Hello There Furiends,
I can’t believe it’s Wednesday already! Things in our neck of the woods are going well. Just when we got used to the D-O-G, she left for her home in Arizona. Things are not near as exciting now and the Tribe is going to take a video of the squirrel to send to KD to enjoy.
The squirrel action pales in comparison to the raccoon family antics at the upstairs bird feeder. Momma and her little hooligans are making regular visits to raid the squirrel and bird food. They are so brazen that even when The Female Human stands on the porch and takes their pictures they are not phazed. All I have to say is, they better stay away from our food!
That’s the latest here and now on to my weekly web wanderings. Enjoy!
Meowza, did you know that cats are the most beloved animal in Istanbul? They’re also one of the city’s biggest attractions. Stray cats usually take the best seats at cafes and restaurants in Istanbul without anyone even bothering moving them. They maneuver around tables and customers, inside and out of the buildings in search of the most comfortable spot.
No one knows the exact number of cats in the city although someone said there could be a million. Even though they are popular, these stray kitties still struggle to survive. Thankfully, there are people like Rana Babaç Çelebi, the founder of the Cats of Istanbul, who care for them along with a few other groups as well. Cats of Istanbul has about 300 active volunteers who get together whenever action is needed, like fixing some cages in shelters, setting up cat houses in the neighborhood, feeding the cats when the weather is bad or simply just giving them affection.
Some districts have created cat houses in parks, while other individuals spend money and time to install beautiful cat houses around their neighborhoods. There are three big shelters in the city, which Sable and Çelebi said don’t have the best reputation for care. And as the value of the Turkish lira drops, the cost of medicine and food has increased, which makes their cat-relief work even harder.
The first felines arrived in Istanbul on merchant ships from Egypt during the Ottoman Empire. The people of the day gladly kept the newly arrived cats because the city’s wooden houses attracted a lot of rats and the felines helped keep the rat population under control. Now the humans of Istanbul are returning the favor by helping the stray cats.
A presentation last week at the International Society for Applied Ethology annual meeting in Bergen, Norway offered evidence on why cats eat grass and say it’s what we do when we want to fix an upset stomach.
Researchers at the University of California, Davis conducted a survey of 1021 cat owners who spent at least three hours a day observing their pet’s activities and found that of the 71 percent of cats caught chomping on grass, about a quarter wound up vomiting afterward—but roughly 91 percent of respondents reported that their cats did not appear to be ill before dining out on roughage.
So if they weren’t self-medicating a sick stomach, what happened? Well the scientists don’t have an answer for that. They did say that it’s evolutionary behavior and, that grass consumption increases muscle activity in the digestive tract, which could force out unwanted contents. Cats have traditionally had to deal with parasites like hookworms or roundworms as a byproduct of devouring rodents, though it’s likely that most cats who aren’t on a diet of rat meat don’t have any parasites to treat. Still, the instinct to chew grass remains.
The Tribe of Five says this just might be a bunch of hooey! Some of us love snacking on grass, some of us could care less and even 16-year old Jasmine has her morning grass munch every day and she’s been following that ritual ever since she was a kitten. So much for science.
The good folks at Purina may one day help humans who sniffle and sneeze around cats by changing the food the cat eats! The food would contain an antibody to the major allergy-causing protein in cats. This protein is called Fel d1. New research indicates that feeding this antibody to cats changes the protein so that the human immune system can’t recognize it, and that reduces the allergic response.
Nestlé Purina researchers conducted a small pilot study with 11 people allergic to cats. These people were exposed in a test chamber to hair from cats fed the antibody diet. They were also exposed to hair from cats fed a normal, control diet. The people had reduced nasal symptoms and less itchy, scratchy eyes with the hair from cats fed the special diet. These preliminary findings were released in June. The researchers presented them in Lisbon, Portugal.
Meowza, this would be a great thing if you can stop human sniffling by just changing our food!
By day, their job is to greet people and pose in funny, whimsical ways for pictures that wind up on @bodegacats Instagram page.. By night, things get a little more intense, with bodega cats expected to walk the perimeters of their stores and keep invading vermin at bay. The iconic city cats got their big break in 2012, when Brooklynite Rob Hitt walked into his Williamsburg bodega for an egg-and-cheese sandwich and saw a photographic feline. It was “everything you would imagine in a bodega cat, so I took a picture of it,” he said. Now @bodegacats has 205K Instagram followers and its own Twitter channel at 262k followers. Hitt tries to leverage the attention for the greater good. Meow on bodega cats, I salute you!
Sometimes you humans come up with really great ideas. The good folks in Minneapolis came up with a doozy. They conduct walking cat tours in their neighborhoods. People gather at a meeting spot and then move door to door for feline viewing. They get to meet some pretty fabulous felines and humans too.
One human said, “A cat tour is just a way to meet your neighbors and go out in the community and meet people with animals and pets.”
Well, we have walking art tours, history tours, winery tours, etc. in our neck of the woods. Why not a cat tour? Watch the video and see what you think.