Wednesday 31 January 2024

Three ways for the elderly male cat owner to improve their health and lifespan

Three ways for the elderly male cat owner to improve their health and lifespan
Me and my girlfriend, Michelle. Touch wood I am healthy at 75. The frog?! Michelle loves him more than me. He is Jezza.

I am an elderly male cat owner! In The Times newspaper today, in a single publication which I think is unusual, there are three tips about one's health, one of which is directed at the elderly male and the other to anybody.

24-hour fasts

You may have heard that the UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, likes to indulge in 36-hour fasts at the beginning of each working week. The man has extraordinary self-discipline. But he is convinced that it improves his health. He has a great BMI.

This ties in nicely with a story today in The Times about 24-hour fasts and how they may help to lower risk of Alzheimer's disease.

Regular periods of fasting with 24-hour is between meals could reduce the risk of diseases such as diabetes and Alzheimer's according to a Cambridge University study.

This must interest elderly people or even younger people for that matter. In fact people of any age because a lot of old people die of Alzheimer's disease which is a form of dementia. My dad did for example.

And apparently it works like this. Fasting increases the production of arachidonic acid, a fatty acid. This fatty acid reduces the activity of an inflammasome specifically the NLRP3 inflammasome. And therefore there is less inflammation which is why a person is healthier. This particular inflammasome is very important in a number of major diseases such as obesity and Alzheimer's and Parkinson's.


Daily kimchi is linked to leaner waistlines. This is a traditional Korean diet and has been for centuries. It's based on cabbage which is soaked in salt and allowed to ferment. Fermentation is when the bacteria that is naturally present in foods breaks down into their compounds providing a sour flavour and releasing lots of probiotic bacteria which can contribute to a healthy gut microbiome. There you go.

Get 3% fitter to cut the risk of prostate cancer by 33%

A study found that improving fitness by just 3% (a tiny amount) can reduce men's chances of developing prostate cancer by more than one third. There are numerous ways to get fitter by 3%! And prostate cancer is highly prevalent among older men. And it can kill men. The King has just gone to hospital to have his prostate shrunk. It was not a cancerous prostate but it was enlarged which is very typical for old men and it was stopping him peeing normally.

There you go, three little tips to improve health, two of which are for anybody and the third is for old men! I would recommend them.

I'm going to try fasting for 24-hours once per week but it will be very difficult for me. I try and keep fit by doing exercises and walking a lot and I will probably try kimchi but I do take probiotic tablets to ensure that my gut bacteria is in good condition! Good gut bacteria helps to maintain a good immune system. It is important.

P.S. please forgive the occasional typo. These articles are written at breakneck speed using Dragon Dictate. I have to prepare them in around 20 mins.

Monday 29 January 2024

Litter box problems: the big why. Three categories.

Litter box problems are very common cat ownership problems and even more commonly written about on the Internet! It's got quite tiresome reading about them but I would like to very briefly mention the three categories which describe the reasons for inappropriate elimination i.e. litter box problems. 

This is a discussion article using Galaxy's book Total Cat Mojo as a source.

There are three primary umbrella categories and they are. As mentioned, I am referring to Jackson Galaxy's writings of which I have been critical sometimes. Unless I am misunderstanding him which would be entirely possible as his writing is impenetrable sometimes. 😒 Sorry. He is a great guy though. I just don't like his books.

Territorial stress: Jackson Galaxy says that one cause of litter box problems is territorial stress. He appears to be talking about the establishment and retention of a home range by domestic cat which is instinctive to the cat. And if their home range is invaded they might mark their territory at the extremities of the territory to tell invaders to stay away. But I don't think this is anything to do with inappropriate elimination i.e. peeing in litter box. Spraying urine on vertical surfaces is not about eliminating urine from the system. It's about sending a message to other cats. Although it might look like inappropriate elimination it isn't.

But Jackson does go on to say that when domestic cats are able to fully express their behaviours, in Jackson Galaxy language "the cats have total cat mojo", and they are unable to express their mojo because of territorial stress then they might urinate but this form of peeing will I believe be spraying rather than elimination. Perhaps the means that stress per se can disrupt the used of the litter tray. Certainly in multi-cat homes there is a great chance that the cat will be stressed because of territorial issues.

Mr Galaxy says that "If the mojo is missing, there will be pissing."

These threats within the territory might come from within the territory or outside the territory. If it outside the territory it will be an invasion which might shrink the territory. If it comes from within the home range i.e. territory it might be due to broken or non-existent relationships or changes within the "rhythm of the territory or the territory itself will threaten the mojo balance". This is typical Galaxy language which is almost impenetrable. But I think he means that there will be a limited hierarchy in multi-cat homes which should be in balance. If not it can stress cats.

Litter box aversion: this applies to cats that don't want to use a litter box for a number of reasons. It applies to using any place within the home other than the litter box to urinate and defecate. It may be due to declawing which makes their paws sore. It might be due to the substrate i.e. the material in the litter box. It might be to do with the size of litter box being too small. Litter box might be covered and this might upset the cat. Or it might be in the wrong place (too exposed). 

And it may be because other cats are using the litter box i.e. it's shared which is not a good idea. And there might be challenges from one cat to another to use the litter box which might cause litter box aversion. Sometimes in multi-cat homes, one cat bars other cats from using a single litter box or getting at food et cetera. It's a form of domination.

Medical issues: this overlaps with the above. In the words of Jackson Galaxy, "There can be a number of physical maladies that trigger eliminating outside the litter box. Left untreated, many of these can lead to, or serve as an indication of more serious health risks." He recommends a visit to a veterinarian without fail at the first sign of any litter box issues.

Declawing as mentioned comes to mind. Cystitis due to stress causes peeing on carpets and in baths. It is a bacterial infection of the bladder. It can be due to separation anxiety.

P.S. please forgive the occasional typo. These articles are written at breakneck speed using Dragon Dictate. I have to prepare them in around 20 mins.

Sunday 28 January 2024

Video of Siberian tigers killing guard dogs in Far East of Russia

'In my view, [increased tiger attacks are] associated with the destruction of the predator's habitats due to logging, excessive hunting of [the tiger's prey] and African swine fever, which has decimated the remaining wild boar population,' said zoologist Sergei Kolchin in environmental news outlet Kedr.
Putin prides himself in being a wildlife conservationist. He likes wild cats and has been photographed with a leopard. He likes to think of himself as a wildlife expert. He has promoted the conservation of the Siberian tiger which is the world's biggest cat. They are a larger species than the Bengal because they live in a cold climate. It is about evolution and reducing body heat by increasing mass compared to surface area.

It seems that conservation has gone wrong in the region around Vladivostok in the Far East of Russia where an estimated 400 Amur (Siberian) tigers live.

Video of Siberian tigers killing guard dogs in Far East of Russia
Siberian tiger attacking and killing a guard dog in Siberia. Image credit: see embedded credit bottom left of the image.

We don't know how many there are. Their home ranges (the territory that they call their own) are vast; much larger than for the Bengal tiger as their is more space, less people and the prey animals are less densely distributed.

Here is a map of the Siberian tiger distribution that I created years ago.

People are being killed by the tigers too:

In December, Viktor S was viciously mauled and killed in the Khabarovsk region in eastern Russia while he was looking for 'the place where his dog was killed', likely by the same animal. - Daily Mail
P.S. please forgive the occasional typo. These articles are written at breakneck speed using Dragon Dictate. I have to prepare them in around 20 mins.

Saturday 27 January 2024

Denver Zoo's Geoffroy's cat was smuggled into the US via Denver International Airport (DIA)

Geoffroy's cat. Photo: "Cloudtail the Snow Leopard" - Flickr user. The photo was taken at  Zoo Karlsruhe.

This is an unusual or perhaps almost unique way for an American zoo to acquire a small wild cat species; a Geoffroy's cat, which is a small wild cat from South America, specifically Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Paraguay and Uruguay.

It was smuggled into the US via Denver International Airport (DIA) in 2022. They have appropriately named the female Dia.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services and Colorado Parks and Wildlife picked up the attempted crime and took the cat to their wildlife rehabilitation facility and from there she was homed at the zoo.

The investigation was taking too long. We don't know the outcome but she became a permanent resident at DIA where she is well cared for.

It makes me wonder what the smuggler had intended to do with the cat. Perhaps simply keep her as an exotic pet which would have been almost impossible to do successfully as wild cats do not make successful pets. Far from it although there are some people prepared to put up with the innate aggression due to the anxiety in being in a strange place and encountering humans which make them frightened.

It is a known fact that wildlife is almost always inherently scared of humans and for a good reason 😎.

RELATED: African wildlife more frightened of humans than big predators like lions.

I have some pages on the Geoffroy's Cat if this cat species interests you. The species is named after the French naturalist Geoffroy St. Hilaire.

RELATED: Geoffroy’s Cat Facts For Kids - nice and compact article on this cat species. Two minute read!

And click this link for more:

P.S. please forgive the occasional typo. These articles are written at breakneck speed using Dragon Dictate. I have to prepare them in around 20 mins.

Friday 26 January 2024

Children waiting for an inheritance from their rich mom should support her if her cats and dogs do!

Children who are waiting for a large inheritance from their rich mother who loves her cats and dogs should be cautious. They should read this story and learn a lesson.

In this instance, an elderly woman in China with the surname Liu has left $2.8 million fortune to her cats and dogs in her will because she felt that they have supported her in her old age whereas her children have not.

She said that her children have never visited her. She is still alive but the change in her will has been reported in online news media including the Independent newspaper.

She is taking it out on her kids. She feels neglected. The problem is that in China, I'm told, you can't bequeath money to animals in your will. 😒

If that is correct, Liu's will, as it is currently drafted, will be ineffective. I suspect she's been told about that now.

She appointed a veterinary clinic to be the administrators of her will.

What she should do now if she wants to stick with the terms of her will is to appoint a person who she can entirely trust and bequeath the money to him or her on the instructions that they hold the money in trust for her pets to take care of them for the remainder of their lives and of any money left over to be given to her children.

That would probably be a fairer and more workable way to do this.

She has clearly made her point anyway and I suspect that her children, who are not named, will have picked up on this story and decided to try and convince their mother to change her mind.

I don't know whether in China beneficiaries under a will can challenge it. In the West they certainly can and it happens quite often. It happens, for instance, when the deceased makes a will when they did not have the mental capacity to do it. They didn't understand what they were doing and therefore it can be overturned on an application to court.

And therefore, a will which is unusual and which cuts out close family members especially the kids, might be overturned by the kids in court which should be considered carefully by Liu. There is no guarantee that a judge would overturn a will but it is a possibility and in any case you don't want litigation over a will. That said I don't know how things operate in China in this respect.

There's an argument that children should look after their parents but not to the point where it looks as if they are maximising their chances to get some money off their mother when she dies! That can lead to arguments between siblings if the sibling who cares for their mother gets the lion's share of the estate!

It is not that unusual for wealthy single people to give a lot of money to pets. The most famous recent case concerns Choupette the Birman cat whose caregiver was the German fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld. He was besotted with Choupette and left her millions!

P.S. please forgive the occasional typo. These articles are written at breakneck speed using Dragon Dictate. I have to prepare them in around 20 mins.

Calico Persian super-chilled at cat show refuses to move

Well, this video from the TikTok account of @justmycatlife shows us what it is like at a cat show in America. I think it is Arizona. But I don't think this is typical! πŸ˜‰

It features a calico (tortoiseshell-and-white) Persian totally chilled in their cage to the point where she refuses to move to be judged in the show ring. This is unusual as often the cats are a little anxious because of the strange surroundings and noise although cats who've been to shows a lot get used to it.

These videos are embedded and there is no guarantee that they'll work indefinitely. Sorry.

P.S. please forgive the occasional typo. These articles are written at breakneck speed using Dragon Dictate. I have to prepare them in around 20 mins.

Thursday 25 January 2024

No obligation for UK police to investigate dog killing cat

This is part of a "great debate". The GB News website has a story about a large dog described as a "copy of XL bully" killing a lady's cat. Her name is Becky and she is campaigning for a change in UK law. I am sorry but she won't succeed but I wish her all the best.

In the UK, the police do nothing about an attack by a dog on another dog or cat unless the dog is an assistance dog or service dog. Image: MikeB under Canva license.

She says that she has no recourse to prosecute the owners of the dog that killed her cat Freya because in the UK, only dog on dog attacks can be pursued by police and only in those instances where the victim is an assistance or service dog or if the dog's owner is injured and/or the attacking dog was dangerously out of control.

RELATED: read more on this tricky aspect of UK law by clicking on the following link: In the UK, if a dog injuries or kills your cat the police might not become involved.

The bottom line is that if a dog attacks a cat, the police won't do anything about it, I understand. That's law in the UK.
"There have been decisions in the past by courts and authorities to suggest that it is the nature of a dog to kill and wound small animals. As such, unfortunately there is no certainty that the police could take action, in the event of your pet being killed or wounded by a dog." - West Yorkshire Police
I had never heard of that before. It places assistance and service dogs above an ordinary dog companion. It's a type of speciesism if you like. And it would certainly be upsetting to a dog owner to have their dog killed by another without recourse in terms of criminal behaviour.

Although a prosecution wouldn't be possible, I would suggest that the owner of the victim dog could, if it was practical, sue the owner of the attacking dog in negligence for failing to take charge of their dog adequately and allowing the animal to attack their dog and kill him or her.

There will be very few people who would commence a civil action like that because the damages would almost certainly be small, perhaps to the value of the dog or cat without valuing the distress caused to the owner. In which case the damages might be as low as £100 or thereabouts.

If the owner of the victim dog employed a lawyer to help them the costs would far outweigh the damages awarded if they won. Therefore they would have to conduct the case themselves which would probably be a big barrier.


P.S. please forgive the occasional typo. These articles are written at breakneck speed using Dragon Dictate. I have to prepare them in around 20 mins.

Wednesday 24 January 2024

Two true Ukrainian Warrior Cats (video)

I believe this is Shaybyk one of many warrior cats fighting with the Ukrainian soldiers and making their lives a little better. Image is a screenshot from the video below.

The first Ukrainian warrior cat I'd like to mention is "Syrsky the Cat" and he is named after the Ukrainian Army Land Forces Commander Oleksandr Syrsky who's known as one of Ukraine's most effective combat leaders. The naming was a coincidence! πŸ˜‡

Syrsky the Cat's human caregiver or fighting human companion is Roman Sinicyn, a Ukrainian army officer.

Roman Sinicyn says this about his adorable cat:
Most of the locals evacuated, so the cats took over. We caught Syrsky and food-persuaded him to stay with us. He helped to solve our mouse problem. The mice run over you while you sleep, they get into your stuff. They chew everything. We had to throw out two boxes of our packed rations because of mice. I took him home when we left that position. Now he lives with my family in Kyiv, but he continues to help the army. We used his social media popularity to collect €147,000 for Mini Shark UAV complexes for adjusting artillery.

Shaybyk the lover

Here is a cute video of another true Warrior Cat. Not from the Erin Hunter Warrior Cats series of books and role play games on the internet but the real thing working with Ukrainian fighters to make their lives more bearable in the trenches on the front in defending their country against the invading Russian army.

Shaybyk is another fighting Ukrainian trench cat killing hundreds of mice. I understand that Oleksandr Liashuk is his human companion. He says this about his cat:
Shaybyk had the biggest charisma. It was getting cold, so I took him with me one night into my sleeping bag. And that’s when I fell in love with that cat. He’s not just my best friend, he’s my son. Once we were at the position in the forest and he caught 11 mice in one day. Sometimes [he] brings mice to my sleeping bag.
There are others. The two mentioned are examples of how Ukrainian fighters are making friends with stray cats who are proving to be invaluable in trench warfare.

Here is a video of, I believe, Shaybyk:

Let's praise these cats and all others serving their country. They are in danger.

P.S. please forgive the occasional typo. These articles are written at breakneck speed using Dragon Dictate. I have to prepare them in around 20 mins.

Are these the 7 signs that a domestic cat is sick??

The New York Post has an article titled, "The 7 ways cats say they are sick: vets reveal the signs humans shouldn't miss".

To cut to the chase, they say that researchers found that the following seven behaviours may indicate a sick kitty:
  • spraying
  • frantic licking
  • not using the litter box
  • self-mutilation
  • attacking legs and feet
  • chewing on objects and growling or hissing when petted
I think the above list is wrong. I think it's plain and simple wrong. But not all of it. I'll tell you why. And then I'll tell you what I think the signs are of a sick cat.

Spraying is not the sign of a sick cat. It is the sign of a cat that wants to protect their territory against invading cats. It's a way of marking territory through odour. Fit and healthy cats do this. It may be a sign that the cat is stressed because they are trying to defend their territory inside the home or in the backyard whatever but it is not per se a sign of an ill cat.

Not using the litter box has many causes. It might simply be that the cat doesn't like the particular substrate in the litter box. That's a typical reason. Or they might have sore feet because of declawing. That would be a health problem admittedly. The first reason would not be a health problem but simply a domestic cat preference. You can't say that not using the litter box is a good sign of  cat ill-health. It simply isn't.

Frantic licking, is also not necessarily a sign of a sick cat. It may indicate that the cat has an allergy which makes their skin itchy and therefore they are licking their skin to alleviate the itch. It may indicate that the cat is stressed as they over-groom themselves in areas which are easily accessible as this calms down. This is not a sign that a cat is ill necessarily but it may be (allergy)

Self-mutilation can come about by over-grooming because it means all the fur can be removed from their belly. That's a form of self-mutilation. Another form might be to scratch their ears because the ear canals contain ear mites. Ear mites are incredibly distressing because they are very itchy. So, yes, self-mutilation can be indicative of a specific illnesses most likely an infestation of an ectoparasite or an allergy, perhaps an environmental allergy, food allergy or a flea allergy as these are the three most typical.

If a cat is attacking their legs or feet, this may be a sign that they are feeling pain in their appendages. Once again you could say that this is a sign that the cat has a specific health issue.

Chewing on objects may be a sign of poor oral health but that would hurt the cat if they'd chewed on an object. This is not a sign of ill-health for me. It is perhaps more a sign of predatory behaviour.

Growling and hissing when petted would indicate that the cat has an internal problem causing sensitivity in an internal organ. When they are petted it hurts them. They growl in response and hiss to deter the petting. 

I would agree, therefore, that growling or hissing might be indicative of a health problem. But they can also be indicative of a cat who wants to tell their owner to go away because they want to protect their food - a prey animal that they have brought in from outside which their human caretaker who wants to take from them.

The more common signs of an ill cat would be persistent vomiting, lethargy, quietness and stillness and hiding in a quiet place because they feel more vulnerable and therefore need to protect themselves. A change in their routines would indicate ill health. A change in their behaviour would be the same thing. This requires the owner to be observant and familiar with their cat's normal routine behaviours. This is the best sign and will encompass hiding and being lethargic and disinterested in food which would be another sign of ill health (anorexia). Disinterest in food means feeling ill and/or very poor oral health as it hurts to eat.


P.S. please forgive the occasional typo. These articles are written at breakneck speed using Dragon Dictate. I have to prepare them in around 20 mins.

Solution of half water and half vinegar sprayed on houseplants protects them from cats?

A Bengal cat owner, trainer and founder of Outdoor Bengal believes that he has the solution to protecting indoor houseplants from being chewed by domestic cats. It's a simple one.

You take an empty spray bottle and fill it with 50% water and 50% vinegar. You spray the solution on the plant. The smell deters the cat. That's it.

I don't know whether it works or not. It probably will at least to a certain extent. Cats as we all know have a great sense of smell and vinegar smells bad to them. Like I said it's a simple formula.

Will it harm the plant? Will the homeowner accept the vinegary smell coming from their plants?! πŸ˜€ If the smell is acceptable to the cat's owner all well and good. I have doubts.

There is a double advantage: you protect your plants from domestic cats and you protect your cat from houseplants as many of them are toxic to cats.

If you want to know which ones are not toxic to cats please click on the link below:

The above plant is safe for cats.

P.S. please forgive the occasional typo. These articles are written at breakneck speed using Dragon Dictate. I have to prepare them in around 20 mins.

Tuesday 23 January 2024

Cats can be allergic to humans just as humans can be allergic to cats

Cats can be allergic to human dander. I think this is something which we should recognise. The problem is there is little knowledge about the actual allergen in human dander which causes an allergic reaction in a human. There is more on dogs being allergic to humans than for cats which is pretty typical because dogs are always much better represented in medical research than cats.

I'm looking at a study right now (link - don't bother clicking on it as there is nothing there πŸ˜‰) about perennial indoor allergens among them house dust mites and moulds. Human dander is an important constituent of house dust and house dust is a major cause of allergic reactions in dogs and I would suggest also in cats from time to time. We don't know how often human dander in house dust causes an allergic reaction in cats.

This sort of allergic reaction would fall under the category of an environmental allergen. That's because the human dander is in the air inside the home and lying around on the floor and furnishings.

In addition to environmental allergens, there are food allergens and flea allergens. Flea allergy dermatitis can occur in cats.

The problem with cats being allergic to humans is that we don't know much about it! And when cats are allergic to humans, the human caregiver might not know about it either! That's because the symptoms or signs of the allergic reaction might be slight just as they often are for humans when they are allergic to cats.

Normally when a dog or cat is allergic to humans the reaction will be atopic dermatitis commonly known as eczema. Eczema in cats and dogs can be brought about by human dander. For the sake of clarity, human dander is dead skin cells and bits of hair which have flown off the human or humans and end up in the environment including on furnishings.

Apparently, of the one in five dogs (20%) suffering with symptoms of an allergy, half of them will be allergic to human dander.

Atopic dermatitis is not uncommon cats but little is known about how frequently it is caused by human dander.

Sometimes cats can be allergic to several allergens at the same time one of which might be human dander.

The treatment of allergies in cats is complicated. It's going to require specialist analysis by a qualified veterinarian and/or scientist. Sometimes a veterinarian will prescribe antihistamines but I don't want to get into treatments because I'm not a qualified veterinarian.

The purpose of this post is to highlight the possibility that your cat might be allergic to you!


P.S. please forgive the occasional typo. These articles are written at breakneck speed using Dragon Dictate. I have to prepare them in around 20 mins.

Monday 22 January 2024

It costs $10,000 a month to look after 45 cats at this shelter

NEWS AND COMMENT: There is a privately run cat shelter in Northern Kentucky where 45 cats rescued from the street live in a $400,000 home at a cost of $10,000 per month to the owners and managers of the cat rescue. It is called Shane's Sanctuary and Kitty Adoption Center and it is run by Jan Malley and her husband Chip.

It costs $10,000 a month to look after 45 cats at this shelter
Montage: MikeB. Photos: Sam Greene

They only rescue cats that have been living on the streets. They don't advertise their address. They provide their telephone number on Facebook where they have a page.

It is a 3,000 square-foot facility. It is funded by Malley's family investments and retirement money. They say that they only write cheques in making payments but never receive cheques from anybody. It is all money going out and nothing coming in.

Comment: unless they have incredibly deep pockets, there must be an end to this experiment. They are affiliated to an organisation called The Humanitarian League formally the Humane Education League. It's an organisation which teaches universal kindness and compassion for all living creatures.

Ethel Palmer, started the organisation in 1960 and she is the mother of Jan Malley. It appears that a lot of the overheads go to employing people to help look after the kitties plus I guess vet fees and food but I can't square up the $10,000 per month overhead with looking after 45 cats. Can you?

Jan Malley and one of her rescue cats. Image credit as per the image.

Jan Malley said that, "It's almost like a business except all we do is write checks; we don't collect checks". What about fund raising?! 😊

As you properly know, in America the English spelling of 'cheque' is 'check'.

Malley said that she has approached the local authority suggesting that they build a sanctuary but it came to nothing. They've told the authority that they would pay up to $100,000 to build a facility and invest annually into that facility to keep it running but once again they were rejected.

One possibility why they were rejected is because in Kenton County where their rescue is situated, they operate TNR programs for feral and stray cats. 

And the local authority wants to keep it that way. The director of Kenton County Animal Services said, "There's a lot of people who don't understand that cats can be successful and happy outdoors. And that's just fundamentally a philosophical difference. I don't expect to change everyone's mind."

It looks like the local authority wants to keep TNR going and they don't believe in rescue centres. Apparently most of the cats are not adopted because they don't accept casual visitors. They accept visits by appointment which means telephoning Jan Malley to set up an appointment.

It would seem to be a very personalised form of cat rescue which is focused on making life very nice for the cats but it is not focused it seems to me on efficiently rehoming the cats and minimising overheads plus fund raising. Nice job though. Great for the cats but this can't last and don't think it should last. They can do it better. πŸ˜‡

Source: Mail Online.


P.S. please forgive the occasional typo. These articles are written at breakneck speed using Dragon Dictate. I have to prepare them in around 20 mins.

Sunday 21 January 2024

Woman train conductor throws pet cat off a moving train in -30°C temperatures

NEWS AND COMMENT - RUSSIA: this is an extraordinary story; of a type that I have never read before and I have read many thousands of cat stories. The detail is a little thin but we have enough.

Note: I believe that the train was moving at the time. Although this is not stated. Update: the train was not moving. I have just seen the video on Reddit. Here is the video. There was thick snow on the ground.

Why have I mentioned that it is woman in the title? Because historically woman are more prone to be kind towards cats which makes her behaviour all the more astonishing. 

Twix, the ginger tabby-and-white pet cat thrown from a moving train in Russia by a female conductor as she believed he was a stray cat as if that is an excuse! Image: Guardian newspaper.

The Guardian newspaper reports that a female train conductor mistook a pet cat for a stray cat and threw the animal off the train as it was moving - as if that is a good reason! The cat had escaped from his carrier and was wandering around the carriage.

It is still gross animal cruelty 😧. At the time, the climatic conditions were as low as -30°C with snow and ice.

She threw the cat off the train near the railway station area in Kirov. The woman in question works for the state owned railway company RZhD. A spokesperson for the business apologised for the actions of their conductor.

"We sincerely regret that the cat Twix died", the state-owned RZhD said, vowing to change its regulations. Comment: the regulations allowed or perhaps demanded that the conductor threw the cat off if he was a stray! Weird.

On Saturday, the RZhD said it was already implementing changes that would prohibit company conductors from "disembarking animals from trains". 'Disembarking'! πŸ‘Ώ

The cat, a ginger tabby-and-white (and therefore almost certainly a male) was found dead on Saturday after a search. I believe that this was a few days after the cat was thrown off the train. The cat has been identified by his owners.

There are calls for the conductor to be sacked and prosecuted for animal cruelty. The petition has gathered 70,000 signatures online which demands a criminal investigation which has been refused by the local authorities.

"A separate petition - signed by more than 200,000 - is asking for the female conductor, who has not been publicly identified, to be sacked" (source and words: the BBC).

Comment: I am distinctly unsurprised by the fact that nothing will happen in terms of punishment for this woman. No doubt she will retain her job and not be prosecuted for animal cruelty. This is Russia. I don't want to denigrate the country unjustifiably but animal welfare is not one of their greatest and strongest suits.

When bearing in mind that the president of Russia, Vladimir Putin, has killed hundreds of thousands of animals in Ukraine as well as tens of thousands of innocent civilians including children by bombing and shelling civilian areas, we can't expect Russia to have a good animal welfare record can we?


P.S. please forgive the occasional typo. These articles are written at breakneck speed using Dragon Dictate. I have to prepare them in around 20 mins.

Dedicated veterinarian walks 3 miles through snow to treat a seriously ill cat

NEWS AND COMMENT: The American news media, yesterday, reported on the actions of a dedicated female veterinarian in Birmingham, Alabama.

P.S. Take a look at the frontage of the clinic in the photograph below and you will see two separated front doors, one for cats and one for dogs. Clearly, in this clinic they separate these animals in order to keep the peace and to provide a calmer environment for both while they are waiting to be seen. A great idea and it's a recommendation by veterinarians who are specialists in treating cats.

Dedicated veterinarian walks 3 miles through snow to treat a seriously ill cat
Image: MikeB from images taken from the clinic's website.

Blueberry, a five-year-old cat was brought to the Caldwell Mill Animal Clinic in Birmingham, last week. Her owners had noticed that she was feeling unwell with an unknown illness. At the time, weather conditions were severe as I understand it with snow on the ground. It was icy and inhospitable.

Blueberry stayed at the clinic over the weekend but Dr Nicole Martin was at that time unable to diagnose the illness. On Tuesday Blueberry deteriorated.

Two vet techs arrived at the clinic through the snow to check up on Blueberry. They took X-rays and these were sent, I believe, over the Internet to Dr Martin. At this stage, I believe, Dr Martin was at home 3 miles from the clinic and was doing her work remotely at this instance.

Dr Martin realised that she had to go to the clinic through frigid conditions and along icy roadways. She believed that there was "no other option other than to walk". It was clearly unsafe to drive.

She discussed the matter with other members of the staff at the clinic and as she was the closest to the clinic it was decided that she would walk from her home to care for Blueberry.

As she hiked over those three icy miles to the clinic she thought about saving Blueberry's life.

She said: "We’ve been with her for days at this point, realizing how much we loved her and, once we saw the X-rays of what was making her sick, it was just in time we all got together to help save her life."

The story ends there as reported by 12WSFA. Like me, I expect that you want to know what happens next but you won't know because I don't know. 

But I am 99% sure that Dr Martin managed to remove what appears to have been a blockage in her digestive tract and that Blueberry is doing fine. Let's hope I am right.

Comment: I love dedicated vets πŸ‘. 


P.S. please forgive the occasional typo. These articles are written at breakneck speed using Dragon Dictate. I have to prepare them in around 20 mins.

Saturday 20 January 2024

Apple Watch non-ionising radiation is causing burn marks and blisters on users' arms?

The title statement is a speculative allegation! 😊It took me about five minutes of research to figure out what might be happening in respect of reports in the news media that thousands of people with Apple watches are reporting burn marks on their wrists after wearing the device for extended periods sometimes over many years. I am speculating in a reasonable way I'd argue.

Is the Apple Watch burning some long-term users with low-level radiation? Image: MikeB

They have contacted Apple who have told them that it is probably an allergy and that they should clean their watches more often.

In other words, Apple is brick-walling its customers which is unsatisfactory. 😎

My immediate instinct was that the Apple Watch is emitting radiation of some sort. My research indicates that it emits non-ionising radiation which is low level radiation but of a type which can excite molecules and atoms causing them to vibrate.

Further research tells me that the ICNIRP (International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection) recommends that the maximum exposure limit for non-ionising radiation is 2 W per kilogram (watts per kg) and the Apple Watch emits radiation at a rate of 0.17 W per kilogram which is well below the safe limit.

Therefore on the face of it there can be no radiation problem causing burns or blisters as described by thousands of customers. However, my guess is, that either the radiation levels emitted by the Apple Watch have become greater because of upgrades or because the more modern watch is more powerful than the former watches and the full level of radiation emitted from them has not been disclosed to the authorities. My guess is something like that has happened.

My conclusion, therefore, is that these customers are experiencing radiation burns. A customer wrote on Apple's community forums: "I've had my watch for over two years and have only recently started getting burn marks on my arm from wearing it."

Another customer said: "This happened to me too for the first time last night! I've been wearing my watch for almost 3 years now. I woke up when it happened and felt that my watch was very hot. My skin turned leathery over the reddened part."

Many said that they have been rebuffed by Apple. The complaints are from 2020 up to and including January 2024. On one of the forums called "Apple Watch sensor burns" more than 1,500 people have clicked the "me too" button to indicate that they too have experienced the same problem.

Please share your thoughts in a comment. Have you experienced burns and what is your theory as to the cause?


P.S. please forgive the occasional typo. These articles are written at breakneck speed using Dragon Dictate. I have to prepare them in around 20 mins.

UK's new Pet Abduction law will not lead to old ladies feeding cats being prosecuted

There are many kind old ladies and men (for that matter) who are concerned about animal welfare who occasionally feed 'stray cats' and even adopt them. All perfectly normal. And sometimes a kindly old lady might live down the road from a cat owner whose cat likes to visit the old lady's home because she feeds him. And she might be feeding him better food than he receives at his home 😊.

Update: Christopher Wake, of South Croydon, London, writing to The Times said the following: "As a pet owner I acknowledge the emotional distress involved in the theft of family pets but new legislation is not required. The Theft Act 1968 allows for a five-year prison sentence, the same as in the proposed pet abduction bill. Unless the police investigate such crimes more thoroughly and judges are directed to impose stiffer prison sentences, this new legislation will achieve nothing that can't be achieved by present laws."

Comment: perhaps the government thinks that with a specific law concerned only with pet theft, judges and the police will take the matter more seriously and there will be more prosecutions and longer sentences?

Some people might see this as attempted theft πŸ˜•! It would be cruel to presume that an old lady is trying to entice a cat away from their owner. Although it might happen very rarely. But the problem here is that in the UK, a new law is being debated in the Houses of Parliament.

It is one specifically tailored to the theft of companion animals. The  existing Theft Act 1968 does not do justice to pet theft. Ordinary theft does not take into account the emotional distress caused to both companion animal and caregiver. It is this emotional distress element which distinguishes the theft of a companion animal from the theft of an inanimate object such as a laptop computer.

Currently they are treated exactly the same but it's time for change which is why the UK government supports the bill going through Parliament currently called the Pet Abduction Bill. Punishment will be tailored to the crime more accurately with a maximum five year prison sentence on conviction as I understand it.

But one Member of Parliament, Sir Edward Leigh, has raised the question about the workings of this Act after it has passed through Parliament. As I think it will be passed by the way because there's great support for it among Members of Parliament.

Sir Edward said that he remembers his mother's grandmother who was a great cat lady. She had 14 cats and every one of them she had adopted by feeding a stray cat as she saw it. Perhaps some of her cats were the property of her neighbours! Who knows. But Sir Edward saw a possible problem because under this proposed law (if it had been in place at the time) it might have resulted in her mother's grandmother being prosecuted and convicted for the crime of pet theft.

Apparently it won't but I can see a problem arising potentially at least. Anna Firth, the MP for Southend West who sponsored the bill said that it would not punish cases where there had not been malice or ill intent when looking after a cat.

This is about what is called mens rea which means intent. All crime requires an intent to commit that particular crime which is part of the prosecution process. There are two parts to it both the mental and the physical. So if an old lady is feeding a cat voluntarily because they want to help the cat but she has no intention of stealing the cat then she can't be prosecuted. 

That's common sense but it doesn't totally preclude the possibility that a charming and kindly old lady might have, on occasions, malicious intent to steal her neighbour's cat! A rare event but just about imaginable.


P.S. please forgive the occasional typo. These articles are written at breakneck speed using Dragon Dictate. I have to prepare them in around 20 mins.

Support White Coat Waste Project (WCW) in their fight against NIH animal testing paid for with American taxpayer dollars

White Coat Waste Project (WCW) is a sterling organisation doing wonderful work at the heart of American government. They have campaigned for many years against the National Institutes of Health (NIH); an organisation that insists on the cruel use of animals in animal testing experiments paid for with American taxpayer dollars. It's a double whammy of negatives. I wonder how many Americans realise that their tax money is being fed into cruel animal experiments.

WCW fought against this and won. Image: WCW.

And, worryingly, these experiments don't only take place on American soil. The NIH has also funded animal experiments in Russia (see link below and picture above). Extraordinary, don't you think? WCW was successful in stopping that. They have had a lot of success and they work at the heart of American government with Congress members to demand and cajole NIH into finding alternatives to cruel animal testing.

Today there are alternatives. It is said that animal testing isn't that successful in any case in converting the results of an animal test to the human condition. There are problems in doing it which further undermines the usefulness of animal testing.

And today, we have a surge in applications for artificial intelligence. NIH should be able to use AI to help find alternatives to animal testing by using human modelling and other imaginative ways to do away with cruel animal experiments.

I have written many articles about WCW on my main website. You can read them if you wish by clicking on this link.

Most recently, 23 Congress members from both sides of the political aisle, wrote to the NIH urging them to find alternatives to animal testing. The letter is indicative of the fact that Americans in general and their representatives from both political parties want an end to unnecessary animal cruelty.

23 Congress members cite White Coat Waste Project in a letter to NIH urging them to support alternatives to harmful animal testing

There is a growing awareness of the cruelty of animal testing in the modern world. It is genuinely unnecessary. It can't be justified in my view. Technology and AI can do away with it. I would like NIH to use their best efforts and their best scientists to use AI to find alternatives. It can be done and I would hope people can support WCW in the ongoing campaigns against NIH.

In general, the American public and their representatives want an end to this animal cruelty.


P.S. please forgive the occasional typo. These articles are written at breakneck speed using Dragon Dictate. I have to prepare them in around 20 mins.

Friday 19 January 2024

An important trick to eating less and achieving a good BMI

Although there are many factors in reducing your weight and achieving a good BMI, in this short post I want to address one particular issue. It's actually one particular moment.

An important trick to eating less and having a good BMI
Beat that desire to eat more. The desire will pass quickly if you deny it. And eventually you won't experience the feeling at all.

It's the moment when you finish eating. You have eaten quite a small meal because you are on a journey to losing some weight. You immediately feel like eating more. That feeling comes about because you enjoyed eating. You want to continue the enjoyment of eating.

This is the brain playing tricks. It's almost how addiction works. You like to do something and therefore you want to do more of it. Food gives you pleasure and therefore you want to do more eating to get more pleasure. Simple formula.

And so there's that one moment when you finish eating when you want to eat more and you go to the kitchen to get some more food. And you go on doing that perhaps until you are sated. Until you are full up.

But the trick is this: you should know that that feeling that you want to eat more only lasts for quite a short time. That's how the brain works. If you deny that desire to eat more, which is quite a difficult thing to do sometimes, within about 20 minutes the urge to eat more will have disappeared. You then have no desire to eat more and you will have beaten a major problem of losing weight.

It all turns on that split second and having enough self-discipline or commitment to tell the 'devil' to go away. Soon afterwards it will be history and you'll feel better. 

There is an added benefit. You'll have trained you stomach to want less. A time will come when the desire to eat more won't happen.

You will have a clear conscience that you did the right thing and that you are on the way to a good BMI and better health and therefore more happiness because there's nothing that makes older people more miserable than chronic ill-health and obesity is likely to cause ill-health in old age. 

It can be tackled. It can be beaten and in this article I address one small but vital trick, one tool in the toolbox to beat obesity.

P.S. please forgive the occasional typo. These articles are written at breakneck speed using Dragon Dictate. I have to prepare them in around 20 mins.

British government minister explains in Parliament why her cats are so important to her

British government minister explains in Parliament why her cats are so important to her
Screenshot from the video below.

I like this video as it adds a bit of humanity, gentleness and animal welfare into the House of Commons, which is often a raw place for debate. It is a lady Member of Parliament (MP) who does this by mentioning her two cats who've become so important to her as she alone after her husband died and her children left home.  

The BBC video tells the story.  She is supporting the introduction into the law of England and Northern Ireland which would make pet theft a specific crime rather than simply the crime of theft under the Theft Act 1998. 

I am told that this law will not affect Wales and Scotland as it seems they have devolved powers on this matter but I think this needs to be checked. I tried but failed to get clarity.

BBC says: An environment minister explains the role of her two cats - Mr Tipps and Raffa - since she lost her husband and her children left home. Rebecca Pow's bill to make cat and dog theft a criminal offence is backed by the government.


P.S. please forgive the occasional typo. These articles are written at breakneck speed using Dragon Dictate. I have to prepare them in around 20 mins.

Anxiety plagues Emma Raducanu rather than physical health problems

I believe that Emma Raducanu's retirement from tournaments because of all too frequent mystery physical illnesses are sometimes perhaps often caused by anxiety.

I've lost count of the number of times that Emma Raducanu has retired from a tennis match. Before she had her three operations - each wrist and a foot - and after her spectacular US Open win, she dropped out of about four tournaments because of so-called physical illnesses. I remember her dropping out of Wimbledon (before she won the US Open) because she was breathless.

Compared to other professional tennis players, female and male, she has more health ailments than almost any of them if not all of them. It is quite noticeable. The underlying cause needs to be addressed.

Update 6th Feb 2024: Raducanu has said that she is not too concerned about her tournament results this year. This seems to me to be an attempt to take the heat off herself. This in turn supports my thought that she is an anxious player and it often affects the match outcome.

Anxiety plagues Emma Raducanu rather than physical health problems
Emma Raducanu feeling sick during her second round match at the Australian Open. Image: Sky News.

And she has had various muscular ailments forcing retirement. The world knows about them because they have been incredibly well covered by the news media.

Her most recent health problem has also been well-publicised. She was playing in the Australian Open as all tennis fans know. She was playing a second round match against a woman who was ranked 94. 

Emma Raducanu probably felt before the match that she should beat her. Okay, Emma is ranked below this lady because of a long absence but her potential is much higher than her current ranking and therefore her expectations would have been to progress well beyond the second round of this tournament. The public would expect and hope the same. This points to expectation pressures.

She was beaten because she said that she felt sick in the third set. As I recall, it was in the second game of the third set when she was 30-0 up when she said that she felt like vomiting. She felt sick and vomit was coming up into her mouth she said.

After that she called a doctor and there was a pause in play and she carried on. She was treated at the courtside within the rules of tennis.

Anxiety causing physical symptoms

Quick research indicates to me that anxiety can cause:
  • nausea as experienced by Emma Raducanu in the Australian open recently
  • breathlessness as experienced by her at Wimbledon
  • muscular tension. Raducanu has experienced muscle problems in her abdomen for example.
These are good examples of how anxiety can cause physical symptoms as I state.

Are these always physical ailments?

But bearing in mind all these physical ailments, I personally cannot believe that they are actually physical ailments. I believe that perhaps some of them are but some of them are due to anxiety. Professional tennis at this level is incredibly competitive.

There are enormous expectations on Emma Raducanu because she is the only qualifier, male or female, to win a Grand Slam tournament. Perhaps she had hoped that the long break for her recovery from her operations would release her from those expectations. But they haven't.

The demands of these expectations are, I believe, making her anxious to the point where she feels sick. And they are also having other effects on her mental health to the point, where I believe she finds an excuse to retire from a match that she believes she might lose. 

She is not doing this consciously. It's a subconscious process converting anxiety, a mental health problem, into a physical problem.

Nobody has discussed this at all perhaps out of politeness. And I want to be very respectful of this woman. If I am correct it's entirely understandable. Recently, another tennis player, Caroline Garcia, discussed her acute anxiety with the news media. I am sure that it's a problem or at least a potential issue with all tennis players both male and female.

It just depends how you cope with it and that's why the top players have sports psychologists. I know that the top Italian player, Jannik Sinner, has a sports psychologist who has done some really good work with him and his game has improved to the point where he is expected to win a Grand Slam.

So, in conclusion, I believe that Emma Raducanu's retirement from tournaments because of mystery illnesses, occurring far too often, are underpinned or are caused by anxiety.

Note: I am neither a doctor nor a psychiatrist. I am just applying common sense and expressing an opinion


P.S. please forgive the occasional typo. These articles are written at breakneck speed using Dragon Dictate. I have to prepare them in around 20 mins.

Dogflation at 9% in Britain against 4% general inflation. Dog owners ripped off.

Image: MikeB

British veterinarians are killing the goose that lays the golden egg. And somewhat mysteriously and without transparency prices of a range of dog products have risen faster than general inflation. To me, being a rather cynical person πŸ˜‡, the manufacturers and retailers are ripping off dog owners by jacking up their prices after the Covid-19 pandemic. They know that there are more dog owners out there in Great Britain and they want to milk them as much as possible.

Dogflation means the increase in prices of dog related services and products.

That certainly applies to veterinarians. The Times today reports that "125 owners a day give up on pets as dogflation bites". It's a good title with a hint of amusement but this is a serious matter. πŸ˜’

The information comes from Dogs Trust, Britain's biggest dog rehoming charity. They say that they are experiencing unprecedented demand. What they mean is that more people than ever are giving up their dogs to the charity.

And the biggest worry for dog owners is veterinary bills. The problem is that independent veterinarians have been bought out by big businesses to form veterinary clinic chains run by accountants who simply prioritise making a big profit rather than providing an excellent service to their patients. 

That's how it works for the big corporations. So Britain has lost those beautiful independent veterinarians. Well, there are still some around but there are far too many vet chains charging inflated prices and they are, as I mentioned in the opening sentence, killing the goose that lays the golden egg.

By that I mean they are reducing the number of pet owners because the cost of owning a pet is too high and because of that there will be less work for veterinary services. You can only charge so much. You can only rip off people so much before they give up and go away. This is beginning to happen.

The Times reports that, "Dogs Trust says record numbers of owners want to give up their animals and some of its kennels are so busy they have waiting lists."

And the problem is the rising cost of dog food, pet insurance and perhaps most importantly veterinary care. And because there are more people giving up pets which is the general trend at the moment, there are less people to adopt them because there are two sides to this problem.

If the mood in the UK is that it is too expensive to own a dog or a cat there are going be less people knocking on the doors of animal shelters looking for a pet to adopt in addition to, as mentioned, more people giving them up.

Last year Dogs Trust received more than 45,000 requests to give up their pet which is the equivalent of 125 per day.

The chief executive of Dogs Trust, Owen Sharp said: "The demand for us to take in dogs is outstripping our ability to meet it at the moment, so we have waiting lists. There is a direct correlation between people struggling to afford to have their dogs and the numbers wanting to give them up."

The charity commissioned Capital Economics, a research company, to work out the value of dogflation versus the general inflation in the country. Dogflation is at 9% while general inflation is at 4%. And Mr Sharp doesn't know why there is this disparity. I know why: it's rip off Britain.

These companies are taking advantage of people. And a survey by Dogs Trust found that veterinary bills are the biggest concern as mentioned.

Mr Sharp said that he was at a loss to explain the steep rise in prices. He said:
"You hear things such as manufacturing costs are higher or raw material costs are higher but you wouldn't really expect them to be disproportionately higher than the production of human food. So is there an issue going on in retail? I don't know. There is a lack of transparency around it, and I don't feel it's getting enough focus at the moment."
Dogs Trust has asked the government to intervene. They want the government to support struggling dog owners by removing VAT on pet food and veterinary services. Pet owners are being disproportionately hit by inflation.

The charity wants as many dog owners to keep their pets as possible and the same would apply to cats. Mr Sharp added that the charity "desperately need the government to step up and play its part for this country's 12 million dogs and their owners."


P.S. please forgive the occasional typo. These articles are written at breakneck speed using Dragon Dictate. I have to prepare them in around 20 mins.

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