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Sadly, this is a post about cray-zee

rodentpatrol

I wasn’t actually looking for another post about cats tonight (Jack’s been his usual happy self today), but I saw the pic of the nice ginger tom on a bale of hay and clicked. It was a boring story about Cats Protection trying to rehome ferals at a country show. Ho hum.

Then I scrolled down to the comments. BANG — nutbaggery! Three breathless messages in quick succession from some guy calling himself Nature Advocate about how cats don’t kill rodents, they attract them, and how he’s shot and buried hundreds of cats on his property. Brrrr.

Too many links, too fast on the trigger, I had a hunch — and, sure enough, if you Google “Nature Advocate” and “cats”, dude is a very busy nutbar. How come the whackadoodles always use the same username wherever they go?

His three messages on that particular article are below, rearranged into chronological order. Bolding mine, italics me. I followed his links and it’s the usual tiny kernels of truth wrapped in a warm coating of crispy flakes. Like, he claims hundreds of people in the US have caught plague from cats; the actual article he links to says several. He claims that cats are the reservoir of plague in the US, but it’s actually prairie dogs and other rodents that cats come in contact with.

I quit after taking a desultory swipe at it. Truth is, it isn’t fun crazy, it’s just depressing and scary crazy. I don’t recommend giving it a read, unless this is exactly the kind of crazy you enjoy — in which case, try the Google search above for all the Nature Advocate batshittery you could ever want.

Nature Advocate
4:38 AM on 27/04/2017

Cats’ most insidious disease of all, their Toxoplasma gondii parasite that cats spread through their scat into all other animals. This is how humans get it in their dinner-meats, cats roaming around stockyards and farms (herbivores can contract this parasite in no other way). 60%+ of game-animals too. This is why cats are routinely destroyed around gestating livestock or important wildlife by shooting or drowning them. [news to me – he seems to savor the killing techniques – s] So those animals won’t suffer from the same things that can happen to the fetus of any pregnant woman. (Miscarriages, still-births, hydrocephaly, and microcephaly.)

Its strange life cycle is meant to infect rodents. Any rodents infected with it lose their fear of cats and are attracted to cat urine. scitizen . Com / neuroscience / parasite-hijacks-the-mind-of-its-host_a-23-509 . html [he’s broken apart all the links like this. Presumably so he doesn’t get filtered out as spam]

Cats attract rodents to your home with their whole slew of diseases (like The Plague from rats and fleas, many people have died from cat-transmitted Plague in the USA already, [several, according to his link] it is alive and well and being spread by cats today). [no, it’s endemic in prairie dogs and other rodents; cats pick it up from them] If you want rodents in your home keep cats outside of it to attract diseased rodents to your area. I experienced this phenomenon (as have many others), and all rodent problems disappeared after I shot and buried every last one of hundreds of cats on my lands. Much better NATIVE rodent predators returned to my lands, rather than these man-made cats that were just attracting more rodents.

Nature Advocate
4:41 AM on 27/04/2017

The myth about cats being good rodent control has been disproved on every island where cats were imported to take care of the imported rodents. Hundreds of years later and there’s nothing but a thriving population of cats and rodents — all the native wildlife on those islands now either extinct or on the brink of extinction — even those native species which are better rodent predators than cats (such as many reptiles and shrews which destroy rodents right in their nests), the cats having destroyed them directly or indirectly.

Cats actually attract disease-carrying rodents to where cats are. The cats then contract these diseases on contact with, or being in proximity to, these rodents. Like “The Black Death”, the plague, that is now being transmitted to humans in N. America directly from cats that have contracted it from rodents. Yes, “The Black Death” (the plague) is alive and well today and being spread by people’s cats this time around. Totally disproving that oft-spewed LIE about having more cats in Europe could have prevented the plague — more cats would have made it far far worse. Many people have already died from cat-transmitted plague in the USA in the last 2-3 decades; all three forms of it transmitted by CATS — septicemic, bubonic, and pneumonic. For a fun read, one of hundreds of cases, Cat-Transmitted Fatal Pneumonic Plague — ncbi . nlm . nih . / Gov / pubmed / 8059908

abcdcatsvets . Org / yersinia-pestis-infection /
“Recommendations to avoid zoonotic transmission: Cats are considered the most important domestic animal [because the real well of the disease are not domestic animals] involved in plague transmission to humans, and in endemic areas, outdoor cats may transmit the infection to their owners or to persons caring for sick cats (veterinarians and veterinary nurses).”

Nature Advocate
4:44 AM on 27/04/2017

Cats attracting these adult rodents right to them further increasing the cat/rodent/disease density of this happy predator/prey balance. It has been documented many many times — the more cats you have the more rodents and diseases you get. I even proved this to myself when having to rid my lands of hundreds of these vermin cats by shooting and burying every last one of them. A rodent problem started to appear about the same time the cats started to show up, 15 years of it. And, if you check the history of Disney’s feral cat problem, their rodent problem also started to appear at the very same time their cats showed-up. Coincidence? Not at all. (BTW: All cat-advocates’ beloved Disney’s TNR cats are no more, they’ve all been destroyed by hired exterminators last year. Disney finally wised-up.) [I could find no evidence of this at all. Many articles about the feral cats of Disney, though] All rodent problems around my home completely disappeared after every last cat was shot-dead and safely disposed of. All the better NATIVE rodent predators moved back into the area after the cats were dead and gone. Not seen one cat anywhere nor had even one rodent in the house in over seven years now. (So much for their manipulative, deceptive, and outright lie of the mythical “vacuum effect” too.)

Cats DO NOT get rid of rodents. I don’t care how many centuries that blathering FOOLS [*shakes fist*] will claim that cats keep rodents in-check, they’ll still be wrong all these centuries. Civilizations of humans have come and gone in great cities like Egypt, yet their cats and rodents remain in even greater pestilent numbers. [This, delightfully, makes no sense at all].

No cat population anywhere has ever been able to control rodents effectively, in fact cats only attract a rodent problem. But native predators can get rid of rodents — easily.

April 27, 2017 — 9:42 pm
Comments: 8

Toxic masculinity

casualties

But instead of Atlanta, my doorstep. And instead of Confederate soldiers, tiny dead baby bunnies.

Okay, two. I found two tiny dead baby bunnies, but it was very impactful. I have to assume Jack left them, as Charlotte has been in all day and any interloper would be unlikely to leave gifts at the door.

The bunny season has begun. Probably anthropomorphizing to think Jack’s trying to get his mojo back. It’s more like the local crop of bunnies have reached that perfect chase-and-murder age.

I didn’t mean to make this Jack Week, but I’ve got nothing else going on and I’m back to ignoring politics.

Changing the subject, they didn’t allow Gone with the Wind on television until the late Seventies, but every so often they’d run it in the theaters. The first time in my lifetime was 1967, in a remastered 70mm format.

My father’s family were rural and small town people, and Tennesseans (meaning family on both sides of the Civil War). This wasn’t really his deal. But my mother’s people were from Louisiana and real live slave-and-plantation owners. There was once dizzying money in my mother’s father’s line (not a penny of which reached as far as me, alas).

Mother solemnly took me to the 1967 screening like it was my first Communion or something. Behold, my child, this is how it was meant to be.

Mother carried herself like royalty. Which is pretty funny since she was born and raised on a pokey little dirt farm in Armadilloballs, Texas.

April 26, 2017 — 8:38 pm
Comments: 15

Kitty cat heaven

kets

I’ve posted about Celia Hammond before. She’s an ex-model who runs a cat rescue, one branch of which is not too far away in Sussex. I posted about it when we went to their Open Day a couple of years ago. It’s a big open landscape where they send semi-ferals and unhomeables.

I’m telling you, it was the most serene place I’ve ever been. Forget your Buddhist rock gardens, when I want to find inner peace, I close my eyes and picture those hundreds of moggies drifting gracefully around the meadows, waving their wild tails. I don’t know how they avoid territorial conflict — maybe because there are just too many cats to fight, maybe they put Kitty Valium in the Friskies — but I didn’t hear any hissing or see any aggressive behavior at all.

They didn’t seem feral, either — a bunch of friendly old pussoes headrubbing and begging skritchies. There were acres of grass and woods, dotted with tiny wooden cabins full of straw. It was cat heaven.

The picture above, by the way, is from a recent rescue of sixty cats, all one family. They were on a small farm with an elderly owner who died. Somehow, of the sixty, only eight were males, so they bred out of control really fast. They’re a strict no-kill shelter, so homes will be found for all.

If it turns out Jack’s nemesis is a stray, I can think of no happier fate for him than to be in that blessed place. I’d have to be sure, though. It would be an awful thing to spirit away somebody’s pet cat.

If you clicked that first link, I done you dirty. It’s a direct link to the cats-needing-homes page. I’ve been known to stay up too late, drink too much and start clicking. “I’ll take you home, kitty! I’LL TAKE YOU ALL home!”

April 25, 2017 — 8:39 pm
Comments: 11

It snew!

snew

It snew in Scotland this morning. It was back to Spring by afternoon (as the photographer documents), but we are having a cold snap. It’s going to flirt with frost for the next few days, even down here. The gardeners are all worried because things have started to flower.

Janna asked for an update on Jack and his territorial dispute with the neighbor’s cat. It isn’t going well.

I heard him screaming this afternoon and ran next door to his aid, only to find him screaming into the neighbor’s livingroom window. Neighbor is taking care of her daughter’s cat, so Jack was screaming at an extremely elderly cat minding her own business in her own house. I apologized and withdrew.

Half an hour later, he’s next door screaming again. I shouted over the fence and the neighbor said that time it was indeed his nemesis, ginger-and-white. She chased off the intruder.

Half an hour later, he’s next door screaming again. I asked if it was the neighborhood bully again and she said, “no, Jack is standing in the middle of my garden screaming at nothing.”

Between these shrieking sessions he’s his good-natured old self, but he loses his shit when he feels threatened. I’ve warned everyone not to approach him when he’s screaming at air. Will try to find out who owns ginger-and-white. If he’s feral, I might try to relocate him, but I have a bad feeling he belongs to our newest neighbors.

April 24, 2017 — 9:07 pm
Comments: 12

Awww!

crow

Somebody’s opened a crow cafe in London – like a cat cafe, but…you know…with corvids (there’s also a rook and a raven).

Good idea. I like corvids. We had a couple of pet crows when I was a kid. I’ll tell you stories some day (some other day; it’s late and I have to go take a bath).

rook

Their rook probably needs a buddy. Rooks are the sociable ones. You know the old saying: if you see a solitary rook, it’s a crow; if you see a bunch of crows, they’re rooks.

The trees around our house here are alive with rooks and I’ve been awfully tempted to feed them.

Know how you tell the difference? Crows and ravens look pretty much alike, except ravens are bigger and shaggier. But rooks have a strip of unpleasant-looking crusty white flesh where their beaks meet their heads. Thusly:

And on that educational note, I’m off to my bath. Toodle pip.

April 19, 2017 — 9:14 pm
Comments: 20

Weasel and the Swan

swan

Today I played the banjo to a swan for an hour. There were three of them in the big field behind the house, but two of them flew away while I was fetching my ‘jo. Have you ever heard a swan fly? It’s like heavy machinery. Whuff-whuff-whuff-whuff.

I intended to write a song especially for him. I was going to call it There’s a Swan in the Big Field Behind the House. But I suck at composing so, really, I just played some of my favorite odd chords at him before settling down to a standard bluegrass repertoire.

First he stood on one leg for a while. Then he stood on the other leg for a while. Then he tucked his head under his wing and had a little kip. Then his friends came back and they all flew off together.

A most enjoyable afternoon.

Have a good Easter, everyone!

April 14, 2017 — 7:56 pm
Comments: 14

Freeeeeeee!

runningchickens

Not my birds. Somebody else’s birds. I didn’t have a picture of mine running. I’ll definitely have to get some this Summer, as there’s nothing quite as funny as a flock of chickens running at you full tilt.

The quarantine was lifted today, at last. It was lifted for most of the country weeks ago, but we are in what is regarded as a high risk area, so we had to keep our birds bottled up a little longer.

On a serious note, the quarantine may have played a role in the death of Violence and Vita. Chickens are susceptible to bacterial infections caught off their own poop, and being locked up exposed them to it for longer periods.

That’s something I learned from my chicken course: for all people go on about the cruelty of cage-reared birds, they are generally healthier than barn-reared or free range birds because their poop falls through the bottom of the cage and away.

So. Today is the start of a four-day weekend for me. Brits take more official time off at Easter than Christmas! I’ll be back here tomorrow with something pointless and inane to say, though. That’s my promise to you!

April 13, 2017 — 9:35 pm
Comments: 10

Rage Face II: the Hissening

rage

I went to pick up Jack to feed him this morning, and he came unstrung. Hissing, yowling, giving me the rage eye. Terrifying.

He’s usually a happy, good-natured little chap (I’ve seen his rage face once before, but he had a pretty good excuse). So we booked him into the vet.

Slight fever and what look like vampire bites on his neck, though the vet thought they could be deep claw marks. If it’s Charlotte, it has to be claws – she’s had all her teeth pulled. Anyway, the wounds are slightly infected. They gave him a broad-spectrum antibiotic and an anti-inflammatory (which I’ll have to repeat for a week. Giving medicine to cats – so much fun!). The vet thinks it was pain causing him to go nuts.

But the vet also thinks he might be dealing with an emasculating territorial issue. Like an other cat issue. We haven’t seen a strange cat in the yard for a long time, but the weather’s been nice and cats are likely travelling farther. No fighting noises, but he has been showing anxieties about going out the front door.

He’s a little squirt, so territory fights would be pretty scary for him. That kind of othercat frustration could explain why he’s been attacking Charlotte a lot — but she’s an old lady who just wants to sleep on the sofa. If she cut him up, I’m on Team Charlotte (except for the vet bill).

And there he lies, curled up on his favorite chair, like butter wouldn’t melt in his hissy mouth.

March 28, 2017 — 7:50 pm
Comments: 11

New for 2017!

lambs

Though we’ve seen a few lambs in the villages around, this morning was the first I’d seen in ours. Two little ones on the way in and a bunch more on the way home. It was glorious today. It’s coming, at last!

This is a picture I took years ago, though. Because something else arrived over the weekend: British Summer Time. Our clocks went forward (we’re always later than you) and I hate it and I’m behind on everything.

It’ll be weeks before I stop bitching about the clocks and describing daily events as taking place in either “real time” or “clock time.”

March 27, 2017 — 8:16 pm
Comments: 18

And two that got away

tamworthtwo

January of 1998, Tamworth pigs were being unloaded at a slaughterhouse in Wiltshire, when two shot off to one side, wriggled through a hole in the fence and escaped into the wild. The Tamworth Two became a sensation. No, really.

It was the most important story of the week – by far […] It had become impossible to avoid the story. A contributor to Radio 4’s Thought for the Day mused over them; the editor of The Independent, Andrew Marr, wrote about them in his letter to the readers. They even featured in an editorial in The Guardian.

Almost 100 reporters from all over the world turned up. The Times got the story going, but the Daily Mail (in true Daily Mail fashion) played it like a fiddle. They put some muscle into it, naming the pigs Butch and Sundance (they were sister and brother, but w/e) and sending their best out pig catching.

The two were located in someone’s back garden after a week of freedom and eventually captured, Sundance first and then Butch. None the worse for wear. The Mail bought them for an undisclosed sum and they lived out their lives in the Ashford Rare Breeds Centre.

Yes, the picture is posed by pig actors. They made a made for TV movie about it.

Turns out one or both of them had a wild boar for a daddy, so there’s that.

So. I do understand this, but I am embarrassed. I am embarrassed to admit I posted a tribute to my dead chicken yesterday and then tucked into a bowl of Chinese chicken and rice. One day, mark my words, I’ll end up a vegetarian. Or dead at the bottom of a huge karma pile.

March 21, 2017 — 8:50 pm
Comments: 15