Showing posts with label rodents. Show all posts
Showing posts with label rodents. Show all posts

Tuesday 16 July 2024

Commons Speaker wants many cats at the Palace of Westminster

The Commons Speaker, Sir Lindsay Hoyle, is a known animal lover and loves cats. He currently has two cats, I believe, living in his home within the Palace of Westminster A.K.A. Houses Of Parliament. 

He lives just behind Big Ben in very beautiful accommodation; quite extensive and I believe that his Maine Coon cat 'Attlee' lives there with him. And he has adopted a black stray cat who wanted to be taken in and who he has named 'Clem'. Both of these names come from the former Prime Minister Clement Attlee.

Commons Speaker wants many cats at the Palace of Westminster
Attlee as an adult Maine Coon who lives with the Speaker in his house within the estate. Photo: Richard Wheeler PA.


He is a very popular Commons Speaker and was re-elected to the post after the general election. There appears to have been no issues about his re-election. And he says that there should be "cats across the House." The idea is to take care of the rodent population and provide therapy to stressed politicians! 💕

The Palace of Westminster is a very large estate adjacent to the Thames River and is in bad condition requiring constant repair and a major upgrade which would cost billions of pounds. The reason why I am saying that is because you can see that there is a great possibility of there being mice and rats on the estate which is the case.

And Attlee, his Maine Coon cat, is sometimes called upon to deal with mice. MPs come up to him and ask if they can borrow Attlee for a while to get rid of mice in their office. That kind of thing.

And Sir Lindsay Hoyle would also like to see a "Bring Your Pet Day" in Parliament. I think he would like to see members of Parliament bringing their pets to the establishment.

Sir Lindsay has a number of pets including a tortoise named Maggie and a parrot named Boris. These are named after Margaret Thatcher and Boris Johnson, two more former prime ministers.

There was a study about the possibility of employing cats to keep down the rodent population on the estate. The conclusion appears to be that the estate is too big and that there would have to be too many cats in order to make it work which would be unmanageable.

His brown tabby Maine Coon cat also helps to keep the peace and keep people calm. Cats can do that for you. He is a therapy cat as well as the chief mouser at Parliament. He goes out to visit people to make them smile and be happier.

He said that "We've had the odd MP ring up and say, including the Clerk of the House, 'there is a mouse in my office, can we borrow Attlee?'"

His cat loves Dreamies which is a dry cat food and a particularly tasty one. The reason why he wants cats across the house, as mentioned, is because "There's nothing better than seeing a cat. Anybody who likes cats are nice people."

He's right. A slight problem is that some people don't like cats or some are frightened of cats but I would thoroughly agree with him. I think more cats at Parliament would be beneficial. And a dog or two would help to of course but there would have to be some management because you don't want dogs chasing cats! The issue is about managing the cats. Feeding them and providing toilet facilities etc.

Commons Speaker wants many cats at the Palace of Westminster
Sir Lindsay Hoyle soon after adopting his new Maine Coon kitten Attlee. They touch noses in a friendly greeting

When he was interviewed for the article to which I'm referring and which is published on the Independent newspaper online he said that his tortoise, Maggie, was on the terrace. That is the area outside the Houses of Parliament in between the building and the Thames. It's a very pleasant area where they sometimes have marquees for social gatherings I believe.

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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 26 December 2023

The reasons why the majority of cat owners don't stop their cats killing native species

The Daily Mail talks about waging a war on killer cats. The deadly domestic cat. Humans need to wage a war against them to stop them preying on precious wildlife. There is already a news media war against the domestic cat especially in Australia where the citizens of that fine country are gradually being indoctrinated into believing that the domestic cat is the embodiment of the devil; something like the belief of Europeans in the Middle Ages. The era of witchcraft.

The reasons why cat owners don't stop their cats killing wildlife
Cat predation on crested lark curtailed by Walldorf's administrators. Image assessed as being in the public domain. The cat is starting to be seen in the same way as they were in the Middle Ages.

I don't think it is wise to talk about "waging a war" against the domestic cat because it is likely to encourage animal abuse. But certainly, the predation by domestic cats, a so-called invasive species, on native species is highly problematic and is beginning to upset a lot of people.

Natural process


But it doesn't upset, enough, the cat owning public across the planet (except Australia!). I think the truth of the matter is that most cat owners - and this certainly applies in the UK - are aware that their indoor/outdoor domestic cat occasionally kills wildlife but they don't mind enough about it. They see it as nature taking its course.

It seems that cat owners see the domestic cat as just another wild animal which should be allowed to prey on small mammals and marsupials because it's nature in action. What right have people got to prevent domestic cats expressing their natural desires and motivations? I think that is the reasoning behind a lot of people allowing their cat to go outside unsupervised and kill animals.

Pet owners simply don't care enough about small native species being killed by their cat companions. That's the raw truth of it I believe.

Speciesism


Perhaps this is an example of speciesism. This is when people favour one animal species over another. And it is probably normal and natural for a cat owner who adores their loved domestic cat to favour their pet above small rodents, the typical prey animal of the domestic cat. And birds. Birds are favoured above rodents by nearly everybody and cats kill birds and rodents. They don't mind about rodents being killed but the birds are another matter. This is another example of speciesism.


Don't care enough about nature. More concerned about the home


To be brutally frank, I don't think people are sensitive enough to the predation of animals by domestic cats. They just don't see it as a problem in terms of ecology and conservation. Cat owners see domestic cat predation as a problem for them because the cat can bring the animal back into the home and cause a bloody mess. 

Or the mouse runs under some furniture and you can't get it out and the animal starves to death and starts to rot making a smell in the home. Once again the problem with domestic cat predation for most pet owners is not the killing of prey animals but the disruption to the way of life of the human caregiver that predation causes.

Until the wider public have been indoctrinated into believing that it is their duty to protect wildlife and the planet in general, I don't think we going to see a big change in attitude by cat owners in the UK and other countries.

Perhaps another reason why many people are distanced from nature and therefore don't want to really get involved in protecting nature is because they've become emotionally distanced from the natural world. People often live in the urban environment and are not really connected with nature and wildlife. Global warming is an example of how humankind has become distanced from nature and addicted to products and a way of life which harms the planet. Think big diesel SUVs (still sold) and sport hunting (still prevalent).

A lot of people enjoy wildlife and one can't generalise because there are many people who really are sensitive towards wildlife and nature and the natural world. I'm afraid not enough people are genuinely concerned about the predation of native species by the domestic cat which is an invasive species. Although, we have to question the phrase "invasive species".

Invasive species?


How long has the domestic cat got to live in a country to become native to that country? There are no hard and fast rules on that.


We can't pass the buck


Whatever happens next, people need to remember that it is humankind who domesticated the North African wildcat and created 500 million domestic, stray and feral cats on the planet. It is the work of humans. The cat is an innocent victim of human behaviour. Anything we do needs to be humane and decent. The problem is ours. We can't pass the buck onto the domestic cat.
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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 24 April 2023

Rats as big as cats in the UK! Rat catching cats don't stand a chance.

To those of us living in the UK we are seeing more headlines about rats getting larger. They say they are as big as cats. If it's true there is little prospect of domestic cats being usefully employed as rat deterrents. Today's domestic cat ratter will just run away from these monsters.

Massive rat as big as a cat
Massive rat as big as a cat. Image by MikeB based on an image in the public domain.

But in general, I think they are mythical. People like to believe that they are very large. It adds to their story of woe. But if they are larger, it must be an evolutionary process over a very long time.

Animals may evolve to be larger over time as a result of natural selection. Larger individuals may have advantages in terms of survival and reproduction. For example, larger animals may be better able to defend themselves against predators, compete for resources, or attract mates. Additionally, larger size can confer other benefits, such as the ability to travel further or withstand harsh environmental conditions.

However, it's important to note that evolution is not always directional, and animals can also evolve to become smaller or stay the same size over time, depending on the specific environmental pressures they face. Furthermore, evolution is a slow process that occurs over many generations, and there are many factors that can influence the size of a species, such as the availability of resources, predation pressure, and climate change.

AI says this about rats getting larger

There have been reports in the media suggesting that rats in the UK are getting larger, but the evidence for this is mixed and controversial.

Some studies have suggested that rats in urban areas may be increasing in size due to factors such as access to more food and reduced predation pressure. However, other studies have found no evidence of size increase and suggest that the average size of rats in the UK has remained relatively constant over time.

It's important to note that size variation in rats can also be influenced by a number of other factors, including genetics, environmental conditions, and disease. Additionally, different rat populations may exhibit different size trends depending on their location and specific ecological conditions.

Overall, while there may be some evidence to suggest that rats in certain areas of the UK are getting larger, it's difficult to make generalizations about the entire population without more comprehensive data.

Cold climates

Normally animals of the same species living in cold climates are larger such as the puma in North America compared to the same species in South America.

The same difference applies to the tiger. The Siberian is larger than Bengal. The Sumatran is the smallest. Evolution ensures that the bigger animals can keep warmer because of an improved mass to surface area ratio.

This is supported by prey animals also being smaller in warmer climates which feeds into the evolutionary process ensuring that predators such as the tiger is smaller too.

On that basis rats in the UK may be getting bigger to keep warmer as it enhances survival and the evolutionary process is supported by the presence of abundant food supplies because of an increased human population in the UK.

Ratters

The old idea that domestic cats are good at deterring and killing rats hardly applies today. Domestic cats are not great rat catchers. They can be intimidated by a big rat. 

They don't want to risk being injured so leave it alone. It depends on the individual cat. They may even run away from a marauding rat. Rats can be very aggressive and courageous. They are good predators themselves. They've been involved in the extinction of some species on islands.

GB's greatest rat catcher

The UK's greatest rat catching cat was a female living in and around the now non-existent White City Stadium. She is said to have killed no fewer than 12,480 rats in her life. A daily average of 5-6.

A formidable achievement which reflects the reason why the wildcat was domesticated in the first place around 10k years ago. They were utilitarian, working cats as well as companions.

Companions now

Domestic cats nowadays are almost exclusively companions and entertainers to their caregivers.

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