Monday 31 July 2023

British couple on Rhodes drove through Dante's Inferno with five cats and three dogs

NEWS AND COMMENT: The video tells the harrowing story. They were all terrified. He says his fear was 11 out of 10. They'd been feeding deer before the wild fires. When they returned home after their terrifying escape, they discovered that the fire had killed the deer. She had fawns. I presume they are dead too. Lots of wildlife has been killed by the Greek fires which have forced thousands of holiday-makers to abandon their vacation sometimes at great expense.


Euronews reports that many Greeks abandoned their pets when under extreme pressure to leave their homes resulting in many animal deaths. Was this necessary? Couldn't they have prepared earlier knowing the fires were approaching? 

Personally, I am critical of pet owners who abandon their animals when a wild fire approaches as there is always plenty of forewarning.

Although I don't know the exact circumstances, it could be argued that the British couple featured in the video left their home too late. They were forced to take great risks to escape, driving into flames around the road. 

I just don't see it like others. I feel that a lot of home owners are very reluctant to leave their homes when there is a wildfire in the area. They hope that the fire will move away from them. They wait and wait until forced to flee. But in doing that they jeopardise their lives and the lives of their pets.

Of course, it is easy for me to be a little critical but I think I am right. Leaving at the last minute is understandable as they want to protect their home and contents. They could lose it all. The lady in the video lost her car which was uninsured as it was a classic.

As often happens, it is the companion animals who can be the innocent victims if people leave it too late to get out. There is an added responsibility on cat and dog caregivers under these emergency situations. Playing safe is the better option in discharging that responsibility I'd say.

Sunday 30 July 2023

Can a university student on campus successfully own a cat when the cat remains at home with their mother (who does not like cats) and sisters?

Rehoming can be the best solution sometimes
Rehoming can be the best solution sometimes. 
Image by Daga_Roszkowska from Pixabay 

Can a university student on campus own a cat successfully when the cat remains at home with their mother and sisters? The actual question on Reddit.com is: Mom is threatening to give cat away because she’s scared of cats and afraid, he’s gonna scratch the furniture.

This is part of her post:
My cat is a year old and he’s mostly chill but has his moments of just running around. My mom is the type where she stays locked in her room when the cat is out and when she’s out she makes my cat stay in my room. I live on campus but come back every weekend so my sisters take care of him in the meantime. 

The following is my answer to the enquiry. Please tell me what you think in the comment.

This is another post from Reddit.com which is about people disliking cats. In this instance, a woman who I believe goes to university has to leave her cat at her mother's home when she is on campus. And her mother says that she doesn't like cats and doesn't want the cat to be around her home. The university student has sisters who also live with her mother at her mother's home. They look after the cat when she is away at university but it doesn't work very well because, as mentioned, the mother doesn't like cats. She is threatening to get rid of the cat so what can the university student do?

And my conclusion is that this young woman, the university student, is not in a settled enough world of her making to currently live successfully with a domestic cat. The situation is too fragmented and unmanageable particularly with the mother who dislikes cats and is concerned about scratched furniture.

The answer in my view is to rehome the cat into a nice home with a loving family where the cat feels welcome. That, in my view, is the responsibility of the current cat owner. When a person adopts or buys a cat, they take on the responsibility of caring for their cat for the cat's life and if things don't work out for whatever reason - and there has to be genuine reasons to give up a cat - the final responsibility of the owner is to rehome the cat carefully.

It is a last resort but sometimes it is the best solution. I think people should be open to that solution but it does hinge on careful rehoming. They might rely upon a good rescue center to do it but great care should be taken because some rescue centres euthanize cats if they can't rehome them. That would not be an option in my view.

I don't think that it is a failure or a weakness to give up your cat to a good home if you genuinely believe it is in the interests of the cat. If that objective is kept in mind, it is fair and sensible. If the objective is to make life more convenient for the owner, then this is not a good reason. That said, if a cat owner is that laissez-faire and uncommitted to cat ownership as to consider getting rid of a cat because they are annoyed by their presence then they probably should rehome them in any case.

My new roommate is scared of cats. How to train my cat to stay away from her?

Ailurophobia
Ailurophobia. Image: MikeB

The question in the title was asked on Reddit.com about two months ago. It's a good question because there must be lots of occasions when young people share a home and have their own rooms and in which there might be a domestic cat belonging to one of the roommates. Not all roommates will be relaxed around a domestic cat. In some instances, a person might be genuinely fearful. It may be an irrational fear of cats which is called ailurophobia. This is the beginning of her post:

Hi, I have a 1year old female orange cat. She is quiet and a curious cat. So, my new roommate although she is doesn't like them, but from her behaviour it seems she's afraid. Every time she sees my cat from distance screams, my cat runs towards her to smell her and she keeps jerking or screaming.

Ailurophobia can be cured because it is irrational and it probably arises because of a traumatic incident when the person was young involving a cat. Perhaps they were scratched or bitten when they were impressionable toddlers. They become sensitive, overly sensitive to the presence of cats. You can desensitise people by gradually introducing them to cats at a distance and in a safe way such as putting the cat in a carrier and allowing the fearful person to sit in the same room as the carrier.

That would be a good starting point and then gradually you bring the carrier nearer the person and over time it would be satisfactory to open the carrier and allow the person to sit near the cat. You might start with a kitten rather than an adult cat which might be more acceptable to a person fearful of cats.

The point is that it is far easier to train a person to begin to accept cats and not be fearful of them than it would be to train a cat to avoid a person who is fearful of cats. I don't think it would be practical to train a cat to do that. Especially in a small space such as a shared home.

Of course, the person fearful of cats could frighten the cat away all the time which would probably deter the cat going near her but that I think would be very much second best and in any case a form of cat abuse.

The solution is in the hands of people and the concerns people behaviour. Below is my shortened version of the answer which I left on the Reddit.com website as a comment. It says the same thing.

I have an article on this on another website. The link to that page is below.

How to Cure Ailurophobia?

For the sake of completeness, I will prefer to Dr. Desmond Morris's words on this topic. I mention that ailurophobia might start with a traumatic incident. A second way in which cat phobia can arise stems from an irrational fear on the part of parents that the family cat might try to smother the newly arrived baby by sitting on them or lying on them when they are asleep in their crib. 

This is an old wives' tale and people still believe it. Not that often I have to say. This parental fear may be transmitted to their children because many a child may experience a shrieking mother rushing into the nursery and yelling at the cat to leave the room. The child develops an association between cats and panic which leaves him or her panicked when in the presence of a domestic cat.

It appears that in studies women were more likely to suffer from the affliction than men. It has been suggested that there may be a sexual content to ailurophobia. This is because the cat has often been seen as a symbol of sexuality. It's possible that in some instances an intense fear of the feline may reflect a suppressed sexuality on the part of the woman suffering from ailurophobia.

Many who suffer from the condition believe that there is no cure and they go through life with this irrational fear. In an extreme, sometimes they refuse to go outside in case that they meet up with a cat on the street. That would be extremely sad. There is certainly a cure as mentioned. It just takes patience and a willingness on the part of the sufferer to participate fully to a successful conclusion.

Saturday 29 July 2023

Cat calls the family dog to come inside and he responds

@brittney.georgiana Talkative fat boi #fyp #cat #funny #talkingcat #blackcatsoftiktok ♬ original sound - Brittney Georgiana
In the viral video shared by TikToker Brittney Georgiana (@brittany.georgiana), her large black cat, Jinks sits by the open door to their yard, meowing loudly. She thinks that Jinks is calling the family dog. It looks like it as the dog, a German Shepherd, Dax, responds as asked!

Well, it's cute and Britteney does a nice job of translating Jinks' meows. She says her cat was feeling talkative. This means Jinks was talkative before he called Dax. This means Jink is not calling Dax! It is possible that Jink was calling Dax to approach. That seems more plausible.

Friday 28 July 2023

Make £400 ($514) in a few weeks as a cat sitter

The headline in The Sun newspaper paints an almost utopian picture of cat-human heaven in which a person is employed as a cat sitter in London, UK and they looked after three cats in different locations over Christmas for a period of three weeks at the end of which they have earned £400 in cash. 

Make £400 ($514) in a few weeks as a cat sitter
Cat sitting. Image: supplied.

That of course is worth more if you are paying tax because you don't pay tax on the cash you earn! I am not suggesting fraudulent behavior!

It is called a side hustle so I presume that you do this in addition to another part-time job. It is designed to help people get over the so-called cost of living crisis which has resulted in people being short of cash. And resulted in cat abuse - click here to read that story.

Of course, it might be an enjoyable job if you like cats. However, it is a responsible job because, although it looks easy, I don't think it is. The person who wrote The Sun article, Miranda Knox (the cat sitter), gives the impression that it is easy and convenient but no.

You have the responsibility of looking after three cats in three different locations. What happens to them when the you aren't there? What if they 'escape' (if they are indoor cats) and get run over? Who is responsible? It is the cat sitter. The owner maybe thousands of miles away but they expect their cat to be well looked after and secure.

There is a great responsibility in looking after someone else's domestic cat. And to discharge that responsibility you receive £10-£15 a day just for one visit. That would amount to £15 per visit in effect.

I've always said that I would be reluctant to look after someone else's cat because to the client (the cat's owner) their cat is very important (or should be). If something goes wrong all hell would break loose and I think the responsibility is worth more than £15 per visit.

Trust

As a cat sitter, you have to build up to the situation where people can trust you. For example, I, as a cat owner, would not allow someone else to look after my cat if I was away for a week unless I knew that person absolutely or they had great references. 

Even then I don't think I would do it. Note: I have gone away once while living with my current cat and I took him with me in a large carrier. He's been in my company every day of his life except for the first 7 weeks when he was a feral cat.

Acquainted

For a cat sitter to do their job properly they must become acquainted with the ultimate client i.e. the cat. You can't just put a cat sitter in someone else's home as a complete stranger to the cat.

If a stranger enters a home and the owner isn't there, the cat will be particularly sensitive to the stranger's presence and behaviour. As a cat sitter, you're quite liable to elicit an aggressive reaction from a cat who's home alone while their owner has gone off to Spain for a holiday three hours earlier.

I expect that part of the contract is that the cat's owner spends time with their cat in the company of the cat sitter before they leave them alone. Although I'm not sure that that would happen every time despite the fact that it would seem to be essential to me.

Cat's character

Even the outcome in terms of cat welfare depends a lot on the cat's character and how confident they are. For a lot of cats, it takes quite a long time for them to get used to strange people. They might be very easy to get on with or not.

Insurance

What about insurance? I think you'll need it to protect yourself against damage to the property and being sued by the owner for breach of contract! I'm painting a bleak picture, aren't I?

Cats becomes ill

Don't think that being a cat sitter is easy money for doing almost nothing. And there's the usual chores such as cleaning the litter tray, making sure they are well fed and in good health. You have to know a bit about feline health and behavior I'd say. If the cat starts to behave strangely, are they ill? What do you do? Complications.

Miranda Cox works from a cat-sitting website called Cat in a Flat.

Did the cost-of-living crisis and the pandemic cause "an animal welfare crisis"?

NEWS AND VIEWS - UK: Online news media, today, is blaming the cost-of-living crisis in the UK combined with the Covid-19 pandemic and its aftermath for "creating an animal welfare crisis with vital services [which] are stretched to the limit".

Did the cost-of-living crisis and the pandemic cause "an animal welfare crisis"?
Picture by the RSPCA.

Before I go into the details of two reports from different sources about this animal welfare crisis in different parts of the UK, I would like to add immediately that it is a very poor excuse that animal welfare becomes a crisis because people have less money in their pocket or it is after the pandemic.

The RSPCA reports that there were 1072 cat cruelty reports in 2022 in Wales, UK and out of these complaints, 600 were calls concerning neglect and 89 regarded intentional harm. The RSPCA received three reports every minute.

This, in my opinion, has nothing to do with the pandemic or money. When you adopt a cat - and it does not matter whether you adopt that cat during the pandemic, before it or after it - you do so with a commitment to care for that cat for the cat's lifetime. 

And if an emergency happens or a catastrophe occurs to you which affects your finances and you feel that you must release your cat to somebody else, you commit to rehoming the cat yourself with care and concern or you take your cat to a shelter and asked them to do it. 

The RSPCA run shelters. Also, in the UK Cats Protection run shelters via foster homes.

Running out of money because of the cost-of-living crisis or because it is post-Covid is not a reason for harming your cat or abandoning your cat or being neglectful of your cat. This is very poor reporting and thinking. It is not critical enough.

Everybody goes through difficult times but you can surmount them and you don't have to give up your cat in the process. I would bet my bottom dollar that all the cat cruelty reports reported to the RSPCA had no connection whatsoever, if you analysed it properly, to the cost-of-living crisis or the pandemic.

It'll be about carelessness, wanton neglect, callousness, hating cats, immoral behaviour; all these things about more likely to be behind cat cruelty.

Separately, the BBC reports also about the RSPCA cat cruelty reports regarding 2022. The BBC reports on the county of Lincolnshire in the UK. They say that hundreds of cats were intentionally harmed, neglected or abandoned in 2022.

Apparently, it is the RSPCA who think that the Covid pandemic and the cost-of-living crisis is to blame. Are they guessing? Are they just going along with the general flow because I see a lot of news media reports on the cost-of-living crisis and how it impacts people's finances. You don't make a presumption because people are short of money that they have to be cruel to their cat. That is not an equation which adds up automatically.

Nationally, the BBC reports, that almost 18,000 cat cruelty complaints were reported to the RSPCA in 2022 and they include abandonments, neglect and intentional harm. There were 1726 intentional harm incidents which included killings, beatings, poisonings and "improper killings". This represents a 25% increase from the year before.

The RSPCA pick up the pieces. They see an awful lot of cat cruelty but this cat cruelty is perpetrated by immoral, miscreants; people who are bad and who have no sensitivity towards animal sentience. Let's not pass the buck onto something which doesn't really exist.

Thursday 27 July 2023

Compromise in decisions about cat caregiving is often an important factor

Most decisions in life whether they be about cat caregiving or anything else rely on compromise of some sort. It is only on matters concerning morality and guilt and innocence in criminal matters that decisions are black-and-white.

You don't have to look far in decision-making about cat caregiving to realise that compromise is the best way forward.

Example of a garden enclosure
Example of a garden enclosure. Image: MikeB

Providing food

Perhaps the best overall diet for a domestic cat is a compromise between wet, dry and treats. You provide wet food during the daytime when your cat asks for it or you provide it at those times that you know your cat wants to eat. You provide some high quality, large-pelleted (normally) dry cat food at night time to allow your cat to graze especially if they are indoor/outdoor cats and therefore are burning energy and need their energy levels topped up, and you give them some treats from time to time. You are not relying on one type of food but a cross-section. The default food is high quality wet but there are some advantages to other types. But the dry should be high quality. Unfortunately, it is far too expensive. I feel I am being ripped off by the pet food manufacturers.

Indoor/outdoor

There is a big debate about allowing cats freedom to go outside at their will or keeping them inside for their safety and for their owner's peace of mind. Sometimes a compromise between these two is the best answer. For example, you can keep your cat inside but build a garden enclosure or, less effectively, a catio attached to your home. Catios are very good but a garden enclosure which keeps the cat inside the garden but allow them to be outside to experience those outdoor sensations is better.

And to add to that you might train your cat to walk on a lead and then take them outside on a lead. The garden enclosure and walk your cat on a lead M.O. is a nice compromise between keeping them indoors full-time in a sterile environment or allowing them outside through a cat flap which might be dangerous depending upon where you live.

Once again, the compromised decision is the best one sometimes.

Allowing your cat into the bedroom

Some cat owners bar their cat from the bedroom by closing the bedroom door at night. This can be very unfair in my view because a cat wants to come into the bedroom because it is a place where there are strong smells of their owner. It is a core place or in the words of Jackson Galaxy, a "scent soaker".

But if you allow your cat on your bed at night it may disturb your sleep and you just simply do not want that kind of disturbance. A compromised decision might be the best answer. You build a little nest/bed area for your cat in your bedroom which contains some of your clothes. You would hope that your cat uses it rather than jumping on your bed and waking you up and disturbing your sleep. This method will allow your cat into the bedroom while minimising the disturbance. A good compromised decision.

Handling your cat and petting your cat

To be honest, petting your cat is a compromise. It's a compromise between what you want to do and what your cat accepts. Cats do not automatically enjoy being petted but it is automatic that people like to pet their cat if they are in a good relationship. So, the compromised decision is that you decide to pet your cat but in a way which pleases your cat companion. That means doing it gently in avoiding those areas which are out of bounds and doing it for a set period of time which means not overdoing it. Another example of compromised in decision-making concerning cat caregiving.

There are many other examples. I have provided four from the top of my head without much thinking. In general life, as mentioned, nearly all the decisions that we make our compromises; to find a middle way which works the best. It is very rare that one is able to make a pure decision in an absolute sense because there are too many competing factors.

Wednesday 26 July 2023

Naming your new son Toby when your recently deceased cat was called Toby

A woman on Reddit asked for advice about naming her son who is yet to be born 'Toby' when her recently deceased elderly cat was named Toby. She loves the name but doesn't want to upset members of the family as they might dislike the association between her cat's name and the proposed name of her son. She is in a quandary over it.

Toby a good name for a cat
Toby a good name for a cat. Image: MikeB

One responder to her request for advice found the solution I believe. Neit_1146 suggested that she name her son the long version of Toby which is Tobias.

The Baby Centre website says this about the name Toby:

A shortened form of Tobias, from Tobiyah, meaning "God is good" from the Greek towb, meaning "good" and yahweh, the Hebrew name of "God". Pronounced: toh bee. Actor Tobey Maguire is famed for his title role in the "Spiderman" films.

She might adopt the longer version of the shortened version! This would be Tobey as in the actor who played Spiderman.

That should scotch any potential objections from other family members, I hope.


Here are some strange Medieval domestic cat names if you are interested. Completely different. I wonder what we can infer from the difference?



Woman licks her cat like a feline mother but is she ingesting fleas!

The news media calls this a 'strange addiction' and it describes a woman uploading videos to Instagram of herself licking her cat like a feline mother. You know what I mean: when a queen (a cat mom who has just given birth) licks her kittens to keep them clean which includes the anal area!

RELATED: Can I get a tapeworm from my cat?

Woman licks her cat like a feline mother but is she ingesting fleas!
Woman licks her cat like a feline mother but is she ingesting fleas! Image: Instagram screenshot.

Only this woman sensibly agrees that she should not lick the anal area of her cat companion because that would be horrible, she said. Also, she does not lick the feet of her cat companion because there may be faeces on the feet after going to the toilet in the litter tray.

The woman is in her 50s and she has uploaded videos to My Strange Addiction series. She defiantly says that she will not stop her habit.

She said:

I know everybody knows I'm a crazy f***ing cat lady. I'm in my fifties. I don't have any children. I never wanted any children. These are my babies. If I was a momma cat I would clean them just like that.

As you can see, she says that IF she was a mother cat, she would lick them but she isn't a mother cat! She is the cat's caregiver but hey ho, it doesn't really matter. If it pleases her then that's okay provided her cat is also pleased.

You might argue that it is a refinement to stroking a cat. When we pet our cats by stroking them, we are, in the cat's mind, licking them. That is how the cat experiences the sensation.

The woman adds that this is not a sexual thing. I hope so! And I don't see anything sexual in it to be honest. And she says that she doesn't lick butts or their genitals blah blah blah.

She added the following slightly baffling statement:

And I know they're gross. We're all gross. Everything is bad for you. If I want to groom my cat, I'm going to groom my cat. I'm not going to stop licking the cats or eating the cat fur. I'm just not.

People who have seen the video tended to be slightly disgusted! One said that they are not babies but cats and another said that the woman's behaviour was disgusting.

I do not see it that way. I see it as a bit bizarre and a bit offbeat but, as mentioned, if it pleases her and if it pleases her cat then there can be no harm in it. I don't think it is unhealthy for her but see fleas below. She will no doubt ingest some fur but that might be good roughage for her digestive tract!

Fleas!

She might ingest the odd cat flea which would not be a good idea because the life cycle of the tapeworm includes the cat flea. That's how cats develop tapeworms inside them. The flea passes tapeworm eggs into a cat when they feed on the cat's blood.

Image: MikeB

So, provided this woman ensures that her cat is entirely flea-free, there is no prospect of the woman getting a tapeworm inside her gut! I'm not sure that this is a risk that the woman has taken into account. It is not mentioned in any news media article. It would seem to be a genuine possibility depending upon the number of fleas on the cat.

I feel like telling her of the possibility. I would surely stop her strange addiction.

Tuesday 25 July 2023

How did Doja Cat make up her stage name?

Doja Cat complains about the behavior of her fans
Doja Cat complains about the behavior of her fans. Screenshot.

The creation of her stage name is a short story! But we have it from the woman herself. According to Amala Ratna Zandile Dlamini, her real name, she made up her stage name, Doja Cat, because she loves cats and cannabis! In her own words:

"I was heavily addicted to weed and weed culture, so when I began rapping, I thought of the word ‘doja’ and how it sounds like a girl’s name."

At the time she admits that she was "an alcoholic teen". I wonder if she has changed her thoughts about her name bearing in mind what I say below.

LinkedIn says:

In an interview with Genius, she revealed that "doja" is a slang term that means marijuana. She explained that the name was given to her as a tribute to the weed culture, which is prevalent in Los Angeles, where she grew up. As a teenager, Doja Cat was exposed to the weed culture and became fascinated by it.

That's the origin have her name and I have a follow-up story to it. 

Separately, Doja Cat has hit out at some of her fans. She's not happy with the way they are supporting her.

She took aim at her fans on the social media app Threads, which is a new Facebook Twitter-like social media platform.

Some of her fans use the nickname "Kittenz". It describes a fan community but, as mentioned, she doesn't like it. She said:

“My fans don’t get to name themselves s***. If you call yourself a ‘Kitten’ or f***ing ‘Kittenz’ that means you need to get off your phone and get a job and help your parents with the house.”

Very strong words as you can see. She is obviously confident that she can retain fan support even if she criticises them heavily.

There is a Twitter tweet on the topic about her supporters calling themselves "Kittenz".

For those people who have not heard of Doja Cat, here is a very brief resume. She was born on October 21, 1995. She is an American rapper, singer and songwriter. She was born and raised in Los Angeles and she began making and releasing music on SoundCloud. She earned viral success as an Internet meme with her 2018 single-a novelty song-called "Mooo!".

Monday 24 July 2023

In the land of animal lovers, Great Britain, children put a 22-year-old cat in a plastic bag and dumped the bag in a wheelie bin

NEWS AND VIEWS: In the land of so-called animal lovers, Great Britain, the BBC reports that children put a 22-year-old cat in a plastic bag and then dumped her in a wheelie bin. For international visitors, a "wheelie bin" is a rubbish bin where household rubbish is placed to be collected once a week if you are lucky.

Frankie
Frankie. Image: Feline Cat Care Rescue.

This is a very unsettling story because if children are treating a domestic cat like this - and this is an elderly cat and therefore all the more vulnerable - it does not bode well for the future of animal welfare in the UK. Has there been a deterioration in society's morals in the UK over the past 20 years? I think there has been.

I genuinely mean that. I see that in terms of greatly increased crime especially petty crime which undermines society. The police do not stop minor crimes taking place. They do not catch and arrest small-time criminals. This, as mentioned, undermines the very fabric of society.

This slack police attitude can lead to the sort of behaviour these two kids engaged in. The cat's name is Frankie and she was fished out of a rubbish bin in Wymondham, Norfolk, UK and taken to Feline Cat Care Rescue last Saturday.

The owner and manager of that cat rescue, Molly Farrar, posted the story on social media. She said that security cameras in the area had been checked and the police had been informed about the crime.

Of course, the police will not consider this to be a crime but it is under the Animal Welfare Act 2006.

RELATED: some more on kids being cruel: New Zealand's junior school kids love to shoot cats for prize money.

We don't know how people found out about this. Security cameras? If they hadn't found out Frankie would have died of suffocation or starvation in that wheelie bin. Or the wheelie bin would have been picked up by the bin men and she would have been crushed in their lorry.

Yes, this is an example of animal cruelty. That is quite clear. Frankie was checked for a microchip at the rescue center. It was not up-to-date but it did reveal her age which is exceptional.

Her owners have been found and her real name is Cleo. Her name had been changed when she was five years of age. The children are yet to be identified and I would bet they will never be identified.

And therefore, there are children wandering around the suburbs of Wymondham who might do something similar again. I do not think that that is satisfactory.

Frankie is happy to be reunited with her owners. We don't know the whys and wherefores as to Frankie getting lost.

Tomohon Extreme Market has stopped selling cat and dog meat. It is hell on earth for animals

NEWS AND VIEWS: The Tomohon Extreme Market on the Indonesian island of Sulawesi may be the most hellish place on planet Earth for dogs, cats and other animals. It reminds me of other Asian animal wet markets where the animals are brutally killed. In this instance, there were reports that animals were bludgeoned and blowtorched to death. That is, indeed, extreme. It is extreme violence and cruelty of the most heinous and obscene kind. But I will tell you this: it is not that unusual in some Asian countries such as Vietnam, and China.

Members of Humane Society International transport a cage containing dogs from a slaughterhouse in Tomohon, North Sulawesi, Indonesia, on Friday. (Mohammad Taufan / Associated Press)
Members of Humane Society International transport a cage containing dogs from a slaughterhouse in Tomohon, North Sulawesi, Indonesia, on Friday.
 
(Mohammad Taufan / Associated Press)

I hate saying it but I must say it over and over again: the culture in Asia vis-à-vis companion animals can be utterly uncivilised. I must not generalise because there are some really beautiful people in Asian countries who love animals and care for them and rescue them.

But if we do generalise then the general culture is very poor indeed concerning animal welfare and that clearly is the case in the island of Sulawesi, Indonesia. This cannot be denied.

That is why the headline news is extremely welcome for people like me and other animal advocates, particularly those animal advocates with a much higher profile than me such as the celebrities Cameron Diaz, Simon Cowell and Ricky Gervais who have signed a letter calling on Indonesian president Joko Widido to ban the cat and dog meat trade in Indonesia.

I don't know the Tomohon Extreme Market except that there is extreme violence at it but I suspect that other animals are slaughtered there or by suppliers. This story is about cats and dogs. What about the other animals.

The mayor of the district concerned has, we are told, decided to ban the selling of cat and dog meat at this marketplace. I don't know how profound a change that will make re: animal welfare because does it mean that all animals will be protected for the future? I don't know. It is a step in the right direction however.

The new policy will make the Tomohon market the first market in Indonesia to stop selling cat and dog meat according to Humane Society International.

A Sky News report on the market in 2020 following the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic found carcasses of dogs, bats, snakes and other animals at the market in unsanitary conditions. That wouldn't surprise me in the slightest.

I suspect that the Covid-19 pandemic had something to do with this change in policy because Covid either started in the Wuhan research laboratory or in the Wuhan wet market where similar animal cruelty took place. The Chinese have cleaned up their wet markets they say in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

But in China and I would argue in Indonesia, the law is badly enforced. We don't know whether the banning of the sale of cat and dog meat in the Tomohon market is pursuant to a change in legislation or whether it is simply a declaration by the mayor. I should like to know how well this change in policy is going to be enforced.

RELATED: Indonesia - cat supersition. Superstition about the medicinal benefits of cat meat is a reason why they are slaughtered. Mass re-education is desperately needed.

There is a YouTube video on the Internet about the extreme Tomohon market and I'm not going to show it here but I can say that there is a warning against it which says that "this video depicts graphic scenes that are hard to take in. If you feel uncomfortable, please stop watching". That gives you a clue as to how bad it is. And it makes me wonder how Indonesians can behave like this towards animals. They must be completely desensitised to the concept that animals are sentient beings.

The only way you can be this cruel to animals is to regard them as objects and what I mean is inanimate objects such as televisions and armchairs. You cannot believe that they are sentient beings with the capability to feel pain if you treat them this badly and put them through human hell.

There is a picture on the Los Angeles Times website of members of Humane Society International transporting a cage containing dogs from a slaughterhouse at the Tomohon market. It is on this page.

The newspaper also tells me that on Friday, 21 July 2023, the authorities announced an end to the cat and dog meat slaughter at this market. They appear to correct another report by saying that the "permanent end of the slaughter and trade was announced Friday by the regional secretary of the city of Tomohon, Edwin Roring". The Humane Society International said that they would rescue the remaining live dogs and cats from the slaughterhouse suppliers and transport them to sanctuaries.

The authorities believe that if they stop selling cat and dog meat at this market it will reduce "people's interest in consuming dog and cat meat in Tomohon".

You wonder whether that will work. The cat and dog meat is a deep cultural habit. Simply stopping its availability in one marketplace won't stop the habit in my view. And I believe that the reason behind it is not animal welfare but to prevent zoonotic diseases being transmitted from distorted animals to people.

Other welfare groups have called the treatment of the animals at the market brutally cruel and like "walking through hell".

In the letter I refer to above by the celebrities, they stated: "These animals, many of them stolen pets, are subjected to crude and brutal methods of capture, transport and slaughter, and the immense suffering and fear they must endure is heartbreaking and absolutely shocking."

North Sulawesi province is home to more than 2.6 million people. Most of them are Christian in what is a mostly Muslim archipelago nation. That interest me. Clearly, Christianity which in its pure sense would abhor this kind of animal cruelty, is no deterrent to Indonesians committing these extreme acts of cruelty against animals.

Thousands of dogs and cats are slaughtered weekly in North Sulawesi and I'm sure that the closure of the Tomohon market will not stop the brutality across the area. It will simply reduce it.

One person involved with the mass slaughter of cats and dogs for the market said that he is disappointed but will continue to supply the market with pork. The cruelty will continue with different animals. 

As I said, the habits will continue and I'm not that optimistic for the long term but this is good news nonetheless because it is the beginning hopefully of the end of the cat and dog meat market in Indonesia.

It will, though, take a very long time to eradicate it completely. There are also changes afoot in Vietnam along similar lines. I think it is because there's been a lot of pressure from the West through social media against this animal cruelty. These countries want to be perceived by developed countries as civilised societies. You cannot be regarded as civilised if you treat animals that appallingly.

Sunday 23 July 2023

Tap left running for 13 years to provide fresh water for family cats

NEWS AND VIEWS - NORTHERN IRELAND: A couple left the bathroom tap running nonstop for 13 YEARS to provide fresh, running water for their cats! It sounds unbelievable but it is true. It is reported in the news media today. The couple's neighbour was perturbed by the constant sound of running water and the fact that his garden was becoming flooded! To create that kind of sound the tap must have been running near full blast.

For some peculiar reason the tap water was making its way into his garden. That could only happen if the water from the tap was exiting a downpipe outside the house and onto their garden. Normally it would go into the drain. There must have been a leak in the system.

The neighbour said that they were dealing with the constant annoyance of running water which they believed came from their neighbour's garden. The water was flooding their back garden.

The person described their neighbours as reclusive. They tried to talk to them. They knocked on their door but they never responded. One day they got lucky because both he and his neighbours arrived back at their home in their cars at the same time. This allowed him to ask why he was hearing the sound of running water. He enquired whether there was a burst pipe.

His neighbours responded as if he was mad. They said that they just left the bathroom tap running constantly so the cats can help themselves to freshwater. The tap has been on for 13 years, they said.

For the neighbour the sound of running water is a constant irritation. And of course, there is the sheer waste of it. In fact, the waste is astonishing. We don't know whether the couple wasting the water are on a water meter or not. I am sure that they are not on a water meter because if they were they would be paying an astonishing amount. It appears to be an example of pure waste because they can get away with it

Cat drinking from bathroom tap
Cat drinking from bathroom tap. But this one is running gently. The story indicates because of the noise that the tap was fully open. Image in public domain.

You wonder whether the cats actually use the tap for freshwater. It is probable that they noticed that one of their cats liked to drink from the faucet as they call it in America. And then decided to leave the tap running permanently for a straight 13 years.

You can buy water fountains which do the same job! And in Britain from time to time there are water shortages despite it being a very wet and soggy country. Global warming is creating more water shortages. You would have thought the water company would have made some enquiries by now.

The neighbours are considering contacting the local authority. I would contact the water company because the neighbours must be provided with water by the same company. They can then hopefully gently encourage the couple to change their habit.

The ultimate source of the story is Reddit.com but I can't find the post.

Saturday 22 July 2023

Cat rescuer in Vietnam is exceptional

Using Bing, if you search for 'domestic cats Vietnam' you get reams of pages on cat meat all on the first page of search results. It is remarkable and horrible but I am pleased as it puts more pressure on the Vietnamese government to ban the cat meat trade. 

There are pages on how the Vietnamese kill and eat people's pets and stray cats. It is utterly uncivilised and the Vietnamese government know it.

BUT there are some rays of sunshine in Vietnam in the world of cats as there are bound to be because there are many Vietnamese citizens who love cats and care for them to a high standard. 

One of those people is Nguyễn Thúy Hải, nicknamed 'Cat Woman', who has found happiness in her life alongside the cats she cares for as if they were her own children.

The caption to the video below is:

Meet Hanoi’s catwoman! Nguyễn Thúy Hải is a true hero to abandoned felines. She has rescued and found homes for hundreds of abandoned cats over more than 24 years. Now she is busy taking care of 29 cats at her small apartment and continuing her mission to save pets each and every day.

It is remarkable that she operates her cat rescue from a small apartment. She needs help and proper facilities. Can someone help her, please!?

Here is a video about her and her cat rescue:


However, it is sad to report that although the video was uploaded to YouTube in March 2023, it has only been seen a measly 279 times. People are not interested in this video and yet it is important.

She's rescuing cats in a country where they eat domestic and stray cats. She goes against the grain. She is doing something which is probably quite rare in Vietnam. She takes an enlightened viewpoint and one governed by animal welfare which on both counts is the opposite to those who eat cat meat in Vietnam.

The cat meat eaters of Vietnam are unenlightened as they superstitiously and unthinkingly rely on a centuries old culture to believe that cat meat is a medicine and that it will improve their health.


It's superstitious nonsense. Cat meat is no different to any other meat. It is the flesh of an animal. This woman appears to have seen through the distortions to rational thinking that Vietnamese culture forces on its citizens and decided that the vulnerable strays need rescuing and saving.

I wish there were more like her. She deserves praise. She deserves to be put on a pedestal. Perhaps if that happened some cat meat eaters would change their mind about the medicinal benefits of feline flesh.

She made this comment about the Vietnamese cat owning mentality:

If a cat is beautiful, clean and healthy, no one will let it down. People only abandon it when it's sick and almost impossible to live with. They don't want to waste their time and money, so they just abandon them.

What does that tell you? A completely incorrect attitude to cat caregiving. Utterly incorrect. The relationship between cat and caregiver is for the life of the cat. End of.

Friday 21 July 2023

Older generation in Vietnam FALSELY believe that eating cat and dog meat has SPECIAL health benefits

OPINION: It is my understanding that the Vietnamese administration want to stop the eating of cat and dog meat in their country. They want the country to be more civilised and for the international community to regard Vietnam as more civilised. They want Hanoi the capital to be a dog and cat meat-free zone. A good starting point for the rest of the country.

Dogs transported to dog meat market for slaughter and sale
Dogs transported to dog meat market for slaughter and sale. Horrendous isn't it. Just bloody horrendous. Image: tuoitre.vn

Eating dog and cat meat holds back the country as they are eating people's pets and they kill them brutally. It is genuinely uncivilised as these animals are vulnerable and in a civilised society the vulnerable are looked after.

The problem is that the older generation firmly believe that eating cat and dog meat is particularly good at helping them to keep healthy. That's the culture and tradition but it is entirely incorrect. Cat and dog meat is no different to any other in terms of health. The younger generation, Gen Z etc are more switched on about the true nature of cat and dog meat and are more likely to see this cultural tradition as objectionable.

So, the problem is about ignorance due to a belief that is a 1000 years old. The solution must be education of the elderly masses and as soon as possible.

The Vietnam News says this:

It is said that dog meat helps build strong bones, healthy kidneys and increase muscle strength. Therefore, it is extremely difficult to ban dog meat slaughtering and trading immediately as many people, particularly in rural areas, still think like this.

I am sure they are correct. Shame the belief is entirely incorrect. And a great sadness to me that these false and ancient beliefs founded on superstition have caused so much horrible animal cruelty and extreme pain. 

Shame on them all who do this to dogs and cats. Utter ignorance. Educate them as a matter of urgency please. 

How to provide a suitable environment for your cat to live in (9 pointers)

How to provide a suitable environment for your cat to live in (9 pointers) as per DEFRA
How to provide a suitable environment for your cat to live in (9 pointers) as per DEFRA. Image: DEFRA.

As per the advice (reproduced verbatim here) of the UK government in following the Animal Welfare Act 2006 which is based on basic principles of cat caregiving, here is how to provide a suitable environment for your cat to live in. The Animal Welfare Act 2006 is an excellent piece of legislation as it also provides guidelines on cat caregiving. It more or less says that doing the opposite to good cat caregiving can amount cat abuse/cruelty and be a crime. This list was prepared by the UK governments Canine and feline sector group.

  1. Provide your cat with a safe, comfortable, dry, draught-free, clean and quiet place where it can rest undisturbed. Ideally, there should be a range of such places available – the cat will choose where it is most comfortable.
  2. Take all reasonable steps to protect your cat from hazards indoors and outdoors.
  3. Make sure your cat has constant access to a variety of safe hiding places including elevated resting places, where it can feel safe.
  4. If your cat does not go outside, make sure it has plenty of activities to do and enough space to exercise, climb and play indoors.
  5. Your cat should be provided with a suitable toilet area, that is quiet, easily accessible and kept clean. 
  6. Before you move your cat, you should gradually get it used to a secure cat carrier. Putting items which smell like the cat, for instance its blanket, in the carrier and any place you move your cat to can help it feel at ease.
  7. Any place where your cat is left must be large enough and comfortable with effective ventilation and temperature control so that your cat is able to move around to ensure its comfort, avoiding becoming too hot or too cold. Never leave your cat in an area where this is not possible such as a car on a warm day.
  8. Your cat should not be routinely kept in a cage.
  9. If you have any concerns about moving to a new home, or transporting your cat, you should consult a vet or other suitably qualified cat care specialist.
As you can see these are fundamental pointers. Safety comes first. For me there is a pressing need for cat caregivers to do much more if they keep their cats inside all the time. Point number 4 refers to this aspect of care caregiving.

It is called 'environmental enrichment'. A term that I am sure you have heard before. It is not enough to shut the doors and windows on your cat and sit back and believe that you have done all you can to keep you cat safe.

There are many hazards in the home and if the home is stressful because it is not enriched health problems can follow. A barren home may be no safer for an indoor cat than an indoor/outdoor life depending on the location and hazards/predators outside.

Warning to UK residents: scams demanding upfront fees have soared by 550%

NEWS AND VIEWS: This is a warning to UK residents and I would like to point out that a lot of people buy cats online nowadays from social media for example and not infrequently these sellers ask for money upfront perhaps in a deposit. Then the buyer never hears from the seller again. That is the kind of scam that this article refers to. But it covers a whole host of different products and commercial transactions.

Upfront fee scams increase in the UK
Upfront fee scams increase in the UK. Image: MikeB

The Times reports that, "Scams that ask people to pay an upfront fee for fake goods or services have soared sixfold since Covid-19 but overall fraud has fallen back to pre-pandemic levels".

The Office for National Statistics said that there were 391,000 advance fee fraud offences committed in the 12 months to March 2023 which is the equivalent of 1071 every day or 44 per hour!

This was a 541% increase on the 60,000 advance fee fraud offences committed in the same period running up to March 2020. This is the time when Covid-19 lockdown restrictions were first introduced.

Advanced fraud fee scammers seek to entice eager buyers to send money online in advance of receiving the goods or services. The basic advice is to NEVER PAY MONEY UPFRONT. Unless you absolutely no for sure that the person you are sending the money to is reliable and honest. That's unlikely to be the case. Personally, I would never give anybody money upfront for goods or services.

If anybody asks you for money upfront particular on social media you immediately presume that they are scammers. That might sound a little aggressive and cynical but it is good advice.

As mentioned, there have been numerous scams of this nature concerning the purchase of kittens online. Sometimes the scam is compounded by the seller purporting to sell a purebred cat such as the popular Maine Coon. You send the money to reserve a kitten and at that point the seller disappears. They never communicate again and you never see your kitten.

Never buy a purebred cat online without seeing the kitten first at the seller's property. Just don't do it in my view. Unless, once again, you can verify that the seller is bone fide and therefore honest and genuine.

The world is becoming more dangerous. There are more scammers around these days. Particularly in the UK. Scammers think that the UK is "treasure island". It is because there are too many silly people falling for these scams. We all have to be super-vigilant all the time. And we are alone because the police do nothing about online fraud. They are totally out of their depth.

Bedlam as Berlin hunts escaped lion!

NEWS AND VIEWS: Have you read this story? Have you seen the video? When you see the video, you'll see the most appalling quality and you are reliant upon your imagination. That's dangerous. When you have to imagine what an animal is because the image quality is so bad, your mind can run riot and this is what appears to have happened in Berlin, Germany.

Suggestion: if this is a genuine sighting it is likely to be a large dog. That's the common-sense assessment. Wait and see. My expectation is that they won't find any animal let alone a lion! In fact, my most recent thought about this video is that it might have been deliberately created to be fuzzy and to try and attract a lot of attention. Clickbait basically. UPDATE: it was a WILD BOAR. It is an area where there are wild boar in their thousands! Same old story. New media exaggerations and scaremongering.


The video is above and so is a screenshot below and I think that you will agree that, as usual, the quality is very poor. Every time we have a big cat roaming around an urban environment or in the countryside, the image quality is abysmal. That, I think, tells you something about these so-called big cat sightings in places where they shouldn't be.

Bedlam as Berlin hunts escaped lion!
Bedlam as Berlin hunts escaped lion! Screenshot.

In this instance, helicopters, SWAT teams and wildlife hunters have participated in an extensive police search in Germany last night after, it is alleged, a lioness was spotted roaming the suburbs on the outskirts of Berlin, according to The Times newspaper from which I have borrowed some of their words.

Apparently, witnesses first saw the lion chasing a wild boar down a street in Kleinmachnow which is less than 3 miles from the capital. The sighting occurred in the morning. More sightings followed. Someone made a video and posted it online.

At the time of reporting this the 'beast' is still at large. It was believed to be in a local wood feeding. Residents have been advised to stay indoors and not to let their pets out. More than 200 officers and specialists searched the region using infrared cameras. Drones were also used. Armoured vehicles were in attendance. The police were carrying submachineguns!

There have been no reports of lions escaping zoos or circuses. But the sightings have been in double figures according to the police. The police believe the witness evidence including this incredibly poor-quality video. The mayor of the aforesaid district sought to reassure the public by saying: "To any mockers out there, no this is not our new system of tackling wild boar using lions. We won't be setting up a Serengeti Park here. It's a serious situation and I can only say we still haven't found her." He believes it too!

The district is on the fringes of Berlin and is frequented by wild boar. Entire herds have been seen there. It has been suggested that this is why the lion is in these woods. Kindergartens have remained open but children have been kept indoors. Local traders have been advised to keep their stalls inside.

A local resident who lives in a house close to the woods said: "A colleague sent me a message this morning asking if I was still alive!"

He went out into the streets and cycled to work but he said that his wife had driven their two children to a nearby woodwork class rather than letting them cycle.

The lioness is a mystery. That's the point. It doesn't exist! If this is a large cat it is more likely to be a pet sub adult mountain lion (Puma) in my view. The coloration is correct. Sometimes people keep pumas as pets as they can be somewhat domesticated (correction: the head is too large in the video to be a puma). Or it is a large sandy coloured dog.

Thursday 20 July 2023

Cat quivering their tail meaning

Cat quivering their tail meaning? It means the cat is excited; normally because they are pleased to see you.

I can provide the answer the answer to this aspect of feline body language with great accuracy I believe as I have seen it firsthand under a very distinct circumstance which I remember extremely well even though it was around 37 years ago. I rescued a cat from the streets of Notting Hill Gate where I was living at the time.

My cat who taught me the meaning of the tail quiver
My cat who taught me the meaning of the tail quiver decades ago. Image: MikeB

I saw this female cat in the basement of a neighbouring house about 100 yards from mine. It looked as if she had been abandoned by her owner who was also the owner of the house. The woman had just left. A classic method of cat abandonment and very cruel.

I spoke to the cat and carried on. Soon after she was under a car outside my house. She looked up at me and her tail quivered excitedly. She instinctively knew I was friendly from the tone of my voice and was in effectively asking me to rescue her. 

I did. I lived with her for a dozen years after that. She died of kidney disease at the age of 18. A good age. She was a very gentle cat. I loved her. I feel nostalgic for those days. It hurts to think of them.

The tail quiver is an expression of excitement and pleasure and it probably accompanies a meow and even a purr.

There is another circumstance when it happens which is entirely different: spraying urine against a vertical object to mark territory.

When the urine is ejected against the object the tail quivers at the same time.

These are the two occasion when a cat quivers her tail.

Some people ask Google for the answer to a similar question: Cat shaking their tail meaning? I believe that they mean quivering.

I hope this helps. I am sure that I am correct.

Wednesday 19 July 2023

How to take your cat's pulse and what the result might mean

The normal pulse rate of a cat is 150-240 bpm. To take your cat's pulse, grasp the chest just behind the elbows with one hand while supporting the cat with the other. Move your hand until you detect a heartbeat. Count the number of beats in 20 seconds, and multiply that number by three. For example, 50 beats in 20 seconds would be 150 bpm.

You can also take a cat's pulse by feeling for the heartbeat on the inside of the back leg where it joins the body. Use the above beat count.

Note: I am not a veterinarian but I do have a lot of experience and knowledge about cats and their health.

High metabolism - shorter life

As you can see, the domestic cat's heart rate is much higher than that of humans which is one reason why they have a shorter lifespan than humans. There is a link between heart rate and survival which is down to metabolic rate which is greater in small animals and which is directly associated with heart rate.

Fast beat

A high heartbeat rate which would be over 220 bpm may be accompanied by other symptoms such as coughing, fainting, weakness, loss of appetite, abdominal pain, diarrhoea, vomiting, increased urination, excessive thirst, nervous behaviour, sudden aggressive behaviour, shallow breathing, high blood pressure, unkempt coat, pale mucous membranes and/or intolerance to activity.

Possible causes of an increased heart rate might include cardiac arrhythmia, hyperthyroidism or congestive heart failure.

Slow beat

A heartbeat of less than 120 bpm can be considered to be bradycardia. Conditions and situations which might result in a slow heart rate would be nobody temperature (hypothermia), low blood sugar (hypoglycaemia), sedative medications or terminal feline infectious peritonitis.

Tuesday 18 July 2023

Average lifespan of domestic cats is about four times longer than the French bulldog's

Let's say the average lifespan of a domestic cat is around 18 years, perhaps a bit less at 16 years. A recent study by a veterinarian which looked at a sample of over 30,000 dogs who died between January 1, 2016 and July 31, 2020 from 18 different breeds and crossbreeds in the UK produced some astonishing results but there may be some distortion because of Covid-19.

French bulldog
French bulldog. Image by Mylene2401 from Pixabay.

French bulldog

The most astonishing finding was that the average lifespan of the French Bulldog in the UK is 4.53 years. As I say in the title this is about a quarter (25%) of the lifespan of a domestic cat. I think this distortion might come about because during Covid-19 when a lot of people adopted French bulldogs and they were imported from continental Europe. They were bred at puppy mills; disreputable establishments where the animals were bred very badly and their health was often unacceptable. I don't know the details but there was a lot of talk about the problem.

The actual sample size of the French bulldog was 232 which is quite small but not bad. And Ben the Vet on TikTok comments about this. He says that the average lifespan might be skewered by a large number of the French bulldogs dying at a young age for example after a slipped disc.

Flat-faced, extreme-bred dogs with very short lifespans

Nonetheless, these were real cases in real veterinary clinics and they are a true average of that sample at that time and in that place. And it's appalling. And I don't think the distortion is that bad because the average lifespan of the English bulldog was found to be 7.39 years, for the American bulldog it was 7.79 years for the Pug it was 7.65 years.

These are brachycephalic dog breeds with round heads and flat faces. They are bred to extreme as we say in the business and when you engage in extreme selective breeding you do tend to create health problems which can shorten life spans due in inbreeding and distortions of the anatomy.

Overall average

And also, somewhat worryingly, the overall average age of these 30,000 dogs was a measly 11.2 years. To me, that seems like a very short lifespan. It is certainly considerably shorter than the lifespan of the average domestic cat in the UK. I don't have a study on that but it must be around, as mentioned, 16+ years perhaps as much as 18 years.

Longest-lived

The longest living dog breed is the Jack Russell terrier at 12.7 years. The Yorkshire terrier's average lifespan is 12.5 years. For the border collie it is 12.1 years and for the springer spaniel it is 11.9 years. The average mongrel a.k.a. cross breed is 11.8 years.

Full list

The full list is below.

  • Jack Russell terrier - 12.72 years
  • Yorkshire terrier - 12.54 years
  • Border collie - 12.10 years
  • Springer spaniel - 11.92 years
  • Crossbred - 11.82 years
  • Labrador retriever - 11.77 years
  • Staffordshire bull terrier - 11.33 years
  • Cocker spaniel - 11.31 years
  • Shih-tzu - 11.05 years
  • Cavalier King Charles spaniel - 10.45 years
  • German shepherd dog - 10.16 years
  • Boxer - 10.04 years
  • Beagle - 9.85 years
  • Husky - 9.53 years
  • Chihuahua - 7.91 years
  • American bulldog - 7.79 years
  • Pug - 7.65 years
  • English bulldog - 7.39 years
  • French bulldog - 4.53 years

Dr Dan O'Neil, associate professor in Companion Animal Epidemiology at the Royal Veterinary College, and co-author of the paper, said: "Dogs have helped so many humans get through loneliness and isolation of the COVID pandemic.

Cat companion is the ears of their deaf caregiver and provides incredible support

NEWS AND VIEWS: For Ms Moss of Chesterfield, Derbyshire, her cat Zebby is her ears and general helper. She is deaf but can hear with a hearing aid. Zebby has been trained to pick up the day-to-day sounds to which a caregiver needs to respond such as the front door bell or the phone ringing.

Genevieve Moss said she is ‘so proud of Zebby for showing the world how intuitive and caring cats can be’ (Lucy Ray/PA)
Genevieve Moss said she is ‘so proud of Zebby for showing the world how intuitive and caring cats can be’ (Lucy Ray/PA)

He does more than that; he fetches her slippers! And he picks up the post at the front door in the morning and brings it to her. How about that?!

Zebby has been named Cats Protection's National Cat of the Year 2023 in recognition of his wonderful support for Genevieve Moss, 66.

She said:

“Without my hearing aid, I can’t hear anything, but now I have Zebby to help me. He’ll come and tap me when the phone is ringing, and then I can pop my hearing aid and speaker on and take the call."

And if there is an unusual noise in the night, he will bat her on the head to wake her up to alert her to it. And if someone is at the door, "he will pace about in front of me until I get the message."

She added that, "He is very helpful and likes to bring me things – he’ll get the post from the doormat and pick it up in his mouth before dropping it in the bedroom."

Zebby beat thousands of other pets to be named the overall winner in Cat Protection's award. Ms Moss couldn't envisage a world without her cat's help. She regards him as a hero.

Cats protection's National Cat Awards organiser, Ashley Fryer said: “From the moment we read his entry form, we knew Zebby was something special. Zebby is clearly devoted to Genevieve, and their story highlights the powerful bond that exists between people and their cats.”

Comment: I love these stories. Firstly, they tell us that domestic cats are not just about keeping their own a company or entertaining them. They can also be "utilitarian" in the same way that dogs are. Dogs are regarded as more utilitarian and therefore more useful on a practical level than cats but it is not always like that. Cats can be trained to help practically as is wonderfully illustrated in this warm story.

Monday 17 July 2023

Marketa Vondrousova's Sphynx cat kept her husband at home until the Wimbledon final

Well, for me, it is nice to know that the Wimbledon champion likes cats even if she bought a hairless one - a Sphynx - which is a little controversial as some people think that some cat breeds should not have been created because they are too unnatural and require specialist care as does the Sphynx. It is called torture breeding in Germany.

It is nice that Vondrousova's husband stayed behind in the Czech Republic to care for their cat Frankie while she was battling her way to the final.

The couple decided that he should come over for the final and arranged for a cat sitter to take his place. It worked out for them.

Sphynx cats are normally indoor cats as UVB light can harm them as they have no skin protection from fur. 

Also, they need cleaning regularly as the oils from their sebaceous glands sits on their skin and not on the fur where it protects it and makes it feel silky. 

When the oil is on exposed skin it attracts grime. The skin becomes dirty and needs regular cleaning. The Sphynx ears also need regular cleaning as they become.

This is a highly active, monkey-like cat breed. And they are intelligent. They've described affectionately as 'part monkey, part dog'!

Despite having almost no fur, they do have some; a downy soft coat like you see on peaches! This is why the breed has coat markings. There is also the fact that the pigment producing cells in the skin follow the pattern so we see coat patterns on this hairless cat which is a little strange.

Frankie has a brindled-like coat. The whiskers are typical of a Sphynx; broken, short and curly with some missing. This another aspect of the cat's unnaturalness. The whiskers are an important part of a cat's anatomy.


Frankie Sphynx cat
Frankie Sphynx cat. Image: Vondrousova.

"Weaponised incompetence" is one reason why men don't want to clean out the litter tray!

I am told that there is a huge discussion on the social network TikTok regarding marriage and divorce. Millions of users are chewing over the concept of "mental load" (the stress of organising a household) and "weaponised incompetence" (the way people - mostly men - avoid house work by purposefully being bad at it).

Wife takes on the 'mental load'
Wife takes on the 'mental load'. Image: MikeB

The terminology is being used in divorce proceedings as a contributory factor when applying for divorce. Weaponised incompetence places a greater burden on the other party who is competent!

As it happens, women take on more of the mental load as they do more of the house work than men. This has consequences in the relationship. And there are wider consequences such as the quality of their work in the workplace as a lot most wives and partners are also workers.

About a quarter of families experience some form of weaponised incompetence. It's a brand-new term and it is not been fully defined yet.

@clarabellecwb

Just tell me what to do and I’ll do it!

♬ A Day in My Life - Soft boy

But I wonder sometimes whether men use the term without realising it to avoid cleaning out the litter tray and general caregiving of the family cat.

It is often said that men prefer dogs and this is understandable because dogs are pack animals and the man is the leader of the pack blah blah blah.

However, men are perfectly capable of looking after both the family cat and family dog. Or to share these responsibilities but to the best of my knowledge, cat caregiving in a family setting normally falls upon the woman; it is her burden.

@maiabemtbc #weaponizedincompentence #weaponizedincompedance #relationshipproblems101 #relationshipproblemsbelike #relationshipproblemss ♬ Sunshine - WIRA

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