Sunday 31 July 2022

Some American communities place over 95% of rescue animals in new homes

In an email to me, Nathan Winograd, "The voice of America's displaced pets and the conscience of the animal sheltering industry" tells me that in a number of American communities they place over 95%, and as high as 99%, of rescue animals in their care at shelters. He says that they are following his no-kill policies and he has consistently said that it is possible to genuinely place far more animals than is currently the case in many shelters through good management and a progressive and imaginative approach to saving lives through increasing adoptions. This is my interpretation.

Shelter cats needing a quality home
Shelter cats needing a quality home. Image in public domain.

He quotes three successful communities:

Gunnison County, CO, reported a 99% placement rate for dogs, 98% for cats, and 100% for other small animals.

Flat Rock, MI, reported a 97% placement rate for dogs and 99% for cats.

Shiawassee County, MI, reported a 97% placement rate for dogs, 99% for cats, and 100% for other animals

He says that these communities prove that animals are not dying in pounds because there are too many rescue animals or too few homes in which to place them, or that people don't want the animals. He said that they are dying in many pounds because people are killing them. What he is saying is that when the focus is on euthanasia of shelter animals (a euphemism for killing) rather than on how to rehome them and a commitment to that second objective, you end up with a higher death rate.

He calls it his "No Kill Equation". He has an enemy in PETA. PETA claim that his thoughts are misplaced. PETA prefer to euthanise animal shelters as a means of dealing with them if there are too many as it is the humane way under tough circumstances. 

And they say that there are too many cats and too many killings at shelters because of bad cat management i.e. through informal breeding and carelessness et cetera. The problem is with people and their ownership of cats not with the volunteers and workers at shelters who are doing sterling work.

And they also say that if a shelter tries to implement Nathan Winograd's 'No Kill Equation' they can end up with big issues and problems. One problem that they seem to point out is that sometime shelters, in an effort to stop euthanising animals, stop taking them in and push the problem back on the general public which can lead to animal cruelty outside of the shelter. They provide examples of that. For example:

"A Virginia woman who was convicted of cruelty to animals in the shooting deaths of six puppies testified that “she was angry and frustrated that even though she tried to do the right thing, she wasn’t able to find a place for the animals.” She reportedly contacted two shelters, but one was full and the other wouldn’t take the puppies because they belonged to her son. The woman said that she then shot them to death and disposed of their bodies."

If that is true then the shelters it seems to me are not implementing Nathan Winograd's policies. I don't think his policies suggest that shelters should reject incoming cats and dogs. I think what he wants people to do is to use more progressive methods to rehome them and focus on that.

Arguably, it is PETA who have misplaced thoughts in this regard. It is possible - and I'm not sure - that PETA don't fully understand Nathan Winograd's no-kill policies. And that may be because he doesn't explain them clearly enough. And perhaps his policies demand a rigour and commitment in shelter workers which is perhaps beyond their capabilities.

Although I am an admirer of Nathan Winograd, I think one problem that he has is communicating through the written word. He is a lawyer and therefore a great legal communicator but his language is tangled up in complexity. I don't think he writes in a clear and concise way which would help to get his message across to the general public at large i.e. to everybody. This I feel is a failing and something which holds him back.

Perfect kitty camouflage - 'almost died when my towel blinked at me'


Only one thing to say: cats love airing cupboards and bathrooms because that is where there is often some warmth and the scent of their human caregiver. Certainly, used towels are a favorite. I have a picture of my own which is below. It is sort of dark and moody. I wanted that look. The towel was damp as I had just used it. He loved it. He wanted to revel in it and transfer his scent onto it and take my scent from it: scent exchange it is called.

Actually, I can think of a second thing to say! The camouflage of the domestic cat's ancestor is designed to protect them in the wild as their coat is a brown tabby. The coat of the domestic cat has evolved over 10,000 years of domestication to fit in with the human environment. Although, ironically, my cat is pretty much a lookalike of a wild cat.

My cat likes damp bath towels

Saturday 30 July 2022

To declare the domestic cat an "invasive species" is stupid

You may have heard that Poland's scientific community (Polish Academy of Sciences) has declared the domestic cat in their country an invasive species. They are technically correct but they are stupid. The domestic cat is, indeed, an invasive species in Poland and in all other countries where the domestic cat did not originate. That's most of the world's countries. 

The domestic cat is a domesticated North African wildcat and it is believed that the first N. African wildcats were domesticated in the Fertile Crescent which is now Syria and the area around Syria including the North of Egypt and the east coast of the Mediterranean Sea. From there these early domestic cats were exported to other places with commercial travellers.

RELATED: Poland puts domestic cat on invasive species database.

Maine Coon
The Maine Coon cat originates from barn cats from the middle of the 1800s and those cats originate from cats imported into America with the first settlers who came from Europe around 400 years ago. Are we saying that the Maine Coon cat is an invasive species? It is stupid to think like that.

But for the first 2000 years or more these were tamed wildcats. They were not true domestic cats. And they were all tabby cats. It was only during the era of the ancient Egyptians that true cat domestication took place. That was about 4000 years ago which is around 6000 years after the first wildcats were tamed.

Those are the general thoughts about the domestic cat's early years. But when you are talking in thousands of years it is no longer feasible to speak of the domestic cat as an invasive species. The domestic cat is perhaps the world's most popular pet. They been around in true domestic form in places like Japan for more than a thousand years. The same applies to Turkey. And the UK.

In the UK, the Romans who occupied the UK in around A.D. 200 brought domestic cats with them. This is around 2000 years ago. Technically the domestic cat is an invasive species in England and the rest of the UK but it is stupid to state that.

There must come a time when an invasive species is no longer an invasive species. And if you don't believe that, you are going to have to state that humans are also an invasive species in most of the world.

The human originates from Africa. They evolved on that continent and then migrated out to the rest of the world. So, the human is an invasive species in almost all countries of the world. Of course, we're looking at millions of years ago when the human first originated but the point that I'm making is that there must be a time limit on when an invasive species no longer becomes an invasive species. What is that time limit?

Well, the domestic cat was first imported into the USA, it is believed, with the first settlers from England and Europe around 400 years ago. I will state that it is impossible to describe the domestic cat in America as an invasive species. Often people do and these are normally ornithologists and people who dislike the cat and dislike the fact that they prey on native species. But after 400 years of living in America, the domestic cat is no longer invasive. America is their home.

And also, the phrase "invasive species" is normally a derogatory comment. It is descriptive of a species which damages the ecosystems and environment of the country in which they find themselves. The domestic cat does prey on native species and this causes consternation among conservationists. But they also provide a huge amount of pleasure, comfort and entertainment to many millions of people on the American continent. That must be set against the negatives.

And lastly, it is humans who describe the domestic cat as an invasive species in places like Australia or America. But it is also humans who imported the domestic cat to those countries in the first place. The problem is with humans. The cat is an innocent victim of human behaviour. This should prevent the human from criticising the cat an invasive species. The criticism should be directed at people and they should take steps, humane steps, to deal with the so-called feral cat problem in Australia.

Friday 29 July 2022

Ginger tabby in Turkey nurses parentless bunny

Osmaniye, Turkey:  A domestic cat named 'Sarikiz' is seen nursing an abandoned bunny. A lone rabbit was found in a field by Sarikiz's owner and brought home and they began feeding it. The ginger tabby domestic cat, Sarikiz, which had recently given birth to kittens welcomed the abandoned bunny and decided to breast-feed the little creature along with her litter. 

Ginger tabby cat nurses bunny in Turkey
Ginger tabby cat nurses bunny in Turkey. Image video on Weibo.

Ginger tabby mothers a parentless bunny
Ginger tabby mothers a parentless bunny. Image: Weibo video screenshot.

It is not uncommon for a mother cat to breast feed another species of animal. It is cute though. It is generous and kind. You wonder what goes through the mind of cats when they do this. Do they know that they are being kind and generous? Is it merely an instinctive act as if she is programmed to let a bunny suckle at her breast? 

She must recognise that the bunny is not a kitten. It seems that there is altruism in the animal world.

Air Canada flies man's cats to California without him

Abbas Zoeb, a software engineer, has two cats, Mimi and Bubba. They are young siblings, brother and sister from the same litter, 19 months of age. He was flying to San Francisco, USA from Toronto, Canada on Air Canada as he was relocating for a new job.

Before he embarked on the aircraft, he was questioned about the start date on his visa. The questioning went on for a long time causing him to miss his 8 AM flight.

His baggage was offloaded from the plane but Mimi and Bubba were not taken off and they were flown to San Francisco without him.

Abbas Zoeb’s cats, Mimi and Bubba. Photo by Abbas Zoeb
Abbas Zoeb’s cats, Mimi and Bubba. Photo by Abbas Zoeb.

After the questioning about his visa he spent hours looking for his cats. He was very worried. He thought he had lost them. Cats travelling by air are sometimes lost at airports and it can take a long time to find them.

RELATED: How long can it take to find a lost cat at an airport?

Air Canada called him in the afternoon to tell him that they Mimi and Bubba had been flown to San Francisco and that he could wait to see his cats in San Francisco or he could have someone pick them up in San Francisco.

Zoeb requested that they be returned to Toronto which meant waiting until 11:45 PM because the flight takes 5.5 hours.

He told the Washington Post "I just had a bad feeling that something has happened because they are just too nonchalant about this". He was referring to the attitude of Air Canada personnel. I guess that they don't always understand the relationship between cat and human.

As I understand it, there were flown back to Toronto. When he saw them they looked tired. He said that they were sneezing for about a week.

Air Canada said that they will refund his ticket, baggage, pet fees and other fees for the missed flight. They also offered C$200 in compensation to use towards a further flight.

They apologised but Mr Zoeb thinks that the amount paid in compensation is derisory and he wants the airline to give him a more public apology. He is considering taking legal action over the amount of compensation that he received.

He said: "C$200 is totally insignificant for how much I’ve been going through and how much time I’ve put towards this and what my pets have gone through.

“I did let them know that that is not an acceptable apology or not an acceptable amount if they want to rectify anything ... They said that’s the most they can do.”

Air Canada refused to pay any more in compensation. Apparently, in Canada airlines must compensate travellers up to $2300 to replace lost items or damage to items while in the carrier's control. That would not seem to be irrelevant in this instance.

Air Canada are no longer taking requests to transport animals in the cargo hold until September 12, 2020 because there are unusual delays at airports which, incidentally, reflects the problems encountered in the UK.

British police officer wanted to Taser a cat and dog

A group of three British Metropolitan Police officers, PC Jonathan Cobban, 35, PC William Neville, 34, and Joel Borders, 45, who has left the force, were recently in Westminster magistrates' court accused of sending "grossly racist, sexist, misogynistic" messages sometimes when on duty. 

The court was told that they indulged in rape fantasies of colleagues and vulnerable girls. PC Cobban, responded to Borders claim that he wanted to get "on guns so I can shoot some c***in the face!" by saying: "Me to. I want to Taser a cat and a dog to see which reacts better. Same with children. Zap zap you little f***ers."

Met police
Met police. Image: Pixabay.

People with Down's Syndrome were described as potential "target practice". There were separate homophobic slurs. They had these conversations on WhatsApp and part of that group was PC Wayne Couzens who is notorious for his abduction, rape and murder of Everard, 33, in March 2020 which led to his conviction and a whole-life sentence. He committed that crime while a serving police officer. It was the grossest breach of trust imaginable and his sentence is appropriate.

The three deny sending grossly offensive messages between April and August 2019. They say it was dark humour and in bad taste. Their defense lawyer said the comments did not reach the legal standard of "grossly offensive".

However, what caught my eye in this story, reported in The Times today, Friday, July 29, 2022, is that one of this trio of Metropolitan police officers was very keen to Taser a cat to see what happened. That is the kind of person that occasionally ends up being a police officer in the UK.

I must say, that my personal experience in dealing with the Metropolitan police is very poor. I have zero trust of them and I find them either very unhelpful or their behaviour is objectionable. Only about 5% of crime is detected in the UK with, as I understand it, an even smaller percent of those arrested being convicted and punished. The statistics are appallingly poor indicating a Metropolitan police force which is simply not functioning and certainly not protecting the public. 

About 1.6% of rapists are convicted! Almost zero. And clearly in this instance the police officers had no concept of animal welfare or acting morally. It is shocking. A sizeable percentage of the British public have given up on the police are feel alone and unprotected.

Monday 25 July 2022

Punishing a cat versus deterring a cat humanely

Punishing a domestic cat and deterring a domestic cat can be one and the same thing but they can also be entirely different. I attempt to explain the difference here.

This topic is about the difference between punishment and what Dr. Bruce Fogle DVM calls "divine intervention". It's about deterring your cat from doing something without the cat associating the deterrence with their caregiver.

We know that punishing a cat is pointless because a cat does not have the mental capacity to understand the whole concept of punishment; a human process. For them, it is being harmed or made anxious because they are behaving normally. If you punish your cat by yelling at them or, God forbid, hitting them after they've done something that you don't like they will simply see you as a person to be avoided thereby breaking the bond which is so essential to a good relationship and which is the reason why you adopted a cat in the first place.

RELATED: Do ultrasonic cat deterrents work?

Image: RSPB

The way to deter a cat by invoking "divine intervention" is to ensure that your cat experiences something which is mildly unpleasant when they do something that you don't want them to do. And at the same time there is no linkage between that mild unpleasantness and you, the owner.

Cats learn from experience. So going right back to the time when they are kittens, if they try to do something and they suffer a bad experience because of it they will not try to do it again (normally).

Dr. Fogle provides two examples. You can put double sided tape on a kitchen counter which will be unpleasant when a cat jumps up on it. I don't like tinfoil on kitchen counters because that can terrify a cat which would not be "mildly unpleasant".

If you don't like your cat to jumping onto your bed, Dr. Fogle DVM suggests an infrared beam from a tiny burglar alarm that sets off a siren. The cat doesn't like the sound and escapes from the bedroom. Or your cat is about to scratch the sofa and silently gets a shot of water in their face from a water pistol. They don't see that you have the water pistol. It is divine intervention or an act of God as the veterinarian states.

The two most common divine intervention cat deterrents concern the backyard or back garden. One has a motion sensor which then sprays water onto the cat and the other is an ultrasonic device which sends out a high-pitched sound which deters the cat. They operate automatically and therefore they are true acts of God from the cat's perspective.

RELATED: 2 devices I would try first to keep cats out of your backyard plus alternatives.

These are just examples of ensuring that there is no connection between the unpleasantness and the owner. It is making a certain type of behaviour unpleasant, which will obviously be a deterrent.

Personally, I don't employ diving intervention because I allow my cat to do anything which he wants to do because it is natural for him to do it. I don't like imposing my will on him although occasionally I will restrict him doing something because it gets in the way of what I'm doing. That involves a polite signal and words that he understands.

Happy cat
Happy cat. The objective of all cat caregivers. Photo in public domain.

Of course, as mentioned, there are alternative ways to live with and manage your domestic cat companion. For example, not allowing your cat on your bed or even in the bedroom is, on the face of it, unkind because bedrooms are full of the scent of their owner. This is something that domestic cats love.

RELATED: How do I make my cat happy

It is reassuring to them. In a good human-cat relationship, cats relish the smells from their owner. To deprive them of this pleasure by banning them from the bedroom is, I would argue, bad cat caretaking. It's a personal decision but if you want to please your cat you will let them into the bedroom and onto the bed.

The same, as far as I'm concerned, applies to letting your cat jump up onto the kitchen counter. People disallow this because they think cats might spread disease but from my perspective humans spread as many diseases a cat but be let them use the kitchen counter. The "banning from kitchen counter" policy doesn't make sense to me.

Saturday 23 July 2022

Animal shelter volunteer says that they have never been so busy on intakes

NEWS AND COMMENT: An animal shelter in Omagh, County Tyrone, Northern Ireland, has never been busier. They are experiencing their highest ever demand to rehome cats and dogs in receiving 55 calls to taking unwanted companion animals in just one day.

One volunteer, Janice Porter, said that the Grove Hill Animal Trust has never seen it so bad in terms of intakes and she's been volunteering there for 20 years. By 11 AM on Monday she had received 20 calls to take in cats.

Janice Porter a volunteer at a N. Ireland animal shelter
Janice Porter a volunteer at Grove Hill Animal Trust, a N. Ireland animal shelter. Photo: Belfast Live

What's behind this? She thinks there are two reasons (1) people who acquired cats during the Covid lockdown failed to spay and neuter them due to inexperience and (2) the cost-of-living crisis is making it harder for owners to fund the keeping of a companion animal. It appears that people are cutting their living expenses and one of the things to go is their pet. There is a third reason: people returning to the office after working at home under artificial circumstances.

This, it has to be said, points to the same problem of not spaying and neutering and in adopting during the Covid pandemic in order to keep yourself company. These are adopters who were not really committed to caring for their companion animal for the life of the animal. That's the root of the issue.

The Covid pandemic distorted our lifestyles. It has created some long-term problems in many areas. There was actually a prediction that there would be a flood of cat and dog abandonments after Covid for these very reasons.

RELATED: More cats than dogs abandoned during coronavirus pandemic.

There was certainly a huge surge in dog adoptions in particular because millions of people had time on their hands to do nothing while they received furlough money (UK). They thought they would adopt a dog and take him or her for a walk in the park to occupy themselves. That sounds great but it is not the best way to prepare for a lifetime of care of a companion animal. It might work out but as we can see too often it doesn't.

Many of the cats being abandoned to this shelter are aged around 2 to 3 years old. This once again points to adoptions made during lockdown.

And perhaps there are other issues at play here. Let's say a person adopts a cat during lockdown and then let's them wander around and in effect abandons that cat so that he or she becomes a stray. Another person feeds the stray and because they are not spayed, they are going to mate with a stray tomcat and produced kittens in quite large numbers over a couple of years. This sort of thing is happening as well. The kind person who fed the street cat is then going to take them and their kittens to a shelter for rehoming.

It is sad to see this surge in abandonments but it was predictable.

Irresponsible cat owners TAKE ADVANTAGE of rescue centres

NEWS AND COMMENT-EVANSVILLE, INDIANA, USA: This is not an untypical story of the dumping of nearly two dozen cats at the Vanderburgh Humane Society shelter in Evansville, Indiana, USA. Clearly, the "owner" decided to get rid of all their cats in one fell swoop so they drove them down to the shelter, when I guess no one was there, in cardboard boxes and left them outside the building. Actually, it was on their back porch.

Nearly 24 cats dumped at humane soc
Nearly 24 cats dumped at humane soc. This is taking advantage of a rescue facility,

The shelter facility has no space. The Humane Society has "been keeping our heads above water lately thanks to our awesome community. But this has put us over the edge today and it's time to sound the alarm."

They are happy that the cats are in good hands i.e. their hands, but they say that "dumping animals off to them was not the right decision."

The shelter has done their best to manage unwanted cats which are currently at a level beyond their capacity with, as they say, the help of the community and "then situations like this happen where someone totally takes advantage of us. Yes, they are safe. Yes, we are glad they brought them here instead of dumping them in the country. BUT. That does not mean that this was the right way to get rid of unwanted cats."

The right way is not to allow cats to breed in the first place. The right way is to exercise more self-discipline and more responsibility, which is not a very hard thing to do. The person who did this is very ill-disciplined and irresponsible. They lean on the good people to mop up their mess. They count on somebody else to fix the problem which they have got themselves into. That is the definition of an irresponsible person and an anti-social person.

These sorts of people need to contribute to society rather than lean on it to support their irresponsible ways. The Vanderburgh Humane Society is asking for help. They want people to come forward to foster an animal or donate and finally to volunteer.

There are takers and givers in society in all countries. The person who dumped their cats is a taker.

I guess they have dealt with the overflow of animals at their facility through local people providing fostering services.

I think that the irresponsible people who do this should be punished to teach them a lesson. The hard part in that achieving that objective is finding them as they dump their cats surreptitiously. They avoid shelter staff.

Tuesday 19 July 2022

Good man turns on public water fountain for thirsty cat

This is Israel and it must be damned hot in Israel in this year of more clear signs of global warming and extreme temperatures. Although the video was made about five years ago. But the message is there: the summers are getting hotter and the record temperatures higher. The high temperature in the UK today was a record for the country at 40.3 Celsius. The previous record was 38.7 Celsius. That's a 1.6 increase. Wildfires broke out in East London in a field which spread to 7 houses and burnt them to the ground. In the UK we see pictures of California's wildfires and think never here. We think that it is something that never happens in Britain but now it does.

To play the video you may have to click the play button twice! Good fun. High tech.

I am going to guess and say that the cat was stretched out on the water fountain to keep cool. It is made of a large slab of stone which is going to feel cool as it was probably cooled down by the water flowing over it when along came a good guy who with foresight decided that this stray cat probably needed water and as it was to hand, he obliged.

I can tell when my cat is genuinely hungry by his weight

It sounds improbable but I can tell when my cat is genuinely hungry by his weight when I pick him up. I can feel the differences in his weight. I believe that cat caregivers need to fully understand when their cat is genuinely hungry and will eat the food that is put down before them as opposed to those times when domestic cats sometimes are seeking what I will call "food therapy". Too much wet cat food is wasted. Think how many millions of tons of cat food is waster annually.

My cat has a 'primordial pouch'! Not call domestic cats have them. As you can see he has a perfect body weight or BMI! That's because he is active and eats well.
Sometimes domestic cats eat out of boredom I believe or because it is just there and instinctively, they eat some of it. But I know my cat's weight or the feel of his weight by picking him up. And I can tell the difference between when he has lost some weight and when he has gained a little bit of weight. The difference is subtle.

When he feels light, I believe that if he is asking for food at those times, he is genuinely hungry and will eat the entire bowl of food that I put down for him. This has been proved true time and again.

If I'm correct, it is a useful check. I don't know about you but I feel that I waste too much cat food. I decide to give him food with care and with as near certainty as possible that he will eat it. However, sometimes he shows some interest but then leaves it. In that instance you have almost certainly thrown away an entire sachet of wet cat food. 

Perhaps cats vary in this aspect of their behavior. Perhaps some cats are more predictable. But then again perhaps some cats always eat their food and are obese as a consequence.

Sometimes, and I stress that this is quite rare, he does come back to wet food that has been left out for quite a long time and eats it. He does this because it smells stronger and domestic cats are scavengers unlike their wild forebears and so he might scavenge some hours-old wet cat food during the night.

I'm trying to figure out some scientific reason why there is a link between my cat being genuinely hungry and being lighter than normal. I think is because he has gone to the toilet and a few or more hours after going to the toilet his eating rhythms kick in and he is ready for food. That is a guess. Or he is simply more active at some times and eats later than normal. Under these circumstances he burns some fat and therefore feels lighter.

But I can quite definitely detect the difference in how much he weighs simply by picking him up. I can also combine this with palpitating his body. Sometimes he feels a little bit thinner than at other times. There's a natural weight fluctuation. I am sure that this is entirely normal and happens with humans.

Detecting his weight helps guide me as to whether he needs genuinely needs food or not.

Monday 18 July 2022

3 kinds of animal shelter in the USA (according to Nathan Winograd)

I receive a newsletter from Nathan Winograd for which I am very grateful because he is an incredibly knowledgeable man about the animal rescue network in the US and he is, I believe, instrumental in instigating and driving forward the concept of no-kill animal shelters. His basic attitude is that with effort and imagination and with the right attitude managers of animal shelters in America can rehome all their animals except those that are genuinely unsuited for rehoming. And therefore, he has saved millions of lives.

RELATED: Only remaining cat at a shelter is finally adopted through a novel veterinary program.

Animal shelter in the USA
Animal shelter. Image by Daga_Roszkowska from Pixabay 

So, what he says goes and he divides up animal shelters into these three categories and I will use his words verbatim for the sake of clarity and certainty:

  1. 'Those that embrace the No Kill Equation achieving placement rates of 99%'. Comment: these shelters rehome almost 100% of the animals that are in their care. They are the ones he considers to be doing good work;
  2. 'Those that routinely kill animals because they find killing easier than doing what is necessary to stop it'. Comment: this, I believe, is a strong hint at the fact that some managers of some shelters don't commit to rehoming the animals that pass through their organisation in using their imagination, commitment and good business practices. It is, he thinks, a form of laziness in this sector of the animal shelter operation;
  3. 'Those that close the door to animals in need and tell people who find animals that if they don't want to ignore the animals, they have to take care of themselves'. Comment: I believe that this is a reference to some shelters who argue that in respect of feral cats it is best to leave them where they are even if they are semi-domesticated and can be rehomed or perhaps this attitude also relates to stray cats. They might argue that the stray, homeless domestic cats have learned to live outside of the human home and therefore because they have a limited amount of space at the shelter, they have decided that these cats should stay where they are but if their customers object to that process, they, themselves, can look after these homeless cats. That is my interpretation and if I am incorrect, please tell me in a comment.

There is nothing more than I can add because although I subscribe to his emails, I do not subscribe to his blog nor to his podcast where I will probably learn a bit more. I don't subscribe to his other outlets because I have enough on my plate already and I have enough subscriptions and associations with other websites which already make my life a little overcomplicated.

RELATED: The higher an animal shelter's live release rate the higher the rates of burnout in shelter staff?

Thursday 14 July 2022

How long can it take to find a lost cat at an airport?

Sometimes 2 months or never based on research.

Obviously, it depends on many factors and you might be lucky but it seems to me that it can take a very long time indeed to find your cat if he or she has escaped their carrier at an airport. And in that time, your cat may become very unwell and injured. Here are some examples.

Rowdy was finally caught after spending three weeks on the run at Boston's Logan International Airport. The report says that she escaped from his cage in pursuit of some birds. I think that is a ridiculous comment because it can't be true. She escaped her carrier because the carrier was defective or it had somehow opened perhaps through rough handling.

Rowdy. Photo: AP.

Rowdy was in a normal hard carrier and travelled in the cargo hold. The family was flying with the German airline Lufthansa. The airline told them that their cat had escaped her carrier while cargo was being unloaded.

After three weeks it is believed that she became hungry enough and perhaps acclimatised enough to people at the airport to give herself up. Her owner was in disbelief she said: "I thought, what are the odds were actually going to get her back?"

She escaped on June 24 on her owner and husband's return from 15 years in Germany. The airline did a lot to find her. Agency staff and construction workers were involved. The used traps and relied on the fact that she was very hungry.

CNN reported in November 2011 but a cat called Jack had been lost at an airport for two months. He was lost at New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport. Jack turned up at the airport's customs room after being missing for a long 8 weeks. 

On a health checkup he was found to be suffering from a range of health problems having extensive wounds which had not healed due to malnutrition. He was euthanised.

Pepper is a female cat who ran away as her owner was checking into a flight to China. The owner had to leave in any case. She was missing for a week and eventually found when the owner's friend called out her Chinese name.

In another case, Dinky, a Ragdoll cat became lost at Dubai Airport for two months. Her owners had travelled from Dubai Airport to Gatwick Airport. When they arrived at Gatwick her carrier was empty. He escaped at Dubai airport and was found at a rescue centre.

They realised that he had escaped his cage at Dubai because the cage was to clean clearly implying that he had not been in the cage for a while.

Obviously, the problem with cats breaking free of the carriers and airports is that they become very frightened and hide. Airports, air side, are noisy frightening places and a cat is going to run into a place where they feel more secure. I can recall one cat ending up in the ceiling space between a hanging ceiling and the concrete construction above.

My research indicates that it might take a long time to get your cat back. My gut feeling is that the problem is down to a cat carrier which is inadequate for the job combined with indelicate handling of the carrier. If you take your cat on a flight and they go into the hold of the aircraft I think the carrier has to be particularly robust and designed for the job.

In 2019 I wrote about a policeman who allegedly shot a friendly ginger cat Durban airport. I don't think the cat had escaped a carrier but was a well-known cat who hung around King Shaka International Airport. However, it does point to the possibility of a domestic cat escaping their carrier at this airport and not making it out alive!

In another rather macabre story of a cat lost at an airport, George, was lost at Edmonton International Airport. It was reported that he was found later frozen to death. However, the report may have been misleading because they may have got the wrong cat. George like other cats managed to escape his carrier on two occasions but nothing was done to repair the carrier after the first escape. We don't know whether he was found. He was a ginger tabby.

In another story, Milo was last at Dulles Airport, Washington DC. They were flying with Lufthansa. It appeared that the baggage handlers had carelessly damaged the carrier. The report stated he was missing but we don't know for how long. We don't even know whether he was found. I am sure that some cats lost at airports are never found.

Wednesday 13 July 2022

Ginger tabby kitten asks for another kiss. Do cats understand kisses?

A super cute video. It seems to all the world that this little fella (ginger tabbies are nearly always males) wants another gentle kiss from his female caregiver and why not? Good idea. The way she delivers it is like the classic, friendly feline nose greeting. So perhaps her kitten interprets the kiss as that. Cats don't understand human kisses! Sorry but that is true. But they understand friendliness, warmth and affection from humans and respond positively to it as we see in the video.

Ginger tabby kitten asks for another kiss
Ginger tabby kitten asks for another kiss. Screenshot.

This is a TikTok video. They allow downloads and uploads. So, this is not my video. Update: I have delete it because Vimeo don't allow it.

It is a very successful one because of the behavior of the charming kitten. It reminds me of another post I wrote not long ago in which I said that cat caregivers should try and find out what their cat particularly likes and give it to them as much as possible and I am not talking about food! I mean, give them the food they like but not as much of it as possible unless you want your cat to become obese.

RELATED: Do cats know what kisses are?

My cat likes the back of his head rubbed and pressure applied to it. I always take the time to place my hand on the back of his head and hold it there. He meows silently to me when I do it with a look of delight on his face.

My cat loves this
My cat loves the feeling of pressure from my hand at the back of his head and neck. I give it to him whenever I can. It is reassuring to him.

RELATED: National Kissing Day: Don’t kiss your cat on the lips.

Domestic cats need reassurance all the time I feel. They want to know that all is well. Perhaps this is because we make them feel like kittens even if they are adults. As we provide their every need like a mom, we keep them in that mental state. And kittens always look to their mom for reassurance. They purr to her and she returns the purr when nursing her them.

Tip to check your cat's teeth

Here is a useful tip to check your cat's teeth and gums. In fact, it checks on oral health which is important as feline oral health is a major health issue in domestic cats. It is a hidden problem as it is hard to check your cat's gums. This is the tip! You buy some cotton buds and use one to run it around the gum line. Your cat should accept this 😎 if done quickly and at an opportune moment. I would hold my cat by the scruff of the neck (not too hard) which would 'deactivate' him for a few moments and long enough to employ this technique.

Healthy feline mouth
Image by Pitsch from Pixabay.

If there is blood on the cotton bud and/or your cat shows signs of pain, you can assume that there is a problem and your vet should be booked to take a proper look. Gums should be uniformly pink. If they are blue your cat is anemic.

Ideally you do not want to get this far because, as you might know, if teeth need to be removed your cat will need to be anaesthetised. There is a risk to a cat's health and welfare when they are anaesthetised. I'm sure that you know this but it seems that it is very easy to overlook a cat's oral health.

RELATED: How to check a cat’s mouth for oral health.

Gingivitis is the early stages of gum disease. The gums become inflamed and red. Eventually they bleed. At this point treatment is needed and if not, the health problem progresses to periodontal disease or periodontitis. 

Periodontitis is more serious as bone (jawbone) is irreversibly lost which leads to the teeth becoming loose and being lost as well. Also, the teeth become more brittle and break. An abscess might occur. A linked health condition at this stage is "feline odontoclastic resorptive lesions". These are similar to cavities in our teeth but they are not caused by the same bacteria.

If your cat has a serious oral health problem they will be in pain. They will become anorexic and stop eating. They may drool. Bad oral health can be detected through bad breath, a reluctance to eat, food drop from the mouth and then eaten, pawing at the face or mouth and ruling as mentioned.

Although I never did it myself, I think it would be useful if you adopt a kitten to get them used to a mouth inspection. You know that you can train your kitten to accept all kinds of things which can be highly useful when they are adults. Another thing you can train them to accept is a lead and to walk on a lead. And to accept having their claws trimmed. I missed my opportunity through carelessness but if I had it again, I would train my kitten to accept all the things that are useful to me in providing good care.

Tuesday 12 July 2022

Home owner loves to feed birds but their neighbour's cats attack the birds

There is an interesting post on the website which in a way encapsulates the "war" between bird lovers and cat lovers. It seems that it is impractical for people with these diverging views to live close to each other in suburbia.

An ultrasonic cat deterrent recommended by the RSPB. Image from the RSPB. They are moderately successful. Click this link for more

In this instance, the bird lover who has "tons of feeders, lots of activity" in respect of birds coming to their property, is complaining vociferously on the website because one of their neighbours (and this is in America) "has a couple of free-range cats". These cats are indoor/outdoor cats which is fairly typical although there is a drift towards keeping cats indoors which is exactly what this person wants their neighbour to do.

They're complaining because despite their efforts he blames one or both of the cats for killing a phoebe nest with three little eggs which were "up in the rafters of our covered porch". This species of bird is medium-sized and insect-eating. They are in the "tyrant flycatcher family" of birds.

They say that in the past "we found piles of feathers around our yard, little corpses left on the porch, and now our little phoebe family that we've been watching and caring about like our own little reality TV show are GONE because of someone's irresponsibility in letting their cats run free". 

I left a comment on that post to say that clearly the prime responsibility is that of the cat owner but bird lovers also take some responsibility in feeding their birds in their backyards in the knowledge that close by are a couple of free-roaming indoor/outdoor domestic cats who are likely to prey upon the birds. This is a scenario of human making and both parties are ultimately responsible in varying degrees.

It is very difficult to keep domestic cats out of backyards but I do have a page on cat deterrents which features two particular deterrents that are probably the most effective - click link below.

RELATED: 2 devices I would try first to keep cats out of your backyard plus alternatives.

So, what could this person, the bird lover, have done? I don't think it would have helped in the slightest to have talked to the cat owner. They don't take kindly to suggestions that they should keep their cats indoors. I would sense that that would simply produce an argument, plenty of heat but no light.

I sense that if the bird lover who wants to feed birds is going to do it really seriously, they could have built some sort of protection around the garden against the cats which would entail building a high fence with an overhang pointing outwards.

As I commented on the Reddit page, I think the only really genuine way to keep domestic cats out of a backyard is to build a cat containment fence which you can purchase in America and in the UK designed to keep cats in but you turn the fence around so that the overhang at the top points outwards and prevents cats coming in. 

A physical barrier like this is 99.9% effective. Very few cats can get through it and over it. And that is peace of mind. It may cost several thousand dollars but as I say it's peace of mind which is worth the money anytime. 

Sunday 10 July 2022

Toronto council wants to introduce cat leash laws but there are better things to do

NEWS AND COMMENT: Toronto city council (the economic and community development committee) has voted by a show of hands to support a motion for a bylaw change to make it obligatory for outdoor cats to be on a lead. 

It's not yet received final approval. The council is scheduled to debate the issue in two weeks. The reason? The usual ones. To protect cats and protect wildlife. It is just another story among many of methods to confine cats when they are outside. There is a world trend in the West i.e. developed countries, for this alteration in the human-to-cat relationship.

Beautiful Toronto. Photo: Image by Miguel Barrera from Pixabay.

However, the best article on the topic comes from Mike Strobel writing for the TORONTO SUN. He lives with a Norwegian Forest cat and he does not like this proposed bylaw. His reason is that there are better things to be doing. 

He complains that in Toronto there's a lot of pressing problems that need to be fixed including gridlock on the roads, street drugs, carjackings, garbage, gunfire, construction chaos, random thuggery et cetera. He's trying to make that point that the city council should be prioritised improvements in the amenity of the city, in reducing crime et cetera rather than trying to introduce a law which I would argue is going to be hard to enforce.

In fact, it may be impossible to enforce effectively. Firstly, you've got to know where all the domestic cats are in Toronto. Are they all micro-chipped? Can all the domestic cats in Toronto be identified? Because if not I don't think you can enforce this law. 

RELATED: Cats: Leash Laws, Licenses, Regulated Feeding Outside, Government Funded TNR.

Let's say the law is successfully introduced. A domestic cat goes outside. The cat is not microchip. An official spots the cat and takes him to a pound. The owner does not look for his cat. That might happen and it is not doing anything to protect wildlife or to protect cats. And most cats are outside at night. Who's going to spot them? An army of council officials wandering the streets at night?

It would seem that the only surefire way of enforcing a bylaw which makes it obligatory to take your cat out on a lead if they want to go out is by having every cat registered with the local authority with up-to-date details and to employ Toronto residents as spies to spy on their neighbour.

RELATED: Leash laws against free-roaming cats means death for Murfreesboro shelter cats.

Mr Strobel think that it might be a diversion from City Hall's failures. This, by the way, is a form of "dead cat strategy" which I have written about in another article. The strategy describes diversionary tactics to take attention away from failures.

Strobel drove through Toronto the other day and he saw tents under the Gardiner and in neighbourhood parks. He saw junkies, needles and crack pipes "around the 'safe injection' site at Dundas Square". He was stuck in traffic; "paralysed by orange cones". He is shocked by "a rash of daylight carjackings".

But he "noted exactly zero felonious felines"! He saw "no cat poop on the sidewalk or puddles in the elevator". In short, he did not see a cat problem in Toronto but he did see other problems which should be prioritised by the City Council.

Saturday 9 July 2022

'Staggering' disease in cats - cause

In Europe there has been a mysterious staggering disease killing cats. The news has kept a rather low profile so you might not have heard of it. Apparently, it's been known to science for around 50 years but it became a concern in 2020 when it killed a tree kangaroo, donkey and a capybara in Germany. It is linked to encephalitis in a wide range of animals.

Recently the disease has been contracted by domestic cats. The symptoms include loss of ability to retract their claws seizures, loss of control of limbs and tremors. The cats stagger as if they are drunk hence the name of the disease. The disease progresses over about two weeks and there is no cure. Sadly, there is also very little in the way of treatment. The experts aren't sure how long it takes to kill domestic cats because not all of those who get the disease are euthanised.

Very recently, the scientists have discovered what they believe is the cause. They collected the brains of 29 euthanised cats from different places in Germany, Sweden and Austria. The brains were scanned for evidence of Borna virus DNA but none were found. However, they found the rustrela virus in 28 of the brains. This is a relative of the rubella virus which infects humans.

In humans, the virus is highly contagious and can be spread from pregnant women to their unborn babies. Pregnant women who contract the disease can give birth to infants with congenital rubella syndrome suffering from growth retardation, deafness, congenital defects and mental retardation.

The scientists have also suggested that this staggering disease virus may infect humans and an unknown number of other mammals.

I don't know if there are any infected cats in the USA or other areas. My research did not reveal information on that.

Thursday 7 July 2022

Woman's new home came with two stray cats and they changed her life

Julia Davis, 24, begins the story of her relationship with 2 stray cats that she met at her new home by saying: "The new house that I'm moving into literally came with a cat". She subsequently found another! So, her new home came with two cats, one white and one black, and they changed her life.

Davis, Coop and in the background the chicken coop where he was found
Davis, Coop and in the background the chicken coop where he was found. Image: Julia Davis.

She already had a TikTok page and decided to document the story of her new cat companion who with the help of TikTok visitors decided to call him 'Cooper' because he was found in a chicken coop at the back of the house (is it a chicken coop?). I guess he had used it for cover and as a home. As she approached the construction, she saw the fluffy, white stray cat.

The video explains what happened. 

@julia_adavis Drop name suggestions in the comments! Bonus-I really like names that are nouns or names that have shorter nicknames that end in the “e” sound #names #cat ♬ original sound - Julia Davis

Note: This is an embedded video from another website. Sometimes they are deleted at source or the video is turned into a link which would stop it working here. I have no control over this.

She noticed that he had not been cared for and was therefore a stray perhaps formerly owned as he was very friendly. She adopted him there and then it seems to me. She decided to take him to a veterinarian pretty well immediately and I guess as soon as possible because his ears were in a bad way and he needed to be checked over and receive some basic veterinary care. He had probably been in fights with other cats. That's how their ears get scratched and torn.

RELATED: No One Owns Stray Or Feral Cats.

A few days later Davies posted another TikTok video showing the discovery of a second cat, this time black, sitting on the roof of the chicken coop and waiting to be adopted! He was also in poor health. She named him 'Rufus' and decided to take care of him as well.

She provides regular updates on her TikTok page about her relationship with these two friendly stray cats who are no longer strays. As long as her viewers are interested - and they are - she said that she would continue to provide updates.

And she kindly said: "I honestly like to say these cats belong to all of us. Everyone who watches my videos has played a part in their care. It's been a massive group effort that's restored my faith in humanity."

She said that because of the help that she had received from the community of TikTok users, "These cats have a better life than they had before. I think that's really awesome".

And of course, they have helped her. She has a better life than before it seems to me with TikTok success. And the backstory is a good one: cat welfare. Two cats have a much better life; a life that they should have as domestic cat companions and not struggling strays. You can see how keen Coop was to receive the touch of a human hand in the video.

P.S. There have been instances of people moving home who have deliberately left their domestic cat companion behind because either (1) they want to get rid of their cat or (2) they believe that domestic cats should stay with their home as they are wedded to their home range.

Wednesday 6 July 2022

Volunteers sitting with the animals during 4th July firework celebrations

All that I have of this story is this photograph and it is a great photograph of volunteers sitting with the rescue animals at an unknown shelter in the US on July 4 to comfort them when the fireworks start to go off. It is a heartwarming photograph. A photograph to soften the hardened heart. A heart hardened by the usual hassles of living on this planet which for most of us isn't that easy at least some of the time. There are good people out there and they volunteer their time.

Volunteers sitting with the animals during 4th July firework celebrations
Volunteers sitting with the animals during 4th July firework celebrations. Photo: Facebook page of 'Artistic Freedom'.

I guess, too, that the people benefit because they are able to mix with like-minded people so it is a great way to socialise. And of course, they know that they are doing something good in helping animals who are already stressed by being confined to small cages in a noisy shelter with strange people wandering by from time to time.

I am sure that stress is the biggest psychological problem for rescue cats and dogs in shelters. It affects their behaviour which in turn affects their adaptability. For them it is a double whammy of stress-inducing influences because they are already stressed and they going to be stress some more because of the strange and loud noises. Well done to these people. The photograph caught my eye and I felt that I needed to circulate it on the Internet a little bit.

The Internet does not help me in trying to find out how commonplace this type of volunteer work is in the USA. My gut feeling is that it is not that uncommon but it is the first time that I've seen this kind of photograph and I have seen tens of thousands of photographs of animal shelters.

Tuesday 5 July 2022

Animals need jabs against zoonotic diseases to prevent pandemics

Zoonotic diseases are those which can transfer from animals to people. The classic case is the Covid pandemic. Prof Dame Sarah Gilbert, the creator of the AstraZeneca vaccine against Covid which proved so successful and which saved millions of lives, has stated that vaccines and new treatment should be developed to protect animals against diseases that can prove deadly when they jump to humans.

Vaccines against these zoonotic diseases could play a major role in avoiding the next pandemic. Minds are focused on the next pandemic. The monkeypox virus which is currently an issue in the UK is a good example although that will not create a pandemic. However, it's a virus that has been a threat for a long time and it has changed its nature. And it is zoonotic.

Gilbert said that influenza A was around in wild birds for a long time and it started to infect poultry flocks and so I could still spill over into humans. She believes that there is a lot that can be done to protect domestic animals against these infections to avoid humans being exposed to them.

Of course, this also concerns cats and dogs as well as livestock. Covid did infect both captive wild cats and relatively a very few domestic cats. There was a discussion at one time about the possibility of domestic animals creating a reservoir for the virus which may then come back to us in the future perhaps mutated.

There is a need to look forward to prevent the devastation that Covid caused the world. There is also a need, I must add, to demand that the Chinese government compensate the world for the devastation that they caused due to their careless approach to the slaughter of wild animals at wet markets which is now accepted as one plausible cause of the pandemic because those markets allowed the transmission of zoonotic diseases from animals such as pangolins to the people in the market is doing the slaughtering.

Monday 4 July 2022

Early "domestic cats" were actually tamed wildcats

It is said, with confidence nowadays, that the first domestic cats on the planet existed about 9500 years ago. It all started in an area that we know now as Syria and spread out from there. The skeleton of a wildcat and a man were unearthed on the island of Cyprus. The remains were dated at 9500 years ago.

It is entirely plausible that cats were domesticated before that date perhaps as long ago was 14,000 years in the past. The wild cat on Cyprus had been imported onto that island from Syria by its owner.

This man had a pet cat. But his pet cat was a tame North African wildcat. It's a bit like today when people sometimes like to live with a tame serval. These are not truly domesticated cats. They are simply conditioned to behave in a fairly calm way around people. They are conditioned to live with people in the human environment. But they don't cope very well and they are quite challenging.

This very early 'domestic cat' was in fact a tamed wildcat from north Africa. Picture in the public domain.

I say that because this man living on Cyprus 9500 years ago would have had the same sort of issues with his pet cat. Although, admittedly, the North African wildcat is naturally predisposed towards a pliable character which gets along well with people. In fact, in Africa today there are African wildcats approaching human settlements and becoming somewhat like domestic cats.

But it is quite important to state that the first so-called 'domestic cats' were actually tamed wildcats. The difference is that with a tamed cat you have trained an individual cat to live with a person or persons but they are still in essence a wild cat and therefore their character is going to be somewhat difficult to accept. There might be the occasional aggression from the cat because they are inherently twitchy especially when living in this false environment of the human world.

RELATED: Why did ancient Egyptians shave off their eyebrows to mourn their dead cats?

In contrast, the true domestic cat has developed over thousands of years. They have a lineage. They've either selectively bred themselves or humans have selectively bred them to have a character which is inherently domesticated or predisposed to domestication. In short, domestication is an alteration to the genetic make-up of an animal as opposed to an alteration of their behaviour. The former changes go far deeper than the latter.

An important further note to make is that domestic cats still require socialisation as kittens. If not they are fearful of humans.

It is somewhat ironic that on Cyprus today there are more cats than people. These are going to be community cats largely but there will be domestic and feral cats as well. This problem has occurred because of a lax approach to spaying and neutering of cats so they have been allowed to breed when living in the urban environment. And of course the government has not grasped the problem sufficiently well to resolve it.

RELATED: Why are there so many cats on Cyprus?

It is probably fair to state that Cyprus is a snapshot of what is wrong with the relationship between humans and cats. In the early days cat domestication it worked to a large extent. The first true domestic cats were in ancient Egypt about 4,000 years ago. They were all mackerel/spotted tabbies and slightly larger than today's domestic cat. Although the ancient Egyptians abused domestic cats by breeding them for sacrifice to the gods. That is a clear abuse by modern standards although it is tricky to judge a race of people by modern standards.

But the fact is that the concept of cat domestication is a good one but humans have screwed up and arguably it is been a failure of a process. This is because there are hundreds of millions of feral cats on the planet. They are homeless, they are often miserable, distressed and ill. Their lifespan is shortened. They should be living with people. This must be judged as a failure of humankind in the domestication of the cat.

Sunday 3 July 2022

Baby squeals in delight at the arrival of the family cat

A charming little video and a cat lover in the making, very definitely. This sweet baby squeals in delight at the arrival of the family cat to her cot and her mother lets their cat walk around the cot under supervision. I like that. Very controlled but beneficial to cat and baby, I'd say.

A lot of stuff has been written about cats and babies and whether cats are beneficial or detrimental to babies' health. In the old days they superstitiously believed that cats sucked the breath out of babies. They considered cats to be dangerous to babies. That was hundreds of years ago.

And then the early part of the 21st-century doctors thought that there were dangers in putting cats with babies because of transmission of disease and parasites et cetera but more recently, perhaps over the past 5-10 years, paediatricians believe that placing domestic cats near to babies and even in contact with them is beneficial to babies in terms of strengthening their immune system and desensitising them to allergies.

Baby squeals in delight at the arrival of the family cat
Baby squeals in delight at the arrival of the family cat

It is the latter which is the more powerful benefit. It helps to create a more robust child in general terms on my understanding. And so there are real health benefits to babies in having the family cat around.

On a wider issue, if a baby has a great experience with a domestic cat it can only be good for cat welfare going forward. There will be one more adult in the world who is concerned about cat welfare and the world needs more of them.

This little child is going to be a cat lover and almost certainly an animal lover. She will do great things to improve animal welfare I believe!

Tip of cat tail bone exposed. Cause?

Here is a link to a slightly disturbing picture of the degloving of the tip of a cat's tail. I am linking to the picture in case it upsets some advertisers. It is not that bad though. It just depends how sensitive you are. The bone at the tip of the tail is exposed. The fur and skin are missing.  

It is the sort of injury that could lead to an infection and, yes, the cause is probably an injury because the tail was trapped in a door and the cat moved forward at the same time causing the skin to tear off. It is unusual to see bare bone like this.

Click to see injured tail tip 

Although trapped tails are probably not that unusual as they trail behind a cat. And cats linger around the feet of their owner. How it happens: the owner fails to see their cat at their feet and closes the patio door at the moment he/she is coming inside the home. Bingo, the tail is trapped and the skin torn off. 

The moral (one I have learned after stepping on my cat) is to always check you feet when closing doors and when feeding your cat in the kitchen.

This problem is one which come about because of the enormous size difference between cat and human. They can be almost invisible if they follow you around unless you look down all the time. There is a real danger of injury to a domestic cat if they are very attached to their owner. We are giants in the eyes of our cat companions. It is good sometimes to lie on the grass with your cat to get down to their height. I find that my cat appreciates it 😉.

A common injury with respect to the tail occurs when a car runs over the tail which pulls apart the sacral-lumbar or coccygeal vertebrae, stretching the nerves that go to the bladder, rectum and tail.

Animal rights activists in China fighting against the cat and dog meat trade

This is a good news story for animal advocates among the depressing stuff from China. The world is aware of the barbaric and brutal cat and dog meat trade in China. It truly is the worst of human behaviour resulting in catastrophic cruelty to, often, domestic animals. 

Yes, a recent story on the Independent newspaper states that 126 animals were saved from a slaughterhouse. These dogs were destined for a brutal death but were plucked to safety from an illegal operation. Many of these animals had collars. These are domestic companion animals. They are stolen from the streets and from houses et cetera to fuel this disgusting trade.

If the authorities were doing their job this trade wouldn't happen. If China had animal welfare laws it wouldn't happen. If they had animal welfare laws that were enforced it wouldn't happen. This trade is entirely due to ridiculous, out of date and ancient superstitions in combination with local government and national government which is entirely disinterested in animal welfare.

However, on the upside, there are some green shoots and there have been for some time of animal activist in China - and these are Chinese people - fighting back. One example is on Newsweek. It shows a video in which 282 dogs, some destined for the meat trade being rescued. The animal advocates intercepted a truck carrying these dogs.

On the truck there were 260 puppies and 22 adult dogs. The truck was making a 1000-mile journey. It was stopped on a highway in the eastern Chinese province of Anhui. The news comes from the Humane Society International. They described it as a "truck from hell". The conditions were so poor that 12 of the puppies had died at the time the truck was intercepted. A further 18 died shortly afterwards due to parvovirus and distemper. The surviving puppies suffered from dehydration and starvation in skin diseases.

However, if you do a search on Google, you will find that there are quite a few animal rescues by animal advocates in China normally from the back of trucks. These animals are destined to be brutally slaughtered by psychopathic traders. How do people become that callous? Many, many years of a culture and their way of life which simply totally disregards the sentience of animals and the fact that they feel pain and have emotions. That's the reason.

But this is a good news story because I'm seeing a change in China although it is far too slow. How does China think that they can integrate into the world community if they refuse to enact animal welfare laws. China is eons behind the UK and other European countries in this regard. They are living in the past. Their attitude towards animal welfare is that of mediaeval times. Shame on them. Shame on the president of China who supports traditional Chinese medicine which is the source of huge conservation problems but that is another subject albeit equally bad and depressing.

Saturday 2 July 2022

Message to Facebook fans and my friends on Facebook about scams

Initial notice: I am not criticising Facebook. I hope that I am helping to protect some users on Facebook and therefore I am helping Facebook. The second point is that Facebook is doing something about the problem that I describe below. So they are active in this area and doing their best to rectify any problems.

Facebook and Instagram blamed for a surge in scams

The Times reports that Facebook (FB) and Instagram have been blamed for a surge in scams as one of Britain's biggest banks has revealed that these Meta's owned sites are the source of the vast majority of their fraud cases.

The bank is TSB and they are the only bank in Britain to guarantee a refund for all scam victims. Their audit revealed that adverts posted on Meta-owned websites i.e. Facebook and Instagram, accounted for 81.1% of all online investment fraud causes experienced by their customers. This is between January 1 and June 21 of this year. Of these 55.7% advertise on Instagram while 25.4% advertise on Facebook.

In contrast, TSB say that no account holders have fallen victim to scam adverts on the Google search engine after they changed their rules in August 2021 to force all advertisers on their website to be authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).

Meta said that they are committed to forcing all advertisers on Facebook and Instagram to be authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) in the same way that Google insists on this.

America has its own financial regulators: Federal Reserve Board, Federal Deposit Insurance Corp and the Securities and Exchange Commission. I would expect them to be involved in the same way that the FCA is involved in authorising advertisers on Google in the UK. I hope so.

So the message to Facebook users is to be aware of adverts on FB purporting to be good investments and other such scams. If it sounds too good to be true it probably is. Don't share information or give out your PIN or password. If you receive an unexpected email don't click on the link. Check your Social Security privacy settings. Choose strong passwords and don't use public Wi-Fi for online shopping or banking.

In the meantime, my thanks to Facebook for being committed to addressing this weakness on their platform. There are people who suggest that Facebook should pay compensation to people who have lost money on these scammy investments.  I'm not suggesting that but in the meantime TSB is having to pay out large sums of money to compensate individuals who have lost chunks of their savings on these scams which are advertised on Meta's platforms.

Postscript: a spokeswoman for Facebook said that the company has dedicated "substantial resources" to tackle the scam adverts. They have a team of 40,000 whose job is to protect their users and they have invested in artificial intelligence to help deal with the problem. The company had joined Stop Scams UK, a cross-industry anti-scam group which includes banks. They donated £3 million to citizens advice to help with anti-scam initiative including a phone line for people who have been scammed.

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