Friday 22 December 2017

Julian Assange dresses up his cat in collar and tie

This is not live, current news, not at all as it harks back to November 2016. And I am not even sure whether Julian Assange still has a domestic cat at the Ecuadorian embassy. I think he has. He was gifted him/her by a friend as a companion and I believe that his Internet access has been denied him. If this is true it would be a great loss to him.

In any case, the photograph caught my eye. Either he or somebody else at the embassy is dressing up his cat companion in collar and tie. All cat lovers won't like that. It's not a good idea. It is also slightly sad, perhaps hugely sad, that his cat is confined to a very small space at the embassy because Julian Assange occupies quite a small part of it. I don't think this is right either.

I know cats sometimes live in apartments but as I understand it Julian is living in an area not much larger than the size of a bedsit or studio flat (in UK parlance) which I think is too small for any domestic cat. It really must be.

What value a rescue cat with FIV?

In a world where there are too many unwanted cats at rescue centres, the FIV positive cat has less value than other adult cats. In just the same way that black cats have less value than a calico cat, for instance, and kittens have more value than adult cats. Decisions about life and death at shelters are made upon these issues.

The reason why I have mention this is because I have just written a story about a rescue cat in Britain who fell into a canal in Blackburn. He was stuck on a log in the canal for two days before firefighters turned up. They did a great job. It was quite an effort to rescue him.

They handed the cat over to the RSPCA who evaluated the cat. They decided he was FIV positive. It should be said that the test to decide whether a cat is FIV positive can be inaccurate and misleading. Nonetheless, because of this test they decided that he had to be killed.

An RSPCA spokesman said that he was unable to live outside amongst feral cats because he might infect other feral cats. The chance of that happening are quite small because FIV is transmitted by a cat bite. In addition this cat appears to have been a domestic, stray cat.

However, the RSPCA said that he was unfit to live as a domestic cat in a home. He was unsuited they said. Therefore he was unsuited to live outside and unsuited for domestic cat life. He had to die on their reckoning. I disagree with the reckoning.

I think the real reason why he had to die is because there are quite a large number of unwanted cats in the UK and as mentioned in the first paragraph each has a value and when that value is low and when you have to make a decision about euthanasia, the low value cats are killed. It shouldn't be this way quite obviously. It's a sign that domestication of the cat has gone wrong.

FIV positive cats can live good, happy lives in the right home. You have to care for them carefully to prevent infections and illnesses developing but if you do that they are normal cats and they look normal. In an ideal world this cat should have been rehomed and it could have happened. No doubt the firefighters were disheartened by the fact that all their efforts came to naught.

The point really is that the reasons why the cat was euthanised, as explained by the RSPCA, must be incorrect because this cat could have been rehomed and therefore they are making excuses.

Without wishing to be overly critical, I don't think the RSPCA should make this kind of decision because it presents to the world the wrong public relations image for their organisation. They are there to save lives and they shouldn't make excuses like this which subtly indicates a lack of commitment to that task.

Thursday 21 December 2017

Why are there so many feral cats in Israel?

The simple answer to the question in the title is that the people of Israel in general accept and don't mind the presence of community cats in their country. They are part of the fabric of life in the country I think it is fair to say. They are there because of the usual reasons which is some cat owners not spaying or neutering their cats and some of these cats become stray and feral cats and they procreate and so on. Unless steps are taken the numbers continue to grow. I have been to Jerusalem. There are lots of feral cats. The crucial point is to prevent the creation of stray cats in the first instance. There comes a time when it is harder and more expensive to resolve a 'feral cat problem'.

Jerusalem. Woman feeds community cats. Photo: EPA/ABIR SULTAN

There are apparently 2 million of them in Israel and the numbers are of course increasing because not enough of them are spayed and neutered under TNR programs. Despite the fact that there is no real commitment to deal with them in a humane way at present there may come a time when things change due to sheer numbers.

Someone predicted that there will be 8 million feral cats in the country in several years which would match the number of citizens in Israel.

The agricultural Minister apparently believes that the country should not neuter or spay cats because it would go against God's wish to be fruitful and multiply! That sounds rather far-fetched to me but I am open to an alternative viewpoint.

This Minister wants to ship out either all the male cats or all the female cats to another country which agrees to accept them. This would of course mean the feral cats of Israel could not multiply and it would solve at a stroke the feral cat problem. In fact they would all die out in about 15 years in theory.

Israel have a good relationship with their feral cats. They have banned declawing. They are good at animal welfare in my opinion. They won't want to deal with the cats inhumanely. There will probably start funding TNR programs more efficiently and also funding veterinarians to spay and neuter community cats free of charge. They should rely upon volunteers to help. Volunteers very often want to help and be involved. They keep the costs down.

Wednesday 20 December 2017

My First Cousin Is Billy Idol and He Brutally Killed a Kitten

My first cousin is Billy Idol. He was having an argument with his then girlfriend and this is back in the 1980s as I understand it, and I suppose in order to get at his girlfriend he allegedly threw his girlfriend's kitten against the wall of the room and killed the kitten. That's about it. It's in complete contrast to me because I am an animal advocate.

I hate animal cruelty. It is obviously entirely unnecessary. It is objectionable. It is horrible. It is criminal behaviour but there is little chance that he will be prosecuted because it happened such a long time ago.

The information comes from a memoir by a guy called Adam Bomb. He refers to Billy Idol's then girlfriend Claire O'Connor. It was Claire O'Connor who owned the kitten as I understand it. She disclosed the information to Adam Bomb. She said that Billy could be nasty sometimes. This was an example of that behaviour. But this is an allegation let's not forget.

We don't know whether Billy Idol was drunk or drugged at the time but what he did was unforgivable quite obviously. I am ashamed of him. I am connected to him because Billy Idol is the son of my late father's brother (also now deceased). He is therefore my first cousin. My name is Michael Broad. Billy Idol's name is William Broad.

As I recall, I played with William many years ago when he was a teenager or even before that. I can't recall. I could have met him at a party that he attended which was a party to celebrate Billy Idol's father's life because at that time he was dying. He did not come down from a bedroom in his father's house so I was unable to meet him.

Sunday 17 December 2017

Do cats have a collarbone?

Cats do not have a collarbone. This anatomical peculiarity allows a cat to fit through any opening which is the size of his/her head. A cat's forelimbs are attached to the shoulder by free-floating clavicle bones.

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