Monday, 12 August 2019

Iconic Cat Photographer Walter Chandoha


On a winter's night in 1949 in New York City, young marketing student and budding photographer Walter Chandoha spotted a stray kitten in the snow in a New York alleyway.

He tucked it into his coat and took it home. Just married, with a baby on the way, Chandoha’s plan had been to keep photography as a hobby and make his fortune in advertising. But Loco – so named for its nightly fits of hyperactivity – put paid to that plan. When Chandoha began to sell pictures of his cat to magazines, he realised he could earn a living from photography.



He began photographing cats from the Greenwich Village animal shelter and these images marked the start of an extraordinary career that would span seven decades.

The family eventually moved to a farm in New Jersey, where, amid his six children and sometimes more than 20 cats (one of whom “often had kittens in the drawer”) Chandoha dedicated himself to proving that there’s more than one way to shoot a cat.

By the time he died in January this year, aged 98, he had amassed an archive of some 230,000 photographs, 90,000 of which were of cats and was compiling some of his pictures into a book. The book called Photographs: 1942 to 2018 is out now.



Why cats? “The expressions dogs make are pretty limited,” Chandoha explained. “They don’t get into real exciting postures, as a cat will.”



Available from Amazon. Take a look HERE.


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Monday, 5 August 2019

Feline Fashionistas





Feline fashionistas were on the catwalk for a very special show. These magnificent mewdel moggies were taking part in the Algonquin Hotel's annual Cat Fashion Show in New York.

The event, which is held to raise funds for the Mayor’s Alliance for NYC’s Animals, was called It's A Small World and had a multicultural theme.

The cats were impressive in their custom-made outfits created by professional pet fashion designer Ada Nieves. As befitting their status, they didn't have to walk but were carried down the catwalk by their owners!



Among the gorgeous cats was  Sakie, who represented India in a millennial pink turban. More macho was a Lederhosen-wearing Sphynx called Canoli. 

Then there was Balboo (pictured at the top), a black and white cat dressed in everything left in the bargain bin after Fourth of July. Wearing an American flag-printed coordinated pyjama set and an Uncle Sam top hat, Balboo side-eyed cameras from behind his blue aviators.



Another American patriot was a cat called Figaro who wore a pearl-embellished flag dress.



Cat influencer Thunder Folds Cat channelled British punk in a ginger mohawk and leather jacket. The Scottish Fold cat was one of the feline celebrities on the night, modelling for its 53.5k followers on Instagram. 



Meanwhile Mrs. Parberry posed elegantly in a flamenco dress with a sparkling oversized ruffle collar. The look was accessorised with a floral hat and she posed calmly for adoring scratches.

Designer Nieves’ design process was a complex one, as she revealed to Newsweek that she took each cat breed’s requirements into the creative process.

She explained, “For instance, Siobhan Persian cats need fabrics that will not get tangled on their long coats, while Sphynxes have no hair and need a soft fabric that will not rub against their skin.”

She also explained the casting process, saying that the cats were “selected based on temperament”. 
The annual fundraiser is an homage to the Algonquin Hotel’s resident cat Hamlet VIII, who is the hotel’s twelfth Cat in Residence.

The event was held on Hamlet VIII’s birthday. The Algonquin Hotel’s tradition of having a resident cat dates back to the 1920s, with its first feline Billy. After Billy passed away in 1933, the hotel adopted a stray named Rusty who wandered in just a couple of days after Billy’s death. Rusty was promptly re-named Hamlet by actor and Algonquin guest John Barrymore, who played the role onstage.

At the event, guests were also able to adopt cats and kittens from a Mayor’s Alliance van - after suitable vetting, of course - parked outside the hotel. 

To learn more about and to donate to the Mayor's Alliance for NYC's Animals, head to their website here.




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Monday, 22 July 2019

Cats The Movie


Dame Judi Dench as Old Deuteronomy


Are you ready for the new Cats movie? It's already caused some controversy over the "whitewashing" of  Kenyan-born actress/dancer Francesca Hayward who has been given a white face of fur  - and some people have called the CGI film, which has turned the actors into felines, "creepy".

Whatever your view on either of these matters, I personally think the trailer looks terrific. It has a tremendous cast of actors, dancers and singers, including Judi Dench, Ian McKellen, Taylor Swift, Jennifer Hudson and Idris Elba. Can't wait to see it!





* In 1939, TS Eliot published a book of light verse calledOld Possum's Book of Practical Cats. In 1954, composer Alan Rawsthorne set six of the poems for speaker and orchestra in a work called Practical Cats. After Eliot's death, the book was adapted as the basis of the musical Cats by Andrew Lloyd Webber.  Cats was  first produced in London's West End in 1981 and opening on Broadway the following year.

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Monday, 15 July 2019

10 Household Products That Can Harm Your Cat



All cat owners should be aware of those household items and foods that could harm their beloved pet. Here are some everyday products that could be harmful or even fatal.

1. Chocolate
You may think you are giving your cat a treat by sharing your chocolate. But it contains theobromine which is toxic for cats. Consumption could cause tremors, irregular heart rate, seizures and death.




2. Caffeine
Your cat should never drink anything which contains caffeine, including coffee, tea and cold medicines. Small doses of caffeine can cause  rapid breathing, tremors and heart palpitations. Large amounts could be fatal.




3. Alcohol
Never allow your cat to drink alcohol. Even a few sips could damage a cat's liver and brain. At its worse, your cat could fall into a coma and die.
Allowing your cat to consume alcohol can be extremely dangerous, as it is absorbed into the body.





4. Raw fish
Raw fish sounds like an ideal food for  your cat but the bacteria it carries can cause poisoning. In addition, it could destroy the vitamin thiamine, which is essential to cats. Lack of thiamine can lead to loss of appetite, seizures and death.




5. Onions and garlic
Sulfoxides and disulphides contained in onions and garlic can be poisonous to cats as it breaks down their red blood cells, which can then lead to anaemia, lethargy, weight loss and gastrointestinal problems.




6. House plants
There are hundreds of common house plants that can be lethal to cats, which if consumed can cause be toxic. Ivy, aloe, amaryllis, peony, lily and begonia are just a few which are poisonous.





7. Salt lamps
Himalayan salt lamps are very trendy at the moment and unfortunately cats often like to lick them. But this can lead to sodium poisoning, causing pain, vomiting, seizures and even death.




8. Insecticides
If consumed insecticides can cause internal bleeding, seizures and kidney failures.





9. Yeast dough
If you are baking bread, do not let your cat eat the raw dough. It will rise inside its stomach and could result in rupture of the stomach or intestines. While the yeast is fermenting, it also releases alcohol making it doubly dangerous to cats.





10. Bones
While cats enjoy fish and poultry, be sure that the food they are given does not contain any bones. Bones can splinter and cause a choking hazard to your cat, or it could puncture their digestive tract.




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Monday, 8 July 2019

Love Letter To Audrey

Lov

As the owner of a cat who other people think is somewhat grumpy, I could identify with a woman who wrote a letter to her pet saying they knew she had a sweet side.

My cat is actually very sweet and loving - but only with my partner and me, She hates other people, as my family and visitors will testify.

A woman with the username uskeletoorr posted a "love letter" to her cat on Reddit. She said: ‘Audrey when we found you, you were 1/2 dead and 100% feral. I’m glad you grew out of attacking everyone. Only took 4 years. I’m glad you’ve learned to allow the occasional family friend to pet your head….only the head anywhere else and you bite and that took 8 years. 

‘I’ve accepted that you don’t really like humans and are happy just doing your own thing. But can I tell you a secret? I know you come into my room at night and snuggle me. 

'You’re not exactly sly. First of all you weigh like 20lbs. You’re a fat cat. So I can feel when you walk all over me. Also girl you purr like a freight train when you’re happy. And you tend to drool on my face when you stare at me. 

'You always come in once you think I’m asleep and bail when I start to wake up. You’re not as sly as you think you are but that’s okay. I love you very much and it makes me so happy you show me love in your own special way.’ 



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Thursday, 4 July 2019

Is Your Cat Neurotic? They Could Be Getting It From You!


Oh dear. My family make fun of my cat Toffee (that's her, pictured above) because she is so grumpy and HATES visitors with a passion. She sits glaring at them until they leave and will hiss if they get too close. Now it seems the behaviour of cats may mirror that of their owners.

Research, conducted by the Nottingham Trent University and the University of Lincoln and published in the scientific journal PLOS One, surveyed more than 3,000 cat owners in the UK, asking questions about their personality and that of their pets.

Owners were scored on the Big Five Inventory personality traits: agreeableness, conscientiousness, extroversion, openness and neuroticism.

The survey found that different traits were linked to different behaviors in cats, for example, owners who reported that their cat had a behavior problem had higher neuroticism scores.

More neurotic owners were also linked to other negative traits in their pets, including stress-linked sickness, aggressive or anxious/fearful personalities and being overweight.

Owners who were more agreeable, meanwhile, had cats associated with a more positive wellbeing, and cats more likely to be a normal weight with less aggressive and aloof/avoidant tendencies.
“Our findings mirror the findings of research on parental personality, parenting styles and child behavior in various ways,” the study said.

Now, my cat may be a little grumpy but I categorically deny that she gets it from me and I love have family round. Never once have I been known to hiss at them!

Toffee is all over social media. Here's her blog: www.notsosweettoffee.com and you can follow her  on Facebook,  talk to her on Twitter, and idolise her on Instagram.




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Monday, 17 June 2019

Politician Sprouts Ear and Whiskers!



I spotted this story in The Daily Telegraph and it made me laugh far more than it should have! A  Pakistani politician accidentally left on the cat filter for a Facebook livestream, giving him ears and whiskers during his very serious broadcast.

It seems a member of his social media team had accidentally activated the filter. The video was soon deleted but not before it had attracted a flurry of comments and it is still available all over social media.

The politician Shaukat Yousafzai shouldn't worry. If I were Pakistani  I would definitely vote for him!


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Monday, 10 June 2019

Pet Beds From Old Tyres



A Brazilian man has turned his artistic talents into making spectacular pet beds out of old tyres.

Amarildo Silva Filho believes that “the only way to do a great job is to love what you do.” So the aspiring 23-year-old artist left his job in a supermarket and came up with his pet bed idea after noticing piles of tyres on the side of the streets.

He said: “I always wanted my financial independence and to be able to work doing what I like and still help the environment and animals.”



Amarildo's first creations were for his friends who loved the beds and his business kicked off.

He said: “I make donations to institutions that care for animals and buy medicines, food and pay for surgeries for the animals who are sick.

“I also do social projects with students from public and private schools, showing the importance of sustainability for the environment through environmental education and through workshops to put tyre recycling into practice."



After separating the tyres, he cuts, washes and paints them. He personalises each pet bed by drawing a unique design on each tyre, and writing the name of the animal to whom the pet bed will belong to. Finally, he adds some carrying straps and a mattress - which he sews himself - for the animals to curl up on.



There are more pictures and information on his Instagram and Facebook accounts - search Caominhas Pets.

Read the blog of a cat called Toffee. Unfortunately, she's not quite as sweet as she sounds!


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Tuesday, 14 May 2019

Bizarre Method For Finding a Lost Cat



I share this information for no other reason than I read about it and found it interesting. I have no personal experience of its effectiveness, nor have I heard any evidence that it works.

All I do know is that when your pet goes missing you will try anything to try to find it. My cat once went missing for a fortnight. We put up flyers, and postcard ads in the local shops. We reported it to our local vet and to rescue centres just in case someone handed her in, all to no avail.

Then one night she turned up, much thinner than when she left but basically fit and well. To say we were happy is an understatement.

When a Japanese man's cat went missing. He took to Twitter to ask other owners what he should do. One suggestion was intriguing. He was told to talk to other cats in the area to ask them whether they had seen his pet

Sceptical at first @charlie0816 knew his only hope now was to do what others had suggested so he spent the next two days talking to cats.

He wrote on Twitter that he was told, ‘Talking to cats in the neighbourhood and saying to them, "If you see my cat, please tell it to come home" is an effective technique. So last night, I went to the local convenience store and gave it a try by speaking to the stray cats there.'

The next morning @charlie0816’s cat arrived at the front door of the house, seemingly no worse for wear and even a little larger than he was before he left.

‘Um…is it seriously this effective?,’ @charlie 0816 wrote.

Of course, the cat's re-appearance was probably pure coincidence. Even so, many Twitter users swore to the effectiveness of this technique.

If your cat does go missing, here's some more practical advice from pet food firm Purina.



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Tuesday, 30 April 2019

Taylor Swift and Cats

Taylor Swift's Instagram announcement that Benjamin Button has joined the family.



Megastar ailurophile Taylor Swift has revealed that she went to 'cat school' for her role as Bombalurina in the soon-to-be-released Cats film.

The film, which also stars stars Idris Elba, James Corden, Rebel Wilson and Dame Judi Dench, is an adaptation of Andrew Lloyd Webber's iconic stage show.

There were on-set cat classes to teach the actors how to act like felines.

Singer Taylor loves cats and now has three. Benjamin Button recently joined Meredith and Olivia in the Swift household. She made the announcement "and then there were three" on Instagram.

She told TIME's Three Things That Have Influenced Me series: 'I have cats, I'm obsessed with them. They're just a real joy to live with.

'And I love my cats so much that when a role came up in a movie called Cats, I just thought like I've gotta do this. Like this is my calling in life, to do this for the ladies.

'And so I went to cat school which they have on set, readily available for us and learned how to be as much like a cat as I possibly could and yeah cats are just really cool.'

Olivia is named after Law and Order character Olivia Benson, played by Mariska Hargitay, and Meredith is after Meredith Grey, the Grey's Anatomy character  played by Ellen Pompeo.

Taylor has recently released a new song called ME! The beginning of the video features Taylor arguing in French with song collaborator Brendan Urie of Panic At The Disco.

As Taylor storms out of the room, she yells 'not in front of our daughters' while the camera pans to her two cats Meredith and Olivia sitting on the couch! See the video below:





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Wednesday, 3 April 2019

Cycling Backpacker Adopts Stray Kitten





A Scottish backpacker who adopted a stray kitten on his travels has customised his bike so the pair can cycle across the world together. Dean Nicholson, 31, began his journey in his hometown Dunbar, Scotland, last September and picked up his four legged friend in Bosnia. Dean, who was tired of his nine-to-five job as a welder, kick started his travels by cycling 200 miles to Newcastle where he got the ferry to Amsterdam. He then cycled through to Belgium, Grance, Switzerland, Italy, got a ferry over to Croatia, then on to Bosnia where he found Nala.











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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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