Sunday 6 November 2022

Use cat litter in tights to help prevent car windows fogging up!

Yep, this makes sense. First thing is that, in the UK, if you are driving with fogged up windows it is illegal. The Road Vehicles Lighting Regulations 1989 regulations 23 and 27 and the Highway Code state that 'windscreens and windows must be kept clean and free from obstructions to vision'.

Cat litter in tights can help reduce condensation on car windows
Cat litter in tights can help reduce condensation on car windows. Image: MikeB.

That does not mean that you'll be nicked for this minor crime, but it is possible. And if it happens you could be up for a £2,500 fine plus 3 penalty points. If the fogging causes an accident, you could commit a much more serious crime. It is dangerous to drive with a partly fogged up windscreen. 

Secondly windows fog up in cars because of condensation. Evaporated water in the air from damp clothes and objects such as wet umbrellas and the breath of the passengers and driver condenses on the cold windows. This converts the moisture in the air to liquid water on the window.

Wet dogs come to mind. There are a lot of wet dogs jumping into the back of estate cars at the moment. I am sure they are the cause of a lot of fogging.

Thirdly, you can help prevent this annoying condensation by filling some women's tights with clay cat litter and placing it in the car ✔️👍. Clay based litter is sodium bentonite, a highly absorbent material which is why it can be dangerous to cats if it is very fine and the cat breaths in the dust particles. The particles become a ball of clay inside the cat's lungs. Highly dangerous.

Watch out for clay-based litter with is too fine. It is light but I say it is dangerous.

As cat litter is designed to absorb liquid (urine) it will absorb some of the moisture in the air that is trapped inside the car. It may help in reducing the fogging.

You can buy commercial products that are better looking which contain absorbent materials which do the same thing only you need more money I suspect.

Here is an example available in the UK:

Car dehumidifier
Car dehumidifier. Image: Amazon.

Perhaps some cars have dehumidifiers!

In the era of the so-called cost-of-living crisis in the UK, cat litter will be cheaper only make sure it is the unused variety!

Another possibility would be to leave the doors and windows open after you return for a while to allow the moist air inside the car to be removed by drafts. This could work if you have a garage.

Saturday 5 November 2022

Rescue centre insists people contact them if they want to relinquish their cats

North Wexford Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (NWSPCA) ask people to contact them if they want to relinquish their cats and not dump them in the car park!

Joe Murray, the chairperson of the NWSPCA is upset because when people just dump cats near the rescue centre that he manages it creates all kinds of problems because they are suddenly presented with a large number of cats. It upsets the management of the cats currently in their charge and those cats due to be taken in.

Cats and kittens dumped at NWSPCA in sealed containers
Cats and kittens dumped at NWSPCA in sealed containers. Image: NWSPCA.

And of course, the dumped cats can be at serious risk of harm. He prefers it if people contact the rescue centre and discuss the matter with them so that the cats can be handed over in a controlled way which is good for the health of the cats and good for the management of the rescue centre.

What sparked this request was a couple of incidents in which sealed boxes were dumped on the premises with mother cats and kittens inside. The fact that the boxes were sealed is I think unforgivable because the cats inside could have been harmed.

RELATED ARTICLE: Cat rescue centres in London, UK – mapped to facilitate finding them.

Joe Murray said that it was extremely hot day. Two adults and ten kittens were dumped. The second incident involved two adults and four kittens. It seems certain that this was a failure to sterilise cats. This happens far too often, and it is due to carelessness and ignorance.

Joe Murray said: "They weren’t left at the cattery, they were left in the car park, and it was only by chance that one of us noticed the boxes and decided to look in. If it wasn’t for that, they probably wouldn’t have survived the night in that heat."

Rightly, he said that dumping cats in this way is unacceptable and that it hinders the operation of the rescue centre and therefore the service that they can offer other animals and other caregivers.

The North Wexford rescue centre has limited resources and they are trying to service as many people as possible. They have a waiting-list. They only have a certain amount of space and dumping cats leads to the dumped cats jumping the queue. 

This means that people who want to relinquish their cats in a reasonable way and who are working with the rescue centre are then pushed back which is unfair for both people and cats.

They are forced to turn away people who are doing the right things he said. He further added that "Dumping cats like this is selfish of people because they're not giving us a choice."

RELATED: A cat rescuer describes what she faces when those who won’t spay/neuter are part of the problem.

He said that the cats were probably fine where they were, and they could have stayed there for a week or so which would have enabled the rescue centre to organise themselves and help with food and then use crates when they took them in at the next opportunity at a time when there was space available at the centre.

The key point that Joe Murray wants to make is: "The answer is to contact us and work with us."

As anybody who follows cat rescue knows, it is quite commonplace for people to dump cats at rescue centres either over the weekend or at night even in freezing weather in order to avoid meeting with the rescue staff because no doubt the person relinquishing the cats is embarrassed.

They should swallow their embarrassment and take courage to admit that they can't cope and then make arrangements with the rescue staff to hand over the cats in a controlled manner.

Can you do CPR on a domestic cat? Yes. Here are the steps.

CPR is a combination of artificial respiration and heart massage. CPR stands for 'cardiopulmonary resuscitation'. Artificial respiration is an emergency procedure. It is used to exchange air in a cat who is not breathing and unconscious. Heart massage is used when there is no heartbeat, or one cannot be heard or felt.

Heart massage and artificial respiration go together because when cats stop breathing their hearts stop functioning.

CPR on a cat.  This is a screenshot from the video below. This is not a real cat!

I am thankful to the veterinarians who wrote the book Cat Owner's Home Veterinary Handbook for the following information.

Artificial respiration

  • You lay your cat on a flat surface with his right side down.
  • You open his mouth and clear away any secretions with a cloth. Check for foreign bodies and if present you remove them if it's possible. If there are foreign bodies or a foreign body you should try and remove it using the Heimlich maneuver.
    You pull the cat's tongue forward and close the mouth. Place your mouth over your cat's nose but not the mouth. You blow gently into the nostrils. The cat's chest will expand. You should blow gently. This means not blowing hard enough to inflate a balloon.
  • You momentarily stop to let the air come back out.
  • If the chest does not start to rise and fall indicating breathing you can blow more forcefully and if need be seal the cat's lips with your hand.
  • You breathe into your cat's nostrils at the rate of one breath every 4 to 5 seconds.
  • You continue until the cat breaths on their own or as long as the heart continues to beat.

Heart massage

  • Continue with mouth-to-nose breathing.
  • Place your fingers and thumb on each side of the cat's sternum or chest behind their elbows.
  • You press the chest firmly (not overly firmly) six times and administer a breath. You then repeat. The massage rate is 80-120 compressions per minute.
  • Don't stop heart massage while administering a breath.
  • You pause every two minutes for 10-15 seconds to allow you to check for a pulse and to check whether your cat is breathing.
  • You continue until the heart beats and the cat breaths on their own or until no heartbeat is felt for 30 minutes.

I hope this helps. The source of information is very sound. You will find many articles on this on the Internet so you can search elsewhere. And you will see videos on the Internet, one of which I have included below.

This video has been selected because it has been on YouTube for a very long time and therefore it is unlikely to be deleted and in which case it will continue to function on this website. However, it may stop working at some time in the future and if so, I apologise but I have no control over this.

Friday 4 November 2022

US National Park Service wants to get rid of Puerto Rico's community cats and there's uproar

This is an example of cat loving people power winning for the time being in a battle against a US government agency.

First things first: Puerto Rico is neither a US state nor an independent country, but a territory of the United States and it is an island in the Caribbean. It is described as an 'unincorporated US territory'. That's why the US National Park Service is involved in deciding to remove all or some the beloved cats of San Juan, Puerto Rico.

There is a battle going on between the citizens of San Juan and I presume the wider population and the US National Park Service.

San Juan TNRed cat
San Juan TNRed cat. Image: Pixabay.

The citizens are challenging the Park Service officials who feel that the cats have become a problem. The National Park Service have a plan and in it they mention "encounters between visitors and cats and the smell of urine and faeces [which] are inconsistent with the cultural landscape".

Their aim is to improve the visitor experience and protect cultural and natural resources. They want to reduce health and safety concerns and "alleviate nuisance issues". They also believe that the cats are killing wildlife in the area.

The Park Service do not want a public discussion about these community cats. There are many supporters of the cats, who want a proper formal hearing about what to do with them.

This caused a clash last Wednesday when dozens of people gathered for the first of two public meetings on the issue. The National Park Service said that there would be no hearing and demanded that the citizens write down their comments. That angered the citizens and those that love the cats.

They said that they have questions and doubts about the plan, and they want to ask questions in a meeting.

Eventually their demands were met, and the doors opened to a small theatre. They had their chance to have their say and one by one they did so to loud applause.

Apparently, several non-profit organisations demanded evidence from the National Park Service to support statements in the plan that some people did not want the cats.

They asked the question because citizens see tourists totally enamoured of the cats. They are a feature for tourists. And when you walk around the Old San Juan you see tourists interacting with the cats.

As I understand it, volunteers do operate TNR on these cats to control the numbers (see image above - left ear tipped). One person who is particularly concerned about the potential removal of the cats (which they believe would lead to killing them) is an animal lover, Alfonso Ocasio, who has been visiting the old town since 2014 to feed the cats a couple of times per week.

He said: "I don't know how these people dare face the world with their proposal." He spends up to $15 a week feeding the cats. He adopts those that are sick and elderly and cares for them during their last days.

The people have questions about what the National Park Service plan to do with the cats. And there are questions about whether there had been ecological assessments and what the consequences would be of removing them. Would there be a rat problem?

On my interpretation, it looks as though this is an example of people power and they are going to make sure that there is a proper hearing and a proper assessment about how to manage the beloved cats of this old city, the capital of Puerto Rico. I sense that they will be protected.

Thursday 3 November 2022

Good video of a female domestic cat in heat adopting lordosis position

Lordosis behaviour is described sensitively and respectfully 😎 by the Wikipedia authors as "the naturally occurring body posture for sexual receptivity to copulation". You can see the female raising her backside and placing her tail to one side to allow the male access for copulation.

Note about the video above. I would expect this to stop working but what will be left is a link to the website where you can see the video. Or it might just stop working! Sorry if that has happened but I don't control the video.

The Wikipedia authors are far more technical about the description. They say that "during lordosis, the spine curves dorsoventrally so that its apex points towards the abdomen"!

Lordosis behaviour happens when the queen (unsterilised female) is in heat otherwise known as oestrus which is spelt "estrus" in America.

It is also known as mammalian lordosis indicating that it is seen in different mammals such as hamsters, elephants and eastern grey squirrels.

It is a reflex action which is crucial to reproductive behaviour. The "lordosis reflex arc" is hardwired into the spinal cord at the level of the lumbar and sacral vertebrae. The action is moderated by the brain.

The female cries out for attention and this vocalisation is called caterwauling. My mind turns to cat breeders in keeping stud cats away from queens. And I can remember a complaint by a neighbour because the breeder's facilities were in a neighbourhood, an urban environment.

The complaint was about the noise from the breathing cats. As I recall they were Bengal cats.

The female is ready for copulation and fertilisation under the action of oestrogen in the hypothalamus resulting in an uninhibited lordosis reflex. Dramatic words.

Cruder words would be that female cats positions themselves in a way which makes it easier for male cats to have sex with them. Breeding cats are very good at procreation. Theoretically, and I stress theoretically, a single pair of breeding domestic cats could produce 65,536 cats in five years!

This assumes that all survive, and that males and females are born in equal numbers and that they all start breeding when they are a year old. Reality is different.

2 cats became 84 in 2 years (in 1 room)
2 cats became 84 in 2 years (in 1 room). Image: Image: Feline Solutions Inc.

However, we do see some pretty sad pictures of goodwilled but misdirected cat hoarders allowing their cats to breed rapidly such as the 84-year-old lady living in one room with almost a hundred cats. All she had to do was sterilise the cats. She started with two, unfortunately a male and a female!

Ben the Vet promotes the humble moggy

Ben the Vet likes to tell the world through social media (TikTok) the breeds of dog that he would not adopt and the 4 cat breeds that he would avoid. He has now moved onto the next logical step which is to tell the world the kind of cat that he would adopt, and I am pleased to announce that he prefers moggies to any other type of cat. Every cat caregiver concerned about cat health would agree with Ben.

Tabby cat
My cat. A humble tabby non-purebred. Image: MikeB

And the reason is that random bred cats are, just that, random bred. There is no selective breeding. There is no artificial selection. Random bred cats are created through natural selection or as natural as it can get in an artificial human environment!

And therefore, they are healthier than purebred cats due to genetic diversity which leads to the inevitable conclusion that they live longer on average. I say 'on average for the obvious reason that sometimes, individual purebred cats can have long life spans.

He mentions four cat breeds that he would not adopt but he could have mentioned more. He has selected these breeds because they have inherited genetic health problems. You can read about them by clicking on this link.

And the same goes for the dog breeds. The point is that Ben is concerned about selective breeding which perpetuates the introduction of recessive genetic mutations into cats and dogs.

I realise that it is unpopular to discuss this topic. There are many die hard pedigree cat and dog afficionados who refuse to see the health aspects of the breeds. I understand their opinion, but it is essentially wrong. 

Breeders select foundation cats and dogs that are very handsome, and which are in line with the breed standard. They don't tend to select cats and dogs from which to breed which are inherently healthy. They don't prioritise health when they should be doing this.

Breeders should be prioritising health first, personality second and appearance third. But they prioritise these three elements in the reverse order because they have to stick to the breed standard and that document demands inbred animals often with extreme features.

Ben is a celebrity veterinarian who has a big presence on the social media site TikTok. His full name is Ben Simpson-Vernon. He gets lots of hate online because of his attempts to promote health in companion animals.

He says that: "I would just get a domestic shorthair, otherwise known as a moggy-just your regular, standard, garden variety cat. They're the cat equivalent of a mutt, or a mongrel, so on average they are going to be less inbred than your average pedigreed cat. And they're just lovely."

The problem with humankind in respect of cat and dog companions and selecting one is that people are obsessed with appearance. People like to possess beautiful objects. And when it comes to companion animals, they tend to be more interested in the appearance of the animal than their character. This feeds into selective breeding by breeders for appearance.

In my view, it is a human weakness to be obsessed by appearance and there is a moral duty (I'm preaching - sorry) to create purebred cat companions that are as healthy as possible. This does not happen.

The cat associations do not help because they write breed standards which leads to unhealthy cats e.g., the contemporary Persian with the flat face which distorts the anatomy.

There are other breeds which are bred to extreme which in turn affects their health. And there are many breeds based upon genetic mutations resulting in an abnormal but interesting appearance. These mutations have an impact upon the anatomy of the cat which is detrimental to their health and I'm referring in this instance to the well-known Scottish Fold. There are other breeds.

I am pleased that Ben is promoting the humble moggy. That is the way it should be.

Wednesday 2 November 2022

How do I become a professional pet sitter?

Professional pet sitters on TikTok
Professional pet sitters on TikTok. Screenshot.

To answer the question in the title, what I would do is go to the TikTok website and search for "pet sitting" or "pet sitter" and look at one or two of the videos and from that you will find all you need to know to start off on a career as a pet sitter. These people have done it. They've got the t-shirt! They should know and it is a very simply starting point. But makes sure that you are the right kind of person.

In essence, there are quite a few organisations which act as an agent between a professional pet sitter who wants to provide the service and the customer who has a cat or dog that requires pet sitting. But I would strongly recommend looking at these TikTok videos because it really does get you going and one of them is below. There are many others.

@frogmommyyy Reply to @magic.melk here you go folks #petsitting #SmellLikeIrishSpring #petsitter #rover #UnsealTheMeal ♬ original sound - riley

One couple do it professionally and they travel wherever their work takes them which often means travelling abroad and sometimes staying in really nice homes while they look after a couple of cats.

It obviously cuts down the cost of travelling and enjoying the experience of visiting new countries tremendously. And of course, there is time during one's day at the customer's apartment or house to take a quick tour around the location and become a tourist briefly.

@nomadsandpawpads Our first of many sits in Europe is going to hard to top! We had so much fun with these two and we miss them already. 🥰 We’re so excited to share where we are now! More updates coming soon, and If you want to learn more about travel by pet sitting follow our page of check out our website!🙌🏼 #fyp #fypage #europetravel #travelhack #abroad #travelingpetsitter #travel ♬ Eine Kleine Nachtmusik - Mozart

If you like travel and animals and are conscientious, self-disciplined and well behaved then I would suggest that a professional pet sitter is a good job because they are in demand. And the work is internationally based.

Link to

In the UK, there is a cost-of-living crisis and I suspect that quite a lot of people are supplementing their income through pet sitting. I have recently read a story of a young woman who earns over £3000 annually pet sitting to help her make ends meet. It is a way of earning money on a freelance basis as a self-employed person. This is always welcome because it allows some flexibility. But also, it carries extra responsibilities.

You can ignore this section if you simply want to know how to get started on pet sitting and you are convinced that you have all the right attributes.


Nonetheless, I think that it is useful to at least touch on the attributes of a good pet sitter. Not everybody can do the job. You've got to really like cats and dogs if you pet sit cats and dogs and often there will be a cat and a dog in the same home, so you got to like both of them.

Oh, and it pays to have no family obligations like kids and pets of your own! Common sense, I guess.

It doesn't really work if you are allergic to cats and dogs!

You really must have some knowledge of cat and dog behaviour. And indeed, some cat/dog health knowledge would certainly help so that you can pick up health issues quickly and be observant about them and be able to distinguish between health issues which you can wait and watch and those that require veterinary treatment urgently.

Above all else you need to respect domestic cats and dogs. You need to respect their behavioural traits, demands and requirements.

Vis-à-vis a domestic cat, you really must not let them escape and there is a potential for a full-time indoor cat to try and escape.

There is no other breach of contract greater for a pet sitter than to have to tell the cat's owner that you have lost their cat during the time that you were a pet sitter for them.

To avoid the possibility of losing a cat you have to be diligent, cautious and aware of the potential problems that might exist and shut them off in a timely manner.

It probably pays for a professional pet sitter to have with them their own first-aid box and other professional health accessories and medication to use as and when required.

On a personal level, pet sitters will have to be insured against liabilities in relation to damage to the pet's owner's property and against, for example, losing a cat as described above. Any accident should be insured against.

Pet sitting is a responsible job
Pet sitting is a responsible job. Image: Pixabay.

The corollary to that is that the homeowner and pet owner should also take out insurance to protect themselves. What if a pet sitter is injured while in their home and it is because the home is defective? That would be an instance where the owner would be personally liable. There are countless other possibilities. It's about what is called 'occupiers' liability' and protecting against it.

Clearly, a professional pet sitter needs to be a good communicator both with humans and pets! They need to reassure the cat and dog owners that they can trust them. The greatest problem or the greatest barrier to a cat or dog owner permitting a pet sitter to live in their home and look after their companion animals is believing that the pet sitter will respect their home and their animals. 

It is in believing that when they come home after their holiday or whatever they come back to a home in exactly the same state that they left it.

Companion animal owners need to feel completely relaxed with pet sitters looking after cats and dogs. Otherwise, is going to be difficult for them if, for example, they are on holiday.

I don't think that a pet sitter can do a good job if they think it's easy. If they think it's easy, they might be lazy, and laziness can lead to unforeseen catastrophes. It is absolutely essential that the cats and dogs are kept safe in their charge. That's the first requirement.

If things go wrong, they should contact the owners and talk through what is going on. There needs to be excellent communication as it will help to reassure the owners that all is well.

I think a pet sitter takes on a very responsible job because they are taking charge of a family member or family members for a period of time, and these are very important individuals to the owners.

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