Monday, 9 April 2007

Iberian lynx under threat.

Story from BBC NEWS:

EU 'put Portugal wildlife (such as the Iberian lynx) under threat'

More than half Portugal's wildlife has come under threat of extinction since the country joined the European Union 20 years ago-and massive redevelopment made possible by EU cash is at least partly to blame, environmental groups have told the BBC.

Wednesday, 24 January 2007

To Declaw or Not To Declaw - Is There Really A Question?

by Christopher Byrnes

Cats are born with claws, the same way that humans are born with fingernails and toe nails. Cats need claws in order to mark or scratch a specific place or territory that they have been in. Humans need finger nails to, scratch themselves or others, or for opening a letter envelope. Cats basically stretch their agile bodies in order to prepare their muscles when they dig their claws deeply into wood perhaps or a tree, and then they pull back from their hold. Scratching is a basic physiological need of cats.

So do cats need to be declawed? If cat owners truly care for the welfare of their cats, they would have to think twice on declawing their cats.

Declawing, what is it?

Declawing is done by taking away all the front claws of a cat. In a way this procedure is equal to the amputation of all the finger tips of a human being. For cats this surgery is painful and, for someone who is walking on all fours, terribly unnecessary.

Though the recovery of declawed cats may only take a few weeks or so, its physical and/or psychological effects could last a cat's lifetime.

The following are the possible results once a cat has been declawed.

Ouch, ouch and ouch

Immediately after surgery, declawed cats suffer severe pain, though it is quite impossible to gauge how much pain they are experiencing. Declawed cats could be considered as amputees. Cats usually try to go on with their cat lives even with pain unless the pain eventually becomes unbearable. Although they may look and act normal does not mean they are free from aches.

Complications after the surgery

After the surgery, declawed cats usually experience one of the following post-surgery effects: presence of abscess, feelings of lameness, claw re-growth. Based on studies performed on declawed cats, it has been found that twenty five percent of them develop various complications. The same result has been found on cats who went under tenectomy. This is also a form of surgery that is currently being offered as an alternative to declawing. It is called this because only the tendons extended on the toes are the ones amputated.

Stiffness of the joints

Cats that are declawed experience stiffness of the joints since the tendons that manipulate the toes retract because of the surgery. As time goes by, these same joints freeze and ultimately they will no longer be able to extend their toes.

It has been thought though that cats really do not miss their claws since they also 'scratch' continually even if they no longer have anything to scratch with. However, this act is really the cats' way to stretch those frozen joints.


Believe it or not, research shows that declawed cats immediately shift the weight of their bodies to the back and onto the larger pad in the front of their feet, away from their toes. The result is still evident despite giving these cats strong anti-pain relievers. If such an effect continues after declawing, the cat will ultimately stress its own joints in the leg, its spine and eventually suffer from arthritis.

Cats who cannot claw, bite

Since the natural instinct of cats is to claw especially when threatened or scared, in the absence of claws cats are forced to resort to another form of defense, that is, their teeth. Declawed cats that are aggressive naturally are more prone to biting.

Declawed cats have no nine lives!

There is a serious risk of death for cats that are declawed. Death could be brought on by the anesthesia they received, or any complications in surgery or hemorrhage.

Declawed cats that resort to biting run the risk of being abandoned by their owners. These cats could then be put in a shelter, and since they turn to biting, the probability of being adopted becomes slim. Usually un-adoptable cats are put to sleep or they are used to train dogs to fight usually as bait.

In summary, cats are extremely and highly trainable to be taught to use a post for scratching instead of common household furniture, rugs or curtains. Though declawing cats is one of the options a cat owner can take, it is basically an unkind and a very animal-unfriendly thing to do. It all depends on the cat owner whether Kitty is more (or less than) valuable than that expensive Italian rug. The choice is theirs.

About the Author

Join other cat lovers and get hundreds of cat training and health tips, with the Cat Lovers Ezine. Click here to join us now!

How To Clicker Train Cats The Easy Way

by Christopher Byrnes

Clicker training incorporates the use of a clicker as a reward or encouragement when training a cat.

Cats are able to relate with the clicker, displaying good actions and behavior. Clicker training is often linked with conventional condition, where cats associate sound with food and operational condition and where cats execute movements for food.

A clicker is found to be more effective than verbal command because cats can hear clicker sounds more clearly than a voice, as human voice tones change while the clicker sound is always steady or constant.

The click is brief and concise, whereas a voice, phrase or a word, is fairly long in cats' point of standing. To say 'good boy' will take time than a click.

With the use of a clicker, cats can be successfully trained in three simple steps: obtaining the cats behavior, marking its behavior, and reinforcing its behavior.

Guidelines when training with a clicker:

1. To make a sound, push the clicker's spring end and then release. Treat the cat.

2. When you notice a behavior that you want your cat to continue on doing, click during while the behavior is being performed, never after it.

3. Click only once, to express enthusiasm towards the act of your cat and add more treats.

4. Note that practice periods should be short. More can be learned in three brief five minute sessions per day than hours of boring and stressful repetition.

5. Correct bad acts by ignoring and clicking when good behavior is displayed. Click when your kitten uses the litter box or when it plays on the scratch post, not on the furniture.

6. Click for accidental and voluntary actions nearing your objective. You should entice the cat into a position, but never pull or push it or hold it.

7. Never wait until your cat performs the perfect act that you told it to do, instead click and reward for little actions towards the correct direction. When your cat is signaled to sit and it crouches in its back, click.

8. Carry the clicker at all times when you are with your cat, so you can catch good acts.

9. Make sure to put aside the clicker when you are scolding your cat.

The non-confrontational character of a clicker makes it an ideal tool for training your cat. You too, can be happy with the results, having achieved all positive behaviors that you worked for with your cat. With lots of understanding, love, and patience, cat clicker training will continue to give you wonderful results that you and your cat will benefit from for years to come.

About the Author

Join other cat lovers and get hundreds of cat training and health tips, with the Cat Lovers Ezine. Click here to join us now!

Friday, 19 January 2007

A world without wild tigers! It seems almost incomprehensible to imagine, and yet, without immediate help, within our lifetime wild tigers may disappear forever from the forests of Asia. Evidence continues to mount that their numbers are falling steadily. Many experts tell us that more than 500 are killed every year. Habitat loss and fragmentation, poaching of tigers and their prey, and the devastating long-term effects of wild population inbreeding and retaliatory killings are mostly to blame. Virtually everywhere tigers live, they face ruthless aggression and apathy that threatens their survival.


Big Brother!

This Big Brother thing isn’t it shocking. Some Indian actress is being paid mega bucks for volunteering to take part in a mindless TV show in the UK. The Indian Government think it’s a world issue because someone on the show is not treating this actress with the reverence she is accustomed to..!

O’ by the way. A rare leopard has a bounty on its head because it strayed into a residential area in the Indian city of Nashik! If caught it can expect to be treated with the same dignity shown to the other member of its family!

Over a period of some seven hours that leopard was chased by dozen’s of residents who beat it to death with sticks and iron bars. Unusual behavior? Not at all, a second leopard was similarly beaten to death in the area of Jammu and Kashmir on Wednesday. Could have been worse I supposed! The cats could have been made to take part in a rubbish TV show?

Tuesday, 16 January 2007

Not All Cats Are Cuddly.

A leopard in the Kashmir is believed to have killed three children aged between 8 and 10 in the past week. They were attacked near Chatergold, about 56 miles south of Srinagar, the summer capital of Jammu and Kashmir. An exception to the law prohibiting the killing of leopards has been made and an reward of 10,000 rupees has been offered for information on the leopards whereabouts.

Monday, 15 January 2007

A Bedtime Read


She was such a Pretty Lady, and gentle withal; so quiet and eminently ladylike in her behavior, and yet dignified and haughtily reserved as a duchess. Still it is better, under certain circumstances, to be a cat than to be a duchess. And no duchess of the realm ever had more faithful retainers or half so abject subjects. Do not tell me that cats never love people; that only places have real hold upon their affections. The Pretty Lady was contented wherever I, her most humble slave, went with her. She migrated with me from boarding-house to sea-shore cottage; then to regular housekeeping; up to the mountains for a summer, and back home, a long day's journey on the railway; and her attitude was always "Wheresoever thou goest I will go, and thy people shall be my people." I have known, and loved, and studied many cats, but my knowledge of her alone would convince me that cats love people--in their dignified, reserved way, and when they feel that their love is not wasted; that they reason, and that they seldom act from impulse. I do not remember that I was born with an inordinate fondness for cats; or that I cried for them as an infant. I do not know, even, that my childhood was marked by an overweening pride in them; this, perhaps, was because my cruel parents established a decree, rigid and unbending as the laws of the Medes and Persians, that we must never have more than one cat at a time. Although this very law may argue that predilection, at an early age, for harboring everything feline which came in my way, which has since become at once a source of comfort and distraction.

After a succession of feline dynasties, the kings and queens of which were handsome, ugly, sleek, forlorn, black, white, deaf, spotted, and otherwise marked, I remember fastening my affections securely upon one kitten who grew up to be the ugliest, gauntest, and dingiest specimen I ever have seen. In the days of his kittenhood I christened him "Tassie" after his mother; but as time sped on, and the name hardly comported with masculine dignity, this was changed to Tacitus, as more befitting his sex. He had a habit of dodging in and out of the front door, which was heavy, and which sometimes swung together before he was well out of it. As a consequence, a caudal appendage with two broken joints was one of his distinguishing features. Besides a broken tail, he had ears which bore the marks of many a hard-fought battle, and an expression which for general "lone and lorn"-ness would have discouraged even Mrs. Gummidge. But I loved him, and judging from the disconsolate and long-continued wailing with which he rilled the house whenever I was away, my affection was not unrequited. But my real thraldom did not begin until I took the Pretty Lady's mother. We had not been a week in our first house before a handsomely striped tabby, with eyes like beautiful emeralds, who had been the pet and pride of the next-door neighbor for five years, came over and (To Be Continued)