Category: cat health

UK Cat Positive For COVID: ‘Don’t Kiss Your Pets’

A female Siamese has become the first cat to test positive for COVID-19 in the UK.

The cat almost certainly caught the virus from her COVID-infected owners, authorities said. Christine Middlemiss, the U.K.’s top veterinary official, echoed the CDC in urging people not to freak out:

“There is no evidence to suggest that pets directly transmit the virus to humans,” Middlemiss said. “We will continue to monitor this situation closely and will update our guidance to pet owners should the situation change.”

Owners who have COVID-like symptoms should social distance from their own pets, says Margaret Hosie, a virologist at the University of Glasgow: “Don’t kiss your cat. Don’t have the cat sleeping in a bed with you, and don’t share food with the cat.”

If your cat is anything like mine, good luck trying to tell him he’s not sleeping in your his bed.

Kleptomaniac cat collects goggles

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Avery with his stash of swimming goggles. Credit: BBC

A cat in Bristol, UK, has an odd obsession with swimming goggles. The four-year-old moggie, Avery, has stolen eight pairs so far this summer.

Avery’s human, Sally Bell, said she’s checked with her neighbors and no one’s told her they’re missing goggles, so Avery must be wandering further than realized.

“He doesn’t play with the goggles, he just leaves them for me. In fact, the pair he brought home the other day had a dead mouse with them – two presents at once,” Bell told the BBC. “I feel so bad in case it’s children who are being brought new goggles and they’re getting into trouble because they keep going missing.”

Terrible human beings are terrible

Someone is shooting cats with pellet guns in a Wyandotte, Michigan, neighborhood. Four cats have been killed and a fifth had a leg amputated after he was shot, WDIV reports. There’s a reward for information leading to the shooter’s arrest, and police want to hear from anyone with information about the cat shootings.

Meanwhile, the Humane Society of Utah is offering a $5,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of a sicko who tied a cat down, tortured it and set it on fire.

A woman found Sterling the cat on July 21 and brought him to the veterinarian. Little Sterling made it through surgery and remains under the care of the vet, who’s providing pain medication and making sure the tough kitty is being “loved and spoiled.”

“This level of cruelty should unnerve the community,” said the Humane Society’s Rachel Heatley. “In the interest of public safety, an individual who is capable of torturing an animal needs to be identified and taken off the street as soon as possible.”

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Sterling survived and is recovering from his wounds. Credit: Humane Society of Utah

The Good Boy Has Been Weaned Off Temptations. Again.

Little Buddy, I’m happy to announce, has been weaned off the kitty crack.

And no, I’m not talking about catnip, which he enjoys once a week or two without yowling mournfully for more. I’m talking about Temptations, those crunchy cat treats that turn our furry little friends into fiends with one-track minds.

This is the second time I’ve stopped giving him those treats. One is never enough. Two, three, six? Not enough. More. More! More Temptations!!!

It got to the point where Buddy would meow insistently in front of the treat cabinet first thing in the morning, then get up to follow me every time I went in the general direction of the kitchen, trilling in anticipation.

If I made the mistake of leaving the bag out, he’d paw at it and meow insistently.

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And one time I got an economy size tub of the stuff from Costco, fed him one or two pieces, then got distracted by a phone call. I was only away for a minute at most, but during that time Buddy swiped the tub off the coffee table, causing the lid to pop as it hit the hardwood floor and spilling hundreds of the kittycrack biscuits everywhere.

When I  returned I found Bud gorging himself, vacuuming up his precious Temps like a high end Hoover. I shooed him away and carefully swept up every remaining piece, but it was too late — the little guy started throwing up everything he’d just eaten.

Astonishingly, when he’d gotten the last of it up and I was on hands and knees cleaning the mess, he began to meow for more Temptations.

That is hard core, epic crack fiend behavior.

It’s “Houston, we have a serious problem” level.

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Not the only one: Lots of people have reported instances where cats helped themselves to the kitty crack. Credit: theknowmad/reddit

Temptations are cat junk food. They’re packed with filler, animal by-products, things cats can’t properly digest (corn, rice, corn gluten meal), and the added nutrients cited by Whiskas are of dubious nutritional value at best.

Cats aren’t drawn to them for any natural reason: Whatever chemicals they’re coated with are designed to manipulate the feline brain, and in the human world we’d call them drugs. The behavioral changes alone are enough to warrant a change.

I was doing a disservice to my little guy by feeding him that crap, so now we’re going to find something better. If you’d care to offer any suggestions, we’re all ears. Please leave them in the comments.

Chasing Clicks, News Sites Blame Cat For Woman’s Death

If you’d just skimmed headlines like “Kiss of Death: Elderly Woman Killed By Cat” and “Tragedy as woman is killed by her CAT, as doctors issue a dire warning to pet owners” you’d think a woman was somehow violently killed by an enraged 10-pound cat.

The reality is much less dramatic: A woman’s cat scratched her, then licked the wound.

Through her saliva, the cat named Minty infected the victim with bacterial meningitis, doctors told the New Zealand Herald.

The woman fell into a coma, was found by relatives and brought to Melbourne’s Box Hill Hospital, where medical staff kept her sedated as they tried to treat her. With few options, the family in consultation with the doctors decided to wake her to say goodbye, then placed her back in a coma and withdrew life support.

“Infections related to cat bites and scratches like this person, we’d get at least one a week where somebody comes into the hospital,” Lindsay Grayson, director of infectious diseases at Melbourne’s Austin Health, told the newspaper. “It is very important that if a cat is biting or scratching you, you mention it to your GP.”

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The woman was 80 years old, and the story suggests she had a compromised immune system. It didn’t provide any other details about her overall health, existing co-morbidities or whether her cat was allowed outdoors. Outside cats have a greater chance of picking up bacteria that can harm humans, experts say. A separate article mentioned the victim took blood thinners.

Grayson’s warning is simple and spot-on: Take bites and scratches from cats and dogs seriously, get the wounds treated and call your doctor. Something that looks like an inconsequential scratch could prove deadly or cause major health problems.

Cats and dogs live in more than 100 million homes in the US alone and infections are exceedingly rare. Grayson is aware of that, and he’s giving solid preventative health advice to people in the pet-owning demographic.

Unfortunately calm and reasoned doesn’t draw clicks, so the story is propagating via headlines that conjure images of a cat literally murdering its owner.

It should go without saying that the cat didn’t intend to cause any harm and is incapable of understanding what happened. All she knows is that her human is dead, which she’s certainly distraught about, and it sounds like she’s not getting sympathy or affection from her new humans.

“I was in shock for a good couple of weeks,” the woman’s daughter said. “I’ve tried not to hate the cat … but then I was sitting with it trying to be nice and it lashed out at me as well for no reason.”

With all respect to the grieving, there most certainly is a reason. The cat is grieving too, she’s living with new people in a new situation, and she’s almost certainly scared. It’s an unfortunate situation for all involved.

Dear Buddy: Help! Humans Have Invented A Cat Torture Device!

Dear Buddy,

I discovered this today, hidden in the garage with a bow around it, presumably a “gift” for my upcoming birthday:

I wanted to warn you about this dire development so you can pass the word along to the millions of other cats who read your blog. The humans have invented a cruel torture device for us! This is a declaration of war!

My birthday is Wednesday. I must flee on Tuesday night at the latest. Wish me well in finding new humans who will serve me to satisfaction and provide acceptable yums.

Backstabbed in Binghampton


Dear Backstabbed,

RUN! And I don’t mean on that…contraption. Run for your life!

That video is horrific. It’s hard to watch. There must be some invisible force field keeping that poor cat confined to the wheel so he has no choice but to keep running or be tossed around violently like a wallet in a clothes drier.

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Human cruelty: Clearly an invisible force field keeps this poor kitty from escaping.

Why can’t humans invent something awesome, like a device that feeds us snacks while massaging us at the same time? These sadistic creatures claim they love us, but every now and then they inadvertently reveal the depraved depths of their minds, like when they invented those “fun” puzzle feeders that make us work for every kibble and stop us from scarfing down our yums.

Thank you for the warning, my friend. Take heed, fellow felines! You may be next!

Buddy

 

The Obsession With Chonky Cats Has Gone Too Far

Metro’s editors want more fat cats.

The newspaper recently profiled Manson, a 28-pound behemoth who lives with his humans in Silver Spring, Maryland, but the god of internet traffic is never sated, so the story ends with a request — or challenge — for more morbidly obese pets to drive clicks.

“Do you have a pet who’s even chunkier than Manson? Get in touch to share their story,” Metro’s editors write.

You know things have gotten out of hand when readers and editors alike respond to a story about a kitty almost three times the weight of a normal feline with a collective “Eh, that’s all? Show us a fatter one!”

In the world of Online Famous felines, popularity is directly proportional to fat, inspiring a caloric arms race among those seeking fleeting fame from fickle followers.

Indeed, the Metro story notes that while two-year-old Manson can’t hop up onto his humans’ bed without assistance, he’s amassed more than 10,000 followers on Instagram, as if an abstract measure of online “fame” — which he can never comprehend and makes absolutely no difference to him — counterbalances the maladies he’ll suffer due to his weight.

People apparently think it’s funny to see a two-year-old cat who can do little more than nap, eat and roll himself around the house. Anyone who expresses alarm for the welfare of the cat is a “troll” or a hater, according to the Metro article.

Are people stuffing their cats for followers and upvotes?

There’s really no way to determine that short of cat owners admitting it. Manson’s owners say they see no problem with their cat’s diet.

Most of these “chonky cat” stories come from shelters, where staff and volunteers are left with the hard problem of getting huge furballs to slim down after they’ve been abandoned by their humans or orphaned due to owner death. That was the case with Bazooka, a 35-pound ginger tabby whose owner had dementia and fed the cat constantly.

“[Bazooka’s owner] thought he was doing the best thing for his cat by feeding him,” an SPCA spokeswoman said at the time. “We need to look on this with a compassionate view. He was loved.”

Those viral chonky cat stories have been a boon to shelters, highlighting the good work they do and driving donations from cat lovers and well-wishers.

But those shelters are trying to get the cats in their care to lose weight, not pack on the pounds. That’s because they see first-hand what morbid obesity can do to a cat’s quality of life and life expectancy.

As for the rest of us, we should probably rethink our tendency to reward the owners of massive cats with our attention.