Monday, February 23, 2009

Stray Cat Harmony

There is a kind of stray cat harmony amongst my three stray cats now. For example, Binnie has frightened off my little Pippa. I miss Pippa but Binnie had to exert her authority over someone and that has to be Pippa as the lowest in pecking order. Pippa will be back, I am sure, as the food is just too damn good.

As for himself, Timmy, the boss man with the wounds he now joins me on my bed all night. He has finally figured it out that life is better on my bed than in a shed. This works well for him as Binnie gets off when I go to bed because I move my legs around too much for her. So the night shift handover is smooth.

The trouble with Timmy is that I am allergic to him and he makes me sniffle all night. This blocks my nose in the morning. Hellfire and damnation, it's a heavy burden. My girlfriend says that she would like it if he went on her bed! I said fine.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Cat Fights Can Cause an Abscess

Yes, cat fights can cause an abscess and Timmy got into a bad cat fight, got bitten and then an abscess formed and I had to take him to the vet. Well, you know, despite being the only cat I am allergic to (true - I only have to look at him to itch), I love him and care for him. And I am glad to say that his abscess is beginning to subside gradually. Fortunately he still comes in every day for rest and food. This gives me the chance to feed him and bathe him. I put antibiotic power in his food. I break open one of the antibiotic pills the vet gave me and pour it over the premium quality (he only eats premium!) cat food and mix well.

I have also prepared a salt solution and bathed his wound with it. There is still quite a bit of puss under the skin in the area of the wound (the area is raised and hard), so I was pleased today to see that the wound was seeping puss. I was worried that the infection would cause the puss to continue to build up. As I said. there was a hard bump on his head around the area of the puncture wound after going to the vet. Well, after giving him antibiotics, daily, since the operation and cleaning his wound with salt water, the amount of puss seems to be going down. I am not completely sure but I am fairly confident Timmy is on the mend.

It was good to see him again and eating well. These are good signs but he is still shaking his head occasionally. It just may be that the infection has spread to his inner ear as he scratches his ears. He is a real worry for me. The next worry is to decide whether to neuter him. Neutering should be automatic and I recommend it but he is a "whole" boy and I just do not want to take his manhood from him. I don't want his boyish character to change. He has a standout boy cat character. Anyway, we'll see.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Stray Cats Can Get On

Stray cats can get on even when confined to a relatively small space. I should know as I have three stray cats in an apartment! Well Binnie is no longer a stray cat, she is a long term companion of mine. But Timmy the alpha boy cat and Pippa the girl all get on now. It really is a question of time. I see people asking questions about introducing a new cat to a household where there are already cats. There can be problems and certainly there can be initial problems but with patience and a little human intervention and management things gradually settle down.

At first Timmy would hiss and strike out at Binnie and indeed Pippa but right now he has come in from the cold and plonked himself on my bed as I type this and he is about 12 inches from Binnie. He just sniffed her and Binnie made a little trill and that was it. He just curled up and she got comfortable.

I think Timmy has come in because he is still a little poorly after the visit to the vet to lance, drain and treat his bite wound. See Cat Fights of Male Cats and Cat Abscess. Stray cats can get on, just give it time with a bit of temporary management.

Homeless Cats and People

There are more homeless cats and people right now. As people become homeless due to repossessions by lenders, so too do companion cats. The trouble is that people still treat cats as "objects", when push comes to shove. The net result is that the domestic cat is sometimes going to be abandoned. And I do not see the need for that.

Binnie the cat on the left in the heading picture was abandoned about 16 years ago by one of my neighbors. I just saw here under a car on a cold evening. I knew she was abandoned by a neighbor because she would go back to the house she lived in (but was empty and locked) for a while. I feed her and eventually she became a wonderful companion animal to me. And anyone can be the type of person to abandon a cat. ASPCA (American organisation) project that there could be up to one million domestic cats and dogs at risk at this time due to the mortgage crisis in America. And the situation is nearly as bad in the UK.

This is tragic news because there are already too many stray cats in the UK and the USA. As I said, I don't actually see the need to abandon or give up a cat because our house has been repossessed. In the UK if we have children and our house is repossessed by the lender (mortgagee) then the local authority (Council) will house us as a priority. And I am certain that there would be no restriction on cats. There might be temporary accommodation that was unsuitable for a cat, yes, that could be the case, but if the people involved could find a temporary home for their cat (foster care) that would solve the problem. We should treat our cats as one of the family and a lot of people do just that and make the necessary effort to care for their cats come what may; but some people don't.

I think anyone, be they American or British, will manage to continue to care for their cat under any circumstances if they really care for their cat as one of the family making no distinction between person or cat. There will be more homeless cats and people but the people should stick with their cats, that was the deal when they got together in the first place.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Cat Fights of Male Cats

Feral cat damaged nose
Timmy's damaged nose. I'll show a picture of his wound next post.

The cat fights of male cats can be heard at night around here. For territorial reasons male cats get into cat fights. This shows how close to the wild dometic cats still are. Obviously a cat has to be an outdoor cat to get into fights although it might happen indoors too. Only indoor cats living with other cats are so close together they will have adapted to the lack of territory and come to accept it - i.e. no cat fights for territory in the conventional sense.

Timmy, the stray cat I feed, keep warm, rest up and generally care for when I can, gets into cat fights. There is nothing I can do about it as he is not mine. Well there is something I probably will have to do about it (see below). After the last fight he got sratched. He had small cuts all over his head and shoulders etc. and on his nose (see picture). I discovered late in the day what appeared to be a fairly innocuous scratch on the top of his head. This over a period of a day or so developed into a lump and off to the vet we had to go as it was almost certainly an infected wound, which turned out to be the case.

He was very well behaved throughout the journey and the minor operation to drain the puss from his wound (there was quite a lot of it). He was given a pain killer and anti-imflammatory and antibiotics. I have to give him an antibiotic pill daily and wash his open wound with salt water daily. The wound is left open for more rapid healing but I am worried about this because he sratches it. What can I do? He just comes and goes.

One last point. I asked the vet to confirm that Timmy is "whole" -- not neutered. And she confirmed this. So the next thing to do it to have him fixed, I guess. This is not something I want to do but we owe it to cats generally to do this as there are too many abandoned cats and Timmy could make more of them! The cat fights of male cats are normal but I wish they could apply a bit of commonsense. Some animals balance the benefits and downside to their actions.

The Cheetah will not fight for her prey that is being stolen by other large predators because if she gets hurt she will lose her speed and that is her main weapon of survival.

Update next day 20th Feb 2009: No sign of Timmy today, yet. He left our home yesterday after the visit to the vet. He ate well and as I said, he left. I couldn't keep him in. I tried but cats have well developed habits and his is to go home, wherever that may be. I am worried for him. He may be a time share cat, sharing accommodation with another person's home. If he is the other person has a bl**dy smelly home because Timmy always comes in smelling. Anyway, that person, if he exists, may keep him in as Timmy now has a noticeable wound on his head that needs to be aired but he needs antobiotics regularly. I am concerned that if he doesn't get them he will become seriously ill. We'll just have to wait and see. - further update about 8 hours later - he turned up, ate well, I washed his wound with salt water and gave him an antibiotic pill and them he left! I love him. This is the wound one day after the vet's treatment.

cat fight bite
Timmy's puncture wound after treatment.

Timmy had a cat abscess - see what this means and how it is treated.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Declawed Cat Are Unloved

I say that declawed cats are unloved. How can I say such a thing? There will be thousands who disagree. What I mean is that declawed cats are not loved perfectly or unconditionally and this is the only true love that can exist, I think all will agree.

Love between animals can only exist when there is equality between the animals concerned. In the case of the cat and the human it is down to the human to accept and agree equality. Where there is a sense of equality by the human keeper the cat will not be declawed and the situation will foster a fine relationship. Where the human keeper maintains the old fashioned view that they are superior to other animals (and cats, of course) then the possibility of declawing is present. If declawing takes place the love or attachment between cat and human is conditional upon the declawing taking place. Conditional love is imprefect.

Also, a more perfect love will allow and accept the perceived imperfections of one party and that includes claws in a human/cat relationship. Once again an imperfect love allows for delawing, which is simply putting the furniture before the cat. Declawed cats are unloved in a true way.

Declawed Cat Are Unloved to Home Page

Five Freedoms For Indoor Cats

Based on (Rochlitz, 2005) the five freedoms for indoor cats are these (a) provision of food and water making up a balanced diet - this is obviously a basic (b) the provision of an environment that is suitable for a domestic cat (with a lot of wild cat traits lets not forget), including adequate space, good shelter, correct temperature, light, low noise and adequate cleanliness (c) adequate health care provision including correct vaccinations (and bearing in mind that vaccination policy has evolved and is a medical procedure not a routine practice), neutering, control of parasites (such as the ear mites, flea and tick) and ad hoc veterary care (d) provision of opportunities for the cat to exhibit natural behavior as near as is practically possible (hunting in the conventional way won't happen but well organized play can substitute and (e) provision of protection for circumstances that would cause fear and distress. Those are the five freedoms for indoor cats. See cats indoors or out. See cat and dog parasite pictures.

These echo to some extent the underlying provisions of the Animal Welfare Act 2006 in the UK, in fact. I am thinking of section 9 of the Act.

Apparently an absolute minimum of 2 rooms is required (src: research by (Bernstein
and Strack, 1996). In a multiple cat household a minimum of 3 meters space between cats.

Five Freedoms For Indoor Cats to Home Home Page

Monday, February 9, 2009

Domestic Cats Damage the Environment

It is not the domestic cat's fault, but domestic cats damage the environment. This post explains how (and this is just one way). Take cat litter, the clay type, Fuller's Earth type actually (read about the history of Fuller's Earth). Some of it, a lot of it, is dug up in open strip mines in Brazil and Wyoming (src: Treehugger website). I guess it is processed and converted to nice looking cat litter. After use it is disposed of in land fill. We know that we can't go on indefinitely disposing of rubbish in land fill as the space has a finite limit. Damage to the environment at both ends of this process.

It all seems so unnatural to me. And we are talking about millions of tons. Lets remind ourselves that strip mining is very destructive. Thousands of acres of land is basically rendered useless afterwards. And I dread to think what happens in Brazil, where the companies doing the mining are likely to kick small holders off their land in the name of profit. All this to allow our cats to go to the toilet. There must be a better way and I am not talking about cats being trained to use the toilet as this is very difficult (but can be done). How about someone designs a human type toilet for cats and we flush after use? Crazy idea? Not sure? We need some sort of sustainability here. Nothing we do is sustainable, it seems.

cat and strip mine
Cat looking at a strip mine Northeast PA - "Come on humans find a better way will you?" - photo by AJ Franklin under creative commons license.

Isn't there a better way of disposing of cat litter? How about an imaginative company decides that it is financially viable to reprocess it? Messy work but could be profitable. Apparently Fuller's Earth contains Calcium Bentonite while the modern clay type cat litter is made up of Sodium Bentonite. The Treehugger website says that this substance has been linked to cat deaths by the way. Sodium Bentonite is used as a large scale sealant. An example of its use would be sealing in spent nuclear fuel in subsurface systems.

I use the wood chipping cat litter as it is cleaner to use but I am concerned that this too is damaging the environment. Where does all the wood come from? Chippings that would otherwise be thrown away or from trees cut down? Where does it come from?

Cat Carbon Pawprint

Yup, we can reduce our cat's carbon pawprint if we feed our little treasures In Clover cat food supplements and I am not getting any commission for this, no sir. I just read a PR announcement that In Clover, an American pet food supplement manufacturer, have chosen to use wind power to power some (or all) of its machinery and plant. Great stuff. I found out about this because I also read that preparing meat products for humans creates a massive carbon footprint. For instance, if everyone in the United States had one vegetarian meal a week instead of chicken it would be the equivalent of getting rid of 500,000 cars. Big numbers so I thought if we, humans, can do something to help the planet then why not our little cat companions. And yes, they can. A cat carbon pawprint can be reduced if we buy supplements from In Clover. Now where is my 10%?

My Cat Leaves When I Go To Bed

I don't suppose you want to know an oh so intimate secret as to why my cat leaves when I go to bed, do you. Well she is on the bed usually. That is her spot. She stays there most of the day being old and all. Cats sleep 70% of the time. For Binnie it is nearer 80%+ I guess. She sleeps at the base of the bed.

When I turn the lights out, she gets off as good as clockwork because she has gotten tired of being kicked all night. When I dream I move my legs. She gets pushed around at the base of the bed. She decided enough was enough. When I get up she comes back on. She is always going in the opposite direction to me actually. When I come in she goes out and when I go out she wants to come in...etc..etc...

My Cat Leaves When I Go To Bed to Cats are Smart

Cats Calm Me

Cats calm me. I was a little wound up this morning. I have been for the past week or so. There are some problems brewing and it puts me on edge. And you know what, cats calm me, they always have. This morning it was the turn of Pippa. She is a time share cat. She lives next door in a big house, a very big and very expensive house. She is a very inexpensive cat (moggie), though, and a very sweet and photogenic cat. I'll have to try and do her justice one of these days.

Pippa a stray cat
Pippa with Rhino and lamp

Pippa just bowled in, with a new collar, a pink one with a pink bell. Yes, well, not sure about a pink bell. She asked for and got some food and then gingerly planted herself on my lap, kneaded me first and then washed herself. And I love the feel of a cat washing herself. The gentle rocking of her body against mine as she licks and the gentle placing of her front paws on me to balance herself while she stretches to her back.

This was the most calming of feelings for me and I struggled to stay awake. After about 15 minutes she meowed and quietly left. She'll be back, she's a time share cat....!

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Smart Cats

Smart cats -- Here is a video of my girl Binnie who prefers to be let in through the door instead of coming in through the cat flap. Hey, why not, she's my girl, she's like us.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Cats are Smart

Pippa out of range of Binnie.

Cats are smart and my little stray Pippa proves it. She knows how to get on in this household. The pecking order dictates that she is at the bottom and she knows that my cat Binnie is old and cannot jump as she used to. Pippa therefore spends her time on top of the microwave well out of range and as content as she can be.

And when it snowed here recently she left paw prints in the snow, of course. What was cleaver was the fact that she used the exact same paw prints in the snow when she left. Pippa simply retraced her steps perfectly and kept her paws as dry as possible.


Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Taking In A Stray Cat

fat stray cat
Fat stray cat - Lontra - not all strays have it tough! Although she might be ill. - Photo by * starrynight1

Taking in a stray cat is the easiest thing in the world provided you don't have any other cats. In fact, there are stray cats pretty much everywhere. Wherever I have lived I think I have bumped into stray cats particularly so in London where people live close together. I have never purchased a cat, they usually come to me and stay.

Often you don't actually have to take in a stray cat as the cat will just walk in, take some food, do it again and then stay a while one day (provided we are pleasant to the cat). And voila we are on track to take him in. A word of caution, of course, as there are also a lot of cats that time share or visit and do overnight stays like children. We have to make sure that we are not teasing a cat away from the "owners" (keepers). That said, if a cat persists in coming to us there is possibly something not quite right about the place where he or she is coming from.

There can be some decisions to make, I think, once he has stayed, however. One problem I have with Timmy who stays with me is that I think he is "whole" or not neutered. I think this because he has b*ll* and he has a jowly masculine face. He doesn't spray urine though, thank God. Do I have the responsibility to have him neutered? On one level, I do. I need to protect the stray female cats in the district if there are some that are not spayed from getting pregnant (see Cat Pregnancy). There are too many feral cats ( feeding feral cats) around, who live tough lives that are too short with euthanasia as the end game.

On the other hand he is not my whole responsibility as he visits and stays a lot. I am convinced he is a stray though (i.e. has no owner). If I think that, I should take him to the vet to be checked out. He just may be neutered but I don't think so. So taking in a stray cat is easy with complications. If we have cats (I have one previous stray cat who is now "my cat") there can be problems with the introduction (Introducing a New Cat). Once that has been got over and it almost always will be in due course then a check up by the veterinarian is in order as we just don't know what a stray cat's health it like and we owe it to the cat to ensure all is well. That is the other complication - expenses. Vets aren't cheap and some people don't, it seems, factor in the cost of keeping a cat over the lifetime of the cat - about £10,000 for a cat that lives for 14 years (See Pet Care Costs).

I can't think of anything major over and above what I have mentioned. One last think. In taking in a stray cat we are doing a public service and probably saving a life as a lot of feral cats that are "rescued" end up being euthanized as there are not enough homes (see No Kill Cat Shelters). That said, one person thinks completely the opposite.

Taking In A Stray Cat to Stray Cat Picture

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Do Cats Sulk

Do cats sulk? - Yes. I have just split up a fight between my first adopted stray cat, Binnie and the last stray cat to come and stay (Pippa) and Binnie is now sulking. She is at the base of my bed and is not responding as she normally would. She refuses to turn to look at me. Obviously she wanted to see Pippa off, out of the home and I interfered in that. Also she might feel a bit p*ss*d off that I had to hiss at her to break up the fight. She probably sees me as top cat and might even feel a bit intimidated, which is not what I want to happen.

Stray Cat Pecking Order

Pippa on top of the microwave out of trouble. I call it the mezzanine floor.

There is a definite stray cat pecking order in this household. I don't need to read up about it as it's right in my face. Timmy is the alpha boy. Not surprising when you look at his face in the header photo. My Binnie probably doesn't like this too much (which actually worries me a bit) and seems to take it out on Pippa, who is the smallest of the three strays. Of course Binnie is no longer a stray but was found as a stray.

For example, this morning, while I am typing this, Binnie had a go at Pippa for no apparent reason. I hear the usual noise and growling and have to split the cat fight up. Pippa being a lot smaller than Binnie hides under something to protect herself and when I tell Binnie to lay off she does (which is pleasing!). Who said you couldn't train cats.

Pippa actually lives next door in a very large and expensive house in a relatively posh part of London, so why she wants to stray into my modest home is anyone's guess. She is what I would call a time share cat. Perhaps she just wants to have a change of scenery. Or perhaps the company and food is better here. Unfortunately the cat company isn't that good as Binnie terrorizes her, which will probably result in Pippa staying away. She has though found a way of dealing with it all, she lives on top of the microwave in the kitchen. She has been there all night.

The stray cat peeking order is alive and well and I am the top cat.....

Stray Cat Pecking Order to Home page

Three Stray Cats

Binnie Do AKA Judders a sweet natured and gentle cat - the first of my three stray cats.

Yes, I have three stray cats. Well not quite. "My cat", Binnie (aka Binnie Do or Judds) was a stray cat back in 1992-3. She was wandering around Notting Hill Gate, London, on a very cold November night. She was under a car outside my home, which wasn't far from the main road. She peeked out from under the car, looked up as I walked by. I talked to her and her tail shook, actually it looked like it juddered. She has always done that when excited. Well one thing led to another. And we got to know each other. I remember, as it was freezing that night, I put some food out in a vestibule in the basement and next to the food, I put a freshly boiled kettle of hot water to warm the area up a little. I went to bed and the food was gone the next day. And so the journey together began.

At the time we had two cats, a boy and a girl. Eventually Binnie came in the house and sort of lived on top of the dinning room table to feel safe. But the other two were perfectly behaved. Before long they were eating together amicably. Binnie was the first of my three stray cats. We have moved around together a lot since those times, from London, to a place called Radlett then St. Albans and back to London. She is a gentle cat. She hates new people particularly men. She likes her food. She caught her first mouse at the age of 15! She didn't eat it, just looked at it proudly and exhausted.

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