Tuesday 11 November 2008

Cats pets in the workplace

Cats, pets in the workplace is something that is slowly catching on it as bosses realize that there are benefits to the company's bottom line as a result of a more contented workforce.

cat in the office
I'm in charge of the photocopying and odd jobs. "Lay off my photocopier...it's for laying on......." Photo by vtengr4047

I guess it goes without saying that dogs are more likely to be successful in the workplace. They are more corporate minded. If a dog was a man he'd be a thoroughly dedicated and loyal corporate man and therefore successful. He would be the archetypal "yes man". Bosses love that.

This is because dogs are pack animals, looking up to the top dog for directions and a lead. In the peculiar corporate world you have to play the corporate game. Be one of the lads. Muck in and support the team. Be a team player. Dogs can do that. They are liable to fit in nicely in an office environment no matter how corporate the business is. But I suspect that most examples of cats or dogs in the workplace will be in small businesses and small offices.

Small businesses are more likely to adopt culture and particular mentality of the top man as his/her decision is likely to be direct and personally as opposed to being made by the board of directors. Anything a little "odd" or different might get squashed as a result.

Now as to cats. Cats are not pack animals and independent minded. They generally do as they please and don't play the corporate male bonding stuff game. If a cat was a human employee in a large corporation he/she would be lucky to survive unless the business was very open minded and enlightened.

That makes a cat less likely to be seen in the workplace unless the workplace is probably small and independent minded. Apparently by far the majority of pets in the workplace are dogs.

Working from a different perspective cat people are more likely to be self employed or working in small firms with like minded people. The big talking bullsh*t**ging corporate men who thrive in the big companies usually have dogs if they have a pet at all.

Of course this sounds all black and white. The world is grey. There will be exceptions. We want more cats and pets in the workplace.

Cats pets in the workplace to Home page

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

Monday 10 November 2008

Victoria Australia Cat Cruelty

Of course Victoria Australia cat cruelty that sometimes goes undetected takes place despite the fact that state of Victoria, Australia has good animal welfare law and enforcement. Good legislation can gradually alter people's behavior. In this instance it did not. It is a crime of cruelty against a cat called Bullet on December 7th 2007.

The veterinarian who treated Bullet (and who I presume was forced to put him down) said his injuries were the worst she had seen in 14 years.

Bullet's injuries included a dislocated tail, burnt hair and internal injuries due to sexual abuse. It would seem that is was the internal injuries that were life threatening.

There are some mad and bad people about. They haven't found this one. This is one of the great problems with animal welfare law. Cat can't talk and give evidence. If the cruelty takes place behind closed doors who is to know who did it unless there are other indicators or repeated odd and cruel behavior by a careless perpetrator?

So no matter how well structured and enforced the law is, I wonder how many cases of animal cruelty lead to charges and convictions?

Under the state of Victoria's PREVENTION OF CRUELTY TO ANIMALS ACT 1986 the perpetrator if caught and convicted under section 9 of the Act could receive a punishment of up to 12 months imprisonment or a maximum of 120 penalty units (see punishment under this Act under section 9 and the meaning of penalty units).

Victoria Australia Cat Cruelty to Cats and the Law

Victoria Australia Cat Cruelty - Source of this case: http://www.pet-abuse.com a great but very sad and disturbing website.

Sunday 9 November 2008

Mucopolysaccharidosis and Siamese cats

Mucopolysaccharidosis and Siamese cats.

I'll keep this short as Mucopolysaccharidosis is a complex disease, which also affects humans. In Medical, Genetic & Behavioral Aspects of Purebred cats (Edited by Ross D. Clark, DVM) it is stated as affecting the Siamese cat sometimes.

Mucopolysaccharidosis VI is a disorder affecting metabolism caused by a defective autosomal recessive gene. It causes a deficiency in an enzyme called N-acetylgalactosamine 4-sulfatase (src: Wikipedia); the above book calls the enzyme arylsulfatase B. This results in the storage of long chains of sugar carbohydrates in the cat's cells.

The symptoms are:
  • skeletal abnormalities including:
  1. wides spaced eyes
  2. small ears
  3. flattened face
  4. frontal bossing (prominent forehead)
  5. kittens at 1o weeks are smaller than normal and have corneal clouding and prolapsed third eyelids. There front are larger than normal. At 5 months they have an abnormal gait.
Mucopolysaccharidosis and Siamese cats to Cat Health Problems

Feline Sneezing


When we sneeze it is because of an irritated nose, we can feel it. The irritation can be from various sources, some benign and transient and some disease based. Feline sneezing is the same.

Feline sneezing is a sign of nasal irritation. The lining of the nose is stimulated which sets up the reflex action of sneezing, the purpose of which is to get rid of the irritation by ejecting the thing that is causing it.

cat sneezing

This boy, Goku, lives with fofurasfelinas (the well known cat photographer on Flickr, real name Giane Portal) and he apparently may have an allergy causing sneezing. The photograph is by fofurasfelinas. See base of post for rights to publish.

If I go into London for a few hours, a day or two later I sneeze because of a build of dirt in the nose (the London atmosphere is grimy). Likewise, if our cat looks healthy but has a bout of sneezing it may well be a benign irritant that can be resolved by the sneezing.

The big question with feline sneezing is when is it caused by a disease that requires a veterinarian's attention. I understand the reasons for delaying going to the vets (money!) but delay can make things worse, obviously.

Some detail

I guess careful observation and awareness plus a knowledge of our cat will inform us when to go to the vet. A short bout of sneezing by an otherwise healthy cat is fine and normal. The authors of "Cat Owner's Home Veterinary Handbook" (Drs Carlson and Giffin - a great book by the way, recommended), say that if the sneezing lasts a day it could be a sign of feline viral respiratory disease. Personally if my cat sneezed for more than about one hour I'd be watching carefully and after three hours I'd be thinking of going to the veterinarian.

If the sneezing is vigorous ("violent" the doctors say) with head shaking (to help release the irritant) and pawing at the nose, the cause is probably a foreign object in the nose (see below).

A runny nose caused by a cold causes feline sneezing. If the discharge from the nose lasts for several hours it may mean an infection. The type of "discharge" that accompanies the sneezing is significant:
  • watery - local irritation or allergic rhinitis
  • mucoid - feline viral respiratory disease complex (see below)
  • yellow - bacterial infection
Feline viral respiratory disease (URI - Upper Respiratory Infection) can be accompanied by a fever, loss of appetite, eye discharge, drooling and a cough. If both nostrils are blocked breathing might be through the mouth.

If there is blood in the nasal discharge this indicates a chronic bacterial infection, fungal infection or a tumor.

A simple cat cold caused by a virus that results in relatively mild symptoms can also result in feline sneezing. All the above will mean a visit to the vet asap.

Reverse sneezing

Infrequently encountered and harmless the cat produces a loud snorting sound. It is caused by mucus building up at the back of the throat, which results in a spasm of the larynx muscles. This apparently is nothing to be alarmed about. I have never seen it happen.

Foreign bodies in nose

Small objects can become lodged in the nose. This may be because cats use their nose (sense of smell) a lot to identify objects. An object stuck in the nose causes violent sneezing. Our cat will use all means to expel it. She may do one or more of the following:
  • the head may be tilted to the affected side
  • the eye on the side of the blockage may squint
  • the nose may be dropped to the floor, the neck extended and the cat breathes deeply
Objects stuck in the nose can cause secondary (bacterial) infections requiring antibiotics. Although a visit to the vet is strongly indicated it may be possible to see the object if, for example, it is near the end of nose. It may be possible to remove it (with great care and if in doubt the vet will do it). It may be possible to see it at the back of the throat (the nasal passages join the throat).

Nasal Allergies

These are caused by allergens (airborne allergens). There are bouts of feline sneezing and a watery discharge. See feline allergies for a general discussion on allergies affecting cats.


As a result of common viral infections secondary bacterial infections of the frontal sinuses can occur. I get secondary bacterial infections in my sinuses so I can fully understand this one. The symptoms are a yellow purulent (like pus) nasal discharge and frequent sneezing. Blocked sinuses cause headaches (I should know). A cat with a headache may sit quietly with eyes partially closed and her head hanging. There could be a loss of appetite and weight loss. Fungal infections can cause sinusitis. I believe that a fungal infection of the skin can migrate to the sinuses and ear canal as well. This may result in an increased production of ear wax.

Polyps and tumors in nasal cavity and sinuses

Tumors cause feline sneezing, obstructed breathing and possibly bleeding. Advanced tumors may be noticed by forcing the face out of shape or causing an eye to bulge. Polyps are rare. They block the Eustachian tube and cause a middle ear infection. The Eustachian tube goes from the middle ear to the back of the mouth (pharynx) and equalizes pressure in the ear.

Feline Sneezing to Cat Health Problems

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

Saturday 8 November 2008

Cat and dog cruelty in the Philippines

Sadly there seems to be a lot of cat and dog cruelty in the Philippines; and cruelty to horses and I suppose wild life too.

Having researched animal welfare law in the Philippines I was sickened to bump into a great but shocking website called "It's Their Destiny". This is a phrase used by a trader in dog meat when being asked if he felt bad about the treatment he was dishing out to the dogs. He must have meant that it is a dog's destiny to be brutally and cruelly treated before being savagely killed and then eaten. I wonder where he got that idea from? The same treatment must be handed out to feral cats too.

Here is one example only of the practice of rounding up stray (and perhaps non-stray) dogs or cats (or anything with four legs that moves) as if they were farm livestock. It is not current but all the more shocking for that. It happened in 2002 and comes from the It's Their Destiny website. Why am I repeating it? The more people who speak out the better and this site might be seen more that the other.

It concerns the dog (and cat?) meat business in Baguio City, which is shown on the map below. We should remember this hellish place for its pain and suffering to which the Filipinos who work there are indifferent.

View Larger Map

Dogs are rounded up and transported in appalling conditions to Baguio City where cat and dog cruelty in the Philippines takes place. They are crammed into trucks. Many dogs die on the way. When this particular truck was stopped in 2002 the drivers were interviewed by the police and released - that's it.

What is shocking is that at that time (since 1998) there was animal welfare legislation in force in the Philippines. The Act is called the THE ANIMAL WELFARE ACT 1998. The purpose of the Act is set out at section 1, which as can be guessed is to promote the welfare of animals. Section 2 purports to control the "animal business" as I have called it. And the penalties are found at section 8. The penalties can be as high as 2 years in prison and a 5,000 pesos fine. The police let these drivers go free and the cruel trade in dog (and cat) meat goes on unabated and undisturbed by the police and the authorities.

Obviously the legislation is little more than a PR exercise to present to the world the idea that the Philippines is behaving in a civilized manner in relation to animal welfare. It is not. And, you know, one can learn a lot about a country by the way they treat their pets and wildlife.

Companion animals, cats and dogs are vulnerable creatures. An abuse of vulnerable creatures indicates a callous approach to life. I would expect vulnerable people to be treated badly too.

Feral cat Philippines by .bullish who also published the quote below underneath this sad photograph. Lets remind ourselves that we create the feral cat problem and the suffering.

I could show a dog but (a) this is a cat site and (b) the pictures of the dogs shipped for dog meat are too painful. Don't misunderstand me I am not saying there isn't cruelty in the UK or America etc. there is but not like the dog meat market in the Philippines.


“If you would know a man, observe how he treats a cat.” -- ROBERT HEINLEIN


Perhaps things have improved since 2002 you might say. I think not. The indications are that things continue as before. Corruption and indifference in authority supported by arrogance and ignorance by the perpetrators are the barriers to treating animals properly in the Philippines. There is still plenty of cat and dog cruelty in the Philippines and plenty of work to do to eradicate it. It will take generations I suspect to get things on track.

If you'd like to make a comment please do below. If you'd like to read more please go here: Cats and the Law (this looks at a number of countries and their animal welfare law) or here for more comment and the Philippines Animal Welfare Act 1998 plus some local legislation and more. There are also links to the website mentioned and to some charities.

The Philippines are quite near Vietnam and China two other place where it is considered OK to eat companion animals and kill them brutally before cooking them. (see Cat Meat Philosophy).

One last point cruelty to animals in the Philippines makes people like me depressed. It affects the world generally, making it a worse place for all those that care. And it brutalizes the people who practice animal cruelty making them worse people.

Cat and dog cruelty in the Philippines - Source: It's Their Destiny website.

Friday 7 November 2008

Origins of the Abyssinian Cat

Charles Darwin 187
Charles Darwin 1879
The Origins of the Abyssinian Cat are shrouded in mystery or at least uncertainty. Here is a theory on the history of this popular cat breed.

In Darwin's "The Variation Of Animals And Plants Under Domestication" he writes:

"In India the domestic cat, according to Mr. Blyth, has crossed with four Indian species. With respect to one of these species, F. chaus, an excellent observer, Sir W. Elliot, informs me that he once killed, near Madras, a wild brood, which were evidently hybrids from the domestic cat; these young animals had a thick lynx-like tail and the broad brown bar on the inside of the forearm characteristic of F. chaus. Sir W. Elliot adds that he has often observed this same mark on the forearms of domestic cats in India. Mr. Blyth states that domestic cats coloured nearly like F. chaus, but not resembling that species in shape, abound in Bengal; he adds, "such a colouration is utterly unknown in European cats, and the proper tabby markings (pale streaks on a black ground, peculiarly and symmetrically disposed), so common in English cats, are never seen in those of India." (note: this can be reproduced verbatim as it is copyright free due to the passage of time - wrong? please leave a comment).

Felis chaus is called the Jungle cat. This medium/small wildcat is listed as "least concern" under the IUCN Red List (see IUCN Red List for cats). The generous listing is probably a result of the fact that this wildcat is able to integrate with human activity quite well despite being persecuted (as usual) by the human. It seems they almost mimic, in the 21st century, the gradual domestication of the wildcat some 9,000 years ago when the wildcat become domesticated. The Jungle cat is found in many Asian countries including India (Felis chaus prateri, whose habitat is in the West of India - src: Wikipedia)

Because of this, as Darwin reports, there has been a natural occurrence of hybridization of the Jungle cat with Indian domestic cats. The Jungle cat looks like this:

Jungle cat Felis chaus
Jungle cat photographed in India

The photo above was taken at Mysore - south west India by S.Das - this would seem to be a non-captive cat and if so well done to the photographer. Published under a Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs creative commons License. The origins of the Abyssinian Cat is probably in the wildcat Felis Chaus.

Here is another picture that shows a little better the jungle cat's likeness to the Abyssinian cat:

felis chaus or jungle cat
Jungle cat - Photo by bv_madhukar (Flickr)

The Abyssinian is well known and looks like this:

Abyssinian cat
Abyssinian cat - Photograph copyright Helmi Flick

I think we can see the origins of the Abyssinian cat in a comparison of these two pictures. At least it is strongly indicated.

There is of course a distinct similarity even after all the years of "refinement" through selective breeding by cat breeders. Lets remember the Abyssinian as a cat breed has been around since the late 1800s. The obvious similarity is the well known ticked coat of the Abyssinian and Jungle cat. It is thought (though not clear) that the Abyssinian cat originates from the west coast of India (see Abyssinian cat time line). See a great picture and an explanation of the formation of the agouti ticked cat coat. Ticking is a form of tabby cat coat. See cat coats tabby.

The differences between the two are size and what cat breeders call rufus coloration of the Abyssinian. The Aby has a warm rich color whereas the Jungle cat is a more natural color. The warm rufus coloration is due to selective breeding incorporating polygenes that affect the intensity of yellow. The jungle cat generally is larger than the Abyssinian, perhaps a bit less than twice the size on average but some will be of a similar size (jungle cat weighs from 7 - 22 lbs or 3 - 10 kgs). See largest domestic cat breed for a look at cat sizes and wildcat/domestic cat comparison.

Origins of the Abyssinian Cat - Conclusion - theory:

Is it not possible that the jungle cat mated with the domestic cats or feral cats of the west coast of India (as described by Darwin) producing an interesting Abyssinian like cat that was then noticed, adopted and ultimately transported to Abyssinia by a British Army officer?

This was the time of the British Raj-rule, in India, which commenced in 1858 and concluded in 1947. I speculate that the officer was then ordered to attend the Abyssinian Civil War (the British forces where there in 1867-68) and thereafter he then traveled on to England thereby importing into England the first Abyssinian cat in around 1870, which exhibited at the Crystal Palace (London) cat show of 1871.

One last point. The first Abyssinian cat Zula Zula (early 1870s) was quite a stocky looking cat as where all the early cats of this breed. Selective breeding changed that over time to a more slender body shape.

Origins of the Abyssinian Cat - sources: Wikepedia for details on the country Abyssinia.

From Origins of the Abyssinian Cat to Home page

Thursday 6 November 2008

Pictures of a Savannah cat

Here are some great pictures of a Savannah cat, a fantastic boy. He is a one year old cat and he comes from the A1 Supremes cattery. This cattery is a branch of the A1 Savannahs cattery.

All Savannahs are fantastic lookers. A1 Supremes are the best of the best. They are very intelligent, alert, large, muscular and athletic. Above all they are well socialized and great pets.

I love the look on this boy's face. His eyes are alight, burning bright, extremely alert and he has that oh so desirable wild look on his strong face.

Here are the pictures taken by Kathrin Stucki of A1 Savannahs and A1 Supremes of this young good looking Savannah cat. All these pictures of a Savannah cat are copyright Kathrin Stucki. Please respect copyright.

Male Savannah cat

Male Savannah cat

Male Savannah cat

Kathrin calls these cats the ultimate hybrid domestic felines. You can see these pictures in large format by clicking on the photographs above or here:

Fantastic male Savannah cat 0
Fantastic male Savannah cat 1
Fantastic male Savannah cat 2

If you'd like to you can see a lot more photographs of the Savannah cat and plenty of information on this web page: Savannah cat.

The Serval is one of the ancestral parents of the Savannah. See and read about this cat here: Serval and here Serval cats.

From Pictures of a Savannah cat to Moggies

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