Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Your Daily #Cat(s)

Cutely sleeping together 

Cutely sleeping together by Tambako The Jaguar

Can felines talk to humans? (video)

30 April 2015

An American vet has claimed to have decoded the language that cats use, believing that cats use more than a dozen sounds, each having its own meaning.
The research also highlighted that cats have a specific language they use with people, and not with other cats.
Bruce the cat came into the studio with vet Steve Leonard to explain more.


7 Reasons Everyone Should Have A Cat (video)

Northumberland's Kielder Forest to 'form a template for lynx reintroduction' across UK

  • By Nick Martin

As plans take shape to bring back the big cat in an effort to control deer numbers, conservationists say the North East site will be pivotal

A Lynx
A Lynx
A North East forest can be the flagship site for a big cat’s reintroduction to Britain, according to the driving force behind the project. Conservation group Lynx UK Trust plans to trial the reintroduction of Eurasian lynx into forests in Northumberland, Cumbria, Norfolk and Aberdeenshire, to control deer numbers.

And after last month saw 91% of the British public back the proposal, the Trust says Kielder Forest in Northumberland National Park could play a pivotal role moving forward. Dr Paul O’Donoghue, chief scientific adviser to the Trust, said: “Kielder is top of our list of priorities. “It is the most significant forest block in England and there is very low human population density in the area. Our vision is that Kielder will be an extremely successful site and will form a template for lynx reintroduction across the country.”

Dr O’Donoghue said the Trust had already been approached by at least three private landowners interested in hosting big cats around Kielder Forest since it was announced as a potential site for lynx reintroduction two weeks ago. “Positive” initial discussions with the Forestry Commission, which is a major landowner in the area, have also been held.
A Lynx
A Lynx
Meanwhile, Dr O’Donoghue said the response from local communities had also been positive, despite some concerns from farming groups. He said: “We’ve had a number of Northumberland people come forward to volunteer their services and help with the education process. “We will be setting up a stakeholder forum for the Kielder region, where every group can have a voice and have chance to influence the project. We are an open, transparent organisation. We want local people to get involved and really embrace the project"

The Trust says bring back the lynx could bring significant financial benefits to rural Northumberland communities, citing multi-million pound eco-tourism industries that have developed around lynx reintroductions in Germany and the sea eagle’s return to the Isle of Mull.

Steve Piper, spokesman for the Trust, said: “We really suffer from not having a really charismatic predator in this country. “The lynx could play a really useful role as a figurehead for some of the wilder places in the UK, which are at risk of disappearing fast. From the North of England up to Scotland, we could have a really quite wild area again.”

The Trust says it has a number of big cats on standby in the mountains of eastern Europe and Scandinavia – animals that could soon be prowling the forests of Kielder. With the public consultation now over, the Trust will apply this summer to Natural England and Scottish Natural Heritage for permission to begin the long-lost predator’s historic journey back to Britain.  Dr O’Donoghue added: “The public have spoken very decisively – they want this.”

The lynx was wiped out in the UK over 1,300 years ago by fur hunters but have been successfully reintroduced across Europe. Reintroduction is aimed at providing a natural control on the UK’s overpopulated deer species, leading to forest regeneration and a boost to the entire ecosystem.


Conservators Center breathing easier, still looking at altered private ownership of big cats legislation

Conservators Center
Big cats are commonly housed at the Conservators Center, which is on the border of Caswell and Alamance counties. File photo
Published: Monday, May 4, 2015
A bill that drew outcry from an exotic-animal refuge in Caswell County passed through the N.C. House in an amended form last week. The changed bill poses fewer threats to the state’s nonprofit wildlife attractions, directors of the Conservators Center say, though they and others are still combing through the bill as it progresses to the N.C. Senate. 

House Bill 554 is intended to restrict private ownership of wild and dangerous animals such as big cats, bears, wolves and primates. But the Conservator’s Center and other wildlife facilities raised concerns about the unintended consequences of the bill’s wording, and earlier this month the Caswell County center said HB554 could force it to close if passed.

Concern over the language in the bill, largely written by the Humane Society and submitted by Rep. Chuck McGrady, R-Henderson, led both of Alamance County’s representatives — Steve Ross, R-63, and Dennis Riddell, R-64 — to vote against it Thursday. It passed 79-33.

Riddell called the bill an “overreach,” even after provisions were made to allow exceptions for small primates in research facilities. He said requirements to be grandfathered by the legislation were difficult to attain.

Ross said he values the Conservators Center and took seriously concerns the facility raised. Many of the worries were ironed out with new language he said, though not before the House voted. “When it came to the floor, there were still issues with it,” Ross said. “The bill has now been cleaned up even further. As it moves to the Senate (in its current form), I could probably support it. … My understanding is that it’s been cleaned up to where it meets everyone’s satisfaction.” 

Throughout the bill’s progression, the Conservators Center has posted updated statements and questions about the legislation, calling on other nature and science organizations to contact legislators.

Executive Director Mindy Stinner’s original complaints about the bill were many and varied, from the fact the original bill didn’t exempt U.S. Department of Agriculture-licensed facilities, to the unintended possibility that veterinary students with universities would no longer be able to observe and learn from procedures performed on the center’s exotic animals. Stinner said the bill would have forbidden public, educational tours of the center, a main source of income and donations.

Organizations not exempted by the bill would have had to acquire an insurance policy of at least $250,000 with a $250 deductible. Stinner said that policy didn’t exist and, if it were created, the deductible would be cost-prohibitive. The requirement for that deductible was removed in the bill’s most recent published version.

Others disagreed with Stinner’s take on the bill, including the director of the Carolina Tiger Rescue in Chatham County, who said the bill’s original form exempted nonprofits from the ban on commercial activity.

Regardless, most of the questions about what is allowed by the bill have been resolved in the bill’s latest form. The Conservators Center’s latest post thanked legislators and McGrady for being open to rewording the bill to “eliminate some of the most dramatic unintended consequences written into it.” “We are very optimistic that our additional concerns, as well as those of stakeholders who have not yet been consulted, will be addressed by the Senate,” the statement said. “We have several supporters in the Senate who understand some of the remaining issues, many of which are related to technical industry language and concepts that are challenging to negotiate. We are confident these will be worked through as the bill progresses through Senate committees.”

Monday, May 4, 2015

Your Daily #Cat

Another portrait of Radja 

Portrait of Radja by Tambako The Jaguar

Ditto --a true report on the science of cloning #cats (and more)

Forget woolly mammoths. The business of copying cats is quietly making headway. First, scientists reprogrammed eggs from everyday house cats to contain instructions for building wild ones. Then they started churning out small endangered cats. Next up: Lions and Canadian lynx.

By Emily Anthes

On the surface, the idea is simple: Animal numbers dwindling? Let’s just use science to make copies of the ones that remain. But it will not be nearly as easy as it sounds. That much has been apparent since the birth of the very first endangered-species clone: a little gaur named Noah, an exact copy of a rare wild ox native to India and Southeast Asia. His birth in January 2001 was a headline-grabbing feat, proving that it was at least technically possible to mimeograph endangered animals. It was also a bittersweet accomplishment. Thirty-six hours after he was born, Noah began showing signs of a gastrointestinal infection. Twelve hours later, he was dead. The researchers at Advanced Cell Technology, the Massachusetts company that brought Noah into being, said cloning had nothing to do with the calf’s tragic fate, but it’s impossible to say for sure, given the health problems that have been documented in other clones. Noah’s death suggested that wildlife replication would not be immune to the challenges and complications that have plagued those cloning pets and livestock. But if we can get it right, cloning has the potential to be a useful, if limited, tool in conservation. When it comes to endangered species, Stewart Brand’s words from his 1968 Whole Earth Catalog still resonate: “We are as gods and might as well get good at it.”

Read the rest of this fascinating story here: Ditto

Making a Bed With Cats Around (video)

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Your Daily #Cat

Okara posing for me in the snow! 

Okara posing for me in the snow! by Tambako The Jaguar

India holds five-yearly census of endangered asiatic #lions

Published on May 2, 2015
India on Saturday began a five-yearly count of asiatic lions in the western state of Gujarat's Gir sanctuary, the last habitat for the endangered big cats globally, an official said. -- PHOTO: AFP
AHMEDABAD (AFP) - India on Saturday began a five-yearly count of asiatic lions in the western state of Gujarat's Gir sanctuary, the last habitat for the endangered big cats globally, an official said.
The last census in 2010 revealed 411 lions were living in the 20,000 square kilometre sanctuary, up from 359 lions in 2005. Officials expect to record a significant increase in the number of wild cats in the latest count.

"The census that began today will continue until May 5 in five districts of the state. The lions which have migrated outside the sanctuary will also be counted," principal chief conservator of forests C. N. Pandey told AFP.

Officials said the experts conducting the census would use a combination of direct sightings, photographs and GPS tracking technology to document each lion and avoid double counting.


Saturday, May 2, 2015

#Cats Demand, and Sometimes Get, Reverence

Valley News - Shawn Braley
Valley News - Shawn Braley

The ancient Egyptians revered and even mummified cats. They also immortalized them with stunning statues of sitting cats, their legs elongated, necks arched, ears erect and a look of arrogant disdain on their rounded faces.
There is no such reverence for cats today around the Eastern Mediterranean.
Roaming cats are synonymous with outdoor restaurants throughout that part of the world. Usually they prowl warily around table legs and human legs looking for bits of meat, but a hierarchy is quickly established if a diner decides to make a substantial contribution to the cats’ diet. At once, the old warriors with torn ears and bare patches of skin where fights have torn off their fur move in and take control.

Occasionally they hiss and claw at their fellow elders, but they basically manage to share the food. The younger cats, meanwhile, restlessly pace up and down at a safe distance, mewing their hunger and distress.
Once, at such a restaurant on Crete, Greece’s largest island, a sensible middle-aged British woman watched the cats, particularly the scrawny younger ones, and said, sternly, “See here.” She then shooed the old cats away — with difficulty as they hissed and spat — and somehow managed to keep them at bay as she enticed the younger ones to come to her for food. The little ones ate ravenously and hastily, and constantly glanced over their shoulders to see if they were about to be attacked. The tough old ones stalked, as close as they dared, ears back, yellow eyes narrowed and tails twitching as they barely controlled their rage at their hierarchy turned upside down.
Some years later, another group of hungry cats greeted my husband and me on our first morning in a rented villa south of Florence, Italy. When we opened the door we found four feral cats sitting well apart from each other in our small front yard. They were so grimy, scrawny and undernourished that we felt obliged to seek out a nearby grocery store where a lovely young clerk thought us quite mad to be buying latte for wild cats.
The cats, however, were delighted. Our four cats quickly multiplied to well over a dozen. We found saucers and plastic containers — anything that would hold milk. Though they would not allow us to come close to them, the cats spent part of each day with us, lounging under trees and bushes but always jumping to attention when my husband appeared. They had no gratitude and hissed at him as he poured the milk. Some even jumped up at him, claws bared.
Our final morning, as we contemplated the cats and wondered what would happen to them after our departure (and whether the next renter would curse us!), a mother cat came out of the bushes, tail high, followed by five tiny kittens, their eyes just open. Her timing was poor as the free restaurant was closing.
The lives of our scrawny visitors in no way resembled the lives of their ancestors in ancient Egypt, where killing a cat, even accidentally, could bring a death sentence. Nor would anyone in today’s world ever consider shaving off his/her eyebrows in mourning for the death of a cat.
But not all cats are fighters. Four plump, happy cats entertained my husband and me one lovely, soft evening in Venice as we ate dinner on the terrace/sidewalk outside a restaurant beside a small canal. The lights from the street lamps threw bits of gold onto the rippling canal water, creating reflections of crooked lamp posts and shimmering lop-sided windows. An openwork stone fence edged the canal. At sidewalk level there were half-circle holes, cut at regular intervals for drainage. That evening each hole was filled with a cat. Their heads stuck out over the canal and their gray, black and white furry haunches jutted onto the terrace. Long tails stretched out behind them, twitching back and forth as the cats studied the twinkling, ever varied ribbons of gold on the black water. The cats seemed a bit irresponsible with their exposed rear ends, but no tail was trampled, at least while we were there.
A more sophisticated cat joined us as we dined at a small restaurant in the old section of Istanbul. We were hardly settled at our window table before a gray, well-fed cat leapt onto the sill, in front of the closed window. The cat sat down, curled his tail carefully around his haunches, and watched us eat. It was a little disconcerting, but our visitor, with his unblinking, half-shut eyes, was quiet and aloof and we tried to ignore him. About mid-way through our dinner, however, he decided to try our entrees. Two steps onto the table and we sternly backed him away. Ruffled, he turned his back on us and sat tall and stiff staring out the window, occasionally glancing over his shoulder to check on us with disdain and annoyance.
A year later, we returned to the same restaurant — no cat in sight. We were well into our delicious dinner when my husband let out a startled small scream and jumped to his feet. Silence settled over our fellow diners and all eyes looked at us with alarm. It was our gray cat. Quietly walking under our table, he playfully batted the tablecloth and clawed my husband’s leg. Or was it revenge?
We never seemed to get away from cats. When we rested under a tree outside the Athens Archeological Museum, two cats had a wild, screeching fight above us in the tree, causing leaves and twigs to rain down on us. Another, in Thessaloniki, in northern Greece, stretched his black and white paw down from an overhead grape arbor to create a long scratch on the top of my husband’s head.
The cats abused us, ignored us and were unappreciative of our efforts to help them, but we still felt awed by their scrappy efforts to survive, their unfailing independence and their mysterious aloofness.
No wonder the ancient Egyptians worshipped them.
Mary Jenkins lives in Hanover.


Does America's Next #Cat Star create unfair beauty standards for cats?

by Melissa Maerz
(Animal Planet)
We need to have a discussion about kitteh cats. 
This Saturday, Animal Planet will crown the winner of America’s Next Cat Star. It’s supposed to be an innocent contest that allows voters to pick the cutest cat in the country. But that won’t stop us from being outraged by it. I am outraged! The quasi-innocous America’s Next Cat Star is promoting unfair beauty standards that are harmful to cats’ self-esteem, their sense of feline selfhood, and their inalieanble right to look into a mirror and think, “My fur is good enough.”

Just look at the finalists:

Image Credit: Animal Planet

Three out of four of these cats are white (or at least partly white), and they’re mostly blue-eyed, thin, and young (none of the candidates are over the age of 35). A shorthair named Der, the only cat who has slightly off-white fur, is labeled “exotic.” Exotic? What year is it, 1965? Are we inside a pet store on the set of Mad Men? Where’s the diversity here?

Then there’s Albert, a Munchkin who goes by the condescending nickname “Baby Cat.” His owner says she picked him because she “knew he’d be a baby cat forever.” What a twisted, perverse desire. Do we really need to further infantalize a mammal whose brothers and sisters are often forced to ride around inside a baby carriage? Our society remains obsessed with youth. Shouldn’t Animal Planet spotlight a few more experienced cats, teaching young kittens to value their elders? Where are all the good roles in Hollywood for cats of a certain age?

It’s true that Brimley, a rescued Persian, is slightly more seasoned at two years old. But why does Animal Planet have to praise his “dog-like personality”? Brimley’s feline ancestors worked hard to break the glass ceiling in a slobbery, dog-dominated world. Why must a cat act like a dog in order to get ahead? And while we’re at it, why is Animal Planet pitting cats against cats in the first place, accusing them of “paw[ing] their way to the pinaccle of feline fame”? When dogs are ambitious, we call them “pack leaders.” We let them herd sheep and rescue skiers trapped by avalanches. When cats are ambitious, we accuse them of having catfights. Granted, this is a literal description of what cats do. But still!

As for Sauerkraut, a frowny-faced rescue cat, her profile insists that “there’s something about her face that’s hilarious.” Is it her (gasp!) asymmetrical whiskers? Or is it simply because she’s not smiling big enough for you, Animal Planet?  Why do you always have to pressure girl cats to smile?

Those photos of Bagel, a.k.a. The Sunglass Cat, on the Cat Star Finalists page would never hold up in any “real beauty” campaign, even though Bagel was born without eyelids. One shot shows her twisting her body sideways, contorting herself so that she looks thinner. In another, she’s licking her mouth suggestively. The last one shows her totally unclothed, except for a flashy pair of bedazzled sunglasses. This cat is only two years old! Don’t you people remember what happened to Drew Barrymore? The next thing you know, Bagel’s gonna be getting high on catnip and sharing dirty videos on Meerkat. Thanks, Obama!

Okay, sure… maybe we’re overreacting a little. We’ll admit that we’re still reeling from that Photoshopping scandal at Cat Fancy. But the sad reality is that we treat celebrity cats like circus freaks. At the height of his commercial fame, Morris the Cat had starved himself down to only three pounds and was obsessed with an imaginary mouse. It’s time to stand up for all the little kittens who (by viture of their skeletal limitations) cannot stand up themselves. Let’s protest any contest that suggests cuteness is the apex of social value. Let’s raise our cats to be independent thinkers who don’t need to please people pleasers to thrive. Let’s…


Hold up. Is that a photo of Baby Cat tucked into a widdle tiny kitteh beddy-weddy?!?

Image Credit: Animal Planet



Safari park trains big #cats to pose for portraits with visitors

  • By Chris Gee

The two male and two female big cats from a safari park are apparently tame enough to sit alongside families 

 Cheetah Portraits
Cheetah portraits: A group poses with the friendly big cat
Meet the cheetahs who have learned pose for a living.
Those visiting Safari West Animal Park in Santa Rosa, California, get the chance to have their pictures taken with a choice of four different cheetahs - two females and two males.
The two females were raised by the park since they were tiny kittens.
Both females were trained to sit and pose for "cheetah portraits".
When they are taken out of their cages, they have two leashes with two professional trainers and a spotter.
The cheetah portraits are taken at 8am before the regular guests arrive for their tours of the wildlife preserve .
They do not like to keep the ladies out too long. Thula and her twin sister, Gijima are still "working" but on a limited basis.
Both female cheetahs are approximately 10-years-old and are rewrded for their modelling work with specially prepared meals.


Your Daily #Cat(s)

Coto with head high 

Coto with head high by Tambako The Jaguar

Oh no, is it Monday? 

Oh no, is it Monday? by Tambako The Jaguar

Pregnant cat leaves Spain as ship stowaway, arrives in Texas with kittens

By Carol Christian | April 30, 2015
A beautiful family of orange tabby kittens and their mother are enjoying the comforts of suburban America, thanks to the soft hearts of a oceangoing ship crew.
Born March 17 on board a container ship sailing from Spain to Houston, the kittens are progressing well and are expected to be ready for adoption next month, depending upon their individual circumstances, said Monica Millican, president of the Friends of League City Animal Shelter.

The volunteer organization is hosting the mother, Federica, and her four kitties named for radio tag signals: Bravo, India, Juliette and Zulu.
Anyone interested in adopting one of the cats is asked to visit the Friends group's website for an adoption form as well as information on making donations. The website also features other adoptable animals available through the shelter.

Because of the high interest in these international kittens, volunteers want to make sure they go to appropriate homes, where they will be likely to thrive, Millican said.
The Friends organization is encouraging potential adopters to consider adopting another young kitten from the shelter if they don't already have a kitten to be a buddy for the new arrival, Millican said.

"That always sounds like we're trying to sell more kittens," Millican said. "We're not. We're just looking out for their welfare."
A tiny kitten that's separated from its siblings and mother too soon can become depressed, quit eating and die, she said.

Rather than adopting two of the international siblings, it's better to get kittens that aren't related, Millican said.
"If there's a genetic problem, you will have two with the same problem," she said.
So far, however, the quartet of babies is doing fine, she said.

They were affectionately cared for by the Italian-speaking ship's crew after their discovery during a rain storm.
An employee of the ship's U.S. agent, Wilhelmsen Ship Service in Houston, is also a volunteer with the League City Animal Shelter and was able to help work out details with multiple agencies to allow the feline family to leave the ship.

Wilhelmsen Ship Service also made a donation to the kittens' care with proceeds from a dunking booth at a family fun day, Millican said.
Since the kittens' arrival April 2 at the Port of Houston, they have been receiving medical care at Marina Bay Animal Hospital in League City, she said.


AR Animal Village to host Cats' Night Out

Friends of the Animal Village

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (April 30, 2015)—Cat cafés, which have been a longstanding and popular tradition in Europe, are beginning to pop up in the United States. Beginning Thursday, May 7, Arkansas welcomes its very first cat café—now a part of the Little Rock Animal Village's (LRAV) bi-monthly Cats' Night Out.

On the first and third Thursday of each month, the public is invited to the LRAV at 4500 Kramer Street, off South University Ave. in Little Rock, from 5-7 p.m. to enjoy free coffee and pastries, courtesy of Mylo Coffee Co., sponsor of the LRAV Cat Café. Guests will also be able to mingle with adoptable felines, who will be roaming freely for the evening. Because LRAV waives adoption fees for adult cats during Cats' Night Out, this popular series has long been billed as "the cutest happy hour in town."

The cat café twist on Cats' Night Out was organized by Friends of the Animal Village (FAV). FAV Board Member Betsy Robb believes that transforming Cats' Night Out into a cat café was a no-brainer. "I found myself wishing one night that Little Rock had a cat café, when I realized that we already had Cats' Night Out, where the cats roam as they please. The cats and visitors tend to spend a lot of time in the education room where there are tables and chairs, so all we needed to add was coffee!"

For more information, click here.


FDA warns that human meds can be fatal to #cats

Photo © kosobu
A new warning has been issued by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and this one is for cat owners. It's about topical analgesics that are for humans that can be fatal if your cat comes in contact with them.

Your cat is at risk if  exposed to topical pain medications containing the nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) flurbiprofen. People using these medications, should use care when applying them in a household with pets, as even very small amounts could be dangerous to these animals.

Two households have reported that their cats became sick or died after their owners used  topical meds that contained flurbiprofen on themselves, not their cats.They had applied the lotion or the cream to their own neck or feet, hoping for relief from muscle pain and stiffness. They did not apply it directly on their pets. Nobody knows how the pets became exposed.

The products contained the NSAID flurbiprofen and the muscle relaxer cyclobenzaprine, as well as other active ingredients, including baclofen, gabapentin, lidocaine, or prilocaine.

Scary moments

One household had some scary moments with two of their cats, they developed kidney failure. They were nursed back to health after having to go to their vet. Another family was not so fortunate. Their two cats lost their appetite and became very  lethargic. They started vomiting and developed melena (black, tarry, bloody stools), anemia, and had diluted urine.

Even though these cats went to their vet and were treated, they died. A third cat in the second household also died after the owner had stopped using the medication.  Autopsies found they had poisoning  that was consistent with NSAID toxicity.

The FDA recommends that you take these precautions:
  • Wash your hands and your clothing keeping all residue away from your pets.
  • Keep your meds up and out of the way of your pets.
  • Ask your vet and your doctor before you apply any ointment to see if it can harm your pet just from having contact with it.
  • If you are using topical medications containing flurbiprofen and your pet becomes exposed, bathe or clean your pet as thoroughly as possible and consult a veterinarian.
Be aware even though there has not been any warning of toxicity to dogs, they could be vulnerable as well.

This warning is also extended to veterinarians to take note of patients that show signs that they have come in contact with household medicines that contain flurbiprofen.

Pharmacists that fill prescriptions need to make sure they advise patients of what the adverse reactions can be to pets.

Pet owners and veterinarians can also report any adverse effects to the FDA.


14 weird sounds #cats make (video)

​Shania Twain launches #IFakeIt campaign to save the leopards

In 1998, Shania Twain drove audiences wild in the “That Don’t Impress Me Much” music video wearing a sexy, leopard-print outfit. The three-piece ensemble became one of the Canadian singer’s most iconic looks and helped spawn the animal-print craze of the early 2000s – even today, spots continue to reign as one of fashion's most beloved inspirations.

Now, the country-music star is giving back to the big cat that helped put her and her super-toned midriff on the map. Partnering with the animal conservation group Panthera, Shania has launched the #IFakeIt campaign in an effort to help save one of the most majestic spotted animals.

The campaign asks fans to join the movement by posting a selfie on social media while wearing leopard print. For each #IFakeIt photo, Panthera will create one fake leopard-skin cape to outfit local communities who would typically use real ones.

Their goal is to create 18,000 capes in total, potentially saving that many leopards in the process.

Photo © Getty

“Leopard print will always be around,” says the Panthera.org website. “But what about the leopard?
The beautiful jungle cat has seen its numbers fall over the past few decades due to loss of habitat and poaching. Every year, more leopards are killed than any of the other big cats (lions, tigers and jaguars).

The plight of the leopard is just one of many worthy causes that Shania supports. In February, the 52-year-old singer announced that she would be going on her first tour in 10 years, with one dollar from each Rock This Country ticket sale going towards helping children in need.

Photo © Getty

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Your Daily #Cat

Portrait if Coto looking at me 

Portrait of Coto looking at me by Tambako The Jaguar

Big cat park likely to open in summer in New Zealand

By Imran Ali
Work is still being carried out on new enclosures for the animals at Kamo Wildlife Sanctuary. Photo / Michael Cunningham
Work is still being carried out on new enclosures for the animals at Kamo Wildlife Sanctuary. Photo / Michael Cunningham
Remedial work at Kamo Wildlife Sanctuary is taking longer than expected and the latest indications are the park is likely to reopen next summer.
If it opens when predicted the complex formerly known as Zion Wildlife Gardens will have been closed for more than a year since its new owners, Bolton Equities of Auckland, bought the park in early 2014.

The Ministry of Primary Industries (MPI) first ordered the park closed to the public between July 1 and July 31, 2014, while the animal enclosures were upgraded to meet new standards.
MPI then extended the closure until August 31 but the upgrading has still not been completed.
Martin Weekes, a director of Bolton Equities, said yesterday most of the upgrades had been finished. There were six new enclosures yet to be completed, however.

"The new enclosures are not MPI requirements but ours in terms of our operation because we need more space for the existing animals and new ones if we decide to get more."
He said the new enclosures could be subdivided into smaller ones should the need arise, but it depended on the size and number of animals.

Mr Weekes said the new owners would continue the remedial work and with good weather speeding things up the park was likely to be reopened next summer.
"It was quite a challenge finding builders in the first place but when we got down to the construction process, we found the work was much bigger than expected," he said.
"From our perspective, public safety and the welfare of the cats are our priority so we want to make sure those two things are done to the best of our ability."

Mr Weekes said the park continued to receive good support from locals in Kamo who donated their livestock while the complex was closed.
Once all the remedial work was completed and the park was ready to welcome visitors, the owners would be required to apply to MPI to resume public tours.
The ministry usually does inspections on the park every four to six weeks. Currently 34 big cats live at the park.


Rewilding the UK: Plans to bring big cats back to Galloway Forest

  • By Andrew McNair

The Lynx UK Trust says the reintroduction plans would bring in millions of pounds and plenty of tourists to the region if they went ahead.

Lynx might become a common sight in Galloway Forest
Big cats could make Galloway Forest the top dog when it comes to making money.
That’s the hope of the Lynx UK Trust which believes a new project to reintroduce the species could be worth millions of pounds to the local economy.

They claim Dumfries and Galloway is “wonderfully placed” to once again host the Eurasion Lynx, last seen in Britain 1,300 years ago.

Last month the trust launched a national survey on the reintroduction of the cats to three parts of the UK for a five-year trial.
But their ultimate aim is to have hundreds of lynx prowling the countryside, including in the Stewartry, as soon as possible.

The survey found that 91 per cent of the 9,000 people asked backed a reintroduction.
Lynx UK Trust spokesman Steve Piper said: “We feel there’s a hugely exciting potential in this area; from Galloway across to Ettrick and Kielder in Northumberland there’s some of the most extensive forestry in the UK, the preferred habitat of the lynx, with plenty of their preferred prey (deer) and relatively few roads or other human developments which lynx aren’t so keen on.

“Connecting these areas together over time with forestry corridors would create a considerable habitat for all our forest species and a lot of opportunity for the further development of eco-tourism there. Lynx presence is worth millions of pounds every year to local economies and Dumfries and Galloway is really wonderfully placed to offer a great wildlife experience to tourists.”

Greatly varied in size, Eurasian lynx tend to be between 80cm to 130cm long with males weighing up to 40kg.


Dutch man rides 'Kittymobile' bike 300 miles with his #cats

Thomas Vles, founder of cat product company Poopy Cat, converted his bakfiets cargo bicycle into a 'Kittymobile' for passengers Mushi and Cheesy.
By Ben Hooper
Contact the Author

AMSTERDAM, Netherlands, April 30 (UPI) -- A Dutch man created a custom "Kittymobile" from his bicycle and rode the vehicle with his two cats 300 miles from Amsterdam to London.
Thomas Vles, founder of Netherlands cat product company Poopy Cat, converted his bakfiets cargo bicycle into a Popemobile-inspired "Kittymobile" with an enclosed transparent compartment for his cats Mushi and Cheesy.

Vles rode the Kittymobile from Amsterdam to London, about 300 miles, as part of a promotion for Poopy Cat, which makes specially designed litterboxes and play structures for cats.
"I know how much the British love their animals and from the overwhelming response we had to our online videos and Kickstarter campaign, we knew that the UK had to be next for Poopy Cat," Vles said.

"Mushi and Cheesy are Poopy Cat's ambassadors," he said. "Not only are they the face of Poopy Cat, they also inspire our product development team, relieve us from stress in the office and test our products extensively. Mushi and Cheesy had to be there for the launch in London, however first class travel for cats is not yet available. The Kittymobile was the perfect solution, offering a spacious and personalized travel vessel!"


Grieving Mama Cat Who Lost All Three Babies Matched With Three Abandoned Kittens

Arlene Nisson Lassin
This is a true story of a very depressed and grieving mama cat, brought back to a happy maternal state thanks to some very loving people involved in the rescue and foster care of cats, complete with gorgeous photos of this miraculous match. (Here and at the end.)

Mikey, an eight month old cat, was inconsolable. She had three kittens, born too early. They were weak and one by one, they died. Mikey's owner Hillary tried everything she could think of to save the babies.

After the last of Mikey's kitten's passed away the cat was searching frantically for her offspring, acted very depressed, and her breasts were engorged with milk.

Watching her cat suffer, Hillary was desperate for help and called Dori's Darlings, a cat rescue organization run by Dori Hillman in Houston.

This is where Amanda Lowe comes in. She is a foster mother to abandoned kittens, through Dori's Darlings. Just days before Mikey lost her last kitten, Amanda received three baby kittens to foster that were just a few days old, that still had their umbilical cords attached.

Amanda and another foster, Kelli Nicole, provided around the clock care for the three kittens, who she named Teddy, Abby, and Lily for four days. That's when Amanda received the call from Dori about Mikey losing her brood of kittens.

Reaching out to Hillary immediately, Amanda offered to bring the kittens to Mikey the cat that same evening. After a conversation, they decided Mikey could make it through the night and Amanda went to her first thing the next morning.

Before showing Mikey the kittens, Amanda, who says she talks to cats and animals all the time, told Mikey how sorry she was about her babies.

Speaking to her in a soothing voice, Amanda told Mikey the cat, "I have some babies for you so you can be a mommy again."

Amanda said she could tell Mikey liked her and trusted her, and then she placed the kittens in front of the mama cat.

Immediately, Mikey started licking them, grabbing them, hugging them. Around 15 minutes later, the cat spread out and rolled over giving the three kittens a nursing invitation.

Lily was the first to latch on.

After two hours, Amanda knew that with Mikey cuddling her new kittens, bathing them, and falling asleep with them, that she was leaving a very happy mama cat and giving the abandoned kittens a new home. She said they even looked like they belonged to one another.

As Amanda explained, the kittens are more important for Mikey, as lots of kittens are raised by human foster moms. "This was just an awful thing she went through (losing all of her babies) and this will be healing for her," Amanda explained.

Here are some beautiful photos of this heartwarming rescue operation, all taken by Kelli Nicole, who is a professional photographer.




Note: Mikey was a rescue cat thought to be a male, and when her owners brought her in to be neutered, they discovered she was an already pregnant female. 


Ask Smithsonian: Are #Cats Domesticated? (video)

Colorado #Wolf and Wildlife Center April 2015 Newsletter (pdf)

Colorado Wolf and Wildlife Center
This months newsletter has arrived. Please enjoy and share with your friends!
It's packed full, so give it time to download. You can also view it on our
website wolfeducation.org under the newsletter tab

Yo Kitty, Drop That Beat! (video)

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Your Daily #Cat

The eye of Elena 

The eye of Elena by Tambako The Jaguar

How the new wave of man-trapped-in #cat movies could fight puss prejudice

Both Kevin Spacey and Jeremy Clarkson are linked to films about people trapped in cats. Can they help to turn the tide on Hollywood’s anti-feline propaganda?
A litter-ny of feline films on the way ... Jeremy Clarkson, Shannon the cat and Kevin Spacey.
A litter-ny of feline films on the way ... Jeremy Clarkson, Shannon the cat and Kevin Spacey. Photograph: Getty
For years, cats have been the unfair villains of Hollywood or if you’re a dog person, cats have been playing cats in films for a while now. In discriminatory indoctrination such as Cats and Dogs (megalomaniac), Pet Sematary (zombie), Meet the Parents (shit-stirrer), every Bond film with Blofeld (terrorist accomplice), Grumpy Cat’s Worst Christmas Ever (just really grumpy) and most recently The Voices (sociopathic enabler), it’s been nothing but inflammatory hate-mongering for movie cats.

Meanwhile, dogs have been joyously changing lives, helping solve crimes and making people cry when they die. Anyone who endured Marley & Me in a public space can attest to the insufferable awwws whenever the selfish and destructive dog enthusiastically ruined Jennifer Aniston’s family life. After all of the reckless cushion-destroying, I was silently cheering during the weepy finale. I’m not a monster. I’m just a cat person.

While owning a dog is often used to show that a character is responsible and settled, a cat usually signifies crippling loneliness and a predilection for cry-drinking gallons of wine before dying alone. Goldie Hawn’s cat-collecting, Meryl Streep-obsessing, ice cream-necking low in Death Becomes Her is your proof.

But given that every other link you’re emailed involves a cat (usually pushing something off a cabinet, attacking a mirror or being utterly disdainful of your life choices), it makes sense that they would finally be heading for a resurgence on the big screen. But it’s less logical that this renewed interest would exist within the somewhat dated body swap subgenre.
Kevin Spacey playing Keyboard Cat in a Jimmy Kimmel sketch
Kevin Spacey playing Keyboard Cat in a Jimmy Kimmel sketch Photograph: YouTube
Earlier this year we were gifted the wonderful news that Kevin Spacey would be playing the role of a businessman who finds himself trapped in the body of a cat in a film called Nine Lives. The plot and title sound like something Tracy Jordan would headline (its not too far off the plot of Fat Bitch) but with a supporting cast that includes Christopher Walken and Jennifer Garner and the director’s chair filled by Barry Sonnenfeld, an actual real director who did Men in Black, it feels like maybe it isn’t a joke.

While some had suggested, and desperately prayed, that Spacey would be playing the role of the cat himself, the actor took to Twitter to dispel any rumours: “I’ve enjoyed the headlines but I do NOT play a cat in Nine Lives. The cat will be a cat. No posters of me in a cat suit, sorry to disappoint”. Whether or not the soul of a cat will be living in Spacey’s human body is yet to be confirmed but one can dream. Just imagine what will happen at the important meeting he has to give!

Even stranger, it’s not the only film of its kind on the way. Yesterday saw news that ousted Top Gear host Jeremy Clarkson has been offered the role of “a foreigner” in Russian comedy Kot v Sapogakh, aka Puss in Boots. The film follows a young man who is turned into, yes, a cat. In other words, if you’re really into the idea of seeing a man become a cat then boy, what a time to be alive.
If there was a Wikipedia page for films about people turning into cats then it would be an underwhelming and speedy read. It would pretty much just be the plot of Hocus Pocus, which kicks off with a pilgrim boy being transformed into a black cat by Bette Midler.

Unsurprisingly, the canine equivalent would be a far lengthier read. There’s 50s Disney comedy The Shaggy Dog and the Tim Allen remake, hilariously titled kids film Dogmatic, Fluke, which sees Matthew Modine dying and coming back as a dog, Oh Heavenly Dog, which sees Chevy Chase dying and coming back as Jane Seymour’s dog, something called Dog Trouble and a disturbing Chinese film called Yuen mei ching yan where a dog with a human soul falls in love with a woman.

Okay we get it re: dogs.

But as well as the catswap lols that are heading our way, we’re also getting an actual real film where a cat will be allowed to just be, without a man stuck in it. An adaptation of James Bowen’s bestselling book A Street Cat Named Bob is heading our way and will be getting the Marley & Me treatment but without the death stuff because nine lives ftw. But never to be outdone, this summer sees the release of Max, a film about a dog who returns from service in Afghanistan. Because dogs.

While Spacey and Clarkson’s adventures in cats are both clearly exciting prospects, I’m worried they might try to humanise the sharper feline qualities. Who can forget the shamefully pet-racist Be More Dog campaign that suggested that to succeed in life, cats must emulate their more passive yet less discerning rivals. When will Hollywood just let cats be cats, without actors being in them and without their devious plans monopolising their screentime?

Just let them murder small animals, attack young children, give shade and refuse to let anyone touch them. And stop calling them evil, yeah?


Some #Cats and Dogs Share Relationship Goals (video)

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Your #Daily Cat(s)

What's that? 

What's that? by Tambako The Jaguar

Closeup of one of the young leopardesses 

Closeup of one of the young leopardesses by Tambako The Jaguar

High-pitched sounds cause seizures in old cats: Certain breeds more susceptible

April 27, 2015
SAGE Publications
Sharp high-pitched sounds have been found to cause seizures in older cats. The most commonly reported triggers were the sound of crinkling tin foil, a metal spoon clanging in a ceramic feeding bowl, chinking or tapping of glass, crinkling of paper or plastic bags, tapping on a computer keyboard or clicking of a mouse, clinking of coins or keys, hammering of a nail and even the clicking of an owner's tongue.

Kuching Mahal (which means 'cat expensive' in Indonesian), a 16-year-old Birman that experiences feline audiogenic reflex seizures. Credit: Photo courtesy of Sarie Gilbertson
When the charity International Cat Care asked veterinary neurologists at Davies Veterinary Specialists, UK, for help with several enquiries it had received regarding cats having seizures, seemingly in response to certain high-pitched sounds, the answer was that the problem was not documented and little, if anything, was known about it.

Mark Lowrie and Laurent Garosi from Davies Veterinary Specialists and Robert Harvey from the UCL School of Pharmacy, London, decided to investigate, and compiled a questionnaire for owners to complete. Working with International Cat Care, and using the interest generated by the media, the story went worldwide (dubbed 'Tom and Jerry syndrome' after the cartoon character Tom who has a strong startle reflex and often reacts with involuntary jerks to sound stimuli). They received hundreds of replies from across the globe from people who had noticed the same problem in their cats in response to certain types of sound. These owners had also found that their local vets had no information at all about it, and often did not believe that a sound had triggered the seizure!

Now the resulting paper, entitled 'Audiogenic reflex seizures in cats', has been published in the Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery and has pulled together information from 96 of these cats, looking at the type and duration of seizure and the triggering sound. It reveals that some cats do indeed suffer from audiogenic reflex seizures -- those which are consistently caused by sounds (this is also recognised in people). Certain sounds induced 'absences' (non-convulsive seizures), myoclonic seizures (brief, shock-like jerks of a muscle or a group of muscles), or generalised tonic-clonic seizures. This last category is what most people think of as a 'seizure', with the cat losing consciousness and its body stiffening and jerking, often for several minutes. The new syndrome has been termed feline audiogenic reflex seizures (FARS).

The investigation found that FARS occurred in pedigree and non-pedigree cats, but that among the pedigrees, the Birman breed was over-represented. This is also a problem of older cats -- the average age of seizure onset was 15 years, with cats ranging in age from 10 to 19 years.

The most commonly reported triggers for FARS were the sound of crinkling tin foil (82 cats), a metal spoon clanging in a ceramic feeding bowl (79 cats), chinking or tapping of glass (72 cats), crinkling of paper or plastic bags (71 cats), tapping on a computer keyboard or clicking of a mouse (61), clinking of coins or keys (59), hammering of a nail (38) and even the clicking of an owner's tongue (24). Other, less common triggers were the sound of breaking the tin foil from packaging, mobile phone texting and ringing, digital alarms, Velcro, stove igniting ticks, running water, a dog jangling its collar as it scratched, computer printer, firewood splitting, wooden blocks being knocked together, walking across a wooden floor with bare feet or squeaky shoes and, in one case, the short, sharp scream of a young child.

Avoiding the sounds could reduce the seizures, although owners reported that it was sometimes difficult to avoid certain sounds, and the loudness of the sound also seemed to increase the severity of seizures.

This study has defined a previously unreported syndrome by using a carefully screened questionnaire and medical records. The geriatric nature of this condition is such that it may be overlooked in older cats, which may potentially suffer from other concurrent conditions. The hope is that publication of the paper will raise awareness among vets in practice about this syndrome. Meanwhile, work is ongoing to identify the genetic basis of this disorder and the team is now also working on a paper about treatment of these cases.

Lead author, Mark Lowrie, says: 'We have been overwhelmed by the response to our work. A second study is soon to be published suggesting that levetiracetam is an excellent choice of medication in managing this condition. Our experience is that it can completely rid a cat of these sound-induced seizures, including the myoclonic twitches -- one owner reported that levetiracetam had 'truly been a miracle drug for my cat''.

Claire Bessant, Chief Executive of International Cat Care, summed up: 'How wonderful to be able to go back to those worried owners who came to us for help with a problem previously unrecognised by the veterinary profession with not only an explanation for their cats' behaviours, but a way to help them as well.'

Story Source:
The above story is based on materials provided by SAGE Publications. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.

Journal Reference:
  1. Lowrie M, Bessant C, Harvey RJ, Sparkes A and Garosi L. Audiogenic reflex seizures in cats. J Feline Med Surg., 2015 DOI: 10.1177/1098612X15582080

SAGE Publications. "High-pitched sounds cause seizures in old cats: Certain breeds more susceptible." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 27 April 2015. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/04/150427163638.htm>.

Humans act out the best cat videos, courtesy of VW

Technically Incorrect: A new VW ad offers humans a taste of what it would be like if they were viral heroes. Well, you have to sell cars somehow.

Yes, that really is a human dressed as a cat. NHB studios/YouTube screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET
It sometimes feels as if the Web is one big cat video show, with the occasional interruption from a human who wants to insult you.

The fascination that humans have with felines borders on the pathological. So VW's German arm decided to show what it would be like if humans themselves starred in these cat videos.

Here we have grown men in catsuits climbing walls. We have grown women staring into the camera with a lot less charm than Catwoman.

We have humans sliding headfirst into cardboard boxes. Because when cats do it, this is funny.
At this point you might be wondering what on earth all these scenes have to do with selling cars. Could it be that VW was hoping that it would simply make a silly video and praying that it would enjoy viral splendor?
I understand (from the voice-over) that the purpose of this oeuvre is to tell you that just as you don't need to be a cat to get on the Internet, you don't need to own a VW in order to drive one.
Yes, you can lease VWs. Just as you can lease other cars.

But other car manufacturers haven't made an ad with human beings pretending to be cats in cat videos. And VW has. Because you love cat videos, you should love VW's ad in which humans pretend to be cats in cat videos.

There's a certain logic to advertising. Especially in Germany, it seems.

At this point you might be wondering what on earth all these scenes have to do with selling cars. Could it be that VW was hoping that it would simply make a silly video and praying that it would enjoy viral splendor?
I understand (from the voice-over) that the purpose of this oeuvre is to tell you that just as you don't need to be a cat to get on the Internet, you don't need to own a VW in order to drive one.
Yes, you can lease VWs. Just as you can lease other cars.

But other car manufacturers haven't made an ad with human beings pretending to be cats in cat videos. And VW has. Because you love cat videos, you should love VW's ad in which humans pretend to be cats in cat videos.

There's a certain logic to advertising. Especially in Germany, it seems.


Plans progress for big cat return to the north east after 1,300 years

by Blair Dingwall
The owner of the Grumack Forest, at Succoth, near Huntly, has offered his land for a reintroduction scheme for wild lynx - Europe's third largest predator
The owner of the Grumack Forest, at Succoth, near Huntly, has offered his land for a reintroduction scheme for wild lynx - Europe's third largest predator
Farmers fears their livestock could be under threat from plans to reintroduce a big cat to the wild.
The group fighting to allow Eurasian lynx to roam free for the first time in 1.300 years has the backing of the public.
The Lynx UK Trust revealed yesterday that a survey completed by almost 10,000 people – carried out by the University of Cumbria – showed 91% support for the idea.

The group is also preparing formal applications for trial reintroductions of the species to send to the National Species Reintroduction Forum.
The trust want to bring six of the animals to the Grumack Forest, at Succoth, near Huntly in Aberdeenshire, and three locations in England and Wales.
But farmer, John Morren – who keeps cattle and sheep on his land near the Grumack Forest – said: “I think it would be negative. I think we already have badgers and foxes and they are all predators.”

The 78-year-old added: “I think it would be a bit alarming for the lambs to be picked up and carried and bad for the ewe when she loses a lamb. If a lynx was hungry it would go for the ewe as well.”
Chief scientific adviser to the reintroduction project, Paul O’Donoghue, said lynx presented “very little threat” to livestock.
Mr O’Donoghue said: “We’ve been blown away by the level of interest and support from the public. That led to government approval for the trial reintroduction.

“The UK public have spoken. Lynx have proven themselves across Europe to be absolutely harmless to humans and of very little threat to livestock, whilst bringing huge benefit to rural economies and the natural ecology.”
However, Huntly councillor Joanna Strathdee said: “I am not an expert but how can they be sure they are not going to kill farm livestock? I would question how they can be so sure they are not going to decimate the sheep and lambs.”

Deputy director of policy for the National Farmers Union Scotland, Andrew Bauer claimed the Lynx UK Trust had “neither properly consulted land managers nor credibly explained how it plans to manage the risks” of the reintroduction.
He added: “Lynx are solitary and territorial, with individual ranges of at least 40 square miles. It is difficult to reconcile this with Lynx UK Trust’s proposals for reintroduction of multiple adults into relatively small forested areas.”
The trust will apply for licences for a controlled trial later this year.

What do we know about the Lynx?

Habitat loss and hunting led to the extinction of the Eurasian lynx from the UK in the sixth century.
Europe’s third largest predator, it is dwarfed only by the brown bear and the grey wolf.
Today the species is found from Western Europe right across Russia and central Asia where the stealthy big cats are known to bring down animals more than four times their size.
The creatures live solitary lives in woodland areas and are renowned as clinical and efficient hunters, honing in on prey such as deer before delivering a fatal bite to the neck or snout.

Their huge, fur-covered paws allow for hunting in the deepest snow but the animal is best recognised by the pointed black hairs on the tip of its ears and a shock of hair under the neck.
Eurasian lynx grow to more than 4ft with males weighing as much as 88lbs and females 44lbs.
Under the scheme proposed by the Lynx UK Trust, the animals would be released onto private land and monitored round-the-clock to allow experts to see how they adapt to their new surroundings.

The group said the species could help the regeneration of Scottish forests by hunting deer herds – whose overgrazing in woodland areas has contributed to the decline of trees such as the Scots pine.
The owner of the Grumack Forest, businessman Tony Marmont, offered his land to the reintroduction scheme earlier this year.
The Lynx UK Trust said its latest surveys found the majority of people wanted the animals reintroduced within the next 12 months.