Monday, December 28, 2015

Good Woman Adopts 11-year-old Cat and Then Returns to Adopt The Cat's Elderly Buddy

This is a great and tender cat rescue story from America. Two elderly cats found themselves in a cat shelter in Maryland. One is 11 years old and the other 16-years-of-age. A woman kindly adopted the 11-year-old. However, these cats are very close friends. They are good buddies. They had bonded and the lady realised this so she went back to the shelter and adopted the 16-year-old who had been left behind.

Cat shelters are hard places for any cat but for an elderly cat they are particularly hard because a lot of people don't like to adopt an elderly cat. They get left behind, sometimes euthanized. People are wrong though because elderly cats make wonderful companions. The only problem is that you may have to deal with illness which of course I recognise to be a difficulty but the rewards are there.

The 11-year-old cat's name is Mojo. The 16-year-old's name is Max. There are now together in a loving home the way it should be. The lady said:

"The idea of him living out his life in a cage just broke my heart."

If an elderly cat is not euthanized at a shelter they can sometimes go downhill through illness because of the stress of being in cage and a shelter. There are many cases of shelter buddies being split up, leading one to being left behind who shuts down after losing his best friend. It is wonderful that that did not happen on this occasion. We must praise the lady but I don't know her name.

This is a cross-post from the main website because it is such a good story. My thanks to Elisa Black-Taylor who wrote the story on and originally to Tracy Campion I believe found the story in the first place.

The shelter is the Anne Arundel Shelter.

Sunday, December 27, 2015

China Tests Cosmetics That Are Manufactured outside China on Animals

It may surprise people to know (or perhaps it won't) that the Chinese have a mandatory testing procedure on cosmetics manufactured outside of China on animals. There is no need for this testing because these manufacturers have found ways to test their products without testing them on animals. This is because the testing, marketing and selling of cosmetics in the European Union is banned. The European Union lead the way in this area of animal welfare. But for some peculiar and perverse reason the Chinese feel they have to test these products on animals which once again reinforces our belief, or at least my belief that the Chinese don't give a damn about animal welfare.

The question which now remains is whether these companies such as Revlon and Estee Lauder are in breach of European Union regulations despite the fact, as mentioned, that they are not testing their products on animals. It is bad enough allowing the testing of products other than cosmetics on animals such as medicines. But there is absolutely no justification whatsoever to test cosmetics which are products to enhance the appearance of humans on animals. It can only be described as immoral and unethical and actually it's quite depressing to think about it.

Clearly there needs to be representations to the Chinese on this subject. There won't be, as usual, because the West is dependent upon products manufactured in China to feed the greedy consumer in the West meaning Europe and North America. We don't want to upset them do we? We need their money don't we? We need the Chinese to invest in the West. We need their money to help build our facilities in the UK. The last thing that we want to do is to upset them on the matter of animal welfare. This is depressing.

Search results on PoC for "cosmetics".

This is a cross-post with the main website.

Friday, December 25, 2015

A Quarter of UK Pet Owners Would Give up Their Pet If They Had a New Baby

It may surprise people that today, December 25, 2015, a quarter of UK pet owners would surrender their cat or dog if they had a new baby on the way. This clearly means that a very large percentage of pet owners in the UK believe that a cat or dog is dangerous to a baby. It may be true for a dog because there are, rarely, cases of babies being attacked by dogs. Although I'm sure these attacks are ultimately down to careless dog ownership.

However, I don't have an example of domestic cats hurting babies. It is a fallacy that the domestic cat presents a danger to a baby. The opposite is nearer the truth. Some people believe that a cat's faeces are a hazard to the unborn baby. I have written an article about that sometime ago which can be read if you click on this link. The hazard is extremely slight and can be protected against quite easily. The danger is certainly exaggerated.

If a person wishes to adopt a cat while at the same time carrying an intention to have a baby in the not too distant future then they should not adopt a cat. Surrendering a cat to a rescue centre should be the very last option and only taken under very severe conditions. Cats are not throwaway creatures to adopt and discard at a person's whim. We know that.

A study also reported that 30% of UK dogs are abandoned in the months just after Christmas. This once again is another aspect of the rather careless, throwaway mentality of some cat and dog caretakers.

The same study reported that 8% of the 2000 pet owners participating had admitted that they had surrendered a cat or dog in the past when they had a newborn.

About 40% of people in a relationship stated that they had not made any plans as to what would happen to their cat or dog if they split up and went their own way while only 34% said that they would try to keep their cat or dog if they separated from their partner. That does not indicate a fantastic attachment between person and pet.

According to the UK's main dog adoption website, 67% of rescue centres said that the surrender of dogs was on the increase.

The famous London animal shelter, Battersea Dogs and Cats Home, said that there been increase in people wishing to surrender their pets to their rescue centre in order to go on a summer holiday because they were unable to afford a boarding kennels or find someone to look after their cat or dog. Clearly this is shocking once again and indicates a lack of proper connection between pet and person. These people should not look after a cat or dog. That is obvious. Today there are too many people in the UK and I suspect anymore else in the world who are not suited, if we are honest, to be a responsible caretaker of a cat or dog.

The research comes from Co-op insurance and a poll conducted by One Poll.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Beautiful clouded leopard in Borneo rainforest

This video gets absolutely no views but I like it because there is a mysterious/ghost-like quality. It was taken with a camera trap. It shows the shape of the clouded leopard very well and particularly the extraordinarily long tail (and it is thick too). The tail is used for balance because this cat is arboreal - a tree dweller.

You probably know that the name is after the cloud-like shapes of the spots on this cat. This is a medium-sized wild cat species but at the top end of the medium-sized group.

Cat tails are used for balance. For the domestic cat it is also used for balance but also as a form of communication such as tail up for a friendly greeting and swishing side to side when the cat is indecisive.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

All UK council cleansing departments should check for microchips in cats found dead

This idea comes from the founder of Missing Cats in Scotland and Missing Cat in England.   She makes a very good point.  Cat owners who lose their cats but cannot find them are unable to close the matter.  There is uncertainty.

Often these cats will be killed on the road and sometimes they will crawl and stagger under a bush beside the road to die but sometimes they might be picked up by the local councils.  It has to be said, by the way, that a lot of cat owners don't really seek closure and don't care that much when their cat fails to come home. But the majority do.

That said, it would not take much in the way of resources and effort for the local councils to ensure that their cleansing departments carried microchip scanners which could check whether the dead cat on the road was microchipped and if so identify the owner. They could then pass on the information.

Traveling vet helps to control cat colonies, protect public health

Traveling vet helps to control cat colonies, protect public health

I love to see vets doing things with passion and their heart, while for a moment putting aside profit. This lady in America, Dr Becky Morrow, has a soft spot for strays which is why she conducts clinics in Western Pennsylvania to vaccinate and neuter feral cats. She also founded Frankie's Friends Cat Rescue with some friends.

Dr Becky Morrow - Photo: Keith Hodan | Trib Total Media
“We're helping animals who don't get help, and that's what I went to vet school to do,” Morrow said.
Here, here. Well done Dr Becky. I wish more vets were like that but as most of them in the USA declaw cats they can't be because declawing cats goes against the vet's oath and therefore it follows it is not what they went to vet school for....

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Feeding a stray cat is effectively adopting that cat

I think it's true that if you feed a stray cat you are very close to the moment of adopting the cat. Even if you don't actually take the cat in and treat that cat as your own, you are adopting the cat, aren't you?

A journalist, Tim Kreider, writing for the New York Times made a good point. He said that people have “a reservoir of affection". People need to express their affection and in the absence of a person, perhaps child or a lover, they give their affection to a companion animal.

I'm thinking of Sarah Hartwell (of who says that cats just happen. They are just there and I'm fairly certain that Sarah Hartwell a well-known cat lover and author has never purposefully adopted a cat because it just happened.

People with this reservoir of affection see in a vulnerable kitten or cat a receptacle for their affection although they probably don't realise it.

I think it happened to me when I adopted Charlie. My mother had just died and I was at her home looking over some furniture which I could take; the usual thing. I had no intention whatsoever of adopting Charlie. I didn't even think about him but there he was looking sheepish in the corner of a room with anxiety written all over his face.

There was nothing I could do other than take him home with me despite the disruption that it was bound to cause together with the long-term responsibilities which I had inexplicably taken on. It must have been that reservoir of affection that I needed to offload onto somebody. At the time I did have a girlfriend but I guess I wasn't allowed by her to deliver enough of my affection to her.

When people have to care for a person who is ill and that caring goes on for a long time then the reservoir of affection runs dry and the process becomes work, painful and irritating. I suppose each person has a different amount of affection in their own reservoir.

You can look at this “reservoir of affection" from the other side of the coin. If we have a reservoir of affection which we need to give to others then it follows that people receive affection from others and therefore need it. They need to be nurtured.

The question is whether a companion animal can nurture a person and I am I not sure that they can sufficiently and this is where there is a possible weakness in the relationship between companion animal and person.

Do you think that a cat companion is able to fully nurture a person? Does a cat have a reservoir of affection which they wish to give to their human guardian?

I do believe though that people have this reservoir of affection and they have a need to nurture others. In fact you can go further than that and say that under normal circumstances a person needs to have responsibilities and those responsibilities extend to looking after another; a companion animal or a person.

Havana Brown: Real Name Angelique Meunier

Angelique Meunier, an Australian celebrity singer/dancer took the name of a cat for her stage name. She must have hijacked the name of a fairly rare purebred pedigree cat, the Havana Brown, which is the name of a chocolate coloured fine looking cat breed. The origin of the name is unclear. It does not refer to havana cigars but may refer to Swiss chocolate or a rabbit!

Havana Brown Cosmo Fun Fearless Female Awards

I don't know of any other celebrity who has taken the name of a cat! It is quite neat in one way but I guess only a few people know it is the name of a cat.

I am slightly peeved because when you Google "Havana Brown" you are presented with a pile of information about this female celebrity. You have to add "cat" to the search. 

Havana brown cat

There are many examples of the names of wild cats being used by people. Tiger Woods, the golfer, is the standout example but many teams also use wild cat names such as "cougar" and "lion" etc.

It is a shame that none of this translates to better cat welfare.

The picture of the cat is by Rikki's Refuge on Flickr

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Is cat genome sequencing a precursor to more experimentation on cats?

We are told that the cat genome has been sequenced. The impression given is that this is a major step. What is genome sequencing? I don't exactly know to be honest but what I do know is that it does allow people to better understand the building blocks of the animal of which the genome has been sequenced and it also allows scientists to better understand the genetics of the animal, as I understand it.

In this instance an Abyssinian cat living at the University of Missoula in Colombia was the subject chosen to represent her species.  A 25 man multinational scientific team was pulled together to sequence the cat genome.

It is stated on the website that provides the source of this information that one reason for sequencing the genes of the cat is to better understand disease, at least in theory. Although cats and humans don't infect each other with their respective diseases except on rare occasions, domestic cats are known to suffer from about 250 conditions which are “analogous to human conditions".

One of them is feline AIDS (FIV) caused by a virus which depresses the immune system.  Accordingly, “feline infectious agents offer powerful natural models of deadly human diseases".

Those words indicate to me, possibly incorrectly, that scientists have recognised that many diseases that affect the cat take a similar course to diseases that affect humans and therefore testing medications on cats may help scientists to better understand how to cure human diseases.

I'm just throwing up a red flag to see where it lands but I don't see any reason to sequence the cat genome other than if it has some benefit to people because that is how people think. Already we know that cats are used in medical testing, although of course, far more rarely than mice, for example.

I hope I'm incorrect.

Working Cats

Let's restore a greater percentage of semi-feral cats to their rightful place in society: the working cat. Wasn't that meant to be what they were at the beginning, when first domesticated?

Not all feral cats run a mile at the sight of people. There is a wide spectrum of types of feral cat and some are quite domesticated but live outside. For instance, there is a lady in the UK who looks after "allotment cats" (allotments in the UK are gardens in a different place to where you live). These are semi-feral cats.

Cats Protection in the UK ask people to contact them if they know of cats that would suit the working cat environment such as farms, stables, smallholdings etc.

In America, the Arizona Humane Society have a page on their website where they say cats will work for mice. I like that. They ask people to give them their stray and feral cats. They say there is a waiting list of potential homes for working-cat candidates. I presume this to mean there are more people seeking working cats than there are available cats.

Arizona Humane Society provides a great start up pack to a person who'd like a working cats (applicants for cats have to take a minimum of cats).

The Society supplies:

  • an enclosure
  • food
  • bedding
  • and litter box and litter to get you started.

They make the good point that working cats are an environmentally friendly form of pest control. The benefits are enormous. The lives of two cats are saved and there is no need to put down poisons to control pests, plus you have the fun of looking after a cat which will probably be friendly as well as able to live semi-wild.

There may be some difficulties with relocating cats  but if those risks are outweighed by the benefits I believe and these sorts of programs also raise the profile of feral cats in the eyes of others. We need that because too many people see feral cats as pests.