For me, cat info titbits means an amalgam of posts. I have a few half-finished stories that I have bundled together on this page. They all have value but each one is probably not able to stand alone as a separate article.
Notes on the Wild Cats Nov 2012
This are notes, the juicy bits, from a meeting of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) meeting on 19-21 July 2012. AZA is “a nonprofit organization that accredits zoos and aquariums…”. I’ll just summarize some outstanding bits:
The delegates, who should know what they are talking about, consistently referred to the “downward spiral” of feline populations. This refers both to wild cat species that are captive and living in the wild. The basic reasons for the downward spiral for these groups of cats is as follows:
In a word “inbreeding” is the problem due to a limited gene pool (not enough cats). And wild cats nearly always do badly in zoos when it comes to breeding. No doubt they are stressed, upset and unhappy and don’t breed (this comment is mine not from the delegates).
Habitat destruction is the main problem for nearly the wild cats. There are more and more people doing more things that includes destroying the places such as forests and wetlands vvwhere wild cats historically live. Some species of wild cat are already doomed to extinction. They don’t say which ones but here are some possibles: the Iberian Lynx, the Scottish Wildcat, the Florida Puma, the tiger generally (not imminent but it will happen), the Sumatran tiger, the Bay cat and more…
They say that this eye condition is “not uncommon in several cat species”. It is not clear if that comment refers to captive or wild cats. The medical dictionary says that ocular colobomas are
An anomaly of the eye, usually a developmental defect, often resulting in some vision loss.
This indicates to me that this health problem is genetic based. In other words an inherited disease due to inbreeding or a restricted gene pool. Several species living in the wild are inbreed due to low population sizes. Examples are:
- Siberian tiger (in wild)
- Amur leopard (in wild)
- South China tiger in captivity
- Florida panther (in wild)
- Iriomote cat (leopard cat) – in the wild
- Cheetah? (this cat is inbred in the wild)
- Iberian lynx – in the wild with an extremely low population.
I am sure there are others.
Silver vine is also called “Matatabi”. It has a similar effect on cats to catnip. There appear some real health benefits too. This herb contains antioxidants and vitamin C. People use it to treat high cholesterol, arthritis and as an immune system stimulant.
Cats eat the leaves or extracts. It is appropriate for wild and domestic cats. Apparently it can used to habituate some cats to carriers and strange objects. I am not sure how that works but it sounds intriguing.
Wild Cats and OCD or Self-mutilation
Wild cats in captivity can self-mutilate. The causes are possibly: lack of enrichment of environment, noises, sexual frustration and being viewed by people! True. Wild cats in captivity should have a place to hide just like domestic cats.
Sphynx Therapy Cat
This is a good cat news story. Marc wanted one 🙂 Although it is not current news, I don’t think that really matters.
Some say the Sphynx cat looks a bit weird. Some say the Sphynx cat breed shouldn’t even exist. I won’t write about that today. I’ll simply say that the Sphynx cat makes a great therapy cat. And that is at least one good reason to be thankfully for this hairless cat.
Deforestation – Destroying Wild Cats
For us in the West, the destruction of the rainforest, the beautiful and ancient forests, is thousands of miles away. And many of us are thousands of miles away from the mentality of the people who want to use and abuse the planet for financial gain until it is all destroyed.
There are many species of wild cat that treat the forest as their home. They depend on it totally. Without it they are dead. And they are dying as fast as big business is destroying the forest. These are often big paper producing businesses. Your super white copying paper might have come from a tree that was a thousand years old and which housed a clouded leopard.
I am pleased that there are local people who are against big business. In this instance it is not only destroying a wild cat’s habitat but the livelihood of the small businessman.
I don’t know what is motivating these people to stand in front of the bulldozers and risk injury and worse. I am almost certain it is not to save the clouded leopard or other tree dwelling cat species. It is possibly about saving their livelihoods which are also jeopardised by big business, which in this case is the big logging companies. They won’t stop, you know, until the forests are gone. Then they’ll find some other natural resource to convert to money. Does it have to be this way? Surely there is a better way to manage the planet.
The small wild cat is almost ignored by 99% of the world’s population. This is partly because the small wild cat is likely to be very secretive in order to avoid people. That makes it very vulnerable through loss of habitat by human activity of one form or the other.
If I was down there, on the ground, I would stand in front of that bulldozer for the cats and other wild animals who live in the forest and depend on it. It might sound extreme perhaps but it is true.
Working With Your Cat
Do work with your cat by your side? If you don’t I would recommend it. It won’t always be possible but if it possible, try it.
This is a picture I took some time ago of Charlie by my side while I work on the website in bed. Bed is a great place to work. Charlie would agree that wholeheartedly because he can join me and keep warm. He warms me too. A sort of symbiotic relationship. It is better to work in bed in the morning! Work is more productive.
The upside is that it feels nice to have the company of a cat that close to you. Charlie doesn’t mind if I move around and grab a book or something. The downside is that I stop a bit more than usual to stroke him. That is a downside from a work production standpoint. From a health standpoint it is an upside for both of us.
What I would like from him is some ideas on cat stories. Some sort of input…” Hey Mike, what about a story about working with a cat?” That sort of thing. He doesn’t seem that interested in helping though. He is too busy sleeping and yawning.
If he stays put all night it is sometimes almost impossible to sleep properly for me because all my usual sleep habits are curtailed. He is fine. Of course. Oblivious to anything and everything that I do.