Wednesday 31 August 2022

Clever non-verbal teenage girl identifies as a cat

NEWS AND COMMENT-MELBOURNE PRIVATE SCHOOL: A year eight student at a Melbourne private school who is described as being 'phenomenally bright' but is non-verbal has decided to identify herself as a cat. There's been a trend of adopting a furry animal identity and there is a kind of a culture among some kids in some schools to do this. People take a different attitude towards it.

School kids
School kids. Pic: Getty Images.

Those who support the woke movement are very sensitive towards it and the school is providing support staff to deal with a range of psychological issues. The school said that some students were presenting with a range of issues including mental health, anxiety and identity issues. These sorts of issues are present in a sizeable percentage UK school kids according to reports. Self-harming comes to mind as well as a manifestation of these pressures.

The school in question is tackling the issue gently and their approach is to always take matters on a student-by-student basis and seek professional advice.


At the opposite end of the spectrum are the right-wing types such as Sen Ralph Babet who has criticised the Melbourne schoolgirl in a tweet (see above). He said that the girl identifying as a cat is:

"...a symptom of allowing the woke radical left in society to run rampant, unchecked. Can we just put a stop to this garbage right now. You go to school to learn reading, writing and arithmetic. You are not a cat. You are a little girl. The end".

That, it seems, would reflect a lot of people's views who don't believe in the woke movement.

I do not think that it is appropriate to talk to a girl who identifies as a furry like that. I don't think people should either encourage them to be furries or criticise them. You have to address the underlying cause of it sensitively. That is the only way forward in my view. From the child's perspective it is very real. You can't just shout at them and criticise them.

There was a recent story, in January, when a group of students at a Michigan, USA school identified as furries and the news went viral because there was a report that the school was providing litter trays for those kids who identified as cats. This was denied by the school.

RELATED: School accused of installing cat litter trays for students who identify as ‘furries’.

Psychologists, Judith Locke, living in Brisbane, Australia, said that she wasn't surprised at this trend of young girls and boys identifying as animals because they romanticise them in their lives and through television and film. And a lot of kids have difficulties in accepting themselves. Comment: Facebook does not help with influencers presenting perfect bodies thanks to photo-editing. Kids are going to hate their bodies.

Another Australian psychologist, Michael Carr-Greg, said that he had a patient, a boy, who identified as a dog but once stressors in his life were removed, he resorted to identifying as a human being. He has only dealt with one patient with this sort of psychological problem.

Furries tend to be teenagers and young adults although there are some in their late 20s and 30s. You even find some 70 and 80-year-old furries.

Comment: I feel I've got to make a comment about this. I'm not a psychologist or psychiatrist. But if a child, a 13 or 14-year-old in a school in Brisbane, Australia, commits to identifying as a cat and behaves as a cat as best they can by, for example, being non-verbal, this has to be a mental health issue and they clearly don't want to be themselves. They want to be something or somebody else.

And that desire must be based upon the fact that they don't like what's happening around them, it seems to me. They want to escape the human world and transition into the animal world where perhaps they think that they will be treated better. I sense a desire to escape the human world which places unacceptable pressures upon some teenage students. Arguably adults - the grown-ups - are creating a world that is unacceptable to our kids. And this does not surprise me because it is also unacceptable to the grown-ups too!!

If that is correct then the adults have to do something to improve the lives of teenagers. And I wondered too whether the woke movement encourages teenagers to identify like this. There is a massive discussion about children identifying as the opposite sex and in the UK, there's been a scandal about an NHS clinic (The Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust) providing the permanent means for children to transition from male to female and female to male without doing proper research and taking a more holistic approach. 

They took what is called the 'affirmative approach' which means that if the child affirms that they want to be the opposite sex that was enough upon which to provide them with life changing treatments. That clinic is going be sued by about a thousand people because they ruined some lives.

And the argument is that the woke movement encouraged the so-called experts to go down the wrong path and encourage opposite sex identification when the patients were not ready to really know what they wanted and needed. I think this case is a bit similar to that. Teenagers don't really know how to cope with life's pressures. 

The cure it seems to me would be to alleviate those pressures and teach schoolchildren how to cope with the pressures that remain.

Tuesday 30 August 2022

Can cats catch kennel cough from dogs?

YES, is the answer to the question. The phrase "kennel cough" refers to a respiratory infection caused by both bacteria and virus but the most common cause is the bacteria Bordetella bronchiseptica. Cats can transmit this disease to dogs as well but my feeling is that this is rare. How many cats have bad coughs? Rare, I would say but I don't live with a cat and a dog. The disease transmits both ways. And between other species of animal. It is highly contagious. Cats and dogs in kennels, hence the name, are the most vulnerable because they are close together, confined to one place.

Cat coughing
Image: Warren Photographic published here with his permission.

Both cats and dogs can acquire kennel cough from a variety of microorganisms including parainfluenza virus, adenovirus, reovirus and the distemper virus. They might get it from mycoplasma. But as mentioned the most common cause is the Bordetella bacterium and if a cat is exposed to it in direct contact with an infected animal such as a dog, they might catch the disease.

When a cat gets it, they shed rod-shaped bacteria in their nasal secretions and saliva and when they sneeze, they shed fluid droplets containing the bacteria. Any other cat or dog nearby main inhale the infected droplets.

This is a highly contagious disease because if a dogs sneezes on some bedding a cat might then pick up the bacteria from that bedding later on. This is indirect transmission. In fact, indirect transmission is a common method of getting the disease. The bacteria can survive for 1-2 weeks on objects unless the area is rigorously disinfected under protocols suggested by your veterinarian.

Kennel cough affects the lungs, windpipe and voice box. It is not usually dangerous and it clears up without treatment within a few weeks but I suspect that veterinarians prescribe antibiotics.

Dogs with the disease might feel ill. Kennel cough has an incubation period of 2-14 days. Puppies and elderly dogs and animals with an existing condition may develop complications such as pneumonia.

A kennel cough vaccine is available and dogs staying in kennels are often required to take the vaccination.

Kennel cough sounds like a forceful hacking cough as if something is stuck in a dog's throat. It can be dry and hoarse and it might be followed by a gag and swallowing because of the production of mucus. A similar sound is made by reverse sneezing to which certain breeds are susceptible.

There might be associated sneezing and mucus discharge. The animal should retain their appetite. A veterinarian might prescribe cough suppressants and anti-inflammatories to make the animal more comfortable.

Veterinarians diagnose kennel cough by the symptoms and the circumstances under which they live. Swabs might be taken to determine the virus or bacteria.

Sources: numerous on the Internet but mainly veterinarian's websites for which I am thankful.

Monday 29 August 2022

Is my cat going to remember me when I come back from college in three months' time?

The woman asked the following: Do cats forget their owners? I’m leaving my cat for three months cause I’m going to college and I’m gonna miss him so much:,) is he going to remember me when I’m back?

Is my cat going to remember me when I come back from college in three months' time?
This is the loved cat. Photo: u/Cloutlordcatto on Reddit.com

She asked the question on the Reddit.com website. My response to her question is as follows:

Provided that you have a very good relationship with your cat (you clearly have), he will remember you immediately you talk to him because he'll remember your voice and he will be pleased to meet you again. I can guarantee it. Domestic cats have good long-term memories. There are stories of cats remembering their owners when reunited after years apart. The link below goes to an article which I wrote some time ago about the long-term memory of domestic cats. Cats have good long-term memory. He is a super-looking cat by the way. Good luck at college.

Perhaps the obvious point to make is this: there is no reason why cats should not have decent memories. Anatomically speaking domestic cats are very similar to humans. You will not have to go far on the Internet to find stories of cats remembering their owners after being separated for months. 

And, of course, domestic cats need memories in order to 'survive'. Their ability to form memory comes from their wild cat ancestor. The North African wildcat, needs the ability to form memories in order to survive by, for example, avoiding places and animals which are hazardous to it. Domestic cats can for example smell the fading scent of urine that has been deposited by another cat as a marker on their territory. In order to make this work they have to be able to memorise the previous scent to make a comparison.

And, of course, cats allowed outside remember their home range. They remember the markers and major objects in their territory. They remember cats coming into their territory. And of course, they remember visitors to their home, often by the body odour of the visitor. Once a domestic cat knows that a stranger is safe, they will attach the body odour of the person to the knowledge that they are safe. When the person visits again even months later, they will smell the person and recognise them through their body odour.

And sometimes cats been missing for years and are finally reunited with their owner because of a microchip in their neck. And when they go up to their owner, they show through their behaviour that they recognise them. And they settle in to their old home within minutes. It is as if they never left so, yes, domestic cats have good long-term memories and it makes sense that they do.

On a personal level, years ago, I left my then female cat at a boarding cattery when I went to America to do some research on cats and when I came back, she recognised me immediately. She recognised my voice before she saw me. This was entirely expected. I had been away for two weeks.

Quick update: I have just bumped into a study which talks about cat short-term memory. It's interesting for this reason: when cats walk through and over obstacles, they have to memorise the positioning of those obstacles to allow their hind legs to avoid them. And you may have seen those astonishing videos on TikTok of cats navigating many obstacles placed in a corridor. They walk through these obstacles without knocking any of them over. They are employing their short-term memory to prevent their hind legs making contact with the obstacles which are quite close together.

I have written about domestic cat working memory. CLICK HERE TO READ IT IF YOU WISH.

I would be pleased if you would share your experiences of your cat's powers of long-term memory!

The article ends here

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You can ignore this section because it is here to improve SEO (search engine optimisation).

I have been trying to find out how memory in a person or cat's brain works. I'm not sure that people know precisely how it does work. The answers that I have found on the Internet are rather vague. But one scientist says that "long-term memories must literally be built into the brain's synapses". Synapses are those areas where neurons are connected. They say that to build a memory which can last years, neurons must manufacture new proteins and expand the docks, as it were, to make the transmitter travelling run more efficiently".

The University of Queensland Australia, says that "Memory is the reactivation of a specific group of neurons, formed from persistent changes in the strength of connections between neurons". It seems, therefore, to me, that memories are embedded into neurons perhaps in protein molecules and the memory is recalled when the neuron is reactivated. I am simply interpreting what I read and don't take what I state as verbatim truth!

Sunday 28 August 2022

Cat owners don't need to abandon their cats during the cost-of-living crisis

There are reports online in the news media websites that cat owners are abandoning their cats to shelters as the increased cost-of-living bites. This refers to the UK but I am sure there are inflationary pressures and cost of living pressures in other countries. This is the big discussion at the moment: how to reduce your living costs in order to cope with the dramatic rise in gas and electricity because that megalomaniac Putin is holding the world to ransom by stopping the supply of gas. 

Please note that I'm referring to standard, typical households. I realise that there are many households where costs have already been cut to the bone and I have great sympathy for these people. But I have to talk about typical family homes in this discussion.

I have probably waffled a bit too much in this article but the point of this article is that cat owners need to do all they can reduce household expenses other than those expenses to do with maintaining a domestic cat and providing them with excellent care. This is because it is far easier to shave off costs on households running costs then it is to cut corners and skip on the funding needed to provide excellent cat caregiving. 

Cat owners don't need to abandon their cats during the cost-of-living crisis
Cat owners don't need to abandon their cats during the cost-of-living crisis. Think thermostat! ✔️

The reason why electricity goes up when the price of gas goes up is because there are gas fired power stations generating electricity. And the reason why the cost of wholesale gas has gone up dramatically in the UK even though we do not import gas from Russia or at least very little of it is because wholesale gas is priced internationally.

I don't think you need to abandon your cat to a shelter. What cat caregivers need to do is sit down and think very seriously about how they can reduce their household expenses OTHER THAN those relating to cat caregiving. 

They may surprise themselves that great savings can be made. And the key in making savings to household expenses is this: the price of gas and electricity has risen about fourfold i.e. it is four times as expensive now as it was about a year ago. This is shocking to many people but because it is so expensive small changes in reducing the amount of gas used can bring equally dramatic reductions in costs.

On the conventional formula (at previous gas and electricity prices), it is said that if you turned down the central heating thermostat by 2°C you can save £200 a year. That's based upon the previous costs of gas. If the cost is four times higher the savings will be four times greater. Also, I am making a presumption that you will be turning down your thermostat from about 22°C to 20°C or from 21°C to 19°C. 19°C is perfectly acceptable if you wear warm clothing indoors.

Therefore, you might save £800 a year by simply turning down the thermostat and putting on a nice warm dressing gown! You will then be able to keep your cat because the cost of keeping a cat is about £1500 max. per year.

Reducing your heating costs, in effect, halves cat caregiving costs. And you can turn off the thermostat in the room that you don't use in your home. Or you can turn off the central heating completely and use a small bar heater to heat the area around you.

There are other aspects of living which can be adjusted to save costs. You can turn off all your appliances and devices, which are usually on standby, at the socket save around a hundred pounds a year potentially. Just these two aspects of living should be able to allow you to keep your cat.

And I don't think people should be skimping on the cost of food and veterinary care. Also, there are some good aspects to this cost-of-living crisis as it is called. It will make people think harder about how they live and where their money goes. It will cut some of the fat out of their lives. It will make people more resilient. It will make people more self-discipline, hopefully.

It will help reduce food waste. There is an awful lot of food waste in the UK and other countries. If people bought food more carefully and ate all the food that they bought they would save hundreds of pounds annually. This would offset the cost of keeping a cat. Do you eat all the food that you buy?

I do not want to sound like a saint but I eat 99.9% of the food that I purchase. And I do not think that it is that difficult to achieve this. It's a question of building up habits. People become deeply entrenched in habits and don't see how they can change them. But the trick is to make the change, to make that first step and then you set up new habits which become perfectly acceptable but which seemed unacceptable beforehand.

The conclusion is to think hard about surrendering your cat and before you do so work out how you can reasonably cut household expenses, particularly with respect to gas and electricity because it is here that the best savings can be made.

Saturday 27 August 2022

Lone tusker takes on 14 lionesses and wins

Astonishing and difficult to see but it is nature. Thankfully the size of the elephant and its thick hide protects it even from a marauding pride of lions. This is not a particularly large elephant but large enough to survive this attack. He walks into the river which helps to shed the attackers but he turns back to attack the primary attacking lion which allows more lions to rejoin the attack. Anyway, the elephant wins. But sometimes young elephants are brought down by a pride of lions. It can be done.

RELATED: Lions and elephants revolt against poachers in South Africa.

Lions are not very fond of water as you can see. It stopped them attacking the elephant. 

RELATED: Are lions good swimmers? ‘Quite capable’ is the description.

RELATED: Do lions eat elephants?

You may have to click the play button twice to get the video to run. Google reduces the image quality automatically so it is not great but good enough.

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