Wednesday 29 July 2009

Cat-Photo-Technique Flickr Group

I have got to spread the word of a Flickr group that I started called, cat-photo-technique. It was started to encourage better cat photography. There is a lot of cat photography, as we know, on the internet, and I would like to see some more well worked out images using good technique that are based on the work of the best cat photographer, Helmi Flick.

In fact, it was the fantastic quality of Helmi's photographs that inspired me to create the cat-photo-technique Flickr group.

And maybe this was foretold or meant to be. Flickr is similar to Flick is it not! Anyone can submit photos to the group, amateurs or pros. They are all feed into the stream as seen above. And the best get to go on the home page of PoC the main site where they will get seen by thousands each day. Featured photos are also presented on the cat-photo-technique page of the PoC website - here are some links to have a see for yourselves:

From Cat-Photo-Technique Flickr Group to Home Page

Monday 27 July 2009

Google My Maps to Improve Your Blog

I would strongly advise using Google My Maps to Improve your blog. I use this fantastic software to create maps to illustrate the geographic ranges of the wild cats. OK, that is pretty specific stuff. But the potential is awesome. You can also use third party software to embed your maps into you blog. I am guessing but I am pretty sure that Google will be doing this themselves soon.

At the moment you would normally produce your map using My Maps and then link to it. But having produced some maps of my own I found a means to embed them. Here is an example:

In the above map, the range of the African golden cat is illustrated in blue. Little is known about this wild cat so my idea is that if the map is public and anyone can upgrade it, this should in time result in a greater knowledge of this cat, which in turn should assist conservation efforts. The original map that feeds this embed is here: African golden cat range. This is serious but stuff but it can be fun too. You can see the page on the range of this wild cat here: African golden cat geographic range.

The kinds of things that can be done with Google My Maps are outlined in this Google video:

This next video you have probably seen! It is that good but it illustrates how you can let other people collaborate on your maps (if you allow it) and allow the map to be public or private:

Most people will use Google My Maps to, for example, plot routes to places which can then be published. A classic purpose might be to show people how to find your house if you are having a party or selling it. You can add photographs and videos to places that are identified by flags, which can be dragged into position very easily.

There are just so many possibilities for Google My Maps to improve your Blog. On the basis that you can embed the map and write notes, add photos and embed videos about the places marked on the map you can virtually build an entire page around a map. Of course, for SEO reasons you'll need to add some words to the article too!

From Google My Maps to Improve Your Blog to Home Page

Tuesday 21 July 2009

USA Cities Must Ban Declawing

USA Cities Must Ban Declawing -- In the following linked article I urged people to oppose California Bill SB 762. Well, as I thought it, has been passed by the Californian government and signed off by the governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. It passed the Assembly recently on a 59-6 vote. Earlier it passed the Senate, 31-6. This is a pretty conclusive vote for the bill. The problem is that the politicians are rather short sighted. On the face of it Bill SB 762 looked OK. The idea was to ensure uniformity of legislation and regulations concerning the professions throughout California and to stop local legislators such as the wise men and women of West Hollywood enacting laws that regulated a profession at a local level, in this case veterinarians who wantonly declaw in breach of ethics and against the interests of the patient.

But the successful ban in West Hollywood meant that there were different rules across the state. The important point that the politicians who passed Bill SB 762 didn't recognise is that the ban at West Hollywood is the right law.

Bill SB 762 (is it now an Act, I am not sure) comes into force on January 1st 2010. This allows a shortish window of opportunity for any other city or municipality to enact new legislation along the lines of West Hollywood's ban. One such city is San Francisco who have shown an intention to do this. The San Francisco Commission of Animal Control and Welfare recommended to the Board of Supervisors that they should enact legislation that bans declawing in the city for non-therapeutic purposes.

To an outsider like me it is shocking and bizarre that these local bans are so slow to be enacted. It is obvious that declawing should be banned when it is for the convenience of the cat's owner and when the veterinarian associations fail to act to curb their veterinarians. How complicated is it?

Anyway, all cities who have been thinking of banning declawing for non-therapeutic purposes need to get their skates on. Over to you guys....USA Cities Must Ban Declawing in my opinion.

See: Declawing Cats for lots of links and comment on this provocative subject.

From USA Cities Must Ban Declawing to Home Page

Saturday 18 July 2009

Short Legs of Dwarf Cats

The short legs of dwarf cats are thought to be due to pseudoachondroplasia a type of short-limb dwarfism. It affect people as well. The prefix “pseudo” is used as the affects of this genetic mutation is not the same as achondroplasia dwarfism. The difference (as I mention on the dwarf cat health issues page) is that while pseudoachondroplasia is characterised by short limbs and a normal head, achondroplastic dwarfism is characterised by short legs and an enlarged head.

I don’t know how settled the assessment of the genetic mutation is dwarf cats is. But I do know that recent research has uncovered the cause of the canine equivalent of the dwarf cat, the dachshund.

Research indicates that the short legs of the dachshund (a dog with a normal body and head like dwarf cats and short legs) are due to the mutation, thousands of years ago, of a single gene.

The American National Human Genome Research Institute discovered that all short-legged purebred dogs carried an extra copy of a gene that codes for a “growth-promoting protein called fibroblast growth factor 4 (FGF4)”. This gene is thought to be, “a retrogene that was inserted into the dog genome some time after the ancestor of modern dog breeds diverged from wolves.”

Its presence results in the overproduction of the FGF4 protein, which is believed to switch on growth receptors at the wrong time during foetal development. This in turn causes the legs to be short and out of proportion.

The question I have is whether this research has any bearing on the creation of the short legs of dwarf cats? Answers would be welcome and can be submitted, please, on a form at the base of the Dwarf Cats and Miniature Cats page.

From the Short Legs of Dwarf Cats to Dwarf Cats and Miniature Cats

Friday 17 July 2009

Oppose California Bill SB 762

Before I start and ask people to oppose California Bill SB 762, let me say that I am an outsider. I am not American. That has benefits and detriments. On the upside it means I am more likely to see the bigger picture, to stand back, to not be indoctrinated by tens of years of culture that considers that the declawing of cats is acceptable. And there are many millions of people in America who profess to love their cats and who believe that they do love their cats and yet assault them viciously in requesting that a veterinarian declaw them for non-therapeutic reasons.

On the downside it means I have to charter my way through a minefield of legislation that looks a bit odd. Why oppose California Bill SB 762?

The objective (or at least one of the objectives) of SB 762 seems to be to ensure uniform statewide governance of licensed professions. That is to prohibit cities or counties from restricting procedures that are licensed by the State Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA). In relation to the declawing of cats this bill seems to refer to (and be a reaction to) the West Hollywood declawing ban that was at first successfully challenged by the California Veterinary Medical Association; the decision then being overturn on appeal by the Court of Appeal who upheld the anti-declaw ordinance, which is the only one of its kind in the nation.

On the face of it, California Bill SB 762 would seem to be concerned with blocking any more cities and municipalities who are thinking about doing the same thing as the now famous West Hollywood. Yet:
It is important to note that this bill does not seek to undo the West Hollywood ordinance and includes a grandfathering clause that preserves the City of West Hollywood's 2003 anti-declawing ordinance. (quoted from website)
However, the bill would seem to be about preventing similar actions. Supporters of California Bill SB 762 say that:
....without legislation ensuring uniform statewide governance of licensed professions, professional standards will be dissimilar and discordant. (quoted from website)
The last argument, in my opinion completely misses the point. It is a very narrow argument. Any decision should be based on what is correct and proper. It is patently obvious that declawing is wrong and no matter how many weasel words or smoke screens that are used by veterinarians, it is right and proper to ban it through legislation at any level if the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) don't do their job and at least regulate the practice far more closely (or better still plain ban it).

On that sound footing it is argued that it is state legislation that is "discordant" and out of step with the city legislators who reflect the proper course of action. In short, the West Hollywood legislation is correct and the state should follow. This may sound like an extravagant thing to say but in the USA, the city of West Hollywood is at the forefront of much needed change. It is the beginning of change and that is why they are currently alone. If the state followed West Hollywood, there would be complete uniformity and the objective of this proposed legislation would be met. If state legislation tries to prevent cities doing the proper thing it will only cause future litigation and problems. And I call upon all those cities who are or have considered passing ordinances banning declawing to go ahead as this might disrupt things.

It seems that the only way to ban declawing (if the WVMA and other associations won't and it would be far easier if they did) is to do it piecemeal in small "bite sized pieces" and thereby chip away at it. This is because the bigger legislators are unprepared to do it probably because at the state level there is too many people pulling in different directions and it becomes unmanageable.

Another point of note is that not all vets are affiliated to the AVMA and that could lead to discordant regulations. Legislation would provide an umbrella of rules to ensure a uniform approach.

Opponents of California Bill SB 762 say:
...that local jurisdictions have the right to make specific decisions relating to professions and that the appellate court's decision should be upheld.
Yes, because it is the only way to get the job done of stopping the legalised yet criminal assault on innocent cat companions by unethical veterinarians who routinely recommend it against the interests of the patient, the cat and in breach of their oath. More to come. Any errors in this? Please leave a comment and it will be corrected.

Oppose California Bill SB 762 - See:

From Oppose California Bill SB 762 to Home Page

Wednesday 15 July 2009

Veterinarians' Arguments for Declawing

On reading letters from veterinarians to the council of the City of Berkeley, California, in support of not banning declawing in late 2003, I note that Veterinarian's arguments for declawing include the following:
  1. Decisions on declawing should be made between the veterinarian and the client and without interference from legislators.
  2. If cats were not declawed there would be more abandonment and euthanasia of cats because, for example, immuno-suppressed people "can have an increased risk of infection from a simple cat scratch" or "scratches can be harmful to the frail and elderly"
  3. People accept cat neutering and spaying which is more invasive (so one vet said) so why can't we accept declawing.
The Cat Fanciers Assocation says that the "majority of American veterinarians perform declawing surgery, either routinely suggesting it to clients or as a last resort for cats that would otherwise be euthanized.."

Please Note: I like America and Americans but strongly dislike the culture of declawing. Everything that I say or do in relation to the cat is on the basis of treating the cat as I would a person, with respect. Declawing is highly disrespectful of our cat companions - worse, much worse.

Note: As I understand it the Supreme Court of America has since 2003 allowed the ban on declawing to proceed in Berkeley as it was claimed to be against the freedom to conduct business.

I would like to address the above arguments:

Decisions on declawing should be made between the veterinarian and the client and without interference from legislators.

Yes, in an ideal world the above statement is true but American Veterinarians have in general shown themselves to be incapable of behaving morally in respect of declawing and are frequently in breach of their code of ethics and oath in this regard. As the American Veterinary Medical Association policy of declawing cats actively, by implication, promotes poor behaviour by vets in relation to declawing of cats there is no other course of action to protect cats from the criminal acts of declawing other than the outright banning of it. And we should all praise and commend the council members and major of Berkeley for being enlightened and courageous enough to see this legislation through. Well done. See: American Vets are Unethical Towards the Cat, AVMA Policy on Declawing Cats, Psychology of Declawing. Note: to describe declawing as a "criminal act" is not a biased, subjective or emotional statement but one made in the cold light of the fact that it is exactly that in many countries in Europe, where it is banned. What happened to America?

If cats were not declawed there would be more abandonment and euthanasia of cats

This might be correct but the argument is based on two wrongs making a right and we all know that that is not a good argument. There is a counter argument. Cats that are declawed can and do suffer from behavioral problems such as urinating outside the litter box. This behavior can and probably will lead to cats being relinquished.

In any event, the answer is not in compounding the victimisation of the humble and silent cat companion by killing it because it doesn't fit in (because it is scratching - a natural act), but to better train and educate people to make proper decisions in relation to whether they should keep cats. If all people made decisions as to whether they should keep a cat on the basis that it would be kept intact (and not declawed) then the decision would be made on a sound basis.

If the answer is to not keep a cat that might initially result in more cats in rescue homes but you can't make a right by adopting mutiple wrongs. There has to be a return to sound fundamentals and then the problems of over breeding of cats and feral cats will gradually be resolved. Declawing actually encourages the breeding of cats because it allows people who would not normally keep cats to adopt a declawed one. A person who insists on declawing must be unsuitable to keep a cat because the relationship is based at the outset on the human companion brutally assaulting the cat companion. What kind of relationship is that?!

Unfortunately millions of cat keeping people in America see no problem with declawing. This, I argue is the result of years of indoctrination by American veterinarians insidiously conditioning the public into believing that it is acceptable and pain free bla, bla, bla.

Immuno suppressed people and frail people shouldn't keep cats if it is dangerous as vets seem to say.

People accept cat neutering and spaying which is more invasive so why can't we accept declawing

This sounds like a reasonable argument until you think about it. One way to look at it is to refer to humans. We accept sterilisation of ourselves in many millions because it is a practical way of dealing with a flawed situation. It is the best compromise. Globally one fifth of married couples rely on the sterilization of the female as a birth control measure. In places like India and China the figure is higher at 33% of married couples (Earth Policy Institute).

The best practice way of dealing with and managing the cat population is through sterilisation. The procedure has a profound and important purpose and we do it to ourselves as I said.

99.9% of the time declawing has no purpose other than to protect a person's personal possessions! This is not a good reason. Plus we do not do it to ourselves (amputate the top joint of each finger) as we know it is totally unacceptable. The thought of it is bizarre. We should not do to cat companions what we would not do to ourselves.

I am surprised that educated veterinarians can make such ill conceived arguments in favour of declawing. Perhaps, though, it is not surprising as they were desperately searching for arguments to justify the unjustifiable and they themselves (in large numbers) are also conditioned into believing it is alright. Veterinarians' arguments for declawing are weak and flawed.

From Veterinarians' Arguments for Declawing to Home Page

Tuesday 14 July 2009

A Cat Hater and Shooter

I have just found a bona fide American cat hater and shooter. Here he is in a video made by a friend by the look of it. There are cat haters the world over. But the lax American gun laws means that there is probably a greater likelihood of an American shooting a cat than in Europe. Australia is similar to America it seems on shooting cats as it is legal and encouraged in some states (Ground Shooting of Feral Cats). In the UK it is rarely done and illegal although there are airgun attacks and too many of them.

Please note: This posting is not an attack on America or the American people. That might be obvious. But a criticism of an individual who is a danger to cats. It is also a criticism of irresponsible cat ownership. I like America but everything that goes on there is not good. The same applies to all countries. This site always supports the cat and looks at the world from that standpoint.

This person has an air rifle or spring rifle. He proudly shows off to the camera how skilled he is with it. If you can understand him, he constantly says how he would like to shoot a cat, how he hates cats and how he has kicked a cat. He seems to hate a lot of things and takes pleasure in venting that hatred out on cats.

There an overriding sense from this video that he is your classic cat hating shooter! It is all that ignorance and violence coming out in front of the camera.

What he completely fails to understand is that it is irresponsible people like him who create the feral cat problem. The cat is simply the innocent pawn or victim in the casual carelessness of so many people who lack a moral compass and even simple common sense.

If he loves to shoot things including cats, he should shoot the perpetrators of irresponsible behaviour. I would hope that the person he shoots at is missed and shoots back. Maybe there would be an outcome beneficial to humanity and the victimised cat:

Backyard - The most amazing bloopers are here

This scruffy fool is a cat hater and shooter and I was keen to see one; to put a face to some people (a lot as far as I can see) who write on the forums about shooting cats. I have just read a forum on about shooting cats. It was a long dialogue, a ramble between, mostly, people who could justify shooting cats. And one even admitted to doing it and getting pleasure from it! He should be reported to the police but would they do anything? Of course not.

There are many aggressive and silly males who like to shoot cats. They justify it with all manner of wild and rash argument that is completely unsubstantiated such as they kill millions of birds. There is precious little scientific data on the impact of feral cats, or any cats, on bird populations. Scientific data points more to ground animals being killed as it is easier prey. Any excuse to kill a cat, it seems.

There is no doubt that many people, often the ignorant, who hate cats. It really is borne out of ignorance and training; being trained by a father and mother who were equally ignorant and so perpetuating this violence.

From A Cat Hater and Shooter to Home Page

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