Saturday 3 March 2018

Making Tattoo Ink from Cat Hair is a Misleading Concept

You may have heard of this. A tattoo artist is using the fur of your cat as a base for the ink that he uses. Once the ink is applied to the skin the concept is that you have a piece of your cat under your skin and therefore very close to you in perpetuity.

It's a way of having your cat with you after he or she has passed on. A female model, Kathrin Toelle, has had a large tattoo applied to her right thigh by a Swiss tattoo service known as Skin46 who claim that they extract medically clean organic carbon from the cat's hair and then transform that product into tattoo ink.

Tattoo Artist Roman Abrego/Model Kathrin Toelle

Skin46 say that they incinerate the hair through extremely high temperatures removing all impurities and carcinogenic compounds to create a pure carbon which is mixed with tattoo ink.

Of course it has to be purified because you cannot, as a tattoo artist, inject tainted material under a person's skin for obvious health reasons.

My argument is this: if you are reducing the hair of a cat to pure carbon you are destroying all DNA. If you are destroying all DNA then nothing remains of your cat. Therefore you are not injecting a piece of your cat under your skin.

My research indicates that the only time that DNA can survive a cremation is when bits of bone or teeth remain afterwards which are then crushed down. These fragments of teeth and bone will contain DNA. Of course, this cannot happen in the process described by the tattoo artist. The material has to be very fine, purified carbon and therefore this reinforces my opinion that it contains no DNA.

Therefore I would argue, politely, that Skin46 is misrepresenting their service. The client thinks that they have a piece of their cat under their skin but I would argue that they don't.

The concept is similar to making jewelry from the cremated remains of your pet. That process too would seem to be flawed.

Tourism Operators Should Not Include Abuse to Captive Bred Lions in Their Packages

Today I have been told by Kitty Block, the president of the Humane Society International, that tour operators are sending tourists to South Africa in package deals which include visiting captive bred lions. Sounds normal? No, not for the lions.

These lions are bred to entertain people. They are suffering for the enjoyment of people. They live in small enclosures. They are cared for improperly. They are fed poorly. They cannot express their natural behaviors. They are used for the pleasure of tourists. And when this abuse is done they are sent to hunting ranches where they are killed by pseudo-hunters who think that they can be macho men by shooting a captive lion with nowhere to go. These poor lions suffer a miserable life and all for the entertainment of people. Lions should be majestically roaming the Serengeti. Not this.

Captive lion bred to entertain tourists in South Africa. Photo: Humane Society International.

Their entire life cycle in a cycle of cruelty, Kitty Block informs us. The cubs are taken from their mothers when days old to...guess what, entertain people. People love to handle lion cubs. They want to pet them and stroke them like domestic cats. They want to be photographed with them. They want to take a selfie of themselves with a sweet, cute lion cub. For these lion cubs it will be the beginning of a journey of misery and ending in a cruel death at the hands of a stupid hunter in canned lion hunts.

Juvenile lions are forced to "walk with lion" activities while adults are killed for their body parts and/or trophy hunting. The mother of these cubs face great suffering in a life of constant breeding to repeat the vicious cycle initiated by businessmen in South Africa.

I urge all tourism operators to take heed of what is going on with lions in South Africa and to ensure that their tour packages do not include activities regarding captive lions for the sake of their welfare for the sake of morality. It is time for people to live in harmony with wildlife. It is time to stop abusing animals for commercial profit. And tourists should ask the tour operator what's included and refuse any package that includes the above-mentioned cruelty.

Friday 2 March 2018

Conditions and Diseases Linked to Indoor and Outdoor Cats

The reason why cats are kept indoors is because people believe that they will be healthier and live longer as they are protected from hazards outside. There are however hazards inside the home as well. Below is a list of conditions and diseases which may be linked to both cats who live indoors and those that are allowed access to the outdoors.

Cats confined indoors

  • Feline urologic syndrome - disease associated with the lower urinary tract of the cat
  • Odontoclastic resorptive lesions - the loss of part of the tooth
  • Hyperthyroidism
  • Obesity
  • Household hazards
  • Behavioral problems such as inappropriate elimination
  • Boredom
  • Inactivity

Cats allowed access to the outside

  • Infectious diseases such as parasitic and viral diseases
  • Road traffic accidents
  • Other accidents such as falling from a tree
  • Fights with other cats
  • Attacks by humans, dogs and other animals
  • Poisoning
  • Theft
  • Going astray

Thursday 1 March 2018

Prenuptial Agreements Concerning Pets

Couples with marriage on their mind are increasingly insisting on a prenuptial agreement which sets out who gets custody of the pets if and when they separate. It's a bit scientific, cold and calculating but it is sensible. Prenuptial agreements help to avoid drawn out litigation at the end of a marriage often with devastating effects upon both parties and children....and pets. It would be nice if there was specific legislation regarding companion cats and dogs based on the animal's welfare and relationship with either party.

Photo of cat copyright Helmi Flick

A survey of 2,000 pet owners by Co-operative Legal Services found that one in 14 couples now has a prenuptial agreement in place regarding their pet. In the past such an agreement was really the domain of the rich and celebrities. Often it was the rich man protecting his wealth against a gold digging woman. Although that may be heavily stereotyping the situation and if so I apologize.

A third of respondents to the survey feared that they would face a tug-of-war over their pets if they split from their spouse. There is an interesting comparison between the age of the typical dog and cat and the average length of the relationship between couples. The average age of the typical dog is from 10 to 15 years and for a cat at about 15 years while the average UK relationship is now only 2 years and 9 months in length!

Tracey Maloney from Co-Operative Legal Services said:

“Pets are increasingly being seen as part of the family and when relationships break down, couples begin to think about who will gain custody of their pet."

Blue Cross, the animal charity, decided to introduce a “pet-nup" scheme in 2014 after they had received 1,000 animals in the past 5 years from owners who had separated from their partner. The scheme has proved to be successful. One reason for the success of the scheme has been attributed to their prominence in divorce settlements between celebrity couples. One such settlement concerned a high-profile tug-of-war between celebrity model Kate Moss and a husband Jamie Hince. The third-party in this tug-of-war was Archie, the family dog.

In 2010 when Cheryl Cole split from her husband footballer Ashley, she retained custody of their two chihuahuas. Apparently, the survey discovered that women were twice as likely as men to say that they would keep their cat or dog if the relationship broke down; 44% said that the animal would live with them compare to 23% of men. I wonder what this tells us about the difference between the sexes? Does it say that women have a greater connection with the family pet or does it say that women demand more of the family “assets" than men on divorce?

Unsurprisingly, not all couples are concerned about managing the situation on their potential split up because it was found that about 40% of owners were unsure of what would happen to their pet if they split up with her partner.

People Begin to Distrust Facebook

A YouGov poll discovered that Facebook is losing its credibility or more precisely local newspapers are three times more trusted for news than social media platforms such as Facebook.

Local newspapers are considered the most credible in terms of providing the news. Obviously it is regional news but local newspapers lead local television and radio and search engines in terms of trustworthiness.

Seventy-four percent (74%) of people trust the information that they read in their local newspaper both online and in print whereas 22% trust local news presented on social media platforms such as Facebook.

It appears that the stories about fake news has made Britons skeptical about the news that they read on Facebook. Fewer than a quarter of people trust social media in contrast to 61% who trust traditional media such as newspapers and television.

This is ironic because both Facebook and Google have taken a large slice of classified revenues relied upon by local and national newspapers. The press is becoming increasingly unsustainable and the UK government is reviewing the situation because closing 200 local papers over the past decade is a threat to democracy.

I hope that this poll helps drive people away from Facebook and back to a more trusted source, the local newspaper. How does this impact the world of cats? Well, there is a lot of cat news on Facebook. A lot of cat welfare happens on Facebook. I get some of my stories from Facebook. We need to be able to trust this dominant social media platform and it appears that currently we are unable to do so.

As an aside, I should say that when I'm writing articles about the domestic cat or wild cat species I ensure that my primary sources are books written by the best authors. In this way I'm able to go to the root source of information rather than relying upon second or third hand information which is often presented on the Internet. We always need to go back to basics.

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