Our Newsletter is produced 3 times a year. You can be add be added onto our free mailing list. Please let us know by contacting us. The following are various extracts.
A recent story in the press shows that a dog is not just a man’s best friend but a little girl’s as well.
To look at her, Shirley looks like any other dog but this
Rebecca is a pupil at the
If Shirley’s sensitive nose detects something is wrong she will lick Rebecca continuously to warn her. If Rebecca doesn’t respond, she will go and fetch the medical testing kit and alert the teacher.As Rebecca’s condition can deteriorate very quickly resulting in a coma, having Shirley as her best mate and guardian is a real life saver
You have probably never given a second thought to how your cat laps water from his bowl. If you have, you probably came to the conclusion that it was a very inefficient method of drinking. But you would be wrong. A survey by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Virgina Tech and Princeton University in America, have discovered just how sophisticated the science of lapping is.
The system your little puss uses is hydronamics, which creates just the correct balance between inertia and gravity. Basically the cat uses his tongue as a ladle extending it towards the water and then curling the end of it slightly to capture the liquid.
Using slow motion, the researchers discovered that the cat brushes the surface of the water with the curled tip of its tongue, and then quickly withdraws it. This causes a column of liquid to form between the tongue and the surface of the water. The cat then closes it jaws capturing the column of water. The cat has to close its mouth at exactly the right time or the water will fall back into the bowl.
A domestic cat laps approximately four times per second capturing 0.1 ml of liquid at a time. But this all depends on the size and speed of the tongue. What clever, efficient animals!
There are various reasons why people give over their cats and kittens to us for re-homing. One that is sometimes mentioned is Toxoplasmosis. Although this can on rare occasions be a dangerous disease, it is easily preventable by basic hygiene.
Toxoplasmosis, is caused by a common parasite which can be found in all mammal and bird species, although it is quite rare in the
The main source of infection is via faeces of a cat that is infected. To avoid this, simply wear rubber gloves when cleaning litter trays and when gardening as you may come into contact with the parasite if your cat goes to the toilet outdoors. Always, of course, wash your hand thoroughly afterwards.
The other ways to catch Toxoplasmosis is by eating infected undercooked meat (particularly pig, lamb or deer) or by having an organ transplant where the donor was infected.
To cut down the risk of your cat being infected, do not feed them undercooked meat and try to prevent them from hunting, which is how cats contract most of their illnesses.
As has already been mentioned, Toxoplasmosis a very rare disease and is preventable but, if you think you are at risk, there are drug treatments available. So please consider how unlikely the chances are of getting Toxoplasmosis before you abandon your animal. Your cat is, after all, part of your family.
It is the accepted opinion that cats are totally carnivorous but this is not strictly true. For, although this is the bulk of their diet, it is also recommended that they should eat a certain proportion of vegetable fibre as well. Surprisingly, one thing that cats, and dogs for that matter, seem to require is grass. This seems to be needed to retain a healthy digestive system.
If your cat is an outdoor cat you may not notice this as it will probably be off grazing out of sight. If you have a house cat that you do not let out due to living near a busy road, for example, and it has always been perfectly happy being a house cat and then suddenly it starts standing impatiently by the door, it may not be because it wants a complete change of lifestyle and wants to go out on the town. It might simply need to eat some grass.
If you supply your cat with a clump of the green stuff it will very probably and quickly be sick. Don’t be alarmed, this is the point. This is why your cat wants to eat grass in the first place. He wants to rid his body of undigested food and toxins. In our experience the minute he has been sick, he will go about his normal business and not sit pining at the door again until he needs another fix of grass.
It was, in fact, one of our own cats, Raisin, who brought this to our attention and, in the process we consider, helped us cure a batch of kittens of bad diarrhoea, which can be very dangerous in young kittens. In severe cases, however they de-hydrate and must be brought to your vet urgently as it may need to be put on a drip.
Our usually happy, if mischievous, Raisin is a house cat like all our own cats but he suddenly started rushing out the back door into the courtyard and then scanned the environment as if in search of something. He found a small clump of grass and started gnawing at it. We got him back inside and within 10 minutes had had been sick and there was quite clearly bit of fur in it. He had obviously overindulged in the preening department and had started to get a fur ball. The grass obviously helped him get rid of it. After that he was back to his usual, energetic, playful self.
This made us think that maybe grass might alleviate the digestive problems of our kittens. But rather than just give them blades of grass we gave them a formula called ‘green powder’ which contains barley grass extract but also a host of other healthy ingredient such as alfalfa, spirulina, kelp, chlorella and various vitamins. Within 24 hours the diarrhoea had drastically reduced. Moreover, where before they had been quite lethargic, they now had endless supplies of energy and were climbing up the walls, clambering onto window ledges and generally rushing around all over the place.
We continued to give them the green powder every day for another week and they began to put on weight as well. By the end of that period they were delightfully chubby and extremely boisterous just the way healthy kittens should be.
So if your cat has digestive problems, or even just as a preventative measure to keep him healthy, try him with some green powder. The brand we used was from Holland and Barrett but you can get all sorts of other variations on the internet.
In a recent article in the Daily Mail, it estimates the number of abandoned cats in the United Kingdom as between seven and ten million. This figure will, no doubt, shock you. But, being involved in animal welfare it doesn’t surprise us at 7th Heaven.
The reasons given by owners as to why they need to get their cat re-homed have always been manifold. They range from people leaving the country who can’t take the cats with them, to ones simply moving into rented accommodation where the landlord does not permit pets; from people whose children have been diagnosed, rightly or wrongly, with cat allergies, to people who have been cajoled by over zealous health workers into abandoning their cats due to them greatly exaggerating the miniscule health threat cats pose to their newborn babies. Then there are elderly owners who die and whose remaining family members are unwilling or unable to look after their cats or those whose cats are unwell and can’t afford the sometimes financially crippling, vet costs.
There are also those owners who simply don’t care. They move on and leave their cat to roam the streets pitifully searching for food and affection. Their kitten grows into a cat and is no longer cute enough for them. Their cat scratches a chair leg and is unceremoniously dumped into the street. The cat, due to its owner’s apathy, fails to get it neutered and then throws it out to fend for itself when it becomes pregnant. Their personal circumstances change and they want a more active social life and view their cat as an unnecessary hindrance. Their cat living too long (who knew they could live up to 25 years!) and a younger model seems more enticing.
Cats have always been neglected and abandoned but the public turning their backs en-masse, on, what used to be our feline friends, is a new phenomenon. Over the last few months we have seen a sharp decline in the number of calls or e-mails from people wanting cats and this, according to the Daily Mail article, appears to be replicated UK wide. It appears the public just don’t like cats any more.
This is both tragic and mysterious as cats are absolutely fabulous.
Take some of our own cats for example. There is a Twilight (aka Twiggers), a grey and white male. His eyes are frequently as wide as dinner plates as if everything seems new and wondrous to him on a daily basis. He looks like a startled possum most of the time. His favourite place is the kitchen where he is a bit of an opportunist as he sticks his head into the fridge the moment the door opens in attempt to purloin the milk.
Then there is Bumble (aka Bee), a tortoiseshell. She has an endearing, little purr and an equally endearing, if occasionally painful, penchant for using your trouser leg as a scratch post as she greets you every morning and rubs her scent on you.
Peterkin (aka Gummy Bear) is a grey and white male. His moniker is based on the fact he has no teeth, hence gummy, and that he clings on to you like a koala bear on a Eucalyptus tree.
Next we have
We have Chester (aka Cheshire), the big ginger boy, who, as his alternative sobriquet implies, seems to be always smiling like his namesake in Wonderland. He is obviously a Zen master as he just sits purring contentedly all day in a state of meditative bliss.
Next, we have Raisin (aka Monkey). He is sleek, black and, as his appellation suggests, a cheeky monkey. If you leave open a drawer, a cupboard door or a cardboard box he’ll be in there pronto. He also has the rather strange predilection for sucking and nibbling your ears.
Next we have Cookie (aka Sweet Pea or Crumble), who is a little, black and white female. She is the matriarch of the cat household as she has been with us the longest. Despite her tiny stature she can be quite feisty. She has an even more bizarre fetish than Raisin. She likes to nibble your eyebrows.
Then there is Panini (aka Nini Bread). The bread part comes from the fact that when we rescued her she was living on bread crumbs thrown out for the pigeons. She was quite timid at first but now loves being stroked. She is the most intelligent one because when it comes to feeding time she sits on a chair with her own plate, aloof from the fray and doesn’t bother with all that palaver of working out whose dish belongs to whom.
Finally there is Amazon (aka Ami) who likes to survey everything from her favourite place, on top of the fridge. She is definitely the greedy one of the bunch and is caught quite frequently making off with a pouch of food if we are ever careless enough to leave one lying about. Like her siblings, Raisin and Cookie, she also has a strange idiosyncrasy - she likes flicking females’ ponytails with her nose.
So there you have the complete Who’s Who of our feline family. As you can see, they are all unique with their own individual personalities. And they are all very special. So go on, spread the word. Tell everyone - cats are wonderful and an absolute joy to own. Try to persuade them of the pleasures of re-homing a cat. They won’t regret it!
Last year the British spent over £11 billion on food and accessories for their pets and the figure is likely to rise this year. There are various reasons suggested for this. One is that, as we become more obsessed with style and more fashion conscious, we want our pets to be fashionable too so we are buying them all the latest toys and gadgets. As top celebrities are frequently photographed with their pets in tow, so the general public want to emulate these stars and buy their animals the latest ‘must have' accessories. Another reason for the increased expenditure on our pets is guilt. As more and more hours are spent at work, we are indulging our pets more and more when we finally get home to spend some quality time with them.
Japan is, unsurprisingly, at the forefront for pet products. Some the latest best sellers are electronic toys, mobile phones that can be clipped on to your dog's collar and a cat video recorder that is operated by a remote control that smells of fish – when activated it allows your cat to watch pictures of scampering mice whilst listening to a chorus of birdsong.
It's not just toys, though, that are popular with the pet-owning public. Just as we love to pamper ourselves so we enjoy nothing more than pampering our pets. Moisturisers, fragranced pet wipes and pet perfumes are all selling well. We are even treating our animals to aromatherapy. But the latest craze to sweep the country is dog yoga or ‘doga'. Yes, if your dog goes bananas at the sound of a postman or charges after cars as if it's barking mad, a trip to the gym for a spot of doga might be the very thing to calm it down and allow it to find its inner dog.
From ancient times it has been believed that animals can predict earthquakes. In 373 B.C., days before the Greek city of Helice was destroyed by an earthquake, contemporary historians reported that rats, snakes and weasels all deserted the city and its environs. Similar reports of strange animal behaviour have been reported throughout the centuries.
Two main theories have been put forward to account for this. The first is that animals, whose senses are much more acute than ours, can hear or feel the vibrations in the earth long before the quake hits. The other is that they can detect electromagnetic anomalies in the atmosphere caused by the shifting of the planet's tectonic plates.
A study carried out in Japan suggested that erratic canine behaviour such as excessive barking could be successfully used to predict earthquakes. In China , too, they have been studying the phenomenon. It has been claimed that the successful evacuation of Haicheng in 1975, days before an earthquake of magnitude 7.3 struck, was based partly on strange animal behaviour noted at the time.
Some of the most common forms of erratic animal behaviour involve dogs howling, caged birds becoming very restless and cats acting nervously and hiding. However, there have also been cases of chickens stopping laying eggs and bees swarming from their hives.
After the terrible devastation of the Asian tsunami, reports have come out of animals acting very strangely beforehand. Eyewitness accounts tell of dogs refusing to go outdoors, elephants stampeding to higher ground, zoo animals hiding in their shelters and flamingos abandoning their low-lying feeding grounds. Bats were also seen to be taking flight hours before the tsunami hit the coast. The president of the Sri Lankan Wildlife Conservation Society visited Yala National Park after the event. The park was one of the most badly damaged areas in Sri Lanka . The president said that very few animal corpses of any kind were discovered there suggesting that they sensed the impending disaster and fled beforehand.
Meanwhile, reports of strange animal behaviour before earthquakes continues throughout the world. Perhaps if more attention is paid to them and more credit given to animals' intelligence, accurate prediction of earthquakes may someday be possible.
Little bundles of feline fur or little podgy packets of puppishness. That's what one usually envisages when contemplating getting a new kitten or puppy. And, of course, that's what they are. All cuddly cuteness and frolicking fur.
But they are also mischievous, little beasts that could leave your freshly-laundered curtains looking the victim of a Freddy Krueger tantrum or could pee a puddle the size of the Sargasso sea on to your recently purchased Axminster. Obviously, these should only be minor inconveniences and should be more than adequately compensated for by the pleasures of being the owner of a little canine companion or a feline friend. Nonetheless, it is something to consider when thinking about getting a pet.
If you are not filled with joy at the prospect of your furniture being transformed into strips of spaghetti or you best pair of shoes being mistaken for a chew toy, perhaps you should think about giving a home to an older animal. This would prove to mutually beneficial to both parties.
Older animals are frequently overlooked in animal sanctuaries and can linger there for years. They are often overlooked by the public who see owning a younger animal as much more enjoyable. Yet older animals are frequently better behaved, easier house-trained and have as much love to give as their younger counterparts. And what could be more fulfilling that giving a home to an older cat or dog that would otherwise probably stay behind bars in a shelter for the rest of its life.
So instead of subjecting an animal to a life sentence, why not give it a new life. Not only would it bring you years of pleasure.