Friday, November 25, 2022

The cat toy that has 16,400 perfect reviews (none from the UK!)

Strangely, this well-known cat toy, "Electric Flopping Fish, Moving Cat Kicker Fish Toy", has no reviews from the UK despite being for sale on the UK version of Amazon. The toy has 27,372 reviews of which around 16,400 are 5-star ratings. Overall, it gets 4.1 out of 5. But it is a best seller and is currently out of stock! Although I believe the manufacturer is introducing a new model which may account for lack of stock.

Reviews and none from UK.

Please click on the link to see the UK version. This is an Amazon link by the way.

Flopping fish cat toy.

So, what's so good about it. It moves! The activity stimulates the cat to regard the toy as a genuine struggling fish, a prey animal. Cats like the struggle and try and subdue it. Play is hunting for a cat as you know. They want to kill the toy. Toys that can be 'killed' are the best. This means destructible toys! This one isn't but it can probably be damaged.

The weird aspect of the large number of reviews is that there are none from the UK. No idea why. Perhaps it is out of stock in the UK and therefore can't be purchased by Amazon still have it on the UK site and they use reviews from all countries despite this being

Thursday, November 17, 2022

Can cats hear bats?

Can domestic cats allowed outside hear bats. The answer according to a specialist bat group in Essex, UK is that they can. They say that cats can hear most bats' calls. And it seems that because they are able to pick up their sounds they may sit on a wall or a roof beneath a bat roost and catch them when they emerge which will be between dusk and dawn.

The hearing range of the cat for sounds of 70 dB SPL extends from 48 Hz to 85 kHz. Bat calls can range from 9 kHz to 200 kHz. Humans can hear from 20 Hz to 15-20 kHz depending on age

The question in the title occurred to me because we know that domestic cats have an extended hearing range to a much higher frequency than that which is afforded humans. It therefore seemed natural to me that they might be able to hear the high frequency echolocation sounds emitted by bats.

Endangered bat attacked by cat in New Zealand but made a full recovery remarkably
Endangered bat attacked by cat in New Zealand but made a full recovery remarkably (being fed a grub). Image: Peter Drury.

This is another problem for bats because they are active at a time when indoor/outdoor domestic cats are also active.

Also, the kind of movements that bats make - quick and jerky - are the kind to which domestic cats are very responsive.

Therefore, cats attack bats as any other prey animal. Some people might not recognise this, but the Bat Conservation Trust in the UK say that bat carers estimate that over 30% of bats that they rescue have been attacked by cats and that only 14% of bats injured by cats are released.

Over half (56%) don't survive a cat attack while 30% cannot be returned to the wild.

New Zealand are particularly sensitive about their wildlife and predation by domestic and feral cats. There is a story on the website about a bat titled "Cat victim flies free after three months recovery at Hamilton Zoo".

A cat attacked a critically endangered, native long-tail bat. They say that the bat made a miraculous recovery.

"The bat had made a remarkable recovery from its injuries and had reached the point where it needed to be returned to a suitable natural environment to live out the rest of its life".

The bat was delivered to a veterinarian who contacted Hamilton Zoo where the bat could be treated. The membrane between the right leg and her tail was torn and they were concerned that it would not reattach and therefore that she would be unable to fly.

However, their concern appears to have been unfounded because through their special care in ensuring that the membrane recovered, and in allowing her fur to regrow (because she had been injured such that she had lost her fur over parts of her body), she was able to fly and be released.

The Bat Conservation Trust state that cats do not eat bats but like to play with them. And apparently, a small amount of cat saliva in a bat's blood stream can result in an infection requiring urgent treatment without which they are likely to die.

Once a cat has learned where bats roost, they can endanger the whole colony. People concerned with the conservation of bats would like cat owners to keep their indoor/outdoor cat indoors half an hour before sunset and kept in all night when bats are most active between April and October.

If owners are reluctant to do this, they can keep their cat in half an hour before sunset and keep him or her there for an hour after sunset.

Sunday, November 6, 2022

Tip that should encourage your cat to voluntarily jump off your lap

This is a rather strange tip, and I am not entirely sure that it will work every time. And, in any case, who wants their cat to jump off their lap? Most cat owners like their cat on their lap. 

But sometimes there is a limit to how long you'd like your beloved, darling cat to stay on your lap because (1) your legs are seizing up at the knee joint (2) you are reading a broadsheet newspaper and it is almost impossible to do this when your cat is on your lap (3) you need to get up to go to the bathroom or make some tea or get a beer etc.

Cat comfortable on a warm lap
Cat comfortable on a warm lap. This is a stock image as I don't have a photo of my cat on my lap while I am sitting in my armchair. Image: Pixabay.

You can delicately push him off your lap if you like. That'll work but I don't like doing that because I don't want my cat to get the impression that I want him off my lap. I like him on my lap, and he comes on my call. 

Sometimes cats get used to signals which mean that their caregiver is going to get up. Mine does this when I turn off the tele. The silence is a signal that I am getting up but that is not the tip.

Here IS the tip 😉. It is a bit strange, but it works 100% for me. I give my cat a small treat of something like a tiny piece of cheese or ham or something like that. I place it on my leg near my knee in front of him so he can't miss it.

He almost invariably eats it. I give a second tiny treat and he eats that too. About 5-10 seconds later he jumps off my lap. Why?

I have been trying to figure it out and I have come up with the only reasonable answer to that question: after he eats the small treat, he is programmed to walk away from his 'food bowl'. Subconsciously he thinks that he is at his food bowl in the kitchen. He thinks that he has had a meal.

Whenever a domestic cat has a meal at their bowl, when they have finished, they walk away from the bowl and do something else. They don't plonk down next to the food bowl and go to sleep. 

They always move away. This is what he is doing when he eats that tiny treat. He is programmed to do it.

He did it this morning while I was struggling with The Sunday Times which is a broadsheet newspaper. You know the old-style newspapers. Huge. I dislike them these days.

He hates it anyway when I am faffing around with the paper, and it makes crinkling sounds. He hates the sounds. So, it is a good thing for him to vacate his comfortable and cosy lap.

We are both satisfied with the outcome. That's the tip. If you try it, please leave a comment.

Two celebrities who promote an unhealthy cat breed

  • Welfare charity Cats Protection wants to stop the bleeding of Scottish Fold cats.
  • The ever popular and admired Taylor Swift and Ed Sheeran both live with Scottish Fold cats.

It is unfortunate and perhaps unintentional that these two very high-profile celebrities decided to adopt a Scottish Fold cat.

Perhaps at the time they didn't know that the genetic mutation which creates the cute face because the ears are flattened to the skull can also cripple the cats because it affects the cartilage in the ear flaps and can also affect the cartilage of the joints. They will have learned about this. It may be an issue for them both but once you create a massive following for your cats you can't surrender them to a shelter! 😎.

RELATED: Scottish Fold cats health problems. Beware.

Ed Sheeran and his Scottish Fold
Ed Sheeran and his Scottish Fold, Calippo. Photo: Instagram.

Cats Protection are unhappy, the Mail on Sunday reports, that A-listers are perhaps innocently promoting this breed which the Germans would say is the result of "torture breeding". In Germany it is banned as I understand it.

Both of these celebrities are highly influential. Millions of mainly young people follow their every move. And it is through young people that we can change the culture of society.

Until recently, people accepted cat breeds that have been created from deleterious genetic mutations. But things are changing slightly perhaps because of a greater awareness of what is natural, of nature because of global warming.

And there is a greater awareness of conservation. Conservation is about protecting nature and the wild species that live within it. It is about a sensitivity towards animals which can extend to a sensitivity about the cat breeds and their health.

The cat associations have negligently allowed these inherently unhealthy breeds to be created. It goes against their ethos and even their policy to not breed unhealthy cats. But they allow it, nonetheless.

It is an anomaly which needs to be rectified. Popstar Taylor Swift regularly shares pictures of her two Scottish Fold cats with her 230 million Instagram followers. As I recall, she has the most followers of anybody on the planet on Instagram.

It is nice that Ed Sheeran loves cats. There are some charming photographs of him with his Scottish Fold, Calippo and Dorito, a tabby. They are collectively known as The Wibbles on my research! They've amassed almost 400,000 fans and probably more because the following grows almost exponentially.

That's the influence that someone like him has and it has probably dawned on him that he has a responsibility to promote companion animal health. As mentioned, I sense that he adopted his Scot Fold innocently after being attracted to their appearance and has since learnt that there is a health aspect.

There is nothing in the law in the UK which prevents breeders creating unhealthy individual cats of unhealthy cat breeds. The same applies to the USA. Germany appears to be an exception. There may other countries that follow Germany's lead in this regard, but I don't think so.

A spokesman for the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs said: ‘Anyone breeding cats in England must protect them from unnecessary suffering. Failing to may lead to imprisonment, a fine or both.

‘Owners considering breeding cats should seek advice on the risk of inherited conditions.’

Thursday, November 3, 2022

Cats don't strip their self-regulating biome from their skin. Humans shouldn't either.

When domestic cats clean themselves, they use their tongue and saliva. That's about it except that they do it fastidiously and often. Humans, normally shower once a day. That means using lots of water and soap which removes the self-regulating biome on the skin. The website says this about the human skin biome:

"Our skin is home to millions of bacteria, fungi and viruses that compose the skin microbiota. Similar to those in our gut, skin microorganisms have essential roles in the protection against invading pathogens, the education of our immune system and the breakdown of natural products."
It is a useful part of human anatomy, and it serves a purpose. For a high percentage of people there is no need to wash the entire body with soap and water daily. 

We might learn from domestic cats
We might learn from domestic cats. Image: MikeB

Humans do it to feel better and to prevent body odour which is social unacceptable but there is no health benefit and a possible health problem.

Professor Sally Bloomfield, from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine said:
“And the reason we bath, and shower is that we want to get rid of those odours and we want to feel comfortable. That's fine — but as far as preventing disease, it's really not important.”
But she also said that the microorganism on our skin helps to control oil levels on the skin.

Interestingly cats don't develop body odour even though they don't wash with soap and water. Cats smell great as all those who have kissed and cuddled their cats can attest.

If human society got rid of the currently socially unacceptable body odour from people who don't wash for ages, we wouldn't do it I'd suggest.

It is a social norm. If a person doesn't do hard physical work and dirty work, there is no need to shower daily. There will probably be health benefits.

When domestic cats are bathed in water it strips away their identity as other cats identify cats by their body scent. It causes a temporary problem until body scent is restored.

Humans might learn from their cat not to over wash. The feeling of being showered can be recreated artificially by simply washing your hair. 

That programs the brain to believe that you are washed all over.

Scottish wildcats and Neanderthals have this in common. Sex with the wrong species.

What could Scottish wildcats and Neanderthals possibly have in common? Sex! Both are extinct although some experts like to think that the Scottish wildcat is extant (meaning not extinct). But I say that it is extinct because over centuries they have been breeding with feral and domestic cats. And in doing so they created hybrids. 

All the offspring of these matings between purebred Scottish wildcats and domestic cats were and are hybrids. There are non-purebred Scottish wildcats.

Neanderthals and Scottish wildcats have something in common
Neanderthals and Scottish wildcats have something in common. Sex with the wrong species. Image: MikeB based on images in the public domain (left) and BANG Showbiz (right).

Therefore, they are not Scottish wildcats. And therefore, the Scottish wildcat is extinct because the hybrids that you see in Scotland, although they look like Scottish wildcats, are not.

The reason why the Scottish wildcats mated with domestic and feral cats is because of sex. They wanted to procreate, and they were unfussy.

However, Neanderthals were fussy, but the experts have now decided that they became extinct because of sex! They believe that there are so attracted to her homo sapiens women that they stopped making love with their own species. They were wiped out by their own libido!

Neanderthals are hominids in the genius Homo, humans, and they are normally classified as a distinct species although sometimes as a subspecies of modern human. That's according to Wikipedia.

It had been believed that Neanderthals became extinct about 40,000 years ago because of war and violence but it seems that sex contributed.

Prof Chris Stringer of London's Natural History Museum said: "This behaviour could have led to the Neanderthals' extinction if they were regularly breeding with homo sapiens, which could have eroded their population until they disappeared."

You have to conclude, therefore, that the women of the species homo sapiens were better at sex than Neanderthal women. And/or they were more attractive.

I suppose that attractiveness is an attribute which helps in survival, and this might be an example of it for these early humans. Cats are less fussy as I said.

Tuesday, November 1, 2022

It is not babytalk that makes a cat listen but the caregiver's voice

Some journalists are misinterpreting a recent study which said that when a cat's owner uses baby talk their cat listens to them, but their cat won't listen to other people. That's a misinterpretation of the results of the study.

It just so happens that a lot of cat caregivers (usually women) use a baby voice when talking to their cat. They do this because they see their cat as a child or toddler or even a baby. They humanise their cat. In more complicated English language, they 'anthropomorphise' their cat and interacting with them as toddlers.

Taylor Swift sees her cats as children
Taylor Swift sees her cats as children. I bet she uses baby talk when communicating with them. Image: Instagram.

The classic example is Taylor Swift's relationships with her cats. It is fine to talk to your cat as if they are a baby or a toddler provided, at all times, you understand that your cat is not a toddler! If you expect your cat to behave like a toddler or a baby, you will be disappointed and that will strain the relationship. You must respect the cat and utilise expectation management as I call it.

And the researchers found that when owners used baby talk with their cat, they achieved a very positive response. But when strangers used a baby voice to try and talk to the same cats they did not respond.

That's the general gist of the research. But it isn't the conclusion. The conclusion is more subtle. It is the sound, tone, timbre, volume and all the other qualities of a human's voice which is recognised by a cat when the sounds are made by their human caregiver.

And this particular sound which is characteristic of each individual caregiver elicits a response because the domestic cat associates it with all the usual things that a good human caregiver provides such as warmth, security, emotional comfort, food, sleeping accommodation, play, and companionship. 

They receive these are all good things. They are things that a domestic cat enjoys and wants. And they link the sound to the reward of these good things.

It is a simple case of positive reinforcement. For example, when the owner calls their cat for food (probably in a baby voice) the cat comes because they know food is on the table for them. That's positive reinforcement and part of the process is using a baby's voice, but it isn't necessary. It just has to be the voice of the provider of the food.

But I'm tired of reading articles by journalists in which they say baby talk gets a response from their cat. I think I made myself clear.

You don't have to be a baby talker they get along with your cat and to get your cat to do things. You simply have to use the same language every time and it should be melodious, friendly and nice, quiet sounds. 

It should be the same sounds each time which leads to a specific reward such as food or allowing your cat to sit on your lap which of course is a reward for both of you.

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