Since tomorrow is a holiday and the Human is taking a min-vacation for the rest of the week, I decided to give her a reprieve from her usual Wednesday blog duties. Actually “mini-vacation” is not exactly true as she will be finishing up our third Felines Opine book for publication (Its called “Are There Head Bonks in Heaven?”). She’ll be spending some quality time with the Tribe (we expect some petting and head bonk sessions by the fireplace!) and with some her favorite humans.
We did want to meow at all our furiends and tell you how thankful we are for all of you. We are thankful for our home, for each other and for the love we get every day. Our purrayer is that every kitty will find a furever home this season.
Although it’s not over yet, we are reflecting on this year, there has been much loss, many kitties crossing the Rainbow Bridge and some wonderful humans we know who are now in heaven. We are thankful to have known them all, furry and non-furry.
We wish you all a wonderful Thanksgiving. I’ll be back next Wednesday with my reports on all the best feline news on the world-wide web. Give your humans (and furry siblings) lots of love and hopefully there will be some turkey in your future.
Stay safe, warm and happy. Oliver, LIly and I send you…
Hello Furiends, It’s been a good week in our neck of the woods but instead of talking about what The Tribe has been up to, I want to talk about what some fantastic folks in our community have been up to to help our shelter with it’s specific needs due to COVID. I also hope to inspire you to help your local shelters as well.
Our Human is a great fan of our animal shelter, Panhandle Animal Shelter. Our shelter director, Mandy Evans is amazing and has created programs in our little community that have gone national. Our Human wrote an award winning article about one of these programs called “Home to Home” and this innovative way to keep kitties in homes and out of the shelters is only one of many fantastic ways Panhandle Animal shelter is working to keep humans together with their furry family members.
Our Human heard the shelter director speak last week and one of the things she talked about was the specific challenges of running a shelter during COVID. The most pressing issue was that they couldn’t do the medical treatments for kittens and cats because they didn’t have enough surgical gowns. They brought patterns to the meeting and asked for help.
Now our Human is useless when it comes to sewing but she’s pretty good at marketing so she got the word out. And which group jumped into action right away? It was the pet loving folks who belong to her lost pet social media group, Bonner County Critter Finders. Now she should have figured that a community of folks that volunteer their time to get the word out about lost and found pets would be first in line to help the shelter and so they were.
Thanks to wonderful humans like these, our shelter will be able to do the medical work they need to do. There are many other things we can do to help our shelters during these difficult times. For instance, shelter disinfectant is hard to come by. Our shelter is able to obtain only a third of the disinfectant products they need and this affects how many animals they can take.
I’m setting my human furiends a challenge (I’m exempting the felines because our lack of opposable thumbs limits our purrticipation). Download the pattern and sew a surgical gown for your shelter or, if you’re sewing challenged like my Human, call your shelter to find out what specific needs you can help with that are caused by COVID.
That’s it for this week, kitties be kind to your humans, life is a bit stressful these days!
There were many people in Oregon who were evacuated quickly to escape the fires and due these hasty evacuations, some pets were left behind.
One human couldn’t stand to hear the stories of lost pets. Katie Albright, a trained missing pet recovery specialist joined forces with other likeminded humans to help find missing cats.
Her team went into homes that other humans couldn’t access to look for lost cats. Her sidekick, Franklin, a 3-year-old dachshund/beagle mix is her most valuable team member. She trained Franklin in cat detection through the Missing Animal Response Network.
She and Franklin were successful in locating lost cats on that mission. They continue to volunteer their services in other areas as well.
Sometimes you humans cause me to scratch my head! This one is a head scratcher for me. There are folks purrticipating in the DC Cat Count, sifting through 6 million photos and sorting out the cats and counting each one.
Despite the advances in modern technology there is no computer program that will sort the cat photos out of all the photos so the humans have to do the tedious job themselves, one picture at a time.
Why are they doing this? The DC Cat Count is looking to get an estimate of just how many felines there are in the District. Lauren Lipsey with the Humane Rescue Alliance says getting an accurate cat population number will help her organization manage feral cats in the city. The group operates animal shelters and provides animal control services in D.C. and is partnering with the Smithsonian on the cat count project.
She said, “If we don’t know the baseline population of cats, it makes it impossible to measure the effectiveness of various population control policies or strategies.”
Also, we felines get a bad rap from some humans who say we kill billions of birds and small mammals. This count will provide a more scientific approach to those allegations.
Researchers placed cameras in 1,530 locations, strategically sited across the city. Each location was surveilled for 15 days, for a total of 22,950 days of observation. Of the roughly 6 million photos captured, about 20% are of cats.
Needless to say, the cameras caught more than cats. The most common being dogs, squirrels, deer, rats, and raccoons. There were also some rarer urban inhabitants: flying squirrels, coyotes, beavers, and at least one bobcat.
Now the researchers are going through each photo to eliminate duplicate shots of the same cat. Once that work is done, a few months from now, the team will be able to model cat density throughout the
While the final analysis of D.C.’s cat population is still months away, McShea and Lipsey say there is at least one data point that stands out, in terms of cats’ impact on the environment. There were very few cats in the city’s largest parks, where wildlife could be most threatened by the presence of cats. For example — D.C.’s biggest, wildest park, Rock Creek Park, was “almost absent of feral cats or semi domesticated cats,” according to McShea.
The cat count project will be complete in 2021, at a total cost of $1.5 million, funded by a number of nonprofits and charities. Meowza, sometimes I wonder how you humans spend your time and money!
The first questionnaire survey to identify possible separation-related problems in cats discovered that 13.5% of all sampled cats displayed potential issues during their owner’s absence, according to a study published April 15, 2020 in the open-access journal PLOS ONE by Daiana de Souza Machado, from the Universidade Federal de Juiz de Fora, Brazil, and colleagues.
Now this feline could have told you we miss you humans when you’re gone but in defense of these humans doing the survey, so many studies have been conducted on owner separation problems in dogs and very little work has been done to see how we felines feel! There is a common belief that we cats are happy being left alone for long periods of time, but the most recent research suggests that we are far more social than you humans realize and we are deeply bonded with our humans..
The results of this survey were interesting. 13.5% of cats showed at least one trait of separation related problems (destructive behavior was the most frequently reported)
Other behaviors or mental states identified were: excessive vocalization (19 out of 30 cats), inappropriate urination (18 cats), depression-apathy (16 cats), aggressiveness (11 cats), agitation-anxiety (11 cats) and inappropriate defecation (7 cats).
There is still more work to be done in this study but I am thankful that there are humans willing to dive into the emotions and reactions of felines.
Checking in on the Disneyland Cats
There is quite a clowder of cats at Disneyland and there are folks who are concerned about how the felines are surviving. The good news is that Disneyland loves having the cats around as they do an excellent job of vermin control. These felines even have quite a large fan club. On Instagram, @disneylandcats has more than 85,000 followers, and the handle has another 16,000 on Twitter. You can follow the #disneylandcats hashtag on either platform and find a fan page on Facebook.
There’s even a website devoted to all things cats at Disneyland. DisneylandCats.com has profiles of each cat with some real information about each one. Ned, for example, is a domestic longhair who hangs out on the grounds of the Disneyland Hotel. The site is so popular that you can buy T-shirts that say “We try to forget it was all started by a mouse” and “Beware of hitchhiking cats.”
“The cats are taken care of by the park’s workers with help from local veterinary clinics,” Kyle Jaeger reported. “There are feeding stations and shelters where the cats receive routine veterinary care, including flea treatments, spaying and neutering, and vaccinations.”
So I think it’s safe to say that the Magic Kingdom is still magical for it’s resident felines.
We have humans that enjoy ice fishing in our neck of the woods but I’ve never heard of felines trying it until now. This kitty from Korea is trying her best to capture a carp under the ice in the lake.
This poor feline, named Marilyn, is beyond frustrated. I doubt that she was happy having her unsuccessful fishing trip uploaded to her You Tube and Instagram accounts either. I’m guessing Marilyn earned a few more viewers to compensate her for her frustrated fishing expedition.
Hello Furiends, I hope this week finds you healthy and happy in your neck of the woods. It’s gotten pretty chilly here and while Oliver and Lily are busy looking toward their own comfort, I have been busy helping our Human with the chores.
That’s a brief look at our lazy week now let’s take a look at what is happening in the feline world.
I have seen ads from car companies who seem to be marketing to dog lovers but not Nissan who is partnering with a chain of Japanese cat cafes to promote the Nissan Dayz kei car.
This small kei car starting at ¥1,327,700 ($12,590 USD), is loaded with state-of-the-art features. Even base grades get lane departure warnings, forward collision braking, hill hold, and pedestrian detection braking, auto-dim high-beams, and more. Higher trim levels get Nissan’s Around View bird’s eye parking assist and ProPilot system that includes hands-free highway driving with adaptive cruise and lane centering.
Nissan says it’s so easy to drive, a cat could do it and to prove their point, they created cat-sized Dayz cars to be placed at “Mocha” cat café locations throughout Japan.The official Nissan website does warn (via Google translate) “Please note that the cat may not drive the car depending on the mood of the cat.”
I am beginning to believe that it’s time for the Tribe to campaign for The Human to take us and move to Japan!
Okay, this feline will be the first cat to admit that we felines eat some pretty disgusting stuff but I’m wondering if Purina has gone too far this time.
Purina PetCare is launching a new pet food line to offer dogs and cats a more eco-friendly meal option. Starting this month, they will sell insect-based Purina Beyond Nature’s Protein in Switzerland.
And if the idea of “fly food” isn’t disgusting enough, let me tell you the details per Purina’s press release. “The insect protein comes from black soldier fly larvae, which are already in use in animal feed in Europe. The millet and fava beans provide protein, energy, and fiber to aid digestion. All the ingredients are steamed to maintain nutrient quality.”
Purina is referring to this new product line as a new eco-conscious choice. And says that many scientists and chefs have long promoted eating bugs, including mealworms, as a sustainable food option with “great promise” for humans as well as pets.
This feline says “thanks but no thanks!”. If any of our furiends in Switzerland have tried this food, give us a meow in the comments and let us know what you think. As for me, I’ll stick to stinky fish.
She rescues kittens that nobody else will take and nurses them back to health. She will take mother cats with their newborns and deal with the medical issues of the little ones.
Cyr has had 23 years of neonatal experience and explains she’s compelled to work with special needs kittens because the sickest and most fragile ones who can’t do it without help and can’t tell us what’s wrong. They can’t tell us what hurts.
Cyr named the rescue after a cat that resides with her now called Lois. Lois was found paralyzed and lying in a parking lot five years ago. Today, after therapy, Lois has gained back all her motion and climbs, runs and plays with Cyr’s other cats. Cyr has 11 permanent feline residents.
“People often ask me why I do what I do,” Cyr said as she sat on her couch, a tiny kitten named Little Mary purring and outstretched against her chest. “This makes it worth it right here. If they can all go on to be safe, happy and loved, that’s all I need.”
Did you know that having felines in your home is healthy for you? The Pet Effect , a campaign from the Human Animal Bond Research Institute (HABRI) works toward the goal to introduce pet owners to the health benefits of the human-animal bond, and to understand how important veterinarians are for happy, healthy pets!
The Female Human used HABRI research while she earned her diploma in Feline Behavior and Psychology and is very impressed with their work. HABRI assembles scientific evidence that demonstrates how pets improve heart health; alleviate depression; increase well-being; support child health and development; and contribute to healthy aging. In addition, companion animals can assist in the treatment of a broad range of conditions from post-traumatic stress to Alzheimer’s disease to autism spectrum disorder. The Pet Effect campaign not only shares the benefits of pet ownership but also shares the message and the science that proves veterinary medicine is an essential component of health for pets and people.
So if you know anyone who still doesn’t have a feline in their house, please send them this video along with the number to your local shelter!
Kudos to our furiends at Cats Protection in the UK for creative thinking in these difficult times. More than 10,000 cats have found their furever homes since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic thanks to a pioneering new idea.
Cats Protection launched a new doorstep delivery scheme called Hands-Free Homing in March to ensure cats could still be homed despite forthcoming lockdown restrictions. They used interactive video to match prospective owners with potential pets, and then transporting the animals to the new owner’s doorstep if a match was found.
Interested adopters interacted with the shelters and the cats virtually and then when the match is made the new feline in residence is delivered to your door.
Hello Furiends, I hope all is well in your neck of the woods. We have returned to the beautiful colors of autumn again and are having some nice rain showers.
When you humans insist on changing the time on us we really get discombobulated. It always takes a while to figure out ur new meal times, snack times, play times, etc and this really stresses meowt! Still not too much has changed. Ollie is seeking out the best heat vents and, when the sun is shining, likes to find the best sun puddles, which for him are on the dining room table (apologies to any of our future dinner guests). The Female Human takes exception to Oliver’s commandeering of this spot and he can never understand why she gets herself in such a tizz about it.
My favorite sun spot is on the very top of the cat condo in the office…can you find me?
Finally, there are brief glimpses of hope that Lily might find a cuddle buddy yet.
Well that’s enough about us, let’s check out the news items I have for you this week.
A portly gray Tabby from Thailand, missing for 3 days, returned home but when he came home, his human found out he had incurred some debt.
He arrived home after his adventure with a cardboard note attached to a new collar. The note read, “Your cat kept eying the mackerel at my stall, so I gave him 3.” The feline’s benefactor signed the note, “Aunty May at alley no. 2.”
A Facebook page picked up the story and shared it and the story went viral. Some folks offered to pay the cat’s debt. Others felt that “Aunty May” might not have wanted to be reimbursed for the fish at all.
At the time of this report, it is still not known whether the feline paid his debt or not.
Doorkins Magnificat, a beloved cat who made the cathedral her home for 12 years, died Sept. 30th. The tabby earned celebrity status during her years at Southwark Cathedral, meeting Queen Elizabeth II, starring in a children’s book and having a presence on social media.
After the cat’s death, Andrew Nunn, the dean of the cathedral, hosted a service of thanksgiving, which was live-streamed on Wednesday.
“She was enormously popular and had a massive Twitter following — and was also the focus of a lot of people’s visits to the cathedral,” Nunn said. “When she died the response was huge, and we knew we had to do something — there was no way in which we could just ignore the fact — and why would you? We loved her, and she gave a lot to our life. It felt entirely appropriate.”
The cat began visiting the cathedral in 2008 between Christmas and New Year’s Day and waited for food. Once she realized that the cathedral was a source of two meals daily, the cat decided to stay.
She became known as Doorkins making her bed next to a warm pipe underneath the cathedral’s chancel or on a cushion in the consistory court.
In August 2017 Doorkins “published” her first book, “Doorkins the Cathedral Cat,” which gave readers a tour of the Gothic-style church and a week in the life of the cat.
She developed kidney disease in the last few years and lost her eyesight. She died in the arms of Paul Timms, the head verger at his home after she had a stroke.
Her remains were cremated and she was laid to rest in the church’s courtyard. The cat’s remains were cremated and she was laid to rest in the church’s courtyard.
“It was an unusual occasion,” Nunn told the congregation during the memorial service. “In more normal times, we often host memorial services for the great and the good. But I don’t think there’s ever been a service for a cat.”
Although some people like the Bishop of Burnley were negative about the service there were no regrets from the cathedral for holding the service.
Nunn said, “There’s such a lot of emotion around at the moment, and sometimes, something like that can just release it for people,” Nunn said. “It was heartwarming as well as emotional.” He also said that Doorkins was a positive influence to the church congregation.
If you’ve ever shared your living space with a cat, you’ll know that they’ll go wherever they want to go, whether you’re on board or not. And they love high places — all the better for looking down at you, right?
One cat owner decided to give his felines exactly what they wanted, and his friend revealed the results on Twitter.
As you can see from the photos posted on Twitter, this cat parent has carried out some major ceiling modifications to his store, including glass tiles for his feline spectators. His cats can now go into the ceiling area, perch on the glass and see everything that’s happening down below.
Pickles the cat is an excellent traveling buddy for Muninn Myrkvi, an over-the-road truck driver for GP Transco..
He says, “Pickles has the ability to brighten anyone’s day. Whenever anyone spots him through the window, I get smiles and a thumbs up.”
He adopted the 6-year old Maine Coon from a friend in 2019. Pickles was curious abut everything during his first few journeys albeit a bit skittish and nervous when the big rig started up.
It only took a week for Pickles to get used to his life on the road. Now when he’s on the road, he likes to look out the passenger window while they are driving. Most of his time is spent however, snoozing on the passenger seat.
This feline is as pampered as any house cat. In the early days, Myrkvi would try to get Pickles to check out his surroundings while wearing a harness but the harness was not a success. Now Pickles will sometines sit on the top step of the cab with his human by his side. Any noise or disturbance sends him scurrying back into the cab immediately.
When Pickles isn’t traveling, he spends time with his human on the family alpaca farm. Pickles enjoys himself there but he seems to prefer their road trips.
Pickles makes a purrfect traveling companion for this trucker who says, “Knowing Pickles is around helps keep my anxiety down as I go through my day.I tend to keep to myself even more than the typical OTR trucker, so Pickles helps alleviate loneliness. I also love when he cuddles up at night.”
What do I think about this app? I say, “It’s about time!”
Javier Sanchez, a technical program manager at Bellevue, Wash.-based business and tech solutions company Akvelon, has built a cat translation app called “MeowTalk” that he hopes will change how people interact with their feline friends.
Using data science and machine learning, MeowTalk listens to the sounds a cat makes and offers up a human language translation, promising to remove the barrier between pet and person on interactions ranging from “feed me” to “let me outside” to “I’m in pain.” With user input, an out-of-the-box version of the app can be trained to understand a specific cat.
Sanchez worked in the machine learning platform team at Alexa and wondered if there could be something similar for cats.
MeowTalk (on iOS and Android) comes with a general model that listens for cat meows in your home and then categorizes those sounds into 10 built-in intents that are universal to all cats. While cats don’t have a shared language, each will develop their own vocabulary that they will use consistently, Sanchez said. Users can create cat profiles and assign meows to new labels in MeowTalk when they think they know what their cat is asking for.
The app will learn a new word and will make accurate predictions for that word the next time it hears it. Behind the scenes, user feedback is training the cat-specific model to understand that cat’s meows going forward.
There is a smart collar in the works (Much like the translator worn by the dog in the movie “Up”, one of our Human’s favorites). Sanchez consulted with a data scientist named Stavros Ntalampiras, who wrote a research paper that got the attention of the Akvelon team, called “Automatic Classification of Cat Vocalizations Emitted in Different Contexts”.
Sanchez has been a cat person the majority of his life. As one of his cats circled his office as a test subject during a recent Zoom video call, he said dogs, while they definitely understand speech, just don’t have the same vocal capabilities to communicate through their barks.
Did our human download the app? You betcha’ and I’ll report on what we think about in a future feature.