Wednesday 5 January 2022

Woman abandons her pet cat in plain sight in a Glasgow park on New Year's Day

NEWS AND COMMENT-GLASGOW, SCOTLAND, UK: I think this is an outrageous way to abandon your cat. In saying that, of course, every way of abandoning your cat is outrageous but this method caught my eye on my newsfeed today.

Tabby cat abandoned by a woman in plain sight in a Glasgow park
Tabby cat abandoned by a woman in plain sight in a Glasgow park. Looking frightened. Picture: SPCA.

The story is short. I don't have a lot of detail. It comes from the Daily Record.

A passer-by saw a white car driven up to the Clarkston Road entrance of Linn Park, on the south side of the city of Glasgow. The car was driven by a woman.

The woman got out of the car and walked 20 metres into the park carrying a pet carrier. She walked into a wooded area. She opened the carrier and released what appears to have been her pet tabby cat.

It was witnessed and the witness reported the matter to the Scottish SPCA. The witness also confronted the woman. The woman justified their actions by claiming that the cat was wild.

The witness then waited with the "terrified cat" who was actually very tame and certainly a domestic cat and also almost certainly formerly owned by the woman who abandoned him/her.

The Scottish SPCA spokesperson, inspector Lara Vickery, said that the cat is very friendly and terrified from her ordeal. She also said:

"We that people’s circumstances can change, but this is not the right way to give up an animal and the cat would have been caused a great amount of unnecessary distress. Unfortunately she is not microchipped."

Although the Animal Welfare Act 2006 does not specify an offence of animal abandonment, it is likely that the behaviour of this woman falls under that act as a crime because it is an act of animal cruelty and abuse. This act does not cover Scotland but they have their own animal welfare act called the Animal Health and Welfare Scotland (Act) 2006. As it is the same date, I expected to be very similar in its content. 

Note: I have specifically avoided using the word "alleged" in order to protect myself from defamation because based upon the witness evidence it seems certain that this woman abandoned her domestic cat. She lied about the cat being wild which was complete nonsense obviously. It was a feeble excuse to try and get herself off the hook. She won't be found I suspect and we hope the cat will be rehomed in a good home with a good caregiver. The woman who abandoned this cat clearly was not up to the job.

Monday 3 January 2022

Can cats protect you while you sleep?

It is certainly possible that cats can protect their owner while they sleep. It must depend upon a number of circumstances. There is a nice story on the website about a cat who started yelling loudly because it seems that there was an intruder outside the window. This woke up her owner. 

Can cats protect you while you sleep?
Can cats protect you while you sleep? Yes, in their own way by pinning down the burglar until you wake up!

Her cat jumped from her bed onto a chair by the window and then started screaming loudly. When the shadowy intruder disappeared perhaps because of the yowling feline, she jumped back on her owner's bed and head-butted her as if to say "look what I did". And as an act of friendship, a bonding act after the end of that dangerous moment.

If you are snoozing on your bed and your cat is by your side or on your legs and they suddenly move and look out the window with their ears pricked forward, it's quite likely that there is something out there which has caught their attention. You might not have heard anything but your cat has because of superior hearing. This is a potential warning.

This sometimes happens to me. When my cat does this I have to get up to investigate or I watch out for a while to see if something develops before snoozing again. Sometimes it might be an animal like a badger which arouses my cat's attention. But the point here is that a cat has better hearing and therefore they can pick up stuff that humans can't.

But if you are in deep sleep, in the middle of the night, and your cat is on the bed with you but gets up when they hear something you clearly won't notice it. If they make a lot of fuss as happened for the woman I've mentioned they will wake you up and provide you with a warning mechanism.

There is another cute story which deserves to be repeated. The cat's owner was very sick with food poisoning. She says that she could barely move her head. One of her cats kept her paw on her shoulder and would not move from her side. She believes that her cat was protecting her during the time that she was in a weakened state. 

This is because her cat was in a position that she did not normally take up. She behaved differently. And she hissed at people who came over to her who she didn't know such as the apartment manager. It is quite plausible that domestic cats can be protective of their human caregiver when they feel that their human caregiver is in a vulnerable state.

Finally, there is an amusing story from a guy who said that his cream Persian cat protected him from his wife. His cat always slept against his legs at night. One evening his wife sat on the edge of the bed to say good night. She "playfully hit me on the shoulder". His cat, Cleo, immediately got up and positioned herself in between him and his wife and pushed his wife's hand away. He was fascinated with this so he asked his wife to do the same thing again. Once again Cleo intervened and pushed her hand away and then wanted to be petted. He said: "I wasn't protecting Cleo, she was protecting me".

Saturday 1 January 2022

Is it shameful for a man to cry when his cat dies or is euthanized?

I have decided that the question in the title is based upon stereotyping men. At the end of the day it is a silly question because if a man has a close bond with the family cat he is likely to cry when the time comes to euthanise his cat or the cat has been killed in an accident or died of a serious disease. It is entirely natural to grieve the passing of a domestic cat companion who will be treated as a member of the family in a home where there is good caregiving.

Is it shameful for a man to cry when his cat dies or is euthanized?
Sodium pentobarbital. Does it cause pain in cats when euthanized? Image: Google Images.

About the image above, I have this to say: I am asking the question whether euthanising a cat with sodium pentobarbital is genuinely painless. When this drug is delivered to humans in 84% of cases their lungs fill up with a frothy liquid which causes pain and distress indeed panic because it is like waterboarding torture. How do cats feel when this drug is delivered to them? And can the syringe be positioned accurately enough to avoid causing pain? Please click on this link for more on this topic.

So the question in the title is really born out of stereotyping the male of the human species. We expect women to cry when their cat dies but we might not expect it from men which I think is silly. And the fact of the matter is that a man who is a good cat caregiver is going to be sensitive enough to feel a huge amount of grief on that dreaded day when he has to say goodbye to a companion who has been loyal to him for 15-20 years.

RELATED: Jackson Galaxy provides advice on when to euthanize your cat.

The last caring act of a good cat guardian is to be present when he or she is euthanised in the consulting room of a veterinary clinic. It is a dreaded moment. There might have been a six month or more build up to that moment. There will be tension. There will be great difficulty in deciding when to euthanize. Therefore there will be mental torment.

It is absolutely normal to cry under those circumstances. In fact men should let themselves go because crying is healthy under the circumstances. I would be surprised if a man didn't. Perhaps if they didn't it would indicate that the bond between them was less than ideal.

Sometimes you never get over the loss of a cat companion. I haven't. It's been 27 years since I lost my cat that I loved dearly. She was killed on the road and that is my fault. And I think of her often. I can't talk about her without the emotions come back and the tears flowing.

Karen Baker on the website puts it very nicely. She said that before she married her husband she knew that he had a very close bond with his Maine Coon cat, Ty. And when he married him Ty gradually accepted her. She was thankful for that. And sadly when the moment came through old age to say farewell at that final trip to the vet, it hurt her husband tremendously.

He seems to have been quite a quiet person. I will let Karen explain what happened:

About a week later, my husband was sitting at the kitchen table, coffee cup ignored as he stared off into the backyard. And I knew. I just knew what he was thinking.

Very softly I spoke to him. “I miss him too.”

My husband turned to face me, wiping the tears from his face.

There is nothing shameful for mourning a family member, a best friend, a loyal companion.

As I said, I think she writes about that very nicely.

Thailand: free giveaway Siamese cat, dark colour, two months old

The advert on the Cat Thailand website is:  แจกฟรี แมววิเชียรมาศ สีเข้ม อายุ2เดือน, which translates to "Free Giveaway Siamese cat, dark, two months old.

Thailand: free giveaway Siamese cat, dark colour, two months old
Thailand: free giveaway Siamese cat, dark colour, two months old.

The cat looks very much like a Burmese cat or a dark Siamese. Although it will not be a purebred cat because he or she is not registered with a cat association. But the cat has a very nice appearance, very reminiscent of a purebred Burmese although lighter in colour. But this is a nice pointed cat.

The Cat Thailand website has lots of free cats. I find it interesting to explore websites from countries other than those in the West. It's instructive. We shouldn't confine ourselves to the cultures and ideas of the West. We need to push the envelope and go thousands of miles to Asia for example. It provides us with an insight into what happens in those countries on cat ownership.

In the West, you shouldn't see this sort of free giveaway cat advert. No doubt you do but it is frowned upon. This is because the cat can go to the wrong person. The kind of person who might abuse animals. Sometimes cats are used to train dogs to fight. These sorts of people scour the free cat adverts. As I recall, the website prohibits adverts of this kind.

Thai tabby cat with shortened tail
Thai tabby cat with shortened tail.

All the adverts are of non-purebred cats which is why they are being given away for free. There is another interesting one of a cat with a very short tail. This is a tabby cat. Random bred cats without tails are more common in Asia than in the West. This is not a Manx cat. He or she will be a standard moggy who inherited a stubby tail. These things happen and it is caused by a "spontaneous genetic mutation" to use the language of geneticists.

In another advert of a very pretty tortoiseshell-and-white cat, the advertiser simply states "looking for a home for a three month old female cat". They don't say that this is a tortoiseshell cat. I think it would have helped the advert if they had mentioned it. It seems that they don't know that they have a tortoiseshell cat.

There seems to be a certain amount of informal cat breeding going on in Thailand leading to an excess of unwanted cats. The same thing happens in the West.

What is the point of this article? It is to make us think about the worldwide cat issues. To explore cultures other than those in the West. To educate ourselves about them. There is a purebred cat marketplace in Asia but it is less well developed than in, say, America, which is the premier purebred cat marketplace. The UK is also very big on purebred cats but there are far fewer purebred cats than random bred cats in both these countries.

Are 13 cats too many for a two-bedroom bungalow?

NEWS AND COMMENT: There is a discussion on news media as to whether 13 cats in a two-bed bungalow is too many in terms of cat welfare. And the answer, really, is simple. It depends upon the person. It is just about possible to manage 13 cats and keep the place hygienic and the cats healthy.

This 13 cat too many for a two-bedroom bungalow? Carole Walker has 13
This 13 cat too many for a two-bedroom bungalow? Carole Walker has 13. Image: ITV.

There is however, one hidden, potentially large negative: stress. Domestic cats are adaptable. But their natural home range may be 4 acres plus. It could be much larger. If you compress 13 cat into a two-bed bungalow, they're going to have a few square yards each in terms of home range and they are going to be overlapping home ranges. In fact, they have no home range of their own. It's all shared. This is liable to cause stress. Stress can come out in health problems.

You're liable to get some fighting so the basic starting point is not a good one. Arguably it is self-indulgent. But you can't automatically criticise people who keep 13 cats in one relatively small home because they might be excellent at their job and the cats might be able to adapt sufficiently and be fairly calm and content.

The problem is that 90% of the time it is not going to work out. In fact, it will work out badly. And this argument is rumbling around Carole Walker from Preston who has been on television, on ITV, when she was a host of Philip Schofield and Rochelle Humes. She was discussing how many cats are too many for one owner.

She claims, as she would, that she has the time and money to deal with the management of her cats, properly. In contrast, This Morning's vet Dr. Scott Miller said that 13 was too many under one roof. His argument is that felines are essentially solitary creatures and don't really appreciate living together with so many other cat companions.

And viewers of the television programme were divided. Some say that Carol does a good job looking after the cats and they appear to be happy. While others disagree and say that it is just too many.

Carole said:

"I've got a reasonable size two-bedroom, two-reception room bungalow, I've got an outside… area where they've got numerous climbers, they've got free access to that in the day. There's at least two or three beds throughout the house per cat, I've got the time and the finances to look after them."

Thirteen is her limit, however. She rightly says that she wants to make sure that she dies before her last cat! And she says that if they don't live to the age of 16, she considers it a failure on her behalf.

She said that there is the occasional "odd spat". But she argues that even if you have two cats in the home they can fight.

RELATED (note: Carol Walker is not a classic cat hoarder in my view): Cat hoarding: a spectrum of causes, reasons and personality types.

She said that they helped her a lot during the Covid lockdowns. The charity Cats Protection would argue that it is too many. They have a problem themselves with their chief executive resigning just three months into a 12-month contract because Linda Upson, the chairman of the charity has 18 cats in her three-bedroom house. Once again, she would claim that she looks after them properly and that they are content.

I have a close neighbour who has 10 cats. In my honest opinion she does not look after them properly. She has 10 cats because she wants ten cats. She is a natural hoarder of objects. She is not really considering the health and welfare of the animals in her charge. 

The home is smelly and the cats are confined to her home. They are full-time indoor cats. I feel very sorry for the cats. I almost feel like calling the RSPCA but that would cause a huge rift in neighbourly harmony. I keep quiet. 

It is the usual smell of ammonia from urine deposited around the home which emanates from the windows when they are open. She keeps the windows closed for that reason. How they can live in this background acrid smell 24/7 is beyond me. 

And how does an atmosphere saturated with ammonia gas affect the health of cats? That is a question which needs to be raised and hardly ever is.

However, Carol Walker, we are told, keeps her home clean and nice. This can happen but it is unusual in a home where there are more than 10 cats. Just on one small point: you've got to have 14 litter trays if you got 13 cats according to Jackson Galaxy, the well-known American cat behaviourist and television presenter. Where do you put them? The smell?

RELATED: Cat hoarding – full discussion.

Having 13 cats does not automatically mean that you are a cat hoarder. It might mean that, but it might not. It depends upon the mentality of the person. Carol Walker does not look like a cat hoarder to me. Cat hoarding is a mental illness. But having 13 cats is drifting into that classification in my view. It shows a lack of self-control and it indicates that the person is more focused on themselves and what pleases themselves as opposed to what is best for the cats. Arguably it is a selfish attitude.

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