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Showing posts from October, 2020

Spot the witches hat answer image

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 This where the witches hat is in this bank of feline faces at night. It is circled in red. It is well hidden :) . If you have arrived here first, please ignore and go to this page instead .

It's National Cat Day in the US. What Can I Do?

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National Cat Day was started to heighten the awareness of people to rescue cats in shelters and to encourage cat lovers to celebrate the life of their cat companions. So what can we do on this day? It must be about improving the lives of our cats. That must be the underlying purpose of National Cat Day. I would like to suggest one overarching goal which affects every aspect of cat caregiving: respecting the cat. So what does respecting the cat mean? First it means reminding ourselves that we are living with another species of animal. It means not treating our domestic cat companions as little people although that is very nice to do and what one is almost compelled to do but it can lead to relating and interacting with our cats in the wrong way. Picture: Figo Pet Insurance Respecting the cat really means understanding the cat which is going require some book work if you like. If not book work then some thought and consideration. Perhaps watching some videos or reading articles like t

Halloween perpetuates the link between black cats and witches

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For a tenuous reason, Halloween and black cats are linked. The origins of today's Halloween are rather murky. We are not sure why we have Halloween today except there is one thing that is sure, it is a form of human entertainment. It's an excuse for a holiday, a break from the mundane and routine. The word Halloween means "Saints' evening". A million miles away from haunted houses, bonfires and watching horror films. Jet black Bombay cat. Photo: Helmi Flick. With her permission. Bombay cat. In public domain. The link to watching horror films at this time is an indirect link to the horrors of the Dark Ages (around the 1200s) when cats were persecuted in Europe and when people believed in witches and their familiars namely their domestic cat companion. The cat was seen to be imbued with the devil and that unfortunate association has stuck right through to the 21st century in some parts of the world and in some people's minds. That's why at Halloween in Am

Shutting your cat out of the bedroom at night

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You want to shut your cat out of the bedroom at night or you have already done it. Quite a lot of people do this. There is no absolute right or wrong but for me it is wrong. Domestic cats are meant to be part of the family. You're meant to love them as a family member. You treat them as a family member, as a son or a child or even a husband! And you know what, you'll get used to your cat being on and off your bed at night. It might bother you for a while and then your brain learns to ignore it and you're back to normal. And your cat is happy. They really want to be there as it is the smelliest place in the home -- of you. Montage by Michael based on images in the public domain. To lock them out of the bedroom is a bit like preventing your wife from driving the family car. Or it's banning your husband from watching the television. Or it's withholding sex with your partner for the next three months. You are removing quite a big chunk out of the life of your cat. Th

Australian scientist claims that diseases transmitted by cats to people cost the Australian economy AU$6 billion annually

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I find this extraordinary. Unfortunately I don't have access to the full article by Donna Lu on the newscientist.com website because you have to subscribe to the site and I don't want to do that ( but see update below please ). But the opening paragraphs state that diseases transmitted by the domestic cat to people, including cat scratch disease, cost the Australian economy more than AU$6 billion per year (4.2 US dollars). The costings are based upon the impact on human health and livestock production. Clearly they are inferring that domestic cat spread disease to livestock as well or is it that people are incapacitated and therefore can't farm? They may be referring to toxoplasmosis. No doubt they are because this disease always comes up in these sorts of discussions. The author emphasises cat scratch disease and bites. Prof Sarah Legge. Photo: Australian National University. Well, there you are. I will have to speculate as to how they have calculated this cost. But th

Cat owner coughs and his cats run in terror

Firstly sorry if the video formatting is strange. I have no control over it. It still works - just. For me, being a cat lover and a purist, this video which might be described as a "funny cat video" is a bit disturbing because apparently the owner of these five cats is amused by the fact that when he coughs loudly his cats run away in terror. Of course, as the floor is hard they slip and slide on it which is an added aspect of the video which makes it even more funny. That's why it was filmed in the first place and why it was uploaded to the Internet. Funny cat videos are hugely popular and have been for a decade. But what about the cats? Why did a simple cough terrify them? I think that we need to ask that question and answer it. The only possible reasonable reason is that this man has used his voice to frighten his cats in the past. Perhaps he has shouted at them or ordered them about and they've become sensitive to his voice when the sound he make

Mother cat defends her kittens ferociously and with courage against imaginary threat

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Devil cat attacks a man out walking his dog in #Istanbul 😳 pic.twitter.com/hCOpQKyc4x — Rachael Ruble (@RachaelRuble) October 26, 2020   In this Twitter video we see a man walking with his dog in Istanbul Turkey. He walking past a café minding his own business. A domestic cat, or what I prefer to call a community cat, is in the same place as him and his dog and she has kittens to look after and care for. She decides that the man and his dog are a threat to her kittens so she attacks him with great ferocity and courage. There is nothing so impressive in terms of aggression than a female domestic cat protecting her offspring. This is clearly shown in the video which is taken from a television screen so the quality is poor. The man almost loses trousers while he struggles to be free of this aggressive female cat. He lifts up his dog by the lead which is far from ideal but the dog is small so I suspect no harm was done. Eventually people, perhaps those who work in the café o

Ginger cat desperately escapes second-floor inferno started by ex-boyfriend

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It is alleged that the former boyfriend of the tenant of this apartment set it alight while intoxicated. The apartment became an inferno and I will presume that the tenant's ginger cat had to escape under desperate circumstances. You will see in the video the cat being forced to make a decision that they did not want to make which was to jump from the second floor. The cat waited as long as possible and was singed. You will see his or her back smoking and black. It is unpleasant. The cat jumps into a crowd below and his fall was broken, I believe, by one of their number. The cat appears to have avoided serious harm but probably suffered from smoke inhalation and the heat may have damaged his heart. It is known that firefighters can suffer from heart disease prematurely because they are constantly working in very high temperatures. Also of course the smoke inhalation may leave this cat with some permanent damage. As far as we know there are no other injuries such as breakages. Ging

Domestic cat sleeps on the floor belly up in busy restaurant!

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This cute and confident female tabby cat named Thongdang  is seen sleeping comfortably on her back on the wooden floor in a restaurant in Chachoengsao, central Thailand. Such confidence is unusual. With strangers around you'd have thought she'd be more concerned and cautious but no. She's got used to the atmosphere of the place and her experience tells her that it is safe. Of course that feeling might change is someone inadvertently steps on her.  

Covid-19 is stopping people smoking which benefits cats and dogs

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Cigarette smokers are more vulnerable to Covid-19 than non-smokers. The fear of getting Covid-19 and becoming seriously ill is driving a significant percentage of smokers to stop the habit in the UK. The reduction in the number of smokers is considered to be phenomenal by the director of policy at Action on Smoking and Health, Hazel Cheeseman. More than 643k gave up in the 12 months to August compared to 307k in 2019. Nearly one in four people trying to stop smoking achieved their objective. An app, the Zoe Covid symptom tracker, reveals from data collected from more than 2.4 million UK participants that cigarette smokers were twice as likely to end up in hospital with Covid-19 compared to non-smokers. Cigarette smoke is dangerous to pets. Photo: Pixabay. In addition to the fear of Covid-19 it is believed that the change in lifestyle due to lockdowns may have kickstarted a desire to stop smoking. The normal cues and triggers to smoke may have been removed from the lifestyle of smoke

Charming Ragdoll kitten picture

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Picture of a Ragdoll kitten by Jon Cartwright It is perhaps fair to say that there is no more photogenic cat than the Ragdoll. The crystal blue eyes, the symmetrical facial markings and the baby-like face combined with the luxurious, long fur make this cat the most photogenic of all. But don't make the presumption that all Ragdoll cats are like ragdolls i.e. floppy and compliant. They are individuals and you might even meet one which for good reason tends towards aggressiveness. That would be shocking wouldn't it? They are, rightly, one of the most popular cat breeds especially at the moment because they are designed to be full-time indoor cats and the modern world is going towards that way of cat caretaking because of increased urbanisation, increased population size et cetera. If you are considering buying a purebred cat you should consider a Ragdoll. Although I would always recommend going down to your local rescue centre and giving an unwanted cat the life they deserve i

Flying Kitty

Awesome jump by a standard domestic cat. It is a reminder of the huge jumping ability of the domestic cat. It is about long levers for hind legs and fast-twitch muscles. Advice to prey animal: don't mess with a domestic cat. It looks like the bird - a magpie - was trying to chase away the cat, perhaps to protect its offspring. She paid the ultimate price sadly. Flying kitty from r/gifs

Picture of a domestic cat showing webbed feet

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This is a great picture showing us that the domestic cat has webbed feet. Of course, it is a Sphynx cat which is hairless, which in turn allows us to see their toes more clearly. And what is readily apparent is the enormous amount of webbing between the toes. It couldn't be more obvious. And there is nothing to suggest that the hairless cat have more webbing than non-hairless cats. This is what you might expect for any domestic cat. So why do domestic cats have webbed feet? There can only be one reason which is that they evolved to be able to swim at least reasonably adequately in order to survive in the water and prey for animals in and around water. Photo of Sphynx cat with webbed feet typical of all domestic cats. Photo in public domain. There are, as you might know, some wild cat species which spend a lot of their time in and around water. One of these is the aptly named fishing cat. Another is the flat-headed cat. They are both small cats. The wild cat ancestor of the domes

Coronavirus facemasks have taken away our smile

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This is not directly about cats or any other animal except the human-animal! But Giles Coren made a nice point in his amusing column in The Times newspaper today. Actually it was his cat Mo Tenzing who had the idea . With the coronavirus pandemic going on and on and on and with the prospect of wearing masks more and more and more we are going to lose our smile. And the smile is a very important aspect of human body language. It signals friendliness. We use it instinctively all the time to instigate friendly interactions with other people. I wonder whether this might be contributing to the additional stress encountered by many citizens of many countries? Is Britain going to become less friendly and more hostile because of face coverings? Another negative spin off from this damnable virus. Another is face mask pollution . Giles Coren. Photo in public domain. Is that a smile Giles? Giles Coren could not get the human-to-cat slow-blink, friendly greeting to work. His cat, Mo Tenzing, simpl

Financial Times lesbian journalist falls in love with a cat

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Horatia Harrod (great name by the way - I had no idea whether it was male or female) is a lesbian journalist working for the Financial Times on the life and arts section of the newspaper. Her wife more or less told her that she could not love her truly unless she loved animals. As she said, the stakes were raised in their relationship.  Then, came along a cat. A friend had fallen in love with a woman who was allergic to cats and therefore they had to give up her cat. So Horatia had her hands on a cat to look after and it seems that quite quickly she fell in love with Hopper, a slender, green-eyed, white-socked female of eight-years-of-age. Hopper made the long months of the summer lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic enjoyable for her. She would watch her stalk through the long grass which reminded her of the wider world. She got into routines with her cat and every evening she would play with Hopper. And then when lockdown neared an end she worried that Hopper would miss her.

Why do cats lick you?

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Photo: iStock Why do cats lick you? It's an often asked question and it is equally often answered so I will be brief, very brief. Domestic cats do not relate to us as if we are a different species of animal to them. Therefore, we conclude that they believe that we are large domestic cats, specifically a mother cat who cares for them in feeding them and providing security and warmth. On that premise, we "lick" them by stroking them with our hands. Or we groom them with our flea combs. They sense that we are licking them. In return they lick us. It is part of a mutual bonding process and it is called allogrooming. It is as straightforward as that and I hope that you find the answer useful.

Why do cats eat grass?

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I am referring to the domestic cat. Although, it should be said, that wild cat species do eat vegetation as well such as the snow leopard which in particular likes to eat a certain bush ! So why do domestic cats eat grass? There have been many theories for this and perhaps the most prevalent is that domestic cats want to make themselves sick, to sick up hairballs. Or, a slight alternative to this theory is that grass helps to push hairballs out of their digestive system so that they are defecated i.e. it is roughage. Another theory is that when cats are ill they want to make themselves sick so the grass is eaten to achieve this. And a further theory is that they like eating grass because it tastes nice. The best theory is that the juice of grass contains folic acid, a vitamin which is not available to them within the flesh of animals. Folic acid is a naturally occurring B vitamin, specifically vitamin B-9. It is also called folate and is important in prenatal health in people. It is

Modern prefabricated homes should come with a catio option

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This is a very quick note about something which interests me and has done for a long time. In the UK there is a pressing need to build new homes because of a growing population, partly due to mass immigration over many years.  A modern prefab home - Koto Design. Super-looking house. Picture: the manufacturer. The UK government is finding ways to achieve quick housebuilding and they have committed to expanding the flat-pack, prefabricated factory manufactured method of building new homes. I like these prefabricated homes. They should be of better quality and more consistent quality because they are built within a factory using machinery and precision engineering. It all points to a higher quality home but this is a great opportunity to build into the design of these homes the catio option. Looking forward many years there will come a time when there is more pressure on cat owners to keep their cats inside. With that in mind there is a need to provide homes where it is easier to stimu

Ford in Australia team up with fantasist big cat hunters to promote their SUV Puma

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When you look at the pictures of the supposed big cats that these fantasists produce as evidence that they are roaming around the interior of the Australian continent, you are driven to a single conclusion namely that they are fantasists. In one picture there is a black cat on top of a tree stump and for all the world it looks like a domestic cat. How they can let their imagination run so wild as to believe that this is a black panther is beyond me. Ford's new hybrid SUV the Puma. Photo: Ford But Ford have jumped onto the bandwagon in their desire to promote their new Ford Puma SUV. It's just been launched and of course the name - as is commonplace - has been plucked from the wild cat species. The puma is a mountain lion which has the biggest distribution of all the wild cat species. And sometimes the puma can be black i.e. melanistic. So why not dive in and join up with these fantasists to promote the vehicle? They think this is a big cat! Come on, please stop this. Photo B

Cats & Dogs: Paws Unite! - a tired sequel

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  I have watched this trailer and it does not appeal to me. It looks tired but I am not an ideal reviewer. It's about a cockatoo and a lizard plotting to undermine the peace between dogs and cats. The central players are a red, tabby and white cat and a sheepdog. It's been criticised for less than good CGI and that the mouths of the animals don't look convincing when they are speaking.  To be honest, it is not the kind of film that I would watch anyway despite being an animal advocate and lover. I guess it is for children predominantly and I am well beyond that age group. Personally, it seems to me that filmmakers rely too heavily on CGI which they have to do in this instance but I think in general they have run out of ideas. If you look back at the old films the ideas are better. The storylines are superior. Is it possible for creativity to dry up in the film business? I think it's possible for creativity to dry up in general across all the media including book fic

How can cats jump so high?

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Cats can jump high because their hind legs are made up of long levers and they are driven by fast-twitch fatiguing muscles . Long levers create speed. Think of those plastic devices in which you placed a tennis ball at one end which are used to throw the ball a long distance for your dog to chase. This plastic extension to your arm with a clamp at the end to hold a tennis ball extends the leverage of the arm. In extending the leverage the ball is thrown further and with less effort. Long levers increase the mechanical advantage. Caracal jumping vertically. They are perhaps the best vertical jumper of all the cats. Photo: public domain. As for the muscles, they mainly consist of fast-twitch fatiguing cells. These muscles propel cats to leap several times their own length in a single jump. They use up all their energy in that moment. These levers and fast twitch muscles also allow the domestic cat to reach impressive speeds of about 48 km/h or 30 mph, maximum.  Running at speed is enhanc

Why do cats purr?

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Cats don't just purr when they are contented. Therefore, you need to find an answer to the question which covers all circumstances under which domestic as purr. Dr Desmond Morris, the celebrated zoologist and animal behaviourist came up with the right answer in 1986. I'm a bit surprised that is not more widely cited so I will mention it here. In fact, I will quote him verbatim if I may: "A more precise explanation, which fits all cases, is that purring signals a friendly social mood, and it can be given as a signal to, say, a vet from an injured cat indicating the need for friendship, or as a signal to an owner, saying thank you for friendship given".  I don't think I can explain it any better than that. The point that he is stressing is that domestic cats purr when they are in a veterinarian's clinic, on the consulting table where they are clearly nervous and stressed. And sometimes they purr when they are about to be euthanised by a veterinarian. Clearly

Phenotype and genotype of tabby cats

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The picture shows the phenotype and genotype of tabby cats. "Phenotype" means the physical characteristics of an organism, in this instance, a domestic cat and the word "genotype" means its genetic makeup. The genes that make the tabby coat are shown in this image. There is a certain way of symbolising genes as you can see. Read more about the tabby cat by clicking on this link and this link for info on tabby cat coats . Pictures: Helmi Flick with her permission.

Why do domestic cats sleep so much?

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This is a very common question. It has been answered many times. I have a problem with the question because I don't believe that cats do sleep "so much". They snooze a lot more than humans (if they are not geriatric humans!). But domestic cats don't genuinely sleep with dreams et cetera much longer than people. They may even enjoy deep sleep for shorter periods than humans. Certainly they are more flexible as to when they sleep and for how long than humans. Photo: Michael I believe that people get mixed up between sleeping and snoozing. There must be a difference. If you want to work out how long a domestic cat actually sleeps I think you will find it is about 5 to 8 hours during a 24 hour period. It might be longer and it might be shorter but it is probably shorter than for humans. And I stress I'm referring to deep, real sleep. But a domestic cat will snooze either side of sleep for quite long periods so the combination of the two might amount to about 15 hou