Showing posts with label cat guardian. Show all posts
Showing posts with label cat guardian. Show all posts

Friday 28 May 2021

Read this if you are old and you might die and have full-time indoor cats

There is a story emerging from Spain which is a bit of troubling because I can see other households suffering the same outcome. In this instance an elderly Colombian lady, Clara Ines Tobon, who had lived in the northern Madrid neighbourhood of Fuencarral since 1996, died. She had some pet cats. We don't know how many. It is believed that she died three months ago. 

Some think that she died of Covid-19. The cause of death is unimportant. The important aspect of the story is that nobody knew about her death and she had some pet cats who appear to have been full-time indoor cats with no way of exiting her property. That is the way I have interpreted the story which I think is reasonable because the cats ate her in order to survive.

For illustration purposes only. Photo: Pixabay (modified)

The upper part of her body was partially eaten by her pet cats. They say that there were two surviving cats that were taken to an animal rescue centre. That statement implies that some of the cats did not survive but detail is missing in the story with respect to her domestic cats which is the part that interests me.

She obviously lived alone and appears to have done so for a very long time. So, under these circumstances it seems to me that a cat owner needs to have at least one friend who should be given instructions to come into the property if they do not receive a response to their phone call on a daily basis. Or perhaps it might be every couple of days. But there needs to be some method to notify a next-of-kin or friend that a cat owner has died in their home. And if not died, is injured and cannot move and therefore cannot feed the cats.

We don't know how commonplace this sort of story is but I would expect it to happen not to infrequently and it is a genuine risk because there are an increasing number of full-time indoor cats who don't necessarily have access to the outside. They are basically prisoners in their owner's home and therefore they rely upon the owner to be in a position to look after them. That is a position of responsibility and therefore they have a responsibility to think through what would happen if they should die. It takes proactive action.

Sunday 2 May 2021

Domestic cats' guardians are at the centre of their lives

It does us good to remember that cat owners are at the centre of the lives of their cats. A domestic cat's life revolves around the human home and their human caretaker. It is a human world that they live in and they have to do their best to adapt to it. There can be a bit of fiction sometimes because the domestic cat is not completely domesticated. That wild cat within seeps out often and it can cause a clash with human culture.

My cat when he was confined to the backyard (garden). Photo: MikeB

This is only a short note but something happens with my cat quite often which reminds me that the title to this article is correct. Although, the character of individual cats varies, I do believe that in the best households, where there is a strong bond between human and cat, the cat looks to the human as the centre of their world.

My cat is an indoor/outdoor cat nowadays although he started off living within the home and a back garden which was surrounded by a cat confinement fence. He broke out of it (only 1 in 1000 do I was told) so I gave up on that idea. But when he goes out for a quick patrol around his territory sometimes he comes back about 20 minutes later, walks through the cat flap, looks up at me, and immediately returns to his outside stroll.

He is checking up on me. He is checking that I am still there, a companion to come back to. An animal, in his eyes, who provides for him, gives him comfort, security and warmth both emotional and physical. So he is thinking of me sometimes when he is out there in the wild behaving as a wild cat. This reminds me that domestic cats' guardians are at the centre of their lives.

Perhaps you don't want your cat to think of you as the centre of their life. A lot of cat owners like their cat to be as independent as possible. This avoids them having to discharge their full responsibilities towards their cat's welfare. Perhaps I'm being unkind but I believe that to be true. A decent percentage of domestic cats are, to a certain extent, neglected. Their owners think of domestic cats as independent creatures and treat them as such. But, if you, through years of patient kindness and tender loving care, develop a close relationship with your cat both of you gain more out of the relationship and what I say above becomes a fact.

Saturday 1 May 2021

Is it okay for a single person in the military to have a cat in America?

The question arose because I've just written about Sergeant Rode who fell in love with a ginger tabby cat in the Middle East who was injured and struggling to survive. She brought him back to America with the help of generous donations and a friendly organisation (PAWS OF WAR). But what will happen next because Sergeant Rode is in the military and it occurred to me that it might not be ideal to be a single person in the military and be a cat caretaker at the same time? And I am thinking about the cat, of course.

Sgt. Rode and Bubba the cat she rescued from the Middle East and shipped to America. Photo: PAWS OF WAR.

We know that cats like stability and routines. Even if a single military soldier or officer is stationed in America, they may be transferred to a different location or unexpectedly they may be deployed to a war zone even though that was not on the cards. I don't know how deployments are worked out but it seems to me that they could happen to anyone in the military perhaps even at short notice.

And under these uncertain circumstances it would seem that their domestic cat might become unhappy. And good caretakers do not want their cat to be unhappy. Good cat caretakers don't want to be stressed with the thought of making their cat unhappy because of reasons beyond their control. And when they bond with their cat being separated if stressful for both.

There are some good stories about this on the website which shed light on these difficulties and conflicting emotions. Some people say that you can be in the military as a single person and have a cat companion because if you are away from your home in the barracks for a while you can place your cat with a foster parent or with family and so on. That's all very well but you can't do it for a long time in my opinion. So I don't think it's particularly good idea unless the relocation is for a short time such as a max. of 2 weeks.

The average military deployment is between six and 12 months, as I understand it, for American military personnel. You can't really kiss goodbye to your cat for this sort of time. It undermines the whole purpose of having a cat in the first place. It's a question of providing the best caretaking for a cat and if a person can't do that they should let somebody else try. No?

One commenter on said that he or she was in the military, single and "got a cat". There was little chance of deployment for the person but notwithstanding that it did not go well. They ended up being sent to Korea for a year. She asked family to take care of her cat. When she returned he/she was stationed in a small town where it was impossible for her to find a rental which allow pets. It was very difficult and stressful to find suitable accommodation. And she had to move every 2-3 years. She found driving across country with their cat to be stressful and of course a cat would have found it stressful, at least potentially, too.

She felt terrible leaving her cat behind with friends and also felt that her cat would be miserable being boarded. Also she did not like leaning on friends to check in on her cat to feed her when she went away training for a couple of weeks. She realised that cats need people around and it will be too hard on a cat that had bonded if you are going to be away all the time. As a result, she eventually gave her cat to her father  "so it could have a stable life". I agree with everything this person says. But the situation is not black-and-white.

Others suggest that if you adopt two cats you will be okay but this is not a particularly good answer, sometimes. It is quite difficult to ensure that your cats get along, and anyway you can't just leave 2 cats alone for many weeks with a neighbour popping in to make sure that they are fed. It is simply not going to work and it is not good cat caretaking. It's a question of standards and if a person knows that they are unable to provide care to a sufficient standard they should pass up the opportunity to look after a cat and let someone else, better suited, try.

Another commenter said: "I knew of soldiers that had a pet while on active; it never ended well for the pets. It would seem that their life would be tossed to the wind and most just started to have behavioural problems."

Conversely, there are people that say it is workable. Another commenter said: "I am AD Army with three cats. I would say that it's pretty easy to have cats minus [sic] just having to arrange for someone to watch them while you're in the field or whatever as long as you're committed to making sure that you have a plan for your kitty in the event of your unexpected deployment (think family care plan), I think cats are great military pets. There are more challenges finding housing...."

Others say that "a cat will be perfect". You make up your own mind. I think it's about standards of cat caretaking. You can make alternative arrangements and have a support system which allows your cat to be cared for when you are away. But this is not ideal, far from it. There's no shame in rejecting the idea of having a cat companion if you think you cannot be an excellent guardian to your cat.

It is hard to not be drawn to the conclusion that sometimes some military personnel might adopt a cat, despite their circumstances being far from ideal, because they need to adopt a cat to benefit themselves and they have temporarily brushed under the carpet the needs of the cat. That said, a cat living with a military person whose life is not particularly stable is probably in a better position than a rescue cat in a shelter. On that assessment you have to go along with those who support the idea of military personnel having cat companions.

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