Cat Info Titbits

Silver Vine For Cats
Silver Vine For Cats. Picture of silver vine by Wikimedia Commons, creator: Shu Suehiro.
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For me, cat info titbits means an amalgam of posts. I have a few half-finished stories that I have bundled together on this page. They all have value but each one is probably not able to stand alone as a separate article.

Notes on the Wild Cats Nov 2012

This are notes, the juicy bits, from a meeting of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) meeting on 19-21 July 2012. AZA is “a nonprofit organization that accredits zoos and aquariums…”. I’ll just summarize some outstanding bits:

Downward Spiral

The delegates, who should know what they are talking about, consistently referred to the “downward spiral” of feline populations. This refers both to wild cat species that are captive and living in the wild. The basic reasons for the downward spiral for these groups of cats is as follows:


In a word “inbreeding” is the problem due to a limited gene pool (not enough cats). And wild cats nearly always do badly in zoos when it comes to breeding. No doubt they are stressed, upset and unhappy and don’t breed (this comment is mine not from the delegates).


Habitat destruction is the main problem for nearly the wild cats. There are more and more people doing more things that includes destroying the places such as forests and wetlands vvwhere wild cats historically live. Some species of wild cat are already doomed to extinction. They don’t say which ones but here are some possibles: the Iberian Lynx, the Scottish Wildcat, the Florida Puma, the tiger generally (not imminent but it will happen), the Sumatran tiger, the Bay cat and more…

Ocular Colobomas

They say that this eye condition is “not uncommon in several cat species”. It is not clear if that comment refers to captive or wild cats. The medical dictionary says that ocular colobomas are

An anomaly of the eye, usually a developmental defect, often resulting in some vision loss.

This indicates to me that this health problem is genetic based. In other words an inherited disease due to inbreeding or a restricted gene pool. Several species living in the wild are inbreed due to low population sizes. Examples are:

  • Siberian tiger (in wild)
  • Amur leopard (in wild)
  • South China tiger in captivity
  • Florida panther (in wild)
  • Iriomote cat (leopard cat) – in the wild
  • Cheetah? (this cat is inbred in the wild)
  • Iberian lynx – in the wild with an extremely low population.

I am sure there are others.

Silver Vine

Silver vine is also called “Matatabi”. It has a similar effect on cats to catnip. There appear some real health benefits too. This herb contains antioxidants and vitamin C. People use it to treat high cholesterol, arthritis and as an immune system stimulant.

Cats eat the leaves or extracts. It is appropriate for wild and domestic cats. Apparently it can used to habituate some cats to carriers and strange objects. I am not sure how that works but it sounds intriguing.

Wild Cats and OCD or Self-mutilation

Wild cats in captivity can self-mutilate. The causes are possibly: lack of enrichment of environment, noises, sexual frustration and being viewed by people! True. Wild cats in captivity should have a place to hide just like domestic cats.

Sphynx Therapy Cat

This is a good cat news story. Marc wanted one 🙂 Although it is not current news, I don’t think that really matters.

Some say the Sphynx cat looks a bit weird. Some say the Sphynx cat breed shouldn’t even exist. I won’t write about that today. I’ll simply say that the Sphynx cat makes a great therapy cat. And that is at least one good reason to be thankfully for this hairless cat.

There is one Sphynx cat who is a successful therapy cat and quite famous in his own cute and hairless way. His name is Piglet. He has already featured on PoC on a cat picture page.

Sphynx Therapy Cat Piglet
Sphynx Therapy Cat Piglet

Deforestation – Destroying Wild Cats

For us in the West, the destruction of the rainforest, the beautiful and ancient forests, is thousands of miles away. And many of us are thousands of miles away from the mentality of the people who want to use and abuse the planet for financial gain until it is all destroyed.

There are many species of wild cat that treat the forest as their home. They depend on it totally. Without it they are dead. And they are dying as fast as big business is destroying the forest. These are often big paper producing businesses. Your super white copying paper might have come from a tree that was a thousand years old and which housed a clouded leopard.

Destruction of rainforest kills tree dwelling cat species
Destruction of rainforest kills tree dwelling cat species. The brave local people try to stop the destruction.

I am pleased that there are local people who are against big business. In this instance it is not only destroying a wild cat’s habitat but the livelihood of the small businessman.

I don’t know what is motivating these people to stand in front of the bulldozers and risk injury and worse. I am almost certain it is not to save the clouded leopard or other tree dwelling cat species. It is possibly about saving their livelihoods which are also jeopardised by big business, which in this case is the big logging companies. They won’t stop, you know, until the forests are gone. Then they’ll find some other natural resource to convert to money. Does it have to be this way? Surely there is a better way to manage the planet.

The small wild cat is almost ignored by 99% of the world’s population. This is partly because the small wild cat is likely to be very secretive in order to avoid people. That makes it very vulnerable through loss of habitat by human activity of one form or the other.

If I was down there, on the ground, I would stand in front of that bulldozer for the cats and other wild animals who live in the forest and depend on it. It might sound extreme perhaps but it is true.

Working With Your Cat

Do work with your cat by your side? If you don’t I would recommend it. It won’t always be possible but if it possible, try it.

Working With Your Cat
Working With Your Cat. Charlie and Me.

This is a picture I took some time ago of Charlie by my side while I work on the website in bed. Bed is a great place to work. Charlie would agree that wholeheartedly because he can join me and keep warm. He warms me too. A sort of symbiotic relationship. It is better to work in bed in the morning! Work is more productive.

The upside is that it feels nice to have the company of a cat that close to you. Charlie doesn’t mind if I move around and grab a book or something. The downside is that I stop a bit more than usual to stroke him. That is a downside from a work production standpoint. From a health standpoint it is an upside for both of us.

What I would like from him is some ideas on cat stories. Some sort of input…” Hey Mike, what about a story about working with a cat?” That sort of thing. He doesn’t seem that interested in helping though. He is too busy sleeping and yawning.

If he stays put all night it is sometimes almost impossible to sleep properly for me because all my usual sleep habits are curtailed. He is fine. Of course. Oblivious to anything and everything that I do.

13 thoughts on “Cat Info Titbits”

  1. I live in an acutely eerie old house and I am usually up till past midnight working on my computer and it gives me great comfort having my cat around even if she is usually already asleep nearby. I can see that lovely Charlie also likes to snooze next to your computer. They are just so sweet and precious. And Therapy Cat Piglet has a very endearing face and pair of the most soulful eyes and she is simply a source of joy to many.

  2. As a prolific blogger on various subjects i always distress myself from my writing by talking or playing with my cats.Unlike simple “computer Typewriting”, the art of writing requires thinking and imagination, also a knowledge of the subject, hence a quiet living environment.Have never ever experienced loneliness in a profession where being alone means being literary creative. I would advise all people living alone or involved in very individualistic pursuits to always keep a pet or pets, the therapeutic way to ward of loneliness and boredom or “Writers Bloc” as in my passion for writing.

    • Good advice Rudolph. I am a bit frightened of loneliness to be honest. I don’t want to be alone in old age. There was an interesting article in the Times recently about how older people who live alone are more prone to certain health problems. But cats are a great substitute to people and often far better. But can a cat totally substitute the company of a good person? Now there is an idea for another article!

  3. Hi Michael,

    Silver Vine is an herb I’ll be looking in to. Thanx for the lead. Cool stuff.

    Habitat destruction is a major issue for all animals – humans included. Let’s not forget that we’re also destroying our own habitat.

    Inbreeding is a problem. I’ve rescues several cats that suffered from inbreeding. They had lots of health problems. The oldest one lived to be about 12. Lots of vet visits – very sad.

    Standing in front of the bulldozers is an effective way to stop the madness.

    Glad that your cats hang out with you will you work on your computer. It feels companionable. I appreciate it when my cat hang out with me while I work. Or is it play? I get confused.

    =^-^= Hairless Cat Girl =^-^=

    • I’ve heard great things about silver vine. I know its quite available in the US too and that cats seem to love it. Furthermore if you have one of those cats who doesn’t feel catnip then it’s great to be able to offer him/her silvervine instead.

      • Good point. I might try and get some for Charlie. I wonder if it is effective against OCD 🙂 Might be. Might calm him down a bit and chill him out. When he grooms himself he goes at it like a madman.

    • Is it work? Building this website is….hard work. Not really. It can be hard and complicated etc. But it keeps me alive. I’ll try silver vine too as it seems promising. It might help my OCD cat.

      • Hi Michael,

        I know that being a webmaster is hard work. I’ve built two sites. Still, I consider it fun or “play”. It’s my main hobby.

        My main hobby used to be musicianship, but now being a webmaster has overtaken that. I never thought that musicianship would be overtaken by any interest. I still love keyboards, guitar, and recording though. I also enjoy writing songs.

        =^-^= Hairless Cat Girl =^-^=

        • You’re a talented woman. Please leave a link to your sites so I can visit (update: I have just seen your link in your comment URL). Maybe leave a comment if the site allows it.

  4. Thanks! I like Piglet a lot 🙂 – I think Sphnyx cats are very cute and attractive. I also think they have exremely expressive looks, perhaps due to the lack of hair – or I dont know why but they just seem that way to me. And great if they also draw interest in the name of all cats for the sake of cats.

    I also would stand in front of the buldozers for the animals and local indigenous people. You know what, it is a pretty extreme thing to do, but its the big shameless companies that started the extreme behaviour so it seems like the only way to make them hear you is to speak a similarly extreme language. **s holes should just sod off with their buldozers already. Infact, in a couple generations, if urban street culture doesnt manage to take over, perhaps all this big business and planetary pillage will come to an end. Alot more people now are educated than were before, so I think it can’t go on. Unless, like I said, urban street culture, which cares about nothing environmental, manages to overcome the educated populous and continue the extreme consumer atittude with it’s own edge of bling bling, whats up, the environment …f**k that sh*t man who cares about that sh*t anyway if I don’t can afford my mickey dee’s for me and my b*t*h then f*ck everyone and the planet – type atittude. Sorry, but it’s true ‘yo’.

    Thanks for the good news though 🙂

    • Hi Marc,

      Glad you like hairless cats 😀

      “Pillage” is a great word for corporations who do as they please all in the name of greed.

      Well said, I’m with you.

      =^-^= Hairless Cat Girl =^-^=


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