Forever in My Heart: My 13 Days With an F2 Savannah Cat

By Daniel J. Haughton

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Her name was Tabitha and she came into my life in mid-2009. I am disabled and live with my parents in central Mississippi with (at the time) my mother’s Pomeranian and my own gray and white tabby domestic shorthair rescue kitty. We had decided among us that we wanted another cat in our lives and based on a spate of television stories about Savannah cats at the time, we had them on the brain. With that in mind, I took to the internet and did a bit of research.

After finding a breeder we felt was reputable, we contacted them and inquired about the possibility of getting a kitten. The breeder had pictures of several kittens of the then current litter on her site and they were all gorgeous, but one in particular caught my eye. She was specifically noted as being “not for sale” and she was older than the other kittens. Significantly so. I asked about her and was informed that she was not for sale due to a heart defect that had been diagnosed when she was younger which would likely give her a dramatically shortened lifespan and quite frankly made her unmarketable. The breeder clearly cared for the cats and kittens she bred, but it’s a simple fact of cat breeding: serious birth defects mean a kitten is damaged goods from the start.

But I didn’t care. Tabitha was beautiful and I believed she deserved a forever home. Oh, she would’ve had one with the breeder, of course, but she was meant to be the pet of someone else’s family. That’s the whole point of cat breeding. To provide other people with cats to love and cherish. The breeder had given us fair warning about the potential problems she would face and we knew what could happen. She also only asked us to cover the charge of shipping her to us (she was on the East Coast, and we, of course, are on the Gulf Coast).

And so an F2 Savannah Cat arrived to our home one day, shyly peeking out of her pet carrier and wondering what that yapping little beast beyond the door was. She was roaming the room we prepared for her by the end of the night and playing with us the next day. She knew no fear. By the end of the first week she’d managed to teach the pom his place without hurting him and was on her way to earning the shorthair’s trust as well.

I’d expected a demure princess, but she made clear that she intended to be queen of the house. She cavorted and played with the dog and other cat as if she’d always been there, she chased the Wicked Feathered Thing and dueled with the Evil Red Dot and purred very loudly. Her meows, though, were so dainty and chirping as to be comical. She stole our hearts. What follows are four pictures of her in all her glory.

One day, a mere thirteen days after her arrival, I woke up to find that Tabitha had passed away in the night. She looked as though she just went to sleep and never woke up. I like to think it was a peaceful passing. Seven years earlier, another cat of ours, a pet of twelve years who had literally saved my life on an occasion when I was in a very dark emotional place, had died of liver cancer. We’d had him cremated and couldn’t bear to bury him and leave him alone, so he’d been on our mantle since then. With Tabitha’s passing, we interred them both together in our back yard to keep one another company.

The day before her passing, I’d gone to I Can Has Cheezburger and created this picture (heading the page). It still fits today.

Daniel

Associated articles: Search results on PoC for “f2 savannah cat”

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Origin of Cat Declawing

Origin of cat declawing?
Origin of cat declawing?

Cat declawing started around the middle of the 20th century by dogfighters who appeared to have declawed cats themselves and then thrown the cats to their dogs as “live bait” to warm them up for an impending fight. Then veterinarians appeared to have cottoned on to it, renamed it “onychectomy” to make it sound like some sort of wonderful and mysterious medical procedure and commercialised it to the maximum. That appears to be the origin of cat declawing. At least it is a theory. What is fact is that in the 1950s (believed 1952) a veterinarian adopted declawing professionally and it gained favor in America and grew from there until it became a part of the fabric of American life.

How did it come to this? First things first. Dogfighting is illegal and has been for sometime. It is firmly an underground pastime. It is hard to pin down and difficult to stop and prosecute people who participate in this gruesome sport. Obtaining clear, confirmed information about the role of cats in dog fighting is all but impossible. Please bear that in mind.

Elizabethan-era (1558–1603) dog-fighters started tail docking their dogs. The purpose was to prevent the dog showing, through body language, an intent to avoid a fight. Ears were then cropped to prevent dogs losing fights through bleeding ears. Tail docking was adopted by the dog fancy later. These amputations seemed to have begun the idea that a domestic animal’s anatomy could be modified to suit people.

By 1976 dogfighting was outlawed in all of the United States. Many states had banned dogfighting by the 1860s. However, it appears that it still happens quite a lot. In fact, it happens pretty much anywhere on the planet and is still legal in many countries. It is impossible to enforce the ban on dog-fighting in countries where it is banned.

Cats are still used as live bait in dog-fights. There is a ready supply of unwanted cats. If that supply is insufficient, cats are stolen off the street or adverts for free kittens etc are responded to. As recently as 27 March 2013 the BBC website reported on “Dog-fighting ‘bait'”. The author makes it clear that the dog-fighting bait stories are possibly an “urban myth”.

I think we can leave it there on dog-fighting and conclude that dog-fighting still happens quite a lot despite being illegal and thoroughly disgusting. We also know with some certainty that cats are still used as live bait as are puppies and rabbits.

Conclusion: dog-fighting created the concept of mutilation of the companion animal for human convenience. The cat was used as live bait at dog-fights. A cat will defend himself even under overwhelming odds and in the face of a terrible death. The cat will use his claws which could hurt a fighting dog. As the cat’s purpose was to simply get the dog in the mood for a fight or to test the dog, the dog fighting fraternity removed the cat’s claws making the cat defenseless. The dog killed the cat, smelled the blood and was in prime mood for the impending dog-fight just like an athlete warming up for a race. Veterinarians then stepped in to commercialize declawing.

If this sequence of events is true, it puts most of the blame for cat declawing on the shoulders of the American veterinarians. The other part of the blame falls on the cat caretakers. I have always said that whether cat declawing continues or not is in the hands of the vets. They are in charge. It seems it was always like that.


Note: I would like to thank Dee in Florida for pointing this out to me

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PoC Comment Charity Scheme – August Donation

It is the time to write about a charity donation funded by the PoC Comment Charity Scheme. Before I address that subject, I’d like to mention the £100 donation made by Marc Poberejsky, a regular and well-regarded contributor to PoC.

Marc’s Donation

Not long ago, Marc made an extremely generous donation of $1000 in memory of his cat Red and this is another donation, this time to the Wear Valley and Darlington Cats Protection branch, which boosts Ruth and Barbara’s donation of £92.11 that was raised through their fundraiser. That makes a highly respectable £192.11 for cat welfare. Wonderful.

I can confirm the donation has been made via PoC for ease of management as Marc lives in Switzerland. Marc donated £100 to my PayPal account and I made the donation via the Cats Protection website using my debit card.

donation
Making the donation. At the time of writing this I am yet to receive email confirmation.

thank-you-for-your-donation

The reason why I am spelling it out is because it is important that everything concerning money is done with a high level of transparency for the sake of engendering trust. Trust through honesty is a feature of PoC and the family of cat caretakers that it has become.

PoC Comment Charity Scheme – August Donation

The total number of comments at this time (11:44 am) on the last day of August is 2351 [17560 (present) less15209 (beginning of month)].

At 5 cents per comment that makes a very healthy $117. Converting to pounds we have £75.50. The final figure will be a fraction higher when I count comments later today.

I hope people are pleased. I want to most sincerely thank everyone who has commented and contributed. It is important as it keeps PoC alive and motivates me. PoC is unique in giving the sums of money that it does to cat charities. We should be proud of that. PoC has been giving to charity since 2008.

Choose a Charity

I would like some suggestions as to which cat charity should receive the £75.50 for August’s donation. There is no need to rush but ideas would be useful to me as it broadens the scope of what can be done with the money.

Update — Made a donation of £76 to Ark on the Edge:

charity-donation-poc-august

Cat charity donation pictures of cats org

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Bezo-Pet paste for digestive tract lubrication

Bezo-Pet for hairballs
Bezo-Pet for hairballs and other obstructions

Suzy mentioned TigerLily’s problem with hairballs. Long haired cats can have problems with hairballs. They can cause obstructions. For Charlie (my cat) hairballs seem to have grazed the lining of his lower intestine or at least inflammed it slightly. He is a shorthaired cat with a single coat but he was grooming too much at one time.

My vet gave me a tube of Bezo-Pet®. It is called a “complimentary feeding stuff for use in cats”.

It is made up of water, oils and fats, cereal and sugar. Fat is by far the biggest constituent at 23.4%.

It is described as a

“paste in an oily base. It coats the stomach and the digestive/gastro-intestinal tracts with an oily layer where foreign bodies may cause obstructions..”

It helps prevent obstructions.

It is used for long haired cat breeds and moggies and for cats who don’t have the opportunity to chew on grass which provides some fibre and which induces vomiting to expel hairballs.

This product lubricates the digestive tract which aids natural movement in the tract. As it tastes nice a cat should eat it direct or it can be mixed with food.

Dosage for protection is 1 teaspoon 2-3 times per week and for lubrication (to fix a problem) once per day.

I hope this is of use to Suzy, TigerLily and others.

signature2

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UK and USA: Cultural Differences and Cat Caretaking

Cultural differences between the USA and the UK and cat caretaking

What are the cultural differences between the UK and the USA and do they affect how people care for their cats in these countries?

I’ll remark right away that having worked through this page, learning and thinking as I went along, I have not come to a firm conclusion. I thought that I might. I was wrong. Also, we should not generalise about people. It is easy to do it. We can’t say that “Americans” do so and so because many Americans don’t do so and so.

By convention3, it is considered that compared to Brits some Americans are:

  • More patriotic – In the UK, you never see Union Jack flags outside people’s homes unless there is something special going on. This is probably partly because, in the USA, kids recite the Pledge of Allegiance daily at school (I am told). It also means that some Americans are….
  • Less likely to enjoy laughing at themselves – self-deprecating humour – and less likely to accept criticism of their country, perhaps.
  • Less likely to have travelled abroad and therefore have less to compare with and some Americans will be less broad-minded perhaps. This may result in a likelihood for some to have entrenched views, a sort of false certainty. Only 22% of the American population have a passport.
  • More openly friendly and less reserved. But is the friendliness skin deep?
  • More family-orientated perhaps. More focused on their children.
  • In general, very pro-gun ownership4. Many Americans defend the right to bear arms with a passion. Many Americans are not interested in guns.

On my travels to America I see differences in culture but they are not that stark to me. Perhaps it is because I have travelled a lot and am more accepting of differences in culture.

How do these cultural differences affect cat caretaking? Perhaps they don’t affect cat caretaking but what are the outstanding differences? These come to mind:

  • There appears to be more feral cats in America. Does that mean (a) more relinquished cats or (b) less responsible cat ownership or (c)  is it because there are far more full-time indoor cats, which results in cats escaping and disappearing.
  • There appears to be a greater acceptance to euthanise cats in shelters. I stress “appears” because we don’t really know for sure. It is discussed a lot but no one can provide firm figures. No one is counting the number of eurthanised cats and Americans don’t know how many feral cats there are. The same applies to the UK as far as I am aware. Euthanasia of shelter cats happens in the UK, I presume. I say, “I presume”, because we never read about it or hear about it. I know Cats Protection, a large organisation, euthanise with great reluctance and under veterinary control.
  • 50-60% of cats are indoor-only cats in the USA. The percentage in the UK is 8.4%1. This is a significant difference. Is it due to cultural differences? I can’t see a connection between the cultural difference listed and keeping cats indoors so conclude that the reason is that the outdoors is more dangerous for cats in the USA. This may be because of the far greater number of large wild animals in the USA that will attack a domestic cat (i.e. coyotes).
  • I hate to mention it but declawing of cats is by far the biggest cultural differences in cat caretaking between the USA and the UK after the indoor cat issue. Once again there is no obvious connection between the cultural differences listed above and declawing of cats. I have to conclude that this is an aberration. It must be partly due to a lack of sensitivity towards the cat as a sentient being with intelligence and emotions.

In conclusion, I don’t see the conventional cultural differences listed affecting how American people care for their cats. There is no obvious connection.

What about hunting? More than 38 million Americans hunt and fish2. That is about 12% of the population. I can’t find a figure for the UK but it will be very low. Perhaps the liking of hunting and the desire to declaw have the same cause. Perhaps the reason is that America is still a relatively young country and the legacy of hunting for food has carried forward to the modern era. Hunting for food does not sit comfortably with treating animals as sentient, feeling beings.

Consumerism and commercialism appears to play a role too. The biggest difference, as mentioned, is declawing and vets do it. They are a businesses. They could stop doing declawing but it would hurt profit margins.

The differences in cat caretaking between the countries is due to a variety of factors

Notes:

  1. https://pictures-of-cats.org/Some-IndoorOutdoor-Cat-Facts.html
  2. nhfday.org
  3. http://britishexpats.com – reflecting general opinion?
  4. This is my view judging by internet research.
  5. Picture of American flag by Cristian_RH7
  6. Picture of Union Jack by ReeSaunders
  7. Picture of cat by Michael

 

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Kays Hill Black and Whites Past and Present

These are the latest photos from Leanne, she says:

‘B/W……What does it mean to you?’

It means black and whites to Kays Hill and lots of them, so many that we need two posters this time.

Black and white cats
Poster by Kattaddorra

Second to completely black cats there seems to be a lot of black and whites in Rescue Shelters.

Why?

They are very beautiful cats, equally so as any other colour.

We have two black and white cats, I think everyone has seen dozens of photos of our Walter and Jozef, they are a very photogenic pair.

Our first black and white cat was Bert and we’ve known many others over the years since then and will be digging their photos out to share here of course.

Black and white cats
Poster by Kattaddorra

Do you have a black and white cat or do you know one?

We will look forward to seeing the photos of all them, here on PoC

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My Beautiful Cat with an Immense Personality

By Suzy

Suzy a beautiful long haired calico cat
TigerLily — Photo by Suzy

Hi….I have acquired a very beautiful and delightful-temperamented 8 year old female cat in October 2012 called TigerLily. She was probably pre-owned by two or more owners before me.

She is an indoor cat with excellent house manners, who after nine months has managed to explore her new big garden but still prefers the house. She used to duck if a bird flew past her. A real scaredy-cat!

Her semi-long fur never gets matted but she suffers constant hairballs and has long tufts growing between her pads. Her pads are like pink soft skin unlike all the numerous cats Ive owned in the past, that were rough and like velcro to touch.

The other day she jumped down onto some stinging nettles and I could tell she was stung immediately, she spent the next 12 hours licking all her poor pads. She has a beautiful white ruff, and long fluffy breeches and a high fluffy tail. Her underneath is very very soft, like a baby’s soft hair.

Her last home was a happy home but the owner (my friend), could no longer keep her due to pet-tenancy agreements so I offered to foster her indefinitely. This was out of the blue as I was actually considering to rehome a dog not a kitty. But she came in to my life so Im very happy to have such a lovely new friend by my side night and day.

After my friends departure that night, having just dropped her off to me, I let TigerLily wonder around her new home for an hour then found her sitting on the very top step of the staircase staring down at me. I couldn’t resist any longer and went up to her for a chat and I felt immediately that I should pick her up.

Well I didn’t expect her reaction in the least, she just wriggled carefully around and flopped in my arms purring at me looking up at me with her massive yellow eyes, smiling at me. So I carried her downstairs and she snuggled instantly on me all night in the chair. Since then we have been inseparable, everywhere I go she follows. Curious and always playing with me, though shes not vocal at all unless locked out of the bedroom or hungry. Incidentally some mornings she takes a run-up and bashes into the door again and again until I wake up to let her in, meowing very loudly. But hardly ever other than this.

She can’t eat unless I stand over her or ‘go do her business’ in the litter tray unless I’m standing there (yuk). I think she has anxiety issues about being left alone, as when I go to work or leave the house she won’t eat a thing or go to the toilet, she waits until the moment I come back in to do both in an excited way.

When ever I pick her up she just loves it and would happily let me carry her in my arms for hours. No struggles just purrs, always. Floppy and trusting, amazing. I never experienced this with a cat before.

In the mornings she will climb up to my face in bed and gently tap me between my eyes to wake me to tell me shes hungry. The first few times freaked me out as I was sleeping and saw a huge paw between my eyes but she was very gentle just being demanding.

She throws herself down hard on the floor and rolls around on her back if ever I come across her anywhere in the house or outside, she also sleeps on her back with legs outstretched. When she goes up or down the stairs its like a herd of elephants, shes a really robust and heavy cat despite not eating much and being a very fussy eater.

I love her with all my heart and know she loves me to and we were meant to be together. I’m so happy.

I’ve had Siamese and Burmese and tabbies and black cats, moggies too but this kitty is in a league of her own, her personality is immense and although Siamese too are characters this little fury friend has all the characteristics of the other breeds rolled into one, I never thought that was possible. Its like having a cat who is crossed with a playful doggie. I love her very much.

Maybe she is an unplanned RagaMuffin and was just lucky to have the right ancestry to make her so lovely to be around and has identical traits to the real McCoy. She has all the physical descriptions and floppy disposition of a RagaMuffin even though her last VET certifies her as a semi-long haired British Domestic cat. She initially came from the Cats Protection League cattery and we have no knowledge of her previous lives before my friend had her.

Sadly she has been spayed and seems she may have had kittens before as she has a lot of loose skin on her belly. I would’ve loved to have had more cats from her with her personality.

Suzy

Note from Michael. This article is a comment made by Suzy on the RagaMuffin page. I felt it was too good – both the words and this superb looking cat – to leave languishing amongst the comments, which is why it is here.

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Caged Humans – Free Lions

This is a nice picture of caged humans being looked at by free lions. That’s the way it looks and for me it is a very pleasant picture that turns the tables on the human. It hints at something better, for me 😉

However, these are not free lions. They are also caged by an enclosure that we can barely see. Never mind…we got close to cat utopia for a second. There is an inserted smaller picture top right.

caged humans fee lions
Caged humans fee lions

The picture was taken at the New Zealand Orana Wildlife Park. I suppose the idea is to get people close to lions safely while providing more space for the lions. Makes sense. The trouble is it is still a zoo.

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