Wednesday, 20 March 2019

The Cat Man Of Aleppo

Alaa and Ernesto
Ambulance driver and paramedic Mohammad Aljaleel (known as Alaa) is a remarkable man. He rescued hundreds of cats during the war in Syria and set up a cat sanctuary called Ernesto's House, named after his first cat. As families fled the war torn country, they left their beloved pets with him, knowing he would look after them.

But then tragedy struck. The sanctuary was bombed and chlorine-gassed with all but a few of the cats killed or lost. Alaa was forced to flee, taking the remaining cats with him.

Now Alaa has returned and set up a new sanctuary in an area close to Aleppo. His work has expanded and the new sanctuary includes an orphanage, a kindergarten and a veterinary clinic. Alaa and his team resemble a small development agency, providing services that government and international charities cannot or will not. He believes that helping children look after vulnerable animals teaches them the importance of kindness to all living creatures, and helps to heal their own war traumas.

Sanctuary vet Dr Youssef
His new sanctuary has about 25 cats. But for Alaa and the people who visit it, it is more than just a cat sanctuary. "It seeks to erase the war from children’s minds,” he said. “Caring for the cats is a gateway to bringing good will to the country and build it around being more merciful."

"I've always felt it's my duty and my pleasure to help people and animals whenever they need help," Alaa says. "I believe that whoever does this will be the happiest person in the world, besides being lucky in his life."

Alaa always worked for the benefit of the community, as well as the cats themselves. While still in Aleppo, he and his team of helpers bought generators, dug wells and stockpiled food. Even at the height of the bombing, they ran animal welfare courses for children, to develop their empathy. They also set up a playground next to the sanctuary where children could briefly escape from the apocalyptic events taking place all around them.

Below is a video of Alaa in his new sanctuary.



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Monday, 18 March 2019

Benefits Of Living With Cats


If you're a cat lover you will already know the obvious benefits of living with cats. They make wonderful companions, they cheer you up with their antics, they help you to relax. But there are also proven health benefits to owning cats.

At least one study has indicated that people who live with a cat have a lower risk of cardiovascular disease. This includes lowering the risk of having a heart attack or stroke. 

Cats are also credited with helping to reduce stress levels. This in turn helps to reduce blood pressure, They also help lower cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of depression.

A more recent study found that children raised with pets may be healthier as well. Children raised in a home with cats (or dogs) were found to have fewer allergies, ear infections and respiratory problems than those without pets.

Surveys have shown that people with cats sleep better too.

Here are a few more benefits of living with cats! Do you know any more?





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Wednesday, 13 March 2019

Kattenkabinet Museum



Here's a museum that should be on the bucket list of any cat lover. The KattenKabinet in Amsterdam is filled with cat-inspired artwork - with a few real cats in residence too!


Among all the exhibits you may find some real cats posing just for you.
The museum was founded in 1990 by Bob Meijer, a wealthy Dutchman, in memory of his cat John Pierpont Morgan, named after the American banker J. P. Morgan.


The Virgin with Child, Cat and Snake by Rembrandt.

It's a fun place to visit but includes works by some serious artists, including Picasso, Rembrandt, Toulouse-Lautrec and Steinlen. There are paintings, sculptures, posters and books about cats.


The Cat by Picasso



Here are two works, by Jacques Adnet (left) and Lies Lobatto (right)
There are some quirky items too, including a mummy, the costume worn by Grizabella in the musical Cats and a cat pinball machine,


A pinball machine with, below, Grizabella's costume (left)
and a cat mummy (right).


It's a small museum with just four rooms of displays and artwork, all housed in a canalside building.

It's definitely on my list of places to visit.


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Monday, 4 March 2019

Karl Lagerfeld and Choupette




Top model Laetitia Casta and Choupette

When you’re a top model you have to be prepared for many awkward moments – wearing swimsuits in the middle of winter and overcoats in the blazing sun, posing in precarious positions or with wild animals.

But there was one animal that really scared international model Laetitia Casta – and that was designer Karl Lagerfeld’s cat.


Karl Lagerfeld with 'the love of his life' Choupette

Lagerfeld died last month and the love of his life was Choupette the Birman cat. Laetitia, who was being photographed on a balcony in front of the Eiffel Tower, was petrified the cat was going to fall off.

She said she was scared “that Choupette would step back and fall off and that Karl would hate me forever because I killed his cat ...”

Choupette was possibly the most spoiled cat on earth. She had TWO PERSONAL MAIDS! Lagerfeld said she had lunch and dinner with him at the table with her own food. She even had her own iPad which, Lagerfeld claimed, she knew how to use.

Originally belonging to the French model Baptiste Giabiconi, Choupette was given as a gift to Lagerfeld around Christmas 2011 following a stay with the designer while Giabiconi was abroad. 
'When he came back, I thought I'm sorry Choupette is mine," said Lagerfeld.
In June 2013, Lagerfeld announced that he wished to marry Choupette. He said in an interview with CNN, "There is no marriage, yet, for human beings and animals… I never thought that I would fall in love like this with a cat."
Following Lagerfeld's death in February 2019 speculation ran rampant that the feline would inherit part of the late designer's fortune, but this is forbidden in French law. Even so, Lagerfeld has left provision for Choupette's care and she will be well looked after for the rest of her life.


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Monday, 11 February 2019

All You Need Is Love - Of Cats!





I promised the other day to write more about celebrities and their cats. Next up is Beatle John Lennon who owned cats throughout his life.

He grew up with his Aunt Mimi in Liverpool, UK, and there was always a cat in the house. He spoke and wrote about three of them - Tich, the marmalade-coloured half-Persian, who died when John was at college; Tim, a half-Persian ginger who was a stray found in a snowy street by John; and a moggy called Sam. As a boy, John regularly cycled to Mr Smith the fishmonger in nearby Woolton village to buy pieces of hake for the cats.



When John and his first wife Cynthia and son Julian lived in Weybridge they had many cats, including a tabby called Mimi named after his beloved aunt.


He and second wife Yoko Ono are pictured above with a cat called Pepper, no doubt named after their iconic album Sergeant Pepper's Hearts Club Band.While John was with May Pang they had two cats called Major and Minor.

Here's a picture John drew of Pepper which, as you might expect, is quirkily bizarre!



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Saturday, 9 February 2019

Super Hero Goose Is Just Purrfect



Super hero fans often want to own the action figures which look so much like the stars that play the characters. Now, though, a cat that has muscled in on the action.

Hot Toys has revealed a one-sixth scale model of Brie Larson as Carol Danvers from the Captain Marvel films. The level of detail is astonishing. She even comes with a choice of energy effects to attach to her hands that show her in various states of action.




In addition there is a Deluxe Edition, whick comes with extra energy effects, Carol's rad leather bomber jacket and, the best accessory of all,  her intrepid sidekick Goose the cat. Goose's design level is purrfection itself.

But if you want to buy one you'll have to wait for a while. The Hot Toys Captain Marvel is set to come out around this time next year. There’s no price yet either, but you can expect to pay a little more if you want the deluxe version that comes with Goose.

Whatever that extra price is, it’ll be worth it for Captain Meowvel’s breakout star.



In the film, Goose is played by a real cat. Reggie is the 12-year-old feline “actor”. He was cast in part because of how expressive his face is. In addition, Archie, Gonzo and Rizzo were a trio of "stunt" cats who would fill in for Reggie at times, like when he was tired, while a computer-generated Goose was used for some of the character’s more unnatural skills (such as tentacles that shoot out of the kitty's mouth and throttle bad guys.) 

“We had enough cat experience to know that cats do not ever do what you want them to do,” Boden says. So while they came into the movie with "extraordinarily low expectations," Reggie exceeded them and more. "We found that at times he was more directable than some of the actors we've worked with,” Boden says.


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Monday, 4 February 2019

All The Best People Love Cats

Some people are almost as famous as I am, says Garfield

All the best people love cats and here are a couple of icons who are/were confirmed ailurophiles. Ringo Starr, of the Beatles, is one of the most famous drummers on the planet. Megastar actor Steve McQueen was called, "The King of Cool" - and he looks so cool with his cat!

I will find more celebrity cat lovers over the coming weeks so keep your eyes peeled!

Ringo Starr

Steve McQueen


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Thursday, 31 January 2019

AI Cat Shelter


Here's a great idea. A man has invented the world's first cat shelter powered by Artificial Intelligence. Wan Xi, a computer engineer from Beijing in China, has created a temperature-controlled shelter that provides cats with food and water.

Cat lover Wan XI came up with the idea because he was concerned about the city's stray cat population. 

'At first, I just wanted to provide them with a warm place in winter with food and water that is not frozen,' Mr Xi told China Morning Daily. But after working with a team of animal welfare experts he came up with a more sophisticated design. 




With intelligent temperature and humidity control, as well as a ventilation system, the AI cat shelter provides a comfortable place for stray cats, providing fresh air and a constant temperature of 27 degrees Celsius, the ideal temperature for cats. Abundant food and water is provided and volunteers constantly refill the bowls.

The shelter claims it is able to identify 174 types of cat while flagging-up possible diseases via a smart camera. The sophisticated equipment can spot conditions like  gingivostomatitis, feline herpesvirus (FHV), and skin problems. It can also tell whether a cat has been sterilized. This data is then sent to nearby volunteers who can provide better help to these cats in need.

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If you want the inside of your car to look neat, take a look at this car vacuum cleaner. It is a real bargain too.


Wednesday, 30 January 2019

Crazy Eyes Olive


Here's a beautiful cat with a quirky appearance. Meet Olive with her quizzical expression,  crossed eyes and lopsided smile. But her looks haven't held her back, Olive, known as Crazy Eyes Olive on social media, has more than 30,000 Instagram followers.

Olive, who is a rescue cat, lives in New York with Michelle Traynor, 27.

Michelle and Olive

Michelle said: "Olive was alone and covered in tree sap and very sick when she was found.

"After a lot of baths and medication, she was finally well enough to come live with me. Despite her eyes, she can see well but she does have a bit of an underdeveloped jaw which causes her overbite. She can be shy, but loves to burrow under blankets."

You can follow Olive on Instagram here: Crazy Eyes Olive  Below are a few of Olive's Instagram pictures.



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Monday, 28 January 2019

Book Shop Cat




Let me out! This cat was spotted at 11pm at night, staring out from a locked book shop in Hafnarfjörður, Iceland. The picture was then shared on a Facebook site called Kattavaktin which was set up to reunite lost cats with their owners.

The poster joked that the cat had broken into the store - and that provoked more comments! One person wondered if kitty had been employed as a watchcat. Another was concerned about the store's alarm system. But they agreed the cat was in no danger as it was warm inside the store but very cold outside.

It was later discovered that the cat is a regular visitor to the store and if it's hidden away when the shop is locked it stays the night - it was just that no one had taken a picture before! Kitty also often stops  by at a nearby pet supply shop.

The cat seems happy and well cared for so probably has a permanent home nearby.

Take a look at sassy cat Toffee's blog here, you won't regret it!: www.notsosweettoffee.com



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Monday, 14 January 2019

Women Love Men Who Love Cats

Johnny Cash and his cat
CALLING ALL MEN!

If you want more success with the ladies - get yourself a cat.

A survey for the British Cats Protection showed that women were more attracted to men who liked animals.

Men who like cats are also more likely to be perceived by women as being nicer, more caring people.
Dr Scott Miller, TV Vet and celebrity Cats Protection Week supporter, was pleased to hear the survey findings.

"I think women find the presence of a cat in a bachelor pad not only a good indication of character, but also confirms our sensitive side which many women hopefully find attractive! As a single man, my two cats give me all the unconditional love I need on a daily basis."

Although there are almost 3.5 times the number of female cat owners in the UK than their male equivalent, the survey found that our cats are definitely benefiting from men having felines too.

"We found that cats are no longer a solely female domain," said researcher, Dr June McNicholas.

"Modern men are fast getting in touch with their feline side, and enjoy lavishing love and care on their cats just as much as women do, if not more. This can only be a good thing for all concerned."

According to the findings, single male cat owners are more likely than their female counterparts to have made, or consider making a sacrifice for their cat, including giving up a holiday (to avoid putting the cat in a cattery) and even going into debt for their feline friend if needs be! Single men are also almost as likely as single women to consider choosing their cat over their partner, or break a friendship rather than lose their cat.

The resounding majority of both male and female respondents agreed that it's not soppy or uncool for a man to love his furry friend, with almost three-quarters of men reporting their cats give them a much-needed cuddle factor, and the same number of single men enjoying lavishing care and attention on their cat.

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Thursday, 20 December 2018

Parcel Puss Travels 750 Miles By Accident





We all know how much cats LOVE cardboard boxes. If I fits, I sits!

But Baloo crept into a box destined to be transported 750 miles away. His owner Jackie Lake had packed up box of tyre rims and then sealed it up without realising her beloved pet was inside.

Baloo was carried off by a Purolator van on a 17 hour journey from Nova Scotia in Canada to Montreal. The next day Jackie realised Baloo was missing and frantically started to search for him. But by then he had arrived in Montreal and was discovered by a Puralator employee.



Jackie was relieved to get a call from the SPCA to say Baloo had been found and organised for him to be shipped home again.

"I can't stop thanking these people for helping me," said Jackie. "They took really good care of him. I'm just eternally grateful."

"He was a little freaked out when he first got home, he's had quite the ordeal. I just kept picking him up and saying 'I'm sorry,'" she said.

"But by the end of the night he was back to his old mischievous self. He ripped a whole bag of cat litter in the bathroom so he and his brother could play in it while I was sleeping."

Lake is glad to have Baloo back, though she said it might take some time for her three kids to forgive and forget.

"I'm told I'm not allowed near boxes or the animals any more!" she said.


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Monday, 10 December 2018

How Tell If Your Cat Is Cross With You



Some cats are grumpier than others but even the most laid back kitty occasionally has a grouchy moment.

So if you want to avoid the sideswipe or the horrible hiss learn how to tell if your cat is mad at you.

1. They Give You The Cold Shoulder
If your cat's mad, they might leave the area you're in, avoid getting near you, and simply watch your movements from afar. Cats just like to have some space if there's something bothering them or stressing them out, or if their routine gets messed up.

2. They Swish That Tail
A cat's tail will show you how they're feeling, and if your cat is mad, it's going to show. "A tail that’s flickering back and forth quickly or held low can indicate an irritated cat," explained iHeartCats. "The hair may also stand up on an angry cat’s tail." Look out for a tail that's lowered instead of standing up tall, and swishing back and forth, as this shows kitty is annoyed — and if their tail starts thumping, their mood has probably escalated from annoyed to angry, and they could become aggressive. This is usually a clear indication that kitty isn't happy with you or the current sitch, so steer clear.



3. They Signal With Their Ears
Cats use their ears to express emotions. If your kitties' ears lower down or flatten out against their head, it could mean they're in a mood. A bad one. Steer clear of heavy pets until they've perked up again.


4. They Exhibit Fur-ious Fur
The fur all over their body seems to stand up straight, totally puffed up, and they may even arch their back to appear even larger. Fluffy and adorable as they may look, this is a clear indication that they're angry or in fight mode. Conversely, they may instead try to make themselves look smaller by crouching their body low to the ground and hunching their shoulders. If you notice either of these body movements, it's good to make sure there are no other factors around that could be triggering this response, such as another animal outside the window or another animal in the household who may be antagonizing them.

5. They Growl And Hiss
If your cat is growling or hissing at you, they're probably unhappy with you or what you're doing. A low growling sound (or a deep, guttural vocalization that is different than a meow) is usually a clear indication that your kitty is cross with you or the situation. Same goes with hissing: It's basically a cat's way of saying "lay off," so listen to them. Once a cat starts making these vocalizations, stop whatever you're doing — petting, playing, etc. — and give the cat some space.



6. The Paw Swipe
Almost every cat person has experienced a paw swipe while petting their beloved kitty. Whether it's a gentle bat of the paw or a claws-out, blood-drawing scratch depends on the cat and how angry they are, but in either case, it could indicate that your kitty wants you to step off and give them some space.

7. They Give You The Evil Eye
Cat faces can be expressive too. Does your cat ever just give a look and you know what it means? Sometimes you can tell your kitty is angry with you because they're watching you and giving you that subtle but identifiable angry eye. Another indication that they could be angry is that their pupils dilate — although this could happen for a wide variety of reasons, so look for other factors in conjunction with that before you assume your cat's mad at you based on pupil size alone.

Here are some really angry cats for you to take a look at. Be afraid, be very afraid!





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Monday, 3 December 2018

The Purrfect Christmas Tree




If your Christmas tree ends up like the one in the picture - thanks to your 'helpful' kitty - one British firm has come up with a solution.

Argos are targeting people with naughty cats with an artificial tree that should prevent them from messing with decorations or, at worst, pulling the whole thing down.

That's because the tree, while still standing at 6 feet, is only a half parasol, meaning there isn't as much tree for cats to get their paws on and it could also be a preventative measure for any over excited little toddlers too!

The Argos tree.
The Home 6ft Half Parasol Christmas Tree's online product description reads "Keep your perfectly placed baubles, bows and bells out of reach of curious, crawling kids or your cats' playful paws with this 6ft parasol tree.

"If Santa's been extra generous, there's plenty of room to stack pressies underneath rather than scattering them around it. It's also a great alternative to the traditional tree if you're a tad tight for space."

Sounds like a good idea to me!


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