Tuesday 14 September 2021

Residents say that feral cats on this street are causing a foul smell of cat poop. Are they exaggerating?

REIGATE, SURREY, UK - NEWS AND COMMENT: The residents of pretty Nutley Lane, Reigate, UK, have been complaining about the all-pervading pong of feral cat poop that wafts down the entire street and they've demanded that something be done about it. They have got their way. Cats Protection have a team of volunteers who are trapping the cats. They'll be sterilized and vaccinated and relocated away from Nutley Lane.

The stench is "occasionally unbearable and environmentally unsound" according to one resident.

Residents say that feral cats on this street are causing a foul smell of cat poop. Are they exaggerating?
Residents say that feral cats on this street are causing a foul smell of cat poop. Are they exaggerating? Photo: Surrey Live.

Although they've said that the number of feral cats has greatly increased only 5 have been seen by one resident who reported that some residents have installed cat deterrents which emit a sound only audible to cats.

Feral cat numbers do increase because they are unneutered which is where TNR volunteers do vital work. There are no TNR volunteers in Reigate apparently. But Cats Protection will do a good job. They are looking for farmers willing to take on feral and semi-feral cats as mousers and barn cats.

Relocating feral cats can be problematic. I think they'll have to relocate them a good distance from Nutley Lane to ensure that they don't go back.

I have a feeling, but no evidence, that one resident or some residents have made a fuss over this and exaggerated the stink because they saw one or two stray cats and wanted them gone asap. 

There are those who genuinely feel that feral cats spread disease and are a nuisance and others who accept them as part of the community, hence the description 'community cats'.

If they've been there for a while someone is probably been feeding them. Feral cats congregate where there is food. 

Source: Surrey Live.

How do I clean my cat's ears?

I guess the first point to make is that cats don't need their ears cleaning routinely. In fact, you might never need to do it and probably won't need to do it throughout your cat's entire life. I would argue that it is only under exceptional circumstances when there is an excessive amount of wax, dirt or debris visible in the ear that you should consider cleaning them. It would be unlikely, in my view, for ears to be this dirty under normal circumstances. Seeing some wax in the ear is not a reason to clean them because the wax is there for a purpose i.e. to maintain ear health and to capture bits of debris which head towards the eardrum.

Cleaning a cat's ears
Cleaning a cat's ears. Screenshot.

My reference manual for this article is Cat Owner's Home Veterinary Handbook by four American veterinarians. They say that for small amounts of waxy debris a damp cotton ball or a cotton tipped swab works well. A cat should tolerate it. The vets stress that you should not put any cleaning solution in the ear but use a special cleaning solution from your veterinarian. In America this might be Epi-Optic but just check with a veterinarian first; I would. This is applied to the external ear canal and after application you massage the base of the ear to loosen the dirt, debris and ear wax. You then gently wipe out the ear with a cotton ball.

In the ear flap that there are ear folds and creases and these areas can be cleaned with a cotton tipped swab moistened with oil or a cleaning solution. You don't push the cotton-tip swab into the ear canal under any circumstances as this will make matters worse by jamming the debris towards the eardrum where it will be impossible to get out. You'd have to go to a veterinarian to have that removed professionally.

They also say that you should not use ether, alcohol or other irritating solvents to help you clean your cat's ears. They can cause pain and inflame the tissues inside the ear. Cats will probably object in this sort of ear cleaning so you may have to restrain them. You should try and keep calm and quiet while doing it and provide them with a treat afterwards.

Restraining a cat is quite difficult, I think. Cats can generally struggle against restraint. I also think that you have to work quickly because there will be a time limit based upon how long your cat accepts it. Some will be more pliable than others. 

I think if you hold a cat by the scruff of their neck it will restrain and subdue them but only for a certain period of time perhaps around 15 seconds which sounds very short but this is the kind of time-limit one has, I think, for doing these sorts of procedures. Perhaps two phases of 15 seconds might be the way forward.

The alternative is a towel wrapped around them. This is probably better provided the cat accepts it. It will provide more time.

Here is a video on the topic. I have not seen it except for the first 20 seconds or so. The advice may differ to that provided here.

Monday 13 September 2021

Man allegedly steals cats from street and hoards them. Police and RSPCA disinterested.

NEWS AND VIEWS: This is a disturbing story from Gainsborough, UK, which is in the Midlands. The locals living in the area allege that an unnamed man (update: he calls himself Ian Catmando and he is 56 years old) steals cats that happen to be in the street, puts them into a trolley and takes them home. His home appears to be in very poor condition, surrounded by a chicken wire and barbed wire fence with cat poop in the garden and apparently fleas all over the windows on the inside of the home. 

Man with cat on lead. This is the man.
Man with cat on lead. This is the man. To be frank he looks and sounds as if he is bonkers. Image: Mirror.co.uk.

That's the picture which has been painted, which translates to one man stealing someone else's cat and then hoarding them. He claims that he is training cats to be therapy cats! On one occasion a photo was taken of him with four young cats all harnessed together outside the home. It looks bizarre and it is bizarre.

This is what it looks like inside this man's home. We don't know who provided the photo:

Man allegedly steals cats from street and hoards them. Police and RSPCA disinterested. Inside his home.
Man allegedly steals cats from street and hoards them. Police and RSPCA disinterested. Inside his home. Photo: ?

Protests have been mounted by locals:

Protestors demand that the cats be released
Protestors demand that the cats be released. Photo: Michelle Page.

What is most bizarre and troubling, however, is that citizens have reported the matter to the RSPCA and the police and they appear to be disinterested. On the face of it, on the reports that I have read, this is a straight case of theft (Theft Act) combined with potential animal welfare issues which could be animal abuse or animal cruelty under the Animal Welfare Act 2006. This is alleged criminal behaviour.

Man steals cats from street and hoards them. Police and RSPCA allegedly disinterested.
Man steals cats from street and hoards them. Police and RSPCA allegedly disinterested. Picture: The Mirror.

We are looking at potentially more than one crime here so why is the RSPCA and the police apparently disinterested? The neighbours say that it has been going on for about four years (but see below)! Apparently, there are up to 50 cats or more inside the home (he claims he has 87). The problem has been highlighted by Michelle Page of Page's Pet Rescue. Michelle says that what she has seen is horrendous. She has also said that the alleged thief and cat hoarder has been known to walk to the village of Blyton, over 5 miles away with a trolley full of cats!

She said:

"I could see one of the cats looked like it had a big abscess and called the RSPCA but nothing has been done. He tells people the cats have cat flu and FIV."

Apparently, this bizarre behavior has been going on for about 18 months. Melanie Barker of Gainsborough Feral Rescue has spoken to the man who said that the RSPCA gave him the cats because they couldn't be rehomed as they had cat flu. Comment: that sounds highly unlikely, in fact ridiculous, and I cannot see how it can be true.

Update Sept 14th 2021: 12 cats were released from the house and one died. They were in a very poor state with the usual neglect health issues such as fleas and URIs. The protest continues as there are many more cats to be released for medical treatment and ultimately rehoming.

Update Sept 17th: Here's Ian who says "I’m a professional cat carer and have been since 1992". He walks up to 15 cats at a time in leads!

Ian. Photo: Metro.co.uk.

Melanie Barker said that she has contacted the police, Environmental Health and the RSPCA. Concerned people are waiting for action. Come on RSPCA pull your digit out.

Source: Mirror.co.uk

Leroy, a happy cat who had fragments of his spine in his abdomen and a fused spinal cord

Leroy is at Happy Tailz Cat Rescue Inc. (Tampa Bay area, Florida) . He is being cared for brilliantly. He was badly injured; I am not sure how. His spine was damaged. He was operated on but the infection wouldn't go away so they operated again. They found 3 fragments of his spinal column in his abdomen. They must have split off when he was injured. And nature had fused his spine. The rescue said:

"Dr Sabshin removed the pieces and took an X-Ray which revealed Leroy has a partial fusion of his spinal cord, more than likely from injury related to the formation of his original wound. This cat is a walking miracle. With his spine like this we should see issues walking, even paralysis, but he has no issues!"

Leroy. Photo: the cat rescue.

Nature healed this cat's spine which became partially fused
Nature healed this cat's spine which became partially fused. Image: the rescue.

Fragments of bone from Leroy's spine found in his abdomen
Fragments of bone from Leroy's spine found in his abdomen. Photo: the rescue.

A handsome, happy and resilient boy cat who is being loved and cared for. And he is a humble black moggy. That's the best thing about it. America's rescue organisations do some impressive work. And lots of them are volunteers doing it for love. They are the best of us.

P.S. I wonder if Leroy is genuinely not feeling pain. Cats purr when in pain and distressed. Although the photo of him shows a relaxed cat.

What type of skeleton does a cat have?

All cats have an axial skeleton which consists of a skull, spine, ribs and sternum. Humans also have an axial skeleton. It serves to protect the central nervous system and the organs in the ventral body cavity. The structure of the domestic cat's skeleton is almost identical to that of the big cats with respect to shape and proportion. The only real difference is the size between domestic cats and the big cats.

Cat skeleton
Cat skeleton. Image: MikeB

When the domestic cat walks the shoulder blades rise above the spine just as they do with the lion or tiger. The cat's many vertebrae provide 'highly visible flexibility' in the words of Dr. Bruce Fogle.

If things go wrong with the skeleton, it is not caused by design because its design is one of evolution's superb achievements. Disease or hormonal and dietary upsets can cause arthritis, for example, but not nature's design.

ASSOCIATED: Cat anatomy quiz! AND Cat skeleton in some detail

Persian cat skull showing sagittal crest
Persian cat skull showing sagittal crest. Image: MikeB

Natural selection resulted in this beautiful structure. It is said that artificial selection (selective breeding) in the cat fancy, particularly with respect to cat breeds such as the flat-faced Persian, has led to anatomical deficiencies because the skeleton has been distorted (cranium or skull) for the sake of appearance to the point where it affects health such as difficulty breathing and tear duct overflow in the Persian.

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