Thursday 4 August 2022

Why are some street cats afraid of humans while others are friendly?

This is a question asked on a social media website and it is an easy one to answer so I can be brief. It is all about socialisation. The street cats, or let's call them feral or semi-feral cats, who are afraid of humans are those that have not been socialised to humans. It is likely, therefore, that these feral cats have been born in the wild and never had the chance when they were newborn kittens to interact with humans and learn that humans are friendly and not to be feared. 

That, of course, is provided that the humans with whom they interact are indeed friendly! And there is also the issue of the personalities of the cats. Some are more confident than others. Timid cats are more likely to be fearful of strangers. But the biggest factor by far is socialisation.

It is part of a cat breeders job to ensure that this process takes place. Without it a cat cannot be a human companion.

Child protects a street cat from the rain
Child protects a street cat from the rain. Image: Tumblr.

The way you socialise any cat to a human is to ensure that they are around humans and are interacting with humans as much as possible when they are very young and then they learn quickly that they are safe to be in the company of humans. It is quite likely, too, that some feral cats have the exact opposite experience and are therefore justifiably afraid of humans. That's because a lot of humans dislike feral cats.

RELATED: Kitten development – comprehensive discussion.

Those street cats who are friendly to humans are probably stray domestic cats who have been fully socialised to humans (stray domestic cats) or semi-feral cats that are part of a TNR program during which they interact with volunteers who care for them and ensure that they are spayed and neutered. So, it is all about early interactions with humans which if good ensures that the cat is unafraid when in their company.

RELATED: Sensitive Period of Socialisation for Kittens.

In some countries, there are street cats which are in between true feral cats and domestic cats. These are semi-feral community cats who are looked after by people in the community such as shopkeepers. The trouble is that they're not looked after in a complete sense. They are fed but the caregiving does not extend to veterinary treatment and therefore they must have shorter life spans on average than normal domestic cats.

Cat-loving Taylor Swift tops a table of celebrity private aircraft polluters

Although Taylor Swift has defended herself by saying that she loans out her aircraft to others, she has been found to be top of a table of celebrity private aircraft polluters with 170 flights on her jet in 2022 to July 29 according to a digital sustainability company, Yard, and as reported in The Times newspaper today.

Image: Pinterest.

Taylor Swift's Falcon 7X clocked up nearly 16 days in the air to July 29. The average flight time was 80 minutes covering a distance of 139.36 miles. The calculated emissions were almost 8,300 tons of carbon dioxide. This is 1184.8 times the average person's.

You will find pictures on the Internet of Taylor Swift in her Falcon 7X jet with one of her cats on her lap. She does like to travel with her cats as I understand it. But she does tend to relate to her cats as babies in my view which I don't think it's helpful because it is better to relate to your cat companion as a cat as it is more respectful and it leads to better caregiving. But it not a big deal. The important thing is that she loves cats and is good caregiver.

Taylor Swift's Falcon 7X
Taylor Swift's Falcon 7X. Image: Christopher Peterson/Splash News.

Taylor Swift tops the league of polluters through the use of private jets but, as mentioned, she does defend herself and I am an admirer of hers by the way. The information apparently comes from Yard who use the Twitter account of @CelebJets, which tracks the movements of the jet-owning celebrities of the world using GPS and detailed maps. I don't know whether this is an unacceptable invasion of privacy but they are able to do it in great detail and therefore calculate the carbon dioxide pollution. I guess the information on their travel arrangements is in the public domain in the first place.

Floyd Mayweather the retired boxer is a close second behind Swift. Allegedly his jet emitted more than 7,000 tons of carbon dioxide in the same period. Jay-Z is third on the list but a spokesperson for the rapper said that he no longer owns the plane.

Fourth on the list is Alex Rodriguez, a retired baseball player. This comes Blake Shelton and sixth is Stephen Spielberg with Kim Kardashian coming seventh. Mark Wahlberg comes eight and Oprah Winfrey comes ninth. 10th on the list is Travis Scott.

Polluting the environment with carbon dioxide has become a serious issue as it affects the planet and therefore us all going forward, including our cats.  We all have a responsibility to do our bit. Although I fully appreciate how hard that can be when governments are doing nowhere near enough.

Fancy Feast cat food brand opens a New York City restaurant (for humans!)

NEWS AND COMMENT: Cat food brand Fancy Feast have opened a restaurant in New York City for humans! It is called Gatto Bianco which means white cat. It's an Italian restaurant with a medley of recipes and I've got to presume that the food looks like cat food! Wrong? But it is for humans. I don't really get it. The restaurant is located between Far West Village and the Meatpacking District in New York City. 

Gatto Bianco by Fancy Feast
Gatto Bianco by Fancy Feast. Photo: Purina.

The chef is taking inspiration from Fancy Feast Medleys recipes while paying homage to traditional Italian cuisine according to Nestlé Purina the umbrella company which owns Fancy Feast.

The dishes have been developed by Fancy Feast's in-house chef, Amanda Hassner together with Italian chef a New York restauranteur Cesare Casella.

Hassner said:

"Food has the power to connect us to others in meaningful ways and take us to places we have never been. The same is true for our cats. The dishes at Gatto Bianco are prepared in ways that help cat owners understand how their cats experience food – from flavor, to texture, to form – in a way that only Fancy Feast can."

My personal viewpoint is that this is a ridiculous concept. I can't see the point of it. Is it meant to educate people on what it's like to be a cat eating cat food? If that is the objective it doesn't work. And is the food going to look like cat food? If so, it is not going to look great to a human. It just seems to be a muddled concept to me and pointless but perhaps I am being far too negative.

Is it going to look like this with a side salad?

Wednesday 3 August 2022

Big Public Safety Act passes U.S. House (278-134) thanks to Carole Baskin and supporters

NEWS AND COMMENT - USA: The Big Public Safety Act is legislation which Carole Baskin of Big Cat Rescue (BCR) has pushed with great commitment for a very long time. It is her legislation. Her baby and it is vitally needed in the US. She has seen first-hand the abuses to which captive big cats and smaller wild cat species are subjected to by people who like to possess them as pets but are unable to truly care for them. This is an abuse of these cats and I sense that Carole Baskin's focus is on the welfare of the cats whereas this legislation also protects owners and the public.

Carole Baskin has campaigned tirelessly for the Big Cat Safety Act her legislation
Carole Baskin has campaigned tirelessly for the Big Cat Safety Act her legislation. She is a great woman although she has her detractors. Strong women annoy weak men. Image: Instagram.

In amending the Captive Wildlife Safety Act, it prohibits future possession and breeding of lions, tigers and other big cats in the exotic pet trade. It targets privately-owned animals with exemptions for zoos accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, sanctuaries, universities and travelling circuses.

Current owners i.e. private owners, of these animals have been 'grandfathered' which means they can go on as they were until the animals die as I understand it. These owners are required to register the animals with the USDA.

The bill is urgently required in order to keep big cats safe and away from abusive circumstances. And often they pose a serious risk to the safety of the public and the owner. I believe that Carole particularly detests the abuse of big cat cubs as photo props at roadside businesses.

Around 10,000-20,000 big cats are currently owned as pets in the US, it is said. Extraordinary. Or they are caged in roadside zoos and perhaps the worst of it is that the country's administrators simply don't know how many there are. And they don't know the conditions under which they suffer.

There have been 740 dangerous incidents involving big cats since 1990 in America.

This new legislation ensures that big cats can only live in secure facilities which can provide proper caregiving. They will be well looked after and will not be a threat to public safety.

My reading of this legislation and the campaign that came before it that it is almost exclusively down to Carole Baskin and her energy and commitment to get this job done. She's been mopping up the mess of self-indulgent people who like to have big cats as pets by rescuing them at her Big Cat Rescue facility for years. She now wants to take proactive steps rather than reactive which is the underlying purpose of this legislation.

Her recent elevation to celebrity stardom by the Netflix series Tiger King has helped to publicise her efforts. There was a silver lining to Joe Exotic's attempt to kill her. By the way his appeal to shorten his sentence has failed and he has been sentenced to a further 21 years in prison as I understand it.

Below is the impressive Carole Baskin requesting further support to push on with the legislation and see it home to enactment.

Monday 1 August 2022

For pets, a wearable fan made in Japan

NEWS AND COMMENT: Cats and dogs in Japan can now wear a wearable fan to cope with the modern-day high temperatures caused, it is believed, by global warming. The picture looks extraordinary. This is a battery-operated, 80 g (3 ounce) fan which is attached to a mesh outfit and which blows air around the cat or dog's body. It all looks a bit over-engineered and contrived to me with the decoration as well. Or perhaps that was added by the dogs' owner.

Wearable fan for pets
Wearable fan for pets. Image in public domain.

Veterinarians teamed up with a Tokyo clothing manufacturer to make this clothing accessory. It does point to a new problem however. With these extraordinary temperatures, cats and dogs with long or dense fur find themselves in an environment which is unsuited to their anatomy.

Wearable fan for pets
Wearable fan for pets. Image in public domain.

The president of maternity clothing maker Sweet Mommy, Rei Uzawa, was inspired to make the device/clothing when she saw her own chihuahua exhausted after a walk in scorching summer weather.

As is the case with the UK, there's been no rain and in Japan the hot weather came early. She believes that they have the right product for the market.

In Japan the rainy season ended in late June and they have suffered the longest heatwave on record with temperatures up to 35°C for nine days. This is very similar to the UK which is going through an extraordinary heatwave and drought.

Mami Kumamoto,48, said that she normally uses dry ice packs to cool down her dog but believes that the fan makes the task easier. She lives with a miniature poodle whose name is Pudding and a terrier named Maco.

It costs around ¥9000 in Japan which is about £55 in the UK and $68 in America.

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