Tar on my cat paws
I came home today with tar on my paws. Mama panicked in case they were burnt too.
It was thick, black, sticky, stinky and matted into my fur. Mama held me and dipped my paws into vegetable oil right away as this is supposed to soften the tar.
She was able to get a big lump of it off, but holding me in one arm and trying to clean me wiv the other hand was proving too difficult, if not impossible.
Help from Nan.
So, Mama phoned the Nan (not on da banana fone). Mama wrapped me in a blanket and Nan soaked my paws in oil and used a Qtip to get in between my pads.
I was very good (mostly). After they cleaned what they could, the next stage was to cut off the fur that was really caked in the awful tar.
Nan was worried about which was fur and which was paw, so I shut my eyes and hoped for the best. It was okay she didn’t hurt me at all.
The final clean up
After all this they scrubbed my paws with washing up liquid and then rinsed with lots and lots of warm water.
Mama was much calmer at this point as she could see I had not burnt or hurt my paws.
I was a bit of a mess though! I had streaks of oil in my fur and loads of wet patches. I looked a bit pitiful Mama thought.
Because I was so good and let mama hold me in the blanket, and let the Nan clean me up without biting or scratching I got a big bowl of tuna.
What happens next?
I’m grounded because no-one knows where the tar was from. Mama says tar is really toxic for cats and we mustn’t be allowed to lick it.
If it hadn’t of come off Mama would have had to cover my paws with something. That would have been trouble so we are all glad it got sorted out.
Why does your cat like boxes?
Holly O Purr relaxes in her box.
Understanding why your cat like sitting in a box, bag or drawer.
Charlie ShortTail says : Cats like boxes because:
Cats enjoy a feeling of safety and security when sitting or sleeping in a box.
A box can be lovely and warm –the cardboard provides insulation and cats love warmth.
The ideal temperature for a cat is somewhere around 86-97 degrees or 30-36 oC – our homes are generally cooler than this.
Play – cats enjoy hiding and then pouncing on unsuspecting prey or toys, and even other pets or family.
A cardboard box is great to scratch and bite.
Lando sat in this little box to play and also hid his favourite mouse toy in the box.
Do not disturb – your cat can sleep or rest and not be bothered by you or others.
Cats sleep for around 18-20 hours per day.
A box can provide stress relief – a sort of getting away from it all.
Research by some scientists seems to show that rescue cats given boxes are able to cope better and adjust to new surroundings quicker.
Cats are difficult to study and we still do not know all the reasons why cats love boxes, large, small, tiny and of course drawers, suitcases, handbags, bowls and even shoes.
Leo loves to hide away in a bag.
Holly O Purr sitting pretty in the drawer.
Sources and more detailed information on why cats love boxes.
According to the metro.co.uk
‘Studies collated by Bryan Gardiner at Wired.com have revealed the main reasons behind your cats affinity with boxes.
Firstly, they’re a source of stress-relief. Gardiner cites a recent study by veterinarian Claudia Vinke of Utrecht University in the Netherlands who monitored the stress levels in shelter cats.
After providing hiding boxes for a group of newly arrived domestic cats while depriving another group of them completely, she found a dramatic difference in stress levels between the two groups.
In a nutshell – cats with boxes became accustomed to their new surroundings faster, seemed less stressed faster and sought human company sooner.
Secondly, your cat prefers to flee, rather than fight and a box might represents the perfect shelter from conflict, or just too much attention.’
The ‘Metro’ also refers to ‘The Domestic Cat: The Biology of its Behaviour’ : ‘Cats do not appear to develop conflict resolution strategies to the extent that more gregarious species do, so they may attempt to circumvent agonistic encounters by avoiding others or decreasing their activity.’
An article in Cathealth.com refers to a recent study in the journal Applied Animal Behaviour Science found that boxes can actually help reduce a cat’s stress levels.
Reducing stress for new cats or for shelter cats
A group of new shelter cats were randomly assigned to either receive a box or not. After just a few days, researchers reported that the cats that were given boxes recovered faster and adapted to their environment more quickly than the cats without boxes.
The dailymail.co.uk also states that according to a report by Bryan Gardiner in Wired.com veterinarian Claudia Vinke of Utrecht University in the Netherlands recently studied stress levels in shelter cats. She discovered that cats who had boxes got used to their new surroundings faster than those who didn’t because the boxes acted as a coping mechanism.
Care2.com refers to an article by Steven B Williams /February 9, 2015
Steve writes that: ‘This box-loving aspect of a cat’s personality has long puzzled their human carers, and it’s also caught the attention of scientists. Researchers, who published their findings in Applied Animal Behaviour, investigated whether hiding in boxes might reduce stress for cats in animal shelters.
While most species of dog can adapt to shelter environments relatively quickly, cats often experience high levels of stress. Previous studies have shown that cats prefer areas where they have the ability to hide, but until now scientists have not studied whether so-called “hiding enrichment” might benefit a cat’s sense of well-being and specifically if providing boxes for cats to hide in might help to ease those turbulent first few weeks in a new shelter.
To investigate this, researchers took 19 newly arrived cats in a Dutch animal shelter and randomly split them into two groups, one where the cats would be given access to hiding boxes, and one group who wouldn’t have access. The researchers then observed the cats for 14 days, and they used a scale known as the Kessler and Turner Cat-Stress-Score to estimate, based on visual clues and habits like grooming and eating, how stressed the cats were during this initial settling-in time.
The researchers found that by day three and four there were significant differences in the stress levels exhibited by cats without boxes to those who had boxes, with the cats who had hiding boxes showing a total average stress score lower than their non-box counterparts. An interesting note is that box-access seemed to reduce stress no matter the breed of cat, suggesting that this isn’t just a preference for some but a much more firmly ingrained cat trait.’
Charlie says that a box can be a nice place to relax away from stress and all cats like to feel secure and safe.
Providing a box or hide-away container can help nervous, new or cats that are in new and strange surroundings.
Charlie would like to thank his furriends Holly, Jo, Lando and Gertie for their gorgeous pictures.
Can cats and dogs predict earthquakes and other extreme weather events?
Many owners and some scientists believe that yes, animals do sense changes before an earthquake or extreme weather event.
Animals are more sensitive to electro-magnetic changes in the earth.
Animals may detect high-frequency sounds that are emitted prior to earthquakes and tsunamis.
Animals have been observed to flee before the extreme weather events occur.
According to The Daily Mail (article by Sarah Griffiths) March 2015 ‘animals can predict earthquakes’.
Griffiths states that:
- Animals CAN predict earthquakes: Scientists document behavioural changes with seismic activity.
- Scientists filmed the behaviour of animals in Peru before an earthquake and found that many fled to lower ground and holed up days before the event.
- Expert from Anglia Ruskin University said rodents are extra sensitive.
- Study suggests animals respond to disturbances in the ionosphere.
- Positive ions in the air lead to disagreeable side effects in animals.
Can cats and other animals predict earthquakes? The earliest reference of unusual animal behaviour before earthquakes.
There is anecdotal evidence of unusual or bizarre behaviour by animals before an earthquake that dates back to 373 BCE in Greece. (According to the US Geological Survey)
The Greeks observed that rats fled from the city of Helice days before the major earthquake struck.
Animal Planet documents theories about how cats and other animals might sense these impending seismic shifts, including the ability to detect the vibrations that occur before an earthquake, known as primary waves (P waves).
What do cats, dogs and other animals sense before earthquakes, tsunamis and extreme weather events?
Cats and other animals are more sensitive to earthquake-related electromagnetic field variations.
Dogs have extraordinary hearing and some scientists think that dogs flee from extreme weather events because they can hear the high-frequency sounds that are caused by earthquakes.
Dogs and other animals survived a Tsunami by fleeing before the event.
Why do pets show seemingly bizarre behaviour before earthquakes and extreme weather events?
These behaviours are driven by fear and are part of your pets’ natural survival instincts.
Cats and dogs may start exhibiting odd behaviours anywhere from weeks to seconds before an earthquake hits. Scientists question as to whether this behaviour is due to the weather events or other circumstances.
Pet owners’ may be certain themselves that their cat or dog was displaying very unusual behaviours not normally seen.
The National Geographic reports that “Sheldrake did his own study looking at animal reactions before major tremors, including the Northridge, California, quake in 1994, and the Greek and Turkish quakes in 1999.
In all cases, he said, there were reports of peculiar behaviour beforehand, including dogs howling in the night mysteriously, caged birds becoming restless, and cats behaving nervously, vocalising and hiding.”
Japan and the study of whether cats and fish can predict earthquakes
Japan is one of the world’s most earthquake-prone countries. The devastation has caused the loss of many lives and left enormous damage to property. Researchers in Japan have studied animals for a long time to try to discover what they hear or feel before the Earth shakes. They hope to use this knowledge to help predict earthquakes in the future.
Mitsuaki Ota, a professor of veterinary science at Azabu University states that “Electromagnetic waves are emitted before an earthquake happens. Animals have the ability to detect these electromagnetic waves,” Ota says. “Actually, the Thais showed that after last year’s Indian Ocean tsunami caused by an earthquake off the coast of Sumatra that not a single animal was killed by the wave. The only answer I can offer for that is that the animals detected the earthquake and then fled to safety.”
Companion Animal psychology has an article discussing animals and the prediction of earthquakes in Japan. They document that “Japanese scientists Hiroyuki Yamauchi et al (2014) conducted an internet survey of pet owners. As well as obtaining demographic information about pets, they asked about any unusual behaviour exhibited in the minutes, hours and days prior to the earthquake. The checklist included things like howling and barking (for dogs), vocalizing (for cats), trembling, being restless, and escaping.
Of those who reported unusual behaviours in dogs, they were most commonly observed immediately prior to the earthquake, in the seconds and minutes before it hit (60% of cases). 16.7% said it happened from 1 to a few hours before. In cats with unusual behaviour, 44.6% showed it immediately prior and 30.4% in the few hours before the earthquake. Some owners reported changes 6 or more days before (6.3% of dogs and 2.9% of cats with unusual behaviour).”
The Japanese continue their studies in the hope that our pets may help us to predict future earthquakes, tsunamis and extreme weather events and in doing so, saves lives.
Yamauchi, H., Uchiyama, H., Ohtani, N., & Ohta, M. (4). Unusual animal behaviour preceding the 2011 earthquake off the Pacific coast of Tohoku, Japan: A way to predict the approach of large earthquakes Animals, 131-145
Kirschvink, Joseph L. (2000). Earthquake Prediction by Animals: Evolution and Sensory Perception, Bull. Seism. Soc. Am., 90, pp. 312-323.
Quammen, D. (1985). Animals and earthquakes: This World, San Francisco Chronicle, April 21, p. 15-16.
Schaal, Rand B. (1988). An Evaluation of the Animal Behaviour Theory for Earthquake Prediction, California Geology, v41, n2.
Charlie ShortTails’s brother ‘Lando Enzo’
This is my very special brother ‘Lando Enzo’.
He is older than me and a clever cat. Lando is a tabby with spots that turn into stripes.
Lando loves to patrol the garden and no other cats are allowed into our patch.
He thinks he is special forces cat with ninja skills! He practises with his favourite toy smelly mouse.
Lando likes to stage watch from the window seat; this is also next to the radiator!
Lando is a very neat cat and is never seen with a muddy paw or face.
Charlie’s furriends and pawtraits
Introducing Mz. Chaos
Chaos is a little tortoiseshell cat. She is gentle and loving and likes nothing better than a big cuddle up with her small human brother.
Mz. Chaos has to have a special diet because she is allergic to many things and her Mama spent a lot of time researching and reading up on how to help with her problems.
She cannot eat foods with grains in, and she is also allergic to flea bites (flea allergy dermatitis), so she becomes itchy and scratches a lot.
When she is bad she can have loss of fur and many lumps.
She left her old home because she was unhappy and adopted her new Mama and brother.
She is now much loved and cared for and her allergies are under control.
Her only bad habits are sneaking inside beds and drooling!
Why do female cats screech during mating?
It is well observed that the female cat will scream, screech or become very aggressive during or just after mating with the tom cat.
The reason for this aggressive behaviour is that the tom cat’s penis has little barbs or spines on it.
When the penis is inserted the spines lay flat, but when withdrawing the penis, the spines cause a raking action on the female’s cat’s vagina, causing pain, and so the female reacts by attacking the male.
Why does the tom cat’s penis have spines?
Female (virgin) cats who have not mated do not ovulate. The pain caused the first time the female cat mates causes shock, initiating the ovulation cycle (this will take a little over 24 hours to actually begin).
The female is then ‘on intense heat’ for around 3 days. A queen may mate as quickly as 30 minutes after the first copulation.
This all explains why the female cat is so angry and tries to swipe the male, and also why the male has to be very careful not to get injured -hence why he holds the female by the neck.