Archive for January, 2009

posted by Michel on Jan 13

Absolutely not! The number of places where such a balance (let alone “nature”) exists are increasingly rare in the modern world. Let’s not forget that humankind is in fact the only species on this planet that keeps breeding irrespective of adverse conditions such as e.g. prolonged famine. All other species have a natural regulatory mechanism that prevent births in such conditions until things are looking up. What I mean to say is that nature is very well capable of looking after itself. Hunting therefore is purely for “pleasure” nowadays. You will find that hunters claim they only “control” populations that would otherwise turn into “pests”. Not so! Considering there is very little natural habitat left these days, arguably it’s us that may be considered the pest. Hunting is certainly no sport, since the victims stand no chance at all against the advanced long range weaponry that is used against them. That’s not sport, it’s masacre!

Well, that’s my personal view anyway. But you don’t have to take my word for it. Check out this interesting web site for some interesting opinions: Edenbridge Town or this one: League Against Cruel Sports which has facts on “pest-control”.

posted by Michel on Jan 2

Happy New Year everyone!

I’d like to start the new year with how to introduce a new cat into your home. We’ve done this quite a few times now and most recently, twice over the past festive season.

Felines can be hard to understand at times. One of such times is invariably when you need to introduce a new cat into your home. If the new cat is the first of its kind, there aren’t really any problems. However, if you have other furry felines that have already taken possession of your abode, you have a challenge ahead of you! Most of them will not take kindly to the “intruder”.

Disclaimer: Although the method describes below has worked for us many times, it does depend on the individual characters of the cats involved, so your mileage may vary.

Here goes:

  • Prepare a separate room with food, water, a cat toilet and a nice warm spot to rest (the cat, that is!)
  • The new cat should enter the house in a proper travel cage, rather than trying to hold to him or her by hand. To gauge reactions, place the cage in the living room and see what happens. They will all hiss at each other or make other noise. Good! Now they all know that something’s up.
  • Show the new cat to his of her own room and close the door so the poor thing can get a bit of rest and start exploring his own domain. Do enter the room frequently and give the newcomer some loving attention and treats. Keep the room closed for a few days.
  • After a few days, leave the door open during the day. This is a critical phase because if you have a very avid “defender” in the house, he or she will try to scare away the intruder. But by now the new cat should know his surroundings enough to withstand all but the most violent reactions.
  • Depending on the new cat’s disposition, it will carefully start exploring the surroundings outside of its now familiar domain, running into the other residents occasionally. Intervene only when violence breaks out, hissing and screaming is OK.
  • After about a week, you may start thinking about leaving the door open full time. In case of very good progression, move the cat toilet outside of the room, towards where it would normally be kept. You may also start feeding now in the usual place. Just like with humans, wining and dining together strengthens the bonds.
  • After two weeks, the new cat will be moving more freely around the house although it still feels most comfortable in its own room. If you’re lucky, it might even find a few spots where it can rest without being bothered by the rest of the gang. In fact, friendships might start to develop already.
  • If necessary, stimulate a more hesitant cat to leave the room by placing the toilet and foods and drinks outside, progressively more towards where these items would be situated normally.

Well, that’s about it really. Everyone should now be (fairly) happy and on terms with the new status quo.

There are other tricks too that perhaps I should mention. I never felt the need to use them, but in case of poor results they might help:

  • Rub the newcomer with a towel. Now rub all resident cats with that same towel. This mingles their specific odours and creates a “group” odour which helps them accept each other’s presence.
  • On a similar note, exchange the cat toilets with the one(s) the resident cats use.
  • Lock the resident cats in a separate room (it could even be the one that the new cat’s been in) so the newcomer has the chance to get to know his way around the house.
  • Place one of the cats inside a travel cage in the living room, so the other(s) can sniff out the surroundings. Alternate with the new cat and the resident one(s).
  • Most cats will find kittens easier to accept, but don’t let that stop you from taking in an adult cat.