mind transporting domestic cats to shelters.

I find this to be very odd. What percentage of domestic cats have collars? It might be quite a low figure. There are many stray cat without collars who are owned cats.

On the basis of what I have read their policy is too imprecise to be effective. If it simply turns on whether the cat wears a collar or not it is certainly not going to work properly. 

The police have addressed this issue by requesting that residents get a collar for their cat:

Here are some suggestions: If you are a cat owner, please license your cat and place that license on a collar and put it on your cat(s). There are some exceptionally good collars on the market that will not bring harm to your cats.
Note: it seems that they have a cat licensing policy in the city. I hate to say it but cat licensing does not work; too hard to enforce.

They received some reaction from residents of the area. My gut feeling is that the residents don't understand the change in policy properly.

Arguably, in any case, the police should not be involved in managing feral and domestic cats in this way. That should be the work of people specialising animal welfare such as TNR volunteers and Waseca County Animal Humane Society. There are many charities that deal with these matters. In America, as I understand it, it is the ASPCA.

The police should be focusing on crimes against animals, people and property. That is their core business. Rescuing feral cats would seem to be outside of their core business.

Comments please 😉.

Friday 28 January 2022

Picture of my cat snuggling up to me while I work

My cat looking cute keeping warm between my legs while I work on the website. He loves the warmth. He is very keen, like many domestic cats, on heat.

My cat snuggling up
My cat snuggling up. Photo: MikeB

Note: If you click on the photo, you can see it in large format. It looks much better and it shows how good the Samsung S20 camera is. It is a superb camera.

My cat takes up this position while I work on the website on my computer which is on my lap. On this occasion I removed the computer to allow myself to photograph him. I used a Samsung S20 ultra. You can release the shutter on the camera by saying certain words such as "smile" or "shoot". This is incredibly useful because you can hold the smart phone much more still when you release the shutter. You don't have to fiddle around trying to tap the shutter release button or tap the screen. I love this facility. It allows me to get sharp photographs such as this one under low-like conditions. This looks as if it was well lit but it wasn't. It took place quite early in the morning.

Almost half of the UK's domestic cats are obese and about 54,500 have diabetes as a consequence

NEWS AND COMMENT-UK: This is a story, currently in the news media, which essentially repeats what concerned cat owners already know, namely that there is an obesity epidemic among UK's domestic cats. The same, by the way, applies to America's cats. In fact, as I understand it, it is worse in America but there's not much difference.

2022 - the world's most obese domestic cat. Name: Liznya (Russia)
2022 - the world's most obese domestic cat? Name: Liznya (Russia)

It's a known fact that obesity can lead to type II diabetes. This occurs in humans. The same thing is happening in our domestic cats. This is unsurprising because humans feed domestic cats. If they feed themselves too much, they feed their cats too much as well. It's a well proven formula 😒.

On my understanding of the process of obesity causing Type II diabetes, it is the fat which gathers around the organs which makes them malfunction. This applies to the pancreas which produces insulin. When the pancreas malfunctions there is less insulin in the bloodstream and blood sugar levels increase. This is the beginnings of Type II diabetes.

More than 3 million domestic cats in Britain are overweight. Sadly, it seems that Covid has increased the problem. A survey by Cats Protection indicated that more than 25% of the 2,000 cat owners polled admitted to overfeeding their cat during the Covid lockdown in March 2020.

In The Times newspaper today, January 28, 2022, they report on an interesting study carried out at the Medical University of Silesia, involving 750 Polish adults with an average age of 35. They found that most people are unable to correctly estimate their own body size, and that men are worse than women when it comes to judging whether they are a healthy weight. They think they are skinnier than they are. And people tend to normalise their weight to believe that they are a normal weight when they are overweight. Also, there's a stigma about being overweight which tends to make people underestimate.

Less than half were able to correctly estimate where they stood on a weight scale from underweight, normal weight to overweight or obese. They also frequently underestimated their body mass index, a measure of whether somebody is a healthy weight. The research is published in Scientific Reports

If a cat owner is unable to estimate whether they are obese or not they are highly unlikely to be able to do the same thing for their cat. I have said this before but obese people tend to normalise obesity and a lot of cat owners think that their cat is a normal weight when they are in fact obese.

RELATED: Average domestic cat weighing 13 pounds is at a high risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

The Royal Veterinary College in the UK, is asking cat owners in Hertfordshire, Buckinghamshire, Bedfordshire and in London to enrol their diabetic cats in a new dietary trial. Is your cat eligible?

To take part in the trial your cat must have been diagnosed with diabetes mellitus for six months. This, in my book, is Type II diabetes. If your cat is enrolled, he or she will be placed on a test diet for 12 weeks. They will also assess the cat's long-term outcome. The diet is an ultra-low carbohydrate diet. It will be free to cat owners.

RELATED: Can cats be cured of diabetes?

It has been conclusively shown in humans that losing weight can have a dramatic improvement in health vis-à-vis diabetes. Diabetes can go into remission with even relatively modest amount of weight loss on my reading of the information in the news media.

You will have to bring your cat to 5-7 outpatient appointments at the Queen Mother Hospital for Animals near Potters Bar, in Hertfordshire.

RELATED: Cat diabetes – home treatment – first-hand experience.

The assessment will also look at whether the microbiome in your cat's gut changes as it changes with respect to humans when they reverse the diabetes.

One owner talks of the benefits of weight loss and eliminating diabetes. Her name is Rachel Fortescue. She lives in Fratton, Essex, UK. She put her diabetic Burmese cat, Lester, through the pilot scheme last year which reversed diabetes. 

She told The Telegraph newspaper: 

"I have watched Lester turn back into a happy, affectionate, playful cat again as the symptoms of his diabetes has disappeared and for that I am eternally grateful."

Thursday 27 January 2022

Documents imply that Boris Johnson helped Nowzad cats and dogs to get out of Kabul when he said he didn't help

NEWS AND COMMENT: This is a story that has been rumbling along for a while. If you are up-to-date with the Boris Johnson news you will know that he is under a lot of pressure at the moment for allegedly breaking Covid social distancing rules and allegedly lying about it. It is the latter which is probably more important than the former. The knives are out for him. He may not remain as the Prime Minister of the UK as a consequence.

Letter from Ms Harrison MP to Paul Farthing of Nowzad showing the alleged involvement of Boris Johnson in the evacuation of animals from Kabul
Letter from Ms Harrison MP to Paul Farthing of Nowzad showing the alleged involvement of Boris Johnson in the evacuation of animals from Kabul. Source: MSN News.

Thrown into the mix is the story of Mr Pen Farthing and the animals from his Nowzad operation in Kabul. This was and probably still is an animal rescue organisation based in Kabul. There was a big story about how he would get his animals out during the mass evacuation when thousands of people were flown out of Kabul after the Taliban took over.

RELATED: Breaking news: Nowzad animals and staff cleared to evacuate to the UK. - this was breaking news last summer.

Mr Farthing did get out using a chartered aircraft flown from Pakistan to Kabul paid for by a sponsor or sponsors. But at the time there were discussions about animals being prioritised over people. And the question was whether Boris Johnson, on the encouragement of his wife Carrie Johnson, had intervened to ensure that the animals got out of Kabul. He denied that he had been involved.

Nowzad staff getting out of Kabul to safety
Nowzad staff getting out of Kabul to safety. Photo in public domain.

And now, documents have emerged in the news media which indicate that he did get involved. And if he did it would have been with the encouragement of his wife who is a known animal advocate.

Email implicating Boris Johnson in lying about his non-involvement
Email implicating Boris Johnson in lying about his non-involvement. Image: The Sun.

It appears that an email trail leaked from the Foreign Office and which started or were initially sent on August 25, pins the order for the animal airlift on Boris Johnson. As mentioned, he claimed that he did not authorise the evacuation of more than 160 stray cats and dogs from Afghanistan. In fact, he boldly stated that it was "complete nonsense" to suggest that he had been involved. The Times newspaper states that a Foreign Office whistleblower released the emails yesterday suggesting that he approved the rescue mission.

The ironic point about the story is that it's a good thing that he was involved. I can't see the issue with that. It should be something which he could and should be praised for. However, in the higher echelons of the UK government the silver-haired white male is typically not a great animal lover. They wanted to exclusively prioritise people over any animals. That is my interpretation of the back story.


To put a bit of detail on it, Boris Johnson's PPS (personal private secretary) Ms Harrison, the MP for Copeland, worked in quite a committed way with a charter flight employee to make arrangements to get the animals evacuated. And in those letters she referred to her "boss". She was referring to Boris Johnson, the Prime Minister of Britain.

She says that the work that she did on this was not with the involvement of Boris Johnson but, as mentioned, she referred to him in her communications. This, as stated in the title to this article, implies that she did this work at his direction or at least with his knowledge.

That contradicts what he has said in the past that he was uninvolved. If this is all true then this would be another allegation that the Prime Minister is being less than honest with the truth. This, in turn, goes to the original problem about his breaches of Covid social distancing rules and allegedly lying that he didn't break them.

Dominic Dyer and animal rights advocate who helped Pen Farthing evacuate the animals worked closely with the UK government. He says that the UK government intervened.

Someone is being economical with the truth. We don't know where lies.

Therefore, in this rather convoluted story we have a connection between cats and dogs, Boris Johnson, and a political crisis 😒. My personal view is that Boris Johnson is a decent bloke. He's quite liberal-minded. I think he was encouraged to briefly take part in these "parties" by perhaps his wife (on his birthday party) and in other gatherings by staff who arranged them. I don't think he organised them he simply was invited to them and didn't want to stop them happening because he's that kind of person.

Boris Johnson is a rule breaker. This has been made clear by teachers in his days when he was a student. One teacher stated that he doesn't believe that the normal social norms and rules apply to him. It is exactly why he's become so successful, ironically.

I also believe that his charming wife who I admire because she is a very dynamic animal advocate, is or has been a problem to him in his premiership. She has a hold over him because he loves her and wants to please her. She is quite headstrong and wants to get her way. Allegedly, she has asked him to do things which ostensibly have undermined his position. There's nothing to currently back that up in terms of evidence it looks like that to me.

The Sue Gray report will be coming up very soon and these points will be clarified. Although the Nowzad operation and Boris Johnson's involvement or not is not part of her mandate.

Wednesday 26 January 2022

What motivated Steve Bouquet to become the 'Brighton Cat Killer'?

The serial cat killing in Brighton by Steve Bouquet, 54, went viral in the online news media. The reporting was extensive. He was convicted and sentenced to more than five years in prison. The outcome was unusual because normally cat killers get away with it because of a lack of evidence. Steve Bouquet slipped up. He was videoed on a security camera when he went back to have a look at a crime scene. And the police found a knife in his home with cat blood on it.

Steve Bouquet
Steve Bouquet. Photo: Sussex News and Pictures

At the time of the serial killing, the news media and therefore the public were unaware of the fact that that Bouquet was dying of terminal cancer. He is now dead. He died in prison. Cat lovers will not mourn his passing. They may be delighted. Although he escaped his punishment.

But what concerns me today, is why did he do it? What makes a person want to kill 16 cats with a knife and succeed on nine occasions?

We have a glimpse of an insight into answering that question from the CPS (Britain's prosecuting service). In the trial the CPS was represented by Rowan Jenkins. The trial took place at Lewes Crown Court.

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

Mr Jenkins said that the attacks on the cats followed a strikingly unusual pattern. And tellingly, he said that Bouquet searched for news about the investigation. He said that Bouquet followed the story obsessively.

"This was for a very simple reason - these reports are about him".

Bouquet kept as secretive as possible but he went back to the scene of one of his crimes and was picked up on security camera of a neighbour of the owner of one of the cats who were stabbed. And he followed his crimes in the news media obsessively.

He knew that he was dying I would argue. It seems to me that he was seeking celebrity. He wanted to be somebody for once in his life and the only way he could achieve that was through a high-profile crime. That entailed serial killing and it is pretty straightforward to be a serial killer of domestic cats in the UK because there's lots of them outside unsupervised.

He wanted notoriety. He wanted to be infamous. These were his last desperate attempts. He achieved his goal. He was talked about a lot in news media. He perhaps knew that he would be sent to jail but that he would escape most of his sentence because he would die well before he was released. I think he knew it. I think it was all planned out.

A lot of these sorts of crimes are carried out by individuals who are borderline psychopathic or psychopathic for the sake of achieving fame, to be noticed for once in their lives.

Tuesday 25 January 2022

Are hairless cats really envious of longhair cats?

The title is amusing when you see the video. This couple of hairless cats are so committed to grooming the white Persian that you would be forgiven for believing that they were envious of her hair. I don't think it's true. The emotion of envy is a human one. The desire to groom a friend of yours, if you are a cat, is a strong motivator. You probably know that it is called allogrooming. 

If a cat is envious of another cat because they have hair, the cat who experiences the emotion of envy must recognise the fact that they don't have hair. In order to recognise that simple fact they have to be self-aware. They have to be self-conscious. And this is one of those massive debates. People aren't sure whether cats are self-conscious. 

This means a person or animal: recognises themselves objectively and can assess themselves compared to others. At the moment people are unsure that cats can do this. They probably can't. If that is true then it confirms what I have said that cats don't feel envy and these two hairless cats are not envious of this beautiful Persian cat's fur.

2 hairless cats lick a white Persian with zeal
2 hairless cats lick a white Persian with zeal. Screenshot.

Some people say that it is a form of dominance but I don't really believe that. It's a question of friendly interactions. Cats do it to people all the time as you know. They do it for the same reason: friendliness. 

This couple of Sphynx cats are certainly committed. They carry on even when there is a miniature crash helmet on the head of the Persian. I find that a bit odd, I confess. Surely these hairless cats recognise that they are no longer licking a cat's hair? 

But apparently not. It looks as if the behaviour is entirely instinctive. Perhaps they lick the crash helmet because it's a bit like licking their own bodies. I think that is the reason behind this behaviour. They accept the hairlessness of the helmet; no questions asked.

: This is a video from another website which is embedded here. 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.

Monday 24 January 2022

2 physical features differentiate the true African wildcat from the hybrid wildcat

NEWS AND COMMENT-KAMBERG, KWAZULU-NATAL: Conservationists have taken charge of a purebred African wildcat which was trapped by farmers in the Kamberg area of KwaZulu-Natal. African wildcats were incredibly common in South Africa. Incidentally, KwaZulu-Natal is a coastal South African province known for its beaches, mountains and savannah. It sounds delightful. Note: it is nice to know that the farmer called the conservationists and did not simply kill the cat. I guess he was protecting livestock.

But the ubiquitous African wildcat is quite special nowadays as indicated by the report on the website The problem is this: they crossbreed with domestic and feral cats. This results in a first filial wildcat hybrid. Such cats are not purebred. They can't be described as wildcats. And this has watered down the population and the purity of the genes of the African wildcat in South Africa and elsewhere on the African continent.

RELATED: African and Asian wildcat – complete information.

African wildcat trapped by farmer
African wildcat trapped by farmer. Photo: FreeMe Wildlife.

To confirm that they had a genuine wildcat, they carried out a DNA test and found that it indeed was purebred. This is a genuine wildcat. I must confess that the photograph of the cat does not confirm in my mind that this is a genuine wildcat. And if it is, you might be mistaken if you thought that it was a wild-looking tabby feral cat.

Two distinguishing features

Apparently, the conservationists employ two distinguishing anatomical features of the wildcat which separates them from tabby feral cats.

Back of ear flaps of African wildcat
Back of ear flaps of African wildcat. Photo: FreeMe Wildlife.

The first is that they have a rich, reddish-brown coloration on the backs of their ears. In comparison, domestic and feral cats or domestic/wildcat hybrids have dark grey or black-backed ears. There might be a faint ocelli on the back of the ear flap as well. For tigers this is a white spot. It is very watered down in domestic and wildcat hybrid cats.

Lanky legs of African wildcat.
Lanky legs of African wildcat. Photo: FreeMe Wildlife.

The second distinguishing feature is that the wildcat has longer legs. They are quite rangy animals. They somewhat approach the gait of a cheetah for this reason. And when they sit upright on their bottom they are in a near vertical position. This is reminiscent of the ancient Egyptian statues. This makes sense because in the days of ancient Egypt, all domestic cats were either domesticated wildcats (Asiatic wildcats) or second third or fourth generation wildcats which had probably become truly domesticated.

RELATED: European wildcat habitat and hunting – classic cat technique.

It needs to be mentioned that the European wildcat does not have these long legs. They are a more stocky, squat and compact-looking cat whereas the African wildcat is slenderer. This is because of the climatic differences. Warmer temperatures produce smaller and lankier cats whereas in the north where it is colder they are bulkier in order to retain heat.

The chief executive officer at FreeMe Wildlife, the organisation which was involved in this rescue, said that they have a second genuine wildcat as well. They will be returned to the wild. They do not touch or get involved with them in order to ensure that they remain truly wild and non-domesticated. This facilitates their survival when returned to the wild.

Animal control officer saves 45 cats from shelter fire

NEWS AND COMMENT-LAREDO ANIMAL CARE SERVICES, TX: The reporting is a little sketchy but the story is good. An animal control officer, Jose Aranda (also reported as Jesus Aranda) has been recognised by the Laredo City Council for his quick thinking and bravery in saving the lives of 45 shelter cats from a fire at the Laredo Animal Care Services cat shelter.

Jose Aranda recognised for his bravery in saving the lives of 45 cats at the Laredo cat shelter fire
Jose Aranda recognised for his bravery in saving the lives of 45 cats at the Laredo cat shelter fire. Photo: Danny Zaragoza /Laredo Morning Times.

The rescue occurred in the early part of January 2022. It was quite late at 10 PM according to the reports. Aranda was at the shelter to process some animals when he noticed smoke coming from the roof of the building in the cat shelter section.

Rather than call the fire department and wait, he took action himself. He opened the door to the shelter. There was excessive heat and smoke. He saw the cats and realised that unless he released them immediately, they would probably die.

"I proceeded to open the door and saw a bunch of cats in there, so I started releasing the cat before they got burned".

He was taken to hospital afterwards for smoke inhalation and the consequences of being exposed to excessive heat.

We don't know what happened to the cats except that they were saved and, apparently, they've not been lost. The point is that he released them but we don't know where they went to. My guess is that they went to other parts of the shelter that was safe and where there was no fire. The fire only affected the cat shelter part.

His son, Jesus Aranda Jr., was happy that his dad had saved the cats. He loves cats and they have two at home.

Aranda said that he loves his job and that if he was another person, meaning not an animal control officer he probably wouldn't have gone on to save the animals. He said that he could have waited until the fire department came. If he did that it is likely the cats would have been killed, he said.

Comment: I think that this is the largest number of cats saved from a fire. It is certainly the largest number reported in the news media over many years. I read the cat news every day as supplied by Bing News. Well done to him. It is sad to report that often in house fires the homeowner gets out but the cats die in the fire. This is a natural consequence of two things (1) cats hiding and therefore being difficult to find and (2) people prioritising, understandably, their safety before anything else.

Saturday 22 January 2022

Swarm of puppies overwhelm resident cat (video)

This is a cute video, although the cat was totally overwhelmed by this gang of puppies who appear to have been brought to the cat's home for the first time. They immediately raced out of the carrier and swarmed all over the cat who was forced to escape. It's quite cute as I mentioned but, in some ways, I feel sorry for the cat. The big question is why were these puppies so eager to meet the resident cat? I can think of two possible reasons.

Firstly, they have been socialised with domestic cats when they were raised by the dog breeder. They learned to like cats and when they were removed from the breeder's home, they developed an urge to meet a cat again. As soon as they saw the resident cat in this home, they dived at him/her to say hello.

Gang of poppies a release from the carrier and swarm all over the resident cat who has to escape
Gang of poppies a release from the carrier and swarm all over the resident cat who has to escape. Screenshot.

Another possibility is that they had never seen a cat before and wanted to explore! That would seem to be unlikely but just about possible. Whatever the reason, it's an interesting little video which shows curious puppies overwhelming a resident cat who uses her athleticism to vault over a gate to get away.

Jay Leno - "Every quality that women hate in a man they love in a cat"

You have to admit that Jay Leno is smart and talented. He also loves automobiles. You may have seen his fantastic collection in his own super-clean facility in California. He says that California is a great place to collect cars because the weather is so good. It doesn't get wet and damp which eventually damages a car's appearance. He also loves cats. Which means that I love him because anybody who loves cats and who is smart and talented has got to be admired.

He took the trouble of making a video, a funny cat video, for his appearance on The Ellen Show.

This is partly a testament to his wealth I would say. He has the money to ask one of his colleagues to knock together a funny cat video. He is quite involved with the making of videos because he has a very successful YouTube channel in which he presents his vehicles. But it's just nice to see him do this in a smart/funny way.

RELATED: ‘Cat love bites’ – what do they mean and why do they happen?

An Internet search quickly provides me with some information about Jay Leno and his love of cats. It's not just him but his wife also. I wonder if his wife introduced him to his feline friends?

There is a quote online by him which goes like this:

"I've never understood why women love cats. Cats are independent, they don't listen, they don't come in when you call, they like to stay out all night, and when they're home they like to be left alone and sleep. In other words, every quality that women hate in a man they love in a cat".

Do you want to try and unravel that? Perhaps it's impossible. Too complicated. Clearly women allow much more leeway with their feline friend than they do with their male friends and spouses.

Perhaps this is all about the kind of relationship that people have with cats. It's a much more balanced relationship. While writing this, I think I have found a reason to explain the above quote. Humans tend to play games. People can become suspicious and distrustful. They lie and hide behaviour which they think might undermine their public profile.

Jay Leno and his cat
Jay Leno and his cat. Screenshot.

The human world is a tricky world. What you see is not what you get, very often. This is the exact opposite to what you get with a cat. Everything is laid out in front of you. You know exactly what they're doing and thinking (if you have a decent understanding of feline behaviour). 

But the point is they don't play games and they don't lie and muck you about. It is a very simple, direct, and in the best homes, loving relationship. Their reliability is enormous in comparison to many people. It's unconditional. This builds trust whereas distrust can lead to developing the kind of attitude that some women have for some men and as hinted at in Jay Leno's quote above.

Friday 21 January 2022

Cat body language 101 - exposing the belly is not an invitation to be petted

The video covers a number of domestic cat body language signals. I will let you explore them (Galaxy is good) but one of them is always important. It is when a domestic cat goes 'belly-up' and presents their belly to their human caregiver. How do you interpret it? And I think the answer actually is not a black-and-white one. And it is also difficult to generalise. Different cats respond in different ways.

But you'll find that Jackson Galaxy makes one essential point. He says that when a dog presents their belly to the human caregiver it is a request to be petted in that vulnerable area. This is not the case with domestic cats, however. It is not an invitation to pet their belly but more a signal that they trust you and even love you if you believe that there can be love from a cat to a person.

RELATED: ‘Cat love bites’ – what do they mean and why do they happen?

It is a signal that a cat is relaxed in the company of their human caregiver and in the home. And to take that as an invitation and pet the belly may result in the cat doing what Jackson Galaxy calls the "wraparound". This is when your cat grabs your hand and arm by the hindlegs and forelegs and then bites the hand, all at the same time. And it can be quite difficult to extricate your arm from that sort of clamp! This is due to overstimulation. It can happen when petting too much in any situation.

RELATED: ‘Cat Whisperers’ don’t just read cats’ facial expressions but body language too (plus a quiz).

However, if you pet very gently when your cat does this it may work out okay or even well. It depends on the cat's character, which is why I have to say that, sometimes, domestic cats do invite their human caregiver to rub their belly albeit gently. My cat does this. It seems to be instinctive to them. Perhaps it is a natural extension of the signal that the cat feels reassured. 

Provided you do it very gently and with great respect, I believe a cat can take pleasure from having their belly rubbed. Once again this points to different circumstances and different reactions from different individual cats. 

Jackson Galaxy talks cat behavior
Jackson Galaxy talks cat behavior. Screenshot. In this still image Jackson is talking about cats' pent-up energy like a balloon expanding.

Some people think that when a cat presents their belly to a person or another animal it is an act of submission. I think that you will find this argument no longer holds water. However, you will see cats who are friendly to each other and playing when one rolls over onto their back to invite more play.

However, it cannot be denied that the one sure signal that a domestic cat sends to their caregiver when they lie on their back with their belly up is that they feel confident enough to do it i.e. present a vulnerable part of their body to others. They need to feel reassured in their own home to do it. They need to be sure that the people they are living with won't harm them. This all comes about because of a great relationship between person and cat and a calm, agreeable home.

And it is not too uncommon that domestic cats roll onto their back when they are very warm i.e. on their human caregiver's lap. Or on the bed next to them. This combination of warmth plus being in contact with the owner creates a feeling of great reassurance which sometimes results in the cat having enough confidence to present their belly.

Chief Executive of Cat Protection quits over 18 cats at colleague's home

NEWS AND COMMENT: Charles Darley was the chief executive of Cat Protection for 3 months. This is Britain's largest cat charity. It is based around cat fostering. The Times reports that he has quit his role because he does not think that Linda Upson, chairwoman of the trustees of the charity, can defend having so many cats in her home on welfare grounds.

Upson and one of her cats
Linda Upson and one of her cats. Photo: Daily Mail.

Upson has 18 cats in her three-bedroom home; 6 are foster cats. The story prompted me to immediately check on the rules that Cats Protection impose upon their fosterers. I know that they have quite strict rules. One of them is to separate the foster cat from any other cats in the home. This is a permanent state of affairs. And on their website, they refer to one cat being fostered. I guess they allow you to have more than one cat especially when there is a litter of kittens to take care of.

That said, Upson was apparently complying with the rules. It's reported that she had undergone regular training and was aware of the requirements for cats in her care. A spokesperson for the charity said that all the cats were happy and healthy and that, "We found the six foster cats in her care were kept in a separate, clean and well-kept area of her house away from her pet cats."

UPDATE Jan 25, 2022 (4 days after I posted): Upson has resigned. This is part of her statement:

"I have today stepped down from my role as Cats Protection’s Chair of Trustees and my role as a Trustee on the Board because I passionately support Cats Protection and do not wish recent news coverage to detract from the charity’s vital work helping cats in need. For the past 20 years I have dedicated my time to cat welfare through my un-paid, voluntary role, leading a volunteer-run branch and serving on the charity’s Advisory Council before joining the Board of Trustees in 2012 and becoming Chair in 2017...."

She said the following about her own cats:

"My cats are aged between nine and 19 years old. I believe they are happy and healthy as each has their own feeding bowl, litter tray and other resources. They are all fully vaccinated and regularly taken for veterinary consultations. I also have no foster cats at this time."

However, Darley, who was three months into a 12-month contract as interim chief executive told The Guardian newspaper: "To have a chair that apparently isn't adhering to best practice is very damaging to the charity, and disastrous for staff morale.
Charles Darley
Charles Darley and young black cat. Photo: Mail Online.

I'm a little confused because on the one hand the charity is saying that she complied with the rules and on the other hand the former chief executive stated that she was not complying with best practice. Perhaps this is a grey area. It's about the quantity of cats in her care.

Upson clearly had six foster cats and therefore 12 of her own cats. To have 18 cats in a three-bedroom home is pretty close to cat hoarding. Obviously, they were kept in good conditions so we're not talking about a typical cat hoarding environment, far from it. But it must be a handful to properly care for 18 cats in a three-bedroom home. It's very hard to keep the home completely free of cat odours for example.

Jackson Galaxy, the well-known American cat behaviourist, television presenter and author, is adamant that cat caregivers should have one cat litter tray for each cat in your care; plus, one more. On this basis Upson should have 19 cat litter trays in her home. That was seen to be impractical.

My personal feeling is that the former chief executive is correct. Even if she was complying technically with the rules and regulations of Cat Protection, she was not following best practice as there are too many cats in her home. You have to think about other things than keeping the place clean. What about the territorial demands of domestic cats?

RELATED: Domestic cat territory – home ranges vary widely.

Cats are very sensitive to the amount of territory they have. They are adaptable. However, with 18 cats in a three-bedroom home you are compressing their home range to a tiny fraction of what they naturally desire. Each cat within her home will have a home range of perhaps 5 yd². Given free-reign a domestic cat will roam over 4 acres to 50 acres or more. Male cats need more home range territory than female cats.

Compressing a large number of cats into a relatively small space is going to, at least potentially, cause stresses which can lead to health problems such as cystitis. Most of us realise that now. And of course, it is harder to keep the cats healthy because the potential for a contagious disease to spread is much higher under these circumstances than if there is one or two cats in the home. This is what he means by failing to follow best practice.

RELATED: 14 links between stress in domestic cats and health implications.

I have quite strong feelings about people keeping large numbers of cat in the home. It doesn't have to be that way. It is, at the end of the day, self-indulgent. I'm sure that people do it for themselves. They might have a hoarding mentality. They satisfy themselves because they like the large number. 

The point I'm trying to get at is that they don't do this in the interests of cat welfare generally but to satisfy a need within themselves. If Upson was generally concerned about cat welfare, she would have one or two cats of her own and then the six foster cats in a separate part of a home. But she has 12 cats of her own as well.

Apparently, according to the Daily Mail website online, staff at the charity were concerned about the number of cats but she was cleared to stay in the job. And also, the charity had previously done research on the subject of cats in cramped housing.

Mail Online reports that Linda Upson "left other staff despairing". They were concerned about how the charity might be seen by others and they were nervous about her being the spokesperson. Upson did not think that it was a problem when she was confronted by others about it.

Cats Protection agree with me that the kind of arrangements at Upson's home can cause animals considerable stress.

The charity's guidelines advise that cats must have "enough space so that they can get away from one another if they want to". Staff at the charity cannot defend Upson's behaviour.

Update: Sponsors of the charity may seek to activate clauses in their contracts allowing them to terminate their sponsorship due to “public embarrassment”. They've been urged to stick with the contract and not walk away from assisting the charity.

Here is a Cats Protection video on cat fostering:

: This is a video from another website which is embedded here. 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.

Thursday 20 January 2022

Could you recognise your cat's meow over the phone?

You might have heard of the story: a woman recognised the sound of her cat's meow over the phone when she called her veterinarian. I presume that the sounds were in the background while she was talking with veterinary staff who said that the sounds had come from a black rescue cat which had ended up at the veterinary clinic. The woman, Rachel Lawrence, hadn't seen Barnaby in eight months. She had given up seeing him again.

Could you recognise your cat's meow over the phone?
Rachel Lawrence's kids with Barnaby after the reunion. Photo: Rachel Lawrence (SWNS).

She had called her veterinarian because her current cat required veterinary treatment and she was checking on progress. She mulled over the meowing sound that she had heard and developed a conviction that her long lost cat had coincidentally ended up at the same veterinary clinic after he had been found.

In fact, she was confident that it was him. She asked the veterinarian in a subsequent telephone call if he was black and had a distinct white patch on his back foot. The veterinarian confirmed that this was true.

She went to the veterinary clinic to pick him up and it was him by all accounts. She said that she cried buckets. To use her words, "I was howling".

Barnaby has settled in just fine after his eight-month absence. He had changed which is to be expected. She said that he had "loads of scabs and missing fur patches". He had lost a considerable amount of weight which is also to be expected. But he's getting well quite quickly and returning to his old self.

The big question is the one I pose in the title: do you think that you could successfully recognise your cat's meow over the phone in a blind test? I'm not sure that I could. Of course, I know the sound of my cat intimately but the difference between the meow of one cat and another can be distinct but it can also be subtle. I guess success depends upon how distinct the sound of your cat is combined with a bit of luck.

It is probably fair to say that all good cat owners would recognise the sound of their cat in a blind test about 70% of the time at a rough guess. But you couldn't guarantee that you could do it accurately all the time.

I think I have to mention the human mother's innate ability to pick up the sound of their baby when they need help. And there's also a discussion about a baby's ability to recognise their mother's voice. The domestic cat is like a baby too many women and indeed men. People are very sensitive to cat sounds and cats have developed a cry which has undertones of the crying sound of a baby. This has been developed over thousands of years to elicit a response from their human caregiver. This modification has taken place both to the purr and the meow. All these are influencing factors on whether a woman or man can recognise the sound of their cat in a blind test.

What do you think? Please leave a comment.

Tesla car is a cat-killer when you start up and drive off says Jamie Lynn Spears

Jamie Lynn Spears, the younger sister of singer Britney Spears, and an American actress and singer in her own right, has confessed that she has accidentally ran over her cats with her car when she starts up and drives off. Jamie Spears has acquired $6 million apparently in her career and therefore has disposable income. With that income she decided to buy a Tesla car. Being good for the environment must have been a factor.

Jamie Lynn Spears says that her Tesla car is a cat-killer because it is too silent when it starts up
Jamie Lynn Spears says that her Tesla car is a cat-killer because it is too silent when it starts up. Image: Unilad.

However, in an Instagram story shared by Pop Crave in January 2022, Spears tells us that her Tesla has caused her more grief and happiness.

She said: 

"Someone's got to let Elon Musk know that the Tesla is a secret cat-killer, and it’s a problem that we’ve really got to fix. We have now lost — I don’t even want to tell you how many cats — because they don’t hear the Tesla crank and unfortunate things happen and it’s really devastating and tragic for everyone involved. So, since the Tesla is so quiet, maybe he could make one of those noises that bother cat or animal ears when it cranks up, so that way they know something’s happening, and they aren’t caught off-guard and things don’t end in a very tragic way."

The section in bold typeface is disconcerting. It implies that several cats have been crushed by her car. My interpretation of that statement is this. Domestic cats like to go underneath cars that are parked in the driveway. Or if they are let outside, they often make their way underneath parked cars down the street. This is a classic domestic cat activity. They don't realise the danger.

If your cat is parked in your driveway and if they are allowed outside, they may go underneath your car. You jump in your car to drive off and there is little or no noise from the car to alert your cat that the vehicle is about to move. The cat is surprised and I'm going to guess sometimes they are caught under the wheels. They are killed by their owner's car. This is, I believe, what Jamie Lynn Spears is referring to. If I'm incorrect then please correct me. P.S. It seems that she has said that she has not driven her car over her cats. I'm getting mixed messages. Perhaps someone can clarify.

RELATED: Tesla cars present a danger to domestic cats?

The first thing to do is for Tesla to investigate this properly if they are so minded. They should investigate it because domestic cats are important to people. They are, as we all know, treated as family members. This polite complaint by this celebrity should not be brushed under the carpet in my opinion.

Jamie Lynn Spears is suggesting that Tesla do something about it. My thoughts are these. They could fit a button to the dashboard computer screen or a voice command which is activated when the driver sits by the steering wheel and is about to take off. Or this could be activated automatically.

If a voice command is used the driver could tell their vehicle to emit a sharp high-pitched noise for a few seconds. This should scare the cat away. That kind of solution may be the best one. The manufacturers may be able to retrofit something because they already have a device which creates sound namely the horn and they already have high-tech computer software built-into the Tesla. 

And I will presume that the on-board computer accepts voice commands. If I'm correct it should be fairly easy to add some sort of warning sound to drive away cats underneath the car before setting off in the morning.

Wednesday 19 January 2022

Cheating on your husband and loving cats are linked by the Libra star sign

I don't think that this is hard science, if you know what I mean, but it might interest a few people. The website states that the most common traits among women who engage in infidelity in relationships tend to like cats and be Libras. They are also more likely to have one or two cheating parents, use Botox, have a boob job and other cosmetic enhancements.

Libra by Three Leaves on Deviant Art.
Libra by Three Leaves on Deviant Art.

In the UK they enjoy Love Island, like the music of Adele, drink Pinot Grigio, drive a mini and yes be born under the star sign Libra. They do say however that women most likely to cheat on their husbands are Geminis. As it happens, Boris Johnson the UK's Prime Minister is a Gemini. I thought I'd just throw that into the mix because he does have a reputation for creating a very large family which necessitates changing partners from time to time.

Apparently, there is a "cheating gene". You inherit it from your parents which is why if your parents have been cheating on each other or have a history of it in the past then it is likely that you will carry the same gene and also be a less than faithful wife or partner.

And it seems that when children's parents are unfaithful in their relationships, they don't criticise the children for being unfaithful which in turn encourages the children to be unfaithful. That is the theory. Leos, Aries, Sagittarians and Scorpios are also more likely to have affairs.

In order to be totally fair and woke, I have to address what cheating men are likely to be doing, which according to the website is the following.

Have one or two cheating parents, be tall, like rugby, like rock music, wear aftershave, drive a BMW, drink lager, dye your hair, be a Libra and "be the current age of the last year of the decade e.g. 29, 39, 49". I'm not sure what that means. I'm not sure that it is important! No mention of liking cats.

This is a bit of fun, obviously, but perhaps you think there is some validity to astrology. There might. I am sceptical but open-minded about it.

Out of interest, Eminem, Kate Winslet, Kim Kardashian and Will Smith are four celebrities who are Librans.

Do cats judge us? No, in my view.

Do cats judge us? I was going to say that this is a silly question but it isn't that bad. But it is a question based on human behaviour. Judging other people is what humans do. It can be quite a bad habit. Sometimes people don't have the right to judge others because to do so is hypocritical.

Cats don't judge us
Cats don't judge us 😊. Image: MikeB

But when you judge somebody you measure them against standards. These may be personal standards or universally accepted standards of morality and socially acceptable behaviour. It's quite a complicated process.

I don't think babies or young children judge people because they have not learnt about those standards. They not learned about societal standards and they don't have any moral standards of their own. They have not had sufficient time to gain the necessary experience.

I mention that because in many ways domestic cats are like babies. They are far more instinctive than humans. They don't have moral standards in my view. They do expect certain behaviour from other individuals be they a human or another cat. If they don't recognise some forms of human behaviour they might be confused. They may adapt to it. Domestic cats are very adaptable.

But they don't judge people. They tend to accept what is before them in terms of behaviour and if it is unusual to them they will be initially confused and perhaps fearful. The domestic cat world is relatively very simplistic compared to that of humans.

Their world revolves around hunting, snoozing, sleeping, eating and then hunting. Hunting is substituted by play when they are not allowed to hunt or there is nothing to hunt. But there's no complexity in the life which perhaps automatically eliminates the concept of judging others. In their lives there is nothing really to judge.

All domestic cats are excellent hunters. They are top predators. They are behaving in a very similar manner. There is little variation which blocks discretion and options to do things which are unacceptable. So if they were minded to judge other cats there'd be nothing to judge.

I'm probably over complicating the answer. Cats don't judge us. The worst that can happen, as mentioned, is that they are confused by the human environment and human behaviour sometimes. But they work around it and adapt.

These are personal views. You may well have opposing views. If so, tell me, please.

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