Saturday 10 May 2008

Maryland cat rescue

Feral cats (not in Maryland!)- photo copyright ~Sage~ reproduced under a Creative Commons license - thanks.

Maryland cat rescue
is fairly active it seems -well done Maryland people.

Important - A lot of the Maryland cat rescue centers (the majority) can be found through Petfinder which operates nationwide. Petfinder provides the listing software so the adoptable cats are listed on the Petfinder website. You can go to their website and search from there. Some of the rescue operations are not affiliated to Petfinder (it seems to me) and these are listed here:

Alley Cat Rescue - A really nice website - concern and thought radiates from it. A nice Maryland cat rescue organization. This site has been written by a really nice woman in my estimation. I am not sure how they operate but their website tells us all about what they do. I am guessing but they are probably a network of volunteers so their is no central facility (if I am wrong please leave a comment). They do run an adoption program at the local PetsMart. There are 10 PetsMarts in the area! The nearest to the ACR postal address is this one (Google Maps opens). ACR details:

Alley Cat Rescue, Inc.
P O Box 585
Mount Rainier MD 20712
Phone: 301-277-5595

The Partnership for Animal Welfare - {PAW} - There postal address is:

The Partnership for Animal Welfare, Inc.
P.O. Box 1074
Greenbelt, MD 20768

This is not too far (about 10 k) from ACR above. PetsMart also host their adoption shows. There are a lot of PetsMart stores and these host the adoption shows:
Rockville, Bowie, Silver Spring, Kentlands, and Columbia. Petco also host: Beltsville and Ellicott City.

Alley Animals - based in
Baltimore, Maryland. They need part-time help! Call Alice at 410-823-0899.

Animal Rescue Inc. - this is an operation that has facilities of its own and is a relatively large organization it seems - they employ people so there must be reasonable good funding coming in. They are located in two places, Putty Hill, Baltimore (link to Google map) - this is a cattery and just off route 83 near the MD PA border.

Cat Rescue of Maryland (CROM) - This looks like a small operation but valuable nonetheless. They have a postal address but it seems no dedicated premises.

Maryland cat rescue more organizations:

Howard County Cat Club - they advertise their adoptable cats through a portal website (I guess for greater visibility)

Lucky Cat Rescue - Based in baltimore - MD - they work with Petco at Tollgate Shopping Center, 615 Belair Road, Bel Air, MD 21014 and at Golden Ring Plaza, 8640 Pulaski Hwy, Rosedale, MD 21237. (the links open to Google maps).

Rude ranch Animal Rescue Center - they have their own facilities and are located at Annapolis. This looks a well established center.

Safe at Last - run by Bonnie Jo Yuspa - from what appears to be her home (well done and brave you). They are in demand but please make arrangements by appointment only. The address:

Safe At Last, Inc.
4303 Danlou Drive
Baltimore, Maryland 21207

That's the list of Maryland cat rescue operations not affiliated to Petfinder.

Maryland cat rescue to Persian cat rescue

PETA killing cats

There was an article in a newpaper recently (forget where) which said that the need to kill (the sanitized word is "euthanized") trapped feral cats was unnecessary. The problem is not that there are too many cats to re-home through the rescue centers but that there were not enough volunteers involved and therefore not enough "outreach" to facilitate the re-homing process.

It seems that there are enough homes for stray domestic cats just not enough systems in place to deal with them. PETA is killing cats because they say they have too. They are being criticized by some for doing this and are seen as being hypocritical. I am not sure where the truth lies save that there is too much killing (about 4 million cats a year it seems - a massive number - we should be ashamed) and too much irresponsibility.

PETA actually have got this wrong. Killing cats is short-termism. It solves nothing in the long term. It is poor thinking.  It perpetuates the overproduction of cats. We need to deal with the overpopulation of cats and feel the burden of it. Then we will be forced to deal with the problem at source: irresponsible people! This is a people problem not a cat problem so why kill the cat?

Cat Cruelty

cat in cage
Cat cruelty - this cat is not related to the story below but has suffered an equally sad fate, killed by the authorities in Israel to prevent rabies. There is a feral cat problem in Israel caused by, yes, you guessed it, humans and the only way they figured they can deal with it is to punish and kill the innocent victims of their behavior, the cats. It is time humans took responsibility for their actions. A more proactive approach would be far better but it seems so often we are unable to take preventative actions - it's all reactive and too late. Photo copyright ofer k reproduced under a creative commons license.

Cat Cruelty is in the papers fairly frequently. I have posted on this subject before because it is important that we recognize a weakness and nastiness inside us. Most cat cruelty is due to ill directed anger plus an ignorance about nature and cats in particular. Some people have the most weird and idiotic thoughts about cats. Here is an example.

A man who seems to be reasonably well educated (so this isn't to do with pure ignorance) and living in Shoreham, West Sussex, killed a neighbor's cat because he thought the cat was smirking at him. He felt the cat was bullying him. Gosh, he really must have very low self esteem.

The cat had knocked over a vase in his landlady's house and he thought the cat "looked pleased" afterwards. Come on. Some people really need to grow up. Cats simply do not think like that. How can I be sure cats don't think like that? Firstly it is clear that this person is putting human thoughts into a cat's head. To feel pleased about something requires an intellectual intelligence beyond that of a cat. That is not a criticism of a cat as cats are more intelligent in other areas.

It requires self consciousness to think that way and cats as far as I am aware are not conscious of themselves. They act instinctively which is why their behavior is dependent on ours to a large extent (if they are living with us).

This idiotic person punched the cat unconscious and then threw him into a river where he drowned. He is likely to be charged with criminal damage and animal cruelty. In this country we think of cats as the property of people - an ill conceived concept and one which indicates that we see ourselves as superior to cats and can do as we please with them. The law almost encourages cat cruelty. If we thought of cats in a more enlightened way cat cruelty would occur much less often.

It really is time humankind grew up and became less arrogant and more in tune with the world on which we live and the other animals.

Update: This person could and should have been prosecuted (I am not sure if he was) under the Animal Welfare Act 2006. This protects cats and other animals and if convicted of causing unnecessary suffering a person can be punished by imprisoned for a maximum of 51 weeks and be fined a maximum of £20,000. This happened to another man who drowned a cat.

Cat cruelty to domestic cat character

Thursday 8 May 2008

Building a cat enclosure

cat in enclosure
photo copyright SHamEy jo reproduced under CC

Building a cat enclosure cannot be that complicated and in any event there are a lot of businesses now who make them for a fairly modest price. I have been banging on about them for months. A cat enclosure must be the best solution to the eternal dilemma of keeping a cat safe in a world that is frankly hostile to cats (well it's also pretty hostile to humans too).

It is appropriate to think of a cat as a child when making arrangements for accommodation. When we think of having a child we should make lots of plans and even buy a new home sometimes to ensure the correct facilities are in place. A cat gives as much pleasure yet very few spend a few hundred pounds or dollars to construct suitable accommodation for a new cat. Anyone with a decent amount of DIY ability could make one for themselves. The truth, though, is that a lot of people are rather careless and selfish when deciding to have children. This mentality carries over to keeping a cat I am afraid. People acquire a cat for themselves or the children and not for the cat. A little more altruism would help massively.

The obstacle for many is having sufficient space in the garden so that the enclosure integrates well and doesn't dominate. But the biggest obstacle must be the aesthetic issues. How do you knit an enclosure into your property without it looking horrible. A lot of people are very concerned about the appearance of their home. I think that that problem can be overcome with a bit of careful planning. Anyway it is a test of commitment. If we are not prepared to build an enclosure we should ask ourselves if we have the right set of circumstances in place to allow us to keep a cat.

At the basic level an enclosure can be built without the need for a professional supplier/installer. You'll need a cat flap through a wall or a window (or a door; but a door is unlikely to be suitable as the cat flap leads directly to the enclosure so there will be nowhere for a human to go - unless you have a door and space beyond that is hardly ever used, which would be ideal).

The actual enclosure could be almost any size and built of pretreated 4x2 wood (max) and chicken wire or some kind of fencing. Its size should be about a minimum of about 7 feet square I think but the manufacturers make them a smaller and bigger (I'd prefer about 15-20 feet). There should be a roof as well. That's it at a basic but effective level. The peace of mind for the cat keeper is substantial. And your cat, if she is used to being imprisoned, will be eternally grateful and she'll probably lose some weight. You can also build some climbing stuff in the enclosure and perches.

cat enclosure
Building a cat enclosure for an apartment is not impossible. Well done this person. Photo copyright Digitala Bönder.

Some middle aged ladies from England built their own enclosure and a gentleman from the Netherlands built his catio. It ain't difficult.

There are businesses supplying either "flat pack" build your own enclosures to custom built ones. One called the Cat's Den (USA) uses a mesh that it heavy duty so that it is largely self supporting - a good idea as it makes it easier to install and it can be dissembled when you move home.

A manufacturer in Maine, USA (Safekitty) makes a simple wooden framed enclosure about 8 feet square, meshed on all sides. The pictures show the enclosure next to buildings and the entrance to the enclosure from a window, which leads to the top of the enclosure with steps down in the enclosure; simple and effective and the chance of injury is lessened (if you currently let your cat out). These enclosures are priced at about $450. Building a cat enclosure need not be expensive.

It may even be cheaper to build a cat enclosure as it may result in less vet's bills (less chance of injury if you let your cat go out). If you live in a flat (apartment) you won't be able to do this as the lease won't allow it. That means for people living in flats on the first floor or higher their cat will have to be an indoor cat with the occasional excursion outside, supervised. I feel that cats shouldn't be in these kind of apartments unless they are very big with plenty of exercise toys/climbs/wheels etc. But see the enclosure above!

I live in an apartment on the ground floor. I let my cat wander out but she asks me to go with her and never goes far so she is completely safe. She'll go on her own sometimes but no further than about 20 feet from the cat flap. If she was less defensive and more adventurous I wouldn't be here in an apartment. Building a cat enclosure is the best solution to modern life with a cat.

Here's some more USA manufacturers:,,,,,,

Building a cat enclosure to indoor/outdoor living

Exotic Cats and Wild Cats

In America more people than anywhere else in the world keep exotic and wild Cats. I am not being critical of Americans or America. It is a great country. It is the ultimate capitalist society and highly successful but always vulnerable to the excesses of capitalism. 

F1 Savannah -  an exotic pet. Photo: Kathryn Stucki.

Unbridled capitalism brings problems as it is a model than panders to human weakness. Capitalism needs to be kept in check. An area that is of concern to the authorities is the keeping of exotic animals generally and of concern to me are the tamed wild cats and wildcat hybrids. 

It would seem that the authorities desire to better control the keeping of big cats (spurred on by HSUS) may be having an effect in some States on the keeping of, for example, Bengal cats. As we know Bengal cats are true domestic cats despite having some wild blood in them (it is thought about 12% for 4th generation cats). Some people prefer to keep earlier generations of Bengal cat. 

Then there are the other wildcat hybrids, Savannahs, Chausie, Safari. Then the tamed wild cat the Serval (a different kettle of fish). The point I am making is that there seems to be a gradual backlash to the gradual expansion of the keeping of exotic small cats and hybrid wildcats. 

They have been caught in the net of controls on the big wild cats. It is only in America where there is such an interest in the keeping of wild animals. You just don't see individuals in other parts of the world with their own mini-zoo. There are some but few. 

 As far as I am aware some local authorities in the US are beginning to clamp down on the keeping of Bengal cats (the best known and most frequently kept wildcat hybrid). This is of huge concern to the Bengal cat, cat fancy. 

The other problem facing the Bengal cat community is the unfortunate presence of the inherited heart disease in breeding cats. It's a kind of double whammy for breeders of the Bengal cat. If I were considering keeping a Bengal cat in the USA, I'd check on the legalities first - your breeder or rescue center should know but the law is changing it so this is grey area. In the UK the Bengal cat is still a wild cat and has to be registered but few if any keepers of this cat do this.

Wednesday 7 May 2008

Domestic Cat Character

white superior looking cat
Domestic Cat Character - Superior looking? Yes this cat does look as if he thinks he is superior but this is exclusively a human concept. We shouldn't put ideas into the heads of others including cats. It is humans who think they are superior to others. Photograph copyright fofurasfelinas (the best Flickr cat photographer)

The Domestic Cat Character is misunderstood. I just read a new article about the voting in the presidential elections and the vote goes to Barack Obama for those who like cats (and I guess animals generally). He has a strong record on animal rights apparently. But the Guardian writer Emine Saner says that cats are known to be superior and selfish implying that the majority of people think this. I have never thought of the Domestic Cat Character as having these qualities.

Yet I can understand where this comes from. There is also a fear of cats because although they are small they are natural born hunters and if mishandled can hurt you. I wonder if it is a combination of these factors that encourages some people who are damaged (mentally) to torture and kill cats. We not too infrequently see stories popping up in the papers about people torturing cats. This is a cowardly manifestation of depression and a hatred of the world. The person taking his anger out on a vulnerable creature that he probably dislikes for the wrong reasons.

The idea that cats are selfish and superior must come from their demeanor and actions. They are independent to an extent and they are do not train well. Maybe will think that because we can't train them (i.e. control them as we can with dogs) then they are to be despised. I think in the opposite way. Their dignity and desire to exercise their own rights is to be admired. But independence and being difficult to train (or being difficult to get to do what we want them to do) does not mean that they are selfish and superior. Heavens knows where this author got the idea that cats are superior from. Cats don't and can't think of themselves as superior. We think like that not cats. This is just bad thinking.

There really is a ton of misconconceived ideas about cats and on many other subjects. I hate to say it but there is a ton of ignorance in the world. Education will solve so many problems. When you are ignorant life is harder because it is more difficult to resolve problems and get on. Things are more frightening and what we fear we kill (or hurt or are defensive about). Ignorance is the root of a lot of violence.

Lets all try and understand our fellow creatures including cats. They don't think they are superior; they just survive like you and me. And we are all selfish to a degree. We had a kind of contract with cats when they domesticated themselves. The contract didn't stipulate that your cat has to show altruism towards others and you. The contract was and is that the cat behaves as she is meant to - as a domesticated cat with the wild still inside her. The Domestic Cat Character is in fact beautiful and natural.

Tuesday 6 May 2008

Hoarding Cats

A recent example of hoarding cats has come to light; an extreme example in which the person, a man, was found to have 300 (dead) cats and kittens in three freezers and about 20 live cats in the home. The usual mess, smell and chaos was present too.

We hear lots of stories like this about cats and humans. We pretty well know that the cause of this is due to a mental disorder called OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder). This condition manifests itself in the hoarding of any manner of possessions from living to dead, it really doesn't matter. It is also manifest in actions. I can remember David Beckham saying publicly that he likes things to be tidy to the point of obsession. Tidying up objects so that they are inline or form clean shapes for example creates a sense of order (the objects look orderly). The individual is maintaining order around him in a chaotic world. This creates comfort.

OCD is a reflection of acute anxiety in the individual concerned, in my opinion. I don't know if this is agreed by the physicians or not. As it is treated with anti-anxiety drugs and anti-depressants they probably agree although I expect the experts are not completely sure.

I am convinced it is due to anxiety and fear. To vulnerable people and yes ignorant people day to day living can be frightening. It can be frightening to any person in fact. Just getting up can be frightening. The thought of work can be frightening. I think most of us at some time and a lot of the time are frightened to various degrees and get used to it as normal, almost ignoring it. For some it takes over their life and is translated into hoarding. Why hoarding?

Because hoarding creates a mild comfort zone. People are frightened to throw things away, they might need them, it feels safe to know you have things you might need. The collection of possessions creates a sense of security allieviating the anxiety. The excessive nature of it is a manifestation of an inability to cope and perhaps laziness.

If a person who likes cats has this level of anxiety it translates to cat hoarding. Cat hoarding presents more problems that inanimate object hoarding as they need caring for.

People who hoard cats don't care for the cats properly. This is due in my opinion to an inward looking personality and plain ignorance. They like cats but can't care for them properly. This is compounded by the OCD. A lot to sound minded people mistreat cats through ignorance. The cat hoarding extends to the dead cats. They are hoarded too. In a freezer.

So this person who had 300 cats in three freezers is mentally ill but not profoundly so. He is also I think ill educated and unable to cope and probably (and I am sorry is this is not PC) plain ignorant.

Source: Me
Picture: From Wikipedia Commons. This is object hoarding not cat hoarding but the same principles apply

Hoarding cats to Cat facts

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