Thursday 6 November 2008

Cat welfare in Croatia

cat hanging from a tree cat crueltyIs Cat welfare in Croatia on the up and up? Croatia has recently introduced the Animal Protection Act (drafted in 2006 I believe -see Croatia Animal Protection Act). It came into force on 1st January 2007. It is quite good. It's introduction and enactment was, one could argue, forced on the Croatian government as it is seeking to become a member of the EU. Their application is still on track despite high levels of organized crime in Croatia.

Can you force animal welfare on a country? Is the new legislation just a piece of paper? The penalties for a conviction of animal cruelty under the Act are quite substantial (the equivalent of about £5,000 -£10,000 GPD) but imprisonment is not an option. The biggest problem is enforcement which is dependent on commitment and resources. There is organized crime and hunting seems to be largely unregulated and the new legislation does not regulate hunting. Is a country in which there is organized crime able to adopt a caring and more up to date attitude towards animals and cats (my area of interest)?

Photograph of cat hanging from a tree: this is taken from the Animal Friends Croatia website. I provide a link in exchange: Animal Friends Croatia. If you object please tell me and I'll rectify the situation quickly. Who could do this and why? For what purpose? It seems to be a case of gratuitous violence serving no purpose. This is great cruelty towards cats in Croatia. Under the new legislation this would be a crime under article 4 of the Act. The cat seems to be a domestic tabby and white cat.

Obviously decent legislation is a good start, but only a start. Peoples' attitudes need to be updated, particularly in the villages, where it is commonplace, apparently, to see dogs permanently chained up. This is considered normal, obviously. The people who do this cannot have any sensitivity towards an animal's mentality. There is a huge amount of ignorance on the subject of an animal's ability to suffer emotionally. With this I am afraid to see backward and ignorant attitude it is hard to see progress being quick.

large dog Croatia
Typical macho alpha male man with alpha dog - Split, Croatia. Photo by joao ornelas. When I see this I don't get good vibes on cat welfare in Croatia. Am I being prejudiced?

There are many instances of animal cruelty in Croatia. It seems to be a male dominated state. Open cruelty seems to have gone unpunished. Animal cruelty and for me cat welfare in Croatia has almost been ignored. One group of people with the correct attitude are the people who run Animal Friends Croatia. They have done good work. There is a long way to go, in my view.

There will be change, yes, but it will take tens of years perhaps 2 or 3 generations before cat welfare in Croatia is on a par with the best countries in the world for animal welfare. This is my personal view. If your differs please make a comment.

Cat welfare in Croatia - source:
  • Animal Friends Croatia
  • Myself
From Cat welfare in Croatia to Cats and the Law

Wednesday 5 November 2008

Cat owners vote Democrat

rescue cat
Rescue cat available for adoption through Independent Animal Rescue, Durham, NC as at July 2008. I hope he/she has a home by now and that the home is a democrat home! Photo by KelliAmanda

Cat owners vote Democrat- why? Cat people are independent people. Independent minded people ask questions. They think outside the box. They are more inclined to challenge the Status Quo. Cats are also independent animals. They are solitary hunters in the wild where there is sufficient space but can adapt to live in groups either as feral cats or in the human home with other cats or dogs, for example.

In contrast dog people are pack animals. They like the concept of family, the Status Quo; the cosy paradigm of family living with the dog at the master's feet, by the fire, after a hearty evening meal. All is well with the world. The master of the house is the man of the house and it has got to stay that way. Dogs are pack animals too. They look up to the top dog, the master of the house, the male human.

This means that dogs would vote republican and cats democrat. Or in the UK, cats would vote labor or liberal (or for an independent candidate, if available) and dogs would vote conservative.

Apparently, Barack Obama, the new President of the United States, has decided to buy a puppy for his daughters. On the face of it this goes against the above theory. Yet Barack is adopting a dog for the family. He is being democratic. And the family would, it seems, prefer a dog. Maybe they would like a dog first then a cat.?

If he had a free choice would be prefer to adopt a cat? Remember, cat owners vote Democrat (generally -there will be wide spectrum of attitudes in both parties with a large overlap).

Cat Owners vote democrat to Home Page

Photograph: published under a Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs creative commons License

Tuesday 4 November 2008

Cat Welfare in Romania

Cat Welfare in Romania is poor because animal welfare is poor generally. Why is that? There are a number reasons and they start with the communist dictatorship history which it seems stultified the usual growth of a nation. There is no doubt that Romania is lagging behind most states of Europe, certainly the more established countries. Romania recently (on January 1st 2007) became a member of the European Union, the EEC (European Economic Union).

Good cat (my area of interest) and animal welfare legislation is more than simply drafting an enacting the law. There has to be a will to carry it through by rigorous enforcement. And as important is the fact that there has to be a change in attitude towards animals by those who keep them. That means the general population or a large part of it will need to adjust their views in respect of animals. On a practical level a government cannot enforce animal welfare laws against numerous offenders particularly when the law is rather poorly written as is the case in Romania and when there seems to be a lack of commitment to it. A lack of commitment to enforce is no surprise as the enforcers as like any other Romanian. They need it seems to be educated too in respect of animal welfare. It seems the animal welfare laws were introduced to help smooth the path to becoming a member of the EEC. In other words political reasons, rather than genuine animal welfare at heart.

In addition, Romania would seem to have a long established hunting tradition. Hunting is poorly controlled despite the laws to protect wild life. People don't just hunt wild life. When there are no wildcats, bears, deer and Lynxs to kill the hunters chase the feral cats and stray dogs and it seems they even do this very near homes and in the towns. It really is bad for wildlife, dogs and feral cats in Romania. Of course it can't go on for ever as mercifully the wild animals worth hunting will become extinct in Romania and there will be no pain anymore.

Romania has a feral dog problem. They seem to think the answer is to shoot them on sight. Great fun. This doesn't work. The same is true for feral cats. The best method is to control the dog population through trap and neuter. Then most importantly tackle the problem at source: the people. All stray cat and dog problems start with irresponsible people. The local authorities of Romania charged with enforcing the law seem to have forgotten that.

Another country lagging behind in terms of animal welfare is Croatia. I have discussed in outline Romanian cat and animal laws and made comments and set out cat animal cruelty laws Romania (as I understand it). Cat Welfare in Romania needs to be cleaned up and reinforced.

Cat Welfare in Romania to Laws and Cats

Monday 3 November 2008

The Universal Declaration of Animal Rights is hogwash

The Universal Declaration of Animal Rights is hogwash - comment and discuss. I have built a page on this declaration. See it here: The Universal Declaration of Animal Rights.

I am saying that it is too late for a declaration. We need universal laws on animal welfare. There is plenty of good law around for those countries who are sadly lagging behind in embracing the idea of animal rights, which is an essential part of the law of an established country.

If they have the will and commitment (the biggest obstacle) all they have to do is take some good law from a country that is organized such as Sweden (see their animal welfare laws) and adopt and adapt.

Disagree? Too hard? Plain wrong? Tell me leaving a comment.

Agouti ticked cat coat

Here is a great close up photograph of an Agouti ticked cat coat on a wildcat, the Jaguarundi.

ticked cat coat
The "ticked" hairs of a Jaguarundi wildcat. This is a cropped images from a larger version, allowed under the Attribution-Non-Commercial-Share Alike 2.0 Generic creative commons license. Photo by alumroot

If you look at the hair over the eyes (great wildcat wild look eyes) you can see the color at the first half of the hair (from the skin) is black. Then it is yellow and the tip is black again.

The black pigment is eumelanin. The yellow pigment is phaeomelanin. Melanin is a substance often seen in plant and animal life in which it primarily serves as providing pigment. For the technically minded eumelanin and pheomelanin are:

"a brown-black polymer of dihydroxyindole, dihydroxyindole carboxylic acid, and their reduced forms. Another common form of melanin is pheomelanin, a red-brown polymer of benzothiazine units largely responsible for red hair and freckles" (src: Wikipedia® published under GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2 or any later version - see Wikipedia® licensing below).

The agouti gene controls the way the pigmentation is deposited in the individual hair. Eumelanin is produced in cells called melanocytes. The agouti gene inhibits the production of eumelanin but less so in the case of pheomelanin.

The wild type A (dominant) gene causes the hair to be yellow at the base and black at the tip. This description seems to be partially contradict what we see in the hairs in the photograph where they are black-yellow-black. The basic principle is in place still, however (comments welcome).

The classic agouti ticked cat coat is the Abyssinian cats coat. Tabby cats have ticked hair and a pattern as well; either classic, stripes (mackerel) or spotted. A classic mackerel pattern can be seen on the Toyger cat. See cat coats tabby too if you like. See links to more coat types.


Click on this link to see the Wikipedia® License src: Wikipedia® published under GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2 or any later version, November 2002 Copyright (C) 2000,2001,2002 Free Software Foundation, Inc. 51 Franklin St, Fifth Floor, Boston, MA 02110-1301 USA - - no other conditions to the license are added.

From Agouti ticked cat coat to Moggie cats

Bengal tiger is a man eater

Bengal tiger - photo by The Eternity

The Bengal tiger is a man eater but not by choice. The Times newspaper reports a significant increase in the number of attacks by Bengal tigers on people living in the Sundarbans region of Bangladesh/India (the region straddles the countries) this year. There have been 2o people killed so far this year while 6 were killed for the whole of last year.

The reason is that Bangladesh is an overcrowded country and the area called the Sundarbans, a marshy area on the Ganges delta of some 3,700 square miles, is shrinking. Bangladesh is the size of England with more than twice the population and England. It is about the 4th most densely populated country in the world and certainly the most densely populated country in the world with significant wildlife including large animals.

Add to the already high density of the population, a shrinking landscape in the Ganges delta due to rising sea levels, silting up and floods and you force people and tiger together. The tiger has already unnaturally relocated to the delta because of lack of territory elsewhere. The tiger has adapted to living amongst a lot of water and learnt to fish and swim more than usual but reduction in space and prey means the tiger is forced to attack humans especially if the tiger is ill or finding it harder to cope than normal.

Tigers will naturally avoid humans for obvious reasons. But desperation forces a different strategy. The Bengal tiger is a man eater sometimes by force of necessity no more. Sometimes the Bangladesh people succeed in capturing and killing a tiger that encroaches into a village. If two are killed it represents 1% of the tiger population of Banglasdesh. Just 10 killed is 5% of the total in the country.

There are about 440 Bengal tigers living the Sundarbans of which an estimated 200-250 are in Bangladesh. Although it is hard to estimate accurateyly. In an estimate of tigers in India recently the numbers were found to be lower than previously thought.

They are all endangered as we know under the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species™ (see IUCN Red List for cats). The World Wildlife Fund estimates that there are 2,000 Bengal tigers in the wild from an estimated 40,000 in India alone at 1900.

The bottom line is the Bangladesh population rises relentlessly and the landscape shrinks. This is no place for a wild animal that needs a large amount of space. An individual's range can be 50 to 1000 km2.

Until recently the tiger never came into villages. Now the Bengal tiger is a man eater coming into villages. This will leave them more vulnerable to attack by humans. I am afraid the IUCN Red List listing is rapidly becoming out of date. The next status will be Critically Endangered (CR).

Read lots more about Bengal tiger facts and its endangerment.

Bengal tiger is a man eater to Home Page

Photo: published under a Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs creative commons License

Jaguarundi Curl

The Jaguarundi Curl is a rare breed of domestic cat and a hybrid cat named after a wildcat whose habitat is in South America; that sounds a bit complicated.

There is no connection genetically between the Jaguarundi Curl and the Jaguarundi wildcat. The connection is in appearance, no more.

So, I need to remind myself what a Jaguarundi wildcat looks like then I can compare it with the domestic Jaguarundi Curl.

Here is a picture:

Jaguarundi wildcat - photo by alumroot published under a Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs creative commons License (Flickr). Click to see a large format version of this picture. The ticked coat is very apparent.

Here is another picture showing the whole body and the legs. Why show the legs? Well, the Jaguarundi Curl is a dwarf cat breed and has therefore short legs. This is meant to reflect the short legs of the Jaguarundi wildcat. But I confess, I don't think that the wildcat has particularly short legs. The tail though is long. This is not uncommon in wildcats particularly good tree climbers. The classic long tailed wildcat that excels at climbing is the endangered Clouded Leopard.

Jaguarundi wildcat
Jaguarundi wildcat photo: by WrenaissanceWoman taken at the Arizona Sonora Desert Museum I believe. published under a Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs creative commons License (Flickr).


Now lets look at the domestic Jaguarundi Curl. This is a cross between the Highland Lynx and a Munchkin or other dwarf cat breed. The Munchkin is the best known of the dwarf cats and the foundation dwarf cat breed in the creation of the other dwarf cat all of which are referred to with links to lots more on this page: Dwarf Cats and Miniature Cats. Dwarf cats, of course, have short legs. This is the connection with the short legged wildcat.

The Highland Lynx is curled eared cat (small ears too) and is part of the development of the Highlander cat (see some information here). The Highland Lynx has polydactyl feet as well (see an example of a polydactyl cat here: American Polydactyl cat).

Although the Highland Lynx has a shortish tail this has been eliminated apparently in the development of the this cat breed to reflect the long tail of the wildcat. So, this cat has curled ears inherited from the Highland Lynx. The best known curled eared cat is the American Curl.

The preferred coat type of the Jaguarundi Curl is ticked. The best known ticked coat is on the Abyssinian. But the Jaguarundi wildcat has a heavily ticked coat. Ticked coats are very common on wildcats. It is a form of tabby coat and provides good camouflage. See cat coats tabby.

In conclusion this cat is a muscular, curled eared, short legged, longish bodied cat with a tabby ticked coat, which is sometimes a spotted tabby. I can't show you a picture because there aren't any except there is one useable picture on the Rare and Exotic Feline Registry website and I don't have their permission to publish it here.

Update 8th Jan 2010: I have permission. Here is a picture of Sasha:

Jaguarundi Curl cat
Jaguarundi Curl - Sasha - published with the permission of Joe Childers of Timberline Cattery (new window).

And here is Low Girl:

Jaguarundi Curl Cat Low Girl
Jaguarundi Curl - Low Girl - Photos are copyright Joe Childers.

From Jaguarundi cat to Home page

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