Sunday 31 March 2024

If cats are lactose-intolerant, how did we come to believe that giving cats milk is good?

"Kittens produce this enzyme in smaller amounts as they develop, and by six months of age, most kittens have adult levels of lactase. These adult levels are insufficient to digest milk and their bodies can no longer tolerate it. Basically, like some humans, most cats become lactose intolerant." - Hastings Veterinary Hospital
"Kittens ingest digestible carbohydrates (i.e., lactose or milk sugar) before weaning. Adult cats must rely primarily on gluco-neogenesis from glucogenic amino acids (ketoacids), lactic acid and glycerol for maintenance of blood glucose concentration". - Introduction to feeding normal cats
The answer to the questions is this: kittens eagerly drink their mother's milk - colostrum. Observers would understand that adult cats also drink milk. But in the early days of cat domestication there was less knowledge and they didn't realise that at 6 months of age young cats do not have sufficient lactase (lactase deficiency) to digest lactose and become intolerant of it.


Nowadays, things have changed thanks to the huge amount of education provided by the internet on millions of cat websites!

But there are still people in developing countries and even developed countries where they believe that cats should be fed milk as a treat.

When they do this their cat enjoys drinking the milk because it is fatty. Cats like fatty foods. But it would seem that the adult cat does not understand that they are lactose intolerant.

But they don't need to realise it because they have inherited their wild cat ancestor's character and that wildcat never has the opportunity as an adult to drink milk.

It is only in the human environment as domesticated wildcats that they encounter a bowl of cow's milk containing lactose which they cannot digest but which tastes good normally. Not all domestic cats take to drinking it.

What is lactose?


Lactose, or milk sugar, is a disaccharide sugar composed of galactose and glucose subunits and has the molecular formula C₁₂H₂₂O₁₁.
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P.S. please forgive the occasional typo. These articles are written at breakneck speed using Dragon Dictate. I have to prepare them in around 20 mins.

Woman with MS changed her life after leash training her cat

Painting of a man leash walking his cat in the British countryside at sunset. 

MS is multiple sclerosis. This is a story which provokes me into carrying on with leash training my cat. It's a great little story about Jade de Monyé's decision to leash train her cat, Figaro. She says that her walks with her cat have "changed her life".

She says that Figaro loves to go for walks on a leash with her. She never forces him to do anything. He leads the way in effect. She said that, "I'll open the car door with his lead on and it's up to him if he wants to get out. I never push him into anything." Before she felt like staying at home which did not help her mood. It is much better now.

Jade and Figaro. Picture by Jade.

She says the obvious that it is not like walking a dog because cats tend to do what they want to do but I think you can actually go a step further and get a cat to behave somewhat like a dog. For her, she allows Figaro to go where he wants to go but he does like to sit "a lot at the water's edge and just watch all the birds. You can't 100% train a cat, it's just a lot harder".

Agreed. It is limited compared to dog training but it is possible to do it to a sufficient standard to very much enjoy going for walks with your cat in a very safe way for him or her. That's the big advantage. You could almost claim that it should be obligatory for a cat caregiver to leash train their full-time indoor cat. It is the only true way to allow a full-time indoor cat to enjoy the outdoors fully and safely.

That's her story and it's wonderful. I'm going to train my cat on a leash. I started do it many years ago and I'm going to pick up the training programme again and see whether I can get him out into the local park. I think you need a method to deal with dogs that you might encounter on your walks. That's the worry I have.

I think you need to train your cat to jump into your arms or get into a backpack cat carrier if you can foresee a troublesome encounter coming up with a dog. Other than that I think it should be workable in a park, particularly a park which is very large and where there are not many people as is the case me in Richmond Park which is quite near where I live.

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P.S. please forgive the occasional typo. These articles are written at breakneck speed using Dragon Dictate. I have to prepare them in around 20 mins.

Saturday 30 March 2024

Mystery of the two dead Sphynx cats on the side of a road

NEWS AND COMMENT - UK: News media are reporting on a sad and mysterious discovery of two dead Sphynx cats, one male and one female, in a field not far from a road. On the other side of the road there was a red cat carrier in which there were cat faeces. The cats were micro-chipped but there were no details except that they were of Romanian origin. It appears to me that the details were erased.

The cats were found by a dog walker who reported the discovery to the RSPCA who are mystified as to what happened

There was no sign of trauma so the cats were not killed by being hit by something. We have to speculate and I sometimes like to speculate.

This is a fictional image of male and female SPHYNX cats. I can't publish the picture of the dead cats on this website as it might breach Google Adsense's policy rules.

Abandonment


To me, this would point to an informal Romanian cat breeder breeding hairless cats namely the Sphynx cat in their home in the UK because they are valuable and you can make quite a lot of money selling Sphynx cats.

I would further speculate that the breeding wasn't working out very well. Perhaps the cats became ill. The female cat had bad teeth but it wasn't possible to determine her age.

I would suggest that they were abandoned by this breeder and the microchip details erased as a consequence. They would appear to have been alive when they were abandoned but that might not be the case. They might have died at the breeder's home and put in a cat carrier that already had faeces in it.

Either that or they were alive in a cat carrier and trapped in it for a while and died when they escaped from the carrier. They were not attacked by a predator. They appear not to have been hit by a vehicle. They might have died of exposure as they are hairless after all with no protection from their coat and it's been pretty wintry, very wet and cold.

They were found on Saturday, March 16 in Cambridgeshire, UK. The bodies were near the road between Balsham to Hildersham High Street in the area of Samworth Close.

The bottom line is that they must've been abandoned

And they must have died within the ownership of an individual or perhaps sometime after they were abandoned. That I think is the logical assessment but I would welcome somebody else's views on this.

It is the first time I have read a cat new story of this nature. It is incredibly sad. It's in fact rather horrific to be honest.

Photo


I can't show the photograph of the bodies because I have a feeling that advertisers on this website won't like them and they would object to it. Google AdSense would also object to it possibly and notify me of a breach of their policy which I don't like to hear about.

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P.S. please forgive the occasional typo. These articles are written at breakneck speed using Dragon Dictate. I have to prepare them in around 20 mins.

All this took was for one raccoon to say to another, "I know a guy"

I am a retired RCMP Officer living in a rural setting in Nova Scotia, Canada. I spend my time enjoying nature and feeding my furry friends, the raccoons. I also feed the deer in the winter months and many varieties of birds.
All this took was for one raccoon to say to another, "I know a guy".
Mobbed by raccoons looking for their share of freebies.

This is about a middle-aged man who loves animals. He feeds them and cares for them and he feeds raccoons and the news got around among the raccoon population where he lives that there is a man in a red waterproof jacket who feeds them so they can get nice and plump before the winter months. They turn up in their droves. 

He estimates that there are 30 raccoons around him in this video. Amazingly the raccoons are behaving relatively politely. You might say that they are polite and in some respects queueing up for their delight. Not sure what he's feeding them. One commenter says that it is hot dogs. Whatever it is they love it and they take their turn in getting one.


Can raccoons be aggressive towards people and bite them?


Raccoons, those masked bandits of the animal kingdom, often evoke curiosity and a touch of wariness. Let’s delve into their behavior and see if they’re likely to engage in a showdown with humans:

  1. Aggression and Attacks:

    • Raccoons do have the capacity to attack humans, but it’s rare. Their aggression typically arises under specific circumstances.
    • Provoked Aggression:
      • When provoked, raccoons may become aggressive. For instance:
        • Threatened Young: Female raccoons, especially protective mothers, can get feisty if they perceive a threat to their offspring. They’ll arch their backs, growl, and even lunge defensively.
        • Scavenging Mode: If a raccoon is in extreme scavenging mode or feels threatened, it may exhibit defensive postures.
    • Unprovoked Aggression:
      • Some raccoons, particularly those that are ill or disoriented, might engage in unprovoked aggression.
      • Rabies Risk: About 30.3% of raccoons are carriers of the rabies virus, making incidental bites a potential health concern for humans.
  2. General Behaviour:

    • Flee, Not Fight: Humans are too large to be considered prey, so raccoons usually flee rather than attack.
    • Self-Defence: When they do attack, it’s usually out of self-defence.
    • Temperament: Raccoons don’t actively seek out biting incidents; they’ll only do so if they feel threatened or if their den or young ones are at risk.

In summary, while raccoons can be aggressive, they’re not inherently dangerous unless provoked or ill. So, if you encounter one, maintain a respectful distance and let them go about their masked business! 🦝

Sources: Various and many! Including: Ranger Planet, Wildlife Start, Animal Wised.

RELATED: Domestic cat is dominant among foxes, raccoons and stone martens (Germany)

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P.S. please forgive the occasional typo. These articles are written at breakneck speed using Dragon Dictate. I have to prepare them in around 20 mins.

Cat domestication is a failure in the United States

The statement in the title seems to be exaggerated and plain wrong. It seems to be too negative and unhelpful. It can't be true can it? There are millions of domestic cats in nice homes in America. They are well cared for. They are happy. They live good lives and their human caregivers are nice people. This is all positive. It indicates that cat domestication in America is successful from both the cat and the human's perspective.

But I cannot agree for this reason. And below my reason there some detail on this thanks to Bing's co-pilot who did some research for me.

Cat domestication is a failure in the United States
If you weigh the unhappiness experienced by feral and stray cats and compared it to the happiness experienced by domestic cats in good homes, which is the greater? See below for more on this.

I'm told that the recent figures from the United States estimate that there are 82 million pet cats living happily in people's homes throughout the country. I'm also told that the population of stray and feral cats in the United States is estimated to be between 60 and 100 million. Some estimates are more conservative ranging from 30 to 80 million. Notwithstanding the difference in these estimates, you can see that there is a very similar number of feral and stray cats to the number of domestic cats.

A stray or feral cat lives a very tough and harsh life in both the urban and semi urban environment in the United States. It's hard for them. PETA, the animal advocacy charity consistently state that feral cats are miserable. They argue or have argued that it is more humane to euthanise feral cats rather than operate TNR programs for them. They want to pull them out of their measurable existences and send them to heaven.

A lot of people disagree with that including Nathan Winograd but they make a point. It is difficult to arrive at a conclusion other than that feral and stray cats are likely to be unhappy or indeed miserable, living relatively short lives compared to their domestic cat cousins. 

They are preyed upon by coyotes and other predators, they are shot at by miscreant and unpleasant cat hating people. They are poisoned by similar people. They are denigrated by others who don't want them in the neighbourhood. They are euthanised at cat shelters because they don't want feral cats. There are people who say they should be put back where they came from and left to die.

All in all a bad picture for the millions of feral and stray cat in the United States. If you are going to work out the success of cat domestication you have to weigh up the pros and cons. You have to carry out a balancing act between the good and bad.

Negative spin-off


Stray and feral cats are a negative spin-off, a bad consequence of cat domestication. They are there thanks to the carelessness of humankind. They are a failure in cat domestication. They should not exist at all. Every feral cat is a symptom of failure in the human-to-cat relationship. This was not the end game envisaged by humans when cat domestication first started.

Wildlife


And think of the wildlife that feral and stray cats kill. A lot of people don't like that. This is another aspect of failure in the cat domestication process.

'Weighing' the good and bad in cat domestication


Now let's imagine we add up all the pain and misery suffered by stray and feral cats in the United States. Let's put that pain and misery on a scale and call it negatives. Now let's add up all the happiness and contentment enjoyed by domestic cats in nice homes. Let's call that the positives.

My argument is that the negatives are the same "weight" as the positives" and therefore he cannot say that cat domestication in the United States is successful.

I can add a further factor here. Of the approximate 82 million domestic cats in America at this time, not all of them will be happy. There must be a reasonable percentage who are unhappy because their caregiver simply don't do a good job. I'm going to guess and say that about 10%-15% of human caregivers of domestic cats are underperforming and the cats are unhappy. This further adds to the equation I mention above and it tips it in favour of cat domestication failure. What do you think?

Number of stray and feral cats in the USA - 2024


In the United States, the population of stray and feral cats is estimated to be between 60 and 100 million. These cats, once they leave the comfort of our homes, become one of America’s most impactful invasive species. They pose ecological, economic, and ethical challenges for animal welfare groups. The issue of unowned cats has long been a community concern.

Here are some key points about stray and feral cats:

  1. Origins of Stray and Feral Cats:
    • The general understanding among experts is that the homeless cat population is growing and currently sits at around 60–100 million cats. Some estimates are more conservative, ranging from 30–80 million.
    • Only 85% of pet cats are spayed or neutered. Spaying or neutering pets is crucial for controlling stray and feral cat populations. When pets escape or roam outside, they can mate with neighborhood cats, perpetuating the problem. The closer we get to 100% pet neutering, the more we reduce the strain on welfare groups and the current homeless cats in our communities.
    • Roughly 15% of cat owners lose their pets at some point during a 5-year period. Cats and dogs tend to roam when the front door swings open. However, only 75% of lost cats are recovered, compared to a 93% return rate for dogs. Over a five-year period, this translates to over 3 million cats becoming lost and never returning home.

The challenge of managing stray and feral cat populations requires a collective effort from pet owners, animal shelters, and governments to address this complex issue.

Number of domestic cats in the US - 2024

In the United States, cats are the most popular house pet, with approximately 90 million domesticated cats residing in around 34% of U.S. homes. That’s quite a feline presence across the nation!

To break it down further:

  • The average number of cats per household is 1.78.
  • There are approximately 123.6 million households in the U.S. according to the 2020 U.S. Census Bureau data.
  • Roughly 26% of households have at least one cat.

So, if we do the math, we get approximately 82 million pet cats living happily in people’s homes throughout the country. That’s a whole lot of purring companions! 🐾🐱


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P.S. please forgive the occasional typo. These articles are written at breakneck speed using Dragon Dictate. I have to prepare them in around 20 mins.

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