Saturday, November 20, 2021

Picture of a ginger tabby cat camouflaged in a woodpile

Picture of a ginger tabby cat camouflaged in a woodpile
Picture of a ginger tabby cat resting in a woodpile. Photo:

The Sun newspaper reported on this. But the success of the difficulty in finding the cat in the woodpile is not all to do with the colour and texture of the cat but the poor image quality in the original. I have smartened up the image as best I can but it is still poor in terms of image quality. The cat is marked! The newspaper ran a 'spot the cat' article.

Reddit users struggled to find the cat. Well, the cat is a ginger tabby. That's bound to create complications in a woodpile. This cat appears to be a dilute ginger tabby so the background colour is similar. But if the image was of decent quality you'd see this cat much more easily.

Thursday, November 18, 2021

Stray cats alert residents to an abandoned new-born baby in a drain

NEWS AND COMMENT-WESTERN INDIAN STATE OF MAHARASHTRA, INDIA: Sadly, this is another example of mothers throwing away their unwanted new-born babies for them to die; in this instance the mother or somebody under the directions of the mother threw the baby away into a sewage drain according to online news media.

Rescued infant after stray cats made residents aware of the child in a drain
Rescued infant after stray cats made residents aware of the child in a drain. Picture: Mumbai Police tweet.

The stray cats in the area became apparently agitated which alerted residents to the presence of the new-born baby who in turn alerted the police which led to an investigation by the local authority.

The incident took place in the Indian commercial capital, Mumbai. The infant was wrapped in a cloth and dumped in sewage. The Mumbai Police tweet states that the presence of the baby created a 'ruckus' among the stray cats (a commotion). The baby was rushed to hospital. I have re-published the tweet below.

Note: Sometimes tweets are deleted at source which stops them working on this site. If that has happened, I apologise but I have no control over it.

The news media do not know the names of the parents or parent who dumped the baby in the drain. Neither is the gender of the baby revealed by the police.

News media tells me that this kind of incident is not exceptional, albeit rare. Two similar incidents are reported: in November 2020 a new-born was rescued from the roadside after her parents allegedly stuffed the baby into a gunny sack and left her to die. In another incident earlier in June 2018, a new-born was abandoned in a storm drain in the southern Indian city of Chennai. A milkman on his way to work heard the cries. The milkman alerted a local resident, a woman, who pulled the baby to safety whereupon it was rushed to hospital.

We are not told what kind of ruckus the cats produced as a result of the presence of the baby. They probably investigated it. There might have been several cats sniffing and investigating the infant. They probably regarded the child as a 'invading hostile presence'. This might have been enough to draw attention to the child leading to its rescue. Perhaps the cats should be rescued as well as a reward.

Wednesday, November 17, 2021

No Covid vaccinations for pets because they aren't a priority

NEWS AND COMMENT: We, the public, know that lions, tigers and bears have been given Covid vaccinations. This tells us unequivocally that there is a Covid vaccine for animals, specifically zoo animals. This is because zookeepers who have been infected with Covid transmit the disease to captive animals at their zoo. This is important because the animals are valuable. They are an asset to the zoo and that asset needs to be protected with a vaccine.

RELATED: Tragedy: 3 snow leopards die of Covid

Free pet care clinic Seattle 2020. Ruth Fremson / The New York Times

However, despite the knowledge of an effective vaccination for animals, vaccines are unavailable for dogs and cats. This is simply because, on my understanding, that dogs and cats are de-prioritised.

The experts think that cats and dogs do not transmit Covid to their owners and other people living in their homes. One veterinarian, Dr. Elizabeth Lennon, working out of the University of Pennsylvania said that she is frequently asked when a vaccination will be made available for domestic cats and dogs.

The answer is that pets are simply not a priority according to experts. Dr. Lennon said that:

"To date, there hasn’t been any documented cases of dogs or cats spreading the virus to people."

And Dr. Will Sander, a veterinarian at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign said that the risk of the disease spreading in pets is so low that any vaccine would not be worth giving.

RELATED: Can domestic cats transmit Covid?

This is a question of economics and finance and whether people can be bothered to vaccinate companion animals. At the moment the answer is that it is not worth vaccinating them.

My research does not specify absolutely that the vaccines given to zoo animals can be used on domestic animals. However, I can't see any reason why a vaccine used on a big cat like a tiger can't be used on a domestic cat. This is because they are exactly the same anatomically with some very minor differences excluding the size difference which is obvious. 😀.

But the point is that they are the same and they have the same physiology, so I would like someone to tell me why the vaccines made available to zoos in America can't also be made available to veterinarians. Is that such a big ask?

Even if the vaccine is de-prioritised for pets, it is hardly a great difficulty or burden to distribute it a little more widely to veterinarians.

Source: Seattle Times.

Phoenix Day School for the Deaf have a feral cat problem and they are dealing with it properly

NEWS AND COMMENT: This is a good cat new story in my book. It's straightforward and the outcome is going to be good. And that is because the people who are dealing with the problem are sensible and enlightened.

Feral cat near the school
Feral cat near the school. Photo: 3TV/CBS 5.

In the past several months a feral cat problem has developed at Phoenix Day School for the Deaf. A colony has emerged at the school which has been supported by local residents who been feeding them next to the fence that borders the school. Because of this they been roaming onto the campus at 19th Avenue between Hayward and Morton Avenue.

The problem for Maria Murphy at the school is that they sometimes defecate on the campus. She says they bury it but it's not something they want for obvious reasons on campus.

The good news element of this story is that they decided to work together and employ TNR practices to control the colony. In addition, they are giving instructions to feed the cats for a set period of time daily. They've TNRed 17 already.

Felicity Short has set up a fundraising page to purchase traps and to set up veterinary appointments to get the cat spayed and neutered.

There are useful spin-offs for this kind of activity. You get people together. They work together. They meet each other. You have a community spirit. And you work with the cats to make their lives better but you stop them procreating. It's good for people to do something good for animal welfare. It's good for the collective consciousness.

A lot of people denigrate TNR. These are the anti-feral cat brigade. They want to eliminate them but TNR is so much better when carried out properly. There shouldn't be a discussion about it. Humans put the cats there because of their carelessness and therefore they have a duty to treat them humanely and with decency. It is humankind's mess to clear up.

Cassidy Porter-Whistman, founder of Barn House Rescue AZ hints at the fact that it should be a community effort when she said:

"It takes a village when you have a colony this size and they problem this size, it takes a little bit of a different approach."

They are teaming up with Felicity Short to run a TNR program. And they're going to educate the feeders to maintain the colony but not allow it to grow. The problem with feeding feral cats is that you create a food source. Colonies form around a food source. Also, you attract wildlife. Therefore it needs to be done in a controlled way. This, I think, is what they are alluding to when they say that they are going to educate feeders.

Porter-Whistman said that feral cat feeders tend to over-feed. She advises not to free feed but to feed at a specific time of day I presume in a controlled manner.

She is going to attend the location to educate the area about TNR. 😊 I like that.

She said:

We actually go out and try to educate the entire neighborhood, ask them who's feeding, if anyone's feeding, tell them about the project and then we trap every single night for three to five days until no cats come back to the feeding station. Unless we can stabilize those colonies one colony at a time in that targeted way, we literally would do this for the rest of our lives and never catch up to how many cats there are. They outnumber us, significantly."

A resident makes a good point which is that the cats do serve a purpose in keeping down the rodent population. She said: "You see the same cats around, there are no new cats obviously and it's all about balance because you do need some of them around--I mean, I don't see any mice or rats or other annoying things."

Tuesday, November 16, 2021

New York City stray cat is too sweet not to be adopted

Date: 17th Nov. 2021: This is a really cute male cat who has been a stray for 1.5 years in New York City. You can see from the video that he desperately needs to live with a human companion. The person who made the video is asking for social media users to adopt him ( 

They also ask if it is okay to take him to a shelter. I'm not sure about taking him to a shelter. He might not get adopted at a shelter. If he's not adopted he may be euthanised. Taking him to a shelter, depending upon the type of shelter it is, might be a death warrant for this little fella.

Stray cat needs a human companion
Stray cat needs a human companion. Screenshot. Sorry for the poor quality.

The best thing is to try and find a home for him locally. This is in fact what they are trying to do. They can't take him in themselves because they have a 17-year-old cat who does not get along with other cats. I totally get that. It can be disastrous to bring in a new cat to join a resident cat.

Note: This is a video from another website. 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.

When you see cats like this it breaks your heart really. He's left alone all the time in the urban jungle, through different weather conditions. He is vulnerable to being harmed. Where does he get his food from? Probably kind people feed him but is reliant upon that and the supply may be sporadic. He needs a proper home where he is loved all the time.

For me, there are too many cats and dogs without homes, unwanted and living under difficult if not intolerable circumstances. I hate to be negative but it does paint a very negative picture to me. We can't expect perfection from the human but I think that we can expect a little better than our current performance in the human-to-cat relationship worldwide.

Tip: how to save left over cat food some of the time

We know that a problem with wet cat food is that a lot of it can be left behind, it goes off and it has to be thrown away. The first point to make is that not all wet cat food goes off quickly. Clearly in warm climates and in hot homes it will probably be inedible after about an hour or so because its smell changes and cats assess food on the smell it gives off.

Tip: how to save left over cat food some of the time
Tip: how to save left over cat food some of the time

However, under many conditions if your cat leaves wet cat food in the bowl you can bring them back to it by adding a good quality dry cat food which can be sprinkled over the wet. You only have to add a small quantity of kibble to turn left over wet cat food or even rejected wet cat food into something which is acceptable to your cat. It is a mind game trick. We should be able to outsmart our cat. Humans are meant to be more intelligent than cats 😇.

Your cat will start eating the dry cat food which she likes and which is different to the wet (obviously) and in doing so progress onto the wet and hopefully finish it off at a second sitting.

I have just done exactly that and it worked a treat. I think we owe it to ourselves to minimise the amount of wet cat food that we throw away. Some people say that you can feed foxes with left over wet cat food in order to make use of it. I tend to disagree with that because in my experience foxes don't really like leftover wet cat food. Perhaps it depends upon the fox and where you live but that's my personal experience.

Also, foxes are essentially dogs in terms of their diet and cat food is unsuitable for dogs because it's too rich. It might cause diarrhoea. I don't have any hard evidence for that but common sense dictates that you should not give cat food to dogs and vice versa. 

It is more problematic, by the way, to give dog food to cats than vice versa because cats are obligate carnivores as we all know by now thanks to the Internet whereas dogs are omnivores despite being described as carnivores 😕.

Friday, November 12, 2021

Topless firefighters and cats! 2022 Australian Firefighters Cat Calendar photoshoot

This is for the ladies or gay men - is that fair? 😇. It is a bit voyeuristic and indulgent but a bit of fun. There is a Christmas theme. Photographically speaking the success of the images is about the juxtaposition of the two creatures in the photos. The relatively hairless men and the relatively tiny cats covered in hair. There are many good news stories of firefighters saving the lives of cats who have inhaled smoke. You must have seen the photos of firefighters administering oxygen to cats using miniature oxygen masks. People love that sort of thing. I'd rather see cats brought out of home fires by their owners who escaped. Please don't leave the cats behind if you can help it. Too many die in house fires while their owners live.

The price of the calendar is AUS$22.00 + shipping. "The 2022 Australian Firefighters Cat Calendar will appeal to every crazy cat lady and man worldwide". That is what they say.

Note: This is a video from another website. 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.

Thursday, November 11, 2021

For cat health choose a veterinarian sensibly

How many cat owners choose their veterinarian sensibly or even carefully? 😕

Personally, I go to the nearest veterinarian I can find and book an appointment; not good. The reason is because the independent veterinarians where I live have been bought up by conglomerates and therefore all their branches are exactly the same: rather poor or at best average.

However, if I was living in America I would do my best to seek out a veterinarian who did not declaw cats. That would be my criteria for selecting a veterinarian for my cat companion. The trouble with that criteria is that it may be impossible to find a veterinarian who does not declaw cats within a hundred mile radius. If that were true I would have to see a veterinarian who declawed cats which, personally, I would find deeply upsetting. It would indicate a culture and mentality towards cats which is morally bankrupt in my personal view.

Choose a veterinarian for your cat sensibly
Choose a veterinarian for your cat sensibly. Image: Pixabay.

But if you don't live in America you can still choose a cat sensibly. Obviously proximity is a major factor and perhaps the single factor for most cat owners but it shouldn't be.

It is nice if you have a similar attitude to your veterinarian on ethical issues. I'm back to declawing because it is highly unethical to de-claw. However, there are other ethical issues such as the frequency of inoculations and deworming. I'm referring to perhaps the old days when veterinarians encouraged clients to come into their clinic by recommending booster shots and then selling them other procedures and products.

RELATED - USA: Vet tech spills the beans on those evil declawing veterinarians

If a veterinarian has a tendency to do that they should be avoided if possible. The attitude towards cat vaccinations have changed over the years. They are given less often partly, or perhaps majorly, because vaccinations are not entirely safe. They can cause cancer at the site of the injection example.

RELATED: What vaccinations does my cat need in the UK?

You might think that you should select the veterinarian who's the cheapest. This is not necessarily the best criteria because a veterinarian may charge more because they have better equipment to diagnose illness. 

When a veterinarian invests in her business with better diagnostic equipment her overheads are higher forcing her to increase charges to cover the cost. But you'll get a better service. In fact, the service may prove cheaper in the long run because of better diagnostics and therefore reduced or more precise treatments.

Dr. Bruce Fogle recommends that when choosing a veterinarian you should ask to have a look around the clinic to meet the staff. 😦 Tricky you think? Yes, it might be but it would set the scene for a better relationship: a partnership with the mutual goal of improved cat health.

RELATED (USA): A lot of vet techs are forced to work at declawing veterinary clinics against their wishes

You should ask questions of the staff and asked them how long they've been at the clinic! That might be difficult to do in the presence of a veterinarian but it would be very effective. If staff stay at a veterinarian's clinic for decades you can be assured that the ethical standards, management and medical standards are high.

Tuesday, November 9, 2021

Elderly woman’s phone, ID & ATM card stolen while feeding community cats

NEWS AND COMMENT-SINGAPORE: It's been reported that an elderly woman's phone, ID and ATM card were stolen while she was feeding community cats in Meiling Street. I get the distinct impression that this is a street which is known for community cats and where people feed them regularly. There is a Facebook page called Cats of MeilingSt. Google Maps calls it 'Mei Ling St.', which looks more accurate.

Allegedly Lim feeding community cats on Mei Ling St.
Allegedly Lim feeding community cats on Mei Ling St.. Photo: Microsoft News.

There is a post on that Facebook page which is embedded into this page below. Please note though that this may disappear in time because I'm reliant upon the person who posted it on Facebook to keep it on Facebook. They can delete it at any time.

ASSOCIATED PAGE: Singapore: 250 cats fall from high rise apartments every year. Fifty percent die on impact.

It is pretty self-explanatory. The alleged theft took place in broad daylight. Microsoft News have the story on their website but they say they are reviewing it's accuracy. They are implying that the social media source might not be reliable. My distinct impression is that it is reliable as it comes from this group of volunteers who feed cats on this particular Street in Singapore.

ASSOCIATED: Almost 80% of Singapore residents are barred from having a cat companion

The lady concerned is Lim. She was feeding cats and her phone was in her bag in a trolley beside her. As a result, they recommend that people feeding cats should keep their phone with them at all times, together with any other important documentation and cards et cetera. The thief allegedly walked by and put his hand in her bag. Very easy to do when the owner of the handbag is distracted while feeding community cats.

Friday, November 5, 2021

What domestic cat looks like a bobcat?

There is one purebred domestic cat which was artificially created through selective breeding to look like the native American bobcat: the Pixie-bob. This purebred cat is the one to go to if you want to adopt a domestic cat that looks like a bobcat.

Pixie-bob photo by Helmi Flick.
Pixie-bob 'Proud Foot'. photo by Helmi Flick.

The Pixie-bob is meant to look wild. And the breed does have that naturalness about it which makes it look wild. This is quite a large cat and often polydactyl (more than the usual number of toes - see picture of Proud Foot above). 

Male Pixie-bob cats way between 14-18 pounds and for females the weight ranges between 10-12 pounds. There are, therefore, larger than usual for a domestic cat.

They are said to be quiet and friendly with a dog-like character. There was a time when people thought that domestic cats could mate with bobcats to create a hybrid. It seems that some people thought that the Pixie-bob was, indeed, a wild cat hybrid. However, this breed is entirely domestic with no wildcat DNA in it.

Pixie-bob Armani by Helmi Flick
Pixie-bob Armani by Helmi Flick

In the mid-1980s, a woman called Carole and Brewer acquired two cats that had the appearance of being a cross between a bobcat and a domestic cat. Note the word "appearance". These were not genuine hybrids of a wildcat and a domestic cat. 


Brewer bred from these two and produced a female called 'Pixie' who is the founding cat of the Pixie-bob breed. This cat had a long tail but was bred with a Manx cat (a short-tailed cat) to produce the classic Pixie-bob appearance. 

They are a well established cat breed but relatively rare compared to mainstream breeds such as the Maine Coon, Persian or Bengal cats, for example.

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