Tuesday 2 February 2021

78-year-old woman persecuted by condominium administrators for feeding a cat or cats in common areas

NEWS AND VIEWS - THIS IS AN OPINION PIECE: This is a classic case of an elderly lady who is tenderhearted and decent and as a consequence she is feeding a cat or cats at a condominium: Tampa Racquet Club Condominium in Florida. Her name is Joan P Hussey. She's been in dispute with the administrators of this condominium before over this issue.

This image is for illustration purposed only. This is not Joan. Picture: Pixabay.

Hussey claimed that she only feeds a black-and-white cat that she ensured had been sterilised years ago. This cat's name is Cleo. The condominium say that she is feeding cats in the plural against their rules in and around the common parts of this condominium as reported by Tampa Bay Times.

They argue that she is attracting other animals and creating an wanted health issue for the neighbours and tenants, blah blah blah. It's the usual stuff if you are familiar with this sort of litigation and argument. It's usually the big, classy condominiums with expensive apartments who end up pushing around old ladies when they feed a couple of cats on the manicured grounds. And it's usually one or two leaseholders who complain about a little old lady who can't help herself feeding stray cat or cats. She's too nice to see cats starving.

Hussey says that she puts down a bowl of dry food under her car in its covered parking space. After her cat, Cleo, has eaten she picks up the food. She does this to avoid being accused of attracting other wild animals. She appears to be monitoring the feeding carefully and sensibly. She said that she is very surprised to be sued and that she looks after the cat respectfully.

The condominium administration say that she's been asked to stop several times and doesn't comply. The matter went to arbitration as it has to under the law but Hussey didn't attend the arbitration process because she was confused by all the jargon and papers. 

However, an order was made against her in her absence which required her to stop feeding the cats. She had, inadvertently, dug a bit of a hole for herself. Although she could probably get that hearing reheard and appoint a lawyer to attend a fresh one.

In the interests of justice a fair hearing needs to take place and it didn't for whatever reason. Now she's being sued in the courts and the condominium administrators want the court to issue an injunction against her. This would be an order to stop her feeding the cat or cats. It is not clear to me from the story whether the condominium are telling the truth about the number of cats or whether Hussey is.

The condominium are also asking her to pay their reasonable lawyer's costs and fees. The hearing is yet to be set and in the meantime the condominium administrators, through their lawyer, are saying that Hussey must comply with the arbitration order.

Hussey feels persecuted and concerned. She said: "I go to bed at night and I can't sleep, thinking about this thing."

It's the big machine against the little person. It's keeping a fancy residential complex tidy against what some consider to be unsightly community cats or a sole community cat wandering around. It offends the eye of some leaseholders. They want everything picture perfect. They don't see the need to be tender and decent towards what appears to be an abandoned animal which needs the help of somebody. That somebody is an old lady of 78 and she is paying the price for her kind heart and her tender actions.

Animals forced to flee or hide as humans invade their territories

Scientists are just beginning to understand that the negative impact that humans have on wild animals extends not just to the destruction of their habitat, which of course is devastating, but also to their simple presence and activities on the territory which these animals believe is theirs. Just occasional encroachment of human activity on the territories of wild animals results in a much greater change in their behaviour than people had thought.

Image by Nel Botha from Pixabay

The study refers to 'episodic' activity by humans such as driving cars off-road, military manoeuvres and hunting, and includes aircraft noise. Under these kinds of activities wild species increased their movement by up to 70%. The animals are fleeing to avoid humans and hiding. This means that they have to travel further to find food or to mate.

The increased human activity on their territory resulted in an average 37% increase in the activity of the animals affected. The researchers, whose study has been published in Nature of Ecology and Evolution, analysed more than 200 studies on 167 animal species. The species ranged from butterflies to great white sharks and the study covered almost 40 years.

In more than one third of the studies analysed the animals were forced into changes in their behaviour resulting in increased movement by more than half.

In essence, the animals either moved away or moved less. The occasional presence of humans had a bigger impact on their behaviour than permanent habitat loss. Habitat changes are predictable whereas the occasional activity from tourism, recreation and hunting is less predictable and as mentioned episodic. The animals don't know how to predict what will happen so they move further away; away from an unpredictable threat.

Roads (by which I believe they mean the construction of roads and the movement on them) increased movement by 68%. Aircraft noise by 65% in agriculture by 28%. Roads fragement territories.

The chances of survival of these animals is reduced because of low reproductive rates, fragmentation of their habitat leading to genetic isolation, leading in turn to local extinctions. And when these effects were suffered by larger animals the effect went down the food chain to smaller species and the wider ecosystem.

The scientists cite an example from New Zealand. Flightless birds in New Zealand provide vital seed distribution. They moved 41% less when people were around which reduced the spread of specific plants. The study raises the question of reducing human activity in important animal habitats.

Comment: Immediately I think of tourism flooding through the national parks of Africa. And of India where people want to see tigers in one of the many Indian tiger reserves where in fact tigers are quite scarce sometimes. Is this tourism damaging conservation of these iconic species and if so it would undermine the purpose of the reserves and national parks? It's a thought which needs to be addressed.

The fact of the matter is that human activity of any kind, be it the destruction of forests to building plantations such as soya or other commercial products, or simply their presence and activities dramatically affects our wild animals. Personally, like many others, I am deeply pessimistic about the future because I do not see humankind demonstrating an ability to change. Quite the contrary, the general trend is upwards in terms of human growth, upwards in terms of human activity including commercial activity and upwards in terms of agriculture in order to feed more mouths.

Monday 1 February 2021

Is the Singapura cat hypoallergenic?

No, the Singapura cat is not hypoallergenic. Hypoallergenic means 'relatively unlikely to cause an allergic reaction'. All cats are relatively likely to cause an allergic reaction but it depends too on the person. All cats produce the allergen that can cause an allergic reaction in people: the Fel d1 allergen but not all people respond in the same way. 

Singapura cat. Photo in the public domain.
Singapura cat. Photo in the public domain.

An allergic reaction occurs when the immune system responds too strongly to an allergen, an over-response if that is a word. The Singapura produces the Fel d1 allergen like all domestic cats. People look for the Holy Grail of cats: the genuine hypoallergenic feline but they don't, in truth, exist. 

Some individual cats may produce less of the allergen than others e.g. females compared to unneutered males but the allergen is still there in their saliva being deposited on their fur or the skin on hairless cats.

There is a food available which coats the allergen muting its effect. Look it up. Remember that this is a food which makes a cat hypoallergenic. There are other cat foods which are for cats who are allergic to certain foods. It is a completely different product.

The food I am referring to is: Pro Plan LiveClear Allergen Reducing Cat Food. Give it a try. It is brand new on the market.

Picture of a cat with an unsettling human face

Picture of a cat with an unsettling human face
Picture of a cat with an unsettling human face

There is not a lot you can say about this amazing cat. He is a bicolor. Looks like a solid red bicolor. He has a wonderful ruff as if worn on a human. His human appearance appears to be by chance and is mainly as a result of the fur pattern on the face which gives the impression of a moustache on a middle-aged man. We see Maine Coons selectively bred to have human facial expressions. But I don't believe that this is a purebred cat and is therefore random bred albeit a rare one.

Story of Logan - werewolf street cat - is full of sadness, love, joy and more sadness

Logan was a rescue cat. He was saved from a very harsh life on the street. We are not told where or I can't find out where. He became famous because of his face, I guess. They called him a 'werewolf cat'. Are they referring to the cat breed the Lykoi also called the werewolf cat . They appear to be. But is Logan a lykoi?  Lykois are rare purebred cats. But maybe I am missing something as I have not followed this story very closely.

Logan is, I believe, a random bred cat and it seems that he lost some of his facial hair because of his ill-health (eye infection that spread to the area below his eyes?). Or was it ringworm? I don't believe so. He became very ill as a street cat. The vet thought he had FIP and he certainly suffered from viral and bacterial infections, infected eyes and teeth and so on. 

Logan a rescue cat with fur missing from his face called werewolf cat
Logan a rescue cat with fur missing from his face  -- called 'werewolf cat' Photo: Tabatha Norton on Instagram.

His foster carer, Tabatha Norton, took care of him brilliantly and her vet was superb. The public rallied around and I presume helped to fund the medical treatment. All was going well on Logan's long journey back to health which was reported on Instagram started by Tabatha Norton. I guess she started the account because of Logan's appearance. Would she have started a social media account if Logan had been a standard black cat? Sorry, I don't want to be a wet blanket and no criticism meant but...

Logan's bloodwork came back normal one day and it seemed that he was out of the woods. Norton was elated and hopeful.

HIS BLOODWORK CAME BACK NORMAL!!! NO more high globulins and proteins! No more high neutrophils and white blood cell count! His source of infection (teeth/ gums and feline herpes virus flare up due to chronic pain and stress) has been treated and the infection is now gone! We can’t even put in words how ecstatic we are about this news!!! This has been such a long journey!

But then...suddenly Logan died and the last post on the Instagram account is the video below. Norton was wiped out by the suddenness of his death. She couldn't post to social media for a few months and then told Logan's followers that he'd died. She does not tell us why he died. She loved him deeply. It is great that he was loved so profoundly by his carer.

Perhaps he died of old age. He looks quite old. Sometimes cats do pass away like this. Unexpectedly.

Norton's words are poetic and poignant: 

He meant EVERYTHING to me. I cannot imagine my life without him. My strong survivor, my little warrior, my baby is now an angel in heaven. I am so grateful that we were able to spend so much time together and that I told you how special you are and how loved you are each and every day. Logan, you were my life, I LOVE YOU SO MUCH and you will ALWAYS be with me in my heart.

The fur on his body does not look too bad. Lykoi cats have very sparse hair, not like this.

The hair on Logan's back and flanks is not that bad. Photo: Instagram.


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