Tuesday 31 January 2023

Transporting your cat on a car roof rack! Why?

Scenario: you want to take your cat to the veterinarian or some other place. You put your cat in a cat carrier and you strap the carrier to the roof rack of your car rather than putting the carrier on the front seat next to you where you can keep an eye on it and your cat. Why should someone put their cat on the roof rack? But this is exactly what a Queensland, Australia motorist did recently and it was photographed.

Cat in carrier attached to car roof rack
Cat in carrier attached to car roof rack. Image: Reddit.com

The car was seen on a busy road in a Brisbane suburb. You can't see the cat in the photograph but the photographer said that there was a terrified cat inside the carrier.

The witness said that there was room inside the car. She couldn't see a reason why it was strapped to the roof rack. Perhaps she was wrong? Perhaps the owner of the vehicle was allergic to cats and he was doing the cat's owner a favour by taking him/her to their destination?

The general reaction from people is outrage according to the news media. It is probably more bemusement and concern because there is no need to do this on the face of it and it does jeopardise the cat' safety.

The cat's safety is dependent upon how well the carrier is strapped to the roof rack. It is certainly less safe to put a cat on a roof rack than it is to put the animal inside the car. Although, we are told the weather conditions were benign and I suspect that the car wasn't going that fast.

That said, perhaps the car went out into the countryside afterwards. We don't know. The RSPCA in Australia apparently has a regulation which states that cats should travel in a secure carrier and the carrier should not be placed into the boot of a car. There are no specific regulations about attaching the carrier to a roof rack apparently.

Although regulations vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction within Australia, the general law is that cats should be housed in an appropriate area within the vehicle. That's really about common sense.

The discussion about the photograph indicates divided opinions. Some people have said that what we see in the photograph is no different to placing a cat in the back of an open storage area of an SUV. I'm referring to those "trucks" we see in America are a lot where there is a functional storage area open to the elements behind the driver's cab.

But I see a difference. Placing a cat in that area of an SUV is safer than attaching it to a roof rack on top of a car where it could become detached and fall off. In the "tray" of an SUV there is no possibility of the carrier falling off the vehicle.

This is probably a story out of nothing. There might be a genuine reason why this driver has the cat on his roof rack. The only reason that I can think of that works is the one that I've mentioned: he or she is allergic to cats!

Monday 30 January 2023

Realism! Infographic on 5 barriers to a successful relationship with your domestic cat

This is a brief cross post to a similar article that I have just written on the main website. The reason? I think it's an important topic. Although I don't want to talk down the relationship between domestic cats and humans. This is a wonderful success story which is why there are about 90 million domestic cats in America and about 11 million in the UK and so on. There are perhaps around 250 million domestic cats in the world but as a sign of failure there are a similar number of unowned cats as well. Not great. A pessimist might argue that the domestication of the cat is a failure as a whole.

Realism! Infographic on 5 barriers to a successful relationship with your domestic cat
Realism! Infographic on 5 barriers to a successful relationship with your domestic cat. By MikeB

There are some barriers if we are to be realistic to the relationship. And I am a great realist. I believe in realism because in this way we can overcome those barriers. If we recognise them, we can then develop strategies to deal with them. Normally, we do this automatically. 


We learn to avoid being scratched by our cat. Well, at least most of us do. Sadly, some don't. The terrified weaklings and nervous types who declaw their cats are cruel quite frankly. It is a barbaric operation. And the word "barbaric" is not one of my making. The world's top veterinarian and author Dr. Bruce Fogle DVM has used it in his book Complete Cat Care.

Declawing is a cop-out. It is a cheap fix for the owner and a dire mutilation for the cat.

I won't go on about declawing but it is a horror story and it should never happen. It does happen because, as mentioned, the domestic cat's claws are a barrier to the success of a good relationship between human cat and vets can't pass up on the opportunity to make a few bucks. And there are four others.


How many people have been bitten by their cat because of redirected aggression or because they played too hard with their cat? How many times have domestic cats been abandoned to rescue centres because a child was bitten by the family cat because of manhandling?

If a domestic cat did not have those gorgeous canine teeth but little incisor teeth throughout their mouth, there would be no penetrating cat bites injecting bacteria under the skin of the human. And there would be much fewer abandonment of cats to shelters for this reason.

"Bad cat behaviour" is a reason why people abandon their cats. One form of bad cat behaviour is to be bitten and scratched by a cat. Of course, the reason is invariably due to human behaviour because they lacked the foresight and wherewithal to avoid those injuries. It is natural behaviour that humans naturally dislike.

It is down to the human to use their intelligence to learn how cats behave and when they are susceptible to biting and scratching and to avoid those moments.

Circadian rhythms

The disparity in circadian rhythms between domestic cats and people is highly noticeable but I think people don't sometimes recognise it. In stark terms, domestic cats like to be active at night, particularly dawn and dusk, while humans have the deeply entrenched habit of going to sleep at night when it's dark, waking up in the morning and being active throughout daytime.

Domestic cats don't understand this. They see their human companion as a surrogate mother and therefore a feline. Why is their mother sleeping all night? They desperately want to wake them up. That is why they come onto the bed at four in the morning and start poking and prodding their owner's face or nose to wake them up. Or they do something else. Domestic cats are very creative in waking up their human caregiver's in the early hours of the morning. This then is a barrier to a successful relationship with your domestic cat.

There are perhaps millions of words spoken about keeping cats out of the bedroom at night or preventing them from waking up their caregiver at four in the morning. This is down to a disparity in circadian rhythms.

It is also down to the fact that the human bedroom smells very much of the human and domestic cats love it. They want to be there, at the center of their home range. To prevent them coming into the bedroom at night I think is unfair even cruel. Jackson Galaxy, the American behaviourist would agree with me.


This leads me nicely to the environment. There is a gradual, year-on-year increase in the number of full-time indoor cats in the West, particularly the UK and the USA. This is to protect wildlife and domestic cats. It gives the owner peace of mind. It is doing the right thing on conservation and in providing security to their cat companion.

These are all great reasons but the counterpart is a great failing in not providing a substitute environment within the home which goes some way to making up for the loss of the outdoor environment where a domestic cat can hunt to their hearts content. Hunting is the raison d'ĂȘtre of a domestic cat. It is the way their mind is stimulated and the way they find happiness.

To simply shut all the doors and windows and keep them captive inside the home without anything else is also in my opinion at least slightly cruel. Dopamine is released into the cat's brain when he hunts thus creating a feeling of eager anticipation which makes it less likely for him to feel bored, anxious, or depressed.

It is beholden upon cat caregiver to at least provide a catio environment where they can sniff the air and feel some earth beneath their feet. 

Where they can hear the birds and the animals. They might become frustrated but at least they can see and hear. Also, in a good catio they can climb to the ceiling to exercise their desire to move vertically. Catio cats are content cats and their personalities improve.

In the very best homes where the owner has converted it to suit their cat, the interiors are awesome. Very, very few people do this but when they do it is done beautifully.


The domestic cat, as you know, as a top-quality predator. Within their weight class they are the top predator on land I would argue. They have inherited all the weapons they need to be successful. I've mentioned them. But this is a barrier to a successful domestic cat to human relationship. A lot of people don't want their cat to kill animals. And they don't like it when they bring half dead animals into the home where they kill them and then eat them on the kitchen floor. Millions of cat owners have spent millions of hours trying to save mice from their cat to release them to the exterior. This is a barrier to a successful relationship.

My cat is a wonderful hunter. He often brings mice into the home during the warmer months, kills them and then eats them under my bed. I wake up to the sound of a once living sending creature being eaten. I also can hear the mouse crying in defence before the killing bite. Not something I like at all. I put up with it but it is a detriment to our relationship.

Let's accept the barriers and find ways around them. That's what most but not all cat owners do, which is why I have written this article and created this infographic.

Best cat breeds for first-time owners?

I'm going to be brutally honest and provocative and say that the question in the title is a bit pointless and too narrow as it shuts out some great shelter cats with perfect personalities. I'll fully explain my thinking. It is a question that is probably not worth asking but because somebody did, I'm going to try and answer it honestly.

Pixie-bob cat breed is suited to first-time cat owners and kids. Image: copyright Helmi Flick.
Pixie-bob cat breed is suited to first-time cat owners and kids. Image: copyright Helmi Flick.

Placid personality

The first great difficulty with the question is what kind of domestic cat constitutes one which is ideal for a first-time owner? There's no definition of that. I don't think people have discussed it that much.

The implication is that a cat suitable for a first-time owner will be one which is calm, placid and pliable. A cat that can get on with different types of people and not be provoked into scratching or responding aggressively to mishandling from a person who is unsure about how to handle a domestic cat.

Better to choose a specific cat not a breed

If that long definition is correct then you're probably not going to find the answer in a specific cat breed. You will find the answer in a specific cat which has been socialised properly and which happens to have a personality which is ideally suited to a new cat owner.


That said, some cat breeds are generally gentler than others. Perhaps the two extremes might be this. The Ragdoll Cat is bred to be calm and placid. The first filial (F1) Savannah cat, a wildcat hybrid, is going to be far more active and intelligent and demanding.

Of these two, you would therefore pick the Ragdoll. One website claimed that there are 13 best cat breeds were first-time owners. That, in my view, is idiotic. There maybe one or two cat breeds such as the one I have mentioned which are pretty good.

But don't believe that all Ragdoll cats are going to be super calm and accepting of mishandling. Ragdoll cats are domestic cats like any other in many ways. They have the same desires and motivations as others. They are not plush toys.


Many years ago, I created a cat breed selector and within that application I have selected the Pixie-Bob as a domestic cat breed which is suitable for children. As children are likely to mishandle cats you might extend that assessment to new cat owners.

Not all newbies will mishandle cats

I've got to add a caveat. I'm making the presumption that all new cat owners are going to be mishandling their cats. This is not true. Many cat owners despite being novices to cat ownership are going to research domestic cats before they adopt them and therefore be quite possibly as good as anybody else in terms of cat caregiving.

That said, I believe I can stick with my original thought that the kind of cat breed which is suited to new cat owners is one which will hopefully be accepting of mistakes. That means a placid cat.


Incidentally, people think of the Persian as a part of the furniture indicating placidity but they are actually quite nervous cats predispose to a certain extent to inappropriate elimination i.e. peeing outside of the litter box. Therefore, being nervous, they are probably unsuited to a new cat owner.

Personal preference

Personally, I would go for the Ragdoll or a breeds such as the American Shorthair or the British Shorthair and the rare Pixie-bob as stated.

Shelter cat

Better still go and see the rescue cats at a nice animal shelter and ask for a cat who has coped really well with the stressful circumstances of shelter life and plump for him/her as a good companion for a first-time cat owner.

Saturday 28 January 2023

Facebook post from Scotland claims that students identifying as cats are defecating on the floor

This is a spin-off or copycat situation from one in America where it was alleged that students were identifying as domestic cats and demanding litter trays and so on. It was denied by the school but it was a big press story for a while. They had a contentious council meeting to discuss it. It was taken seriously for a while. 

Lisa talking about furries and litter boxes at the schools meeting. Screenshot.
AMERICA: Lisa talking about 'furries' and litter boxes at the schools meeting. This was the original kids self-identifying as cats story which appears to have caused copycat scenarios in other countries. Screenshot.

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

It has been claimed that Scottish schoolchildren identifying as cats at a school in Banff and Macduff have defecated on the toilet floor because they were not given a cat litter tray.
It has been claimed that Scottish schoolchildren identifying as cats at a school in Banff and Macduff have defecated on the toilet floor because they were not given a cat litter tray. Screenshot.

Now a 'free-speech' Facebook page has published a video of human faeces on the floor in a toilet alleging that a student identifying as a cat is the perpetrator. The photograph on this page is a screenshot from the video which you can see in full by clicking on this link.

Another Facebook page called The Real Banff and Macduff Community Group has quite a few posts and comments on this topic in which they discuss it and in general they say that it is a fake story and should be dismissed.

While some other commenters are saying that it is true and pointing to the "Free-Speech, Banff, Macduff Facebook page. I guess they feel that their voices are being suppressed because comments and postings were removed by the administrators of The Real Banff and Macduff Community Group Page.

In truth, it is a bit of nonsense as I understand it. It's just somebody stirring up shite (excuse the pun please).

A spokesperson for Aberdeenshire Council said:
“We are aware of false rumours circulating online suggesting that Banff Academy has pupils identifying as cats requesting litter trays in the Academy’s toilets. It is disappointing to see this rumour continue to spread, however both Aberdeenshire Council and Banff Academy continue to focus on the well-being and education of our children and young people.”

If there is something truthful behind it, it might be because some students are unhappy with the way they are being treated and they are protesting. But they are not protesting, if this is true at all, by demanding litter trays because they self-identify as domestic cats. It must be something entirely different.

The trouble with these fake Facebook posts is that somebody gets hold of it and spreads the word and you have a conspiracy theory causing some people to believe it. Blame Facebook again. They are the source of many fake stories and identities.

There was another story about a young schoolgirl self-identifying as a domestic cat which came from Melbourne, Australia. That occurred around the same time as the American episode. Looks as if that was another example of copying a trend. That said, it is hard to know where the truth lies. You have to speculate as I have done on this page.

Kids identifying as 'furries' is not uncommon. It seems to be a way of escaping reality which they find difficult to bear.

Any enlightening comments are very welcome.

Friday 27 January 2023

Human cute aggression provoked by a kitten or puppy can damage teeth!

This is a bit of a stretch of the imagination but it is a recognised condition. You might have experienced it. You see a cute puppy or kitten. You have an urge to smother her with kisses and squeeze her tightly. At the same time, you might clench your teeth. If you do the latter in a slightly careless way, you might damage them. That is the order of events.

Human cute aggression provoked by a kitten or puppy can damage teeth!
Human cute aggression provoked by a kitten or puppy can damage teeth! Image: MikeB.

The experts say that these feelings result in a dimorphous physical action. The word "dimorphous" means existing in two forms. And in this instance, it means you have a feeling of euphoria in seeing something very cute which your verbalise and the other simultaneous form is doing something aggressive like squeezing the cute animal too hard or grinding your teeth.

That's the urge but of course self-control takes over and you don't actually squeeze the animal to the point where the action is aggressive and harmful.

In recognition of this known condition which I had not heard of before, a British dentist, Dr. Rizwan Mahmood, has claimed that idly scrolling through pictures of cute dogs and cats could damage your teeth.

I think that that he is successfully achieving a little bit of publicity and that may be the goal. If it was the goal then well done because it's worked.

If you grind your teeth at the sight of something cute, it would have to be persistent grinding to do any real damage. Like I said, it's a bit of a stretch of the imagination to see real damage occurring.

Social media celebrity, Molly Mae, who featured in the Love Island television series admitted that she has a habit of grinding her teeth to the point where one of them fell out! She blames cute aggression.

She said:

"I'm my own worst enemy because whenever I look at the cat or I look at Ellie Bellie (her stuffed toy elephant) I just talk to Tommy in a stupid baby voice, I do this thing where I grind my teeth. I bit down and my tooth literally came off last night."

The good dentist said:

"It's an instant physical response when humans see something cute like a fluffy kitten, puppy or rabbit which makes them react physically rather than verbally. It doesn't necessarily take too much pressure to do the damage either. So, if you are scrolling through footage on Instagram or TikTok, be mindful of your mouth. If you see something cute, verbalise it instead of physically reacting to it. It could save you a lot of money, and toothache!" 

Bosses have decided that homeworking is a disaster. What happens to your cat?

During the long Covid lockdowns both myself and my friend, Barry, agreed that the extensive periods of working from home which employees enjoyed would lead to disasters in terms of productivity. 

Bosses have decided that homeworking is a disaster. What happens to your cat?
Bosses have decided that homeworking is a disaster. What happens to your cat or dog? Image: MikeB

It was a common-sense assessment. Notwithstanding this, the government promoted the benefits of working from home and of course employees in general loved it. 

They had found utopia and many took the opportunity to adopt a cat or dog. They might have been thinking about it for a long time.

However, very often this was a short-term decision. Adopters during Covid lockdowns were often not looking long-term. They was simply taking advantage of that moment and seeking animal companionship.

And now, getting on for three years after those early days of Covid, bosses are gradually becoming enlightened about the lack of productivity that working from home brings to their corporation.

It is human nature to take advantage of a lack of supervision. Humankind is essentially lazy. And if humans can gain advantage for free, they will. Not everyone falls into this mentality but the vast majority do.

It seems that many leaders simply forgot this basic characteristic of human nature. There is an article in The Times today by Gerard Baker - an opinion piece - which he has titled: "Zoom and bust: why homeworking's a disaster".

He states that Netflix streaming data used to show that peak usage was during the weekends but now, in the UK, it is weekday afternoons! Does that surprise you?

Homeworkers are taking an extended break in the afternoon to watch a movie on Netflix or one of their series. Richmond Park is inundated with cycle riders mid-afternoon, mid-week.

There are numerous tales of a sharp drop-off in aggregate work performance over the past years according to Gerard Baker. Labour productivity has plummeted since the middle of 2020. And he says that "anecdotal evidence of the inefficiency of working from home is plentiful".

The tech companies of Silicon Valley are shedding staff in their tens of thousands. They hired extra staff during Covid lockdowns. There's been a big falloff in activity and share values have also plummeted. Even Google's market value is down by one-third from its peak about a year ago. Meta's value (formerly Facebook) has dropped by nearly two-thirds.

The truth of the matter is that these big tech companies got very fat, lazy and sloppy. They were making too much money. It was too easy. I have visited Google's offices in London several times to work with them. Compared to the average office theirs is a like a playground for adults. Rows and rows of computer stations without anybody using them. Free food, free this and free that. The average wage is £250,000 according to my research. And many of the employees are in their mid-20s. It was unsustainable in my view. Perhaps that unsustainability has come to fruition.

That is the long introduction. The bosses want the workers to come to the office and return to the status quo and work harder, I guess. Elon Musk's takeover of Twitter points to a radical rethink on how big tech operates.

James Gorman, chief executive of Morgan Stanley, had a warning for employees: "They don't get to choose their compensation. They don't get to choose their promotion. They don't get to choose to stay at home five days a week."

They've got to come in. For the cat loving aficionados and dog owners this can spell the end of a good relationship if they were thinking short-term or if they hadn't really foreseen the possibility of being forced back to work at the office.

They're going to have to give up their companion animals. For someone like me the critical issue is not the person but the animal. What's going happen to them - the animals? They're going to end up in a shelter. They're going to end up being sold online, on Facebook. They going to end up, some of them, being euthanised at shelters because suddenly the marketplace is full of unwanted cats and dogs.

I have painted a very bleak picture and I don't think it is actually that bleak because many people will retain their companion animal. But even under those circumstances the animal is going to be left alone all day. Some dog experts say that a dog should not be left alone for more than four hours.

Many people believe that the domestic cat is temperamentally ideally suited to being left alone all day. Wrong. Cats are sociable animals. They rely on the human caregiver very often for the only company and interaction that they have. We can't expect them to be alone all day, snoozing and killing time and be content. They are liable to suffer stress, over-groom and perhaps develop cystitis.

All these problems are due to a lack of foresight. The whole of the UK was lockdown for many, many months. Sweden did not employ the lockdown. They relied upon their citizens to use common sense to socially distance. They lived normal lives with this modification.

This was a much cheaper way of reacting to Covid. The £400 billion borrowed in the UK to give 80% of their salary to people confined to their homes plus grants to businesses has left this country with a £17 billion monthly bill on interest payments alone. 

This is killing any possibility of spending into welfare which is greatly needed. For example, there is a great need to fund social care. That's impossible now because the money has run out and we are being bled dry by interest payments.

It's a disaster both of people and their pets. They should never have believed that working from home was viable for the long term. It suits some professions but even then, employee should not stay at home because they lack productivity.

People have to come into work and interact and be stimulated and supervised. When they do that, they will have a different perspective on whether they are in a position to adopt a companion animal. Very often they should not because they cannot provide quality caregiving.

Wednesday 25 January 2023

Texas is introducing restrictions on what landlords can financially impose on tenants with pets

The Texas legislature is debating a bill - a proposed law - which would restrict what landlords can demand from their tenants if they are pet owners. Essentially, it limits what landlords can include in the landlord-to-tenant agreement which is normally some kind of lease.

An apartment for a cat owner
An apartment for a cat owner! Image: MikeB at PoC.

If the bill passes the legislature and is signed off by the governor the legislation “would allow landlords to either cap a monthly pet fee at $20 or collect a one-time refundable pet deposit at the outset of someone’s lease. However, the proposal would prevent them from doing both.”. 

Nathan Winograd, perhaps America's greatest animal advocate currently, says that this sort of legislation is long overdue "as is an outright ban on housing discrimination for families that include an animal companion" to use his words.

At this time, I do not have any more information about this change in Texas's legislation but clearly it is great news because arguably there is an undersupply of accommodation for tenants who live with a companion animal. It can be a great barrier for these people. 

There are many excellent people who can't afford to purchase their own property and therefore have to rent who are in effect barred from adopting a companion animal. Or, they have to give up their existing companion animal when they move into rented accommodation.

This is one reason why cats and dogs are relinquished to animal shelters which is unacceptable. Landlords have always had the ability to protect their interests when letting their accommodation to pet owning tenants. 

They can simply increase the deposit to pay for any damage by a companion animal and they can adjust the terms and conditions of the agreement which makes the retention of that deposit when the tenant leaves more likely. The new legislation restricts the financial imposition applied by landlords on tenants with pets

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