This is an unusual story which comes from South Africa, and I’m pleased to pick it up because it is a little bit different, and it is about something which I have an opinion. A video on Facebook shows a “domestic worker” feeding a Siamese kitten with milk from a baby bottle as if the kitten is a baby. I presume that “domestic worker” means a woman employed by a homeowner to look after the house and occupants while they are away. And this homeowner has quite a lot of cats and dogs judging by the video.
The video was uploaded to Facebook by Desmond Wells, and it has caused a little bit of controversy or at least there are different opinions about its contents. While some people feel that the domestic worker (we don’t know her name) is gentle and respectful of animals, on the other hand some people think that what they see is wrong. I actually fall in both camps but what she is doing is wrong but I don’t really blame her because she is trying to help and be kind.
Kyk hoe drink die kat sy bottel op die einde ? Wie sien ek almal vanaand 8pm?
Posted by Desmond Wells on Thursday, August 25, 2022
Note: This is an embedded video from another website. Sometimes they are deleted at source or the video is turned into a link which would stop it working here. I have no control over this.
You can see the lady walking around the kitchen almost stepping on small cats which she can barely see. One particular cat a Siamese is obviously hungry and pesters the lady for food. I have the distinct impression that this lady has fed this cat from a bottle on previous occasions. The cat knows the routine.
We don’t know whether it’s baby milk or straight cow’s milk. She is using a baby bottle feeder and therefore it might be formula milk. It might be very strong, and I suspect that it is probably full fat cow’s milk for humans because this cat loves it as it contains lots of fat.
But there are two particular problems with her doing this and handling the cat as a baby. Firstly, we know that domestic cats are in general lactose intolerant. They don’t have the enzyme, lactase, to break down lactose, which is a type of sugar in milk and milk products. When fed milk cats can develop diarrhoea.
It is a kind of thing a person does when they want to be kind, but they lack the knowledge to express that kindness. This lady clearly believes that she is doing the right thing and is doing it very gently but it’s the wrong product and she’s handling the cat in the wrong way.
I am a firm believer that it is a bad policy to treat domestic cats as babies. This is mainly because it leads to poor “expectation management”. People need to expect behaviour from cats which is true feline behaviour and not the behaviour of a baby or child. If a person has misguided expectations about cat behaviour, they tend to judge a cat’s behaviour as bad behaviour when it is not in line with human behaviour.
People need to understand cat behaviour and allow it to be expressed in a natural environment. That’s the way you allow a cat to be as content as possible. And if you want to feed milk you can feed them special milk, but the better course of action is to feed them water plus wet cat food of the highest quality that can be obtained in South Africa.
People will probably disagree with me because the Siamese cat looks happy and even grabs hold of the bottle which tells me that this has happened before. But just because a cat likes the fat content of milk does not mean that it is the right cat food. It isn’t.
Diarrhoea is often not a particular worrying illness but in a young cat persistent diarrhoea can lead to dehydration of a severity which can be a serious matter. I am not saying that this is happening in this instance, but it might be and there needs to be a change in this lady’s behaviour.
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