Sunday 12 December 2021

Queen Elizabeth II refused to send a card to a domestic cat celebrating their hundredth birthday!

This is an interesting royal story concerning a cat (which is rare) and it requires a bit of explaining. Rachel Thomas, of Barmouth in North Wales found out that Queen Elizabeth II (the UK's monarch), sends cards to UK citizens who have reached 100-years-of-age. Rachel wisely understood that her 18 year old cat, Sindy, who was 18 years of age at the time, had reached the human age of 100. In fact she had surpassed that age. So Rachel wrote to the Queen asking for a special card from her majesty to celebrate her cat's hundred-year birthday.

Rachel Thomas and her cat Sindy
Rachel Thomas and her cat Sindy. Photo: Rachel Thomas.

Now, in these instances the Queen does not reply personally unless the letter is exceptional or a response is required in her role as the monarch. She has assistants to help and I suspect it is the assistants who do all of the work including reading the letters and writing the responses. But they are written on her behalf so I think we can fairly say that you are getting a response from the Queen, indirectly.

RELATED: Queen Elizabeth II bans cats from Sandringham estate.

At the time Rachel was 10 years of age. She is now 44. And the response from the Queen was that she couldn't send a card to a cat. Rachel was very happy to receive a response anyway. She went back to her school class and told everybody that she had received a letter from the Queen.

Personally, I would have been a little bit disappointed because there is no reason why you can't send a card to a cat 😊. The Queen knew the address and the cat's name. All they had to do was pretend they were writing to an infant human and it would have worked out just fine. I guess the person who replied was a little too straight-laced to have the imagination to play that game. Anyway it was great to reply.

RELATED: Why doesn’t Queen Elizabeth II have a cat?

I think the letter was written by the lady-in-waiting to the Queen or someone of that standing. The Queen receives 300 letters daily I'm told by The Mirror newspaper. So she needs an army of helpers particularly now as she is 95 years of age. A remarkable age at which to continue working and serving the country.

Mouse bite: supporting evidence that the Covid pandemic started in the Wuhan biolab

The world is still trying to figure out how the Covid pandemic started. Although China is trying to deflect blame by saying that it started in a country other than their own, it's clear that it started in China but did it start in the Wuhan biolab or in a wet market?

Mouse in biolab
Mouse in biolab. Photo: Pixabay.

More scientists now believe that the Wuhan biolab may have been the originating place of this devastating pandemic. It's looking more plausible for various reasons and recently, in particular, because a Taiwanese woman was twice bitten by a mouse that had been deliberately infected with the Delta variant of the Covid virus. 

She contracted the disease. It's clear that she got the disease from the mouse because the woman was double vaccinated and had not travelled abroad and there had been no domestic transmissions in Taiwan for more than a month. The only possible plausible route of infection were the mouse bites.

This establishes the possibility that mice that were used in the Wuhan biolab might have bitten a lab worker in the same way and the lab worker might have passed the disease to others when they left work to go home.

The Wuhan biolab I'm referring to is the Wuhan Institute of Virology. A Chinese public health expert at the Council on Foreign Relations think tank, Yangzhong Huang, said: "If the lab worker is confirmed to have been infected at her workplace, then this will add credibility to the lab leak theory."

The Wuhan Institute of Virology is situated on the outskirts of the central Chinese city, just a few miles from the wildlife market associated with several early cases of Covid-19. And we know that China's "bat woman", the expert on coronaviruses, Shi Zhengli, used mice to test the impact of modified bat viruses in "gain-of-function" experiments. She has vehemently and angrily denied the possibility.

The genetic adaptation of animal pathogens is frowned upon by some scientists because it's dangerous. People fear the escape of artificially created viruses, which might have happened as discussed.

American and British government investigations have concluded that the Wuhan lab leak theory is at least plausible. Of course, Beijing has reacted angrily to the suggestions.. They have blocked international investigations (which implies guilt I've got to say) and have pushed conspiracy theories that the virus started in Italy and certainly not in China.

It is known that viral infections transmitted to the public can originate in laboratory workers who acquired the infection during their work. It's happened before in laboratories in Taiwan, Singapore and China in 2003 and 2004 during research into the SARS coronavirus.

Testing cats for Covid-19 in Texas. Photo: Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences
Testing cats for Covid-19 in Texas. Photo: Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences.

Postscript: I would briefly like to touch on the issue as to whether domestic cats can get Covid. Some people ask Google search whether domestic cats can get Covid. That to me seems like a silly question because we know that Covid is a zoonotic disease. This means that it can transmit from animals to people and vice versa. We know that animals are getting Covid from people as it has happened in zoos with a variety of animals including the big cats. 

And we know that some domestic cats, albeit very few, have caught Covid from their human caregivers. But it's a given that family pets can get the disease. The question should not be asked. The whole point of this disease is that it jumps from people to animals and as the human is a human-animal we are as capable of transmitting the disease to other animals, and other humans, as animals are.

Saturday 11 December 2021

Footage of elusive Andean cat captured by conservationist: 'It's incredible'

A great camera trap video of this elusive and endangered small wild cat species, about the size of a domestic cat and looking a bit like one.

I will add some more words within the next 24 hours but it is too late for me to do so right now. The video explains the salient points anyway. Such a beautiful cat. Sadly it is persecuted for ornamental and cultural reasons. I mean it is killed for the pelt. Very sad and very odd in the 21st century. Outdated mentality behind that but education is rectifying this major conservation issue. 

This is a camera trap video as you probably know. The camera is in a fixed place along a possible Andean cat trial. It is activated by movement. The conservationist got lucky and he is delighted.

Update: They've discovered the Andean cat also lives a thousand miles south of where they are known to live. The footage was captured in the Parque Mahuida nature reserve on the edge of Santiago city.


The guy is, I believe, Bernardo Segura. He's surprised that the Andean cat lives so near the city. It was believed that they only live in remote and extremely rocky terrain far from human settlements.

Segura believed the Andean cat could be there because there were high numbers of it favourite prey animals: mountain vizcachas. That is why he placed camera traps in the area. He lives in Santiago city. He has filmed the cat 40 times.

"So far, we have identified at least three individual adults passing continually, suggesting this is the core of their territory and not just a chance encounter" he said.

He is thrilled because he can now study the cat species without having to travel hundreds of miles and live in the field which is always more difficult. He lives within eyesight of the habitat of the Andean cat.

What is sad about this cat species is that humankind is still learning about it while at the same time exterminating it from the planet is various ways such as destroying its habitat and persecution. It'll be extinct before we get to know it. I shake my head at that thought.

I have a full page on the species which you might like to read and many other pages. Please click on the link above for those pages.

10 useful cat articles written by Elisa Black-Taylor from 2013

By Elisa Black-Taylor

In this article, I’d like to reflect back on what I consider my most important stories for 2013. I have summarized the stories and added a link at the end. These are the articles that meant the most to me.

From Michael: Elisa was a major contributor to PoC for many years. I respect her work. This is a look back to 8 years ago. I think it has some value. It is a bit of recent cat history. The articles will be good and useful. It was written in 2013 and has languished in the draft folder for 8 years 😓.

Why Core Vaccines Must Be Given Upon Intake In A Shelter Environment [Link]

Cat Vaccination. Photo: The Answer Vet
Cat Vaccination. Photo: The Answer Vet.

Vaccinate, vaccinate, vaccinate! There are many potentially fatal illnesses being passed between shelter pets on a daily basis. This article tells the importance of vaccinating immediately upon intake. Cats begin to develop immunity within hours, if not minutes. This topic raises awareness that although shelters may say they vaccinate upon intake, many are falsifying records. To be on the safe side, it's a good idea to take your new kitty to your personal vet for a checkup and to administer vaccinations. We had a serious outbreak of panleuk back in 2011. Two of our kittens survived because the lady who turned them into the shelter had her personal vet administer core vaccines two weeks before she brought them to the shelter.

A Reminder About Remote Car Starters and Cats [Link]

Sealy, who we adopted in February 2011, survived a horrific fan blade injury. The blade cut into his skull, and he lost his left ear in the accident. A lot of people associate car fan blade accidents with someone who simply doesn't bang on their hood, toot their horn, or physically inspect the engine compartment before starting their car. The danger of cranking up on a cat is greater since the invention of remote car starters, a device that offers the convenience of starting your car from inside your home that allows the vehicle to "warm up" before leaving home. Please keep in mind there are a lot of stray cats hanging out in large parking lots, so the need to check under the hood is necessary before leaving a mall or supermarket.

Our Cats And The Special Relationships They Have [Link]

This is an enjoyable article to write, because it gave me the opportunity to let the readers know our cats aren't perfect. The majority of the time our cats get along well. Our home is what I'd call an indoor colony, complete with male and female rulers. There are a few we have to separate in order for others to come out and play. I hope I educated readers who are thinking of adding another feline to their family in some of the ways to make the transition smoother.

Do You Ever Call Your Cat The Wrong Name? [Link]

Do you ever get the cat now confused with a cat you owned years ago? This article is a cross between memory lapses and cat reincarnation. Personally, I believe I have with me now several cats I owned many years ago. My problem is that I'll call the cat by the name I gave it 20-30+ years ago. The confusion drives my daughter Laura a bit nuts, because she doesn't know whether I'm having a memory lapse where I get confused, or whether I really believe I have a reincarnated version of a previous kitty. If you look at the photo collage for the story, it's easy to see the resemblance between my cats of yesterday, and my current cats. I believe Laura is very afraid of my growing old, and on some days I have to say I join Laura in that fear.

An Animal Shelters Responsibility To The Community [Link]

One of the most serious articles written in 2013 deals with the public's right to know versus an animal shelter's reputation within the community in which the shelter serves. Should it be illegal for a shelter to sit on information concerning a major illness infecting a higher-than-average number of cats and dogs? A shelter will argue that all animal shelters have a higher-than-average rate of panleuk, kennel cough, canine flu and calicivirus. What percentage of pets in a shelter who have fallen ill make it necessary to inform the public that cats and dogs adopted or rescued may be, or may have been, infected before leaving the shelter? This article ties well into the one I wrote about core vaccines. Why are so many animals sick when the shelter assures the public that all dogs and cats are getting vaccinated at the time of intake?

Branch Of U.S. Department of Agriculture Illegally Killing Pets [Link]

This article talks about a little known USDOA department called Predator Control, where conibear traps and leg hold snares are "accidentally" trapping and killing thousands of companion animals each year. If you live in a n area where these traps are set, please be aware the government isn't going door to door telling dog and cat owners to monitor their pets access to the outside world. A few neighborhood associations were mistakenly led to believe the traps were being set to trap rats. Pet owner's need to be aware these "U.S. government affiliations" are out there, and they're a very real danger to our pets. Hopefully this article will convince the public that the government doesn't necessarily have the best interests of the community in mind, regardless of what they claim.

Homer The Blind Cat Has Died [Link]

On August 21, the world the cat I personally believe to be the most famous cat in the United States in the past decade. Homer (Homer's Odyssey: A Fearless Feline Tale), who survived being blind, and who also drew worldwide media attention after being trapped inside his home during 9/11, went to the Rainbow Bridge. The world mourned his loss as Gwen Cooper told of his last days and recounted the amazing life of this little cat. This was without a doubt one of the toughest articles to write out of the more than 500 articles I did overall in 2013. Homer taught cat lovers that almost anything is possible, even for a disabled cat. Because of Homer, many cat lovers took in a blind cat with the knowledge that just because a cat can't see, doesn't mean the cat can't have a fairly normal life. Homer was notorious as a furniture climber, and had an amazing perception of where he would "land" while performing his acrobatic stunts for his mom, bestselling author Gwen Cooper.

Humane Officer Shoots 5 Kittens; Chief Says He Won't Be Disciplined [Link]

The story of how North Ridgeville, Ohio humane officer shot and killed a family of kittens living next to a home in a woodpile enraged more than dog lovers with this case. An outraged community demanded justice. The Ohio SPCA went so far as to threaten the department with legal action. Sadly, looking for an update on Barry Accorti, I've been unable to find any information saying he was eventually punished for his cowardly act. Imagine how many times this happens where the news media never gets word of a cat or dog shooting by animal control. Social media has played the biggest part ever in bringing animal abusers to the forefront. Unfortunately, many of them have the title of "humane officer" or "police officer."

Shelter Cat Dead Because Of A Lie [Link]

Think you have heartless relatives? A 6-year-old cat named Bella was euthanized because her owner's daughter lied to the staff at the local shelter. Because Bella was listed as an owner turn-in, she was eligible for euthanasia immediately, as a holding period offered to strays doesn't apply to animals brought in by their owner. Despite having empty cages, Bella was euthanized less than 48 hours after she arrived. If nothing else was accomplished with this article, at least I've made people think a bit harder over who watches the family pet while the family is away. Sometimes it's better to hire a professional service than to trust a pet to relatives.

Is A Male Cat Still Fertile After Neutering? [Link]

I've had quite a few friends tell me they were unaware that recently neutered cats may still be fertile for several weeks. It's important to keep the male cat away from female cats in heat for at least six weeks, just in case any kitty sperm swimmers are still floating around in the male. This article also stressed the importance to have a male cat with undescended testicles neutered, as the risk on cancer is much greater.
What was your favorite article on PoC? Think back to all of the articles written by the PoC family during 2013. Which is your favorite and why?


Standoff between cougars and coyotes. Pictures.

Standoff between pumas and coyotes. Photos by USFWS Mountain Prairie
Standoff between pumas and coyotes. Photos by USFWS Mountain Prairie.

These are three of a series of photographs of two young mountain lions seeking refuge on a large wooden fence from five coyotes. You can gauge the balance of power between these species of animal from the photographs. Five coyotes trump two juvenile pumas. I guess 5 coyotes might not trump 2 adult pumas. It is all about power and authority, one over the other. Sounds like human stuff and it is.

The obvious has happened. The young cougars have used their jumping and climbing skills to distance themselves from coyotes and to seek a sanctuary.

I don't know how it was resolved. I suspect the coyotes disappeared eventually and the cougars came down.

These photographs were, in fact, published some time ago. However, I noticed this short post was languishing as a draft on the main website for some time so I think it is worthy enough to publish on this subdomain site.

Puma kills are often scavenged by other animals including: bears, pigs, wolves, bobcats, foxes and coyotes. This is despite the fact that the mountain lion can sometimes rest near their cached prey. Therefore, a scavenger risks being attacked by the mountain lion. Clearly a mountain lion can kill a coyote but in the numbers that you see in the photograph and when the mountain lion is a subadult, it is a different kettle of fish.

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