Showing posts with label pet detective. Show all posts
Showing posts with label pet detective. Show all posts

Thursday 2 December 2021

Clever tin foil hack helps keep cats away from Christmas trees

Yeah, this is a classic example and a useful one of how to use tin foil to deter the family cat without scaring him/her. You want some sort of control at Christmas and this provides it. Cats hate tin foil. I have seen is used successfully on kitchen counters. Cats immediately jump off when they land on foil. 

Clever tin foil hack helps keep cats away from Christmas trees
Clever tin foil hack helps keep cats away from Christmas trees. Screenshot.

The problem with tin foil on kitchen counters is (1) you can't use that part of the counter and (2) it's inhumane because it frightens cats.

But putting tin foil around a Christmas tree deters the cat in a friendly way. They hate the stuff but as you can see in the video they place one paw on I and back off.

This cat's response might not be entirely typical but I would expect it to be pretty commonplace. A cat might run onto it which may scare them. 

Reason why tin foil deters cats

Why is tin foil such a hostile product/object to the domestic cat? The answer is that it makes a strange crinkling noise when walked on. That is the source of its effectiveness.  All animals including the human-animal become agitated and anxious when they hear sounds of a certain high frequency and which are repeated. Alarms make these sounds to get our attention. It is a natural response. Tin foil makes this sort of sound when walked on or compressed by hand or fiddled with.

Also, I feel sure that their is a connection with the sound of snakes that rattle their tails. I believe the noise is similar to the sound by a range of species of snake which shake their tails as a warning to keep a distance, including: rat snakes, gopher snakes, corn snakes, kingsnakes, pit vipers, copperheads, cottonmouths, bushmasters, terciopelo snakes, and cantil snakes.

Snakes of the Viperidae family (vipers) rattle their tails and they are sympatric with the North African wildcat i.e. they live in the same area. My guess is that the domestic's inherited memory interprets the sound of tin foil as a viper. Far fetched? 

The video shows us the rattlesnake sound. This species of snake is not distributed in the same area as the wildcat but the video's purpose is to compare the sound with the sound of tin foil. The rattlesnake is a viper.

The domestic cat ancestor, the North African wildcat meets some of these snake species and will avoid them. I believe that the domestic cat has inherited this fear of tail rattling snakes and avoids the sound of rattling tin foil when walked or jumped on.

Most animals consider snakes dangerous. That's why cats hiss like snakes when defending themselves. And it is why they curl up to look like snakes when sleeping (for tabby cats only but all domestic cats were tabbies at one time).


Monday 21 June 2021

Massive increase in pet thefts in Australia during Covid

As is the case in other countries, there has been a massive increase in pet thefts during Covid in Australia. This is confirmed by Anne-Marie in Sydney Australia who is a pet detective specialising in cats, dogs, rabbits, ferrets, goats, birds, pigs and horses! I don't think she specialises that all!

Attempted theft of a cat on a front porch caught by CCTV
Attempted theft of a cat on a front porch caught by CCTV. I believe this is in the US and the picture is here for illustrative purposes only. Image: CCTV in public domain.

She said that she has always preferred animals to people. A good start if you want to be a committed pet detective. I suppose the reason for the dramatic increase in pet thefts in Australia is the obvious one which is increased demand. When more people want to adopt a cat or dog, let's say, demand goes up and if supply is short it leads to criminality. People who have lost work during Covid saw an opportunity to make money Anne-Marie said. So, these are casual pet thieves who I'd would describe as opportunistic.

Annie-Marie pet detective
Annie-Marie pet detective. Photo: Bill Plummer of The Observer.

And demand for pets, particularly dogs, increased dramatically too because of Covid. It's those long lockdowns that did it. The idle mind and the need for company.

But in the UK, it appears that pet thieves are predominantly members of an organised gang. And if people have lost work because of Covid they might find it harder to purchase a dog and therefore they steal an animal. Or they turn to the black market and purchase a stolen dog. And Anne-Marie says that in Australia, for the first time, shelters are empty and pets have become a commodity.

She is receiving or was receiving 50 enquiries a week. She describes various types of pet theft including planned stealing which normally involves a burglary or trespassing on someone's property. And sometimes a person known to the cat or dog owner steals the animal. Maintenance contractors working in the area or even on the home in question might thieve a pet.

You can see the scenario: you're having your house done up and you go out for a while leaving your dog at home. The contractors finish their work on their last day and take the dog. That would seem to be how it might unfold sometimes. And extraordinarily, sometimes pet-sitters steal the animal they are looking after. It'd be the last pet-sitting job they do though.

Anne-Marie says that there is no one method to deal with pet theft. You have to bring together all the elements such as the breed of the animal if they are purebred, the age, the circumstances and the owner's profile. They also gather information about micro-chipping and whether the animal is collared. The character of the pet is also a factor as it allows Anne-Marie to build up a picture.

She sometimes uses drones which are able to pick up a heat signature. That seems like a very clever idea to me and the use of drones has exploded in various contexts. Part of the role of a pet detective is to manage the emotions of cat and dog owners who are probably invariably utterly distraught. Sometimes they find the animal but they've died. Above all, from the owner's perspective, closure is the key. They want to know what happened. They can then move on.

Source: The Guardian via MSN.

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