Thursday, December 23, 2021

Office cat survived nine days under the rubble of an office building destroyed by a tornado

LOUISVILLE, KENTUCKY-NEWS AND COMMENT: This is another one of those stories of domestic cat survival. They are always remarkable. This is no exception. You may have heard of the dramatic tornadoes that ripped through Tornado Alley and directly through Mayfield, Kentucky. It looks as if a tornado pretty well destroyed Mayfield.

Madix after the rescue. Photo: Hoot Gibson.

In Mayfield there was a three-storey office building in the downtown area. This three-storey block included the offices of Sonny "Hoot" Gibson and his black cat, Madix, who greeted his customers. After the tornado passed through all that was left was rubble. Gibson was standing in that rubble on Sunday afternoon when he heard a faint meow. 

Gibson's cat had not been seen since the tornado destroyed everything. He had tried to locate him without success and given up after a few days. He believed that nothing could have survived the tornado and the destruction it caused.

He thought that his mind was playing tricks so he hollered for his cat. He heard a muffled sound but couldn't locate Madix and asked some employees to help them.

Eventually they found Madix in a hole beneath the rubble. Gibson couldn't believe it. He said "It was just an incredible feeling to put him in my arms. If cats actually have nine lives, he probably used up about eight of them in that nine-day period."

RELATED: Cat survived in house for 52 days by eating paper.

Remarkably Madix was unscathed but very hungry and very thirsty. It is remarkable how they can stay in one place for so long without food and water and survive. There have been remarkable cases of domestic cats trapped in shipping containers for a month and surviving.

Gibson also said that it's a blessing for the people in Mayfield to hear the story as it lightens the mood and they "realise that great things can come out of terrible situations. If it's uplifting to one person, then Madix has served his purpose on this planet."

RELATED: How long can cats survive without food and water?

Source: Federal News Network

Monday, December 20, 2021

Do some cat owners introduce a new pet to force the existing one out?

Bad relationship between cat and owner
Bad relationship between cat and owner. Picture in public domain.

Here are some facts about domestic cats and their ownership which encourage me to believe, very speculatively, that some cat owners might introduce a new pet, either a dog or a cat, into the household in order to force the resident cat out to find a new home. This post is provocative but I believe it is fair and reasonable.
  • It is hard to ensure that the resident cat gets on with a new, incoming cat. It can cause stress in both cats, particular the resident cat. It can be difficult to ameliorate this tension. The relationship might never be right.
  • It's a known fact that some domestic cats migrate to a new home for whatever reason. Something is not right where they are living. So they up sticks and find somewhere else, often a neighbour's home.
  • We also know that some cat owners relinquish their cats to shelters under unjustified circumstances. It is done entirely voluntarily. Indeed, some cat owners take their cats to a veterinarian to put them down despite the cat being thoroughly healthy. That sounds ridiculous but it does happen. The point I am making is that the relationship between domestic cat and owner is not always good. There are instances when the relationship is broken or breaking down.
  • We also know that some people do not like to openly relinquish their cats to a shelter. There are numerous instances of people abandoning cats in shelters surreptitiously by leaving them in boxes outside the front door or whatever. They do this at any time of the year including the deepest part of the winter when it is freezing outside. They even do it at night when it's even colder. So, there is a reluctance to advertise the fact that they are giving up on their cat or cats. Perhaps there is a stigma involved.
In order to avoid this stigma some canny cat owners might adopt a new cat or dog in the knowledge that it may force the existing cat out. Perhaps their relationship with the resident cat has broken down. They might be ambivalent about whether they want to continue living with their cat. They set up a situation where the resident cat might decide to leave. They encourage the scenario. It is a speculative action because it might not work. But it might work and this might suit them. 

RELATED: Not sure whether you want a cat? Try fostering first.

You would have to be a poor domestic cat caregiver to dream up that sort of scheme. But, then again, there must be a substantial percentage of homes in which caregivers are rather poor at the job. We don't have data on this. But it wouldn't surprise me that at least 10% of cat owners are average-to-poor in the caregiving that they provide. If that is correct, we are looking at millions of people. Some of them might concoct the kind of scheme that I have suggested.

Friday, December 17, 2021

Fearne Cotton's 20-year-old cat, Lula, dies

Fearne Cotton announced on her Instagram webpages that her domestic cat companion of 20 years, Lula, has passed. She adopted Lula from the Mayhew Animal Home. She adopted her with another cat, Keloy. Lula must have been very young at the time although we don't know her age at the time of adoption.

Fearne Cotton and Lula
Fearne Cotton and Lula. Photo: Fearne Cotton on Instagram

She took them home to her little cottage in Harrow, UK. Subsequently she moved around a lot and "they've stuck by me through thick and thin".

She says that Lula saw her at her best and at her worst without judgement. She brought love into her life for which she is eternally grateful. And the passing is like an end of an era to her because she can't remember a time when she was not around.

She said:

"Old bird, I will never forget you and the love you gave me. I hope you know how loved you were. You will always be in my heart."

Fearne Cotton describes herself as a mother, broadcaster and writer on her Instagram pages.

Lula in very old age
Lula in very old age. Photo: Fearne Cotton.

The picture above, of Lula, shows us the face of a very old cat. 20-years-of-age is a very good one for a domestic cat. Not many cats make this age. So well done to Fearne Cotton for doing a great job of cat caregiving and in adopting a black cat by the way. A lot of people reject black cats for well-known reasons.

Myopic Australian researchers say that invasive species are the number one threat to Australia's wildlife

Research by Australia's national science agency and the Centre for Invasive Species Solutions states that invasive species to that continent are the number one threat to wildlife. They refer to plants and animals. Animals often cited are feral cats, rabbits, and foxes but there are others. Of these the feral cat is perhaps the most hated by the authorities.

Myopic Aussies
Myopic Aussies. Pic: Pixabay - modified.

I read this news online in The Guardian newspaper online. I don't see any reference in that article to habitat loss due to human activity. In general, across the globe, habitat loss due to human population growth and therefore increased human activity, is the single biggest destroyer of wildlife. Why should this be any different in Australia? It probably isn't.

RELATED: Feral cats are a non-native species in Australia but will they become native?

Arguably, if is possible to assess it accurately enough, humans are the number one threat to Australia's wildlife. And non-native species are the second most important threat. But humans are writing the report. They are myopic when it comes to their behaviour. They are biased. They are suffering from an acute attack of speciesism.

Perhaps the problem is this: humans cannot change their ways and therefore they simply do not consider what they might do to minimise their impact on Australia's wildlife. And it is much easier to blame animals and to kill them in order to curb their predatory activities.

Of course, it is very difficult to get rid of feral cats in Australia. This is been proved time and again despite the ingenious and sinister methods that Australian ploy to slaughter feral cats in large numbers.

RELATED: Australian cutting-edge program to poison feral cats could kill pet dogs too.

One underlying aspect is climate change. Humankind is the author of its own problems in this regard. It isn't just habitat loss because of the building of human settlements and commercial enterprises which destroys the homes of wild species. It is also the destruction of habitat due to fires and the heating up of the environment which makes life on earth untenable for wild species.

I am convinced that when you combine habitat loss and climate change, both of which are caused by people, you have to conclude that the greatest threat to Australia's wildlife is Australians.

Having come to that conclusion I'll add a few details about this report. They say that the problem of invasive species is costing Australia AU$25 billion annually. They argue that more than 80% of nationally listed threatened plants, animals and habitats are affected by alien species. They want urgent development of new technologies to eradicate and prevent invasive pests.

They think it's important to get on top of the problem now. Yet they've been struggling with this problem for decades it seems to me. Every 6-12 months they come up with a new toy which is designed to poison as many animals as possible using 1080 poison which is very painful. They don't care if the animals die a painful death or not. It's irrelevant in their equation.

Australians need to look themselves in the mirror and do much more themselves to help save their precious native species. The most vulnerable are small mammals living in the brush and undergrowth. Billions of animals were killed by the recent devastating forest fires which it is believed were caused by climate change or at least the extent of the fires was greatly exaggerated by climate change.

Wednesday, December 15, 2021

What is a "complex needs" rescue cat?

I think the phrase "complex needs" is sometimes misleading and it can be off-putting. This is because the needs might not be complex if you know what you are doing. And I'm prompted to say just that after reading the story of Mylo, a medium-longhaired tuxedo cat who was in foster care at Cats Protection for a year. His complex needs related to his diabetes. Apparently he contracted diabetes because of neglect by his previous owner. A single disease is not really complex, is it? Perhaps the better phrase is 'special needs' which relates to deaf and blind cats and cats with other disabilities.

Mylo. Photo: Cats Protection or Sandra.

Cats Protection brought him back to health but it seems that they were unable to cure his diabetes. And I think the outcome is very nice. Sandra was caring for a 13-year-old deaf Highland terrier with diabetes. She knew the ropes. She was not daunted by the prospect of adopting a diabetic cat requiring daily insulin injections.

RELATED: Can feline diabetes be reversed?

She was an ideal candidate but for the fact that she had a dog. However, she made it clear to Cats Protection that her dog is very good with cats and so the adoption went ahead. And everybody is pleased that it did because they get on very well.

And here's the deal: Sandra does not find it difficult to give Mylo his jab. She summarises it very sweetly as follows:

"I wouldn’t hesitate to take on another cat with special needs – it’s so rewarding, and really, no extra work once you get into a routine. While my morning toast is browning and my coffee brewing, I give Mylo his breakfast and draw up his insulin. When the toast pops up, I shake a bag of well-known cat treats and Mylo jumps up for his insulin then eats his treat – job done."

I have some posts on diabetic cats and in particular administering insulin on a daily basis, on of which was written by a visitor. People who have to care for a diabetic cat or who are thinking of doing so might find it useful and interesting. The link to the page is below.

Cat diabetes – home treatment – first hand experience.

Sue Hocknell of Cats Protection is delighted to see Mylo settled in his new home. In fact, she said that she would have adopted Mylo herself if it wasn't for her other cats because he has such a nice character. She believed that she needed to find an experienced cat caregiver. She was successful. That's why it took a bit longer.

Sandra is a retired nurse which certainly helps.


Wondered what you cat does at night while you sleep?

Watching this I have a very strong feeling that this black cat wants his human companions to bloody well wake up and join the cat world where cats are active at night.

The poor guy desperately wants human interaction at time when humans are in cloud cuckoo land. I feel sad for the cat. It is an example of how in one clear aspect of cat and human life we are at polar opposites. Humans sleep at night. Cats run around looking for prey at night. And if they are full-time indoor cats it's double trouble because there is nothing to do. Full-time indoor cats rely on their human to entertain them most of the time. Unless it is a multi-cat home.

This is the brilliant screenshot. This cat of the night notices the security camera which is on time lapse and investigates. His owners are oblivious to his activities. Well, they were until they watched the video. Nice idea by the way.

What we see in the video is one of the great difficulties or barriers to living with the domestic cat. Although they are active during the day and night in general domestic cats prefer to hunt at night and/or at dawn and dusk. These are times when their prey animals are most active. They have inherited this from the wildcat. 

The European wildcat does most of its hunting at night. And so we have a cat here in the video who is programmed to hunt at night but there is nothing to hunt. He or she is active in other ways because there is energy to burn. And throughout the day they will snooze for hours. I think that it is fair to say that the domestic cat is in this respect out of step with humans. Their body clock is out of sync. with hours. The video shows usual cat behaviour. It happens across the planet millions of times every night.

Feline activity in the bedroom is one reason why quite a lot of cat owners lock their cats out of the bedroom at night. I think that this is unfair because the bedroom contains a lot of the scent of their human companions. Therefore it is an important part of the home because they like to be within that scent as it reassures them. They feel happier connecting with us through our body odour. So when you lock them out you remove that enjoyment from their lives. I would argue that it is an unfriendly act and not in line with good cat caregiving.

Cat caregivers simply have to get used to their cat being active in the bedroom at night. Or lying on the bed and getting in the way. It's a question of the human adapting to the presence of their cat. Domestic cats adapt to our presence and our lifestyle so it's only fair that we reciprocate.

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.

Tuesday, December 14, 2021

Woman who cared for community cats for 25 years, dies

NEWS AND COMMENT: This is a story from Singapore. A 74-year-old woman who cared for community cats where she lived has died. She was well known. There have been tributes online. She had a good (but physically weak) heart and she had to scrimp and save over those 25 years. She made sacrifices for the well-being of unwanted cats who should not be in their predicament. She is the kind of person I admire above all others. She got on with helping quietly and persistently, not asking for rewards from people.

Chen Tai and cat
Chen Tai and cat. Pic: Facebook

It appears that she had two names because the name is reported on the website namely  Liu Fang Fang is different to her name as reported on Facebook in tributes to her namely Mdm Tan (Chen Tai).

I don't think that matters because she was a well-known personality. She taught others how to care for community cats and when feeding her cats she covered an area of about six bus stops. I think that gives you a nice feel for the effort she put into her voluntary tasks.

She started out within the vicinity of her block at Jurong West Street 75. Apparently she was known to have a frail heart and died of a heart attack. She kept going despite her frailty which was obviously known to her.

She was admitted to hospital in November 2021. She became more seriously ill while in hospital and succumbed in December 9. She was known for her generosity. There was a funeral procession at 2 PM on 12 December 2021. The local newspaper reported on it.

The Facebook post tells me that her wish was that cat owners must always sterilise their cats and that people in general should love and have compassion for community cats. She wanted people to educate others on how to look after cats.

The Facebook post is written by Siau Li Chao who said that she knew Chen Tai since 2004. At that time she had just started feeding community cats. She met her in a pet shop. She was given guidance for which she was thankful.

She said that she had one vaccination by which I will presume she means one vaccination against Covid. She's kind of implying that Chen Tai died of Covid but I don't think that is what happened. In fact I'm sure of it because she died of a heart attack. But no doubt she took risks with Covid to help the cats. Although Singapore has a very good record in managing Covid.

Siau Li Chao says that somebody else has taken over caring for the community cats. They would have pleased her to know that.

Monday, December 13, 2021

Example of how an animal shelter assessed a kitten's personality incorrectly

Below are the words of an anonymous person. I really do not know who wrote them. Also, they made this statement about five years ago so this is now history. It was a draft article which I never completed. I thought this woman's words should not be deleted and so decided to publish them on this subdomain website. They are wise words. Words that warn of the difficulty in assessing animal personality at shelters.

This is about as sad a photo as you'll see of a cat at an animal shelter awaiting adoption or death.
This is about as sad a photo as you'll see of a cat at an animal shelter awaiting adoption or death. Photo taken by: Delanie Pruit.

They are telling words because they remind me that not uncommonly shelter staff assess kittens and adult cats incorrectly as to their adaptability based upon their character. We don't know how often this happens but it is certain that hundreds of thousands (millions?) of shelter cats and dogs, on the planet, or perhaps just in the USA, UK and Europe are killed unnecessarily because they have been incorrectly assessed as feral or with behavioural problems.

RELATED: Delightful Cat Deemed Unadoptable By Animal Shelter Stress.

We all know that an animal shelter environment is not the best place to assess the character of an animal. They are stressful places. They are strange and noisy places. The whole experience is going to make even the best of cats nervous and how can a nervous cat present their best to an adopter? 

And if the cat is already slightly nervous and anxious the whole thing may just make them completely unadoptable. But take them out of the shelter environment into a foster home and you might be lucky to see the true character. How many times have you seen shelter cats described as aggressive and then re-assessed as being the friendliest cat that they have met?

RELATED: Temperament Testing Of Cats.

The story

"I recently saw a kitten listed on the Philly Urgents page. They list cats and dogs that don’t have much time left. This kitten would have been killed that night after closing if someone didn’t take her. Since I work with ferals, I went to get her, aiming to socialize and find her a home. 

She had a big sign across her cage that said, “Barn Cat Only.” I asked the shelter staff if she came in with a litter, worried that any other would be killed. 

She did come in with 2…one was already gone. When I met the other and saw how friendly she was, I knew they had made a mistake with the other.

I brought them both home. It didn’t take long to realize that the feral cat was just a shy little girl, but one of the friendliest cats I’ve ever had the pleasure of handling! 

She just needed her sister to help her relax, because she was sick and has vision trouble in one eye. How sad that she was going to be killed."

Sunday, December 5, 2021

Animal welfare is an emerging interest in Vietnam (please stop eating domestic cats)

A Vietnamese website (VN Express) says that animal welfare is an emerging interest among Vietnamese citizens. It's a good title and it made me smile. However, I immediately thought about cat meat which is still very much on the menu in Vietnam. So clearly, a concern about animal welfare is only emerging and is not yet established otherwise there would be no cat meat in Vietnam.

Animal welfare. Photo: Pixabay.

Apparently cat meat is technically illegal in Vietnam but you can buy it all over the country. It is referred to as "baby tiger". The business is inherently cruel and I'm told that over 1 million cats are killed annually to be eaten by Vietnamese citizens.

RELATED: How to stop the cat meat trade in Vietnam

Please stop eating domestic and stray cats. These are meant to be loved pets not livestock. And often they are killed in unregulated ways which is inherently cruel. The business does not square up with the headline on this page.

RELATED: Another gruesome report about Vietnam’s cat meat trade

Despite that, there are some positive signs that animal welfare is more of a concern to Vietnamese citizens. There was a story about a man setting fire to his cat. Obviously an utterly outrageous and desperately cruel incident. But it shocked and outraged Vietnamese citizens. They expressed disbelief that a person could be as cruel and as evil as this. The cat survived and has been treated.

The perpetrator of that desperate act of cruelty apologised on Facebook. He admitted that there was no excuse for it. Comment: obviously true. There was no need to even state that. I stress: it did not need stating because it is obvious. The online community refused to accept his apology. They continued to criticise him for his inhumane act. The cat has been named Dilo. The community rallied around to help fund his treatment.

And it even got to the point apparently where the store where this man worked was forced to shut down recently (for a while?) because of protests of some sort. Perhaps they were online protestations. The man lives in Hanoi by the way.

There was another interesting story about an overreaction by the authorities when they euthanised (I hope genuinely humanely) 15 dogs and cats belonging to a person who contracted Covid. I guess they were destroyed under a zero tolerance policy of some sort. The officials' actions drew condemnation from Vietnamese citizens and the international community. The measure was deemed to be too extreme because there are better alternatives.

The local authority later admitted that they had acted too hastily and promised to rectify the shortcomings in the future.

The petition was commenced online which urged the Vietnamese authorities to come up with veterinary guidelines to protect companion animals during Covid.

And in another incident, somebody was killing pets in Thao Dien, Saigon’s expat hub. The residents of the government owned apartments demanded an investigation. It was found that the pets had been poisoned in a targeted manner.

An expert, Wayne Capriotti, on the country's pet industry and the founder of the magazine Me Thu Cung (Love Pets) confirmed that over the last five years companion animal ownership has increased dramatically. He puts it down to humanising pets. This is a good thing because it places companion animals at a much higher status; as family members which provides them with protection.