Saturday, September 25, 2021

Cat bike chariot (cat transportation plus mental stimulation)

This is a Dutch rig; a bike chariot as the owner (Saartje - @LifeOfSaartje) describes it. She (I think she is female) says on Twitter: 'Living the indoor cat life. Travels by bike chariot regularly to play and sleep with my friends, furboys Henk & Karel'. 

Cat bike chariot (cat transportation plus mental stimulation)
Cat bike chariot (cat transportation plus mental stimulation)

Not sure why she travels with her cat to see two others both male. Maybe she is just being friendly and social. Perhaps she has a friend not too far away and she decided to travel to her and take her cat with her. That's a good idea if (as is the case) the cat is a full-time indoor cat. The cat gets plenty of safe outdoor mental stimulation. Jackson Galaxy calls it cat mojo; tapping in to the wild cat within.

Saartje (the cat) is a tabby. Her chums are a ginger and white and another tabby. The outstanding part of the story is the cat bike chariot! Cool. Link to her Twitter page.

Friday, September 24, 2021

How does the jaguarundi reproduce?

The question is a little outlandish because clearly jaguarundi reproduce like any other cat or indeed human as they are mammals; they mate and become pregnant and then give birth. I won't bother to repeat the whole process but I will discuss briefly the reproduction and development of jaguarundi. 

Photo by jindrich_photographe on 500px. This is a quite a mean looking cat.
Photo by jindrich_photographe on 500px. This is a quite a mean looking cat.

It has been suggested (i.e. as at 2002 the scientists were uncertain) that jaguarundis have no breeding season in the tropics, Texas or Mexico but they might have two breeding seasons annually in Mexico or a single breeding season in the fall in the northern part of their range according to my book on the wild cat species namely Wild Cats of the World.

In captivity there have been births in January, June and August through to October. Observations of captive jaguarundi indicate that the period of heat i.e. oestrus is short at about three or five days and that the oestrus cycle lasts for about 53 days.

During sexual receptivity the female engages in more scent markings and rolling on her back. She might also vocalise faintly while depositing urine marks around the enclosure if in captivity. The male shows a great deal of attention to a female in oestrus. He follows closely and tolerates a great deal of aggression from her.

Typically, as is the case with domestic cats, mating is accompanied by a loud scream when the male starts copulation (intromission) and the male grips the female's neck in his jaws during mating which we see with domestic and feral cats. And indeed, with the big cats such as lions and tigers.

Gestation is from 70 to 75 days. The female gives birth to 1 to 4 young. In captivity the average size of 12 litters was 1.83 kittens. In another study of three litters, the average number of kittens was 2.33.

Wednesday, September 22, 2021

Jane Goodall has called for an end to wildlife trafficking and bush meat

Jane Goodall is the world-famous primatologist and anthropologist who lived with apes and understands them. Her voice is a powerful one. Writing on the website (APRIL 06, 2020) she said that Covid-19 should make us rethink our destructive relationship with the natural world. Humankind needs to chart another way forward. The pandemic which has stricken the world should make humanity rethink its relationship with the natural world.

Jane Goodall. Collage: PoC. Photos in public domain.
Jane Goodall. Collage: PoC. Photos in public domain.

It is long overdue as far as I am concerned. You won't be able to make a change through voluntary action. It will have to be forced upon people and encouraged by offering alternatives to bush meat and to making money out of trafficking while animal parts.

ASSOCIATED: Statement of Jane Goodall about the killing of Cecil the lion

More than half the diseases that have emerged since 1960 were caused by disease spreading from wild animals. As I said, you would have thought that we would have learnt by now but apparently not. Jane Goodall says that the world is interconnected and that what happens in one part of the natural world affects the rest including humans. A weakness of humans is that they feel distanced from the natural world and they are almost invariably self-interested.

Most people hadn't heard of the pangolin until Covid-19 emerged. It is believed that the virus which causes Covid-19 originates in bats and was transferred to people via pangolins. Pangolins are the most persecuted and used animal on the planet because the scales and body parts are used in traditional Chinese medicine and in foods because it is believed they improve health.

Goodall says that people are now feeling the true cost of wildlife trafficking and the destruction of the natural world. I would add bush meat is another major influence in that process. Goodall said that her work informs her that thousands of great apes are stolen from the wild every year and hunted for their body parts and to eat. 

Bush meat in China and Africa is commonplace. That means humans eating apes and monkeys too. Out cousins. They are murdered and eaten. Horrible. I'm concerned about Africa with respect to the spread of Covid-19 because their hospitals are ill-equipped to deal with it. If it expands rapidly in the African continent and it has started in sub-Saharan Africa where there is one doctor of every 5,000 people compared to 300 in Europe it may be catastrophic. The average American hospital has more intensive care beds than most African countries.

Jane Goodall noted that the diseases Sars and Mers are former virus epidemics which had spread from animals.

Every country must do its part to create more comprehensive legislation to protect wildlife, and illegal trafficking and ban sales.

I agree, that China to name one important country, must legislate to dramatically improve animal welfare and wildlife. However, great legislation without enforcement is worse than useless. The truth of the matter is that we can't be too optimistic about the impact of legislation in places like China or Africa. There is far too much corruption. 

Corruption fatally undermines law enforcement. It needs a complete change in attitude and culture to remove corruption and I don't believe it can be done. I know that's incredibly pessimistic but corruption must be dealt with almost initially before enacting fresh legislation.

And there needs to be international enforcement. We have treaties and agreements in place already with CITES to control the movement of animal body parts and live animals across the globe. What happens? Almost nothing has changed. The industry is worth billions and agreements are just walked over and ignored. 

I'm afraid Goodall is too optimistic, almost naive in my opinion but it is also correct that there needs to be dramatic change. She mentions that China implemented a strict ban on wildlife trafficking after the emergence of Covid-19. But has it been enforced? China shut down 20,000 wild animal markets but there are reports that they have reopened as if nothing has happened. Corruption, as I said, undermines everything.

When you protect wildlife and nature you protect humans and their communities. Humans have to reconnect with nature and see the importance of protecting it. Fundamental changes are required which are so profound that they will take many decades to come about.

Friday, September 17, 2021

This is my cat Leo. My sister says he’s ugly and doesn’t look like a cat. What do you guys think?

Well, the title comes directly from I kept it intact because I think it's good and the first response that comes to my mind is that there are no ugly cats. I say that even though I have a page on one of my websites in which I show some 'ugly cats'. I defend the cats and the page was written some time ago. I disagree with it now. It's unfair to call cats ugly. We judge appearance by human standards and use stereotypes to do this.

Leo described as ugly. He is not.
Leo described as ugly. He is not. Photo:

You can't apply those stereotypes to cats. They are sentient creatures and you have to look at the character as more important than the appearance. And if a domestic cat is physically ugly by human standards it can only be because the cat was selectively bred to extreme by a cat breeder who has screwed up and created a cat with an undershot jaw or bulging eyes because they did a very bad job of artificial selection. So, it's a human fault. Or the cat might have been involved in an accident which causes an injury to the face. Under these circumstances it is unfair and unkind to call a cat ugly.

Associated page: There is also cat colour personality type stereotyping - click to read about it.

There are numerous reasons why a cat might look ugly, by our standards, but none of them justify calling the cat on this page ugly. We need to be more sensitive and tender towards fellow creatures.

An interesting point is that the Reddit user who published the photograph shows us a tabby cat who is distinctly not ugly by any standards. This is a perfectly normal tabby cat don't you agree? Many other Reddit users who commented on the picture say that he is handsome. But the question did provoke a heated debate which resulted in the comments section being shut down.

A moderator on the website said the following: "I am afraid to say that I have to lock the comments till this calms down. Be humane to others". And there are 637 comments so I can't read them all to find out what went on, but clearly people got a bit heated. However, the general gist, from what I have seen, reflects what I have said above. They think the cat is handsome and you can't call cats ugly because you got to look at the whole including their personality.

I think the problem was that people who commented started to attack the sister who said that this cat was ugly. It was unnecessary to do this, but for the life of me I can't see how the sister could describe this cat as ugly. They have strange standards. Perhaps they've been looking at too many humongous, awesome, Maine Coon cats which are outstanding. Perhaps they've been trawling through the Internet looking at all these high-profile purebred cats so that a humble moggy tabby cat suddenly looked ugly to them. I'm afraid she's wrong.

A lot of the purebred cats, which have a wonderful appearance, will probably be suffering in middle age and beyond with inherited health problems. Moggies are generally healthier than purebred cats. That's a factor when you assess beauty.

What do you think? Please comment. Thanks.

What are gray and white cats called?

Gray ('grey' in the UK) and white cats are called 'bicolor cats' (two colour cats: gray or another color and white!). Sometimes people refer them as 'solid and white'. Solid and white applies to all colours and to shorthair and longhair cats. Gray and white describes a cat coat type not a cat breed. Many cat breeds are allowed under breed standards to have gray and white coats such as the Scottish Fold shown below.

Gray and white cat
Gray and white cat which happens to be a Scottish Fold but the coat applies to any cat, purebred or moggie. Photo in the public domain.

Thursday, September 16, 2021

Father cat kneads mother cat while she nurses her kittens

To me, this looks unusual and it is the first time that I have seen it. Mother is nursing her kittens. That is completely normal and we see it many times on the Internet in videos. While she is nursing the father of the kittens is kneading her side (her flank). Why is he doing this? It's a tricky question. You could almost believe that he is doing it for the same reason that the kittens are doing it which is to encourage the flow of colostrum for the kittens' benefit. Kittens knead their mother's breast to encourage the flow of milk. But I think he believes that he is a kitten feeding at his mother's breast. He has got that thought in watching his kittens doing it!

He may be doing it for a different reason. We know that domestic cats knead their human caregivers. They do it all the time or they do it on clothes or bedclothes which smell of their human caregiver. It is an example of how people keep their adult cats in a permanent state of kittenhood. It may be the fact that this father kneads his owner and instinctively does the same thing to the mother of his kittens because he's confused between his human caregiver and the mother of his kittens! That might sound a bit far-fetched but it is possible I believe.

Note: This is an embedded tweet. Sometimes they are deleted at source which stops them working on this site. If that has happened, I apologise but I have no control over it. And sometimes videos are reduced to links. Please click on the link if that is the case.
Domestic cats can be confused with their role in life because they do so many things which indicate that. I mentioned one which is kneading humans. They believe that they are at their mother's breast when they do it which they clearly aren't because they're lying on their owner's lap.

And we see cats bringing back items of clothing from a neighbour's house. That is a mixed-up version of catching prey and bring it back to the home or it is carrying young kittens around in their mouth and bring them to a new den. It is confused behaviour albeit charming.

Top three reasons why Australians adopt cats from animal shelters

A study published in 2015 titled Determinants of Choice and outcomes for adult cats and kittens adopted from an Australian animal shelter found that the top three reasons for adopting a cat from an animal shelter are (1) it was the right thing to do and (2) they wanted to help the shelter and (3) they believed that the shelter was a trusted and a credible option. The remaining 13 reasons are listed below in a chart and in words:

The shelter provided cats and kittens which are sterilised, vaccinated and micro-chipped. It was also convenient to get to the shelter because their opening hours were suitable. Another reason is that they had checked perhaps online and wanted a particular kitten at a shelter. They also wanted after adoption support and they found that shelter cats and kittens were good value. They also believed that a shelter provided lots of choice and that they were convenient to get to. Some had already adopted from a shelter and they were happy with the experience while others had been referred to a shelter. Some felt that shelter cats and kittens were cheap to adopt and had heard about low-cost promotions for cats. Others found that cats and kittens were cheaper when adopted from a shelter and finally others said that friends and family thought that they should adopt from a shelter because, I presume, they advised that it was the right thing to do.

The chart:

Reasons why Australians adopt cats from animal shelters
Chart showing reasons for adoption. Source: the study referred to above.

The study was conducted by Sarah Zito, Mandy Paterson, Dianne Vankan, John Morton, Pauleen Bennett and Clive Phillips.

The study confirms that the type of person who adopts from an animal shelter is thoughtful and in general wants to do the right thing which is what I'd expect.

Indicators of poor cat ownership in Melbourne Australia 2009

There is a study online on the Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science dated 2009 entitled Admissions of Cats to Animal Welfare Shelters in Melbourne, Australia (link). It paints a picture of poor-quality cat ownership in Melbourne Australia and I will tell you why.

Stray cat Australia
Stray cat Australia. Photo in the public domain

The scientists investigated what was going on at one large Melbourne shelter over a 12-month period. In the abstract to the report, they don't tell us the name of the shelter. But they say that they tracked 15,206 cat admissions. They found that 81.6% of the admitted cats were strays. That means they were unowned but were likely to be previously owned. They had wandered away from the home and nobody had taken a blind notice.

They also found that only 4% of the cats coming in that year were sterilised. I'll restate that, only 4/100 cats admitted to this shelter had been either spayed or neutered. That is highly indicative of poor cat ownership. And if the cat was a true domestic cat the rate of spaying and neutering was at 12.8%. That is a little bit more than 1 in every 10. Once again, this is highly indicative of a negligent form of cat ownership.

Finally, they state that "the majority of cats admitted were euthanised". What they mean to say is that the majority of cats were killed because I'm going to make the presumption that the majority of cats were not in such a poor state of health that they had to be euthanised. 

Euthanasia only takes place, in truth, if it is more humane to put a cat to sleep than to treat them and bring them back to health. So, the scientists are using a euphemism to cover up the mass killing of thousands of stray cats entering a major animal shelter in Melbourne, Australia.

It does not paint a pretty picture. And it encourages the authorities to place restrictions on cat ownership because one aspect of this story is that when you have that many stray cats wandering around the environment, they have an impact on native species due to predation, which is of great concern to the authorities in Australia. There are two sides to the coin in this instance: both sides don't look good.

Wednesday, September 15, 2021

Jaguar in the 2021 Disney live-action film, Jungle Cruise

Proxima is the jaguar that Frank Wolff adopted as a pet in the Disney film Jungle Cruise. People ask if 'the tiger died' in the film. There is no tiger in the film, just the jaguar which is also a big cat found in Central and South America in diminishing numbers. Proxima survives and accompanies Frank and the Houghtons on their journey to civilisation and London at the end of the film. You'll find no reference to a tiger in all the synopses of this film. In fact, they don't even mention a cat except the Disney fandom website, the source of this information.

Here is Proxima:

Jaguar in the 2021 Disney live-action film, Jungle Cruise
 Jaguar in the 2021 Disney live-action film, Jungle Cruise

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