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Not my cat

kett

In honor of Charlotte’s return, we went to an open house at a cat sanctuary on Sunday. Okay, yes…we would have done anyway. But it seemed particularly appropriate just at present.

Not quite as posh as the Celia Hammond one, but I’m not sure the cats could tell the difference.

Amazing how many black and black-and-white cats were pining for adoption. It’s true in the States, it’s true here. People are weird.

We had an awesome time, bought lots of good things cheap and had a long drive across an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. (No, really, that’s a thing — it was an officially designated AONB).

This guy bites. The guy in the picture. I knew that, but I didn’t tell anybody. I just sat on a bench nearby and watched the fun.

One of those cats who strings you along happily for a while and then goes full psycho for a nanosecond. He didn’t seem to hurt anybody, so I could spectate with a clear conscience.

Who could have guessed a cat that looks like Hitler would be evil?

July 17, 2017 — 8:58 pm
Comments: 13

The monster that eats cats

prettygirl

This story has a happy ending, I’ll let you know right now. I wouldn’t tell it to you otherwise.

A few weeks ago, our neighbor came flying over to tell us she’d spotted Charlotte, our dear old kitty, in the bottom of her garden in a very bad way.

Dear god, was she ever. So much blood and fur. Her head was so messed up and bloody I thought she’d lost part of it. I was pretty sure I saw an ear in the grass. She was alive, though — panting hard and shocky.

It was a Sunday (of course). I scooped her up in a towel and Uncle B called around until we found a vet on duty.

She’s fifteen. Learning that visibly changed the vet’s attitude but, do him credit, he gave her a thorough exam (including the usual few expensive tests) and hooked her up to an IV overnight. No broken bones, no internal bleeding, no apparent brain damage (still has both ears, thank goodness). But she wouldn’t stand or respond, except to scream when moved. She tore a bloody strip off a careless veterinary assistant.

The only injuries he could find were two deep, horrible holes with long gouges in the top of her skull, like something with big canines clamped her whole head in its mouth and tried to pull her down into the ditch we found her by. I believe now that our neighbor startled whatever it was – which was more than lucky. No-one goes down that end of the garden much.

She began to purr the moment she knew she was home, but that’s all I could get out of her. For almost a week, she wouldn’t move or eat or focus. I forced water on her with a pipette several times a day (she could swallow okay) but otherwise let her be. I was sure she was starving herself on purpose, the way animals will when they’ve had enough.

But after four or five days, she would lick food off my fingers if I offered it. A couple of days later, she used the litterbox (I was never so thrilled to see a cat turd in my life). A few days after that, she staggered out of the back room and refused to return to her sick bed. She’s unsteady and a little loopy, but she’s positively back and absolutely her old self.

The pic is old. I took some new ones this afternoon, but you have to get close to see the scars, and why would you want to? She looks just the same otherwise. A little skinnier.

We’re so very grateful to have our old girl back. And with that happy thought, we wish you all the best of weekends!

July 14, 2017 — 9:34 pm
Comments: 32

how cats achieved world domination

catgenes

I’m taking a life drawing course on Wednesday nights again, making me late to home. So have a gander at this article on kitty genetics that I’ve had open in a tab for a while.

The gist of the chart is that the ‘blotchy’ tabby coat is a recent mutation — like, Medieval — but that 80% of cats carry the gene for it now.

Thing is, I think of the blotchy tabby coat as being a strictly British thing. All the tabbies I’ve known in the US have been the mackerel kind. You know, straight stripes.

Would you agree?

July 5, 2017 — 9:46 pm
Comments: 9

All present and accounted for

tinykittens

So for everyone who’s been watching Corsica’s litter grow up, they done growed up and have been promised to new homes. For those of you on FaceBook, the update is here. For the sensible people who eschew social media (eschew, I say!), the score is:

Corsica & Faberge (that’s the tortie mama and the big black kitten – honestly, he was half again bigger than the others) go together to one home. Hatch & Florentine go together to another. Hatch is the ginger who had to wear a sock for a sweater because he had a wound he kept picking at, and Flo is one of the tabbies. I think the only girl in the bunch. Scrammy & MooShu are adopted together, too. That’s another ginger + tabby, though which is which I can never remember.

My experience is, cats are happier when they live with a sibling, but a lot less human oriented. I’m selfish enough to miss that last bit.

If you follow that FB link, they all have pages you can follow. Kitties pack their bags tomorrow (they’ve teased some kind of special performance) and move out on Saturday. Watch here.

June 22, 2017 — 10:14 pm
Comments: 9

Cat vs Mole

catvsmole

This ended in a way I did not expect. The video came across my FaceBook feed this evening and FB means it’s nigh impossible to share outside of FB itself. Meaning I had to go digging around YouTube to find it for you.

Turns out, this isn’t the only cat versus mole battle that ends in exactly this way.

I am doing invoices tonight. I haven’t been paid in almost three months because I freaking hate doing invoices. This is at least in part because I set myself up with an oh-so-clever spreadsheet that does all the arithmetic automagically for me. It’s such a monumental pain in the ass to work with, I’d be ever so much better off doing my own freaking sums on the back of a brown paper bag.

Technology, eh?

May 24, 2017 — 9:03 pm
Comments: 9

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

Now I’m the Vampire Meow

catbite

Little bastard bit me this morning. Jack the Cat, not Uncle B. I was putting him out for attacking the other cat and he decided he really, really didn’t want to go out.

Broke the skin and everything. Yes, yes…I know. Cat mouths are chock full of bacteria. My hand is swollen and sore, but it’s not yet hot and red. I’m keeping an eye on it.

But we have confirmed the problem: there is a strange cat in his territory. A much bigger cat, naturally, as Jack is a little squirt. Uncle B apparently stalked the garden making like a gorilla at Stupid O’Clock last night to scare off the trespasser (and called the next door neighbor to explain today, just in case she caught the performance live).

My hand hurts and I’m sulky. I’m’a go drink now.

March 30, 2017 — 9:16 pm
Comments: 13