Cat News: April 2008 Archives

UPDATE: Lost wild lion cat found, read here.

lost-lion-maniwaki-quebec.jpgWell imagine the look of shock on the local police dispatcher's face when they got the call that an African Lion was on the loose in Maniwaki Quebec!

Apparently the cat was new to the area and only purchased two days ago by an unidentified man in the area. According to reports, the cat was tied to a pole in front of the man's house. Ingenious. The 70 kg lion eventually broke loose of the pole and started roaming the area.

The obvious fear is that once the cat becomes hungry, it may pose a real threat to local residents.

According to many people, the lion is domesticated. The reality is that an African Lion is never domesticated and they are not meant to be pets. No one understands how how or why the owner was able to obtain a wild lion.

This is another example of why wild cats are not meant to be domesticated. In the last few months, two individuals have been attacked by "domesticated" cheetahs in separate events and a lady was attacked during a photo-shoot after attempting to pose with a wild African Lion.

These animals are not pets, they are wild animals. The operative word being "wild" and that implies that the cats are obviously unpredictable.

Other posts I think you might be into:

12 cats that will be extinct by 2020

See a 400 lbs African Lion hug and kiss his rescuer!

chinese_market_cat_meat.jpgPlanning on going to the the Olympic games in Bejing this year? If you're dining in any of the local restaurants in town, you might want to stay away from a dish that is commonly called "The Dragon and the Tiger." Why you ask? Well...the main ingredient of this dish is your common domestic house cat. The dish is also referred to as "Dragon Meets Tiger," "A Scramble of Dragon and Tiger," "Dragon Duels with Tiger" and so on. Needless to say, you might want to stay away from any dish that has the word Tiger in it.

What's even more interesting about the Chinese practice of eating cats is the method by which they prepare the meat. The Chinese place a great importance on the freshness of their meat, therefore many restaurants in Bejing use the "boiling alive" method. Simply put, the chef bludgeons the cat to near incapacity and then places the still live cat in boiling water, some chefs believe in boiling the cat to death and others believe in boiling the cat for a short period of time and then placing the cat in cold water. The cold water is used to stop the cooking process and this allows the chef to remove the fur of the still live cat. Many chefs believe that the more the cat suffers, the better the meat will be. The practice of boiling alive also means that the blood of the cat will still be found within the meat supposedly improving the flavor of the the meat. It should also be noted that most cats remain alive within the boiling water for anywhere from 8 to 15 seconds.

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It’s been hard for shelters in England to find homes for black cats and kittens. It seems that people are afraid black cats will bring bad luck to their homes.

There are four black cats at a shelter in the UK. Two adults who had to be put up for adoption because of their owners illness. And two little kittens not related. It seems that these cats have been there for months and have been passed over countless times for no reason other than their color.

Well this is a story near and dear to me. I chose Neo because of his personality and how cute he was, it didn’t really occur to me that he is a black cat that should be feared. So – does this mean that people don’t think black cats are cute and can have lovable personalities?

I’m surprised that these superstitions still hold true, even among cat lovers! I guess people think that a black cat crossing their path several times a day will lead to bad luck in the household?

The way I see it: the only ones experiencing bad luck are the black cats!

Read more about homes needed for 'unlucky' black cats.

Other posts I think you might be into:

12 cats that will be extinct by 2020

Six diseases caused by dry cat food

See a 400 lbs African Lion hug and kiss his rescuer!

These ringtones will drive your cat crazy...

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The debate rages on, which came first, dogs or cats? The mounting evidence shows that dogs were domesticated long before cats, but in my opinion, it all has to do with the nature of dogs and cats. Dogs are pack animals and can be trained by "alpha dogs" (or humans). Whereas cats have a different social structure and are direct descendants of wild cats. So domestication of dogs looks different to archaeologists than the domestication of cats. Let me explain...

Determining the exact era when cats were domesticated is difficult because cats aren't necessarily raised by humans but are attracted to human settlements. Imagine you have a number of cats living close to villages, they let humans touch them and interact with them, even allow their kittens to be touched but the cats remain independent. They come and go to and from the village as they please. Humans allow this because they understand that cats need their freedom to hunt.

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Dogs on the other hand, are easier to see as domestic because they have often had collars and leashes. Dogs needed these collars and leashes so humans could control their labor, pulling sleds, sniffing out game for hunting, protection against predators, etc.

You see the difference? A cat on a leash can't stalk and kill rodents. But a dog on a leash can bark when danger approaches it's human. Archaeologists have found evidence of leashes and were able to determine without a doubt that the dog was domesticated.

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Another major difference between cats and dogs that makes it difficult to determine which came first, dogs or cats is that cats are direct descendants of wild cats. A domestic cat is physically similar to its wild ancestors. So when archaeologists find the remains of a cat near a village, it is hard for them to tell if that cat was an integral part of village life or it was just passing by.

So for now, the debate continues, which came first, dogs or cats?

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So what do you think? Which came first, dogs or cats? It's generally believed that dogs were domesticated long before cats. But recently, growing evidence reveals that cats and humans have lived in harmony throughout the ages.

Most scientists agree that cats were domesticated by the ancient Egyptians about 6000 years ago. But we now know that this is not the earliest known case of cats and humans living in harmony. A cat and a human were found buried together on the Mediterranean Island of Cyprus. This grave was dated at about 10,000 years old. That's at least 4000 years earlier than the Egyptian cats.

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It makes sense because around 12,000 years ago, humans began to cultivate grains, store them in their villages and of course rats and mice were attracted to the stored grain. Wild cats sniffed out the rats and mice and moved closer to the villages to be near the steady food supply. The villages would have benefitted the wild cats - lots of mice and rats to eat, and protection from predators that hunted cats. Humans also would have benefited from the rodent control.

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One interesting thing about this grave on Cyprus is the fact that it was an island, how did the cats get there? Most scientists agree that the cats were brought to the island with the human settlers. And the cat and human to be buried together suggests the importance of the cat to the human. Cats must have had both secular and spiritual significance to the people of the time.

It is hard to know exactly which came first, dogs or cats, because none of us were there. But with growing evidence like this, the answer is getting closer.

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Tokyo University unveiled mice that do not fear cats and other predators. This doesn't seem very useful to the mice. But I imagine a few cats would like to meet these special mice.

The mice had receptors in their brains altered. These receptors process information about smells that would normally make the mouse panic and run. This experiment confirms what we've known for centuries, fear is connected to smell. But I find it interesting that the mouse gets frightened when it hears the cat meow. That proves to me that fear is connected to more than just one of the senses. I'm not sure why this experiment needed to be done. Didn't we already know this?

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Everyone is talking about the mouse who has been genetically altered to not fear cats. But what amazes me is not so much the mouse, but the cats. I'd like to know has the cat also been genetically altered to not hunt mice? Why hasn’t the cat eaten that fearless mouse yet? I've never seen cats this docile! Especially when there is something like a real mouse to play with.

Genetically altered or not, that mouse wouldn’t last ten minutes around my cat, Neo.

Unless something is done soon, most of these cats won't be around too much longer. Limited efforts are being taken to try and save most of these cats. The main issue unfortunately is that with so few of these cats left, the incidence of inbreeding is much higher which can cause it's own problems like genetic disorders, reduced fertility, higher infant mortality, reduced effectiveness of immune system, lower birth rate and so on.

Many of these cats are literally months from being extinct. You can do your part by donating to the World Conservation Union.

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Amur Tiger extinction.jpegAmur Tiger also known as the Siberian Tiger: With approximately 400 to 500 of these incredible cats left, the Amur Tiger's days are numbered. The cat lives throughout China, the Korean Peninsula, South Eastern Russia and North Eastern Mongolia.

These incredible cats can weigh anywhere from 100 to 350 kg and are slightly taller than their popular Bengal Tiger cousins.

Compared to other species of tigers, the Siberian Tiger has a larger mane, furrier paws and generally more white and less striping in their coats.

Siberian Tigers are known for there mellow and fair tempered demeanor.

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