Osteochondrodysplasia is seen in ALL Scottish Fold cats

Some people might think that the breed standards of the Cat Fanciers’ Association (CFA) and The International Cat Association (TICA) prevent registered Scottish Fold cats suffering from osteochondrodysplasia but they don’t. The cat associations says that breeders should always mate a Scottish Fold with a non-Scottish fold cat in order to create a healthy cat. The offspring will be what is called a heterozygotes Scottish Fold.

It’s when they are homozygous that they are severely harmed through the defective maturation and function of cartilage all over their body particularly in the parts of the limbs most distant from the body and in the ears and tail. But the cat associations are arguably misleading people outside the cat fancy. Please read on.

All Scottish Folds suffer from osteochondrodysplasia

All Scottish Fold cats suffer from osteochondrodysplasia to some degree in the studies that I have read. For example, a study published in 2008 entitled: Osteochondrodysplasia in Scottish Fold cats, published online on the Wiley Online Library states:

“As all Scottish Fold cats suffered from osteochondrodysplasia of some degree, the best solution would be to avoid using fold-eared cats for breeding and instead use Scottish shorthairs.”

But even when you crossbreed the Scottish Fold the resultant Scottish Fold offspring still suffer from a milder form of osteochondrodysplasia. As the Universities Federation for Animal Welfare website states:

“Osteochondrodysplasia is seen in all Scottish fold cats which have a copy of the Fd gene, but homogyzous (Fd/Fd) cats are more severely affected than those that are heterozygous (Fd/fd) (Malik 2001, Takanosu et al 2008).”

It’s a question of severity as to whether they are heterozygous or homozygous. And, in a further study published on the Journal of Veterinary Medicine Science (Osteochondrodysplasia in Scottish Fold cross-breed cats) it is reported that:

“Cross breeding of Scottish Fold cats could produce unknown phenotypes, and should be avoided.”

The study referred to the crossbreeding of a Scottish Fold cat with a Munchkin cat. The latter is a dwarf purebred cat with shortened legs and a normal-sized body. The resultant offspring had folded ears like the Scottish Fold. The offspring suffered from a homozygous version of the osteochondrodysplasia. In another crossbreeding exercise, the Scottish Fold was mated with an American Curl purebred cat. Once again, the offspring were homozygous for osteochondrodysplasia. Both the offspring had severe health problems.

Cat associations

In the UK, the Governing Council of the Cat Fancy (GCCF) does not accept the Scottish Fold. It is not listed on their website. Both the top American cat associations, the CFA and TICA accept the Scottish Fold despite these automatic health problems. The CFA rather half-heartedly state: “DISQUALIFY: kinked tail. Tail that is foreshortened. Tail that is lacking in flexibility due to abnormally thick vertebrae. Splayed toes, incorrect number of toes. Any evidence of illness or poor health. Palpable nose break.” In other words if the osteochondrodysplasia has noticeable symptoms the cat should be disqualified from competition at cat shows.

Treatments

There is no treatment which can cure the disease but palliative care can be provided with drugs and radiation therapy which controls pain. A lengthy report is published online of a study in which three Scottish Fold cats were treated with palliative irradiation (Efficacy and Complications of Palliative Irradiation in Three Scottish Fold Cats with Osteochondrodysplasia). The treatments was successful in terms of reducing pain and allowing the cats to be more mobile. You can read about that by clicking on the following link: https://doi.org/10.1111%2Fjvim.13614

Drugs can be administered such as glucosamine and chondroitin sulphate. I am not a veterinarian but a good researcher! Please see your veterinarian about treating Scottish Fold cats if you look after one.

Phase out the breed

There is a strong argument which states that the Scottish should no longer be bred by any breeder anywhere and the breed should be discontinued by being phased out over, say, 5-10 years, so that the cat associations which register the breed can tell the world that they are truly concerned about cat welfare which is what they state on their websites.

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The cat hoarding gene

A story in the newspapers today about Britain’s worst hoarder where bodies of mummified cats were discovered among piles of belongings, prompts me to write again about cat hoarding. And I think it is fair to suggest that the ‘cat hoarding gene’ is in all of us. It never happens to 99.9% of us but what I mean is that humans have a predisposition to acquiring possessions. The acquisition of unused possessions is quite common. This is illustrated by celebrities occasionally divesting themselves of expensive and extravagant possessions through auctions to clear the decks.

People deal with this inbuilt desire in different ways. It’s about controlling one’s instincts and some people are very controlling. They keep their homes pristinely sheer while others let their hoarding gene takeover. They acquire both inanimate and animate possessions. Objects they never use and cats they can’t look after properly. For me, the underlying cause is anxiety because being surrounded by possessions can be reassuring.

We should be sensitive to cat hoarders because there but for the grace of God go I. The story I mention in the first paragraph is about a 70-year-old man living in Lancashire, UK. His home was stuffed to the rafters with junk including old kitchen appliances and newspapers. The only way to get into his home was through an upstairs window. Remarkable.

In this man’s case it led to cat cruelty through neglect; a consequence of cat hoarding but rarely the person has a moment of enlightenment and realises what they have become and they call in a cat rescue agency to sort the mess out. It’s happened once to my knowledge.

It’s important to approach cat hoarding with compassion and understanding. It’s a complex mental health problem. And there are different types of cat hoarding. Some cat hoarders are quite classy in their behaviour while at the opposite end of the spectrum there is chaos.

RELATED: Classy Cat Hoarder Spends £90,000 a Year On Her Cats

Let’s look at some of the common factors that can contribute to cat hoarding

Emotional attachment and loneliness: cat hoarders normally have a strong emotional attachment to animals. They find their presence comforting. They would find the presence of a single cat comforting but they magnify that with several and then many cats. It becomes an obsessive collection to constantly reinforce the reassurances against the uncertainties of life’s vicissitudes causing anxiety. Cats provide unconditional love and affection which is appealing to many people particularly those who struggle with social interactions.

Need to save all rescue animals: often cat hoarders start off with the idea that they are saving or rescuing animals and that they are the only ones able to do it. They may feel a responsibility to rescue animals to save them from harm or euthanasia at shelters. Ironically they often end up harming the animals they want to protect from harm.

Difficulty letting go or making decisions: often cat hoarders are poor decision-makers. And they normally lack objectivity. They can’t let go of possessions because, as mentioned, they are reassuring. In short, possessions whether they be inanimate or animate to make them feel better. And sometimes hoarders form emotional bonds with each individual cat which can make it harder to release them to shelters. It can be so bad that when a cat dies they still can’t release the cat and they put them in a freezer.

Lack of insight or awareness: I’ve mentioned objectivity above. Some hoarders don’t recognise or acknowledge that they have become a cat hoarder. They might not see the negative impact that they are having on the cats’ well-being. They might be blind to their neglect.

Acceptance: cat hoarders tend to accept the gross untidiness and mess that they create. Arguably, they are inherently untidy people anyway and are not bothered by the gross mess. This facilitates hoarding.

Mental health issues: it’s inevitable, I would argue that the genuine cat hoarder (as opposed to the multi-cat home) has mental health issues, perhaps borderline mental health issues or even severe mental health issues. They may be linked to an obsessive-compulsive disorder, attachment disorders, anxiety, depression and other mental health issues.

Large number of cats: cat hoarders typically accumulate a large number of cats which exceeds their ability to care for them properly resulting in health issues and cat deaths.

Deteriorating living conditions: as it gets worse their living conditions deteriorate and faeces and urine accumulate around the home making the environment hazardous risking the health of both cats and the hoarder themselves.

Lack of veterinary care: often cat hoarders have very limited resources in terms of cash flow but often they live in a house which provides enough space for the hoarding to take place. This means the cats lacked veterinary care. This exacerbates cat health problems and the spread of contagious diseases.

Social isolation: hoarders are often socially isolated. In fact, they tend to shut the world out by closing all the windows to prevent the excessive ammonia smells from the urine leaving the building which could notify neighbours of their problem. This indicates an awareness of their problem but an inability to tackle it. Hoarders can have a strained relationship with family and friends and sometimes with neighbours. When the hoarding comes to an end it is because neighbours notify the local authorities or the police because of the smells. The animals are then rescued.

Denial and resistance to intervention: many hoarders resist assistance because they don’t want to recognise their hoarding behaviour. Or if they do recognise it they don’t see it as problematic. This attitude leads to the prolongation of cat hoarding and more animal health problems.

Legal implications: there can be legal implications because the cat hoarder’s home becomes unsanitary which can affect the health of neighbours in adjoining homes (e.g. rats). There will be local authority regulations regarding the situation. Hoarders can be in breach of these regulations.

Mental health treatment: I’m sure that in most cases a genuine cat hoarder requires and hopefully will receive mental health treatment but if not they almost inevitably return to their usual ways. You will see cat hoarders having been evicted from their rented home living in a van or car with the cats that they have hoarded in the most impossible of conditions.

Punishment: Cat hoarders are sometimes punished because they breach animal welfare laws but if they are punished it should be in conjunction with compassionate mental health treatment.

My thanks to Poe for holding my hand on the above.

P.S. A little postscript has come to mind. Cat hoarders wouldn’t be able to engage in their neglectful processes if there were no unwanted cats. We have to criticise the people who supply unwanted cats indirectly by allowing their cats to breed or by abandoning their domestic cat when they move. Or by abandoning their cats to shelters and so on and so forth. There are too many unwanted cats which makes them vulnerable and it places them in the firing line of the cat hoarder who wants to rescue them but in the end the tables are turned and true cat rescuers have to rescue the cats from the cat hoarder.

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The language of cats is not secret if you are observant

There’s a book on the market: “The Secret Language of Cats: How to Understand Your Cat for a Better, Happier Relationship”. The key to the title is that the language of cats is secret by which the author means it’s different and to many people a mystery. The book gets good write-ups but I wouldn’t necessarily recommend it myself because you don’t need it to unlock the secrets of feline language. You just need to be observant. It also helps a lot if you drop an anthropocentric approach to life.

Anthropocentric

I’ll deal with “anthropocentric” first. This means looking at the world entirely through human eyes and the belief that everything revolves around humankind. People tend to do it as we dictate what happens on the planet. Except when nature gives us a hard smack on the wrist and tells us that she is the boss (global warming).

Two keystones

I have always felt that there are two keystones to a successful relationship between human and cat, (1) loving your cat because from love understanding flows because you want to understand and you want to help and make their lives good and (2) respecting your cat which flows from loving your cat. If you respect your cat, it means you drop anthropocentrism and you begin to think like a cat and even behave like one!

Understand the basics through observation

You can communicate with cats quite accurately actually. It does take a little bit of time and effort but this comes easily because you are in a close and mutually supportive relationship. Learning happens naturally as you automatically learn about your cat in this kind of relationship.

And I believe you don’t need to know all the vocalisations, the tail positions, the ear positions, the facial expressions (of which there are up to 300!) and so on to understand your cat.

Rhythms and routines are important

You should try to connect with your cat through daily routines and rhythms in life. It certainly helps tremendously if you have a routine life which sounds boring but as you know cat like routine. Routines help the connection because you end up doing things together at the same times. This facilitates mutual understanding.

RELATED: Let your cat teach you how to adjust your attitudes to be more content

The basic meow

What you’ve got to understand (everyone does) is when your cat wants something and the vocalisations for that is the meow. The meow varies a lot between individual cats but is, in essence, a request.

Agitation, distress, stress – key emotions

You should understand when your cat is becoming agitated for whatever reason and particularly for reasons of how we interact with them. A lot of cat caregivers inadvertently agitate their cat which can lead to “bad cat behaviour” which it’s not. It is simply a natural, instinctive and feline reaction. That’s where the understanding as to come in.

The classic is mishandling a cat through over-petting or a child being two rumbustious with a cat provoking a swipe by the cat and a scratch. Try to understand cat aggression through the eyes of the cat. I see a lot of people analyze cat behaviour as if they are analysing human behavior. That’s what I mean about anthropocentrism.

Separation anxiety

The cat’s so-called “independence” is misunderstood. They aren’t independent. They depend on us because they live in our world. I don’t think that you can successfully live with a domestic cat if you are away from the home all day every day from dawn till dusk. It’s likely to produce separation anxiety in your cat and consequential health problems probably. This is not a criticism of people who try to achieve this but I think people should reflect seriously on whether they are in a position to adopt a cat at a certain point in their working lives. Sometimes people are simply not able to meet their cat’s needs not because they are negligent or careless but because they have stronger alternative obligations.

Relating to your cat

A classic act of anthropocentrism is to hold a cat like a baby. That happens a lot and I don’t think it’s okay most of the time. It puts the cat in a vulnerable position. I’ve seen Taylor Swift do it in photographs. It’s the caretaker’s duty to ensure that their cat feels confident and reassured. Relating to a domestic cat as a baby is not what the experts would advocate. Or a toddler. It tends to create misplaced expectations as well as inappropriate handling of a cat.

Expectation management

Expectation management is very important in cat caregiving. By this I mean if you expect a domestic cat to behave like a small human or a dog you might be disappointed. Disappointment can undermine the relationship when the objective is to support and strengthen the relationship.

RELATED: Owning your cat versus being in a relationship with your cat

Common sense

You don’t really need to know that when your cat greets you when you come home with their tail in the vertical position and they rub against your leg that they are demonstrating a friendly greeting and then exchanging their scent on their bodies with yours. That’s what’s happening but all you need to know is that they are pleased you are home which is obvious.

Challenging their mental equilibrium

But you do need to know that if you have many cats in your home, you are challenging their emotional equilibrium because they are forced to share a small space which is unnatural to all cats, both domestic and wild. They like their defined space called a “home range”. If you force them into a small space the home ranges overlap which can be acceptable to a certain extent but there’s a limit.

Adaptability

The domestic cat is very adaptable. This is demonstrated in the way they’ve changed over the thousands of years of their domestication in living with humans. They’ve become quite sociable for instance. So, cats do adapt to living in multi-cat homes but the experts say that there is a much greater chance of aggressive behaviours cats when they are forced together in this way.

Routines are a framework and a form of communication

That’s something you should know. But returning to routines, these create a framework for the relationship in which you don’t need direct communication between human and cat because you both know what’s happening at those times. You know your cat likes to do X, Y, and Z at a certain time and they know you do X, Y, and Z at a certain time. It’s like a jigsaw which falls into place. The routine becomes a form of communication.

The home range is an important part of a domestic cat’s lifestyle

There are many complex and overlapping behaviours when a cat becomes aggressive and defensively aggressive but you don’t really need to know them to live contentedly with a domestic cat companion. You see these behaviours when a cat is defending their territory against an invading, for instance. There’s a whole bundle of behaviours there but you don’t need to know them in minute detail. These are behaviours between cats.

In the single-cat home they wouldn’t apply unless cat is allowed outside and they defend their territory there. But the home range is an important aspect of a domestic cat’s lifestyle and therefore mentality. People should be aware of this because it feeds back into their behaviour and it affects whether they are content or agitated.

Learn what they like

I think it’s important to learn what your cat likes and to provide those interactions that you have learned that your cat likes. You want to make your cat happy. It’s up to the caregiver to find out how it can be done and commonsense applies.

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Let your cat teach you how to adjust your attitudes to be more content

There is a book called Feline Philosophy: Cats and the Meaning of Life by John Gray available on Google Books. I believe that it is an excellent book. It’s the kind of book I like because not only does it respect the cat which I think is so critical for cat and animal welfare generally, it encourages us to observe our cats and through that observation and self-reflection improve our lives by adopting some aspects of the feline mentality.

People can be tortured by societal expectations, by looking back at their mistakes and worrying about the future. Often people can be tormented when they needn’t be if they lived in the present; if they lived a little bit more like their cat companion.

Learning from the feline mentality

Here are some points about John Gray’s book which I think are instructional. I hope people genuinely reflect on these points and they might even buy the book which is available on Amazon at currently under £10 in the UK. It might be the best £10 you ever spent in terms of attaining a more contented life.

Nonhuman perspective: My understanding is that John Gray believes that people should try and adopt a non-human perspective when thinking about the meaning of life. He argues that we should observe our cats and think about an alternative way of experiencing and looking at the world. He believes that the cat might serve as a model for humans to live life without human baggage and human-centric concerns. The human is very human-centric. Everything we do and think is from a human standpoint but perhaps we should discard this.

Authenticity and freedom: John Gray suggest that cats embody authenticity and freedom in their lives. Authenticity means genuineness. No fake or pretend behaviours. Not putting on a veneer and pretending that one is something one is not. Often people try and present behaviour which meets with the expectations of others and society. People want their behaviour to be validated by others. Cats do none of these things. Their behaviour is unapologetic. They are saying take it or leave it. They are genuinely themselves and they live by their instincts. They are totally natural in their behaviour. Natural and genuine behaviour is very valuable in humans. It equates to charm provided it is filtered a little! The less contrived and fake a person is the more charming they are and younger people tend to have this quality whereas older people tend not to because of life’s experiences. John Gray suggest that humans should question the constraints that people place on themselves and try and adopt the domestic cat’s authenticity and naturalness.

Playfulness and curiosity: under this heading, John Gray is suggesting that humans should embrace the present moment. They should live in the moment as cats do. Cats do things for the sheer pleasure of it. They don’t attach a purpose or a higher meaning to it. They just do it because they like it. Gray suggest that people should adopt a similar sense of play and curiosity. This will allow people to live more in the present and enjoy the small pleasures of life available to them. It’s the small day-to-day things which bring pleasure if one can tap into that mentality. Humans tend to buy pleasure through possessions or even eating!

Solitude and independence: cats are said to be independent creatures which is a source of irritation to some humans because they can be ‘disobedient’ (a human-centric view) and humans feel that they should be networking all the time. In fact, we are told this by the experts but Gray suggests that humans can learn from the domestic cat’s independence and challenge the idea that we should be constantly socially interacting to gain fulfilment. We can appreciate and value solitude and reflection leading to self-discovery. This can also lead to a sense of peace and self-acceptance. And an acceptance of things we can’t change. Struggling to try and change things because you are unhappy with them can create a lot of mental friction. It can be better to simply accept. I also find that it’s better to avoid looking at things and remembering things which are upsetting. Try and cut these things out of life.

Transcending anthropocentrism: this means rising above the concept that the world revolves around humans. Gray criticises the anthropocentrism worldview which replaces humans at the center of the universe. He also challenges the idea that humans must be part of a grand scheme or purpose and that there must be some sort of meaning to our lives. We should look to the value and significance of nonhuman life. We should respect nonhuman life. I’ve always stated that we should respect animals to the point where we treat them as our equals. We should be on a plane with animals in my view (no hierarchy) and that would include our cat companions. People are moving that way slightly because they treat their cat companions as members of the family. If we do this we develop a humbler view of the world and we can understand it better.

Personal note: I find being as active as I can mentally and physically helps to stay in the present. I also find connecting with nature helps to keep calm.

I recently wrote an article about relinquishing the idea of owning a cat and thinking about our relationship with our cat companion; an article which in fact touches upon the points I mention above:

RELATED: Owning your cat versus being in a relationship with your cat

‘Why can’t a human be more like a cat? That is the question threaded through this vivid patchwork of philosophy, fiction, history and memoir … a wonderful mixture of flippancy and profundity, astringency and tenderness, wit and lament’

Jane O’Grady, Daily Telegraph on John Gray’s book: Feline Philosophy: Cats and the Meaning of Life.

Source: My thanks to Poe and AI computer for assistance in writing this.

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Domestic cat predatory behaviour linked to hunger, prey size and personality

It is commonly said that hunger does not dictate whether a domestic cat engages in predatory behaviour as domestic cats instinctively hunt and this desire is not influenced by whether they are hungry or not. However, the picture is more nuanced than that according to the findings of a study which was published along while ago in February 1979 (see base of page) and based on general research and experiences.

Domestic cat hunting.
Domestic cat hunting. Image: Mikeb using Canva.

Interaction of hunger and prey size with predatory behaviour

The source for this section is the study referenced.

The scientist manipulated the level of hunger and the size of the prey to see how these factors influenced the hunting behaviour of domestic cats.

They concluded that when a domestic cat is hungry there is a higher probability that they will kill prey animals.

Secondly, hunger isn’t a condition for killing. That’s part of the original point I make above but the answer is more nuanced because the probability of killing prey animals can be predicted if the size of the animal and the level of hunger are known.

And if the cat is hungry and the animal is small it is more likely that the cat will kill the animal. But if the cat isn’t hungry and the prey animal is big it is less likely they will kill the animal.

And if they don’t kill the animal, it is more likely that they will play with the prey animal.

In the words of the scientist, “When these factors [hunger and the size of the animal] were in conflict, cats tended to play with the prey before, after or instead of killing”.

Domestic cats are more likely to kill prey when they are hungry

The source for this section is general research and personal experience. It adds to the above.

It makes sense that a domestic cat will be more likely to kill a prey animal when they are hungry. Although as stated above the general consensus is that hunger doesn’t absolutely dictate whether they hunt or not. It just dictates when they kill and eat the animal. Although as hunger increases their predatory instincts become more pronounced.

When domestic cats are well fed and therefore not hungry their hunting behaviour may be reduced to playing with the prey animal rather than hunting to obtain food.

Summarized: I think domestic cat predation behaviour can be summarised by saying that the instinct to hunt is always present and therefore is not directly or absolutely dictated by hunger but hunger increases the intensity and focus of their hunting behaviour making them more active and persistent in stalking and capturing prey. Also: overall domestic cat predatory behaviour is dependent of 3 factors: personality, hunger and prey size.

Domestic cats are more likely to play with small prey animals such as small rodents and insects. They will display pouncing, batting and chasing behaviour under these circumstances.

When they are faced with a larger prey animal such as a pigeon or rabbit, domestic cats are more likely to exhibit serious hunting behaviour with the intention of consuming it. Under these circumstances the behaviour is driven more by hunting instincts and predatory drive rather than playful behaviour.

It’s important to note, however, that individual cats may display varying behaviours based on their personalities and experiences. Some domestic cats are keen hunters and some simply are not. Hunger and prey size are two factors but the third is the characteristics and personality of the individual cat.

Study referred to: Predation and predatory play behaviour of domestic cats. Link: https://doi.org/10.1016/0003-3472(79)90129-5

Other sources: Myself and general internet searches.

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Pet caracal is unhappy and can be vicious

Well, I am looking at pet caracals today 🙂 . It is easy to find them in social media and here we are on TikTok where I found this video. For me it is another unhappy pet caracal unnaturally confined to a human home as if in a zoo with carpets. As you can see in the video this medium-sized wild cat can be vicious. You would not want to be on the end of one of those caracal swipes unless of course they’ve declawed the poor fella which is distinctly possible. If people are scared of being scratched by a domestic cat magnify that by 10 for a caracal.

We are told that this pet caracal likes to have his owner’s finger in his mouth. I am not sure I’d put my finger in his mouth! This hints at the possibility that the caracal was weaned too early and needs to suckle on something. Anything. The owner’s finger will do nicely.

If this is true it also hints that this caracal was removed from their mother in the wild or perhaps the cat comes from a breeder in the US. We don’t know. Either way it is concerning.

It is the constant desire to hiss which also concerns me as it points to a cat who is anxious and defensive. The hiss is a defensive gesture to warn others that they are in a fighting mode and will attack if they advance further. In the video the caracal hisses and then viciously swipes with their forepaw. This is a classic attack from a wild cat.

If they have declawed the cat: shame on them. Think twice about buying a pet caracal. There are huge responsibilities. High costs. Challenges. Change in your lifestyle. A pet caracal will severely interrupt a person’s lifestyle. You can’t live normally. And to make a pet caracal happy in a home will be a monster challenge beyond most.

Here are some links to other pet caracals:

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‘Kimbo’ another underexercised and obese pet caracal who overeats because he is bored

Kimbo is another pet caracal – an exotic pet. They are popular on social media platforms. Sometimes I think people purchase a pet caracal so that they can become a celebrity on social media through their cat’s celebrity. See vicarious celebrity,

Kimbo is obese and obesity brings many health problems
Kimbo is obese and obesity brings many health problems. Image: Instagram (kimbothewildcat)

In fact, I’m sure this is what is happening. The only pet caracals that I have seen on social media are obese. Kimbo is another. I’m told that he lives in England and that he is about three years old. He does not get enough exercise and he overeats. Caracals are incredibly athletic. They are very capable and energetic. They have the ability to jump vertically to great heights.

He’s fed raw chicken but I wonder whether his owner adds the requisite supplements to ensure that his diet is entirely balanced and healthy. I don’t think straight raw chicken is enough. You need to add supplements but perhaps he does. Although I’ve not seen supplements being added to his diet on Instagram.

RELATED: Raw Food Diet (for a cat)

Pet caracals (“exotic pets”) invariably have multi-social media exposure such as TikTok, Instagram and YouTube. As much exposure as possible is the desired objective. This tells me that purchasing these exotic pets are all about social media exposure and gaining celebrity. And through celebrity you make money. I’m sure that often the owner thinks that they can make a living out of presenting boring videos and photographs of their obese caracals on social media.

Here is Kimbo messing in the snow. I hate to see obese caracals.

I think people have lost sight of what a caracals should look like. They are very athletic in the wild. They are very muscular with no fat. They are not slender but quite stocky when fully adult. The caracal below is probably a subadult. When I look at Kimbo I weep at his fat.

Subadult caracal. Relatively slender

Wild caracal.
Wild caracal showing the difference in body conformation from Kimbo who is obese. Although this is probably a subadult. Image: MikeB on Canva.

Adult caracal body conformation

Adult caracal showing the stocky body conformation
Adult caracal showing the stocky body conformation. Image: MikeB.

Bored – eating for pleasure

And my argument is that he is obese because he’s bored being confined to a home. He gets some outings on a harness it seems but I don’t know how far they go away from their home on a harness. I don’t think it is really viable to take a caracal around suburbia on a harness as if they are a dog. I think it would frighten the neighbours. And what if you come into contact with a dog? There’s going to be chaos at least potentially.

License required in GB

People should realise that in the UK you will need a licence from the local authority to own caracal as a pet. There’s no guarantee you’ll get it and there should be inspections. It amazes me that licences are granted because in truth – and I’m being brutally honest – a human home is an entirely inappropriate place for a pet caracal in which to live.

Wild caracal home range is huge

People should realise that in the wild caracals can have home ranges of 65 km². The home ranges will vary depending upon where they live. Male caracals will have larger home ranges and females. A female home range might be about 6 km². My research indicates that around 20 km² for a male caracal is not unusual.

Imagine the difference between what a caracal considers to be home in the wild namely an area which is 4 km wide and 5 km long, compared to a three-bedroom home in suburbia!

Unqualified zookeepers

Pet caracals living in the human environment inside a home are essentially in a zoo. They are captive cats and the zookeeper is often an unqualified person. Personally, I just don’t get it. I know I am going against the grain here because if you go onto the social media platforms, in comments, people gush about the beauty of the caracal and what a wonderful smile they have when in fact they are hissing at their owner while he tries to give them some fresh chicken! Caracals hiss a lot perhaps because they feel out of place in the human home.

Anxiety?

It’s hard for them to settle and feel whole and normal. They may be anxious from time to time and in some instances, they might be anxious all the time.

Caracals should not be pets

My personal viewpoint is that caracals and servals should never be pets. It doesn’t work but the public likes to see them because they are exotic. It’s a great shame, therefore, when they become obese because they lose that beautiful streamlined, feline anatomy. They become a pudding, padding around their captive environment.

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Catster asks: “Can Cats Eat Blueberry Muffins? Vet approved Facts & FAQ”. WTH!

Vet approved! Who is going to feed their cat blueberry muffins for dinner?! You don’t need a vet to approve the answer to the question because no cat caregiver in their right mind is going to feed their cat blueberry muffins (note: plural). And I don’t expect a domestic cat to be interested in a blueberry muffin. Remember? They are carnivores. I can’t see the point of the question. It is a bit sinister actually as it implies that it might be okay to feed your cat blueberry muffins.

Catster have merged with Excited Cats because both websites were in trouble. A merger is a sure sign. Excited Cats is the junior partner. I suspect that Excited Cats was bust and they approached Catster to buy them and they sold cheaply.

The Catster hardcopy magazine has closed. The point is that if Catster is going to publish articles on whether it is safe for domestic cats to eat blueberry muffins and they need vets to tell them the answer, they are still in trouble.

The trouble I mean is that they have run out of content. They have nothing more to say. It has all been said and now they are down to discussing a diet of blueberry muffins for a pet cat. It is called low hanging fruit – excuse the pun.

Catster went through the low hanging fruit years ago. They are now at the top of the tree where there are blueberry muffins. I know what the problem is with both Excited Cats and Catster but I am not going to disclose it here! I don’t want to help them.

But clearly their formula for running a cat website has failed in the long term although Excited Cats was much younger than Catster before it folded. Excited Cats relied on making a lot of money because they spent a lot of money in running their now defunct website. Catster are similar. When the overheads are high there is a lot of pressure on making money.

Any small drop off and you are in trouble. The heyday of cat websites has passed. It was much easier ten 15 and 10 years ago to have a successful cat website. There’s much more competition now and the general public have been well and truly educated about domestic cat behaviour and health. That’s good as it shows that the internet has had a hugely beneficial impact on cat caregiver knowledge which must mean that cat caregiving in 2023 is better than it was in 2008.

Well, let’s see how long Catster lasts now. Another article on their home page at the moment is “Can Cats Eat Carrot Cake? Vet-Approved Facts & FAQ“. Once again who in their right mind is going to feed their cat carrot cake? And don’t expect a cat to be interested in eating carrot cake. It won’t happen except in the rarest of instances. The question is stupid and pointless and you don’t need a veterinarian to tell you that simple fact.

RELATED: Domestic cats on vegan diets are healthier than those on meat-based diets?

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