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Cat Blogs / Moroccan Adventures With Cats!
« on: April 12, 2014, 06:50:17 PM »
Sorry readers and ThinkCats Forum regulars for my absence of late! The past two weeks have been filled with cats, dogs, and various other critters. I was invited to stay at my Great Aunt’s place in Morocco, and jumped at the chance to catch some rays, eat tagine, and feed at least 16 street cats (see image!) one very spoilt house cat and a German Shepherd.

Upon arriving in the sleepy surfer village my trip took a veterinary turn: a neighbour of my aunt had found a donkey in much distress, his leg broken and by the side of the road. My aunt’s animal loving partner, Marion, offered the yard as a place of respite for the poor thing, which was in a lot of pain, while they awaited the arrival of the vet. The plan upon his recovery was to name him Joseph and send him to live on an organic farm with his namesake, Josephine, a donkey whom local restaurateurs had saved years previously.

Unfortunately, it wasn’t to be, and despite the efforts of everybody with the few resources they had in freak weather for North Africa (40 mm of rain!) Joseph died in the night. Although it was heart-breaking to experience, my residing memory of that event is the efforts to which people will go to look after and care for animals, especially animals which aren’t their pets.

A Clowder of Cats
Sadly Joseph didn’t get to enjoy his organic farm life, but I didn’t need to look far to see the success stories of animals who had been lucky enough to venture into the surrounding area, filled with caring animal lovers such as Marion. Did I mention the street cats?! Every evening the mewling clowder would be fed from the vast amount of pet food Marion provided, divided between tagine bases (so very Moroccan!) and the bowl of the adorable, loyal, and utterly gorgeous Slim the German shepherd.

Varying in shape, size and temperament, these cats would hardly let you put the food down before racing to a bowl to compete over the food. Some cats were obviously not used to trusting humans (despite the constant food…cats, eh?) and hissed when approached. Others where friendly and sweet and appeared to want cuddles and strokes more than they wanted food, which proved to my die-hard dog loving partner that cats were not solely focused on cunning ways to find grub.

Getting to Know You: Snowy’s Behaviour

It was Snowy, the earless man of the house, who won our hearts out of the cat bunch. Every morning without fail he would mewl and rouse us to feed him, then proceed to trick our travel buddies with plaintive hungry wails that he needed feeding for a second time. They fell for it, of course, as Snowy’s well- fed posterior proved! Described by Marion as “nearly tame...almost not feral” it took us a while to get used to his cues – for example, his often thrashing tail we took as a clear sign of his annoyance, but mistook his energetic swiping for pure hatred until numerous play sessions proved he was a sweetheart who retracts his claws and nips ever so gently when he knows it’s play time. Used to stroking cats around their ears and heads, this proved difficult with Snowy who has had his ears removed after cancer (a problem common among white cats apparently). After getting to know him, it was easy to realise why he would be wary of people reaching down to pet him there, as his cute ear stumps were vulnerable to all sorts of intruders!

The holiday was much needed after two difficult terms, and I must say that the presence of lovely, calming animals and with Lord Snowy and Slim protecting us was the best animal addition to a vacation I’ve ever had. Why don’t all hotels have cats wandering their terraces?? Can’t all-inclusive start to mean “comes with pets as well as lots of food and booze”?

We’ve seen cat cafes and the success they bring – next stop, cat hotels. Watch this space.

General Discussion / Clothes on Cats: What's the Verdict?
« on: March 23, 2014, 03:23:18 PM »

Other than balancing things on their heads (which, come on, we all do) I'm pretty sure this is a no brainer for most of us - cats don't need clothes, as this ThinkCats article makes very clear! One thing it does mention that I was surprised at is the lack of negative responses to evidence on social media of people dressing up their cats.

Have you ever got in a cyber war with someone over their use of kitty clothes? What are your opinions on this phenomenon?

The next time I see any (which thankfully is rare!) I will make sure to call it out. I often see it on dogs, is this considered less of a problem? I assumed it was also pretty unkind to the animal.

What do we think? Let's rant!

Cat Blogs / Cat Eats Peacock: 3 Policemen Suspended
« on: March 22, 2014, 01:34:16 AM »

This cat has taken hunting to a whole new level...

Imagine the sight of the cat squaring up to his prey...That takes some chutzpah!!

Discuss Cat Behaviour / Shy and Timid Cat Behaviour
« on: March 17, 2014, 11:41:21 AM »
Hi all! The site has a great article on how to combat timid behaviour in new adult cats. I was wondering what solutions you had for cats who are timid around children, and how to work around this. The articles suggestions include avoiding loud noises and running around the house...anyone with children is going to know this probably won't happen despite the best intentions! I've always thought an exposure to the environment of a home is important to desensitize the cat (after you've gained their trust and they are not hiding under your bed, like new cats do). I remember Tess, our timid cat, hid under the bed for hours before she would venture out. She remained shy until she passed away, but she was sweet and loving and affectionate with time too.

Basically - we can't all have quiet havens and cloister-like hushed corridors! What do people think to the idea of getting your cat out there?!

Shy and Timid Cats

Cat Blogs / Lady Dinah's Cat Emporium - Cats Don't Drink Coffee
« on: March 12, 2014, 02:35:36 PM »
The Cat Café Trend Hits London, Customers Expect Cats to be Awake All The Time.

I am really excited by the news that London’s first Cat Café in Shoreditch has FINALLY opened! Lady Dinah’s Cat Emporium, Bethnal Green Road, opened on 1st March after an 18 month project to make it happen. I remember first hearing of the plans and doubted that the city would support them –  I’m so glad people did! Before now, I always imagined I’d have to travel all the way to Japan to get a chance to sip tea and snuggle endless cats.

Cat cafés – Out of whose glorious imagination did they spring?!

I decided in light of this momentous occasion to find out a bit more about cat cafes and their origins. I was surprised to find that they were not, as I ignorantly assumed, a Japanese concept. The First Cat Café was set up in Taiwan, but soon after Japanese tourists spread the word, opening the first in Tokyo in 2005. There are now 39 cat cafes in Tokyo alone.
This trend has started to spread to Europe; cat cafes have recently sprung up in Paris, Berlin, Hungary, to name a few. As of this year, four more cafes will be opening across the pond. Other than being places where cats are (which are always magical places, are they not?) to me cat cafes are indicative of a culture of healthy, relaxed, stressed free city-dwellers. Petting cats has been known to reduce the risk of strokes, and many advocate the stress busting propensity of our feline friends. In areas of high population density like London, where a lot of people can’t keep pets due to restrictions on space, and with our increasingly busy lifestyles, these little havens of cat loving make purrfect sense.

Lady Dinah’s Cat Emporium

Lady Dinah’s cats – currently a dozen of them – are all rescues. There are THOUSANDS of rescues waiting for good homes, and a cat café is the perfect place for them; they are kept healthy and well fed, have scheduled cat naps where the shop closes for a kitty siesta to ensure they don’t get worn out (ironic, as they spend most of their time sleeping, as we’ll see). The main criticism that I’ve seen (other than the service being slow, which I think we can forgive for their first week of commerce) that I really hope they listen to is: there aren’t enough cats! The cats wandered off! The cats were all asleep! Owner Lauren Pears has stipulated ground rules for cat handling, which includes No Fussing When Cats are Asleep, but whilst reading reviews of the first week I was shocked to see people complaining about sleeping cats and admitting to waking them up.  Some cats can sleep for 20 hours a day, what were these people expecting?!  0_0
Cats being, you know, actual sentient beings, (not simply props to your coffee experience, as some customers apparently thought)  they are likely to Do Their Own Thing and not be interested in human interaction 24/7. In my mind, constant kitty interaction, especially when a cat is being forced to do so, is not the purpose, nor an appealing feature of a cat café.  Selfish behaviour like that has no place in what is first and foremost a home for animals.

However, I can see that the acquisition of more cats would potentially means less pressure on the current twelve to be awake and entertaining for all customers.  At the end of the day, however, if you think you are there to receive premium customer service from a bunch of cats, you are in the wrong place, and probably don’t really understand cats that well. If they’re asleep, tough luck. You’d just hope that one will stroll over in the measly two hour booking slot to make your visit worthwhile! :’) More cats will hopefully mean more active pusstats to admire doing cat things. Or it could just mean a café full to the rafters with snoozing cats, which I don’t think would be such a bad thing!

As soon as I get the opportunity to go there, I'll report back! :meow:


General Discussion / Cat Poems! "I'm Not Paranoid"
« on: March 08, 2014, 01:29:29 PM »
I'm Not Paranoid by Francesco Marciuliano in I Could Pee on This, And other Poems Written by Cats

I'm not touching my food because
There's a pill in it

I'm not having that treat because
There's a pill in it

I'm not going near your hand because
There's a pill in it

I'm not playing with that toy because
There's a pill in it

I'm not going into that room because
There's a pill in it

I'm not sleeping on that couch because
There's a pill in it

I'm not looking at the sky because
There's a pill up there

I'm not doing anything because
There's a pill everywhere

You may think I'm paranoid,
You may think I'm rather nuts,
But you're not going to fool me twice
And besides, I think I can cure
    hookworm with my mind.

Thought most of us cat owners could relate to this cat paranoia!!

Discuss Cat Breeding / Pedigree Breeds!
« on: March 06, 2014, 03:45:43 PM »
Does anyone out there have a pedigree breed cat? I've heard they pose a whole different set of problems to your average moggy. Cats I've had in the past with pedigree heritage (a show standard pedigree mumma cat, for example) have had problems as a result of this.

Anyone own any pedigree cats? Any problems, solutions, or experiences?  ^-^

Cat Blogs / The (soon to be not so) Secret Life of Harry
« on: March 05, 2014, 12:45:05 PM »
Hi fellow cat lovers! This is my first blog post for the new Think Cats Blog, in which I'll be updating you all on call things cat related that are going on around me. A lot of the time I'll be mentioning home - I'm currently studying 300 miles away, so "Home" is where my cat is, but sadly not, always, where I am (to avoid any confusion!). I also have two cats and they don't live in the same house, (more potential confusion...). This first post is all about Harry, who lives with my mum at Home. The second cat, Ziggy, who I'm sure to mention, lives with my dad, which for ease I'll call Home #2. Disclaimers over, let's get onto the blog!

After adopting us seven Christmases ago, it came as no surprise that our cat Harry was a wanderer; he frequents at least one other kitchen that we know of, but we suspect this is merely the tip of the extensive cat-food-chain iceberg which he and many humans are a part of. In his tuxedo, with his demanding meow and charming swagger, there is no doubt that he knows his way into the kitchens with the best food for miles around.

An unexpected sighting got us thinking about how far Harry got on his travels. When driving well out of our neighbourhood, we were given a glimpse into the possible scale of his kitty operations when we saw him sitting by a bus stop, as if waiting to hop on. We couldn’t believe it, and almost stopped the car – what was he doing this far out? Cat owners, even of the most promiscuous cats, all crave the monogamous attention of their pet. It felt like we had caught him doing something secret and shifty, and my mother wished she’d never seen him, preferring ignorance over the possibility that someone else was loving our precious cat. I’ve come to accept that Harry goes where he wants, and as much as we like to think we keep him, he in truth keeps us. So after denial, anger, and bargaining (more treats, more food, more cuddles) came for me, acceptance, and most importantly, interest. When he’s not sleeping (most of the time) or on someone’s lap (a lot of the time) when did he fit in these sojourns?

The BBC documentary The Secret Life of the Cat, aired in May last year (see link below for clips if you didn’t catch it!) added fuel to our curiosity surrounding Harry and his nomadic lifestyle. The myriad of tracks and journeys made by the cats of Shamley Green, Surrey captured our imaginations: and revealed some truths we didn’t want to face up to. Our cats were not our precious babies – well they were, when no other cats were watching, but they were also socialites, guardians, patrollers, killers, stalkers, burglars, and much more. Some cats spent their waking hours in the humble parameters of their own gardens, occasionally crossing other cats on their territorial walks. The biggest surprises were those who travelled in long circuits, their territories spanning miles. All of a sudden, everything made sense: Harry was obviously one of those cats.

So as a silly birthday present (yes, we get presents for our cats, don’t tell me you don’t too!) we got Harry a small Cat Camera, which takes pictures at random intervals, attached to a cats collar, in order to see where they go. Although not nearly as sophisticated as the BBC documentary, who used miniature lion GPS collars and specially developed catcams,  I’m convinced the answer to the scale of his wanderings (and the constant fleas) lies in the grainy pictures of that tiny camera, as yet unused and lying in our cupboard. That is if he doesn’t shake it off, like every other collar we’ve attempted to give him.

This weekend I’m visiting Harry at home, and I think it’s time for his close up…
Until next time, where I hopefully detail the progress of our mini Secret Life of the Cat project!

Happy cat cuddling,


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