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Showing posts with label feral. Show all posts
Showing posts with label feral. Show all posts

Friday, November 11, 2016

Of human arrogance..... and genes.

Dear George, 
I’m fed up with human arrogance and here it is why! You see, when I was very young I adopted a human family who later betrayed me and dumped me into a ravine to live with a colony of feral cats. I was hurt and confused but soon I became the Alpha Cat of that colony. We were doing fairly well until this woman start feeding us daily and actually claiming ownership of the colony. She did register with a rescue group and soon after she started behaving like she was the Alpha Cat! I was fuming but I had to go into hiding since she started trapping us and taking us to be neutered and spayed. In most cases she did end up keeping most of the cats to live with her. All was good over the summer and I was able to come out of my hiding. But now I have this funny feeling that she is looking for me! George, why would she be looking for me? I heard her saying that out of the four kittens she had rescued one was mine and the other three were some other tomcat’s kitties. 
How can this be possible? All four came from the same litter! Maybe she wants to ask me for kitty support? I still don’t understand how can a short hair kitten be mine when I’m long hair and gorgeous (as you can see in the picture) and the other three (which happens to be long hair) be somebody else’s? It doesn’t make sense!
George, hope you have some knowledge about kitty genetics and you can explain this to me.
The Wild Alpha

Dear Alpha
My answer takes us into the jungle of cat sex and cat genes!  When our females are allowed to mate with whom they like, they often mate with more than one tom. This means that their litter of kittens may well have more than one father - which may explain why most of the kittens were short haired. (This happens with humans too, only they produce young one at a time!).
The other explanation is genetic. The gene for long hair in cats is a recessive gene, and can be carried by cats that have short hair (the dominant gene). This means that long hair will only show itself in kittens if both male and female parents carry the long hair recessive gene. The short haired gene always wins out otherwise. Only if you have a double dose of the long haired gene, you are long haired. Your female mate (if she is short haired) probably has one short haired dominant gene and one long haired recessive (hidden) gene. 
Some of her kittens will have inherited her short haired gene which will make them short haired. Some of the kittens, however, will have inherited her long haired recessive gene and together with your long haired gene - a double dose of long haired genes - this will make them long haired.
This IS complicated. If you want to know more you can find it here.
Yours George
PS. Think about getting the snip. Neutering will prolong your life and perhaps help you find a new human to adopt.

Saturday, August 06, 2016

Rescued - severely hydrated, starving, tiny and very ill.

Dear George,
This is me, Merlina. Somebody picked me up at a farm where there was a feral colony of cats. I was so ill that I couldn't run away like the rest of them did.
Everything hurts. My eye is swollen and raw where I scratched it. My right leg is almost hairless and inflamed from where it touched the eye. It's hard to breathe with all the phlegm nearly choking me
After a vet's visit, I arrived at Sunshine Cat Rescue who put me in a kitten pen with a water bowl. I was so thirsty I drank for a whole minute. Eventually I started eating too.
Now I am settling down to a regime of food, eye drops and antibiotic pills. I'm still scared.
Yours Merlina.

Dear Merlina,
Welcome to your new life. You will now live to be a happy loving pet cat. Your beautiful grey markings and the fact that you will learn to trust humans means that from now on, it's going to be a thousand times better than it has been so far.
Your photo shows how vaccinating cats is so important. Millions of kittens die from cat 'flu ever year and the ones that survive often have long term health issues. And if only the farmer had allowed his cat colony to be neutered and spayed, there wouldn't have been kittens dying of cat flu all over the barn. It could have been a healthier happier colony.
A message to all other cats - make sure your humans vaccinate you if you are allowed outdoors. Help the local cat lovers who are trapping, neutering and returning feral cats in established colonies.
Because I was originally a rescued feral kitten too, I support Sunshine Cat Rescue in Oxfordshire with regular donations. If you'd like to help pay Merlina's vet bills, go to their website here. The donation button for PayPal is on the right, at the bottom of the page.
Yours George.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

How to avoid getting an "unsolicited" brother

Dear George, 
How much I wish you had never posted the letter about the kittens born to that wild cat!
Ugh! The minute my mommy read your post I knew she’s up to something!
It seems that I’m getting an “unsolicited” little brother! No, no, no! Of course my mommy is not pregnant but now….she wants to adopt the little tabby! He even got a name: Pepe! Well, Pepe is totally unsolicited (by me); he is not welcome in my territory!
What am I going to do with the little bugger? Being born to a wild cat probably he has no manners! Definitely he knows no etiquette!
George, any tips on how to be properly introduced? I don’t want him to step on my paws! Any rules to be set up? Any specific language that he’ll be responsive to? I mean …something simple as, mind you, he doesn’t come exactly from aristocracy! Or….teach me how to make my mother change her mind.
I’m royalty after all (photo above). Can I share my house with a pauper? Should I take him in my life?
Yours with apprehension
Princess   

Dear Princess,
You can't stop them, alas. Why do humans think we cats want another cat? They want another cat. It is not natural for cats to share, except with close relatives. Myself I have had to adjust to another cat in the household but I would have preferred to be the only cat. The centre of all attention. The focus of all eyes. Second, or even third cats in our territory just mean there is less human attention and less human service for me. No wonder you are apprehensive.
A very slow introduction is best with Pepe in a cat crate or a carrier or a separate room (Details here). You need to get used to his smell. Feliway Friend, a new product designed to encourage intercat friendship, will help here. Get them to plug in a diffuser where territory will be shared.
I recommend avoiding Pepe as much as possible at first. Make sure your humans feed you in different locations, not in row. Close-up feeding bowls look sweet on Facebook but are stressful for cats. In nature we are solitary eaters and solitary hunters. Make sure there are plenty of beds - human beds, cat beds, sofas, armchairs. You need a place to sleep undisturbed by a kitten.
Although it will be irritating to watch your humans playing with the kitten, at least it will mean that some of that kittenish energy will be soaked up and he will be less likely to harass you...
Best of luck. 
George
PS. Celia is helping Muriel Brasseur next year put on a course, Companion Animal Behaviour: Listening to and Understanding Animals. Animal Communication (Dogs, Cats and Rabbits) Day and Weekend Course at the University of Oxford on Fri 26 May 2017 to Sun 28 May 2017.

Saturday, April 02, 2016

The Feral Life - is it right for me?

Dear George,
I have a very important question to ask you: as a feral cat who was trapped (as you can see in the picture attached) and taken to be neutered what chance I have to become domesticated? I’m asking this because I was very happy living with my colony of feral cats in an absolutely gorgeous place (an open space shrine, ravine and a lake with lots of vegetation and hiding places). Some kind humans built us shelters. Same humans will feed us daily. My life was quite idyllic until this woman trapped me and took me to this awful smelling place. Someone asked her if she’ll put me up for adoption but she said no! She said she'll keep me with her until I heal and then I’ll be released back to the same place where I came from! I’ll forever be a feral cat and that I’ll never accommodate to living with humans! Is that true?
Ferdy the Feral. 

Dear Ferdinand,
It all depends on your kittenhood. If you were loved and handled by humans before the age of eight weeks or so, you will find that you can readjust to them after a little while. Of course, you will be scared at first, but if you choose the right humans, like a cat I know called Chico, you will be happy adopting them as pets.
If you never met humans, when you were young, you may always see humans as your enemy. And, alas, they often are. Homeless or feral cats can be chased, abused and occasionally even tortured by cruel humans. I called these feral humans - as they are savage, not domesticated. And they are far crueller than any cat.
That said, you may find after you have been put back into your normal territory, that you begin to warm to the humans that come and feed you. If that is so, and if you feel like it, you may begin to form relationships with them. I have known of feral cats that were fed regularly, that finally adopted humans and moved into their homes.
It is your choice. Trust your instinct and all will be well. It looks like your territory now has shelter and food, which are what feral cats need most. 
Yours 
George. 
PS. A word about neutering. Believe me, I have never regretted losing my bits. Neutering lets us lead longer healthier lives.

 

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Chico's story - the cat that came out of the cold.

Dear George, 
Until a week ago I didn’t have a name….I was kind of “no name” tomcat living on the streets and eating from the garbage bins for about 2-3 years. Even if I had a name I wouldn’t recall it anymore as my only interaction with humans was with this lady who was feeding me in her backyard ….occasionally.
I once had a home and I was spoiled but…I don’t know what happened that I ended up being kicked out and left in the cold. And winters are cold in Canada. I was in a very rough state with an eye infection and scratches and scars all over my body!
I was very tempted to write a “funny” letter about how I was hi-jacked by a human and then abducted by an alien but I think my story is much more serious and hopefully will be an inspiration for other humans.
So, last week the nice lady who was feeding me in her backyard “trapped” me and put me in a cage and then she drove away – that’s what I call hijacking!Then she stopped somewhere in an unfamiliar place and I’ve seen this white vehicle (it could have been an extra-terrestrial car) and this strange looking man who came and took the carrier I was in – that’s what I call …abducted by an alien J
He took me to what I thought was the ET base since everybody was dressed in green and there was this man in green (David) who seems to be the chief operator and this nice lady (Jody) who seemed to be very friendly. OK! The truth is that the alien man took me to a vet clinic where I got a new lease on life! I was spayed, vaccinated, one infected tooth extracted and the others scaled and polished, dewormed, fleas’ treatment, antibiotics for all the scars and scratches and of course, treatments for the eyes. I spent two days and two nights at the vet clinic and now I’m like new.
The “alien” man took me home where I met his wife. They paid the vet bill without any expectations. They even are looking to find me a nice house with a large backyard since I’m used to outdoors and they live in an apartment. They don’t seem to be in any rush though. They are very loving and caring; they cook for me, they play with me and they look for my best interest. All I do for now is sleep and sleep and sleep since it has been such a long time since I had a safe and warm place to do it. I don’t know if I’ll continue to live with this couple or I’ll find a forever home with a backyard but, for now I feel loved and safe as I didn’t feel in a long time. George, my heart goes to all the cats that are on the streets, abandoned and abused.
Just wanted to share my story
Chico (oh! the alien man’s wife called me Chico) 

Dear Chico, 
Thank you for sharing your story with me. Out there in the cold - in Canada, in the USA and in the UK - are thousands of lost or abandoned cats suffering from starvation and hypothermia. So please ask your human pets to donate to their local cat rescue and help save feline lives this winter.
Hopefully
George
PS. My local rescue is www.sunshinecatrescue.org.uk

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Help us! We are being poisoned by cruel people.

My release after being spayed.
Dear George ,
We need your help and the help of every single one of your readers. My friends and I have a huge problem. I can see no way out. I have been bereaved  and there are too many humans out to get me. I am far away from your cosy life in the Cotswolds of England. I am in Spain's Costa Blanca but you can see us on our Facebook page here.
I live in an area beside the sea, called El Mojon. I live under apartment blocks and in gardens, but mainly hang around a derelict building which humans call " The Hermitage. " It is unsafe, but the humans let their children play around there.
They sometimes throw stones at us, and shoot at us with toy guns. Our area is filthy with litter but it is all we have.
I've heard the humans arguing among themselves - often and loudly. The local humans were shouting and waving their arms at the humans who bring our food and water. The locals swept away our food and crushed our water dishes under foot. They called us dirty, they said that we were sick and had fleas. They even said that we were the cause of rat and cockroach infestations.
Worse was to come.  My sister Phi and I were curled up together - half- asleep. Gamma, our mum was out hunting. It was quiet - except for a few fireworks - but we're used to those. Out of the corner of my eye I saw a shadow - darting back and forth in the grounds around our building. The shadow was throwing something . I caught a whiff of it. Quite nice. But, I thought, this was strange. Our usual people talk to us in kind voices, and put our food into clean dishes. This Shadow was throwing the pleasant- smelling food everywhere....... then left.
I knew something wasn't right. Phi got up to investigate. I called her back - but the lure of food was too strong for her. She ate the food, as did several of our friends. I watched them die. My beautiful ginger and white sister - the prettiest blue-eyed girl - staggering around until she fell to the ground; her lithe, young body concluding and writhing in agony - struggling to breathe. I heard the grasping, choking, sounds.  I don't know how long it took for her to die. Time stood still for me. There used to be a lot of us in this area - around 70 - now there are only around 15. Am I lucky? I don't feel lucky. I feel afraid. Afraid that there will be other Shadows, and that I shall not recognize them for what they are.
If you cannot help me , George, please spread the word and try to educate the so- called human race that animals are indeed all equal.
Your bereft friend ,
Chi

Dear Chi (and all my readers),
There is a petition here, which I am hoping all my readers wherever they are in the world will sign, then share on Facebook and Twitter. This is the tragic photo which accompanies it.
These were healthy cats (as you can see from the photo) licensed to be where they were and ear tipped to show that they were neutered and would not expand the population of feral cats. 
I want to send a message that people worldwide think this is unacceptable. That it gives Spain and the town involved a bad image.
We know that there are loving good people in Spain who will find this hateful too. So please would they sign the petition too.
Yours sincerely
George.

Help for cats whose humans show behaviour problems.

This blog is devoted to the study of human behaviour. We cats, who live with this sometimes unpredictable and always feeble minded species, can benefit from seeing their behaviour in its proper scientific context. The study of feline dilemmas, training problems, and difficulties with humans, can only benefit all of us. All of us train our humans - to buy the right food, for instance, but many of us do not have knowledge of how to improve our training methods. The human species is obviously not as intelligent as the cat, but nevertheless can learn quite a lot - if properly managed. Topics of interest include the use of claw and order, purring as a human reward, rubbing your human up the right way, when to bite, spraying as a method of making our wishes known, ignoring the human, human harassment, human inattention and sheer human stupidity. I welcome your questions. Photos can be sent via my secretary's website, www.celiahaddon.com This blog has been chosen as one of the top 50 feline blogs by Online VetTechprogramms.org