Monday, 2 May 2022

"Dinosaur" Cat Looking For A Home

Oxford Mail:

Sweet cat Brian, dubbed the dinosaur cat, is looking for a home now he has been spruced up and treated by the Blue Cross rehoming centre in Oxfordshire in the UK.

Brian, who is around 14 years old, was found wandering the streets alone with huge, matted clumps of fur along his back which reminded one of the helpers of a stegosaurus! 

Although he has been clipped, groomed and bathed, Brian hasn't yet found a new home, probably because of his age. 

Elisha Webber, Animal Welfare Assistant at Blue Cross said: “Poor Brian was in such a sorry state when he arrived with us. He was severely matted along his spine, dehydrated and was covered in fleas and ticks. He also needed extensive dental work and some teeth removed.

“We’re not sure how long he had been alone and wandering the streets but he’s a very sweet-natured boy with so much love to give. He enjoys his food and loves to curl up in a nice warm spot.

“His new owner will need to be patient with him as they’ll need to build up his trust but he’ll make a wonderful companion. He really does deserve a happy ending.”

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Thursday, 21 April 2022

Life Lessons In Lingvistov Cartoons

I have written before about the benefits of living with cats but artist Lingvistov has detailed those benefits in some hilarious cartoons. Here are just a few of them and who could disagree? If you want to see more of his work, take a look at his Instagram account,


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Monday, 11 April 2022

The Enticing Dreamies

You know me, I'm a sucker for ads with cats. Here are three featuring Dreamies. Whose cat doesn't love a few Dreamies?

I  hope they don't give anyone ideas about enticing other people's cats into their house - that's a strict no-no. It's as bad as kidnapping a child to many people!

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Monday, 21 March 2022

Is Your Cat A Psychopath?

Is your cat more tiger than pussycat?

Is your cat a psychopath? My little monster is grumpy and doesn't suffer fools gladly but she is also often sweet, loving and cuddly so I'm pretty sure she's not psychopathic.

Now researchers have developed a detailed questionnaire that owners can use to analyse their pets to see if they possess psychopathic tendencies.

The test, named the CAT-Tri+, comes in the form of 46 statements that require owners to rate how well each one describes their pet.

The study was carried out by a group of scientists from the University of Liverpool and Liverpool John Moores Universityin the UK and has been published in the Journal of Research in Personality.

Based on the relationship between 2,042 owners and their cats, the test is the first tool available to measure psychopathy in cats.

Owners must rank on a five-point scale statements including: “My cat torments their prey rather than killing it straight away”, “my cat vocalises loudly (e.g meows, yowls) for no apparent reason”, and “my cat is very excitable (e.g goes into ‘overdrive’ and becomes uncoordinated)”.

Other statements include observing whether your cat sits in high places, whether they “dominate” the neighbourhood cats, and whether they purr when attacking people or animals.

The results help measure the cat’s levels of “meanness” – traits such as a lack of empathy and callous aggression – “disinhibition” as in issues with behavioural restraint, “boldness” as well as its level of unfriendliness towards people and other pets.

Lead researcher Rebecca Evans of Liverpool University said: “In our study, we developed a questionnaire measure of psychopathy in domestic cats.

“The questionnaire was developed using owner-provided examples of their cat’s behaviour in the context of the triarchic model of psychopathy (boldness, meanness, and disinhibition).

“The final questionnaire measures five factors of feline psychopathy: boldness, meanness, disinhibition, pet-unfriendliness and human-unfriendliness.”

She continued: “A cat that has a high score on the boldness scale may benefit from large cat trees and tall scratching posts, as the Cat-Tri+ items suggest that a bold cat enjoys exploring and climbing.

“Providing environmental enrichment for bold cats may reduce agonistic behaviours towards people, other pets, and possessions.”

Researchers hope the test will help improve relationships between cats and their owners, and in turn reduce the number of pets that end up in shelters or being put down.

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Monday, 10 January 2022

Your Incredible Cat

We all know cats are amazing! Here are some cat facts that prove the point:

  • A cat can make over 100 vocal sounds (dogs can make 10)
  • A cat sleeps around 14 to 18 hours a day on average
  • Cats are the only animal that walks on their claws, not the pads of their feet.
  • A cat has 32 muscles in each ear.
  • A group of youngsters (kittens) is called a kindle; those old-timers (adult cats) form a clowder.
  • The average cat food meal is the equivalent to about five mice.
  • People who are allergic to cats are actually allergic to cat saliva or to cat dander. If the resident cat is bathed regularly the allergic people tolerate it better. Also, there are allergy shots available.
  • Besides smelling with their nose, cats can smell with an additional organ called the Jacobson's organ, located in the upper surface of the mouth.
  • Like birds, cats have a homing ability that uses their biological clock, the angle of the sun, and the Earth's magnetic field. A cat taken far from its home can return to it. But if a cat's owners move far from its home, the cat can't find them.
  • A cat can jump even seven times as high as it is tall.
  • America and the UK spend more annually on cat food than on baby food.
  • It has been scientifically proven that owning cats is good for our health and can decrease the occurrence of high blood pressure and other illnesses. Stroking a cat can help to relieve stress, and the feel of a purring cat on your lap conveys a strong sense of security and comfort.

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Friday, 7 January 2022

Music To Their Ears

Roll over Beethoven. This might not be the first song you would pick when you want to chill out, but I'm assured it's music to the ears for kitty.

Scientists from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in the US say cats hate music made by humans so they have composed what they claim is a cat-friendly tune that has a positive effect on your pet.

It might sound to you like a seven-year-old practising his violin lessons while kitty purrs in the background but to cats it's top of the pops. It's an octave higher than most human music which, says the scientists, suits cats' extra sensitive hearing. The tempo is that of purring.

In an experiment they played excerpts of classical musical to 47 felines in their own homes before trying out their own catty composition. The university researchers found the reaction was far more positive to their  music rather than to composers like Mozart.

They suggest the music could be used at rescue shelters, catteries or zoos for those who use music to try and stimulate animals in various forms of captivity.

Psychology professor Charles Snowdon, who led the study, said: "We are not actually replicating cat sounds. We are trying to create music with a pitch and tempo that appeals to cats."

When played classical music, there was little or no reaction from the cats studied and when they did react, it took an average of 171 seconds to show signs they noticed the music. But when played the specially composed tunes, the cats purred and walked towards the speaker and rubbed against it - all positive behaviour in the world of cats - and after an average response time of 110 seconds.

Owners who play human music to cats to try and calm them or stimulate them, run into two problems, said Professor Snowdon. Either the cats don't hear it because of the pitch or they do hear it but do not regard it as "music".

We weren't too sure about this composition so who better to review it than our very own Carlton Cat? Take a look at his review  here.

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Monday, 13 December 2021

My Picky Eater

It's always astonishing to me how picky an eater my cat is. This, after all, is the feline that feeds on woodlice, spiders and mice and laps filthy water out of an old container in the garden.

Present her with a bowl of perfectly good cat food and she will look at me as if I am trying to feed her rat poison. Sometimes it's a brand and flavour of food she has been happily tucking into for years. All of a sudden Miss Picky decides she doesn't like it any more.

I can put fresh food in her bowl and she will eat half of it. However, 10 minutes later the remaining half is no longer palatable, apparently. Cue another look that could curdle milk.

Which reminds me. Milk. She happily drank small saucers of milk (the one that's specifically for cats) for the first seven years of her life. Now she won't touch it. Present her with some milk and cue a look that could instantly freeze boiling water.

However... settle down with some expensive Brie you bought at the farmers' market and there she is at your side batting your arm with her paw as her big amber eyes plead with you. "Just a little nibble. I'd love a little taste. Mmmm, you know cheese is my favourite thing EVER."

She has definite "rules" from which she will not deviate - until she decides to change the rules.

Present rules include never eating any food that's on special offer (how does she KNOW?) even if it's her favourite brand and flavour; having a clean bowl for every meal; never eating the same flavour of food for more than two meals in a row; and demanding to share your fresh food like fish (although she doesn't like fish-flavoured proprietary cat food - go figure), prawns and chicken.

Yet I know that, heaven forbid, if she were forced to fend for herself in the wild she would be happily feral within a fortnight.

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Tuesday, 7 December 2021

Cats As Superior Beings

All cat owners are aware of the superior air exhibited by their pets. They seem to relish their independence but generously allow us to be their closest companions. Dogs learn tricks but cats are practically untrainable and they have managed to convince us that it's not because they are less intelligent but because they really can't be bothered. 
They manipulate us with their wiles and entrance us - when they feel like it - with their quirky behaviour and so wrap us around their little paws. Some of the most talented and clever people in the world have recognised the fact that cats are superior and sometimes supercilious beings. I'll let them tell  you all about it in their own words.

Poet Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792-1822)

"When my cats aren't happy, I'm not happy. Not because I care about their mood but
because I know they're just sitting there thinking up ways to get even." 

Comedian and actor Bill Dana (1924-2017)

"I had been told that the training procedure with cats was difficult. It's not.
Mine had me trained in two days." 

Actor Kandyse McClure b.1980

"I read that when cats are cuddling and kneading you, and you think it's cute, 
they're really just checking your vitals for weak spots."

Spiritual teacher Eckhart Tolle b.1948

"I have lived with several Zen masters - all of them cats."

Writer Cleveland Amory 1917-1998

"As anyone who has ever been around a cat for any length of time well knows,
cats have enormous patience with the limitations of the human kind."

Poet Pam Brown b.1948

"Cats can work out mathematically the exact place to sit that
will cause most inconvenience."

Writer Neil Gaiman b.1960

"Anyone who believes what a cat tells him deserves all he gets."

Writer Mark Twain 1835-1910

“Of all God's creatures, there is only one that cannot be made slave of the leash. 
That one is the cat. If man could be crossed with the cat it would improve 
the man, but it would deteriorate the cat.”

Writer of horror and science fiction  H. P. Lovecraft 1890-1937

"The cat is such a perfect symbol of beauty and superiority that it seems scarcely possible
for any true aesthete and civilised cynic to do other than worship it."

Writer and film-maker Megan Boyle b.1985

"My cat is always looking at me like I am forgetting something
crucial and he depends on it."

Blogger and writer Will Wiles b.1978

"Nothing snubs quite like a cat. What evolutionary purpose did it serve, 
this inherent disdain, this artful blanking?"

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