Friday 12 December 2014

Plastic in the Oceans Affects Us All Including Cats

The Mediterranean Sea is the worst of them all in terms of the amount of plastic floating around in it. There are 900,000 pieces of plastic per square kilometre in the Mediterranean Sea. Most oceans had up to hundred thousand pieces per square kilometre. Overall, there are 5.2 trillion pieces of plastic in the seas and oceans of the world which weighs a quarter of 1 million tonnes.


These are estimates but they are based on what I consider to be a fairly sound basis. There were 24 expeditions to all oceans and two forms of counting plastic. Plastics were collected in fine nets. The larger pieces of plastic were counted at sea. The observations were conducted at more than 1,500 locations over a six-year period. The results are published in the online journal, Plos One.

What is disturbing is that a lot of the plastic in the seas and oceans is going missing and the conclusion that the scientists have tentatively come to is that the fish and sea birds are eating it. For example, the study stated that 288 million tonnes of plastic was produced in 2012 whereas the estimated weight of the plastic in the oceans was only 0.1% of that total.

A Japanese study conducted in 2012 found that the compounds in plastic had entered the tissue of seabirds. There is a lot of plastic in the sea and it appears to be entering the food chain. If that is the case then both humans and cats may very well be affected by this.

After the Mediterranean Sea the most polluted oceans are in this order: North Pacific (700,000 pieces per square kilometre), North Atlantic (680,000), South Atlantic (481,000), South Pacific (396,000), and the Indian Ocean which had an estimated hundred 161,000 pieces of plastic unit per square kilometre.

The final worrying bit of information in this article is that it takes 450 years for a plastic bottle to break down!

Source: Plus One via The Times

Cat hair loss health tip

I think you will find that the most common reason why cats lose hair is because of over grooming. The question that follows is, "why is the cat over grooming?".

Perhaps the most common reason why cats over groom is because of stress. Stress can be caused by a number of situations and events and it would be impossible to list them all here but perhaps the most typical would be stress caused by other cats in a multi-cat household. Another cause of stress would be the owner being away too much causing separation anxiety. It is up to the owner to figure out what is causing the stress. This will take a certain amount of observation of the behaviour of the cat or cats in their home and should become quite apparent very quickly what is going on.

After stress, the obvious reason why cats over groom is because their skin feels itchy. This leads to another secondary question namely why does the skin feel itchy? The most common reason for this is probably the flea bite allergy. Secondary to that would be irritation caused by other external parasites. After that I would suggest that either airborne or ingested allergens are the cause of the cat's skin feeling itchy.

In conclusion, therefore, if a cat is losing hair in a symmetrical way in easy accessible places then it is due to over grooming due to stress. If there are areas that are missing hair and the skin can be seen to have inflamed areas in it then this could quite likely be the flea bite allergy.

The cat flea is probably the most common cause of cat health problems and it is very important that cat owners ensure that the cat is free of fleas which obviously means for a high level of vigilance especially if the cat goes outside a lot.

Facebook becoming unfashionable among younger users

This is hardly about cats but it is, perhaps, indirectly about cats. Internet users appear to be falling out of love with Facebook and Twitter. This may be because the majority of users on Facebook are younger people and they have taken to using new services such as Instagram and Snapchat.

Ofcom, the regulator of telecoms and media in the UK, said that the portion of people who checked their social networks weekly had fallen from 65% a year earlier to 56% in October 2014.

Apparently Facebook and Twitter are also on the wane in the United States and Japan together with China. The rate of decline in those countries is slower than in the UK.

It appears that Facebook has become unfashionable with younger people which indicates that it is more fashionable with older people and with respect to this it may be the case that middle-aged and older cat lovers now spend more time on Facebook than they did on cat websites.

A lot of Websites have a Facebook presence and it is almost as if that the people who would have visited the website now visit Facebook instead. The idea of a website having a large Facebook presence is to promote the website but the danger is that people migrate to Facebook instead.

The way Facebook has dealt with this is is to buy up companies such as Instagram, which appeal to the younger market.

Instagram, which is a photo sharing network, say that they have 300 million users which overtakes the number of Twitter users (284 million).

New Zealand's Veterinarians Want a Humane, Scientific and Holistic Approach to Better Manage Cat Population

New Zealand's veterinarians have decided that there is a need in their country to take a serious look at the growing cat population which they say requires urgent action.

I'm pleased to read that they wish to take a humane and scientific approach to what they describe as cat management. In addition, they stress that the focus must always be on responsible cat ownership.

In addition there needs to be an all-encompassing, holistic approach from local and national government in order to achieve real results. I think we can see that when there are ad hoc, piecemeal changes made to legislation it doesn't work very well.

The president of the New Zealand Veterinary Association, Mr Merchant, states that "a strategy to address our growing stray cat population is long overdue, and must include a clear focus on responsible cat ownership."

What Mr Merchant is saying is in stark contrast to what was put forward not so long ago by a NZ scientist who recommended that in effect there should be mass killing of unwanted cats in New Zealand. That provoked outrage from many people. Killing cats is not the answer. It is simply a reaction. The much better method is to prevent the creation of cats through responsible cat caretaking.

What New Zealand's veterinarians are saying really apply to other countries because they have the same problems. I'm a firm believer that the time has come to create an alternative culture and attitude towards the ownership of the domestic cat. For a very long time there has been a laissez-faire attitude which has resulted in too many unwanted cats.

The focus as Mr Merchant says must be on highly responsible cat ownership and there has to be a coordinated approach at various levels of government including animal control organisations in order to reduce the numbers of unwanted cats humanely while at the same time reducing the supply of unwanted cats through better ownership.

Source

Thursday 11 December 2014

What sort of news is cat news?

Cat news is invariably about one of quite a narrow band of topics. One of these topics is feral cats. There are quite a lot of people who dislike feral cats and some of these people are in authority. You could say in fact that the people most likely to dislike feral cats are those who are in authority. Some of these people are scientists and they write up studies about the feral cat and they are often derogatory.

There are critical articles about the feral cat. With respect to the feral cat the real issue is that there are too many of them and they spread disease and of course above all else they kill too many birds and there's a huge amount of bias. With respect to the feral cat these are the stories we see on the Internet.

With respect to the domestic cat,  the most common news story about the household cat is the fact that he/she is far too often unwanted and finds his or her way into shelters where regrettably too many are put to sleep because nobody wants to adopt them. The great story about domestic cats is that there are too many unwanted domestic cats.

Then there is a topic of cat shelters. This is the sharp end where cats that are lost or unwanted and indeed feral cats find their way to be euthanized or to be rehomed. Being the sharp end of the existence of domestic and stray cats, news stories regarding animal and cat shelters are very poignant and they reflect very strongly on humankind and how we relate to cats in general.The existence of many millions of unwanted cats in the USA is a reflection on our relationship with them and our inability to care for them satisfactorily as a whole.

Then we have cat news stories about the wild cat species. These are nearly always about the illegal and abusive trade in iconic cat species such as the tiger. Most of the stories about the wild cat species are to do with conservation and the failure of conservation which has occurred over many years and even decades. Nothing has changed to make one more optimistic about the future of the wild cat species.

If new stories about the wild cat species are not about conservation and its failure then they are about attacks by the big cats upon the indigenous people of the country in which the cats live. These are normally tiger attacks because they are the most newsworthy. However, the newspapers never or hardly ever refer to the underlying reasons why tigers living in the wild attack people. The reason is often because the tiger is old or infirm or has been injured by a person and therefore has to rely upon attacks upon a person rather than the usual prey. In addition people are forced to live in close proximity to tigers because the population of people is expanding. In short, the underlying cause for a tiger attack is humankind.

Another news story we often see with respect to the domestic cat is celebrity cats. This is a new phase and celebrity cats have taken off and you could argue that at the moment celebrity cats are the most common news item concerning the cat. The entire globe has been unable to avoid news about Grumpy Cat, for instance.

Another popular news item regarding the cat is the abuse of outdoor cats. There are many stories on this topic. These are criminal matters and people will note that we hardly ever find out whether a person who has abused the cat is prosecuted and punished as a consequence.

Another popular news item regarding the domestic cat is cat hoarding. Cat hoarding is quite prevalent and is due to a mental health condition by the person involved. Sometimes cat hoarders are quite devious and they give the impression that they are trying to help cats and even ensure that other people send them cats to be rescued but once they are sent to the cat hoarder they quite commonly end up dead due to neglect.

Once again we rarely find out how the stories pan out. We don't know how they end up . We don't find out whether they were successfully prosecuted in the criminal courts and what sort of sentence they received. It is possible that cat hoarding is a symptom of modern life and it may be an expression of anxiety and stress in which case there are probably more cat hoarders today than there were in the past.

Also, with respect to wild cat species you will quite commonly see stories about the conflict between human and cat. This is a conflict which exists because two species, human and cat, are forced to live in close proximity, which is unnatural. The reason why these two species live in close proximity is because there are too many people living in a certain area in that area originally belonged to the cat, which is usually a tiger.

Another topic is considered newsworthy concerning the cat is the private zoos and backyard setups housing exotic big cats in the USA.

There is a gradual building up of a groundswell of opinion against people who keep tigers as pets in their backyard and, in addition, the private zoos where often quite a large number of large wild captive cats are kept. Private zoos are gradually being perceived as places which damage conservation and which reflect a culture of a bygone age.

I think the point has to be made that almost all the news regarding domestic, feral and wild cats emanates from the United States of America. You rarely see any interesting cat stories coming out of the United Kingdom or Europe. Europe is particularly quiet in respect of cat stories.

As for Asia cat stories which come out of that region of the world are often to do with wild cat conservation and in places like China the topics concern a distinct lack of animal welfare which has resulted in practices which the West detest such as eating domestic and stray cats. This is a highly controversial topic and things are changing because there is a groundswell of opinion in China that this must stop.

The above are the major topics which create cat news stories in 2014. I may have missed something out because this article was written without reference to anything.

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