f you’ve been following the blog this week, you’ve seen our posts on a cat that left its pawprints on a medieval scribe’s work and another that left its mark on a brick made in England during Roman times that ended up in a remote outpost of the Hudson’s Bay Company called Fort Vancouver in Washington State, where it now sits in a museum to be visited by schoolchildren.
I love both of these cat stories, but neither of them is as funny as the duo of anecdotes recorded by Thijs Porck, a lecturer in the Department of English Language and Culture at Universiteit Leiden.
In the first, he recounts the story of a 1420 scribe whose precious work was peed on by one cat and then, the smell being attractive to other cats, many other felines. He had to draw a little picture of a cat and what appear to be hands pointing to the edges of the urine stain.
UPDATE: It seems that several links from the original story are no longer available. I am removing them from the links below. Please see:
I added additional links at the bottom, as well.
I have been involved in the world of dogs for almost as long as I can remember. I spent the first 13 years of my life begging my parents for a dog, and then the rest of my life sharing my house, my heart, and my bed with the various dogs I have been fortunate enough to have.
To say I am a dog nut is an understatement. I am their food slave and love giver and they are my everything. I have shown dogs. I rescue dogs. I ran a breed club’s rescue for several years.
Few things sicken me more than people flocking to PETA because they love animals, because too few people know what PETA’s agenda is. It is not to protect animals. It is to ensure that you never own a Spot of Fluffy. They would rather kill an animal than have it “owned”.
When I showed dogs (about 15 years ago), there was a rabid part of PETA, people who would go to dog shows and release dogs from their crates because crating a dog was cruel. Two times, those dogs ran off and were hit by cars. That was not disturbing to the people who released them. It was better dead than owned.
I happened upon a series of articles last year concerning PETA and, for those who are so inclined, I suggest you read about this supposed do-good organization.
Nobody does the euthanasia thing quite like PETA, Ingrid Newkirk’s vaunted animal-rights organization. After long being dismissed as an outrageous slander — just another right-wing slur — this gruesome truth has finally gained traction in the mainstream press: PETA’s headquarters in Norfolk has the highest kill rate in the nation. A rescued pet has the same chances of surviving PETA’s sanctuary as it does of receiving genuine love and affection from Michael Vick.
This isn’t my opinion: It is a legally documented fact. In 2011, PETA killed 97 per cent of the animals delivered into its care.
PETA, for reasons near impossible to comprehend, decided to devote itself to precisely the treachery that inspired Newkirk’s mission in the first place. Her organization now routinely takes in animals, with the gentle lie that it intends to re-home them. It then exterminates them. Generally within twenty-four hours. All of them.
Correction: almost all. Some lucky 3 percent managed to escape PETA’s euthanasia machine last year. How these blessed few got chosen is an interesting question in itself. While we are being precise: the workers at that first shelter were not in fact treacherous — they did not lie about their intentions. They were less vicious than the organization that Newkirk founded in response to their blithe slaughter.
If you intern at PETA’s headquarters in Norfolk, you are expected to condone the killing of shelter animals. On the official application (which you can download here), the only question that requires a response longer than a couple of factual words is:
Have a look at our Web site, review our stance on euthanasia, and let me know if you agree or disagree with it and why.
This is not an organization that an animal lover wants to be associated with.
Lisa Baruzzi admits she used to slip Richie a few too many treats. She just wanted to show him how much she loved him — “he’s just the sweetest dog you’ll ever meet.”
Then, Richie started having heart trouble. A cardiologist told Baruzzi the golden retriever would have a better recovery if he weren’t 20 pounds overweight, and referred the dog to a pet nutritionist.
America’s pets are having their own obesity crisis, studies show, with at least 35 percent of household dogs and cats above their ideal weight. And the nation’s two obesity epidemics — pet and human — are tightly entwined: Americans, it seems, are as indulgent with their animals as they are with themselves.
Last month, Dr. Deborah Linder of Tufts University opened an obesity clinic at the school’s North Grafton campus to help people help their pets lose weight. She recently taught Baruzzi to show her love for Richie with attention instead of bullysticks and Frosty Paws. The board-certified veterinary nutritionist also put Richie on a strict diet of kibbles, helping him shed 5 pounds in six weeks.
Linder expects to see a handful of cats and dogs a day while conducting research into pet obesity. The clinic’s standard care package costs $250 for an extensive initial session and six checkups, plus phone and e-mail follow-up, as needed.
‘They believe they’re showing it love, but they’re killing it with kindness.’
ScienceShot: Cats Don’t Cause Cancer
by Gisela Telis on 21 August 2012, 7:15 PM | 1 Comment
Last year, cat owners got a scare when a team of French researchers reported a possible link between felines and brain cancer. Cat feces can harbor a single-celled parasite called Toxoplasma gondii, and the scientists found that nations with higher rates of human T. gondii infection also have higher incidences of brain cancer. The findings were controversial, and many scientists considered the link weak.
It’s a beautiful example, which I wish had been available when I wrote The Extended Phenotype. The altered rat behaviour is an adaptation for the benefit of T.gondii genes, specifically those T.gondii genes that express themselves in the rat brains that they inhabit.
I repeat, it is especially pleasing that this effect is achieved, not in a boring way simply by making the rats sick and therefore more sluggish in escaping from cats. Indeed, they seem to have no obvious effect on the general health of rats. Their effect is a specific manipulation of rat behaviour vis-a-vis cats. It’s as though they are pulling puppet strings in the rat’s brain. A neurophysiologist would not be surprised to discover a way of doing exactly that, either with micro-electrodes in rat brain cells or with drugs. Or geneticists could do it by genetic manipulation of rat genes. It seems that natural selection, working on protozoan genes, has achieved exactly the same thing.
“We are very excited because [the] sand cat is an extinct species in Israel, although in the world it’s not extinct, it’s nearly threatened,’ said Keren Or, the Ramat Gan’s information coordinator.
The sand cat is the world’s only true desert cat species and exists primarily in Asia and Africa. A tiny, sand colored species with large ears and weighing less than the average housecat, the elusive and solitary species was once plentiful in Israel’s arid southern climate. Today, however, the cats are thought to no longer exist in the nation.
‘Here in Israel it has been extinct because it was pushed away from the sand by other mammals,” Or told the press after the birth of the kittens. Human settlement and the degradation of the desert’s fragile eco-system are also a large factor in the cat’s departure from Israel’s sandy regions.
Despite being born in Israel, though, the kittens will not remain in the country or be released to the wild but are destined for other lands to be used in conservation efforts. ‘Sand cats in our zoo are a part of an international … European breeding program,’ Or explained.
For some of us, dogs and cats are more than just pets. They’re blood pressure meds with wet noses.
A new study suggests having your pet nearby—or even thinking about him or her—can boost confidence and reduce stress, along with its physical symptoms.
But there’s a caveat: This dynamic only applies to owners who feel a loving connection to their feline or canine companion. If you think of Fluffy as a flea-infested nuisance, no benefits.
“Proximity to a pet can empower its owner,” writes a research team led by psychologist Sigal Zilcha-Mano of the Interdisciplinary Center in Herzliya, Israel. Specifically, the scholars argue, pets can help people relax and grow by serving “as a safe haven and secure base.”
The team’s findings, published in the Journal of Research in Personality, are the third in a series of papers examining pet ownership from the perspective of attachment theory.
According to this school of psychology, children and adolescents who have “attachment figures who are available and supportive in times of need”—say, good parents—develop a sense of internal security, giving them the confidence they need to explore the world.
Later in life, a supportive spouse or network of close friends can play a similar role. Zilcha-Mano and colleagues contend that pets can serve this same important function.
Researchers found women infected with the Toxoplasma gondii (T. gondii) parasite, which is spread through contact with cat faeces or eating undercooked meat or unwashed vegetables, are at increased risk of attempting suicide.
The study involved more than 45,000 women in Denmark. About a third of the world’s population is infected with the parasite, which hides in cells in the brain and muscles, often without producing symptoms.
The infection, which is called toxoplasmosis, has been linked to mental illness, such as schizophrenia, and changes in behaviour.
The study’s senior author Doctor Teodor Postolache, an associate professor of psychiatry at the University of Maryland School of Medicine in the United States, said: “We can’t say with certainty that T. gondii caused the women to try to kill themselves, but we did find a predictive association between the infection and suicide attempts later in life that warrants additional studies.
“We plan to continue our research into this possible connection.”
Kern County investigators say the man arrested for allegedly preparing and eating cats was found with a headless carcass in his kitchen sink.
Investigators are releasing new details about the bizarre case, including reports from a neighbor who reported seeing Jason Wilmert decapitate a cat in his backyard.
The neighbor called deputies, who were told by other neighbors that they had heard the sounds of cats screaming coming from the 35-year-old’s home in Oildale.
Sheriff’s spokesman Ray Pruitt says a deputy looking into the backyard saw a cat’s head on the ground. Inside the house, they found the cat’s carcass as if it were being prepped for cooking.
Disgusting and cruel are the first things that come to mind. The biggest question I have is where was he getting these cats from?