Cat Project Archives for May 22-26,
22, 2017 - "I am as vigilant as a cat to steal cream." -
William Shakespeare, Henry IV
Gratuitous Kute Kittiness: "Which function key is for kitty treats?"
Mewvie: Kitty serves himself.
Feline Art: Cat painting
by Suzanne Lamb.
by Maggie Paley
Cats aren’t easy to groom. They have sharp teeth and claws, and
an outsize estimation of their own dignity. Nevertheless, if they’re
longhaired, and the hair gets matted, something must be done.
The first time Felix, my black longhaired cat, got groomed, Howard Bedor,
a premier cat groomer, came to the apartment. Mr. Bedor, who died in
2014, was the official groomer for five Madison Square Garden cat shows.
When he wasn’t working with shows, he made house calls. He specialized
in uncooperative clients.
He brought a small suitcase on wheels to my apartment, unwrapped his
equipment and dressed himself: three sets of sleeves for his forearms,
two pairs of gloves and a pair of scratched-up yellow mitts, along with
a white plastic apron covered with cat drawings. “My hands are
extremely quick from the wrist down, almost as fast as a martial artist,” he
said of the protective gear in a video about him called “Pure Fluff.” “But
I’m still not quicker than a cat.”
Then he went after Felix, who was hiding in the closet. Felix screamed
all the way to the kitchen table, where Mr. Bedor fitted him with an “Elizabethan
collar” — a clear plastic funnel enclosing his head — and
went to work combing and cutting. Felix continued to yell, until he saw
his opening and leapt off the table. Mr. Bedor caught him midair, plopping
him back down.
One of the buzzer attachments sitting on top of cat hair. Credit Vincent
Tullo for The New York Times
If Mr. Bedor enjoyed the man-on-cat combat during his grooming sessions,
Elly Wong — Felix’s current stylist, and the proprietor of
Towne House Grooming and Pet Supplies in Chelsea — takes a gentler,
more stoic approach. She specializes in the stylish lion cut: Their bodies
are shaved; their heads, the tips of their tails and the bootees on the
bottoms of their legs remain furry. The scratches on her arms and hands,
she said, are “all from cats.”
Ms. Wong doesn’t wear gloves but keeps her distance when possible.
And if the cat gets too ornery, she will stop. This barehanded approach
has its costs: One cat gave her a bite that got infected, putting her
in the hospital.
All five tables in the Towne House grooming room are fitted with L-shape
poles. Each has a colorful, adjustable cotton grooming loop dangling
from it. Ms. Wong chose a table and put Felix’s head in the loop. “If
they have something around their necks they feel safer,” she said. “Also,
they can’t jump off the table.”
She clipped his nails, then began shaving him. He was fine until she
approached his sensitive areas. When he complained, she fitted him with
an Elizabethan collar and continued shaving.
Felix yelled, hissed, wailed and showed his fangs. Ms. Wong kept telling
him she was sorry. He seemed unimpressed.
Biggie getting a lion cut, in which a cat’s body is shaved but
its head, the tip of its tail and the bootees on the bottoms of the legs
stay furry. Credit Vincent Tullo for The New York Times
Ms. Wong showed me two muzzles — one of hard plastic, one of mesh — that
can be placed over a cat’s mouth and eyes. “When they can’t
see, it calms them down,” she said. “But some cats are so
afraid, they’re desperate, and they really need to go to the vet.
The one cat we couldn’t groom recently left two groomers bleeding.
One of them had to get stitches. We took the cat to the vet, and I shaved
it down after it was sedated.”
On another afternoon at Towne House, Mibo, a ginger tabby, was well behaved
while Wanda Malloy clipped his nails and combed out piles of hair. Then
she carried him to a huge industrial sink, putting his head into one
grooming loop and his front paws into another. As soon as she turned
on the water, he tried to jump out of the sink. She caught him. He leapt
again, mewing pitifully. Ms. Wong took over, grasping him firmly by the
neck to finish his bath.
Not all cats are temperamental. The same day, Biggie, who lives at Towne
House, willingly submitted to a lion cut shaving, even around his belly
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Jemina Garay, who grooms and cares for cats in their homes, worked for
years as a technician in a veterinary clinic, where aggressive cats were
sedated before shaving. It doesn’t seem weird, she said, to give
a lion cut to an unconscious animal. “Once you’re trained
for it, you just do it,” she explained.
When she makes house calls, she uses a towel and not a muzzle, as some
groomers do, relying on her medical handling techniques to subdue the
animal. “If the cat is rambunctious, I swaddle it,” she said, “although
that slows down the procedure.”
Most cats fight back. Dogs look to their masters for approval. Cats prefer
In the “Pure Fluff” video, Mr. Bedor visits two cat-centric
households. In one of them, there is a plaque on the wall that reads, “The
cat from hell lives here.”
23, 2017 - "Who needs television when you have cats?" -
Gratuitous Kittiness: "Say cheese? How about I say 'mousies'"?
Mewvie: Blind cat is a genius.
Feline Art: "Angry Cat"
by Oscar Vautherin.
24, 2017 - "People who love cats have some of the
biggest hearts around."
- Susan Easterly
Gratuitous Kittiness: Gingers are beautiful people, too.
Mewvie: All you need is kittens.
Komic: 9 Chickweed Lane
Art: "Siddie" by Rachel Schlueter.
linked to aggression and other abnormal behaviors
Declaw surgery (onychectomy) is illegal in many countries but is still
a surprisingly common practice in some. It is performed electively to
stop cats from damaging furniture, or as a means of avoiding scratches.
Previous research has focused on short-term issues following surgery,
such as lameness, chewing of toes and infection, but the long-term health
effects of this procedure have not to date been investigated.
According to research published today in the Journal of Feline Medicine
and Surgery*, declawing increases the risk of long-term or persistent
pain, manifesting as unwanted behaviors such as inappropriate elimination
(soiling/urinating outside of the litter box) and aggression/biting.
This is not only detrimental to the cat (pain is a major welfare issue
and these behaviors are common reasons for relinquishment of cats to
shelters), but also has health implications for their human companions,
as cat bites can be serious.
For the study, the author group, based in North America, investigated
a total of 137 non-declawed cats and 137 declawed cats, of which 33 were
declawed on all four feet. All 274 cats were physically examined for
signs of pain and barbering (excessive licking or chewing of fur) and
their medical history was reviewed for unwanted behaviors. They found
that inappropriate toileting, biting, aggression and overgrooming occurred
significantly more often in the declawed cats than the non-declawed cats
(roughly 7, 4, 3 and 3 times more often, respectively, based on the calculated
odds ratio). A declawed cat was also almost 3 times more likely to be
diagnosed with back pain than a non-declawed cat (potentially due to
shortening of the declawed limb and altered gait, and/or chronic pain
at the site of the surgery causing compensatory weight shift to the pelvic
The surgical guideline for performing declawing, as recommended by Diplomates
of the American College of Veterinary Surgeons, is to remove the entire
third phalanx (P3), which is the most distal bone of the toe. Despite
this, P3 fragments were found in 63% of the declawed cats in this study,
reflecting poor or inappropriate surgical technique. While the occurrence
of back pain and abnormal behaviors was increased in these cats, the
authors emphasize that even optimal surgical technique does not eliminate
the risks. They explain that removal of the distal phalanges forces the
cat to bear weight on the soft cartilaginous ends of the middle phalanges
(P2) that were previously shielded within joint spaces. Pain in these
declawed phalanges prompts cats to choose a soft surface, such as carpet,
in preference to the gravel-type substrate in the litter box; additionally,
a painful declawed cat may react to being touched by resorting to biting
as it has few or no claws left to defend itself with.
Lead author of the paper Nicole Martell-Moran, a veterinary practitioner
in a cat-only clinic in Houston, Texas, USA, comments: 'The result of
this research reinforces my opinion that declawed cats with unwanted
behaviors may not be "bad cats", they may simply need pain
management. We now have scientific evidence that declawing is more detrimental
to our feline patients than we originally thought and I hope this study
becomes one of many that will lead veterinarians to reconsider declawing
25, 2017 - "The key to a successful new relationship
between a cat and human is patience."
- Susan Easterly
Gratuitous Kittiness: "Derp-derp-de-derple."
Mewvie: Cats rule in Istanbul.
Feline Art: "Cat Doodles" by Matt Hawkis
26, 2017 - "It is impossible for a lover of cats to
banich these alert , gentle, and discriminating little
friends, who give us just enough of their regard and complaisance
to make us hunger for more."
- Agnes Repplier
Gratuitous Kittiness: "Soon."
Mewvie: Do cats miss us when we leave?
Feline Art: "Mosey" by Rachel Schlueter.
pouches to socialize feral kittens.
by Caitlin Jill Anders
When a kitten is feral and is rescued young enough, it’s totally
possible to get him used to people and turn him into an amazing family
pet. It can take a little time, though, and so one shelter came up with
a way to make the process way faster and a lot more fun.
Ten years ago, staffers at the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) were
having a conversation about feral cats with a volunteer who was a professional
seamstress. Feral kittens 4 months and younger can be socialized into
friendly, loving family members, but they need a lot of exposure to people,
which can take up a lot of time that shelter staffers simply might not
have. They needed a way to multi-task — and that’s how the
idea for the “Kitten Bjorn” was born.
Animal Rescue League of Boston
A Babybjörn is a type of baby carrier where a parent can carry her
baby around, strapped to her body, and a Kitten Bjorn works exactly the
same way. It’s essentially a vest that staff and volunteers can
wear that has a little mesh pouch on the front for kittens to sit in,
so that they can experience the world around them while whoever is carrying
them goes about their daily duties.
“The idea was to have something that allow the kittens to socialize, and
be hands-free, thus allowing staff and volunteers to multi-task (answering phones,
talking with clients etc.),” Michael DeFina, communications and media relations
officer at ARL Boston, told The Dodo. “The design allows the kitten to
be flooded with stimuli in a safe way while being constantly monitored by whoever
is wearing the vest. Three were made and we are looking to make more.”
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ARL has been using the vests for the past seven years, and it’s
hoping to make more vests so it can continue using them for years to
come. Since ARL started using the vests, the process of socializing feral
kittens has gotten so much faster — so fast, in fact, that now
feral kittens are ready for adoption in just 48 hours, and sometimes
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“Turnaround for socialization can be fairly quick, with the sign of success
being when the kitten begins to purr,” DeFina said. “Sometimes a
kitten will begin purring after just an hour, sometimes it takes a couple of
days, but during the seven years of their use, they have shown to be effective
in trying to quickly socialize kittens.”
The vests are not only a fantastic way to socialize the kittens and get
them ready for adoption, but they also help to save lives. The faster
a feral kitten is socialized, the faster she can be adopted out, which
frees up space for another animal to be rescued and adopted.
The vests are also, of course, insanely adorable, which is a major perk.