Saturday 31 December 2022

Calm Larry the Cat at No 10 Downing Street had been neutered just before selection for his role

It has been suggested that the celebrity Downing Street cat, Larry, who has kept five Prime Minister's company at the offices and removed all signs of mice from the building, was selected because he was very calm at the time when he was chosen at Battersea Dogs & Cats Home and the reason why he was calm was because he had been neutered the day before.

Larry the Cat
Government Chief Mouser Larry the Cat questioned over Partygate. Screenshot.

The suggestion is that just by chance Larry and thanks to castration he was selected from a group of five.

I find this implausible to be honest. Although we know that the neutering of male cats makes them calmer. In fact, I did some work on how castration of men changes their character.

I wanted to get into the heads of neutered male cats and tried to do this by researching how the operation affects humans. It might interest you. It's certainly chills out men and that's why male cats become calmer and more manageable.

Effects of Castrating a Cat (and a man)

And it is this character trait which convinced David, who was an Australian staff member at Battersea at the time. He was chosen to choose the best cat for No 10 Downing Street.

He visited Battersea on January 29. He saw five cats, Larry (the successful one), Spencer, Crockett, Trixie and Bart. Larry was chosen "for having the perfect personality". He was less needy than the other cats. This indicated to David that he would be able to cope with the activities at 10 Downing Street as it is full of 400 people occupying 100 rooms.

Number 10 Downing Street is a bit like a Tardis. It looks quite compact from the outside but when you're inside it is a complicated network of corridors and rooms. I have been there.

The Times newspaper tracked down the other cats, the ones that didn't make it to No 10. Spencer is still alive. That's worth stating because Larry looks quite old now. He was adopted in January 2011 to be the working cat of No 10.

Spencer's owners, said: "I don't think Downing Street would have agreed with him". They mean that Spencer would not have got along very well at the Prime Minister's offices.

Realistically, I don't think many cats would. It's just too active. Too much most noise, kerfuffle and commotion to be ideal for a domestic cat.

Crockett apparently would have been a decent mouser. He was rehomed in Forest Hill, south-east London. He died at the age of eight or nine.

Bart could not be traced. Trixie spent her life in Hackney, East London and at a family home in Hampshire before she was euthanised due to ill health in 2015.

Trixie was owned by Charlie, a retired administrative worker. He said that Trixie was a loving cat but shy. She might have found life difficult at No 10 Downing Street.

As for Larry's mousing skills, they appear to have waned somewhat because of his advancing age. But they said: "Having said this, no mice have been spotted in Downing Street for years."

Friday 30 December 2022

Cat develops a dead straight blonde fur line on her black fur overnight. Why?

This is the question on Binx has (overnight) developed a dead straight line of blonde on her back. Any ideas?

Black cat with blonde stripe on her back
Black cat with blonde stripe on her back which developed rapidly. Image: u/FyldeCoast on

There is obviously no certainty that I am correct. It is a kind of guess based on little to go on. If you have a better idea please comment. It would be great if you did 😃.

RELATED: 2 examples of feline vitiligo (leukoderma).

This is my answer

It looks like it could be vitiligo. It is harmless. Antibodies attack the melanocytes (pigment producing cells in the skin in the hair follicle bulb). The melanocytes are destroyed and no longer produce melanin, a dark pigment producing black fur. This leads to fur without pigment in a localised area. The hair strands in that are just keratin and therefore semi-transparent having the appearance of being off-white. The white area may expand. Sometimes cats with vitiligo turn from black to white! Studies indicate that changes in the immune system are responsible for the condition and that both underlying genetics and environmental triggers are involved. Now you'll tell me some bleach dripped onto her back 😊.

Thursday 29 December 2022

Domestic cats enjoy small spaces like glass vases because they feel safer and it's fun

This is all about feeling secure and having fun. And that's interesting because it hints at the possibility (fact?) that domestic cats often feel a little insecure and need more entertainment. Why? Because they are barely domesticated and live in a human environment which is inherently unnatural despite their great ability to adapt.

We see domestic cats jump into boxes, large and small. And we see them wriggle and squirm into glass vases as in the video on this page.

The underlying motivation is the same: a feeling of security. Plus, there must be an element of self-entertainment.

The Twitter video below may stop working. If that has happened, I am sorry but I can't control it.

Domestic cats need mental stimulation as many live indoors full-time. Humans are often too busy or pre-occupied to entertain their cat companions. They have to find ways to entertain themselves.

Cats are also naturally and instinctively inquisitive. It is part of their hunting skill set. When hunting they have to investigate all the time to check out the availability of possible prey animals.

That's inquisitiveness in action for survival. But in the human home it is for a substitute: entertainment.

Wednesday 28 December 2022

'Agouti'. What does it mean?

You see the word "agouti" use quite a lot by the cat fancy and on cat websites. What does it mean? It's a reference to a type of coat which we know very well, a tabby coat. Specifically, it refers to the genetics of a tabby coat. Agouti is the name given to a coat in which each individual hair strand is pigmented with bands of black, brown and yellow.

The most typical agouti pattern is seen in the ticked tabby coat of the Abyssinian cat; an "all-agouti" cat. The classic tabby cat that we see has blotches of dark areas and so we have, in the words of Robinson's Genetics, a tabby pattern which "consists of two coexisting systems of pigmentation or, more likely, a background of agouti, with a superimposed system of stronger black pigmentation."

The background of agouti as they state are areas in which the hair fibres are banded or ticked with alternating black or yellow pigmentation as mentioned.

Superimposed on this are areas in which almost all-black hairs predominate in which the yellow band is reduced to the very base of the hairs.

If you look closely at a tabby cat at each individual hair strand, and if you follow the black areas i.e. the markings, you can see that the top of the hair strand is black whereas going down the hair strand towards the skin you can see light yellow.

My tabby cat
My tabby cat. He has a spotted tabby coat. Very wild cat looking.

It is the way these particular hairs are placed on the coat which provides the markings that we see which in addition to the blotch tabby mentioned, there is the spotted tabby and the striped or mackerel tabby.

The cat's genetics dictate the location of these hair strands that provide the markings.

The agouti coat is the original wild-type colouration by which I mean it is the coat of the wild cat ancestor of the domestic cat and other wild cat species.

Tuesday 27 December 2022

African Lynx

What's the African lynx? It is an early name for the well-known, small-to-medium sized wild cat species the caracal (Caracal caracal and formerly Felis caracal). It was the given name in the early days of the taxonomy of the wild cat species as it was and is the only lynx-like animal in Africa. I think this is a reference to the ear tufts.  It has also been called the desert lynx and Persian lynx.

As the caracal's distribution includes the Middle East and western Asia (or did) the term African lynx was abandoned in favour of 'caracal'.

Caracal formerly the 'African lynx'
Caracal formerly the 'African lynx'. Image: MikeB based on one in the public domain.

Alpaca cat

What is the alpaca cat? Simple answer. This is not about a cat but a name. The alpaca cat was an alternative name for the LaPerm cat. As you probably know, the fur of the alpaca is wavy and spongy. It naturally crimps. It is somewhat like the fur of the LaPerm which, because of a genetic mutation, has an unusual texture, having "a distinctive coat that falls in loose ringlets, reminiscent of the Komondor or Puli dog". The quote comes from Dr. Desmond Morris in his book Cat World. Click this for LaPerm info.

Alpaca and LaPerm
Alpaca and LaPerm. Image: MikeB. LaPerm pic by Helmi Flick.

Monday 26 December 2022

One key factor in reducing stress in dogs and cats in shelters is human interaction

Stress has long been recognized as a significant factor in the well-being of animals, including dogs, and has been the subject of numerous studies in both laboratory and shelter settings. These studies have shown that stress can have both physiological and behavioral consequences, including the production of the hormone cortisol (also known as the glucocorticoid hormone). 

Volunteers sit with rescue animals to reduce stress during a storm. Image in public domain.

Elevated levels of cortisol can have negative effects on an animal's health and behavior, and it is therefore important to identify ways to reduce stress in animals, particularly those in shelters.

One key factor in reducing stress in dogs in shelters is human interaction. Research has consistently shown that social support, including interaction with humans, can help to buffer the stress response in animals, including dogs. This may be due to the fact that social interaction can stimulate the production of oxytocin, a hormone that has been shown to reduce cortisol levels and improve well-being.

Enrichment activities centered on human interaction, such as training and play, have been found to be particularly effective in reducing stress in shelter dogs. These activities can also help to improve the behavioral suitability of dogs for adoption, as they may reduce aggressive responses in temperament tests.

It is important to note that the effects of stress on dogs can extend beyond the initial exposure to a stressful event. There is evidence that long-term consequences of stress, including changes in behavior and brain function, can occur even after the initial stressor has been removed. This highlights the importance of addressing stress in shelter dogs not just in the short-term, but also in the long-term.

Sunday 25 December 2022

Infographic highlights 5 Persian cat health issues caused by misguided cat associations

The title and the infographic says it all. Breeders of contemporary, peke-faced (flat-faced) Persian cats with extreme facial features have destroyed the cat's health. They have taken away the perfect feline anatomy that was present in the original 'normal' Persian cat around 50 years ago and replaced it with distorted anatomy because of years of misguided but formally sanctioned (by the cat associations) selective breeding. It is horrible.

Wednesday 21 December 2022

Should you let your Bengal cat outside? Answer: it depends!

I have just visited my doctor's surgery. I walked down to the clinic (about 25 minutes) and on the way back I saw a beautiful Bengal cat on the sidewalk and then crossing the road before entering the grounds of his home through the grille of a fence where he marked his territory against an object in the front garden. It got me thinking. Why was this Bengal cat outside wandering freely? Should you let your Bengal cat outside? And the answer is, it depends.

Here is the cat I describe. It is a poor quality picture I am afraid:

Bengal cat wandering outside in Kingston Upon Thames
Bengal cat wandering outside in Kingston Upon Thames. Image: MikeB

I do not believe that you can let your Bengal cat go outside in the way that I saw today, to roam freely at will wherever they want to. Bengals are too glamorous and too enticing to steal. The cat I saw was beautiful and stood out.


However, I do believe that Bengal cats should be allowed outside under supervision. This means that if, in the instance I refer to above, you live in a city, it must mean on a lead and harness. You can teach your Bengal cat to accept a lead and harness. This is much easier if you do it when they are young and ideally a kitten.

Most domestic cats need training to accept a harness and lead. Once you do they will generally walk with you although not like a dog. You are going to need a lot of patience and going nowhere for a while they investigate their immediate surroundings. Taking a smart phone with you to surf the internet will help with your patience 😃✔️. But keep a look out for dangers such as dogs.

Also, you can allow a Bengal cat outside if you have a backyard without trees and around which you can place a cat confinement fence. This may be very effective. I think, however, that it will be less effective than a harness and lead.

The reason is that a Bengal cat might be able to escape a cat confinement fence even if it is customised and cleverly constructed. Bengal cats are very athletic, inquisitive and determined. Of all the domestic cats the Bengal is the most likely to escape a cat confinement fence around a backyard.

A third option is a catio which allows a Bengal cat to smell the air and perhaps feel some grass under their feet. Catios are a good compromise between keeping a domestic cat indoors full-time and allowing them to have some sense of nature and stimulation from nature.


The need to stimulate a domestic cat is particularly important with Bengals because they are wildcat hybrids. Wildcat hybrids are generally slightly more intelligent than your typical domestic cat because they inherit their intelligence from their wild cat counterpart which for the Bengal cat is the Asiatic leopard cat.

And because they are confined to the indoors full-time they are likely to get bored and they might become a bit difficult. Plenty of stimulation which means playing with them and customising the interior of your home with, for example, a catio, and climbers is the way forward.

Harness and lead

Personally, I would go for adopting a Bengal kitten and immediately train them to accept a harness and lead from the get go and take them out. The harness should be a thick and secure one. You do not want your Bengal cat wriggling free. Some of the earlier harnesses and the cheaper ones are not, in my opinion, secure enough to stop an anxious Bengal cat wriggling out and running away.

Sometimes domestic cats become anxious and excitable when in a harness on a lead. This can make them do stupid things and in the wrong environment those stupid actions can lead to harm.

Good training when young and sensible supervision when on a lead is the answer.

Dr Bruce Fogle

Dr. Bruce Fogle, the UK's number one veterinarian/author, boldly and confidently states that training your cat is logical. Domestic cats train themselves very often and they sometimes train their owner as well. It is a mutual form of training.

In one of his books, Complete Cat Care he says that when cat owners come into his veterinary clinic it is pretty normal for them to feel guilty about not letting their cats go outdoors. And he recommends what I recommend by saying that:

"If you want to give your cat the option of going outdoors, and it too dangerous for it to do so on its own, training it to walk on a lead is an option for any relaxed cat that's not fearful of the outdoors."

Bengal cats are normally pretty confident and therefore should not be fearful of the outdoors. You can go online, I would suggest Amazon, to find a thoroughly sound harness and lead. Some harnesses are much easier to get into than others. I would pick one of those because it can be difficult to get a cat into a harness! But there again if they are trained from kittenhood it shouldn't be a problem.

Bruce has some lead-training tips and here they are:

  • Training a cat to walk on a lead takes patience. It is designed for confident cats who are not frightened of the outdoors. Note: confidence can be built up and taking your cat for a walk on lead will get them used to the outside safely.
  • If you decide to train your cat to walk on a lead you should continue to do so because once they experience the outside on a lead they will possibly find the indoors boring and it would be unfair on your cat.
  • You should never apply tension to the lead as it is not designed to direct a cat but to simply keep them safe.
  • You should avoid parks with dogs or noisy frightening places. A quiet, possibly fenced area, is the best.
  • During a training session to walk on a lead, if your cat pulls on it wanting to go somewhere, go with the flow and don't pull back as your instincts might direct you. I think that this is where it is different between a dog and a cat. You can't really train a cat like a dog. Cats are trainable but there needs to be a little more flexibility in how you walk a cat on a lead compared to a dog.
  • While walking outside with your cat on a lead, if you don't want to go where your cat wants to go, instead of pulling back, just pick your cat up, move elsewhere and start lead walking again.

Tuesday 20 December 2022

Carole Baskin sums up the advantages of the Big Cat Public Safety Act, now US law

 I am one of those people who admire Carole Baskin tremendously. She has spent 30 years of her life ensuring that this new law, the Big Cat Public Safety Act, comes into force. In the video she tells us that it passed Congress but since then it's been signed off by President Joe Biden and therefore it is now law in the USA.

Note: Come on guys and ladies 😒😢. Judging by the very small number of views of this page almost no one is interested in this and yet it is of major importance in animal welfare in the US. It is huge and a great achievement by Carole Baskin and the others who pushed this law through the legislature.

It tackles two major aspects of big cat ownership. Firstly, it prevents big cat ownership falling into the hands of private individuals where the cats are often mistreated and abused. Carole Baskin in another video says that countries like the UK banned this form of big cat ownership in 1970. She is upset that America has taken until now, 50 years later, to do the same thing.

And secondly, it stops the abuse of big cat cubs in photo sessions and other uses. There are two aspects to be cub abuse. They are torn from their mothers and we don't know the back story to this and how many cubs die in the process et cetera. And secondly when they grow up and become adults they are shipped off to private individuals where they become pets and where they can be mistreated.

"This became the last chance. If it hadn't passed this year I don't think it would have passed with the kind of Congress we have set up for next year. I really think this is the first step to saving the tiger in the wild. And when I say the tiger, I mean the lions, the leopards and everybody because they're all critically endangered." - Baskin

She says that in 20 years' time there will be no big cats in private ownership in the US. It will take that long because the law does not force existing big cat owners to give up their cats. The cats will have to die out. And there will be a while during which the country will have to adjust to enforcing the Big Cat Public Safety Act.

That's going to be a big issue as to how it is enforced and Carole Baskin states that there will need to be a registration process. I presume this applies to existing owners so that they can be tracked and monitored to prevent them adopting and buying further big cats against the law.

There are so many big cats in private ownership in the US that it is going to be difficult to enforce the law. These are backyard private zoos where the animals are often effectively mistreated and treated as "pets".

On so many occasions the police, the first responders, have had to deal with escaped big cats where they've terrorised the public and on occasions they've been shot. This need not happen and going forward it won't happen in the US. The new law protects the public and the cats.

It's been a long time coming. Carole Baskin has many enemies and they are all in the business of abusing big cats for profit. Such is the hatred of her enemies of her that one of them, Joe Exotic, planned to kill her. For that crime he is now serving a life term prison sentence.

Single-handedly it seems she totally unpicked and demolished this objectionable and extensive big cat abuse business in the US. Big cats are vulnerable to abuse because they are very popular. Because they are popular abusers want to breed them to exploit them.

That, over time, will entirely come to an end thanks to the 30 year effort of Carole Baskin. She is the founder and owner of Big Cat Rescue. There are still people who hate her. She is not easily intimidated.

She speaks very eloquently about protecting the wild cats. This new law will also help protect the wild cats living in the wild. She makes the point that today, in the USA, if a person has a piece of jewellery containing a tiger tooth, they can't be stopped and arrested because that tooth may have come from a pet tiger in a private zoo.

But in the future a person carrying such an ornament will be arrested hopefully because it will have come from the wild and to trade in wild tiger body parts has been illegal for many years. That, by the way, is another story because the enforcement of laws preventing the trading of wild species body parts is appalling.

It's critical that the Big Cat Public Safety Act is enforced effectively. A good law without proper enforcement is a bad law.

Monday 19 December 2022

Einstein domestic cat BOTH removes door jammer AND uses door handle to get out

He or she is the Einstein of domestic cats and they are very attractive to boot. This is a standard domestic cat but I see Turkish Van markings. The appearance is what I'd call Mediterranean. Lots of white, a ginger tabby tail and blotchy, large inverted 'Vs' over the head. 

Smart domestic cat opens door by removing door jammer and turning handle
Smart domestic cat opens door by removing door jammer and turning handle. Screenshot.

We know that some domestic cats open doors by using their body weight to pull down on the door handle. But this guy realises that the door has been jammed shut as well. So he climbs up to the height of the door jammer and knocks it out and then uses his normal technique to turn the door handle.

Totally awesome and taking the domestic cat trick of opening a door to new heights ✔️💓.

If the video stops working I am sorry but I don't control its presence as it is served by the website.

The cat's caregiver states: "The cat has a very clear logic. I'm shocked".

Yes, I'm shocked too. You can see him thinking about how he is going to remove the door jammer. And he thinks pretty fast. Sometimes cats can be a bit slow on rational thought and super quick on executing instinctive actions but not this guy or girl.

Perhaps the video will help some people to better understand the sentience of domestic cats and as a consequence respect them more.

A university study asked staff whether domestic animals had the capacity to think and had minds. These are the findings. They ranked dogs over cats on intelligence 😒😢.

Faculty, staff, and graduate students in a number of departments, students in an undergraduate course, and some groups outside the university were polled to obtain their perceptions about whether domestic animals have minds, the ability to think, and differing degrees of intelligence (the surveys focused only on horses, cows, sheep, dogs, chickens, pigs, cats, and turkeys).  

A clear majority of all groups surveyed (except the Department of Zoology) said yes, they believe animals have minds, but a substantial number of those in animal sciences and zoology (17 to 25%) said no. A number of others in animal sciences, zoology, and philosophy (11 to 37%) refused to answer the question because the concept of mind was not defined. From 80 to 100% of respondents in other groups said yes to the question of minds. From 67 to 100% of all participants said yes, they perceive that animals have the ability to think, but a substantial number of animal scientists, zoologists, veterinarians, and English faculty said no, animals don't think (6 to 33%). 

On the question Do domestic animals differ in relative intelligence?, the responses varied from 88% in animal sciences to 100%. Surprisingly, when asked to rank different animal species by intelligence, there was a remarkable degree of similarity across all groups regardless of background; the overall ranking from highest intelligence to lowest was dog, cat, pig, horse, cow, sheep, chicken, and turkey. Most of the respondents believed that the possession of minds, thought, and intelligence were relevant factors in how animals should be treated and the prevalent concept was that we should not be cruel to animals, but should treat them humanely.

Study citation: S. L. Davis, P. R. Cheeke, Do domestic animals have minds and the ability to think? A provisional sample of opinions on the question, Journal of Animal Science, Volume 76, Issue 8, August 1998, Pages 2072–2079,

Saturday 17 December 2022

Russians searching for 400,000 year old prehistoric paleoviruses in Siberia (BIOLOGICAL WARFARE?)

NEWS AND OPINION: Scientists at the Vector research center in the Novosibirsk region of Siberia are analysing the remains of mammoths and woolly rhinoceroses together with other ice age animals to find and revive prehistoric paleoviruses.

Russians searching for a 400,000 year old prehistoric paleovirus in Siberia (BIOLOGICAL WARFARE?)
Photo: Semyon Grigoryev/NEFU

Some of these viruses have been in the permafrost of their area for 200,000-400,000 years. A professor from the National Center of Scientific Research at the University of Aix Marseille, Jean-Michel Claverie, said:

"The Vector research is very, very risky. Our immune systems have never encountered these types of viruses. Some of them could be 200,000 or even 400,000 years old".

He said that these viruses that killed the mammoths and other prehistoric animals would be able to infect humans. In other words they are zoonotic.

It's noteworthy that the Vector state research center of virology and biotechnology is one of 59 maximum-security bar labs in the world. It is a former Soviet biological weapons laboratory.

It is only one of two bio centres that are allowed to keep samples of the deadly smallpox virus. The other is in the United States. The Vector center has a relatively poor reputation because of a number of accidents occurring at the facility.

In 2019 a fire broke out at the facility which is heavily guarded. The fire injured a worker and shattered windows. There were fears that the public would be exposed to deadly pathogens.

In 2000 for a researcher died when she accidentally pricked herself with a needle containing the Ebola virus.

Finally, the laboratory is inspected every two years by the World Health Organisation but, in 2019 the team from the World Health Organisation were unable to observe the researchers conducting practical work because it was closed for scheduled maintenance ostensibly.

The most recent report is dated 2019.

The French have also been involved in similar projects concerning paleoviruses but there's a difference. Last month, in 2022, French scientists announced that they had revived a zombie virus which had been under a lake bed in Yakutia for 50,000 years. However, they were focusing on amoeba-infecting viruses which are almost no danger to humans.

The concern here, as I read the report in The Times is that the Russians are digging up frozen mammoths in order to try and find a virus that can be used against their perceived enemies in biowarfare.

This is a reasonable supposition bearing in mind Putin's invasion of Ukraine and the barbaric, murderous way he is killing civilians in what are quite clearly war crimes.

They want to awaken dormant ancient viruses to further terrorise the world. That is my personal thought on this report.

Forgive me for not discussing cats on this occasion. Although this story does indirectly relate to domestic cats because, for the obvious reason, if people are killed then their cat companions are also killed if they have them. And anything which can harm people in large numbers can also harm domestic cat companions. There is a direct connection.

Wednesday 14 December 2022

Fertile Crescent confirmed as place of origin of domestic cat MU study finds

This is a new study that may interest some people. It basically confirms earlier studies and/or hardens up the theory that wildcat domestication first occurred in the Fertile Crescent, up to 12,000 years ago,  and they were transported to other parts of the world by their owners. Domestic cats might still be described as 'semi-domesticated' because of their ability to switch to a wildcat-like behaviour when allowed to roam outside the home except for the fact that they are socialised to humans.

Similarity in appearance is still evident after 10,000 years. Image: MikeB

Below is a summary of the study from a report from the University of Missouri. The scientist, Leslie A. Lyons, a feline geneticist and Gilbreath-McLorn endowed professor of comparative medicine in the MU College of Veterinary Medicine, was the study leader and author.

Domestic cats are thought to have originated from the wildcat species, Felis silvestris, which still exists today. The domestication of cats is believed to have begun when humans settled in the Fertile Crescent, the region surrounding the Tigris and Euphrates rivers in the Middle East. Cats were attracted to the settlements because of the presence of rodents, which were a source of food for the cats.

Fertile Crescent location where wildcat domestication first occurred.
Fertile Crescent location where wildcat domestication first occurred. Image: MikeB based on one in the public domain as assessed.

The new study at the University of Missouri used DNA analysis to examine the genetic makeup of cats from the Fertile Crescent area and other parts of the world. The researchers found that the genetic makeup of the cats in the Fertile Crescent was similar to that of wildcats, suggesting that the domestication of cats likely began in this region. The researchers also found that as humans migrated to other parts of the world, they likely took their cats with them, resulting in the spread of domesticated cats to other parts of the world.

Fertile Cresent
Another map of the Fertile Crescent. Image in public domain.

Domestic cats, like many other domesticated animals, have evolved to live and thrive in close association with humans. However, unlike other domesticated animals such as dogs, the domestication of cats has not resulted in significant changes to their natural behaviors. Cats are known to be skilled hunters and are able to take care of themselves in the wild, making them "semi-domesticated" animals.

The study at the University of Missouri used genetic analysis to provide evidence for the theory that cats were first domesticated in the Fertile Crescent region of the Middle East and were later transported by humans to other parts of the world. The researchers found that the genetic makeup of cats in the Fertile Crescent was similar to that of wildcats, suggesting that the domestication of cats likely began in this region. As humans migrated to other parts of the world, they likely brought their cats with them, resulting in the spread of domesticated cats to other parts of the world.

Monday 12 December 2022

Dave the stray cat befriended by 2 England footballers in Qatar to come to England

Kyle Walker who marked Kylian Mbappe in the quarter-final match between England and France, said: "John [Stones] named him Dave. Some people really don't like the cat but I love him. I love him."

The Three Lions returned to the UK without the World Cup but Dave the cat is going to be shipped out of Qatar despite the fact that the players said that they would only do it if they won the World Cup. This is a great result for Dave.

Dave on his way to a shelter in preparation for flying to England in due course
Dave on his way to a shelter in preparation for flying to England in due course. Image: Daily Mail photographer.

The promise that they would take him home was made by England defenders Kyle Walker and John Stone.

Before Saturday's defeat against France, Walker added: "Dave is fine. Hopefully I can stick to my promise that he will come home with us if we were to win the World Cup."

The video on this page at the top of the article shows you that Dave is coming home and the ladies in the video I believe are the ones who work at the Qatar Animal Welfare Society. They are being paid £2000 by the players to prepare Dave for his flight to the UK.

He will be micro-chipped, vaccinated, neutered and then he will have to spend four months in quarantine before making his trip to his new life in Manchester, England.

Dave is going to dislike that quarantine session tremendously but his future looks bright because he has somebody who really loves him and who will care for him.

The lady's name is Janet Barry, 68. The Times tells me that she is the head of the society. She said: "Dave a really lovely, talkative tabby and it's easy to see why the players fell in love with him. He's a beautiful cat and will be staying with me before he's flown to the players because we don't want him doing a disappearing act from the hotel.

She further added: "The FA [Football Association] approached me to help them after the players said they wanted him properly looked after and brought home."

The manager of the hotel where they stayed said that there are lots of stray cats around the souq "but Dave is now one of the fattest and healthiest after being fed at England dining tables for so long."

The stray cats are familiar across Qatar. There is one England player who is frightened of cats. He is the midfielder, Jordan Henderson.

His teammates, being aware of this, played pranks on him. A fellow midfielder, James Maddison, said: "The other day [Henderson] was eating and I just went behind him and brushed his leg with my hand. I have never seen someone shoot up so fast. He was so scared."

Sunday 11 December 2022

Are cats in multi-cat homes more stressed and if so does Feliway Friends help?

A grand multi-cat home
A grand multi-cat home. Highly organised and harmonious! Image: Pinterest.

To answer the first part of the question in the title: a study suggests that the number of cats in a household does not significantly impact the level of stress in individual cats. Other factors, such as the relationship with their owners and the availability of resources, may be more important in determining a cat's level of arousal and emotional distress. The study also found that young cats in multi-cat households had lower levels of stress hormones, and that cats who tolerate petting by their owners tend to have higher levels of these hormones (don't like being petted?). These findings suggest that social interactions and positive human-cat interactions may play a role in reducing stress in cats.

There will be some homes where stresses might build up because of the multi-cat environment where they wouldn't normally.

However, a review found that the available evidence on the impact of single versus multi-cat housing on stress in confined cats is limited and inconsistent. While some studies suggested that single housing may be less stressful for cats, others suggested that group housing was less stressful. The review also identified several other factors that may impact a cat's level of stress, such as the socialization status of the cats, the handling and enrichment provided, and the way in which groups were assigned. Overall, the review concludes that more research is needed to determine the optimal housing conditions for confined cats in order to maximize their welfare.

Do artificial pheromones work?

Another study evaluated the effectiveness of a new pheromone product (Feliway Friends) in reducing aggression between housemate cats. The study was a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled pilot trial involving 45 multi-cat households with 2-5 cats each. The participants were given instructions on how to handle aggressive events and were provided with plug-in diffusers containing either the pheromone product or a placebo. Aggressive events were monitored using the Oakland Feline Social Interaction Scale (OFSIS), which assessed the frequency and intensity of 12 different aggressive interactions. The results showed that the use of the pheromone product significantly reduced aggression between housemate cats over time. The study concluded that the pheromone product is a promising treatment for managing aggression in multi-cat households.

The 3 studies in order:

  • Are multi-cat homes more stressful? A critical review of the evidence associated with cat group size and wellbeing
  • A critically appraised topic (CAT) to compare the effects of single and multi-cat housing on physiological and behavioural measures of stress in domestic cats in confined environments
  • Evaluation of the efficacy of an appeasing pheromone diffuser product vs placebo for management of feline aggression in multi-cat households: a pilot study

Comment: domestic cats are very adaptable. At home they have food, warmth and security. A degree of cooperation is needed to keep the group in relative harmony to take full benefit of the rewards on offer.

A source of food is a great motivator for cats to be sociable and get along as best as possible with home ranges that are much reduced from their natural size.

Note: I have deliberately relied on studies as they avoid anecdotal evidence which is often dubious. However, the summaries of the studies are in plain English.

Senior citizens should consider being cat nappers at local animal shelters

Terry volunteers daily at his local shelter to take naps with cats as you can see in the video.  I can't guarantee the video will stay on this page indefinitely. Sorry.

And as you can see in the video, he thoroughly enjoys it and is very good at it. He's made friends with the cats, and they've made friends with him. He says that the experience helps with his health and blood pressure et cetera. I just see a lot of positivity in the video. There's no downside to it.

If you are a senior citizen with time on your hands and if there is an animal shelter not too far from, this, I would have thought, would be an option.

Old hand of a loving cat caregiver and the appreciative cat
Old hand of a loving cat caregiver and the appreciative cat. Image in public domain.

Not only do you meet the cats and provide them with a little bit of human warmth and comfort, you can meet the people who work there as well.

Every senior citizen needs to get out and meet people. It's a basic necessity for humankind. Humans are social creatures.

And connecting with domestic cats at shelter allows Terry to connect with nature. The domestic cat is wild at heart. The wild cat nature is just below the surface.

When you interact with a domestic cat you indirectly interact with nature.

So there you go, it is a project which is bundled up with positivity and goodness. Of course, you got to like cats and you can't be one of the 10-20% of the population who are allergic to cats.

But, then again, if you can't be a professional, unpaid cat napper you might do the same thing with dogs.

What if you live in an apartment and the landlord doesn't allow cats and what if you think that your lifestyle is not really suitable to look after a cat. But you love cats. You might find a compromise and become a professional cat napper.

Terry snoozes with a shelter cat
Terry snoozes with a shelter cat. Screenshot.

Terry Lauerman of De Pere 

This is a convenient moment to write a bit more about Terry. He's been around quite a bit and has become quite famous. He's in his mid-70s and has been dubbed "The Cat Grandpa".

He said: "I've always liked cats and I always had cats when I was kid, and I loved them. In many ways, I see my old cats in these cats here." 

He visits the Safe Haven Pet Sanctuary Inc. When I first saw him sleeping with a cat I thought it was just a one-off incident, but it isn't. He does it all the time.

The shelter said:
"We are so lucky to have a human like Terry. Terry just came along one day and introduced himself. He said he'd like to brush cats. Eventually it became everyday. He brushes all of the cats, and can tell you about all of their likes and dislikes. He also accidentally falls asleep most days. We don't mind - Cats need this! Terry is a wonderful volunteer. 😻❤️🐾 #nappingencouraged #grateful"
I love the way that Terry got up, got out of his home and introduced himself at the shelter. It started out by brushing cats and what a good idea that was.

At the time that Terry became well known and linked to the shelter, in four days they raised more than $40,000 and their website temporarily crashed as its server reported nearly 1,000 people visiting the website per second.

These days he is an official volunteer at the shelter. He first became acquainted with the shelter in 2016 at its previous location in De Pere.

Terry said that the shelter does not cage the animals. I guess this massively facilitates his interactions with them. The shelter relocated to Green Bay's Broadway District in 2017.

In his previous life, Lauerman was a Spanish instructor. Green Bay is a city in the US state of Wisconsin. Wisconsin is a US state in the east of the country and Green Bay is adjacent to Lake Michigan.

Saturday 10 December 2022

One of the best cat videos on TikTok. Rescuer ambushed by a gang of kittens

Image: MikeB from screenshots.

You might have seen this video. If not enjoy it as it is a cracking good one. So cute and so nice too as the outcome is great. The cuteness comes from the fact that the 'lead kitten' - the gang leader - confidently marches up the man as if they are in need of rescuing. Very confident - perhaps driven by starvation. 

The man accepts the approach and clearly intends to rescue this cute tabby-and-white stray kitten. When it was clear to the others, who were watching in the long grass, that the man was safe and good, the gang of 11 more kittens, many white, trot out of the long grass to great their saviour.

@thepetcollective This is the most adorable ambush in the world! 💕😻✨#AnimalRescue #RescueCats #CatParents #KittenTok #KittenRescue #PetRescue #CatTok #ViralCats #CuteCats #CuteKittens #PetAdoption #CatAdoption #Wildlife #Nature ♬ Running Up That Hill (A Deal With God) - Kate Bush

It looks like one big family. Where's the mother and what the hell happened for this gang of 12 kittens to be in long grass? The backstory is a mystery, but it needs to be told. If I was being cynical, you could almost imagine that the whole thing was set up for the cameras! But I won't be cynical.

It does not get better as he rescues them all as far as I am aware. Great guy.

Friday 9 December 2022

Video of Brazilian football team official grabbing a stray cat aggressively at a conference

An unnecessarily aggressive example of human behaviour in manhandling an innocent stray cat who trespassed on Brazil's news conference in Qatar. Shame on the man. You did not have to behave this aggressively towards the cat. There is anger in your behaviour. This is a cross post from PoC as it is interesting in that is hints at the general abuse that can be directed at stray cats in Brazil.

Here is a screenshot and some words:

The problem is this: the man hurt the cat by grabbing the cat's skin along the spine. Also, to grab the scuff of the neck aggressively like this is not good when the cat is an adult. There is too much weight placed on the loose skin. He dumps the cat unceremoniously over the table.

The aggressive behaviour of the media official indicates a poor relationship with cats. This was a press conference at Qatar before the Brazil versus Croatia quarter final which Brazil have just lost on penalties.

Neymar scored the only goal in the first half of extra time - a great goal - and Croatia got the equalizer late in the second half of extra time. Croatia won on penalties 4-2.

Tragedy for Brazil as they were favourites. Some might say it is karma for the mild abuse meted out to this stray tabby cat who innocently wandered into the news conference.

The journalists present were aghast at the rough and aggressive behaviour of the official. PETA complained justifiably.

Drivers should make a quick but vital check before setting off in their car this winter

There are two ways that domestic, stray and feral cats can use parked cars to help them survive a cold winter:

  1. Rarely but significantly, some cats and sometimes kittens crawl into the engine space to warm up because the car has been recently used and the engine compartment is still warm. They might stay there until the next morning when the car is reused.
  2. More commonly and not quite as dangerous for the cat, they might go under a car to shelter and for protection.

In fact, when I go for a walk with my cat along the pavement (sidewalk) to buy the paper in the early hours of the morning, my cat goes under cars. I don't like it and I wait for him, and he eventually waits in a certain position which is safe to pick me up when I return.

Larry the Cat underneath President Trump's car
Larry the Cat underneath President Trump's car. Image in public domain as assessed. The then President Trump was visiting the UK's Prime Minister at No. 10 and he arrived in The Beast, his bomb proof car. Larry is the resident cat at No 10.

But the point is obvious; cats like to go under cars because they provide protection above them, and they feel secure and warmer.

In those places where there are lots of stray or feral cats and indoor/outdoor cats, it obviously makes sense for drivers to check around their cars and under their cars in the morning for a cat that might be sheltering from the frost. It'll take 60 seconds.

I have to say, that I sometimes do it myself not to protect stray cats because there are none in my area but to protect my cat who is an indoor/outdoor cat. Sometimes he makes his way to the front of the house where the car is parked, and it is just possible he may go under the car and be there when I use it.

The danger is probably slight because when you get into a car and start the engine you make a noise which will frighten them, and they will run off. However, that scenario is not certain. They may be snoozing for example.

And nobody wants to be responsible for the death of somebody's pet cat.'s spokesperson, Tim Alcock, said:

 "We're asking every driver to spend a couple of minutes checking for any pets that might be lurking around the tyres or under the car. If you do find a cat under the car, give it a nudge or shoo it away before turning on the engine. It's important for all drivers to be aware of this and not just those who own cats. After all, cats don't just target their owner's cars for a snooze. Accidentally harming a neighbour's cat could seriously damage relations with the neighbour themselves and could lead to all kinds of bitterness and other issues".

The last point I think is an important one. The loss of a cat is bad enough but if that is compounded by an ongoing dispute with your neighbour the problem becomes far worse.

Neighbour disputes about cats are not uncommon. I've had one myself. A neighbour two houses down put down rat poison to protect her damned roses. My cat is a committed hunter. I told her that it was dangerous to put down rat poison because my cat frequented that area around her house.

She refused to change her mind and use rat traps for example. My immediate neighbours would not speak up on my behalf. I fell out with both my neighbours. My cat brought in a poisoned rat and was contemplating eating it before I stopped him. He was that close to being poisoned.

I have not been friendly with the neighbour who put down the rat poison and I won't be again. I'm on speaking terms with my immediate neighbour after a year.

The story does not concern cars and cats, but it does concern neighbour disputes about cats and their safety.

Should cats be allowed on aeroplanes when 10-20% of people are allergic?

I think that this is a good question raised by Jacqueline Swartz writing for CNN. It is against the domestic cat and therefore I am a bit reluctant to write the article but, as I said, it's a good point. I think it needs discussing at least briefly.

Reluctant feline flier
Reluctant feline flier. Image:

Jacqueline is allergic to cats. In fact, she says that she is severely allergic and vulnerable to allergic asthma. Quick research indicates that 10-20% of people are allergic to domestic cats. That is up to one in five people.

If there are a hundred people on an aircraft, 20 of them will be allergic to cats at a maximum. That's quite a big number and if there are 200 people on the plane you can double it.

Of course, not everyone is going to feel the effects of a cat in the aircraft's cabin as you have to be quite near, I would suggest, to the cat in a carrier to get the effect and therefore perhaps only one or two people allergic to cats will suffer negative consequences.

But as you probably know the feline cat allergen is carried on cat dander which disperses throughout the environment in which the cat finds themselves. I would suspect, therefore, that some cat dander travels out of the cat carrier into the cabin.

That might be a good point because it means it rests on the seats and I wonder if over time it builds up or whether the cleaners vacuum the seats or wash them down regularly.

Apparently, more people are allergic to cats than dogs because in writing this article you have got to think that if you are considering banning cats from aircraft you got to consider banning dogs from aircraft too.

One person who supports Jacqueline's argument that there should be a discussion about allowing cats on aeroplanes is an allergy and asthma specialist Dr. Mark C Jacobson, a former president of the Illinois Society of Allergy and Immunology.

He said:

"There are no hypoallergenic breeds of cat or dog.....The confined space of a plane could definitely pose a hazard for patients with cat allergy sufferers."

He confirmed that the dander is small and sticky and attaches itself to aeroplane seats.

I think it has to be admitted right away that there is no possibility of banning cats from aircraft! The only solution is for people who are allergic to cats to do something to protect themselves.

With billions of Covid-19 masks available to us, wearing one wouldn't look out of place and it could help prevent the dander from getting into the person's airways.

Apparently, air circulating throughout aircraft cabins passes through a HEPA air filter. Most airlines have them which may also help. But it probably wouldn't help if you are sitting near a cat.

Jacqueline says that on her six-hour Air Canada trip from Bogota she asked the flight attendant where the cat was located as she'd learnt that a cat was sharing the cabin with her. She was told the cat was three rows behind her! She wasn't allowed to move seats as the flight was full. And she also learned from the attendant that there were other cats and dogs on the plane.

Pets must remain in their carriers under the seat during the flight when they travel in the cabin.

Jacquelin's research informed her that economy passengers can call the airline ahead and reserve a seat five rows from the nearest cat! That might not work but there again it might.

Jeff Lane who works for United Airlines said:

"We try to be sensitive and move you away from cats. We deal with this day in and day out."

You wouldn't realise that it was such a big issue. Sometimes airlines allow eight pets in the cabin on a flight. United Airlines allow six pet cases in the cabin of Boeing 787, 777 and 767 aircraft. Four pets are allowed in the cabin of Airbus 320s and 319s.

This seems to be a pet problem (forgive the pun) of cat allergy sufferers. Tonya Winders, president of the Virginia-based Global Allergy Airways Patient Platform said: "We have been trying to raise awareness of cat allergy in cabins since 1985".

The Federal Aviation Administration's Air Carrier Access Act is meant to protect people with disabilities including severe allergies in aircraft cabins. The advice apparently is to select airlines that don't allow cat in cabins. If they do call ahead and try and sit as far as you can away from a cat and have a conversation with your doctor before flying!

Thursday 8 December 2022

3 reasons why Persian cat always sits by shower cubicle when owner showers

This user, Mary, asks whether any other cat owned by the community sits by the glass shower screen when their owner is in the shower as you see in the photo below. And they are asking why this is happening. I think I know the reasons.

3 reasons why Persian cat always sits by shower cubicle when owner showers
3 reasons why this Persian cat always sits by shower cubicle when owner showers. Image: Reddit user: u/Maryy_returns

There are three:

  1. The shower and the surrounding bathroom have a strong smell of the person showering who is the human caregiver of the cat waiting outside the shower cubicle. This is because the warm water and steam distributes the body scent around the bathroom. It is the body scent of the person showering which attracts this gorgeous Persian cat to sit and wait. It's an attractant to him or her. Domestic cats are very involved with scents and smells. They connect with a person through their scent, and they identify a person by their scent.
  2. Another reason is that their owner (believed to me Mary) has gone behind a glass screen and therefore becomes inaccessible. It is almost as if the person has decided to leave their cat. It's as if from the cat's perspective that they have placed a barrier between themselves and their cat. This is slightly disturbing, and her is trying to figure out why it's happening. And he will wait until that barrier is removed which happens when Mary steps out of the shower cubicle.
  3. The third reason is an obvious one namely that this cat wants to be with their owner wherever they are within the home. They probably have a very close relationship and while Mary is at home, they are together a lot. She might be away during the day and therefore her cat has a particular desire to be with her when they are at home. This is a great motivator and a background reason which when added to the above results in this Persian cat sitting patiently outside the shower cubicle.

I guess it is 90% common sense. The fact that cats are so switched on to body scent is also another reason why when their owner goes to the toilet in the bathroom their cat might routinely or might occasionally join them at least briefly and then perhaps wait outside. 

They are attracted to the odours from the bathroom. That sounds a bit rude but for the cat, it isn't. It's a world in which scent plays an important role which is demonstrated in these ways.

Some domestic cats go even further. For example, the wildcat hybrid cats such as the F1 Savannah sometimes like to go into the shower cubicle with their owner. They don't mind the water and it puts them in direct contact with their owner which they enjoy.

Wednesday 7 December 2022

Infographic on speciesism and how it can lead to animal abuse

Here is an article built around an infographic on speciesism and how it can lead to animal abuse. It is greatly unfair to indulge in speciesism. I firmly that we should treat all animals equally and on a par with humans. A lofty and perhaps unattainable goal.

Here are some quick thoughts on speciesism and how it can lead to animal abuse. They are instant thoughts, no more. A stream of consciousness. Please add yours in a comment. It is common sense that if a person regards one species of animal as of lower value than another it is likely that they will treat that animal less well. And if, in addition, they believe that animals are lesser creatures to humans it increases the chances of animal maltreatment. This is speciesism in action.

Cat and dog meat

When I think of speciesism I sometimes think of cat and dog meat. It is a pet topic of mine. Perhaps I shouldn't think of it. But the cause or the underlying reason for cat and dog meat is speciesism. The celebrated contemporary artist Ai Weiwei, a Chinese citizen now living in Portugal, says that the Chinese' relationship with animals is one of functionality. Animals need to be functional and serve the human.


It is based upon an old-fashioned idea I would suggest in the modern era that humans have dominion over animals, and they are there to serve us. The concept of "dominion" comes from the Bible. The Bible did untold harm in my opinion. Christianity has a very bad relationship with animal abuse. Think of the persecution of domestic and stray cats during the Middle Ages under the orders of a papal bull.

So, in the modern era cat and dog meat is a form of speciesism. A very brutal and horrific form. It isn't the actual eating of cats and dogs that is perhaps the worrying aspect of this tradition going back perhaps thousands of years. It is the fact that they have to be killed brutally in order for the meat to taste good and be medicinal. That's the superstition and cat and dog meat which is based upon superstition. Cat meat is eaten in many other countries including USA.


Superstition is part of speciesism. They are in the same rotten group of human thoughts and behaviours. And as I say in the Infographic, there are millions of examples of speciesism.


The domestic cat is loved by the majority of people but there is a significant number who hate the domestic cat and more so the stray and feral cat. In Australia they hate feral cats because it preys upon their wildlife. It is an invasive species. It is vermin in Australia. They need to be killed as fast as possible. This is speciesism. The human is superior to cats, and dogs are also superior to cats.

The feral cat is at the bottom in terms of a hierarchy of animal species. Small, native mammal species in Australia preyed upon sometimes by the feral cat are considered to be far more important and valued more highly than cats in general in Australia in my view.

This too is an example of speciesism, and it results in an enormous amount of abuse and cruelty of cats on that continent.


In China dogs were beaten to death before the Olympic Games in Beijing. They, too, were considered to be pests. During Covid, I recall in one instance a group of men in white hazmat suits walking into a flat and beat a pet beloved dog to death in order to try and control the spread of Covid. This was 'just a dog' not a human and therefore it could be beaten to death without any conscience. It was ghastly and another horrific instance of speciesism in China.

I don't want to harp on about China, but you will see a lot of this animal abuse based upon speciesism in that large Asian country.


Sometimes important animals can be reduced to lowly animals in the eyes of humans. Take for example the tiger. An iconic species. An endangered species. One that needs protection on this planet. Many people in India try and protect the Bengal tiger.

Unfortunately, it is poached for its body parts by traders who take the body back to China where those body parts are converted into medicinal products such as tiger bone wine for the Traditional Chinese Medicine market which is enormous. TCM as it is called is perhaps the biggest threat to the extinction of the Bengal tiger on this planet. Even more so than habitat loss. This is a dire example of speciesism.

An iconic species has been reduced to livestock to be cut up and eaten for superstitious reasons. And livestock are abused all over the world because they are just that "livestock". They are there to serve people. To provide food to people. They are not sentient to farmers although they are sentient creatures.

They feel pain and anguish, highs and lows but to farmers there are just livestock and to be killed and eaten. Another example of speciesism leading to animal abuse.


It is Paul McCartney, of the Beatles who said that if abattoirs had glass walls nobody would eat meat anymore. A clear statement that what goes on in an abattoir is horrific and people should see it. It might change some people from being speciesist to non-speciesist. It might change people from meat eaters to vegans and vegetarians. This is McCartney's objective.

Cats and dogs

Speciesism can occur in more minor ways. Take dogs and cats. Some people are dog people others are cat people are. The truth is that people should be animal people and like dogs and cats equally and if you don't like dogs but like cats you should at least respect dogs and treat them nicely as you would a cat in terms of fundamental welfare.

But some dog people hate cats, and they see cats as sinister and aloof. She them as aggressive and difficult and uncommunicative. They don't see them as loving companion animals which they are. And you will see many instances of stray cat abuse by people who dislike cats. A further example of speciesism. These people put dogs on a pedestal, but they put cats in the gutter.

Singer versus PETA

Singer's definition is only about humans being superior to animals but in my view, it is far better to define speciesism in a way that PETA has namely that it is differentiating between animal species and giving some animals greater value than others as well as giving humans greater value than all animals. This is a wider definition and I think far more useful because a lot of animal abuse comes about through treating some animals as sentient and others as non-sentient.


What about fish? A lot of people regard fish as nuts and bolts. Didn't see them are sentient creatures. These huge trawlers fish the oceans for millions of fish. When they are caught and dumped onto the deck of their boats they suffocate because they can no longer taking oxygen from water. So, they die of suffocation and in pain. Can fish feel pain? Yes, is the answer to that question.

Once you regard fish as inanimate objects and non-sentient you are engaging in the act of speciesism resulting in the abuse of this devalued animal which is purely regarded as a source of food and non-sentient.


What about bees and wasps? Bees have been found to be quite intelligent. They enjoy playing with balls and pushing them around the place. People will often simply swot bees and wasps to death when they come into their home because they are 'just insects'. But insects are animals and to simply swot a bee because you feel it is dangerous is yet another example of speciesism.

"Cats try to RUIN Christmas trees" discuss!

It is that time of year when websites sometimes discuss the interaction between cats and Christmas trees 😎. And this is where it goes wrong 😢. There's one website from New Zealand called Stuff which has a title as follows: "Watch: 12 times cats tried to ruin Christmas trees". This is a big website with an influence, and I don't like the title (Kiwis don't like cats!). I am being too serious, but this is a title which imports speciesism into the discussion.

Domestic cat pulls over Christmas tree
Domestic cat pulls over Christmas tree. See video below.

Domestic cats don't try and ruin Christmas trees. They try and climb them because that is what domestic cats want to do. They need to entertain themselves in the sterile human environment in which they are placed and forced to live. Strong words.

@yoilseari please send tips so this won’t happen again #cat #catsoftiktok #christmas #cats #fyp #foryoupage ♬ original sound - Ilse ◡̈

So why criticise them for trying to ruin Christmas trees? They are simply climbing them and enjoying the experience. If that results in the Christmas tree falling over and smashing to bits so be it.

It is not a conscious effort by a domestic cat to ruin a Christmas tree. I am spelling out the obvious and I'm sure that I am being incredibly tiresome and boring in doing so.

However, the title that I refer to on the Internet is a misdescription and a form of speciesism.

No doubt there are many videos of domestic cats pulling over Christmas trees. There are an equal number of methods to protect Christmas tree such as putting kitchen foil all around the tree. This works pretty effectively because it looks sort of Christmassy while at the same time protecting the tree because domestic cats hate to walk on tin foil. They don't understand it and it makes a funny noise which puts them off very effectively.

My theory is that the sound of tinfoil being walked on sounds a bit like a viper or a rattlesnake. Cats don't like snakes although it must be said that they are very effective at killing snakes particularly the sand cat. This is made possible by the fact that the domestic cat's reflexes are sharper than those of the snake!

Back to Christmas trees. The video on this page I think is priceless. That is a bit of a pun because there is a financial price to pay when a cat knocks over a beautiful Christmas tree as we see in the video.

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