This must mean that this beautiful and third most popular breed is plagued by inherited health problems as is, ironically, the most popular dog breed in the UK, the French bulldog which has a miserly lifespan of 7 years.
Equally clearly, people who purchase purebred cats and dogs heavily prioritise appearance over health which is why the cat breeders under the auspices of the cat associations do exactly the same thing.
It is a bit shocking if like me you are really concerned about animal welfare. I don’t want to paint an overly negative picture as I like the Maine Coon as much as anyone else but this is bad news.
The Maine Coon has been spoiled by irresponsible breeding and oversight by the cat associations which could rectify these health problems at a stroke by dramatically altering the breed standard but that would take time to filter through and the appearance would be altered dramatically over time.
There would be a reversion of appearance to the way the old established breeds such as the Maine Coon were at the turn of the 20th century at which time they now look like moggies! Almost. The Maine Coon that won the first American cat show in Madison Square Garden looks nothing like today’s Maine Coon. And I bet that the Maine Coons of the late 1800s and mid-1900s were healthier cats than today’s.
There needs to be a readjustment in the cat fancy and the dog fancy to better balance health and appearance. Unfortunately, my thoughts will fall on stony ground and never be acted upon. I am wasting my time.
The Bengal is also badly affected by HCM as is the Ragdoll while the Scottish Fold is the product of ‘torture breeding‘ according to the Germans as is the Persian and the Sphynx.
What do you think about these costs? A lot, right? You have got to have a decent amount of disposable income to justify paying these costs. The killer is this: you probably have to take out medical insurance for these cats because you’ll be at the vet’s more than normal dealing with inherited illnesses. People in the market to purchase a purebred cat with inherited diseases – and most of them have – need to budget carefully and get their expectations right.
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NEWS AND COMMENT: This is not hot of the press cat news because I’ve been slow to pick up on it but it needs reporting because it is exceptionally rare for judges to hand down a severe punishment to criminals who abuse and kill cats and kittens. And that statement applies to anywhere in the world. In this instance it refers to America.
The organisation In Defence of Animals has reported on their website that on December 1, 2023 Jacquez Law was imprisoned for 12 years and ordered to pay $1,151 in fines after pleading guilty on October 13, 2023 to animal cruelty.
He was actually a serial kitten killer. He was charged with killing multiple kittens, at least four of which he killed by bashing their heads in.
It is a gruesome image in my mind and I don’t want to dwell on it but clearly Mr Law perpetrated the most horrendous type of animal cruelty against innocent sentient beings and he’s been punished accordingly.
It’s hard to believe that this man received a 12-year prison sentence. Often this kind of animal cruelty results in a fine. Possibly, at worst, a relatively short prison sentence of six months or less. But here we have a judge handing down a 12-year sentence. District attorney Craig Ladd prosecuted him. He was charged with wilfully and cruelly killing the kittens.
The In Defence of Animals supporters sent a letter signed by 13,000 supporters to District Attorney Craig Ladd which thanked him for taking the case seriously. The letter requested that it be presented to Judge Dennis Morris during the sentencing phase of the defendant’s trial. It appears to have had an impact.
It appears that the tragic events started on March 8th 2023 when Tiffany Goodrich called the police department to report finding two of her kittens dead on her porch. She believed that she was able to identify the man who trespassed on her property. Law was subsequently interviewed and denied killing the kittens. He then confessed after Goodrich filed a protective order against him.
The man has a history of criminality including altering a firearm serial number, larceny, disturbing the peace, assault and battery, trespassing and among other crimes malicious injury to property. He had also been charged with cruelty to animals in 2022 and 2023.
The In Defence of Animals administration were delighted with the successful prosecution and sentencing and they appreciated the efforts of all Oklahoma law enforcement and members of the justice system in treating the case seriously.
I’m going to suggest a potential link between the ultra-processed dry cat food that we give cats and certain health issues in cats. This link is rarely discussed. However, in The Times today there is a report about how ultra-processed foods raises the risk of cancer, diabetes and depression in people.
The physiology of people and cats is very similar. It is reasonable and I would argue plausible to suggest that if a study finds that ultra-processed foods eaten by people can cause these health problems then the same might be happening to domestic cats. It needs to be explored more. We need to ask questions about the ultra-convenience of the ultra-processed dry foods that we give cats. They are great for people but are they great for cats? The answer won’t be clear cut, I can guarantee that.
The Times report starts with these words: “Eating lots of ultra-processed food may send you to an early grave and make you depressed and anxious, a review of evidence has concluded.”
The ultra-processed foods referred to include products such as ready meals, sugary breakfast cereal (I see a similarity here between dry cat food), chocolate bars et cetera. The study published in the British Medical Journal concluded that there is a link to 32 damaging health outcomes in eating these products.
Scientists in Australia examined data from previous studies around the world. The studies involved 10 million people. They divided them into groups based on their intake of ultra-processed foods.
Those that ate the most were found to be at a 55% greater risk of dying young. And a 21% greater risk of dying from heart disease.
There was an increase in mental health problems in eating these foods and high consumption of them was linked to a 22% enhanced risk of depression and a 50% enhanced risk of poor sleep and anxiety.
The scientists believe that these hugely negative impacts on human health may be due to the foods causing “systemic inflammation” in the body. They also disrupt the gut microbiome which influences depression and risks anxiety.
Some scientists believe that the industrial processing of these foods in which whole foods are split into sugar, fats and oils and then recombined, is inherently harmful.
Or it may be the case that people who eat ultra-processed foods live unhealthy lifestyles and it is the unhealthy lifestyle which causes these health problems.
But Professor Martin Warren, chief scientific officer of the Quadram Institute in Norwich said that the study points to the fact that “broadly speaking, certain ultra-processed foods are bad for human health”.
Dry cat food
The making of dry cat food is highly artificial. The raw ingredients (e.g. diseased livestock carcasses) are subjected to high temperatures and pressures which causes them to lose most of their nutritional properties and natural moisture. To this ‘cardboard food’ is added tasty fats to make the food palatable. And dry cat food requires a high carbohydrate content in order to make it. The cooking of the raw foods alters its chemical structure and destroys much of its nutritional value.
Yes, dry cat food is highly artificial and wet cat food is not much better it seems except it contains a lot of moisture. I would argue that there is a need for better quality cat food and I will also argue that not enough work is being done to examine the potential negative impact on cat health from eating commercially prepared cat food.
A lot has been said in the news media about Scarlet Blake’s violent crimes against a cat and a man. The former was torture and killing and the latter was murder resulting in a 24-year prison sentence without parole and two and four-month prison sentences to run concurrently for the criminal damage and animal cruelty perpetrated towards the cat.
A lot has also been said about the Netflix docuseries Don’t F**k with Cats: Hunting an Internet Killer. It documented the criminality of Luka Magnotta and how he was tracked down and successfully prosecuted and thereafter imprisoned in Canada for life.
There are parallels between Scarlett Blake’s crimes and those of Luka Magnotta. This begs the question as to whether the Netflix docuseries influenced Scarlet Blake’s criminal behaviour.
It is reported that she had an obsession with death and violence against a person and perhaps animals. She reportedly said that she wanted to be killed by her then transgender partner, Ashlynn Bell.
But the question here in this post is whether the Netflix docuseries conclusively pushed Blake towards her extreme violence. It seems to me that she had this desire for violence and the Netflix docuseries catalysed it by which I mean it triggered the physical expression of an emotional desire.
It could be argued that the Scarlet Blake’s story is a paradigm case of how film can cause violence in people. But the truth is that the general viewpoint from scholarly articles is that there is no firm link between viewing violence and committing violence.
One study: Does viewing violent media really cause criminal violence? A methodological review, concluded that “the body of published, empirical evidence on this topic does not establish that viewing violent portrayals causes crime.”
And my research using artificial intelligence as an assistant (Poe) concludes that, “The relationship between films and violence is a complex and debated topic. While it is generally agreed that exposure to violent media can influence behavior to some extent, the extent to which films directly cause violence is still a matter of discussion among scholars and experts.”
The research has produced mixed results. Some research studies say the link is weak or inconclusive while others suggest a correlation between exposure to violent films and aggressive behaviour.
You would have thought, though, that by now, the scientists would have discovered more definitive conclusions about a link or not. And surely, the Scarlet Blake story indicates a link. It seems to me that scarlet Blake’s criminal behaviour is a mirror image of Luka Magnotta’s criminal behaviour with the murder of a human following the killing of a cat.
This Chinese criminal’s behaviour has been well documented on the Internet as well and it would seem to me that she’s been influenced by the Netflix docuseries and perhaps this Chinese individual. Her actions are so similar that it is hard to escape the conclusion that she was influenced.
The seeds of violence against a sentient being were in her mind and the seeds flowered into true violence by the metaphorical fertiliser of violent television and film.
If this is true what is being done about it? Nothing because society accepts it.
There is a shocking (to me) story in The Times today about parents who refuse to toilet train their children. Apparently, half of parents in UK believe that they should not have full responsibility for toilet training a child. It’s according to a survey conducted by the early years charity Kindred.
Some parents don’t toilet train children
They found that only 16% of parents think that it is their job to teach children how to read. Too many children are not school ready and it’s getting worse. They questioned 1,000 primary school staff and 1,000 parents of perception-age children. They found that 50% of parents believed that the responsibility for ensuring that their child did not have toilet accidents partly lay elsewhere, other than on their shoulders.
So, in the UK, a lot of parents don’t think that it is their job to toilet train their kids. Ironically, domestic cats barely need toilet training. They automatically go to the cat litter if the cat caregiver has the presence of mind to provide one and in the right place. It is instinctive for indoor cats because the cat litter tray contains the only material which the cat deems satisfactory on which they should defecate and urinate. If there are problems, I touch on some thoughts below.
The Times editorial author is equally shocked about the parental failure mentioned. Their headline is: “Horrifying numbers of children now start school without being toilet trained”. They concluded by saying that “being aware of where to urinate or defecate is not an advanced concept. Most dogs can manage it by six months.”
What happens if kids are not toilet trained?
Dogs receive more concern that kids it seems as dog owners invariably pick up feces when their companion animal goes to the toilet in the park. What happens if a teacher does not intervene and assist a school child who has not been toilet trained? The Times editorial says this: “Barring exceptional circumstances, these are children who have learnt that the default place to go to toilet is wherever they are…” Does that mean that the schoolchild will go to the toilet in the classroom in front of other schoolchildren?
Perhaps a more important point made by this article is that if parents of children abdicate their responsibilities to care for their children properly by toilet training and preparing them properly for school, how can we expect them to properly care for domestic cats? Or dogs?
It seems to me that there is a failure by many adult people in the UK to be properly committed and engaged in caring for those that are dependent upon them: children and companion animals.
Some teachers say that they are babysitting these children rather than teaching them. The teachers are instructing the children on basic life skills rather than algebra or arithmetic. It’s complete madness as far as I am concerned. And I am sure I’m not the only person who thinks it.
But the worrying point is the general attitude of these parents, which must impact on other areas of the lives of parents and cat and dog owners. It’s about standards. It’s about ensuring that dependents are properly educated and cared for. It appears not to be happening in sufficient numbers.
Teachers say that 2.5 hours each day are lost in helping children with basic skills. And, sometimes, The Times reports that “Nine in ten [teachers] had a child in the classroom who was not toilet trained”.
Location: this is important and it should be a quiet, easily accessible low traffic area in your home. Avoid placing the box near noisy appliances or their food and water bowls.
Introduce the litter box: this might not be needed but if it is after they have eaten you can gently place them in it. They will know where it is and go back to it the next time.
Cleanliness: it should be kept clean but not so clean that the natural odours of the cat are removed.
Positive reinforcement: I don’t think this is needed but if your cat is reluctant to use it then praise them after using it in the form of a small treat as a reward which would be an example of positive reinforcement.
Inappropriate elimination: this is when, as you know, cats refuse to use the litter tray. From the cat’s perspective it is not “inappropriate” but appropriate because there will be a genuine reason for it and it might be that the litter tray is badly positioned or they are suffering from a health problem as mentioned. Often it can be stress related because the litter tray is being shared and one cat is protecting resources because they are bullying a more submissive cat. This might occur in a multi-cat home.
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I hope I have these statistics correct and if I have, my research indicates that US dog and cat food sales increased 11% in 2023 over 2022 reaching US$51 billion. The numbers come from the pet food industry website. As for baby food sales, the global data website tells me that the market size in the United States for baby food in 2022 was US$9.3 billion. That’s about one fifth of the pet food sales market.
Going back many years, to 1987, Dr. Desmond Morris in his book Catlore, said this about the cat food sales and baby food sales market in the United States: “It is a sobering thought that in the United States the figure for cat food sales, which has doubled in the last eight years to an astonishing $2 billion a year, now exceeds that for baby food. In weight, Americans are now buying 2.2 billion pounds of cat food each year; not to mention a million tonnes of cat litter. There is no doubt about it, we are clearly living in the Age of the Cat.”
Well, you can see how the market has grown massively since 1987 but at that date cat food sales were larger than baby food sales. I have compared dog and cat food sales together with baby food sales in order to try to make comparison between living with a ‘pet’ and living with a baby.
My mind, perhaps incorrectly, turns to what Pope Francis said not long ago about families in Italy preferring to adopt a pet rather than have a baby. He didn’t like it (see Gervais’ criticism of the Pope by clicking the link below). He wanted to see people having bigger families. I think he wanted it because Italy needs to ensure that their economy can grow. To achieve this, you need people. The basic mantra is a growing economy, which can only be achieved if the human population grows and the factories become more productive.
It’s a bad mantra. It’s a bad model because it means we have to make more people and in northern Europe the indigenous populations have decided to stop procreating! They don’t like what they see in the world.
But in general, it would appear that many people are turning to adopting a companion animal rather than having a child. This doesn’t apply across the planet because in Africa they tend to have big families in order to improve the chances of survival of the family. But in the western developed countries the trend is toward smaller families and no families; just a couple of adults living together, unmarried, in a partnership.
Is it a good or bad thing? I’ve no idea! Families are meant to be good because you create a tight family unit which is good for raising children. But if you aren’t procreating there’s no need for a tight family unit to create a stable environment for a child.
Companion animals are sometimes a lot better than children. Sometimes people have pets as a starter family. For a start, pets are a lot cheaper, over their lifetime, to care for them. It is said that in general terms, it takes about £15,000 or $15,000 to look after a cat for their lifetime whereas it takes £250,000 to raise a child to independence. Perhaps, then, this is about a shortage of disposable income in an ever more competitive world because there are more and more people scrabbling over the spoils.
President Putin, in Russia, is throwing money at families to encourage them to procreate, to create large families because the population in Russia is declining. Why is that? Because Russia is not a good place to live. And he has made it a bad place to live through his autocratic, cruel and murderous dictatorship. He has increased spending on arms and the military to 30% of GDP which means that the citizens of Russia are suffering with much reduced social services of all kinds because far more Russian tax dollars are going into the military to fund the Ukraine war and possibly to start attacking other neighbouring countries.
Domestic cats in Russia, it seems to me, have a tough life. Firstly, it is very cold in winter and there are many stray cats living in the basements of abandoned buildings. That kind of thing. And I don’t think the general Russian population are particular sympathetic towards stray cats. Putin certainly doesn’t give a damn about animals and their welfare although he professes to support conservation efforts in the Far East of the Siberian tiger. That said, his bombs and shells had killed hundreds of thousands perhaps millions of cats and dogs and general wildlife in Ukraine.
The cat’s name is Dimples. He was bred in Australia. It is claimed that he can’t eat and breathe at the same time which I can understand. This is a brachycephalic-headed cat breed with an extremely flat face which distorts the nasal passages which negatively impacts breathing. And also, because their muzzle has disappeared completely, they have to thrust their entire face into the food bowl to get at the food. This makes for a very messy eating experience as the food can end up all over their face when feeding. It’s a disaster actually.
He’s been taken to a veterinarian, Dr. Patricia Carnovale, and the vet said that it was distressing to deal with this cat and added that it “looks like it’s been cut off” in reference to the face.
She believes that people need to be educated about the flat-faced breeds namely the Persian and Exotic Shorthair but there are other breeds with faces which are flatter arguably than they should be such as the British Shorthair.
She said, “We need to educate people. Just because things look pretty or they look cute, having them appear that way may not necessarily be in the animal’s best interest”. Yes, I heartily agree but I disagree that they are pretty. This is a subjective preference but for the life of me I don’t see how people can call this cat pretty. Do you think Dimples is pretty? 🙄
Also, as is not untypical for badly bred Exotic Shorthair cats, their tongues sometimes plop out of their mouths because of the distorted anatomy. The mouth can’t keep the tongue inside the oral cavity.
We are told that he prefers to lick the gravy from his food rather than eat the chunks of wet cat food because it’s easier to do that. He’s put off eating normally. This must be a health problem.
Dimples is eight years old and he was surrendered to what appears to be a rescue named Mini Kitty Commune. The rescue organisation is trying to raise AU$3,500 to pay for a veterinarian to carry out surgery on him to allow him to breathe more normally.
I’m not sure that’s a good idea because all Exotic Shorthair cats and all contemporary Persian cats have this extreme flat-based and they will all have breathing difficulties to various extents and arguably eating difficulties as described.
And when they breathe, they can sometimes breathe with a rasping noise. I’ve heard this noise on French bulldogs in the park where I walk. I guess their owners think that it is normal but it isn’t. They, too, have similar flat-faces.
A spokesperson from the rescue said: “The poor thing has been bred so badly that it’s like he’s suffocating all day, every day. Honestly, I don’t even know what to say. This has to stop.”
What is the solution to this torture breeding!? It is for the cat associations to change their breed standards. These are guidelines which tell breeders what kind of body conformation and head shape they should create through artificial selection. It’s taken decades to produce this flat-faced pet and it will probably take about 20 years to undo the work if the cat associations changed their breed standards which they won’t.
This man on TikTok, Robert Coad (robertcoad530), claims to have bred a Maine Coon/Lykoi hybrid or a Maine Coon Lykoi mix which he calls a Lycoon. And he appears to be doing this informally in his apartment or house.
He presents his efforts on TikTok. He is very pleased with himself but I’m not pleased with him because he is informally breeding cats i.e. bringing cats into the world when there is already a surplus, many of which are unwanted and at shelters where many of them end up being euthanized because nobody wants to adopt them.
Formally speaking the Maine Coon Lykoi mix is hypothetical and will never happen under the auspices of the cat fancy
Moan, moan, moan. Yes, I am moaning and being negative and criticising him but I think it is fair to do so. I think Robert is being very self-indulgent and is doing this for his amusement and a bit of TikTok success. It is the same old story: there is a manic desire to attain fame on social media anyway possible. Understandable but not a good idea if the cat – a sentient being – is the vehicle or means to that success.
He thinks it is a good idea or he has not considered whether it’s a good idea or not. He’s just tinkering with nature thinking that he can create a new breed of domestic cat. He has failed to consider the ethical issues.
Hybridization of the breeds is the kind of way that many of the established cat breeds have been created which is to hybridise an existing breed by mating them with another cat breed. But it is not a good idea in the grand scheme of things. In terms of animal welfare and in terms of behaving with propriety and decency.
The cat associations would not approve of this. The CFA breed standard makes it clear that the Maine Coon cat cannot be outcrossed with another breed or random bread cat. The goal is to keep them truly purebred and to maintain the appearance. To fix the appearance as it is. The Maine Coon cat has a very special appearance with very distinctive aspects of their anatomy such as the heavy, square muzzle and the tall lynx-tipped ears. The Maine Coon is very long and never rotund or cobby.
Note: the video above is embedded here. It may disappear and if that has happened, I am sorry. The music is nice. The video quality is crap.
There is another aspect of this which I don’t like. The Lykoi cat breed itself should not have been created because in Germany this cat would be regarded as an example of ‘torture breeding’. It’s a cat without a full coat. The coat is sparse and it looks as if the animal has a health problem which it hasn’t but a cat should have their coat to keep them warm and to benefit their health. A domestic cat has a coat for a reason. Nature gave it to them. Why should we, the human, take it away from them? If you do this you create problems as is evident for the hairless cats which acquire grimy, oily coats as the natural oils from the sebaceous glands have nowhere to go.
The Lykoi Maine Coon mix is a hypothetical cat. It’s been talked about quite a lot and some people think that they should be formally created. Robert is doing this it seems but the video on this page is very poor quality and you can’t see the kittens which he claims to be Lycoons.
I have published the video nonetheless which no doubt Robert will dislike because I’ve criticised him on this page.