Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Your Daily #Cat

The four boys posing together! 
The four boys posing together! by Tambako The Jaguar

Bonnie the #Cat Loves to Snuggle With 2 Chicks She’s Adopted as Her Own

By Kate Good
March 30, 2015

Cats and birds are mortal enemies. Whenever you put these two animals together, you are guaranteed to have some sort of Sylvester Cat/Tweety Bird type situation on your hands, right?

Well, if you are dealing with Bonnie the cat, this might not be the case.

Bonnie’s guardian, Reddit user Thenash654, is not only a cat lover; she is also a chicken lover and has a number of chicks running around her backyard. While some might think that this would be a dangerous combination, Bonnie appears to be more of a lover than a fighter.

Thenash654 explains on Reddit that Bonnie has adopted the chicks.

This happy feline spends her days hanging out with the chicks, snuggling and nurturing these little birds. One of her favorite things to do is keep them warm until they fall asleep.


Thenash654 understands that Bonnie is a predator by nature and is sure to always keep an eye on the cat when she’s playing with the chicks, but as of yet, Bonnie has never acted out aggressively towards her little friends.


In fact, Bonnie treats the chicks like they’re her own babies. Just check out this video of her carrying them to her nest to snuggle. Thenash654 admits that the first time Bonnie picked up the chicks, she was afraid something terrible would happen, but time and time again, Bonnie’s proved her wrong.

While we like to assign roles like “predator/prey” to animals, we have to remember that like humans, all animals are individuals. We are sure that Thenash654 will keep a watchful eye over Bonnie and the chicks, but it looks like this particular kitty is motivated by love, and little else. 

 All image source: Thenash654/Reddit


Tough task on hand for SGNP officials as several big #cats fall ill

  • Badri Chatterjee, Hindustan Times, Mumbai
  • |
  • Updated: Mar 31, 2015
Authorities at Sanjay Gandhi National Park are having a tough time, as several carnivores have fallen ill over the past few months. Recently, the only white tigress at the park, Rebecca, was diagnosed with skin cancer; but at 18 years, she is too old to undergo chemotherapy.

Rebecca has been temporarily removed from the park’s safari centre, one of its main attractions.
In 2009, another white tigress, Renuka, died after receiving chemotherapy for cancer.
In February, a four-year- old Royal Bengal Tigress, Puja, died after suffering from blood poisoning, since September 2014.

The SGNP’s rescue centre and safari are home to three white tigers, six royal Bengal tigers and 14 leopards. These animals have been brought in from different places in India. “We have been taking utmost care of our animals. We are also taking regular advice from experts from Bombay Veterinary College for complicated cases,” said Vikas Gupta, chief conservator of forest and director, SGNP.

Talking about the white tiger’s cancer diagnosis, SGNP veterinarian Sanjiv Pinjarkar said, “We sent Rebecca’s tumour samples to Tata Memorial hospital, where veterinarians suggested the presence of melanoma. White (albino) tigers are prone to cancer as their genes undergo alterations due to the two different colours, black and white. We are discussing whether she should undergo chemo, as she may not survive it because of her age.”

On March 8, Rebecca was detected with a large tumour near her left eye, which was operated and treated with antibiotics. After a secondary infection developed, another tumour was found and the samples sent to the hospital.

“The forest officials and vets are doing their best for the animals, but a lot of information about them is not in the public domain. There are other animal experts and veterinarians in the city whose involvement should be considered,” said Pawan Sharma, president, Resqink Association for Wildlife Welfare.


#Cats knocking s**t on the floor (video)

March Comes In Like A Lion, And Goes Out Like A Lamb (video)


Mar 24, 2015

Watch as we give our lions at Big Cat Rescue lamb enrichment. See what Joseph, Nikita, Cameron lions, and Zabu white tiger think about this weather lore.

Mickey Cougar Has 2nd Knee Surgery (video)


Mar 27, 2015
Mickey Cougar was rescued with torn ACL's in both knees. Watch as Dr. Hay, Veterinary Surgical Specialist, repairs Mickey's other knee at Big Cat Rescue.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Your Daily #Cat

Lion standing on the branch 

Lion standing on the branch by Tambako The Jaguar

Can classical music calm your #cat?

Playing the violin relaxes felines - but AC/DC could stress them out, study reveals

  • Scientists at the University of Lisbon, Portugal, fitted headphones to cats
  • They recorded the cats' breathing and pupil size while undergoing surgery
  • The cats were calmer when listening to Samuel Barber's Adagio for Strings
  • When played AC/DC's Thunderstruck, their vital signs showed more stress while pop music like Natalie Imbruglia's Torn gave intermediate results

According to musical myth, the strings of violins were once made from cat guts.
Yet despite this, it seems that playing your pet a piece of classical violin music may be the best way to make them relax, according to new research. Scientists have found that playing Samuel Barber's Adagio for Strings can calm cats and may even help them recover quicker after a visit to the vets.

Scroll down for video 
The cats were played clips of music through headphones while undergoing surgery, shown above, a heart monitor attached to their tongue measured their pulse and scientists recorded the diameter of their pupils
The cats were played clips of music through headphones while undergoing surgery, shown above, a heart monitor attached to their tongue measured their pulse and scientists recorded the diameter of their pupils

In a bizarre set of experiments, researchers fitted headphones to cats ears so they could listen to music while undergoing surgery at a veterinary clinic in Portugal.

The scientists played two-minute bursts of classical, pop and rock music to the animals and measured their reaction while under anaesthesia. They found that the classical music - Samuel Barber's Adagio for Strings - made the cats more relaxed while Natalie Imbruglia's Torn was slightly less effective. Listening to AC/DC's Thunderstruck appeared to increase the stress levels of the animals.

While listening to music is known to reduce pain and stress in human patients, the study is thought to be the first to show it can also have the same impact in cats.

Dr Miguel Carreira, a veterinary surgeon at the University of Lisbon, Portugal who led the study, said: 'After reading about the influence of music on physiological parameters in humans, I decided to design a study protocol to investigate whether music could have any physiological effects on my surgical patients. 'In the surgical theatres at the faculty where I teach and at the private veterinary medical centre where I spend my time operating, environmental music is always present. 'During consultations I have noticed, for example, that most cats like classical music, particularly George Handel compositions, and become more calm, confident and tolerant throughout the clinical evaluation.'

The researchers played the music to 12 cats while they were undergoing neutering surgery through headphones. They attached a heartbeat monitor to the animals' tongue, measured their respiratory rate and pupil diameter. The cats were exposed to two minutes of silence followed by random clips of music.

The rock music of AC/DC, pictured above, seemed to increase the stress experienced by cats during surgery
The rock music of AC/DC, pictured above, seemed to increase the stress experienced by cats during surgery

When listening to classical music, the cats had a lower respiratory rate and smaller pupil diametre, suggesting they were more relaxed. Previous studies have suggested that cats prefer classical music because it contains tempos and frequencies that match purring for example. 

Dr Carreira and his colleagues suggest that playing classical music during surgery could help make surgery safer and improve an animal's recovery.

Writing in the Journal of Feline Medicine, said: 'Use of certain music genres in the surgical theatre may contribute to a decrease in the anaesthetic dose required, reducing undesirable side effects of anaesthetic agents and thus promoting patient safety.' The researchers now hope to look at how music might impact other animals including dogs.

The strings of a violin were originally thought to have been made from cat's gut, but playing classical violin music (above), such as Adagio for Strings, may also be the best way to calm your pet say the scientists
The strings of a violin were originally thought to have been made from cat's gut, but playing classical violin music (above), such as Adagio for Strings, may also be the best way to calm your pet say the scientists


Most people will have heard music that sounds a bit like cats fighting - but it turns out that is not far from the kind music our feline pets actually enjoy.
Scientists have created what they say is the first species-specific music for domestic cats by replicating some of the sounds the animals produce themselves.
They say the music could provide new ways for cat owners to enrich the environments that their pets live in while also helping to calm agitated animals.
The cat music has been created by psychologists at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and musicians at the University of Maryland. 
The music uses rhythms that mimics the pulsating of a cat's purr along with melodies that were similar to their high pitched meows.
In tests against classical human music by composers Johann Sebastian Bach and Gabriel Faure, the cats showed stronger reactions to the feline tunes.
Just like in humans, however, the younger the cat was, the more excited it got about the music - with middle aged cats seeming the least interested. 

#Tigers need their zebra crossings

March 30, 2015 
S. Harpal Singh

Big cats from tiger reserves in Maharashtra and Chhattisgarh have strayed into forests in Adilabad, strengthening the case for revival of an uninterrupted tiger corridor

The big cats seem to be making a habit of crossing over to forests in this northern Telangana district from tiger reserves in Maharashtra and Chhattisgarh. Two more of the beasts have been sighted in Bejjur and Vemanpalli Reserve Forests, making a strong case for the revival of the lengthy tiger corridor here. This so that they may steer clear of these forests and proceed towards the Kawal Tiger Reserve here, where they may have minimal interaction with humans.

Already, one tigress has gone native in the Sirpur forest range, having crossed over last year from the over-populated Tadoba Andhari Tiger Reserve (TATR) in Maharashtra. It has been caught in camera traps several times and also has a few cattle kills to its credit. “Tigers are being sighted in the vicinity of Pedda Siddapur, Lodepalli, Agarguda and Gundepalli villages located in the Bejjur RF of Kagaznagar Forest Division. We estimate their number to be two,” says Bejjur Forest Range Officer (FRO) M. Ram Mohan, who has been tracking the big cats since last December. “One of the two tigers seems to have come from the TATR while the other which is moving in the corridor between Bejjur and Vemanpalli is likely to have come from the Indravati Tiger Reserve (ITR) in Chhattisgarh.
The latter keeps crossing the borders often, which is why it is difficult to track its movement,” Mr. Ram Mohan adds.

The Bejjur forest unit has put in place a team comprising officials and trackers for monitoring the movements of the ‘new entrants.’ The team is responsible for collecting information on the animals and creating awareness among people on their relation with wild animals. “We also need to control human interference by decreasing their dependence on forests. Supply of LPG to villagers living inside forests is one way of cutting down the dependence on firewood collected from forests,” Sirpur in-charge FRO S. Venugopal suggests.

Walling them up

Meanwhile, forest officials in Bejjur have planned to cultivate a 4-hectare fodder plot inside the jungles to attract a prey base for the straying tigers. “Cattle-kills can be avoided if the prey base is stronger,” Mr. Ram Mohan points out.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Cougar killed near popular Bend hiking trail in OR

The animal was seen Saturday evening near the summit of Pilot Butte
FILE - A cougar at the Philadelphia Zoo. October 2007. (Wikimedia Commons)
FILE - A cougar at the Philadelphia Zoo. October 2007. (Wikimedia Commons)
BEND, Ore. (AP) – A Bend police officer shot and killed a cougar after it was spotted just above a popular hiking trail.
KTVZ-TV reports the animal was seen Saturday evening near the summit of Pilot Butte, a 500-foot-tall, extinct cinder cone volcano. It was a large male, just 15 yards from a paved road and hiking trail used by hundreds of people every day.
Police Lt. Nick Parker says officers evacuated visitors over safety concerns. The department considered tranquilizing the cougar, but the darts can take up to 15 minutes to work, creating an even more dangerous situation in the meantime.
It was the second cougar killed in Bend in just over two months. On Jan. 30, state Fish and Wildlife agents killed a cougar in a tree above a home. They said it would have been too risky to try to relocate the animal.

Your Daily #Cat

Climbing on the tree... 

Climbing on the tree... by Tambako The Jaguar

Respect Your #Cat Day

By Ronnie Casey “Thousands of years ago, cats were worshipped as gods. Cats have never forgotten this.” While cats cannot thank the anonymous author for this truism, they might want to thank Richard II of England, who issued an edict forbidding the consumption of cats on March 28, 1384, a day now celebrated in some circles as “Respect Your Cat Day.” Many cats would heartily agree that it is the perfect day to pay homage to the furry feline group.

So, how do we “Respect” our cats? We begin by attempting to understand their traits, foibles and unique characteristics. One commonality seen in all cats is their tongue, often described as feeling like sandpaper when one is licked by it. Filiform papillae, small, backward-facing barbs covering the center, help cats hold and scrape flesh from the bones of prey. Their spines help remove dirt and loose hair during self-grooming, thus contributing to those ever-loved hairballs. Every cat, except the cheetah, has protractible and retractable claws, a distinct advantage when stalking prey. Cats also have excellent night vision, an acute sense of smell and exceptional hearing, all of which contribute to cats being amazing hunters. Until recently, it was generally believed that only the “smaller” cats of the genus Felis (domestic, bobcats, ocelots, lynxes, cougars, etc.) purred, the exception, again, being the cheetah. However, the “big” cats of the Panthera genus (lions, tigers, leopards, jaguars) can produce sounds similar to purring while exhaling.

Much of the behavior of cats is reflective of their predatory nature. When they hunt, they either stalk prey or wait to ambush it. Most breeds of cat are fond of roosting in high places. The height is believed to not only provide an excellent location from which to pounce, but it also allows a better point from which to observe surrounding territory. Play, especially in kittens, is important because it mimics survival skills. It assists in the learning of how to stalk and capture quarry. In addition, play-fighting with cats or humans is a way to practice combat skills and to reduce the fear associated with launching attacks on other animals.

Another normal behavior is scratching. The scratching occurs for various reasons: to mark territory visually and with a scent secreted by glands located on the cat’s paws, to remove the dead outer layer of the front claws and to stretch and flex the cat’s body, feet, and claws.

Having respect for your cat is making an effort to support its natural needs. Since cats have a strong prey drive, provide toys that let them practice their hunting skills. Some will like toys they can throw around and chase after. Other cats want you to participate by using toys that you dangle and wiggle in front of them. Cat trees or kitty condos with room to scratch or climb and cubby holes to escape into, gives a cat multiple ways to exercise muscles, sharpen claws, and rise above its surroundings. Even though cats are efficient self-groomers, if they have long hair, shed a lot, or are older consider regular grooming periods. It can definitely help the hairball situation.

Cats are actually social animals and not as aloof as often claimed. It is an old myth that cats are solitary creatures who do not enjoy the company of humans or other cats. Those of us who live with cats have experienced numerous instances of them following us to the bathroom, making their way onto our laps or under our covers at night and have watched them groom and play with their other feline friends. Therefore, if you have a one cat household, consider adopting another. Today would be a perfect time, since the Tehama County Animal Care Center in Red Bluff is also celebrating “Respect Your Cat Day” by offering substantially discounted adoption fees.

Respect is defined as understanding that someone or something is important and should be treated in an appropriate way. Understanding your cat’s true character, recognizing and supporting its natural behaviors, is what respecting your cat is all about.

Ronnie Casey is vice president of PETS — Providing Essentials for Tehama Shelter. She can be reached at rmcredbluff@gmail.com. For more information about PETS, visit petstehama.org.


Saturday, March 28, 2015

Your Daily #Cat

Shy cute lying cheetah cub 

Shy cute lying cheetah cub by Tambako The Jaguar

Special oxygen masks save family's #cats

FOX 13 News

Mar 27, 2015
Smoke and flames filled a Manatee county duplex Thursday afternoon.
The family living inside struggled to breathe as they escaped.
The fire destroyed nearly everything they owned.
Their most prized possessions -- two cats and a litter of kittens -- also escaped thanks to the quick action of firefighters.
Lenny LeBel and Tiffany Fasoldt don't have much left."I teared up. I cried bringing things out. I mean, everything is gone," Lenny says.
A grease fire quickly spread through their Bradenton home Thursday around 5pm.
"I can't go anywhere without smelling the fumes, the fire. I can't sleep," Tiffany says.
What they do have, they are thankful for. The family escaped unharmed, but their cats barely made it out alive.
"She ran back in, and by the time they said they got her out, she wasn't breathing," LeBel said.
Fasoldt and firefighters with Southern Manatee Fire Rescue managed to get the cats out.
"When they first came out, both of them were very lethargic. They couldn't lift their heads. They were pretty limitless and lifeless," said firefighter Duane Ely.
Firefighters used special oxygen masks designed for pets to help them.
"Once we got the oxygen to them, after about five to ten minutes, they started coming through. They sat up," Ely said.
The oxygen masks were donated as a part of "Project Breathe," during a ceremony just three hours before the fire.
"It is just one more added tool in our tool box that we can use to save lives," said Battalion Chief Herb Smith.
That is what it is all about for the firefighters.
"Bottom line is, you can replace material possessions, but of course human life and pets are sacred to most people," said Battalion Chief Smith.
Lenny and Tiffany couldn't agree more.
"It just meant a lot to me that the fire department even did that because they are just animals, but to us they are just like family. That is all we really got," Lenny said.

A page has been set up for people wanting to help LeBel and Fasoldt: http://www.gofundme.com/q3jfuc


India can train other nations in #tiger conservation

Prakash Javadekar
Friday, 27 March 2015 | Place: Hyderabad | Agency: PTI

India is ready to impart training and even donate tigers to other countries as part of efforts for their conservation

Representational Image File Photo
Home to 70% of world's tiger population, India is ready to impart training and even donate the big cats to other countries as part of efforts for the conservation of the endangered species, Union Minister Prakash Javadekar said on Friday.

"We have the most advanced standard operating procedures on tiger conservation. We can even give the technology and the capacity building to other countries who want to conserve tiger," he told reporters here.

"Thirteen countries have tiger population besides those other countries which have forest cover that are suitable for tiger..we can impart training, capacity building and we are even ready to donate tigers if proper care is taken," Union Minster of State for Environment and Forests said, adding "we are in dialogue with (such countries)." He said India has been the most successful country in preservation and conserving the tigers. India now has 70% of the tiger population in the world. And the number is growing.

As per the census report released three months ago, the tiger population was 2,226. "Now I think we have nearly 2,400 (tigers). Out of this photographs of 1,700 individual tigers have with us," he said.
"We are taking special care of orphaned tiger cubs. We are not allowing any tiger to die untimely."


The case of the 15 missing #tigers

Ranthambore National Park authorities believe poaching could be the reason

It's increasingly worrisome at the Ranthambore National Park (RNP), with 15 tigers disappearing in the past two years. Of these missing tigers, five have disappeared in the past six months. Experts believe that in such a situation poaching couldn’t be ruled out. 

The five tigers missing for the past six months — whose whereabouts are not known to the forest authorities —included four males and two females. The male tigers are five-yearold T-47 (popularly known as Mohan); and T- 55, T-64 and T-65 —all about three year old; besides the female tiger T48, which is about five year old. 

The three-year-old T-64 is one of the five big cats which have been missing from Ranthambore National Park
The three-year-old T-64 is one of the five big cats which have been missing from Ranthambore National Park

Clueless foresters 

While divisional forest officer Sudarshan Sharma said these were sub-adult tigers that were perhaps busy in carving out their own territories, chief wildlife warden S.N. Singh conceded that some tigers of Ranthambore were missing and the officers concerned were directed to find them out. 

However, the authorities have failed to find the whereabouts of three other big cats that are missing for the past 10 months to 18 months. These tigers — T-67 and T-68, both aged four years, and cub of tigress T-41 — are missing for the past 18 months. Similarly, another twoyear- old cub of tigress T41 is missing for about 10 months. 
RNP tiger expert Dhirendra Godha asserted that their disappearance and the failure of the authorities to track them expose the poor system of monitoring the animals in the park. He alleged that the past history of the park did not rule out the possibility of poaching in the sanctuary. 

Initial indications of poaching of Ranthambore big cats emerged some two years back when tigress T-17 disappeared from the park, leaving behind her three newborn cubs. Initially the forest authorities claimed that the tigress must be around, notwithstanding the fact that a tigress would never desert her cubs. But the tigress never returned. RNP sources conceded that she had developed the habit of roaming near the hilly track bordering the park where illegal mining had been going on. And the obvious inference was that she was killed at the instance of the mining mafia, sources added. 

During the search operation to track T-17, a degenerated carcass was found near village Bhid and its viscera was sent to the Wildlife Institute of India (WII). The WII,   in turn, reported that the carcass belonged to a leopard that was poisoned and sought a detailed report. The detailed report was never sent and the matter was allegedly hushed up. 

Around that time another tigress numbered T31 disappeared in similar circumstances, leaving behind its two six-month-old cubs. The incident was never investigated. Similarly in December 2012 a big cat was killed by poisoning and the forest officials could not identify the animal after its carcass was found in Khandar region. Even its sex couldn’t be determined either as its rear portion was missing. 
These are not the only tigers whose whereabouts couldn’t be traced so far. Two tigers, T40 and T21, have been missing since 2010 and three big cats, tiger T29 and two tigresses T27 and T14, have been missing since 2011. Significantly, though tiger T21 was collared, the forest department has failed to find it out so far. 

Not ruling out the possibility of their poaching, Sunayan Sharma, president of Sariska Tiger Foundation, an NGO working on the tigers, said that the most neglected aspect in the states’ sanctuaries was the habitat management. Tourism, a by-product of sanctuaries, was given top priority. It was for this reason monitoring of the animals was put on the backburner, he opined. 

Godha asserted that a monitoring cell comprising senior experts must be set up in Jaipur to keep a track of the tigers in the sanctuaries and this must not be left only to the field staff and local officials. 


Meanwhile, expressing ignorance over the disappearance of tigers Rajasthan Minister of State for Forest Raj Kumar Rinwa said that on Wednesday a meeting of Ranthambore officers was held where the officers claimed everything was fine. “The only thing that I was told that at times tigers from RNP strayed away to Madhya Pradesh. But if so many tigers were missing I would seek information in detail and further action would be taken,” he asserted. 

Significantly, it was in the same fashion that Sariska became tiger-less in 2004 when officials claimed everything to be fine but the tigers disappeared mainly due to poaching, pointed out a tiger expert. Subsequently, a tiger reintroduction programme was taken up in 2008. 


The illegal big #cats of Instagram

Buying illegal wild animals in Kuwait is, as one local puts it, “as easy as acquiring a cupcake.” Pets have long been used as status symbols the world over, but citizens of the Gulf take the prize when it comes to keeping the most exotic, controversial species—most commonly, “big cat” cubs.

International law governing Kuwait and other Gulf states forbids the import and sale of wild animals, yet the sight of supercars being driven around with a cheetah in the front seat is starting to become commonplace on Arab Instagram feeds.

Although there are legal ways to bring an animal into Kuwait, paying people off along the way is easier. Lion, cheetah, and tiger cubs are in the highest demand, fetching up to $15,000 each through black market agents. More often than not, the owners have little idea how to care for these creatures, which have no history of domestication and quickly become unmanageable—even lethal—once they’re fully grown.

In Big Cats of the Gulf, VICE investigates the area’s flourishing trade in animal trafficking and how it impacts the depleting wildcat populations of Central and East Africa. We gain exclusive access to Kuwait’s biggest Instagram star of the big cat phenomenon and hear first-hand of the deadly consequences of the business—both for the animals and their owners.



Friday, March 27, 2015

Cats chatting up the birds - in stereo (video)

#Cats Who Can't Even Deal With Mornings (video)

Aren't #Cats Basically Just Retired People? (video)

Threatened Lynx Are Understudied by Scientists: Report

By Jenna Iacurci
Mar 26, 2015
Iberian lynx
(Photo : Flickr: Steve Slater)
Lynx and other big cats belonging to the family Felidae are currently threatened with habitat loss and fragmentation, and yet these animals are largely understudied by scientists, hindering any possible conservation efforts, according to a new report.

Almost half of the 36 species of felids that live in the wild in the world are at risk, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) - especially the Iberian lynx, the most threatened out of all these felines. The future of this critically endangered species grows more and more bleak as its native habitat continues to shrink and be broken up by human activity. Meanwhile, the new study has only been able to find 162 scientific articles regarding this threat towards lynx.

To assess the situation of the Iberian lynx and other felid species that live in the wild on our planet, a team of Brazilian and Spanish scientists has reviewed the scientific literature that exists on loss and fragmentation of their habitats - the main threat to these mammals.

"These figures clearly indicate that in general there is a lack of knowledge on this topic, which especially affects felid conservation. Without proper scientific knowledge it is hard to set up effective conservation strategies," Francisco Palomares, one of the researchers, said in a statement.

So why aren't scientists more concerned that habitat loss threatens the world's felids? According to the new study, it's not that they aren't concerned, but rather it's due to "the lack of both financing for research and communication between managers and researchers," said Palomares.

To their credit, North America and Europe generate the greatest amount of research on the effect of habitat loss on felids, the researchers note. However, due to the lack of research in countries with less economic resources, the real effect of this threat is still unknown for 16 species of felids. This includes the Andean mountain cat (Leopardus jacobita), the Bornean bay cat (Pardofelis badia), the flat-headed cat (Prionailurus planiceps), and the fishing cat (Prionailurus viverrinus). Unfortunately, despite the fact that these species are on the verge of extinction, they have been largely understudied, which limits the establishment of effective conservation strategies. 

Andean mountain cat
(Photo : Wikimedia Commons) Andean mountain cat
As mentioned, the Iberian lynx (Lynx pardinus) is the most concerning out of all the felids. Having decreased steadily in population numbers over the last 200 years, there are now only two confirmed small and isolated breeding populations, both in southern Spain, according to the World Wildlife Fund (WWF). Their population is estimated to be between 84 and 143 adults.

There are real fears that it may soon become the first cat species to become extinct in at least 2,000 years.

Currently, conservation strategies for the Iberian lynx consist of connecting isolated populations via ecological corridors. But to make these efforts more effective, the researchers recommend conducting more research on differentiating habitat loss from the effects of fragmentation using theoretical scenarios; selecting priority areas for conservation, and analyzing the consequences of habitat loss.
"Felid conservationists must start to design more theoretical projects and apply the new tools and methodologies available in research on landscape and wildlife," they concluded.

What's more, habitat loss may be the biggest threat to these large cats, but it's not the only threat. Not only are felids running out of space, but their food resources - mainly rabbits - are running low. They are also being hunted for their fur and meat and getting hit by cars. The authors of the study argue that conservation efforts need to step up their game if felids are to survive in this world.

The results were published in the journal Oryx.

Your Daily #Cat

Snow leopard dad with intense stare 

Snow leopard dad with intense stare by Tambako The Jaguar

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Woman With Hearing Impairment Taught Her Deaf #Cat Sign Language

 |  By Arin Greenwood
When Kim Silva retired from teaching at the American School for the Deaf, she decided to start teaching sign language to her cats.

"Guess I missed the kiddies so I began teaching the kitties!" Silva says.

It all started after setting sights on a deaf cat named Bambi.

In 2009, after losing another beloved pet, Silva and her husband, John -- who are both deaf -- were ready for a new feline companion.

"[We] fell in love with Bambi on Petfinder," Silva says.

Silva's previous teaching experience was pretty much limited to humans, but she was optimistic that American Sign Language would help Bambi live most fully -- and that the cat would be a perfectly good student.

"Since my daughters learned signs from infancy, I had ideas how to introduce sign," she says.

bambi cat
Bambi was at a rescue shelter in Texas, though, and it would take a while before she could be brought to Connecticut, where Silva lives. In the meantime, she figured, she might as well get started with the cats she already had, even though both of them could hear.

A lot of deaf dogs have learned ASL. Groups like the ASPCA say training cats in general is possible (always using positive reinforcement, of course). Still, Silva says even "some deaf people have questioned if cats could learn sign."

"Bobcat immediately understood," she says. "My other cat, Bear, was very old and was not interested."

Bobcat learned one sign after another "until he learned the new vocabulary," Silva says. "Bobcat was a sponge for sign language! He showed off. He was fabulous."

Bambi picked up the signs even more easily, since, Silva explains, she had "peer reinforcement and copied Bobcat."

Thomasina, who then joined the family in 2013, after Bear died, learned even faster.

The cats have a delightfully expansive vocabulary. Among the words they now know are: "come," "more," "sit," "stay," "shake," "high five," "sleep," "circle," "shrimp,' "play," "canned food," "finish" and "dance" (though sometimes they don't feel like doing that one). They also know "off," which Silva must spell out, letter by letter.

cat sign up
A lot of the commands are carried out in the video at the top of the page. Silva hopes the clip, made by her son-in-law Tim O'Donnell, will inspire others to adopt deaf cats of their own -- and teach them sign language, too.

"Cats become much more interactive with people because they want to communicate," Silva says. "Bobcat was a 'pillow that ate' before he learned sign. He interacted with other cats, but ignored people. After he learned sign at age 7 years, he became the extroverted show cat! My cats will also do tricks with other people who sign with them."

While the talented cats respond to Silva's commands, they don't actually sign themselves -- at least not a whole lot.

"Bambi likes attention and likes to play ball. She stretches up to tap my hands signing 'play' for me to get her ball," says Silva.

Still, she remains hopeful her communicative felines will one day acquire more of this rather wonderful skill.

"I would like for my cats to be able to sign to me and ask for food," she says. "I have seen this online in other signing cat videos, but was not able to teach Bobcat. I will try again with Bambi and Thomasina."


An Alice In Chains classic performed by cartoon #cats

There aren’t many things in this world more entertaining than cats, metal, and cartoon animation. All three of these elements have been brought together at long last for this amusing parody video of the Alice In Chains classic track “Man In The Box.” Naturally titled “Cat In The Box,” what was originally a darkly themed, morose track sung from the perspective of a corpse is instead transformed into a fevered cry for a freshly scooped litter box. As the song goes, “Feast for flies / It came from his butt / Grab your scooper this one’s nice / Anew world record.”

The video was created by Joey Siler and Chris Senter, the same minds behind the animated satirical cooking show Cooking Hostile nominally hosted by the one-time Pantera lead singer Phil Anselmo. It’s a bit crude, and a whole lot lewd, but then again so is some of the best metal of all time. Bonus points for the collection of creative cat-themed band names stuck to the wall behind the animated feline rockers including Nine Inch Tails, A Purrfect Circle, and Mecalico.

Your Daily #Cats

Cub protecting bone 

Cub protecting bone by Tambako The Jaguar

Lion cub in a cute position 

Lion cub in a cute position by Tambako The Jaguar

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Kitten born at zoo offers hope for endangered clouded leopard

A tiny spotted kitten is being called a "milestone accomplishment'' by vets at the Lowry Park Zoo who welcomed the birth of an endangered clouded leopard on March 7. [Lowry Park Zoo]
 A tiny spotted kitten is being called a "milestone accomplishment'' by vets at the Lowry Park Zoo who welcomed the birth of an endangered clouded leopard on March 7. [Lowry Park Zoo]

Sharon Kennedy Wynne, Times Staff Writer
Wednesday, March 25, 2015

The wee male is the first kitten born to the zoo's pair of 4-year-old clouded leopards, and the offspring introduces new genetics into the managed population in North America. Now two weeks old, zoo vets say he is thriving and "has become a worldwide ambassador for his imperiled species."
"This birth signifies a milestone accomplishment in our conservation programs at Tampa's Lowry Park Zoo," said Dr. Larry Killmar, vice president of animal science and conservation. "Species survival programs for animals like clouded leopards take years of planning, development and staff commitment. This kitten will contribute to the long term viability of our conservation efforts within the managed population, as well as range countries."

The kitten is now housed in the zoo's veterinary hospital, and there is no anticipated access at this time by the general public, zoo spokesman Rachel Nelson said.

He will be hand-reared by the veterinary team until about 3 months, then will transition to independence, probably still at the hospital, Nelson said. At about 6 months of age, he will be paired with a female companion who will ultimately become his mate upon maturity. It hasn't been decided yet if that will happen at Lowry Park or another facility.

Introducing the cats to potential mates at a young age has been successful in reducing fatal attacks by aggressive adult males, she said.

The parent leopards, a male named Yim and female Malee, arrived at the zoo in 2011 at six months of age. They were paired as potential mates by the Clouded Leopard Species Survival Plan, a program of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums designed to support the conservation of select wildlife species at risk of extinction. With this birth, there are a total of 87 clouded leopards in 22 AZA-accredited institutions.

The kitten is feeding well and gaining weight, with a weight of about 10.5 ounces at birth and weighing almost 28 ounces now. "His eyes are completely open and he is becoming more alert," a zoo release says. "He has started to crawl (or scoot) along using his front legs, and should be strong enough to move steadily on all four by one month of age. He is very vocal, particularly near feeding time, which occurs approximately every four hours."

Clouded leopards are the smallest of the "big cats," weighing 30- 50 pounds in adulthood and measuring about five feet long (including the long tail). Native to Southeast Asia, clouded leopards are found in forests and rainforests. They are known as shy and reclusive cats. As a forest-dependent species, the leopard's native range is undergoing the world's fastest regional deforestation rates. High levels of hunting and poaching also make the species vulnerable to extinction.

#Cats Are Great For Your Health

That's right - your crazy cat obsession is actually making you a healthier person!

By Amanda Bernocco | Mar 24, 2015

There is nothing in this world that's more relaxing than listening to the sound of a kitten purring. Some say it's the vibrations from the purr that make it so soothing, but scientists from Scientific American suggest there's more to it than that.

 "Cats purr with a consistent pattern and frequency between 25 and 150 hertz. Various investigators have shown that sound frequencies in this range can improve bone density and promote healing."
Just leave it to science.

2. You're less likely to have a stroke

(Photo : Flickr Commons)
That's what the books say!

People who have cats have fewer strokes than people who don't have them, according to WebMD. While scientists haven't nailed down the answer as to why this happens just yet, they speculate that it has something to do with the way cats become the focus of their owner's interests so they can forget about the stresses of life for a while.

3. They can even keep your heart healthy!

(Photo : Flickr Commons)
In 2008, science proved that people with cats were less likely to die of a heart attack than people without a furry feline in their life.

The University of Minnesota monitored nearly 4,500 people (some had a cat, some didn't) for a 10-year period. By the end of the study, the scientists found that people with cats were 30 percent less likely to have a heart attack.

4. Babies exposed to cats are less likely to develop allergies

(Photo : Flickr Commons)
Last year a study found that homes that are too clean can cause a baby to be more prone to developing allergies and asthma later in life.

When kids are exposed to common allergens at a young age, their bodies get a chance to learn how to respond to them, Dr. Todd Mahr, an allergist-immunologist in La Crosse, Wis., told HealthDay.
The researchers ruled that the bacteria cats expose tiny humans to actually helps them build their immune system to block out allergins as they get older.

5. They never let you feel lonely

(Photo : Flickr Commons)
Just because you like to spend time with your cats, and perhaps even talk to them, doesn't make you a crazy cat person - it's actually normal. Cats make great companions.

"You start developing particular routines and rituals with each other and get drawn into a relationship, which can make you feel as though you're not alone," Colin Jerolmack, PhD, an assistant professor at New York University, whose research focuses on animals and society, told Better Homes and Gardens.


How #Cats Wearing Gaudy ’90s Scrunchies Can Save Billions Of Birds

Cats in scrunchies

Cats are devastating predator to birds all over the world. In the United States, cats kill up to 3.7 billion birds every single year, and most of them are songbirds. While many Americans love the company of their feline friends, there’s no denying that cat populations are continually out of control — and that poses a serious threat to bird populations. But there may be a solution.

According to Some eCards, a company based in Vermont called Birdsbesafe has discovered a simple but effective way to keep cats from killing so many songbirds, and it’s pretty adorable as well. The trick is fitting cats with brightly colored scrunchies that are right out of ’90s fashion. The cat scrunchies go around the neck and make it much more difficult for cats to successfully stalk birds. The birds are able to notice the vivid cat scrunchies more easily than the muted tones of most feline
fur, giving them a much needed head start to fly away before they become lunch.
Birds have more cones in their eyes than humans do, meaning they can perceive more colors than other animals. The bold designs of the cat scrunchies stand out in fields and forests like a beacon to the songbirds, which could help to greatly reduce the amount of deaths if enough kitties are dressed with cat scrunchies.

While some cat owners may adore the rainbow accessories on their animals, others may find them a little too gaudy to be worth the conservation of bird life. But Some eCards insists the fact that the cat scrunchies serve to embarrass the feline predators is nothing but a plus for the product.

According to entertainment.ie, the cat scrunchies really do work. A scientific study performed at Murdoch University in Western Australia determined that the Birdsbesafe cat scrunchies substantially hinder the cat’s ability to make the kill, reducing the chances of bird death by 54 percent. But this only applies to birds. Those interested in saving the lives of mice or other rodents will be disappointed with the cat scrunchies, but songbirds are notably not household pests.

Birdsbesafe has been tweeting photos of pets wearing the cat scrunchies since the launch of the product, and it’s difficult to tell if the cats are bothered by the fashion statement or if they even know the difference between the colorful frills and a basic kitty collar.

The Jaguar Corridor: Protecting the Sacred Cat

The panther is said to have spiritual powers, and efforts are afoot to create a 'jaguar cultural corridor' to link together a string of surviving habitat areas to give the iconic animal a semblance of its former range.

Steve Russell
National Geographic’s online edition recently featured zoologist Alan Rabinowitz describing what he calls the “jaguar cultural corridor,” anchored by the Olmec and moving in time to the Maya, Aztec and Inca, all distinct cultures and all holding the jaguar to be sacred. The jaguar corridor in space once stretched from Argentina north all the way to what is now Southern Arizona, Texas and New Mexico.

Jaguar, seen here preying on a predator, was the apex predator, hunting atop the food chain. The Maya in pre-Columbian times, and traditional Maya surviving today, believe Jaguar can see into the sprit world. In 2011, UNESCO listed the jaguar shamans of Yuruparí, Colombia, as an endangered “intangible heritage of humanity,” the primary danger being Christian missionaries seeking converts among the Colombian Indians. In modern times, the danger is not just to the religious practice but also to Jaguar’s very survival.

When the Spanish invaded, they brought herds of cattle, which Jaguar took to be dinner on the hoof. The colonists attacked the big cats to protect their herds but soon took up trophy hunting. Jaguar is the third largest cat in the world, after the lion and the tiger, and his coat is a thing of beauty.
Unfortunately for the sacred cat, his beautiful coat progressed from hunting trophy to fashion statement. The human wearing of animal fur comes and goes, even though with modern synthetics that are both warm and good looking, there is no longer any necessity. Designer Oleg Cassini, who in the early sixties dressed Jackie Kennedy in a leopard-skin coat, has since advocated for synthetics. The Great History blog claimed, “Over 250,000 leopards were hunted and killed as women purchased their copy of Jackie’s coat.”

When cat fur became a fashion statement by rich people, Jaguar’s coat was at a premium, and about 18,000 jaguars per year died for the luxury fur trade, until the Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) of 1973 brought the pelt trade to a near halt. Still, the combination of hunting and habitat destruction threatens Jaguar, who is said to be extinct in Uruguay and El Salvador. Jaguar habitat in the Americas mimics the spots on Jaguar’s coat.

At the turn of the 21st century, conservationists enlisted DNA technology to determine how many ecoclines, subspecies, “races,” are represented by surviving jaguars. To their surprise there is only one jaguar genome in all of the Americas. The tale of the DNA led to a conservation movement to reconstitute the geographical version of the so-called jaguar corridor by connecting the islands of friendly habitat up and down and across the continents.

An organization dedicated to preserving all the big cats of the world, Panthera, is pushing the Jaguar Corridor Initiative in 13 of the 18 countries known to contain breeding populations. Indigenous communities are key to finding and protecting paths for the jaguars to walk between habitat “islands” in seas of urbanization and farms carved out of forests from Argentina to Mexico.

The Jaguar Corridor Initiative stops in Mexico because the evidence of breeding jaguar populations in the U.S. is thin.

The last Arizona resident jaguar in the U.S. was thought to have been shot in 1965. Shot with a gun, not a camera. Arizona got around to outlawing jaguar hunting in 1969.

In 1996, two jaguars were photographed in southern Arizona, one of them hard by Arizona’s border with the Tohono O’odham Nation. Smithsonian carried a report in 2005 that three individual jaguars have been documented by camera traps, and they have to be either part of a U.S. population or outliers from the threatened habitat in Sonora, directly across the Mexican border. Tohono O’odham lands are in a prime location to make a jaguar corridor between Sonora and Arizona. Naturalia, a Mexican conservation group, has purchased a 10,000-acre ranch in Sonora to serve as the core of a private jaguar reserve on the Mexican side.

Texas, where the last known jaguar had been killed by 1949, is also having big-cat sightings. It’s also worth mentioning that one of the last Texas jaguars was killed near Brownwood, which is nowhere near the Mexican border. If the cats are hanging on in the U.S., the borderlands are the logical location. The Texas border with Mexico includes Big Bend National Park (801,163 acres) and Big Bend Ranch State Park (311,000 acres), which would make as handy a jaguar corridor as the Tohono O’odham land bordering Arizona.

Recent claims of jaguar sightings in Texas are complicated by a known cougar population, raising the possibility of mistaken identification. The only recent camera trap picture in Texas is controversial because the cat that has a jaguar-shaped body appears to be black. Big Cat Rescue has a black jaguar in captivity, so it is possible.

DNA inspired the jaguar corridor idea as a way to finesse the impossibility of setting aside enough land for jaguar habitat. One male jaguar may claim as much as 53 square miles. The Rio Bravo/Rio Grande would not stop Jaguar, who is an excellent swimmer. The infamous border fence might, but it will probably never be finished, and the pieces of it that exist include lots of vehicle barriers, which will not stop a cat.

According to the U.S. General Accounting Office, the government spent $15 million a mile for the pedestrian fence sections but “only” one million a mile for the vehicle barriers. The outrageous cost is lucky for Jaguar, because the evidence of surviving jaguars in the U.S. is still sketchy enough that there is no organized effort to extend the jaguar corridor across the Mexican border.

The financial realities of fencing the border will probably outweigh the political posturing, and open spaces around Big Bend and the Tohono O’odham Nation make a potential northern extension of the jaguar corridor. If the U.S. can’t agree on a way to exclude people while admitting cats, the only jaguars in this country will be British sports cars, and the Mexican border will mark the northern extent of the big cat’s range. Without the jaguar corridor, the U.S. breeding population, if there is one, would be isolated. That outcome would spell the end of the U.S. as home to the Mayan sacred cat.


Habitat loss threatens the world's felids


March 25, 2015


Plataforma SINC


Almost half of the 36 species of felids that live in the wild in the world are at threat, according to scientists. Yet the lack of studies regarding their main threat, the loss and fragmentation of their habitat, limits the establishment of effective conservation strategies. These are the findings of a study which has only been able to find 162 scientific articles regarding this threat which clearly endangers the Iberian lynx.

Almost half of the 36 species of felids that live in the wild in the world are at threat, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature. Yet the lack of studies regarding their main threat, the loss and fragmentation of their habitat, limits the establishment of effective conservation strategies. These are the findings of a study which has only been able to find 162 scientific articles regarding this threat which clearly endangers the Iberian lynx.

Despite conservation efforts, news on how Iberian lynx (Lynx pardinus) are hit by vehicles on Spanish roads has been reported. The status of the most endangered felid in the world is hardly improved by the continual 'incursions' into its territory.. Ever-shrinking and broken-up habitats affect the future of the lynx.

To assess the situation of the Iberian lynx and other felid species that live in the wild on our planet, a team of Brazilian and Spanish scientists has reviewed the scientific literature that exists on the main threat for these mammals: the loss and fragmentation of their habitats. The results have been published in the scientific journal Oryx. Although many scientific studies are produced (last January, for example, 60,000 scientific articles were published), researchers could only find a total of 162 studies which evaluated threats affecting felids.

"These figures clearly indicate that in general there is a lack of knowledge on this topic, which especially affects felid conservation. Without proper scientific knowledge it is hard to set up effective conservation strategies," declares Francisco Palomares, one of the authors of the study and researcher for the department of Conservation Biology at the Doñana Biological Station (CSIC). According to the new study, the main reasons for the limited information on the effect of habitat loss and fragmentation for felid conservation are "the lack of both financing for research and communication between managers and researchers," highlights Palomares.

North America and Europe generate the greatest amount of research on the effect of habitat loss on felids. However, in view of the lack of research in certain countries with less economic resources, the real effect of this threat is still unknown for 16 species of felids. This is the case for the Andean mountain cat (Leopardus jacobita), the Bornean bay cat (Pardofelis badia), the flat-headed cat (Prionailurus planiceps), and the fishing cat (Prionailurus viverrinus), in danger of extinction and for whom there are very few studies and conservation measures.

Conservation of the Iberian lynx, an exemplary model

Among those on which there is little scientific information is the Iberian lynx, the most threatened felid, and which is considered critically endangered according to the Red List of Threatened Species of the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

"However, in accordance with our review of scientific literature, it is a model species and exemplary in evaluating the effect of habitat loss and fragmentation," the researcher points out, who adds that there is scientific data to help to develop successful conservation plans for the species.

As the Iberian lynx lives in the Mediterranean scrubland, its habitat needs protecting. "As well as suitable vegetation, there must be significant rabbit populations," adds Palomares.
The lynx's conservation strategy consists of connecting isolated populations through ecological corridors, but the information provided through local and regional population viability models for short and longer time periods also helps.

The team of researchers highlights the need to tackle at least the following three areas of research for the rest of the felids: differentiating habitat loss from the effects of fragmentation using theoretical scenarios; selecting priority areas for conservation, and analysing the consequences of habitat loss.
"Felid conservationists must start to design more theoretical projects and apply the new tools and methodologies available in research on landscape and wildlife," concludes the study.

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

Journal Reference:
  1. Marina Zanin, Francisco Palomares, Daniel Brito. What we (don't) know about the effects of habitat loss and fragmentation on felids. Oryx, 2014; 49 (01): 96 DOI: 10.1017/S0030605313001609

Plataforma SINC. "Habitat loss threatens the world's felids." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 25 March 2015. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/03/150325082039.htm>.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Your Dsily #Cat

Sitting cheetah cub 

Sitting cheetah cub by Tambako The Jaguar

Life Hacks for #Cats

Are you a cat who wants to make your life even easier? Then follow these life hacks to sleep better, maintain a clean litterbox, and get away with pretty much anything.

Brought to you by Shorty, Kodi and Raul.