I love this video. I found it originally when it was shared by Cindy Lu’s Muse on Facebook. It proves that cats are creative and smart, maybe even just as intelligent as dogs. It also shows that there are times when cats and dogs can work together and be friends. To be fair, the cat in this video, Dexter, I think his name is, may have been acting out of purely selfish motivations. He wanted to open that door and escape the laundry room as much as the dog did. Despite that, they still both achieved the same goal. The cat didn’t mind the fact that the dog was there, waiting for him to achieve glory.
This little scene would never happen in my household. No, no. It’s not that my cat – The Cat, or “TC” as the author of Kol’s Notes nicknamed him a long time ago – isn’t clever enough to figure this out, especially if he was given such easy access. I wouldn’t doubt he’d have that door open in seconds. However, if he thought the dog stood to gain from his efforts, he’d never go through with it. He would find some other way, maybe open a window instead or tease Shiva to make her think the coast was clear and then WHAM! Slam the door in her face.
Yes, TC is this diabolical. I mean, look at him. Does this look like an innocent face to you?
No, no it doesn’t. Don’t let his fuzziness fool you. Inside that fluffy chest is a heart of black steel.
For instance. Less than an hour or two ago, we were all hanging out in the living room after a long day at work. Shiva is still regulated to the couch, a prison that is harder and harder for her to endure every single day. In particular, tonight she has been more persistent than ever in her protests that she is well enough to walk around in perfect freedom. The veterinarian’s orders would say otherwise, so on the couch she remains.
In walks The Cat. In all his autonomous magnificence. The first thing he does, the first thing, is walk up to the dog, sniff her feet, and then lay down on the floor directly in front of her.
When I say lay down, I mean he sprawls in a fashion he would never dare if he suspected the dog had the ability to pounce on him. He knows Shiva is stuck on the couch. He doesn’t know why, but he knows when he prances in front of her, that he is safe, lest she get in serious trouble. So he revels in taunting her. It’s the same way he used to pester her when she was stuck behind the baby gate at the top of the stairs, or the way I am positive he ridicules her when she is locked in her crate during the day. It’s the haughty, prideful, cruel mocking of a true bully.
Yes, my cat is a bully and Shiva is his favourite victim. Unfortunately, he is also smarter than she is and thus, she ends up falling for his mean set-ups every single time.
After only five minutes of tail-flicking and sidelong glances, TC had Shiva completely freaking out tonight. I stopped paying attention to her for less than a second and she immediately took advantage by leaping off the couch and on top of The Cat.
A pretty big violation of her recovery strategy.
For those who might be worried about Hi Excellency’s safety, he is just fine. Better than fine. Dog antagonizing mission accomplished he walked away with his tail swinging high while we yelled at the dog while simultaneously fussing over her stitches. TC always gets the last laugh. Always.
It’s always been this way. The Cat lives to torment the dog. I sincerely believe it is one of his greatest joys. I just can’t wait for the day when Shiva is given free reign of the house again. By then she will have two weeks’ worth of energy to burn. There is a lot of damage a tornado can enact with so much force behind it. Kitty better watch out.
The sad thing is, even at her worst, Shiva ends up backing down to the merciless feline. She can fight with all of her weapons bared but in the end only one of them will end up behind the toilet. And it won’t be the orange one.
I’ve been meaning to share this gobsmacking video for a few weeks. I knew I would need time to come up with the right adjectives. Apparently there isn’t a word superlative enough in the dictionary as all I keep thinking is wow.
This is the stuff for which I have been searching: definitive proof that cats are just as awesome, just as trainable as dogs.
There are so many things I love about this. The fact that the handler is a young boy, the fact that the equipment is accessible and can be put together by anyone, the fact that the cats were trained using a clicker. Not to mention, it looks like he happens to be Canadian and I am not above a bit of patriotism.
All of the cats seem to be enjoying themselves. I doubt they would do it otherwise. It’s fascinating to note the way they jump as compared to the way I am used to seeing dogs move over the obstacles. Clearly when motivated, cats can get much, much higher.
The above video isn’t even my favourite of all 85 posted on his Youtube channel. It’s just the most flashy. The one I like the most shows footage of Daniel King teaching his cat named Puffy basic tricks. The relationship between human and feline in this video is so evident that I beam all the way through.The best part is how excited he gets when Puffy learns something new. Their connection is beautiful to watch.
I gotta admit, I am envious. This is the way I wish I could approach training with both of my pets all the time. Daniel King is patient, gentle, and incredibly dedicated. With his attitude, I suspect he’ll well known in the animal world one day.
Reading all the varied opinions on spay and neuter surgeries has been enlightening. When I was a kid, it seemed like it was just what you did. If you had a dog or cat, you made sure he or she couldn’t have babies. It was a no-brainer. When I entered the world of animal welfare as an adult, at first it baffled me how many people didn’t automatically alter their pets. Unless one plans on breeding, I didn’t understand why she would take the risk. Now I realize it is a lot more complicated than that.
There are many good reasons people have for not spaying or neutering their pets. I trust that everyone reading this today knows all about the costs and benefits. I’m not going to ramble on about it again. You all are responsible and have made your decisions in the best interests of your family. It’s part of why we get on so well.
The struggle begins when trying to reach those who don’t read the literature – people who genuinely don’t know the costs and benefits of spaying and neutering. These are the people who might need the information shared by organizations across the continent in promotion of the big event.
By this point, you all know how I feel about cats. More specifically, you know how I feel about the massively massive overpopulation of cats and how these beautiful animals are often ignored, abandoned, and then euthanized. It is impossible for me to think of spay and neuter programs without immediately thinking of the feline plight. In my opinion the latter cannot be improved without the former. These neglected animals are the reason World Spay Day exists.
The large cat overpopulation problem has been building for decades. There is no one individual or group to blame. Most people who bring home pets have the best of intentions. No one adopts a cat unless one enjoys being around animals. People might be misinformed but they are not purposefully negligent. Yet, no matter how kind the thought, priorities change. Life happens. Vet care is expensive. Things get busy. Appointments are pushed off. Indoor cats escape. Things get busier. Pets get forgotten.
I understand. There is a lot to think about every day. That’s why spaying and neutering is so vital. It’s kind of like insurance. I don’t want to think about how many litters of kittens my cat could have sired by now if he wasn’t altered. Between Calgary and Halifax, he might have had quite a crew of offspring. And we’d never even know it. Getting him snipped prevents me from having to worry about his fatherly duties. I’d hate to think of more cats killed due to my own ignorance.
Cats like this guy:
And this guy:
And even these guys:
They are the lucky ones. None of the above cats will ever have to face euthanasia because they are unwanted. I wish I believed they were the majority. Cats deserve better. All companion animals deserve better.
World Spay Day isn’t about debating whether or not it’s healthier to keep a dog intact for two years, or five years, or forever. It’s about saving lives. The animals aided in these promotions aren’t the ones owned by knowledgeable humans making informed choices. They are the ones who may otherwise face abandonment or death.
It’s a cause I am pretty sure we can all get behind.
Ever since I read this post on No Dog About It regarding a deeper understanding of dog behaviour, I have been carefully observing the way Shiva and I interact in a physical way. It’s been an interesting process. I’ve always tried to pay attention to her signals and I feel she is pretty good at telling me when she doesn’t want to be pet. Space is something of which I am very mindful as it is something I like to preserve for myself. Being private and somewhat of a loner, I don’t appreciate a lot of unexpected touching. I like to think I respect my dog’s wishes in this area as much as possible.
Then again, with such a cute face in front of me, and such soft ears, it can be hard to put all my tactile urges aside. I am human, after all, with a need to connect with whom I love. I can’t talk to Shiva and get her to relate to me that way; touching seems to be the best alternative.
But does she always welcome this? That’s what I want to understand.
When I consider our previous interactions, I do think Shiva lets me know when she wants petting and when it is the last thing on her mind. For instance, I know she is not a fan of public displays. Anytime we are out of the house and I reach out to scratch her ears, she pulls away. In agility class, when I try to stroke her side as we wait our turn on the sidelines, she immediately leaps up and away from my reaching hand. However, at home, behind closed doors, she often seems to seek out physical affection. At least as far as I can tell.
It’s hard to be objective about this sort of thing. I can’t really separate my emotions. I get a lot out of petting my animal companions so it’s natural that I assume (hope??) they do too. When I give affection, I want it to be interpreted with all my intended love. It would be awful to think my animals would rather duck and cover.
I shot some video footage and I’d love to hear what you think Shiva is trying to tell me. The scenes in the video below were taped about half an hour after I returned home from work. Just enough time for Shiva to have calmed down but before her nightly walk.
In contrast, I will also share a video of my attempts to show my affection for The Cat. I won’t say what I think he is trying to tell me but in my opinion he is even better at setting his boundaries than Shiva. Cats are awesome that way, aren’t they?
Are your pets good at communicating when they like to be touched?
Sunday was a bittersweet day for us, or maybe just for me. It was the day our spunky little foster kitten went to the shelter to find his forever home. The house doesn’t feel quieter without him around, but it does feel a bit empty. Aside from a few photos here and there, I haven’t discussed the little bugger much here. Knowing the date for Blog the Change was approaching I saved all my big foster-related stories for today in hopes I could convince someone else to give it a try.
I can’t say whether or not my fostering experience was at all typical as it was my first time. It’s something I wanted to do for a long time but I was afraid of being a failure. Not a “foster failure”, in the normal sense – I wasn’t worried I’d be tempted to keep the kitten. I was more afraid that I would screw the animal up or that something would go wrong and the animal would get hurt and it would be all my fault. The last thing the world needs is one more person with good intentions getting in over her head. However, I read so many positive accounts and I know what a difference providing an extra space for homeless cats makes, that I decided to just go for it. With all the resources at my disposal I figured if the worst thing happened, I would have lots of help. And if it turned out to be awful, I never had to do it again.
The whole process was simpler than I expected. I didn’t have to sign away my life and apparently, they don’t require foster parents to have a degree in veterinary medicine! My mind was blown. The kitten we took in was healthy and had little trouble adapting to our home. It wasn’t long before caring for him became just another part of our daily routine. The organization we fostered for provided us with all the food and litter, as well as a bed and cage for him to hang out in when unsupervised. All we had to do was feed him, give him fresh water, play with him, and watch him grow. Even I can get that right.
My concerns for how my own pets would handle the addition were also set at ease. Our nutjob of a dog was a lot better with him than I ever expected. Over-excited, yes, but she kept her prey drive in check and was more interested in sniffing his butt than treating him like a toy. After a few days of clicking-and-treating her for good calm behaviour, Shiva learned how to handle his presence. Our cat was another matter. He didn’t appreciate the young feline in his territory and only grew to dislike him more the longer he stuck around. However, there was an easy solution to that problem: we kept them separated. The kitten and his set up remained in a spare room behind a closed door. This way all interactions between the animals were strictly supervised. If things looked like they might derail, the kitten could beat an easy retreat.
Unfortunately, as much as I’d love to say fostering was all sunshine and rainbows, there was a moment early on in which I wondered if I was cut out for the task.
At this point the kitten had been with us for almost seven days and was about five weeks old. I had gone out that morning to purchase a new toy for him, something we could play with together. All excited, I opened the door to the kitten’s room, singing out to him: “Kiiittttennnn, look what I haaave!”
I waved the feathered toy over the top of the cage and moved to open the door. He was laying by his food bowl and didn’t stir, not even when the cage door clanged against the bars.
I reached my hand inside and stroked his head with a finger. He still didn’t move. I picked him up and noticed the towel beneath him was wet. He lifted his head when I cradled him in my arms but his eyes remained closed. I put him down on the carpet and he remained still.
I started to freak out.
Several frantic text messages and multiple phone calls later, we drove him as quickly as we could back to the rescue. My contact had suggested we try giving him some corn syrup in case he had just run himself into a coma. But after slathering it all over his mouth there was little change. He had turned from a fuzzball of hyperactivity into a withdrawn and lethargic baby. He wasn’t interested in any of his toys and seemed to have trouble moving. It was as if he had been drugged. Fortunately, we didn’t have to go far to get help. The woman in charge of the rescue reassured me there was nothing I could have done and took him back into her care.
A few more days passed and the wee lad had made a full recovery. No one knew what had caused his sudden downturn but all seemed well again. He was a singleton, his siblings having already not made it. When kittens are that young and have no known medical history, it’s a guessing game. I was asked if I wanted to take him back for the remainder of his foster care.
I was unsure. The biggest reason I didn’t want to foster was because I was scared something bad would happen. What if I took him back and he became ill again? What if I was at work or in bed at the time? What if I found him and it was too late? All of those questions and more crossed my mind. In the end, I decided to bring him home again. I had made a commitment and would see it through. I felt I owed him that.
Luckily, the worst never happened. As far as I could tell he remained in perfect health the rest of his stay with us. That doesn’t mean he was easy, of course! He is a kitten, after all. Crazy one minute, then sweet and snuggly the next. When I opened the door to his room, I never knew which I was going to get. And I still have the scars to prove it!
Now that he is gone, off to a new life, I do miss him a little. No doubt he is cute enough to get himself adopted right away. I just hope the mischief make behaves himself well enough to stay there. I feel fortunate that I got to be a part of his beginning. Fostering is definitely one of the more rewarding things I have done in the last year. It was fun having a new animal around and I got a kick out of watching him learn. Every day brought something new into his world. Hanging out with him gave me a new appreciation for the little things.
Who knew beer boxes made such good forts?
So have I convinced you yet? I hope I’ve at least inspired you to consider it. In my opinion, whatever stress is involved is well-worth the benefit you get from helping a little fluffy animal get his first start in life. And this is coming from me, a professional worrier. If I can do it, anyone can.
While trolling Facebook for inspiration, as one does, I came across a link to an Ellen DeGeneres clip. Ordinarily daytime talk television holds no interest for me. However, when I see the words “cat” and “video” put together it’s pretty much a given I am going to be checking it out. Isn’t there a law somewhere that dictates as much? Pretty sure it was added to the Constitution of Canada three days after the Internet became a thing.
So I clicked and watched one of the saddest attempts at a cat video I have ever seen. My opinions on Russell Brand’s form of comedy notwithstanding, one would think a celebrity could come up with something more creative than this:
If his cat wasn’t so cute, I probably would have stopped watching halfway through.
Celebrities, eh? Do they think people just film these things in their homes, with no planning whatsoever? That it’s so easy? Sheesh. The best cat videos take many minutes of hard work. The cats need to be groomed and prepped and well-rehearsed before one ever turns on a camera. Clearly Mr. Brand didn’t contact Kittywood Studios before he thought of featuring the venerable Morrissey on screen. He’s never going to get fifty million hits without them.
Adopt a Shelter Cat Month may be long over but I am sure there are still plenty of people out there interested in adopting a rescued feline for their own. If you are one of these people you may want to re-think your plans. Sure, cats make wicked pets. It’s a privilege to share your life with one. However, there are several caveats to cat ownership that may change your mind:
- As Pamela from Something Wagging This Way Comes learned, cat people are way cooler than dog people. Say goodbye to those hoodies and jogging pants. Cat people move in high style. If your fashion budget isn’t prepared for the sheer sartorial splendour a cat will bring you, then it’s best to back out before it’s too late.
- Cat videos are the most commonly searched item on Youtube. If you don’t have a camera with which to capture all your cat’s moments of magnificence, there is no point in having a feline pet at all.
- Cats make dogs look downright foolish. Shiva is around 40 pounds of muscle. Our cat is 11 pounds of fluff. He frequently sends her fleeing with a lift of his paw. From the first day she entered our home he made it very clear she would be subservient to him. If you aren’t ready to see your rugged shepherd turn into a cowering puppy, you may not want to get a cat.
- When you have a cat, you are no longer in charge of your household. Everyone knows that dogs have owners and cats have staff. Even the loyal Kenzo learned to obey the cat first and his people second. Forget about keeping them off the furniture or attempting to retain ownership of any high space in your home. Windowsills, mantels, chairs, beds, shelves, the top of the refrigerator, these all belong to the cat now. You are just going to have to find another place to put those picture frames.
- Speaking of photos, any you take in the home are all going to include your cat. They practically invented the concept of photobombing. You may think you are snapping a shot of Aunt Margaret standing by the window but if you give it a closer look, you’ll probably spot your kitty hovering somewhere.
- You may have heard that cats are very clean animals. This is definitely true. Unfortunately, this obsession with neatness and grooming causes some not-s0-tidy consequences. There is nothing like the sound of a cat puking up a hairball at three o’clock in the morning. Especially when you know the cat is somewhere between you and the light switch. And your feet are bare.
- Your dog probably greets you at the door with a wagging tail and a lolling tongue. Your cat will greet you too but more likely with a sneer and an accusatory meow. If you have low self-esteem, a cat may not be for you.
- If you are a man, a cat will get you far too much attention from the opposite sex. Any doubters can just ask my PH. Heterosexual females should check out I Have Cat’s Man Cat Monday and I bet they’ll have to agree. What male wants countless women hanging around his front door or begging for his phone number? What a hassle.
- Finally, cats are beautiful creatures with individual personalities and many gifts to share. They deserve just as much love and affection as a dog and if you don’t think you can provide this, then it’s probably best you steer clear. There are enough neglectful cat owners out there, the world doesn’t need another cat abandoned on the street because a human wasn’t prepared for the responsibility of a pet.
So what do you think? Have I changed your mind? If you are brave enough to take the risk and willing to lose your heart to a feline friend, - snobbish ways, puke, and all – the right one is just a few clicks away.
I’ve been waiting for the right time to talk about this and I guess an endorsement from CNN’s Anderson Cooper is as good a time as any. In October the mayoral seat of the Halifax Regional Municipality, my municipality, will be up for election. There is one adorable candidate who has stolen a great deal of the media attention. Tuxedo Stan, a formerly feral kitten, is the official leader of the Tuxedo Party and is using the civic election to spread awareness about the plight of cats in the community.
He’s quite the handsome guy, isn’t he? Unfortunately, by-laws being what they are, cats aren’t allowed on the ballot. Which is too bad as I bet he can give one heck of a speech. He’d certainly increase viewership of the televised council meetings.
I think the idea is brilliant and I am so thrilled the people behind this have been successful at attracting large-scale attention. It’s not about winning the race but about education. As I’ve harangued everyone who reads this site, there is a massively massive stray and feral cat problem in my city. Massively. Massive. It’s impossible to say how many cats there are living outside in the 5,491 km² that make up the HRM. We just don’t know and there is no way to track. Other than private groups like the Tuxedo Party, there is no one willing to take up the cause. Unlike with dogs, there is no pound for cats at large. If you find a stray cat and the shelters are full, there is no where for the cat to go but back on the street.
Stan is just one three-year-old cat born from a feral mother. He represents so much more. Even though he found a home before he had to learn to fend for himself, most cats born in similar circumstances do not. I think we need more positive campaigns like this one and more beautiful success stories. Looking at Stan’s picture, it’s pretty hard to imagine a cutie like him scrounging for food under a garbage truck. Yet that could have been his fate.
And he isn’t just standing up for cats in Halifax. Here is a quote from his Facebook page:
“I feel very fortunate to live in Catopia. I’ve never known hunger, cold or abuse. I sleep in a warm, cozy bed every night. I get to play in a safe fenced yard every day. Unfortunately, there are cats all over the world who aren’t so lucky. You can help by donating money or time to a local rescue group.”
Personally, I’d vote in cats for every council position. They couldn’t be worse than some humans who’ve taken the job. My one qualm is a concern for the dogs. I don’t know that I trust a feline-controlled government to keep up the lovely dog parks we have in the region. Perhaps a coalition between the two would bring the best results.
Pet adoption is something that has been important to me ever since I brought my goofy dog home from the Provincial Animal Shelter in Dartmouth. In the last three years I have become a lot more aware of animal welfare issues in general. I have been lucky enough to see firsthand how shelters and rescues change the lives of countless animals and the humans who take a chance on them. There is nothing I’d love more than to contribute to this important cause in a more meaningful way.
It’s impossible for me to think about pet adoption these days without thinking about cats. I could go into the sob story of how there are more stray cats in North America than there are cats living in homes. The numbers are dizzying, especially when you read Alley Cat Allies’ estimate that 70% of cats who actually make it to a shelter are euthanized.
But one does not solve a problem by dwelling on the negative. Instead, I’d rather celebrate the success of missions like Iams’ Home 4 the Holidays, which has helped over 7 million families find loving pets through adoption, and look into ways these numbers can be increased.
Over the last few months I have taken the plight of cats on as a personal mission. In my community dogs always seem to find themselves a home, one way or another. It’s the cats who are left behind to fend for themselves. Realizing that these beautiful animals are disastrously under-valued by society at large, I am trying to come up with ways to change their reputation. Humans seem to have this notion that cats are too independent to make great pets. Other than killing vermin, we don’t acknowledge any of their useful skills.
If any species is in need of a publicist, it is the cat.
It is my goal to get people to consider cats with a fresh perspective. If I win the trip to BarkWorld, I intend to learn as much as I can about marketing and public relations in order to broadcast the brilliant talents of the feline. To show you what I’ve come up with so far, and to prove I am in need of a lot of help, I put together this video.
Thanks go to BarkWorld and Iams Home 4 the Holidays for this opportunity. Even if I don’t win, I still intend on working hard to improve the reputation of cats. My dream is to see a day in which the only place to adopt a cat is from a shelter or rescue.
If you want to get good and depressed, check out the free section on Kijiji.ca. I recently took a browse through there hoping to find a cheap dresser – apparently I have way too many clothes – but immediately became sidetracked by the overwhelming number of cats and kittens listed as “free to a good home.” Such advertisements probably amount to at least 30 percent of the free space. I was so dismayed, I even took this screen shot to show you.
Right after doing so I threw a blanket over my head and cried.
The current cat situation is just… I don’t even know. I mean, after seeing the HBO movie One Nation Under Dog on the weekend I realized the dog situation is even worse than I thought. And I’d thought it was pretty freaking bad. If dogs are still being left to die on the street in North America, if the animals our society actually kinda values are still treated like garbage, how much more awful is it for cats?
I know for a fact my municipality doesn’t give a rat’s ass about felines. Wait, I am wrong, that is exactly what they give. Cats in this community are on the level of vermin. They have no protection in our by-laws whatsoever. The only mention has to do with nuisance issues. Cats only factor in slightly higher than mice, just below pigeons. Maybe one step higher than mosquitoes, but certainly well below raccoons.
Okay, I am being slightly facetious. I hardly believe there should be a hierarchy of animals in the human value system. But when the zero dollar worth we attribute to cats is so blatantly displayed as it was in the Kijiji ads, it makes me a little crazy. I don’t think it needs to be said – but I’ll say it anyway -I saw no free dog ads in my search.
What does “free to a good home” even mean? How does a potential cat owner prove oneself? If no money changes hands, no papers are signed, it’s not like they owe anyone anything. In my opinion a good home for a cat is one which will at least get said cat spayed or neutered, on top of the usual food, water, shelter requirements.
I’ll admit freely, I am guilty of spending more time and money on my dog than on my cat. It’s not fair in the slightest. The manager of the pet store even brought it up when I was talking to him about food. He said he is always stunned when people bring the most expensive raw dog food up to the counter and then place a bag of Friskies beside it.
There are historical reasons for this, obviously. Dogs have been domesticated much longer than cats. Dogs are our friends, our helpers, our protectors. Originally, we only kept cats because they killed the things we didn’t want around. Selective breeding in dogs has been a practice for centuries. Most cat breeds are less than thirty years old and the breeds are based almost solely on appearance.
Yes, I know. I’ve droned on and on about the plight of cats many times before. Maybe it’s partly guilt for ignorantly disliking them for so long, maybe I just hope if I keep talking about them I’ll come up with a world-changing solution. But how does one raise the value of an entire species when we can’t even get people to stop hating on dogs with square heads?
This post was a lot less useful than I wanted it to be. I promise there will be at least ten percent less complaining tomorrow.