Tuesday 14 June 2022

Example of bad strabismus in a longhaired Oriental cat

Strabismus is the scientific term for a squint and this Oriental Longhair has a very bad one. It is the worst example I have seen. As you might know, the Siamese cat is predisposed to the squint. And the Oriental cat both long and shorthair is part of the Siamese cat family by which I mean they inherit a similar set of genes i.e. the genotype is similar. And for this reason, I think it is fair to say that you will see the squint in Oriental Shorthair and Longhair cats more often than is typically encountered amongst the general domestic cat population.

Oriental Longhair with an enormous squint.
Oriental Longhair with an enormous squint. Screenshot.

I have a page on what causes this condition which you can read by clicking on this link if you wish. The important fact about the squint in cats is that they compensate for the optical and brain wiring that has gone wrong and scientists believe that they are able to see normally which is hard to imagine when you look at this guy with his enormous squint.

The Siamese cat spawned a lot of other cat breeds such as the Oriental and cat breeds such as the Javanese and Thai.

RELATED: Thai cats – describing their place in the Siamese cat family.

The experts might be incorrect about the squint not affecting vision for the Siamese and cats in the Siamese cat family. I say this because humans can also develop a squint particularly in children. And it is corrected in various ways because if it is not dealt with, they say that it might cause "persistent blurred or double vision". 

This implies that humans are not able to correct for the squint. Perhaps this is because the cause of a squint in humans is different to that in cats? Or there are different causes. The cause for the squint in this Oriental Longhair will almost certainly be congenital i.e. inherited due to faulty 'wiring'.

But the main reason why the squint is rectified in humans is because of the appearance. This can cause embarrassment or low self-esteem. Clearly, we do not place that much importance on a squint in domestic cats.

Sunday 12 June 2022

Can and do domestic cats eat dragon fruit (video)?

Yes, on both counts according to one cat who was caught on video making the mess of a lifetime when eating brightly coloured dragon fruit. Unless this was set up which it very much looks like to me. It makes a good video though. It seems extraordinary to me that a domestic cat would want to eat dragon fruit. I can't see any reason why a domestic cat should want to eat dragon fruit as it is so far from their natural diet which is a mouse!

Can and do domestic cats eat dragon fruit (video)?
Can and do domestic cats eat dragon fruit (video)? Yes, but do they want to!! Almost never I'd think.

But dragon fruit is apparently non-toxic to domestic cats and, I suppose, if a cat wanted to nibble a bit of dragon fruit to entertain themselves then there is no reason why they should not. However, the video is misleading. I am convinced that the cat's owner smeared the fruit over their cat! It seems that there is a bit of a trend on social media of videoing cats eating dragon fruit because it creates a lot of bright colour and plenty of mess; good visually.

It is definitely contrived and created to make a successful video because dragon fruit is a bright pink colour which covers this cute cat. The idea was to create an image, if you like, of a child eating in their baby chair with their face covered in chocolate or baby food. 

This video conjures up that kind of image in my mind. And I am sure that the video maker wanted to create a scene along those lines. It is anthropomorphising the cat which hundreds of millions of people do every day including me.

RELATED: Can cats eat cucumber? Is cucumber safe for cats to eat?

One last point which is irrelevant really but it irritates me slightly. The woman who made the video reprimands her cat. This is punishing a cat. Nobody should punish a cat at any time for any reason because they do not understand it. It won't do any good but it may do some bad.

Dragon fruit is high in vitamin C and other antioxidants, which are good for your immune system. However, that does not make it any more acceptable to a domestic cat. When do you last see a cat eating any kind of fruit? 

Monday 6 June 2022

Why you should never judge until you have all the facts!


This is a clever little Facebook video (below) which reminds us that you should never judge something until you have all the facts. Or, to put it another way, don't make assumptions on what you see. There is a third saying: "Never judge a book by its cover!" Wait 'til the very end and the message will be revealed.

@crsie1

♬ Monkeys Spinning Monkeys - Kevin MacLeod & Kevin The Monkey
Note: This is an embedded video from another website. Sometimes they are deleted at source or the video is turned into a link which would stop it working here. I have no control over this.

Thursday 2 June 2022

Recent statistics relating to firefighters rescuing animals (UK)

Wales Online reports some interesting statistics regarding firefighters rescuing animals. I must presume that this information refers to UK firefighters operating within the UK although it is not stated. They report that in 2020-2021 the fire service was called out to save 5,160 animals which represents a 9% from the previous year. And it is the highest number of animal rescues that the fire service has been involved in since records began in 2012. Interestingly, the stats in the reports don't mention cats in fires! And that leads me nicely to one cat rescued from a wildfire during 40-degree Celsius weather which burned down the cat owners home

Firefighters rescue cats from house fire in UK
Firefighters rescue cats from house fire in UK. Cat rescues from house fires appear to be rare compared to rescuing cats stuck somewhere such as up a tree. Pic in the public domain.

Pets represented 52% of the rescues. Farm animals represented 20% and wild animals 24%. 5% of the callouts were to rescue birds such as parrots, budgies, ducks et cetera.

Releasing trapped animals was the most common callout at 1,965 events. There were 1428 rescues of animal stuck in a high place of which, unsurprisingly, 66% represented companion animals. I presume that this refers to cats on almost every occasion.

On 745 occasions firefighters were called upon to rescue animal stuck in water or mud. And 291 calls were to rescue an animal stuck below ground.

They used 8,791 appliances and 28,486 officers were involved.

The Guardian newspaper reports on the London Fire Brigade's involvement in animal rescue during 2020. There were 755 incidents which is more than two per day. The number of rescues that they were involved in increased by 20% compared with 2019 during which there were 602 rescues. The biggest increase in animal rescue concerned non-domestic animals.

It appears that the Covid lockdowns encouraged some cat owners (perhaps) to allow their cat to roam freely because traffic dwindled to a fraction of its normal intensity which provided relative safety for cats outside. But wild animals were seen more commonly due to the relative quiet and dramatic reduction in human activity. This accounted for more animal rescues than normal.

In fact, cats accounted for 45% of London Fire Brigade animal rescues but the biggest proportional increases were among birds and foxes.

During 2020 the London Fire Brigade spent £206,000 on animal rescue up from £240,000 and 2018 2019. The average cost of each rescue is assessed to be £346. One rescue of a horse stuck in a ditch which required two fire engines cost the fire service £2,700.

Calls concerning distress cats were the most common. In 2021 there were 337 such calls compared to 269 in 2019. They concerned cats stuck up trees, stuck under floorboards, stuck under solar panels and fridges and up telegraph poles and chimneys. One cat was stuck in a recycling bin after their owner failed to notice that they climbed inside a rubbish bag.

The Fire Service in London also rescued 23 dogs, 17 horses and 17 deer and there was a 34% increase in bird emergencies up from 141 and 2019 to 214 in 2020. There was a dramatic increase in rescues during spring when the first Covid lockdown was announced.

Wednesday 1 June 2022

Kurt Zouma banned from keeping cats for 5 years plus given 180 hrs community service

You may remember the viral news story of West Ham defender Kurt Zouma kicking his Bengal cat in the living room and slapping the cat in the kitchen while the cat was in the arms of his son as I recall. I think that's an example of child abuse as well as cat abuse but that aspect of the video was not addressed.

Zouma enters court for sentencing
Photo: DANIEL LEAL /AFP

The video was made and uploaded to social media by his brother Yoan. Both of them pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing, Kurt to a charge of causing unnecessary suffering to a cat under the Animal Welfare Act 2006 and Yoan to aiding and abetting.

Recently, they returned to the Magistrates' Court for a sentencing hearing and the result was that Kurt Zouma has been ordered to carry out 180 hours of community service and he has been banned from keeping cats five years.

His brother admitted one count of aiding, abetting and counselling or procuring his older brother to commit an offence and was ordered to carry out 140 hours-community service.

Kurt Zouma was ordered to pay £9000 in costs. A West Ham club spokesman said that they condemn "in the strongest terms any form of animal abuse or cruelty. This type of behaviour is unacceptable and is not in line with the values of the football club."

To play the video below: click center play button followed by the play button bottom-left 😎. Yeh, it's two stage at the moment but it should work!

Zouma was fined by West Ham football club two weeks salary amounting to £250,000, as I recall. Perhaps it was one week salary, I'm unsure but he was fined heavily but of course he is a France international football and therefore paid very well, extraordinarily well as all premiership footballers are by his club.

RELATED: RSPCA prosecute Kurt Zouma and his brother Yoan under the Animal Welfare Act 2006.

West Ham never suspended him from playing for the club. There was criticism of that. And the West Ham supporters took the Mickey out of him and the crime as it happens. That wasn't a great response in my opinion.

The judge at the Magistrates' Court made very important point. Because Zuma and his brother are role models for many young people, they have to carry the burden of the added responsibility of behaving to a high standard when not playing football.

The judge did say that both of them had expressed genuine remorse but said: "You must be aware that others look up to you and many young people aspire to emulate you."

Update 10 months later 05/11/22: The Guardian newspaper updates us on this saga. West Ham's Kurt Zouma is in the news today. He is showing great remorse. He said: "I have done something very bad. I have great remorse".

He also said: "It’s been a difficult spell for me and my family. Obviously, I have done something very bad, and I apologise again for what I’ve done. I know it was very tough for people to watch and to see that and obviously I feel very, very sorry."

And further he said: "I have great remorse about it and now I’m trying to move on with my family and looking ahead. I learned from it, that’s the most important thing, I would say. Obviously, I had support from many, many people around me who helped me stay focused on football and I try to stay happy.

“The club has been unbelievable with me, the support that I received from my teammates, from the staff, and everyone at the club, and even from the fans, has been unreal, and they helped me stay focused on the game, to try to do my best on the pitch all the time and, obviously, I can’t thank them enough for what they’ve done. This club is like my family.”

There you are - an update. I wonder like anybody else whether his expressions of remorse are genuine or whether he is saying it to try and regain some of his popularity. His character has been besmirched by his behaviour and I'm sure that he wants to turn the clock back.

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