Saturday, August 13, 2016

Yes, You Can Train Your Cat

Dogs are man’s best friend. Cats? They’re more aloof. Even the millions of doting cat owners will often acknowledge that their pets can be enigmatic, hard to please and frustratingly antisocial. They run away. They hide. They scratch. They refuse to get in the carrier when it’s time to go to the vet. They kill rodents and birds and offer up the bloody carcasses up as if they were gifts.

None of this is the fault of cats. They are just being cats, obeying the rules that nature has laid down for them and in them. The fault is ours—both for holding wrongheaded expectations of these natural-born, solitary hunters and for failing to train them (yes, cats can be trained) in ways that make sense for felines, not just humans. It is long past time that we changed the way we relate to cats.

Unlike dogs, cats have become purely domestic pets only very recently, within the past 50 years. In many ways, they are still wild animals, and the demands of modern life cause them tremendous stress. That pressure often drives cats to act out in ways we find difficult: scratching the drapes, dragging mangled animal corpses through the cat door, pooping behind the couch.

The only way to help cats adapt to the demands we put on them is for their owners to intervene—kindly, through training. Many people will find this suggestion strange or downright bizarre: The conventional wisdom is that dogs need training and cats don’t. But cats can benefit even more from training than dogs, which have a much longer history of living and interacting with humans.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Do cats liked to be kissed?

How do you tell your cat you love her? If you do it with kisses, have you ever wondered how much she likes them?
Woman kissing a cat

Franny Syufy, the cat expert on, ran an informal poll for me on her Facebook page and found that the vast majority of her readers kiss their cats regularly, but most were unsure if their cats enjoyed the attention.

Cats like to act demure, but research shows that they truly do love their humans. But the ways they express that love are different from what we're used to — which means it's something we can learn from. Are there better ways to show our affection?

A cat's like or dislike for affection may even change from day to day (or hour to hour.) The same cat that loves affection in the morning may swat or hiss at such attention in the evening. They can be moody critters, but learning to speak their language can go a long way toward understanding them.

For starters, kitty kisses are much different from the kind we dole out as humans. Have you ever noticed that when your cat is relaxed and happy, he closes his eyes while looking at you? No, he's not just sleeping. He's actually sending you a kiss! Cat behaviorist Jackson Galaxy explains that when cats close their eyes to you “they’re letting you know that they are vulnerable to you.” Now that's love.

Again, you need to know your cat's particular signs to understand what they mean. As cat behaviorist Pam Johnson-Bennett explains, "Narrowed eyes with ears at half-mast are certainly not displaying love and affection at that moment."

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Ban Ottawa pet store sales of dogs, cats, rabbits: group

An animal advocacy group believes it has City Hall by the tail.

The Puppymill Awareness Working Solutions group wants the city to ban pet stores from selling dogs, cats and rabbits, and says the intense scrutiny placed on council candidates during the 2014 municipal election helped its cause.

Veteran councillors in Ottawa should be familiar with the issue. In 2011, the Ottawa Humane Society called on council to follow Toronto’s lead and write a bylaw banning pet stores from selling dogs and cats that aren’t from shelters.

The city already has regulations governing pet shops.

Gloucester-Southgate Coun. Diane Deans, chair of the community and protective services committee, said councillors will receive recommendations on changes to the pet shop bylaw on March 21, following public consultations in February.

Mr Andrews said in one area where feral cats have been culled, the pigmy possum juvenile population and the number of bandicoots have already increased.

Dogs were being trained and used to sniff out wild cats, he said.

The Turnbull government has committed to saving 40 endangered mammals and birds, in addition to 30 types of invaluable native flora.

The eastern barred bandicoot, the mahogany glider, the western ringtail possum, black-footed rock wallaby, the cassowary and the swift parrot are just some of the animals under fierce protection.

Mr Hunt was confident the target of two million cats culled in just four years could be reached.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

New surgery suite at the Edmonton pound saves hundreds of cats

Two years ago, staff at Edmonton’s Animal Care and Control Centre were making tough choices about which cats and dogs to save. This year, they performed hundreds of surgeries in-house, saving potentially thousands of dollars a surgery, which allowed them to give more and better treatments to unclaimed pets. For the first time in recent memory, 100 per cent of all pets deemed adoptable in 2015 were saved.
A cat in the surgical suite at Edmonton's Animal Care and Control Centre.

The centre impounds strays or abandoned animals. It holds unlicensed animals for three days, licensed ones for 10 days, as required by provincial legislation, before sending good candidates back out for adoption.

Edmonton officials have been pitching various ways to reduce euthanasia rates since at least 2008, when about a third of the 4,887 cats and dogs brought to the pound were put down. This year, roughly 6,300 animals were turned in and only nine per cent were put down.

“We’re meeting that need and doing it in a more cost effective fashion,” said Ron Gabruck, the city’s director for animal care and pest management. “The benefit of this suite in terms of ongoing cost savings and the subjective side of what we do here is immense. How do you put a price tag on us offering the ethical care that meets community standards?”

Monday, December 7, 2015

Cats mauled in suspected dog attacks

Natalie Linton told 6PR that she was forced to put her cat down on Friday after it was fatally mauled by a dog.

Ms Linton said more than 30 people in the Ballajura area had also shared stories of two rogue dogs attacking their cats.

Ballajura resident Marley Nugent posted on the Ballajura Community Watch Facebook page that she had put her cat down this morning after it was mauled overnight.

A SPATE of fatal attacks on cats in Perth’s northern suburbs has prompted an investigation by the City of Swan.

Search warrants were executed at two properties in Ballajura and Stratton on Friday following a series of dog attacks in the area.

City of Swan chief executive officer Mike Foley said three dogs had been seized from the properties pending further investigation into the attacks.

“Our cat was just attacked within the passed (sic) hour and a half. We heard the attack, we rushed outside to find two dogs having hold of him,” she wrote.

“We rushed him off to the vet, there where medical bills of above $9,000. The vet herself said the most human thing would be to let him go. He had a very large gash on his abdomen. This exposed his stomach, the vet said he’s (sic) stomach could possibly be punctured or damaged.”

A spokeswoman for the City of Swan said a further update on the attacks would be issued later on Tuesday.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Hawaii Moves To Ban Wild Performing Animals

Hawaii likely will become the first U.S. state to ban the use of elephants, bears and other exotic wild animals for entertainment purposes.

<span class='image-component__caption' itemprop="caption">A bear performs on a bike in Ukraine's National Circus in 2013.</span>

The Hawaii Department of Agriculture board on Tuesday unanimously approved a proposed rules change that would define "dangerous wild animals" and prohibit the import of such animals "for exhibition or performance in public entertainment shows such as circuses, carnivals and state fairs." The rules make exceptions for commercial filming in television or movies and in government zoos.

Tyke, a 20-year-old female African circus elephant, escaped from the Neal Blaisdell Centerafter trampling a groomer and killing her trainer during a performance with Honolulu's Circus International on Aug. 20, 1994. She charged down Honolulu streets before being gunned down by police.

With Tuesday's preliminary approval, the issue heads to statewide public hearings. Agriculture department spokeswoman Janelle Saneishi told HuffPost in an email that the proposed rules must still be reviewed by the Hawaii Attorney General's office and approved by Hawaii Gov. David Ige.

Not surprisingly, the proposal is generating opposition from fair and circus advocates. As the Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported Tuesday, the Circus Fans Association submitted written testimony in which it characterized proponents of the measure as "animal rights extremists" who wrongly claim that the animals are mistreated.