Thursday 4 November 2021

Sweet hug from one stray cat to another

They very much look like sibling stray cats in a Mediterranean town somewhere. The weather is not bad there. In fact it can be great so not bad for stray cats from a climate standpoint which is why community cats are common in Mediterranean coastal towns where they are fed by tourists. These two look well fed and in good condition. I'd say that they are brothers. They are both tabby-and-whites, one brown/orange and the other with grey. I wonder if they are torbies?

SNuggling up to another for warmth and physical contact. Photo in public domain.

The beautiful aspect of the photo is the cuddle, the hug. He wants and needs that close contact with his sibling. It's probably partly to warm up (in may be in the early morning and a bit chilly) and to have that all important physical contact that cats enjoy when they can get it and when sutable.

It is an interesting thought as a lot of people think cats are entirely solitary. Not so for the domestic cat. And community cats are domestic cats, really. They live outside the home but have become socialised. Domestic cats are social animals to a large extent. They like to rest with some space between them but when they are friends they like the contact.

Scientists don't call them 'friends'. They call them 'associates'. I think they struggle with using human concepts on cats and don't want to be seen to humanise cats. But there is no reason to presume that cats can't have chemistry between themselves and can't even love each other as their anatomy is so similar. If their anatomy is so similar why can't their brains be similar too?

Love describes strong affections for another. Cats have emotions. They are sentient. They feel distress, depression and contentment. It is not a big step from there to having strong affection for another.

Wednesday 3 November 2021

Carole Baskin's 'Cage Fight' is about what she does best: stopping the people who hurt big cats


For Carole Baskin the follow-up to the highly successful Netflix Tiger King series is going to be "Cage Fight". It is a two-part discovery+ special about her work as a big cat rescuer. She has fought against these abusive private zoo owners for decades it seems to me and as I see it, this two-part series will tell the world about her work. 

I think it's great for her because she was very disappointed in Tiger King because it painted her in the wrong light. Her antagonistic association with Joe Exotic tainted her, as portrayed by the producers of the series. She says that it turned out to be a reality TV show at best.

Cage Fight follows Carole Baskin and her husband Howard as they investigate private zoos where they mistreat big cats including those that belonged to Jo Exotic. As the world knows he is currently serving a 22-year prison sentence after a conviction for the murder-for-hire plot to kill Carole Baskin. He is seeking a reduction in his sentence and is awaiting the result of the hearing.

Carole Baskin took charge of Jo Exotic's zoo animals as compensation for a successful civil suit against him for, as I recall, defamation. In this new series the cameras explore Baskin and her team which includes a retired homicide detective, Griff Garrison, and Jo Exotic's niece, Chealsi.

The trailer on this page tells us that the kind of people who operate these abusive private zoos can tend to be quite nasty and violent. It is a dangerous world and viewers of the series can see Baskin's people being threatened and guns pointed at them.

Cage Fight will be aired on November 13, four days before the second series of Tiger King which airs on November 17.

Feline version of the Catalonian human tower (fail)

Immediately on seeing this picture I thought of the Catalonian festivals when they build amazing human towers. They look incredibly dangerous but eyecatching. The feline version is eyecatching too but for a different reason: the guy on the ground almost lost his eye 👋 😀

The feline version:

Photo in the public domain.

The human version:

Picture also in the public domain.

These are cats of a stray cat colony, it seems to me. It is hard to know how this happened. Perhaps the person who took the photograph was feeding the cats and one, the dominant one (a female as she is a calico), decided to leap up and grab the food and use other cats as a platform to get there. If that is what happened I can fully understand. I have feeling that I am correct and that the photographer was feeding them to entice them over so that he/she could get a good pic.

A cat coat to protect against the worst winter weather

When I first laid my eyes on this picture of a beautiful long haired cat I thought of a pigeon! You know how pigeons sit on their perches with their feathers fluffed up in order to trap warm air below them; well, this cat looks a bit like a pigeon with fluffed up feathers. 

The best winter coat on a domestic cat I've seen
The best winter coat on a domestic cat I've seen. Photo from Reddit.com and Pinterest. This pic is in the public domain in my view.

And I've not seen a domestic cat with a coat so suited to deal with cold weather than this brown tabby who appears to be sitting on a roof terrace of a block of apartments. That's a guess but it is a reasonable guess or it is a patio of some sort. 

My guess, too, is that this is a purebred cat. Well-bred pedigree cats have a look about them and this cat has that look. I'm guessing a Siberian but you just can't tell by appearance. That said, you don't see this kind of density and length of coat in any other domestic cat other than a Siberian purebred cat. This, of course, is to be expected because Siberia is so damned cold. Although it has been warming up of late with global warming where temperatures have reached 30°C and all the permafrost is melting! That's why they dug up some cave lion cubs recently in Siberia which had been in the permafrost for, I can't remember, about 30,000 years.

He or she may be a Maine Coon but the overall look of this cat does not point to Maine Coon in my honest opinion. Too cobby.

But within each breed there is quite a wide variation in appearances of individual cats some of whom are not bred to type as they say in the cat fancy.

In terms of maintenance by a cat's caregiver, it perhaps goes without saying that the single, silky coat of cats like the Siamese is far easier to manage. But evolution has equipped cats such as the one on this page and, for example, the Norwegian Forest Cat and the British Shorthair with winter busting protection. They have dense coats with insulating down hairs next to the skin.

In cold weather the hair stands erect trapping a layer of air like double glazing while a thin layer of fat under the skin insulates the body. When a cat wears a single coat they radiate more heat from their bodies which helps to keep them cool. 

Of course, the Siamese comes from Thailand formally Siam which is relatively hot compared to the state of Maine in the USA. Siamese cats lack down hair and cats that have this insulating coat shed it in hot climates.

Monday 1 November 2021

Sweet American village of 180 don't know how to deal with feral cats and they argue about it

This is a post which is about drilling down to a small community in Lawrence County, Missouri, United States. It is the village of Freistatt. They have a population of 180. The village goes back to 1884. It's a small community and they have feral cats. The feral cat problem is everywhere.

Freistatt
Freistatt. Photo: Google Maps. A beautiful place.

At a council meeting they argued about how to deal with feral cats. They tried to figure out who was responsible for them. One council member, Richard Knight, told a resident that her complaint about feral cats should be taken to the housing authority because it is not the responsibility of the village council. The recipient of that information, Shannon Jones, disagreed and said that it was the responsibility of the village as a whole as did Debbie Schoen. They are correct.

The Board President, Elmer Conway, said that the village had tried to contract with an animal control organisation. They reached out to try and hire an animal control officer at the city of Mt. Vernon and the city of Monett but they weren't interested.

Board members Holly Hughlett and Larry Howard said that it was impossible to identify a stray or feral cat from a domestic cat. If you're going to catch and control feral cats how can you distinguish them from owned cats? On that basis Mr Howard said he doesn't know how the village can control them. And he said that most cats don't have collars.

Another problem they discussed was the fact that some people at Freistatt Housing fed feral cats. There were two colonies of feral cats living under a shed on the Freistatt housing property. A resident at Freistatt Housing, Schoen, said that she would tell people not to feed feral cats.

It all sounds a bit confused and confusing. And it is a very typical conversation between the managers of the community and the citizens regarding feral cats.

Comment: as there are people who are feeding feral cats, I would have thought it might be possible for those people to be trained on TNR work. They could be volunteers doing trap, neuter and release work on the feral colonies mentioned. This includes feeding them. What I'm suggesting is that they add to the feeding of the feral cats the neutering and spaying of them. This could be paid for by the community.

As part of that process, the cats' left ear flaps are tipped i.e. the top of them are cut off so that people then can identify feral cats from domestic cats. If that process were carried out for 10 years in such a confined are relatively small area as Freistatt, I would hope that the feral cat numbers would go down gradually to the point where they were no longer a subject of discussion in council meetings.

Note: Freistatt, as you can tell from the map, is an isolated village. This would be ideal territory to practice successful TNR because it is an island community. They're just going to need a veterinarian who can provide the spaying and neutering services at a discount. There would appear to be enough volunteers to do the TNR work. The council could pay their expenses. I'm sure the residents of this village would approved because they see that there is a feral cat problem which they want to resolve. A small contribution shouldn't trouble them.

Note 2: Freistatt seems to have been named after a German town.

Source: The Monett Times.

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