Should a child clean the cat litter box?

Child of 7 cleans litter box successfully and leaves things tidy
Child of 7 cleans litter box successfully and leaves things tidy. The picture of the child comes from the Irish Times. The litter box picture is from Battersea Dogs & Cats Home. The final image is by MikeB after quite a lot or ‘processing’ 😎.

Should a child clean the cat litter box? It depends πŸ˜ƒ. Hardly an answer. But it depends on:

  • The age of the child
  • How well they have been trained to do the task
  • Whether they take precautions.

My gut feeling is that it is beneficial for a child to clean the litter box as it educates on the issue of taking responsibility for the family cat. It is vital that children learn as soon as possible that the world is a tough place and that things are not just there, free. Life is not always fun. A good learning process is to clean the litter box. But it is a personal choice of the parents.

No

A lot of moms would disagree. The authors of the website ‘Hello Motherhood’ say with complete conviction, “Do not assign this responsibility to younger children. Have an adult or teenager tend to litter duty.” After listing all the hazards. And there are hazards but sometimes they are overstated and exaggerated.

Cats use the litter box!

We let our cats use the litter tray all the time. Cats have a similar anatomy to humans. Very few cat owners think that their cat should not use the litter tray because it is dangerous. Same difference.

Age of child

The age bracket of 7-12 is considered by some to be acceptable for a child to clean the litter tray provided they’ve been trained correctly. What do you think?

Training

Training a child on litter tray cleaning must include the topic of toxoplasmosis. A domestic cat might have an endoparasite infestation and for example tapeworm segments can be passed in their stool but I don’t see a great danger here except with toxoplasmosis. People are frightened of it and many domestic cats have it asymptomatically.

I think we need to briefly address the risk and fears. Cats become infected by Toxoplasma gondii through eating infected birds or rodents and rarely by ingesting oocysts in soil. Or they get the disease by eating raw or undercooked pork, beef, mutton, veal and sometimes unpasteurised milk.

Reading this brief summary, it would seem unlikely that the millions of full-time indoor cats feeding on standard cat food will become infected.

Precautions

Most adults don’t take any particular precautions but a child can be taught to be more careful in protecting their health which is more fragile. What should they do? I’d do the following:

Jackson Galaxy

I rate Jackson Galaxy highly. He is very sensible and experienced. What does he say? In his words from Total Cat Mojo:

“Should a six-year-old be scooping a litterbox? It depends on the child. But generally, you can a least have your child assist you with the food, water and litterbox duties.”

There you are: a neat compromise. And he does accept that some children will be okay is cleaning litter trays. Like I said, it depends.

Perhaps in following Galaxy’s advice in sharing these cat caretaking duties a thoughtful and caring child will learn what to do and how to eliminate risks. Then they will be ready to go it alone and one day when they are independent be an excellent caretaker.

Below are some more articles on cat litter boxes:

Please search using the search box at the top of the site. You are bound to find what you are looking for.

Infographic on scammer extorting money from owner of lost dog

The Times newspaper has a full report on what is a worrying development in the UK and perhaps in other countries. Although it must be said, in my opinion, Britain has become “Scammers’ Treasure Island”. Scammers, fraudsters and extorters of all persuasions are running amok in the UK, doing whatever they want because the police are impotent to stop it. Either they are impotent or they are incapable through ineptitude or laziness. Either way, a lot of vulnerable people are being scammed and extorted out of many thousands of pounds while suffering acute emotional distress because of threats and the loss of their dog or cat.

The infographic give you a feel for what happens in a telephone conversation between the fraudster and the pet owner. The fraudsters are looking for appeals to the public for help to find a lost dog or cat by a pet owner. The fraudsters and scammers pick up these appeals and telephone the dog owner to say that they have their dog but then they turn against them and say they require Β£1000 before they’ll hand over the dog. And perhaps they might ask for the Β£1000 in two tranches, the first tranche to be payable immediately and the second when the dog has been collected from a veterinarian as suggested by this particular scammer.

Lost pet scammers infographic
Lost pet scammers infographic prepared by MikeB. It can be used by anyone under a Creative Commons: ATTRIBUTION-NODERIVS CC BY-ND license.

The scam is having a profound effect on dog ownership and ‘DogLost’, the UK’s largest lost and found dog service. They’ve had to remove phone numbers of owners from their website when they appealed for help in finding their dog because the details attract the scammers who then extort the money as described.

And because they’ve had to remove the phone numbers and other contact details, they’ve had to do it all manually working up to 20 hours a day to pass on sightings and information to the owners.

And what is concerning is that the reported cases of fraud and extortion might be the tip of the iceberg. This is what Jayne Hayes, the organisation’s founder, believes. She believes that they could be hundreds of more victims.

She says that:

“We’ve had our volunteers literally on suicide watch with older people who have been threatened. We’ve even had one old man who has left his house because he is too afraid to go back.”

A DogLost volunteer described feeling uneasy about ending a recent telephone conversation with a vulnerable woman living in Kent who had been scammed. She said:

“She paid money to him a long while ago and he started ringing her again. She was saying, ‘I sold my house to find my dog and he pretty much took my last few pennies.”

The woman is now living in a caravan and sees no point in going on meaning that she feels suicidal.

It appears that there is a group of scammers and fraudsters operating in unison because it is estimated that 95% of all scams and frauds of this nature are made by the same group.

Below are some more articles scams:

Please search using the search box at the top of the site. You are bound to find what you are looking for.

Infographic on 5 facts about the Persian cat and Angoras

As Sarah Hartwell aptly describes it, this is a tangled tale. The Angora and Persian histories are intertwined. The Angora Cat Association in Ankara, Turkey are annoyed because the original and genuine Turkish Angora (called the ‘Angora’ by them) has been lost in the scramble by American breeders to create their own version of the breed which, due to years of selective breeding, bears no resemblance to the original in Turkey.

5 facts about the Persian cat and Angoras
5 facts about the Persian cat and Angoras in an Infographic prepared by MikeB. The photos of the original Turkish Angoras are by the Angora Cat Association in Turkey an are of cats at Ankara Zoo.

The cat fancy’s use (and abuse?) of the Angora began in the early 1900s when the breed was used to help create the Persian and then forgotten by Frances Simpson, the doyen of the cat fancy at the time. She said:

“In classing all long-haired cats as Persians I may be wrong, but the distinctions, apparently with hardly any difference, between Angoras and Persians are of so fine a nature that I must be pardoned if I ignore the class of cat commonly called Angora, which seems gradually to have disappeared from our midst. Certainly there is no special classification given for Angoras, and in response to many inquiries from animal fanciers I have never been able to obtain any definite information as to the difference between a Persian and an Angora cat. Mr Harrison Weir, in his book on cats, states that the Angora differs somewhat from the Persian in that the head is rather smaller and ears larger, fur more silky with a tendency to woolliness.”

The genotype of the American Turkish Angora is completely scrambled and entirely different to that of the genuine article in Turkey. Apparently, the American Turkish Angora is closer to the Egyptian Mau than the original Angora πŸ˜’πŸ˜’. That shows you how scrambled it has become. This surprises me because the cat fancy often refers to the history of the breeds as a way to add to their status. The history of a cat breed is important because it’s about their creation. It’s a great shame, therefore, that the American cat fancy, in my opinion, screwed up so badly with respect to the Turkish Angora. It should be said that the original and genuine Angora in Turkey is a better-looking cat in any case.

Below are two articles which may interest you.

The Real Turkish Angora

The Real Turkish Van Cat

Please search using the search box at the top of the site. You are bound to find what you are looking for.

Does Britney Spears live with a cat?

Yes, is the answer, and a dog. She adopted a Bengal cat around the time of her wedding to Sam Asghari who she dated for 5 years apparently. Solid performance! She does not say that her cat is a purebred Bengal. On Instagram she simply states: “Introducing Wendy,” next to a cat emoji. “It’s MEOW time boys and girls. And yes, this is the veil to my wedding dress.” She was married on 9 June, 2022.

Britney Spears and her Bengal cat 'Wendy'
Britney Spears and her Bengal cat ‘Wendy’. Image by MikeB based on images on her Instagram page.

Wendy is very Bengal-looking. Hence purebred and not a Bengal-mix. She is a spotted Bengal with arrowhead spots. The face is that of a classic Bengal cat.

Britney adopted an Australian shepherd puppy in February 2022. She named him Sawyer. My reading of the situation is that she now has two companion animals, one cat and one dog.

This brings to mind an important topic about which we have no information: do they get along πŸ˜ƒ. I would expect them to. Sawyer was a puppy. Pretty malleable character. Bengal cats, though, can be somewhat single-minded, athletic and sometimes a bit aggressive.

They are, after all, wild cat hybrids. There is a bit of Asiatic leopard cat in them, a very independent small wild cat species. Although it seems that Wendy is an F5 Bengal cat which is five generations from the wild. These are very similar to regular domestic cats in terms of personality, just a bit more active and demanding, it is perhaps fair to say.

I hope Britney has the time at home that she needs to be a good companion animal caregiver. I recently prepared an infographic on being sensible before adopting a cat. The same applies to adopting a dog.

There are some boxes to tick before that big step is made. I like Britney Spears. She has a nice face which indicates to me that she is a kind person. She must like animals and appreciates the power of pets! They bring a lot to people. And her attitude indicates this. On Instagram her caption to her looking nerdy (see picture above) is: ” I try to be sexy and shit on Instagram but those of you who really know me …. “Nerd of the Century” πŸ€“πŸ€“πŸ€“ … but hey I think I pull it off !!!! Well not really …. or shit maybe I do πŸ€·πŸΌβ€β™€οΈπŸ˜‚πŸ«’ !!!!”

She tries to be sexy! It is good because she doesn’t really want to be sexy, just herself. I sense that she finds playing up to the media and the whole celeb scene tiresome.

I just hope her life is stable and consistent enough to please Wendy and Sawyer. Cats need stable, loving homes. I am sure Britney is loving. Is her home life stable and secure enough for Wendy? Is it calm enough? Is Britney there enough?

You can’t be a good cat caregiver if you are not at home. I have a lot of questions about her relationship with Wendy which I can’t ask.

I would have preferred it if she had gone to the nearest rescue center and adopted a rescue cat. She chose a cat breed known for their glamorous appearance. A golden, glittering coat and a wild appearance. This chimes with her celebrity lifestyle.

But it would have been so much better if she had done the opposite. Put an ‘ordinary’ moggie in her home and love her to bits. What a message that would have sent to her 41 million followers on Instagram.

What she did was so predictable. I am a celeb so I have to have a glamorous cat. An accoutrement to her perceived lifestyle. She should have gone against the flow, against the grain. It would have been a far better ‘look’ for her.

And it would have encouraged others to follow in adopting a rescue cat or dog rather than buying a purebred.

There are so many other benefits such as improved feline health. Purebreds are nearly always less healthy than random bred cats.

Bengal cats inherit hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) as you might know. This is a serious heart disease. Moggies normally don’t inherit these sorts of diseases.

If your pet becomes ill with heart disease it isn’t nice. There is going to be upset and anxiety. One of the downsides of purebred cats.

'Wendy' is Britney Spears' Bengal cat
‘Wendy’ is Britney Spears’ Bengal cat. Image: Instagram page of Britney Spears.

In case you’ve never heard of Britney Spears here are a couple of sentences from Wikipedia:

“Britney Jean Spears is an American singer. Often referred to as the “Princess of Pop”, she is credited with influencing the revival of teen pop during the late 1990s and early 2000s.”

Below are some articles on adopting a senior cat. The best kind of adoption as you provide a service to a rescue cat who is vulnerable to being left of the shelf of a rescue center.

Please search using the search box at the top of the site. You are bound to find what you are looking for.

2 reasons for a kitten boom in the UK 2022

The Telegraph reports on information from Battersea Dogs & Cats Home on what is described as a “kitten boom”. It’s disturbing but the Covid-19 pandemic really did mess up the UK in a number of ways including pet ownership.

Before Covid-19 there were an estimated 7.5 million cats and 9 million dogs in the UK. After the pandemic (2 years later) the new estimate is: 12 million cats and 13 million dogs. An extraordinary increase all thanks to Covid and impulse adoptions with adopters taking a short-term view.

Battersea Dogs and Cats Home
Battersea Dogs and Cats Home. Image in public domain.

There appears to be two reasons for a kitten boom: firstly, many cat owners are failing to neuter and spay their cats. Secondly, it appears that there is a surplus of kittens in the system because of the rampant breeding of cats during Covid to keep pace with demand. Suddenly that demand faded away because of the end of lockdowns, leaving the surplus.

Battersea state that 133 kittens were born across the charity’s three London centres in a single year (2022) compared with 82 in the previous nine years.

Cats Protection revealed that 37% of litters born in the past 12 months were the result of accidental breeding.

Dr. Maggie Roberts, Cats Protection’s Director of Feline Welfare said that the large number of unwanted kittens is due to the pandemic as stated.

“Unwanted litters are the biggest reason why kittens are relinquished to Cats Protection.”

They say that there has been a 23% increase in unwanted litters brought to their charity from October 1 through to December 2022 compared to normal.

To the above we have to add the current costs of living crisis. This is due to inflation post-Covid which was predictable and which has in part been caused by the UK government printing billions of pounds of money (euphemistically called ‘quantitative easing’).

Because money is tight in some households, it appears that some cat owners have decided not to spay and neuter their cats to save the male neutering cost of Β£76 and the female spaying cost of Β£105.

But in penny-pinching on these relatively small sums of money, they are exposing themselves to far higher costs in dealing with unwanted litters of kittens.

Demographically speaking, it appears that the age bracket 25-34 makes up the highest proportion of new cat owners with 31% acquiring a new cat over the past 12 months. Just 4% of people aged 65 and older adopted or purchased a cat in the past year.

And also, demographically speaking, cat owners in the 18-34 age bracket are less likely to sterilise their cat with a miserly 76% having the operation done. By comparison, 86% of cat owners aged between 35-54 took their cat to a vet for sterilisation. And for people aged 55 and over, the percentage was 96.

One reason why there is a dramatic increase in the number of cats in the UK is because there are many more multi-cat homes apparently. That’s according to Cats Protection.

Below are some more articles on Covid which is still with us and affecting our lives quite strongly.

Please search using the search box at the top of the site. You are bound to find what you are looking for.

Infographic on being sensible before adopting a cat companion

The title is self-explanatory. The topic lends itself to an infographic as these are bullet point reminders. Some are obvious and some less so. Perhaps the most important part of cat adoption is before it takes place. The preparation. The budgeting, the research, the honesty is assessing whether one is genuinely in a position to take responsibility for a cat for their lifetime.

Although the assessment should not be too negative as there are many rescue cats out there needing homes βœ”οΈ. I mention ‘rescue cat’ but that’s another box to tick. I recommend adopting a rescue cat but you heart might be set on a purebred. That changes the budgetary requirements because of initial cost. The maintenance costs are similar but probably higher because most purebred cats have inherited illnesses, some severe and chronic in middle age. This prompts the question as to whether pet insurance might be a good idea but the insurers know the problems. Pet health insurance for purebred cats isn’t cheap.

Pet savings account to pay for self-insurance

Be sensible before adopting a cat
Be sensible before adopting a cat. And be honest and challenging. Infographic prepared by MikeB.

Below are some articles on cat adoption. Have a skim. There is more detail than I can include in an infographic.

Please search using the search box at the top of the site. You are bound to find what you are looking for.

The Scotsman online newspaper peddles misinformation about cat breeds

I have to mention this as it is a genuine problem for animal welfare. The Scotsman online newspaper decided a while ago to publish articles about cat breeds without knowing a thing about them. And so, they make it all up to try and increase readership numbers. Cynical clickbait crap. Ironically the header to their website states: “News you can trust since 1817”. No, sorry. Not on the cat breeds in any case.

The Scotsman provide fake information on the cat breeds
The Scotsman provide fake information on the cat breeds. Image: MikeB.

Their articles are horribly misleading and there are lots of them. For example, online at the moment is an article about “Small Cute Cats 2022: 10 tiny breeds of cat that will look like kittens in adulthood.”

It is pure clickbait. It is entirely fictitious. There are no ’10 tiny cat breeds that will look like kittens in adulthood’. It is all bollocks.

They are cynically trying to attract readers. The link to the above fiction is contained in an article entitled: “Healthiest Cat Breeds 2022: Here 10 of the most healthy breeds of loving cat that won’t need many vet visits”.

More fiction. For example, about the Maine Coon they carelessly write: “Tough, chunky and instantly recognisable, the Maine Coon breed can occasionally have generic health conditions, although they are generally a healthy breed that can live up to 15 years.”

No mention of the list of inherited diseases association with this cat breed such as HCM which is a killer and prevalent within the breed.

They have a picture of what appears to be a silver spotted Bengal cat which they describe as a RagaMuffin (absurd) with the caption: “Here are the 10 breeds of beautiful cats that rarely get sick – including the adorable Ragamuffin cat breed. A beautiful, with a gorgeous coat. They love attention are often live for well over a decade.” As you can see it has two typos as well.

And pure mumbo jumbo. As mentioned, the cat is a Bengal not a RagaMuffin (and, yes, this spelling with the capital ‘M’ is correct, not their version). The author clearly does not have a clue about the topic. Graham Falk has just dived in without research. Truly ghastly.

Below is a screenshot.

The Scotsman's articles on cat breeds are pure mumbo jumbo
The Scotsman’s articles on cat breeds are pure mumbo jumbo. Screenshot.

These are just two examples. There are many more too boring and irritating to list. I feel that they need to be stopped asap because some potential adopters will be misled by these appalling and cynical articles.

Google should not be listing them.

Below are ten articles on fake news which may interest you.

Please search using the search box at the top of the site. You are bound to find what you are looking for.

Conflicting attitude to cat declawing by Cat Fanciers’ Association and American Cat Fanciers Association

Keiger and Exotic Long Hair
Keiger and Exotic Long Hair. Photo credit: Jo Singer Photos of CFA All Breed Judge Teresa Keiger

On the evidence provided by the Cat Fanciers’ Association (CFA) they allow declawed cats to compete at cat shows but not cats who have suffered the tendonectomy operation.

There is a lot of disorganised and mashed information coming from American cat associations on cat declawing. Before I refer to that particular topic, you might have noticed that the Cat Fanciers’ Association have an apostrophe after the “Fanciers'” whereas the American Cat Fanciers Association (ACFA) do not. The CFA are correct grammatically while the ACFA are incorrect. Looks careless to me but who am I to say? Perhaps unsurprising seeing as the ACFA accept declawing.

On declawing, the CFA are said by commentators such as Dr Bruce Fogle DVM in the UK to ban declawed cats from their cat shows. Great. But their website is confused on the topic. They provide a lengthy if wooly argument why cat declawing is bad and at the end, they have this sentence:

“At the October 1996 meeting the CFA Board of Directors also approved an addition to the show rules which disallows tendonectomy in show cats. The show rules also were modified to allow claw covers in the household pet class.”

Tendonectomy, strictly speaking, is not declawing. It is not the removal of the last phalange of the toe but the cutting of the tendon which is part of the mechanism to extend and operate the claw making it ineffective. Equally cruel. But strangely in those couple of sentences they don’t mention declawing which is ‘onychectomy’. Confusion?

To try and clear up the confusion I emailed the CFA chief executive:

Email to CFA
Email to CFA

At the moment I have no response, which is actually a response: they don’t want to deal with the question as it is embarrassing. On the information provided the CFA allows declawed cats to compete at cat shows.

ACFA

I am told that the American Cat Fanciers Association (ACFA) allow declawed cats and cats who’ve undergone the tendonectomy operation to compete at their cat shows. I have emailed them and Facebook messaged them for their reasons bearing in mind that the operation is known to be cruel and unnecessary. At present there has been no response and I don’t expect one because it is a tricky topic for them.

Email to ACFA corrected
Email to ACFA corrected. Yes , in haste I omitted a word.
FB message to ACFA
FB message to ACFA

Update: they allow declawed cats to participate at their cat shows:

ACFA response
ACFA response

I would expect them to understand that their policy is wrong but that they keep it in place to increase the number of cats eligible for their shows which makes them more successful. It is the same reason why cat declawing exists in the first place: money. I am being too cynical? Comment please.

The ACFA say this about themselves: “Originating in 1955, ACFA is known as the Fairest, Friendliest and most Fun feline association!”. Yes, that might be true but it applies to the human participants and not the cats especially the ones who’ve been declawed.

Below are some more articles on cat shows:

Please search using the search box at the top of the site. You are bound to find what you are looking for.

follow it link and logo