Opioid Abusers Are Taking Their Pet’s Prescriptions

Pet owners taking their pet's prescriptions

The media indicates to me that there is somewhat of an epidemic of opioid abuse in many US communities. In short, there’s an increased addiction to prescription painkillers. I think the same sort of trend is present in the UK.

I’d like to cross-reference that introduction with a news item that I have read today which tells me that some cat and dog owners are using prescriptions for their cats and dogs for their own use in order to increase their access to opioid painkillers.

Opioid painkillers are limited in terms of prescriptions for people. However, veterinarians can dispense whatever drugs they feel are appropriate for treating animals. And there is no limitation or restriction on the drugs that a veterinarian can write a prescription for.

Sometimes those prescriptions are opioid painkillers such as fentanyl and hydromorphone. Sometimes pet owners ask for the drug by name such as Tramadol, a powerful opioid painkiller. This should be a warning to veterinarians. I have even read that some cat and dog owners deliberately hurt their pets to get at these drugs. Some people are sick in the head.

It appears that the same client could go from one veterinarian to another presenting the same complaint regarding their cat or dog and receive the same medication from a veterinarian allowing a person to stockpile large doses of opioid painkillers, far more than he/she would ever be able to obtain from their general practitioner.

In addition, there appears to be the possibility that some of these drug prescriptions for cats and dogs are finding their way onto the street for resale. There would appear to be a need to introduce tighter controls on opioids at veterinary clinics.

A spin-off from this is that the cats and dogs are sometimes not getting their painkillers as prescribed. It could be argued that people who abuse opioids are not in the best position to be cat and dog caretakers/guardians.

Apparently, some veterinarians say that they take precautions by monitoring when pet owners come in to get prescriptions refilled. At one veterinary clinic, a veterinarian said that each of his five veterinarians write 3 to 4 opioid prescriptions a day on average. This particular veterinarian does not believe that the problem of diverting drugs for pets to humans is widespread. However, he does support tighter controls.

“I think there’s enough evidence now that there is enough abuse out there that it’s up to us to screen as well.” – Dr Eric Carnegy of the Carnegy Animal Hospital in Halifax.~

Source: cbc.ca.

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Bay County Animal Control insists you make a cat appointment

Bay County Animal Control have decided that they will only accept kittens and cats by appointment after July 8th 2017. If the shelter is full (the 75 cat cages are occupied) the name of the caller will be added to a waiting list.

The new method is controversial. Some people see this as an abdication of their responsibilities to deal with stray cats, suffering on the streets.

From the shelter’s point of view it is an attempt to make the agency a no-kill shelter and treat cats more humanely. It would seem to me that in reality the decision is based upon the idea that it is best for outside cats to find their way home or if they are feral cats to be trapped, neutered and released. If a lost and possibly unwanted cat is outside then bringing him/her to a shelter at capacity is more or less a death sentence. However, you could argue that leaving the cat outside to die under very difficult circumstances is worse.

Also, Bay County Animal Control have decided not to lend traps to people for catching feral cats to bring to the shelter. The agency is also making its all-night dropbox accessible by law-enforcement officers only. Citizens will no longer be able to drop off cats or dogs at night with no questions asked.

One reason for not loaning out cat traps is that many of the cats being picked up are domestic cats and they have a better chance of surviving if they are left to find their way home. Shelter says that once at the shelter they only have a 2% chance of being reunited with their owner.

One argument that they make at animal control is that when the shelter is full the stress levels go up and the spread of upper respiratory infections also goes up. They’re trying to reduce the number of cats at the shelter and to reduce the number of euthanisations. But are they passing the buck from the shelter to TNR volunteers and the cats themselves? They are leaving cats out there to fend for themselves. To some people it seems like a callous decision.

The shelter argues that this new policy is a better use of public funds and more humane for the cats. Another argument that the shelter makes is that when they have to euthanise too many cats they can begin to suffer from compassion fatigue.

The shelter suggests that if citizens are bothered about “nuisance feral cats” they should call the Humane Society of Bay County to get them involved in TNR.

What do you think? Is the shelter abdicating their responsibilities towards cats or is their decision practical and more humane?


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Animal Research Ethics Case Studies

The words in the title are a Google search term which is why I chose it. I can provide a case study (in the singular). The study shows how unethical animal research can be. In fact its very existence is unethical as far as I am concerned.

Jade he suffered at Liberty Inc. an animal testing lab

I want to refer to a company called Liberty Research, Inc.. They operate out of a non-descript building in central New York. They work for companies such as Bayer, Zoetis and Merck.

The well-known animal rights organisation, PETA, has eyewitness accounts of the cruelty meted out to cats and dogs within this windowless abomination of a building. They say that cats and dogs are held in miserable, barren conditions. Some horrible things take place there. Can you believe that dogs had holes drilled into their heads and a virus injected into the hole? Cats apparently suffocated under flipped-over litter boxes.

Cats were locked away in crowded rooms and grew thin because they were unable to compete for an adequate amount of food while other cats with injuries were given a single dose of pain relief “at best”. And when it was time to euthanise an animal they did so in a horribly botched way.

So if you want a case study regarding the ethics of animal testing you can use this one to support the unethical and unjustifiable cruelty of animal testing laboratories.

Here is some more detail. Liberty uses hundreds of dogs and cats annually for testing. A lot of the tests are for veterinary drugs ironically. The company also breeds and sells thousands of cats and dogs to be used in experiments at places such as the Department of Veterans’ Affairs and the US Department of Agriculture.

The businesses and organisations which contract with Liberty have the opportunity to see the substandard conditions and the distress in the animals so they are party to this animal cruelty. They are willing participants and accomplices.

As for the dogs who had their brains drilled into, they were anaesthetised but not adequately so some of them blinked and whimpered during the procedure. When they woke up they were moaning. Some of the dogs hit their heads on cage walls. Blood spurted from their wounds. The dogs were left to suffer after the tortuous treatment. Some dogs foamed at the mouth and others had seizures. Eventually they were put down.

PETA say that the experiment was scientifically pointless. One reason for this is that dogs are infected with the distemper virus through inhalation not to the brain (the experiment concerned the distemper virus). There is also a vaccine for distemper. They say that any data obtained from this experiment would be useless.

Regarding cats, they say that they were kept in “barren, windowless pens in unnatural conditions.” The pens were crowded to the point where they looked as if this was a case of cat hoarding. Some of the cats were very thin because there unable to get enough food. Little concern was shown for their well-being.

Regarding a breeding female cat a supervisor said:

“There’s never any break for her… There are a lot of problems with them [giving birth] because they’re underweight, but it’s masked because they’re pregnant, and then they go downhill while they’re nursing because they can’t keep up with the demand.”

We can refer to an individual cat named Jade(see photo above). He had seizures for almost a month. They left him briefly paralysed. He dragged himself along with his front legs. Nothing was done to help him and improve his welfare. When it came to put down Jade it was slow and painful. One worker tried to sedate him while he struggled in another worker’s arms. He stumbled and fell to the floor amongst other cats. A worker gave him a lethal injection in the heart. When the needle was inserted his head jerked. This indicates she might have been conscious and experiencing pain.

One worker admitted that she had injected animals in the heart even though she believed that they were not fully sedated. She admitted:

“I’ve had them where [their upper bodies were] lifting up and I was still able to kill them this way”.

PETA say that Liberty performs archaic experiments which are cruel despite the fact that there are alternative methods which do not require animals in laboratories. In one experiment that Liberty carried out for a pharmaceutical company, young dogs were injected with high doses of an opioid. They were subjected to multiple blood draws. The dogs became lethargic and depressed. They refused to eat. They were made to suffer. This despite the fact that microdosing, computational methods and cell-based methods could have been used instead.

It seems that the workers at these sorts of places become inured to the idea of compassion and sensitivity. An example concerns a cat named Neville who was kept caged with other cats. The other cats attacked him. His nose was lacerated and scabby for five months. When asked if the laceration should be reported the worker replied that it just from fighting and therefore she implied that nothing should be done. Another cat suffered from a claw being inserted right through his/her cornea. There must have been extremely painful. There were no records of pain relief being given to this cat.

Liberty use tattoos to identify cats rather than microchips because it’s cheaper. Tattooing is a painful procedure. Another example of saving money is when this company used the same animals in test after test. PETA say that the company failed to understand the long-term effects of the experimental compounds and possible interactions with other medications. They say when animals are recycled in this way it could introduce “confounding factors”. This further calls into question the value of the experiment’s results.

My comment: This case study on this page is awful. But I am not surprised. The problem of animal testing is much wider than maltreatment of animals at animal testing labs. Many people would agree that the concept of using animals this way is flawed. We have no right to do it. We don’t have the right to make animals suffer like this for our benefit (often not incidentally). We should be concerned about the welfare of animals not how to abuse and use them.

Source page. Thanks.

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The spread of cat domestication and evolution of the blotched tabby cat

Two waves of spread of domestic cat to Europe

This is very much in brief. The video below summarises in layperson’s language quite a technical research document published on the Nature Ecology and Evolution website. The ancient history of the domestic cat is quite well-known but if you watch the video you will note that there were two strands or waves in the evolution of today’s domestic cat. That is slightly novel to me at least.

One strand is from the Fertile Crescent which is in the area of Syria today (see video screenshot). From there the domestic cat spread out north west to Bulgaria and Romania in around 6000 years BC. The second wave started later from ancient Egypt and the cats from this region spread further within Europe than those from the Fertile Crescent; reaching as far as the north coast of Europe (see screenshot). Incidentally, the Romans brought the domestic cat to the United Kingdom in around 200 A.D.

Blotched Tabby Coat

Dutch Ringtail Cat
Dutch Ringtail Cat. He is a classic (blotched) tabby cat too.

The blotched tabby coat (sometimes referred to as the ‘classic tabby’) is one in which the dark markings are swirls and blotches rather than stripes and spots. The background colour is usually brown.

The domestic cat that we see in the early history of domestication are of striped (mackerel) tabbies. You will see this cat depicted in Egyptian paintings. This must be an genetic inheritance from the North African wild cat which has a mackerel tabby type coat.

The research indicates that the blotched tabby pattern evolved towards the end of the Middle Ages probably in the Ottoman Empire which centres around Turkey.

However, it was only in the 18th century that the blotched tabby pattern was common enough to be associated with the domestic cat. The researchers does not tell us how the blotched tabby cat coat evolved. It would seem that even at that stage (pre-selective breeding at an organised level) there was some selective breeding going on or perhaps is was informal random breeding between mackerel tabby cats. I am sure Sarah Hartwell (a cat genetics expert) can clarify that point.

Selective breeding for cat breeds (the cat fancy) only really began in the middle of the 19th century in Europe. For most of the history of the domestic cat appearance was secondary to behavior.

P.S. The “recessive allele W841X, which is associated with the blotched markings…

P.P.S. See the research study.The study involved an analysis of DNA from more than 350 dead cats, including the bones of a Buried with its Neolithic master around 9000 years ago. Of the total number of cats, 209 had usable mitochondrial DNA passed down only from on the mother’s line. Is this which showed that there are two lineages or two waves or strands preceding the modern domestic cat.

P.P.P.S. Please feel free to add and amend this in comments.

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Three Amazing Oriental Shorthair Siblings

Oriental Shorthair Siblings

These are amazing looking cats. You can read about the Oriental Shorthair by clicking on this link. These cats have superlative coats and I have never seen such an amazing cat moustache before.

The video may load slowly but it will load because it comes from Facebook…!

Well, guess what, the video disappeared. Surprise, surprise. I have replaced it with another from YouTube. These cats are celebrities now.

Here are some posts (there are more if you love this cat breed – use the search tool) on this slender cat breed linked to the Siamese cat:

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Some Basic Statistics Concerning Cat Obesity (USA)

Basic statistics on cat obesity usa

The number of overweight cats in America has risen by 169% in the past 10 years. By way of comparison, there’s been an equivalent 158% increase in overweight dogs over the same period.

Thirty-three percent of cats and dogs are overweight or obese in America.

Banfield Pet Hospital also tells us in which state there are the most overweight cats and dogs. They also tell us that there appears to be no correlation between overweight people and overweight pets. By this I mean that if a person is overweight it does not necessarily mean that his/her pet will also be overweight. This surprised me. The conclusion was arrived at by comparing obesity amongst humans and pets across American states.

The top 10 states with the highest percentage of overweight cats are as follows:

  1. Minnesota
  2. Nebraska
  3. Iowa
  4. Idaho
  5. Delaware
  6. Michigan
  7. Nevada
  8. Kansas
  9. Utah
  10. New Mexico

For comparison, the list for dogs is as follows:

  1. Minnesota
  2. Nebraska
  3. Michigan
  4. Idaho
  5. Nevada
  6. New Mexico
  7. Washington
  8. Utah
  9. Indiana
  10. Oregon

One reason why cats and dogs are becoming more obese is because people have normalised obesity and fail to see it in themselves and their pets.

In addition, it is thought that because people nowadays are more inclined to treat their cats and dogs as family members they are as a consequence more inclined to treat them with tasty food.

And of course becoming obese is always down to two factors one of which is eating too much and the other is a lack of exercise or activity. Therefore the increase in obesity would seem to be also associated with a lack of proper exercise in cats and dogs generally.

There are other factors I’m sure such as the quality of the food they eat and the amount of interaction they have with their owners. It is said that genetics may play a role with respect to Labrador retrievers.

I don’t know whether there is an increase in the number of indoor cats. If so then that could also be a contributing factor.

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Caught on video: Cat stolen from her property near Newberg, Oregon

An Oregon cat was stolen from her property June 22 in Newberg. The entire catnapping was caught on video surveillance.

IMPORTANT CORRECTION: Jurisdiction of the Case for Sevi is Yamhill County Sheriff, Case # 17-1955 and phone # 503 434 6500. Please do not call Newberg Police.

Word has it the vehicle is a 2004-2007 Ford Focus but that hasn’t been confirmed. Elizabeth Sides posted the following on her Facebook wall Monday concerning her cat Sevi, a three-year-old Ragdoll who was stolen from her property June 22.

“Someone drove onto our property and took our kitty. Does anyone know who this person is? We just want our baby girl back. I can’t stop crying. :'( Please everyone in the Newberg and nearby share this. I have filed a report with the Sheriffs Office.”

The video below shows a woman driving onto the property. After looking around she goes up to Sevi, pets her and then picks her up. She looks around again before driving off with the stolen cat.

The video is loading…..

Please share this article, especially with friends in the Newberg area. If you recognize the woman or the vehicle, Jurisdiction of the Case for Sevi is Yamhill County Sheriff, Case # 17-1955 and phone is 503 434 6500. Please do not call Newberg Police. Please only call Yamhill County if you have a first-hand credible lead on cat, car or thief.

Elizabeth is posting updates as they become available on her Facebook page. The page won’t embed a link but can be found under elizabeth.sides.18


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Monroe woman charged with animal cruelty and abandonment after dumping medical needs cat

Update: Court date for Raymond is the AM session on August 24, 2017 in Union County, NC.

This is an update on the case of the Monroe, North Carolina cat abandoned by his owner June 22 and written about in this PoC article. The search continues for Samson and an arrest has been made in the case.

Second update at 2nd July 2018: This is a comment from Celeste McLaren:

I did not see any update on Samson. I have been following Laura since he was lost, his story so captivated me. We were all praying for him. He was found! It’s a year ago! He is in a loving home and is a gorgeous boy! That poor boy must have been suffering so much. he had stones! And he has his own Facebook page.

Monster who dumped Samson

Samson was dumped in the middle of the street near Forest Hills Baptist Church in Monroe North Carolina. He may also be injured. The cat tried to get back into the vehicle as she drove away!

Michelle Antionette Raymond, 48, of Monroe was arrested and charged with one count of abandonment of an animal and one count of cruelty to animals and remains in the Union County jail.

Animal rescuer Laura Morrison is part of the team searching daily for Samson. She posted an update on Facebook Tuesday stating:

“The woman who threw Samson out of her vehicle away into the street last Thursday and left him sick with urinary disease to die has been arrested this afternoon and taken into custody into the city of Monroe jail.

She has been charged with felony animal cruelty under NC statutes. And animal abandonment. Another misdemeanor charge.

We were told she was very angry and without any remorse. And said law enforcement would ” get theirs” for arresting her.

She was allowed to call her husband and from my understanding, if she cannot make bond, she will remain in jail until her court date.

The police said that rescues were welcome to come to the courthouse the day she faces those charges.

I encourage everyone who is passionately involved in the rights of animals everywhere, to show up in support for Sampson who we may or may not find.

I don’t know why, but I felt a horrible pain when they called me to tell me she had been arrested, I don’t know if this pain is emotional or if it is something I am foreseeing, but my heart is so broken because I do not know if Sampson is truly alive anymore.

We are free now to search the area without any threat, I can let my tears flow freely now because I want to look up into the stars tonight and look at the sun rising and know that somewhere on this planet justice was given today for an animal that was thrown away.

We need everyone on board that is willing to show up at the courthouse in support and anyone willing to advocate against animal cruelty.

My heart can break now openly but at least I know God heard our prayers!!

And Captian Beth Greene did what no other law enforcement officer would help us do. She brought us justice and she showed me that this is a step in the right direction.

Thank you, Beth, I’m going to give you a big hug when I see you!!!

We don’t know if the court will allow these charges to stand, what type of punishment will be handed out, but at least this is a step in the right direction but speaks volumes to our community that animal cruelty and abandonment will not be tolerated.”

Please keep Laura and the team, as well as Samson in your thoughts that they’ll be successful and he’ll be found alive. Anyone wishing to help should contact Laura via Facebook.


Verification of arrest can be found on the Union County Sheriff’s Office Daily Bulletin.

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