Friday 13 January 2023

Cat ownership in Finland. What is it like?

I wanted to discover some definitive laws about cat ownership in Finland, specifically with regard to whether domestic cats can go outside and wander around freely. I wanted to ask this question because Finland to an outsider is a cold place. It would seem to be inhospitable to domestic cats to be outside. Of course, I am stereotyping but what is the general rule about letting cats go outside?

Domestic cat in Finnish weather
Domestic cat in Finnish weather. Image in public domain.

I couldn't find any really good specific details but people who have lived in Finland say this.

They say that outside of the cities free roaming cats are quite common. The same applies to semi-feral barn cats and what the Finish called "summer cats". These are cats which have been adopted during summer months and then abandoned when winter arrives. That sounds rather unpleasant I must say. I would have expected better from the Finish.

I don't know of any specific law which states that domestic cats living in Finnish cities have to be kept indoors. I don't think they exist. I think the general rule is that domestic cats can't wander into certain places. To achieve this, they should be under supervision when outside the home.

Apparently, the law is "pretty clear" as per a person who has lived in Finland. They state that "any animal free roaming is supposed to be supervised by its owner. Any animal without its owner close by can be considered abandoned and, for example, a free roaming cat without its owner found on the property of someone else, might be killed."

They further state that there are hunters in the countryside shooting at stray and feral cats. They have the right to do this provided the cat in question is unsupervised and therefore the owner is not nearby and, further, they don't have a collar with an identification tag.

The general consensus in Finland appears to be that domestic cats in cities should be kept indoors and those that live in the countryside can roam freely or it is tolerated despite what I've said in the last paragraph!

I think, judging from my reading of this topic, the situation is rather vague and untidy. I could not find specific laws about indoor/outdoor cats. And I'm good at researching on the Internet.

People who have lived in Finland provide rather vague answers to the question whether domestic cats are allowed outside unsupervised.

This appears to be leading to the shooting of cats without sanction from the authorities. On that topic, if there is a law regarding keeping cats indoors, it is apparently unenforced or enforced poorly.

As in other countries, the Finish apparently are drifting towards the idea of full-time indoor cats. Although, you still see indoor/outdoor cats outside in the bigger cities. But it is apparently "technically illegal".

My research also indicates that sterilising domestic cats is not mandatory, which leaves many indoor/outdoor cats living in the countryside unsterilised, free to breed and procreate thereby encouraging shooters to take pot shots.

Tuesday 10 January 2023

Adopt a rescue kitten and receive $1000 of vouchers for free air travel!

This is a hot-off-the-press news story with a short lifespan! Frontier Airlines must have a chief executive who likes animals and is concerned about animal welfare. I can't think of any other good reason. I am delighted. The airline has offered the public vouchers for free flights if they each adopt one of three rescue kittens found in North Las Vegas.

Frontier Airlines has offered flight vouchers for pet parents who adopt any of three kittens named Spirit, Frontier, and Delta (from left to right) at the Animal Foundation in Las Vegas.(The Animal Foundation via CNN)

They were found about two weeks ago and are currently at a foster home. They are nearly newborn and once they are ready to be adopted out, they will.

They named the kittens Spirit, Delta and Frontier. The airline picked up on this and are delighted that they've named the kittens after airlines one of them theirs.

As a reward and in the interests of promoting animal welfare, a representative of Frontier Airlines told CNN that adopters who take Spirit or Delta will receive two vouchers valued at $250 for a total of $500 in vouchers per pet parent.

And a special reward will befall the person who adopts the kitten named Frontier. They will receive four $250 vouchers with a total value of $1000. How about that? You're going to be handsomely paid to adopt a rescue kitten which you might have adopted anyway.

Two of the kittens are ginger tabbies, one with a bit of white and the other pure ginger tabby. Ginger tabby cats have a reputation for having good characters.

The third cat is the cat named Frontier. This is an interesting cat. They have calico markings which means that she is female. The other two are probably males.

They are currently at the Animal Foundation in Las Vegas according to Fox 5 Vegas. Anybody in the area who was thinking of adopting a cat should get on the phone immediately! You might have $1000 worth of free airline tickets for 2023 to enjoy.

Monday 9 January 2023

Cat owner's in medieval England advised to keep cats out of the bedroom

The French adage "plus รงa change" comes to my mind immediately.  It is a phrase which means that things don't change because basic human nature does not change even over thousands of years.

Medieval bedroom with woman and her cat
Medieval bedroom with woman and her cat. Photo-edited pic by MikeB.

And so back in medieval times (500-1500 AD) a well-known book which can still be found on Google, "Boke of Nature", advises in the strongest terms to keep domestic cats out of the bedroom:
"Dryve out dogge and catte, or els geve them a clout"
I guess you can understand it but it must mean:

"Drive dogs and cats out of the bedroom and if they enter hit them!"

Nice. A bit unfriendly to say the least. 

There is a strange medieval story of a knight and a lady he loves. She has a cat companion. She rejected the knight's advances. He goes to her bedroom at night in disguise. Her cat scratches him. She softens as a result and becomes his mistress but he refuses to marry her because he is scared of her cat! 

Some knight of the realm ๐Ÿ˜’. Lacking a bit of courage. Although the story is very modern in that the woman has the cat and the man appears not to be very keen on them.

The debate about domestic cats in bedrooms continues. I expect it has been a firm discussion topic since the domestic cat was imported into Britain by the Romans!

The best solution is compromise. Allow cats into the bedroom as it is so important to them. It is a major part of their home range. Don't deny them access. 

Make a nice, warm bedding area for your cat in the bedroom full of delicious cat owner smells and hope that she uses it. I understand the difficulties as cats disturb sleep but you get used to it. It is one of those human behaviour adaptations that cat caregivers have to transition to.

Source: Medieval Cats by Kathleen Walker-Meike.

Azul Cubano (cat)

The Azul Cubano is a very little-known cat breed from Cuba. It has a "blue" shorthaired coat but it can be semi-longhaired and it was registered in 2010 in Cuba. It is better known as the Cuban Blue. I will refer to "Cuban Blue".

Cuban Blue cat aka Azul Cubano
Cuban Blue cat aka Azul Cubano. Image: Reuters.

The Spanish word "azul" means blue in English as you might have guessed. But of course, blue does not mean the colour blue as we know it. It means gray with a slight bluish tint. That bluish tint comes about because blue is a dilute black. When you dilute black because of the presence of a dilution gene you create this slightly blue tint to the gray.

Reuters reported on what was then described as a "new breed" on May 27, 2011, almost 12 years ago. Almost nothing has been heard of the breed since. That tells you how insignificant this breed is in the world of the cat fancy. In fact, it may have fizzled out completely

At that time, the president of the Cuban Association of Cat Enthusiasts, Angel Uriarte Rubio, described the breed as "very docile, very playful. They have a very agreeable personality".

Mr Rubio spearheaded the effort to have the Cuban Blue recognised as a new breed. The breed is described as looking similar to the Russian Blue. Apparently, people had trouble differentiating the two.

But as there are no Russian blue cats in Cuba, they decided to create a new breed. At the time, Mr Rubio said that the poor relations between the USA and Cuba might prevent the Cuban Blue becoming a registered breed in the USA under the CFA and TICA. To this date they have not registered this cat as a new breed.

I have no information about how the breed started other than the cats just turned up. What I mean is that a cat somewhere in Havana, Cuba, possibly a stray cat, had a litter of gray kittens or at least some of the kittens were gray. These appear to be the foundation cats for the Cuban Blue. I don't know any more than that at this time.

Sunday 8 January 2023

Discussion on cat owner who went to an airport to abandon her young cat

NEWS AND COMMET: This is a peculiar story. Initially it made me scratch my head but I saw the issues later when writing this. A cat owner who might have been identified through CCTV cameras, apparently decided to abandon their five-month-old cat at Cleveland Hopkins International Airport. They didn't catch a flight so the indication is that they travelled to the airport and then left on the RTA train going downtown.

Cat abandoned in airport bathroom
Cat abandoned in airport bathroom. This is a photo-edited creation! Not the cat in the story. Image: MikeB.

They abandoned their gray-and-white cat in an airport bathroom near a pre-check in area. The cat was in a carrier sitting on a sink. The illustration on this page is a mockup by me so this is not the actual cat and neither is the carrier on a sink! It's presence is to illustrate the page.

The cat and carrier were discovered by a Southwest Airlines employee. Initially they thought that this wasn't a purposeful abandonment of a cat but an accident. They announced the cat's presence over the tannoy system without response.

Airline staff contacted Meredith Janik who rescues and fosters cat. She appears to have put them in touch with Deborah Bartowick of Able Animal Clinic in Parma who are/were holding the cat for three days in case somebody came forward but there were no enquiries.

The cat will be adopted out. Deborah Bartowick voiced the concerns and thoughts of others when she said:

"I think they’re a horrible person. You don’t do that to a living creature. They don’t know the animal could have ended up in worse hands".

She also said:

"From previous experience I’ve seen other animals who weren’t able to fly, and not able to be accommodated. They were just left next to the trash can at the airport. They’ve indicated that the airport found a Beagle this week from a person who decided that they were going to travel, leave their animal and continue on their trip."

The feeling is that the person should be prosecuted for animal abandonment, fined and punished in some way. They've got to find them and I'm not sure that there will be enough commitment to do that either from the staff at the airport and the prosecutors within the justice system.

On the face of it, it appears to be very peculiar way, however, of abandoning a cat. The cat was found in good health with no fleas. This was clearly a domestic cat, well cared for it seems but the person decided that they wanted rid of "it" and further decided that the best way to do that was to take the cat to a busy place where somebody would find it. That's what happened. At least that's a good aspect of it. Perhaps then no so strange.

It's better than abandoning a cat nearer rescue center at the weekend in the middle of winter. But it would have been so much better for all concerned if the person had gone to a rescue center. Perhaps the were concerned that the cat would be put down for 'behavioral issues'.

I can see the issues. If you are a decent person perhaps it is hard to relinquish yourself of cat ownership in a way which is guaranteed to be safe for the cat.

The story is reported by 19 News online.

Saturday 7 January 2023

"Anyone missing a cat?" Cat chaos on San Francisco-bound flight

"Anyone missing a cat?" the flight attendant announces as she holds the said cat at arm's length while walking down the aisle.

Cat escaped from carrier (or released) is found and reunited with owner! Screenshot.

This is one of those American internal flights with cats and dogs in carriers under the seat except a couple 'escaped'. Well, I'm not sure that they exactly escaped but perhaps were released ๐Ÿ˜‰๐Ÿ‘. Result? Cat wandering around the cabin where he/she was found by a nice flight attendant who doesn't know how to carry a cat ๐Ÿ˜ƒ. Or she is a little nervous and holds the cat at arm's length to avoid a scratch perhaps. Fair enough.

@david.hislop Well that’s a first ✈️๐Ÿˆ๐Ÿ˜น#cats #catsoftiktok #unitedairlines #united #southwest #southwestairlines #reels #catstagram #catslovers #airlines @United Airlines ♬ original sound - David Hislop

It is all quite cute because cats add some soul to an aircraft's cabin when in mid-flight don't you think? It is sort of more homely and friendly. As long as a cat does not escape their carrier while the aircraft is landing! And then wanders out of the door and down the steps. 

I mean along the gangway to arrivals. That would be chaos. This little episode seems to have been fairly manageable. 

Note: I can't promise that the TikTok video on this page will continue to function for years ahead! I expect it to fail fairly soon. Sorry if that has happened.

If cats were human, they could be declared legally blind. True or false?

Answer: false in my view but we don't really know. If you are a human, living in the UK and perhaps elsewhere, you will be declared legally blind if your vision is 20/200 which means that if an object is 200 feet away you have to stand 20 feet from it in order to see it clearly.

Under daylight conditions, domestic cat eyesight is less good than humans'. However, under dusk and night time conditions it is better I would argue. Domestic cat eyes have evolved, as you know, to see under dusky conditions because that is when prey animals are around.

I was one of the first web owners to produce a pictorial comparison between domestic cat and human eyesight. Other websites have followed since. You can see that page by clicking on the link below:

Cat Vision Pictorial Examples

Two of the image comparisons are below.

How domestic cats see
How domestic cats see by MikeB

How domestic cats see
How domestic cats see by MikeB

What colors do cats see? Cat see colours pretty well but it believed they are colorblind to red or red/green (brown). The picture above is intended to replicate this color blindness. However, cats have superior eyesight in other respects which you can read about on the page linked to above the image.

-----------------

The problem with deciding if domestic cats will be declared legally blind by human standards is that you can't really apply human standards to domestic cats. You hardly ever can.

Also, despite preparing a pictorial example of comparison we don't really know exactly how domestic cat see the world. We have a good idea but we don't know precisely how they see it.

In my considered opinion, they would not be declared legally blind partly because their eyesight is so good at night. And their field of vision is wider than that of humans.

Cat Field of Vision Compared to Human
Cat Field of Vision Compared to Human. Image: PoC.

The big problem with domestic cat eyesight is that they see colours less well than humans and the image is a bit softer.

They say that a dog's eyesight is a little better than that of cats.

I think we can probably argue that overall a domestic cat's eyesight is less good than that of humans because some of their other senses are superior to make up for this slight deficiency. They have a better sense of smell and better hearing.

Domestic cats use their sense of smell to identify objects and they can locate prey animals with their hearing very precisely. These senses compensate and when a cat's senses are bundled together, they are certainly equipped to the same level as humans.

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