City the Kitty, Crusader against Declawing


We are proud to be Instagram furriends with this amazing ginger and white tom called City. He and his mom, Lori, have been tirelessly campaigning and fighting against the outdated and barbaric procedure of declawing.

Most people think that declawing is simply a clipping of the claws, but the reality is so much worse than that… it’s actually an amputation of the last digit of each “finger” on a cat’s paw! Some cats are so unlucky to be declawed on all four paws, but it’s more common for vets to do just the front paws. Yes VETS! These are the people who take an oath and solemnly swear to do no harm to an animal! And yet, especially in the U.S., this procedure is done routinely, along with spay/neuter ops, and the only real reason being so that cats do not scratch/destroy people’s furniture

Declawing is purely a cosmetic procedure and has no health benefits for the cat whatsoever (except in extreme and rare cases where the cat has severe epilepsy, for example, and could end up hurting itself). 

Well, to the people who want pristine furniture, I say “DON’T HAVE A CAT THEN!”  How dare they maim their kitty’s paws so it then walks around on the amputated stumps and in pain for the rest of its life just because you don’t want your sofa scratched?! 

I could go on for days about this subject, but please visit City the Kitty’s website to get the inside scoop and detailed information on how you can help become a fighter against declawing too. There are petitions you can sign and congress people to write to who have the power to change the law, with your help.

PLEASE HELP US STOP DECLAWING! 


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Ruby’s Feline Hyperesthesia


**Warning: Cat lovers / parents may find the video below distressing.** 

However, I post this here to increase awareness of the rather common, but not well known feline condition called Feline Hyperesthesia, otherwise known as “rippling skin disease”.

When Ruby has an attack, she starts frantically licking and biting herself, and often runs around as if stung by an invisible scorpion. Attacks can last anything from 30 seconds to a few minutes, and it’s so heartbreaking to see her suffering!.

When I am home and I see she is having an attack, I can almost always successfully distract her with toys, catnip or even giving her back a brush, as strange as the latter sounds. I realise though that the main factor in Ruby’s case must be nutrition. Since she has been eating mostly Royal Canin’s Exigent (and stealing some of the renal food that my old boys eat!) for the last few months, the severity and frequency of her attacks has been so much worse than when on 100% raw food, so I am going to put her back on that, or at least a mixture of raw and “junk food”.

Sometimes, in very severe cases, vets will prescribe anti-epileptics, some or other natural/holistic remedy, or try a change in food, but in mild cases I find that distraction methods like the ones described above will temporarily make your cat “forget” that she’s having an attack, and before she knows it, it’s over.

You can find out a bit more about feline hyperesthesia here


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Finally, a Pet Crematorium for Lanzarote!


Someone has been listening to the many voices of pet owners here in Lanzarote, and we now finally have a crematorium for our furbabies! I know this is quite a sad subject, but an important one too. I for one, would love to be able to make my kitties’ passing as loving and luxurious as all the things that I have given them in life.

Cat urns "Estrella" modelPet owners in Lanzarote who lost a beloved pet, have had until now no option to give their deceased pet a decent and dignified send-off. If your pet died at the vets or was found dead in the road, it will be sent to the municipal animal crematorium in Arrecife and chucked in with all the other animals, including roadkill and leftover carcasses from slaughter houses. To a loving pet owner, this is very non-personal and quite horrible really. If you have a garden, then sometimes burial is possible, but many of us live in apartments, and some of us go and find a secluded spot in the country to do a discrete burial – both options are, however, illegal.

cat and dog urnsHela Pet Crematorium is in Arrecife, and their cremation service (based on a 5kg animal), including one of their very sweet basic urns, costs around €75, so is very affordable to most people. 

Having two 18 year old tabby boys makes me aware every day that their clocks are ticking and we don’t have that much time left together, and I am glad that when the time comes, I now have the option to see them off to the Rainbow Bridge with the dignity the deserve…


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The Tabcat Cat Tracker – My Review


I recently got the chance to test out the Tabcat Cat Tracker. Have you ever struggled to find your cat inside your house or around the garden or in the street, especially when it’s time to take them to the vet (they always “just know”!)? If the answer is yes, then this product may be for you.

The very attractive package I received contained two homing tags, two splash proof covers, and a handheld tracking unit. It was very easy to register a tag, and once it has been attached to your cat’s collar, you are set to track down your kitty wherever it may be hiding! 

Tabcat Cat Tracker package

Very attractive packaging and user guide in multiple languages

The homing tag weighs only 6 grams and is small enough not to bother your cat in its day to day activities.  Its range is up to 122 meters (400 feet), unless there are walls and doors between you and the cat, when it will be significantly less. I easily tracked one of my cats by following the beeps and lights on the handheld tracking unit. These increase in pitch and turn from red via orange to green respectively – green meaning that you have found your cat. There is also a little beeping sound that emits from the actual tag on the cat’s collar, and this can be used to teach your cat to return to you once he/she has been located with the Tabcat tracker.

Even though my cats are indoor only, they go out for walks under my supersion once or twice a day in our very safe pedestrian alley. They usually don’t wear collars, so in order to test the Tabcat Cat Tracker, I put on one of the many colourful cravats they own (see picture of Spider below) and attached the tag to that.

Inside the apartment, the tracker works great. So when you cannot locate your cat because of a trip to the dreaded vets, or after he/she has been scared by fireworks, it’s easy to find your cat’s hiding place. It works through walls, and probably in 2-storey dwellings too, but I was not able to test the latter because our apartment is on only one floor. 

Spider sporting the Tabcat tracker in a funky turquoise cover matching his cravat!

This morning, as I opened the front door, my boy Spider escaped and belted down the stairs into the alley. I used the handheld unit and was able to easily track him, hidden in a nearby alcove, where nobody would have found him because he was obscured by foliage. However, more testing revealed that the tracker will not work through more than one thick wall, and when my ginger queen Ruby was outside and behind two walls, the handheld unit did not pick up her signal until I had only one wall between us.

Here is my verdict and what I think are the pros and cons of the Tabcat Cat Tracker:

PROs

  • Small enough not to bother your cat and weighing on 6 grams.
  • Works through doors and through at least one thick wall.
  • It is possible to train your cat to come back to you thanks to the beeping on the cat’s tag.
  • Recommended for apartments or small 2-storey houses, and to find your cat around your garden and nearby streets.
  • Great to find your indoor cat – especially before vet visits or when he/she has escaped outside!

CONs

  • If it’s a large house or garden bigger than 100 meters square, it may if the cat roams further than that.
  • If the cat loses its collar, the tag will also be lost.
  • Will not work through more than one thick wall.
  • Not recommended if your cat has a huge outdoor territory.

** Click here to find out more about the Tabcat Cat Tracker on their website **


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Understanding Cat Behaviour


It’s tempting to think that all cats share the same traits, and of course it’s easy to recognise that purring signifies contentment and that when a cat pricks up its ears it is concentrating or listening. However, some cats act in such a way as to cause puzzlement or distress in their owners, and this is especially true when problem behaviour means the litter box is being avoided or the cat is engaging in painful scratching or biting. Understanding these behaviours can be the key to solving them, or rather resolving the issues that are causing them in the first place.

Problem Cat Behaviours
When cats are seeking attention they often meow excessively, agitating their owners who don’t know what’s wrong with them. It’s worth remembering that there are both emotional and physical reasons for this; cats may be feeling lonely at night, for example, which can become more common as they age due to deafness or senility.

Aggression and hostile behavior towards other people can be worrying if biting and scratching results. Sometimes this is as a result of inadequate training when a kitten, such as allowing biting of human hands when teeth are tiny and not so sharp. As might be expected, this is not a smart move as cats are actually learning that it’s ok to bite and scratch human beings.

Destructive chewing, especially of dangerous items such as electrical cables, is a habit that really has to be stemmed as soon as possible. Like human babies, kittens teethe and they can develop the custom of chewing at this time. Later in life cats may turn to chewing because they are bored or overly curious, although a nutrient deficiency can also be the cause.

Cats are very clean creatures, so when they won’t use the litter box they become something of a nightmare for their owners. It pays to first of all check that there is no urinary tract infection or other physical cause before investigating alternatives, and remembering that cats won’t use dirty litter boxes.

Stress and anxiety can manifest itself in many ways, including via shyness and fear. Yes, cats can suffer stress just like humans, and symptoms include some of the problems already mentioned. Everything from introducing a new member of the family to relocating, or a particularly loud 4th of July or New Year’s Eve celebration can cause cat anxiety.

Catnip
An herb belonging to the mint family, catnip is composed of a variety of aromatic oils and contains a mild hallucinogenic, known as nepetalactone. Cats are naturally attracted to it and it can instigate behavioural change; they will often react by licking, sniffing and eating the plant. Generally their sheer enjoyment is plain, and for this reason it is used in a number of cat treats and toys; in some cases cats react with aggression and if so, treats or toys containing catnip should be avoided.

Treats for Cats
The wise cat owner uses treats with care to change their cats’ behaviour for the better. Rewarding good behaviour with treats means reinforcing the positive changes cat owners would like to see and maintain in their pets. Catnip for cats can give such a pleasurable experience as it offers a very powerful incentive for cats to repeat good behaviour. Owners can view product information here.


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Freddy’s Cathouse – Feral Cat Rescue Charity in the Canary Islands


I recently met up to do an interview with Freddy of Freddy’s Cathouse in Playa Blanca, a town in the west of our island of Lanzarote. Him and his charity are totally dedicated to helping improve the lives of approx. 130-140 feral cats, with 26 feeding stations under his care.

Read the full story about this remarkable man and his work in my Catster Article.


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Meet The Neighbourhood Meercat Named Watson


Watson is my neighbours’ 3 month old kitten. He is very cheeky and curious and does a fantastic meercat impression. 

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My 2017 Cat Calendar Is Out! Street Cats of Jerusalem


On my trip to Jerusalem in April of this year, I had the pleasure of meeting the friendly feral street cats that live all over this ancient city. My new 2017 calendar has 13 beautiful images of these cats, and makes a great Christmas present for both cat lovers and animal photography aficionados. 

€0.50 of each calendar will be donated to The Kennel Klub Lanzarote, one of our local animal charities.

Click on the image below to preview all the pages, and to buy… 


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