Cat on the Keyboard

Author Christine Church's Musings, Books and Stuff…

Cat Agility: The New American Sport

Written By: chriscat65 - Sep• 06•12

Back in the 1980’s, I used to train and show my Doberman pinscher in obedience. Agility was on the high end of the obedience scale, and we never got that far due to my dog’s back issues, but it was always fun to watch.

Though I love all animals, I have always been more of a cat person than a dog person, and now I can enjoy watching cats in agility, which, in my opinion, they are much more suited for than most dogs. Cats are lithe and flexible in ways that dogs are not. This makes them absolutely amazing in running obstacles and flying about in agility competitions.

Cat agility is becoming more and more popular at cat shows around the country. One such cat agility trainer is Anthony Hutcherson, who trains the Bagel cats he breeds in Maryland.

Modeled after canine agility competitions, the tournaments feature a ring in which cat owners — some of whom have trained their pets from kittenhood — brandish a feather or sparkly wand to try to coax a cat to climb stairs, weave around poles and leap through hoops in as little time as possible.

“You have to get the cat to focus on the toy,” said Hutcherson, who raises his cats in Port Tobacco, Md., and whose oldest cat, Justin, has run the course in nine seconds. “Cats will pretty much chase a feather on a string anywhere.” [source]

Cats are reputed to be un-trainable, but this is untrue. Cats are simply not trained in the same manner as dogs. Cats do not respond to a simple pat on the head as a reward. Usually, food is used as an enticement and fun interactive toys such a feathers.

Cats love to jump high, play hard and run fast. I have a feeling cat agility is the sport of the future. Please click here for Photos and slideshows of  cats in action!

Doctor’s Hero Cat Rescued from Fire

Written By: chriscat65 - Jul• 26•12

Satin was one cat rescued from a large Missouri apartment building fire

An apartment fire in St. Louis took the lives of many pets, but for Dr. Elizabeth Schmidt, relief came four days later when her rescued, one-eyed cat named Satin was reunited with her thanks to the Humane Society of Missouri.

The fire broke out Tuesday night at the four-story, 197-unit apartment complex on Lindell Boulevard in the city’s Central West End. No residents were injured but two firefighters were treated for heat exhaustion. The cause of the fire has not been determined. The building has been deemed a total loss. [source]
Schmidt was coming home from dinner with friend last Tuesday night when she saw the fire. Many animals, particularly cats, were trapped inside the building and unfortunately many did not make it, some are still missing. A memorial outside the building told the sad tale of the unlucky ones.

Toto the Tornado Kitten

Written By: chriscat65 - Jun• 13•12

Toto is aptly named. Rescued after being taken by a tornado last year in Brimfield, Massachusetts, Toto was rescued and adopted and now has his own book. You can read about Toto and see his photos here. http://www.examiner.com/article/toto-the-tornado-kitten

Toto

Toto, who survived a tornado, tells his tale in his book.

Keep Free Roaming Cats off the Streets

Written By: chriscat65 - May• 10•12

When I wrote my book, House Cat, How to Keep Your Indoor Cat Sane & Sound, it was the mid-1990’s and the movement to keep cats indoors was not completely new (believe it or not, people have been keeping indoor cats since the beginning of the domestication of cats), but was spreading throughout the world.

My book at the time was innovative. The whole point was to create an environment perfect to the cat’s needs based on the cat’s nature, thinking and desires.

Since the publication of the first book (the Revised Edition came out in 2005), keeping cats indoors has become extremely popular, and those who believed cats needed free roam have become the minority. This is good for cats, as there are less disasters from outdoor dangers.

But what many “outdoor cat” advocates do not realize is that this is good for humans as well. Back in 2009, I wrote an article about cats being “mini ecological disasters.” This was simply one observation based on a few words quoted by a TV chanracter, however the truth behind it is astonishing.

Read the Rest: http://www.examiner.com/article/keep-free-roaming-cats-off-the-street

Yes, They Really Did Race Cats

Written By: chriscat65 - Apr• 03•12

In my Hartford Horses Examiner column, I often discuss horse racing and the problems associated with racing horses, a sport that has grown in a multi-billion dollar industry. But, what about cat racing? Never heard of it? Well, at one time it was a reality.

Cat race

At one time, cats were raced.

In the latter half of the 1800’s, cat racing took place both in England and Belgium. In June 16, 1860, author Harrison Weir wrote in his book “The Pictorial Times”: “Cat-racing is a sport which stands high in popular favour. In one of the suburbs of Liège it is an affair of annual observance during carnival time… The cats are tied up in sacks, and as soon as the clock strikes the solemn hour of midnight the sacks are unfastened, the cats let loose, and the race begins. The winner is the cat which first reaches home, and the prize awarded to its owner is sometimes a ham, sometimes a silver spoon. On the occasion of the last competition the prize was won by a blind cat.”

As a cat lover and cat care specialist, I cannot claim to like the idea of cats tied up in sacks. Today, such a cruel and torturous act would be shut down before it even began.

But cat racing did not end there with the coming of the 20th century. In 1936 at Portisham in Dorset, England,  a cat race track was built. It resembled a greyhound race track and ran about 220 yards long. An electric mouse was provided for the cats to chase.

After that failed attempt, cat racing seems to have died out.  The last recorded attempt to race cats was in Kent, England in 1949.

Apparently cat racers were not aware of the cat’s aloof nature and their drive for food or else they would have put cat food at the finish line rather than an electronic mouse.  It is no wonder cat racing has never caught on as a competitive sport.

Perhaps in the future a cat will RUN for President.

The Frontline Controversy

Written By: chriscat65 - Jan• 19•12

I have been battling a flea problem in my Connecticut house for the last 8 months. Before this, I had not seen a single flea since Advantage was invented and hit the market. If I saw ONE flea, I treated the cats with Advantage and they were GONE!

Then Frontline came out! Frontline took care of fleas AND ticks and became extremely popular. At the time, we had one cat that came in and out, and we had dogs. So we switched to Frontline. Never saw a flea.

As time went on we had only one dog going in and out, and only she was getting flea treatment regularly. The cats had no fleas for many years.

Then, about 8 months ago, my cat Jake started losing fur and developing scabs. It had been so long since we had had any fleas, the thought of flea allergy dermatitis never even crossed my mind. But, a trip to the vet confirmed it.

That was the beginning of the battle.

I did what I had done years ago; bought Frontline and treated everyone. Nothing happened. The fleas didn’t even go away. I heard about this problem happening everywhere. People started to say that the fleas have developed an immunity to Frontline.

READ THE REST: http://www.examiner.com/cats-in-hartford/why-does-frontline-for-cats-no-longer-work

Don’t Starve Your Cat!

Written By: chriscat65 - Jan• 19•12

A cat outside may not be as safe, but at least has a chance of finding food. Don't leave cats trapped inside a house or apartment with no food or water or care.


American Playwright Elmer Rice once said “If nature had intended our skeletons to be visible it would have put them on the outside of our bodies.”

This quote does not have to refer only to humans. And, indeed, it seems in my mind to refer more to animals. In one day, I have read three articles of cats being deliberately starved to death, left in homes ON PURPOSE to die slow and agonizing deaths.

All of these posts are from Florida. I’m sure it’s coincidence, since this sort of terrible cruelty happens here in Connecticut as well as everywhere else (remember the British woman who no longer wanted her cats so she just stopped feeding them?).  But, in reading news from all over the country on pet care and attitudes towards animals, I noticed a trend of news articles on starving cats in Florida and of horses in Texas.

The moral of the following news stories is that none of these cats had to suffer. There is ALWAYS another way, a way to prevent the cruelty. Read on:

http://www.examiner.com/cats-in-hartford/something-is-better-than-nothing-don-t-starve-your-cat

Rare October Autumn Storm Leaves Cats Cold

Written By: chriscat65 - Jan• 19•12

November, 11, 2011:

October 29, 2011 was an historic date. Winter Storm Alfred, almost two months before the start of winter, dumped various amounts of snow all over the Northeast. From Maryland to Maine, millions lost power as trees, still heavy with leaves, grabbed the dense saturated snow and ripped boughs and branches to the ground, taking down lines right along with them.
In Connecticut alone, almost a million people were without electricity. For a week or more, many spent their time in dark, cold homes. Many abandoned their homes to stay with friends and relatives who had power or generators.
Cats, however, had to stay home, or worse, outside in the dark.
So, what’s the big deal? you ask. Cats have fur coats, so they were under no danger of the cold (unless of course you have a Sphynx, or one of the other rare breeds with little hair).
Jake watches Winter Strom Alfred

Winter storm Alfred left the state of CT in a state of emergency.

Read the Rest of this Story here: http://www.examiner.com/cats-in-hartford/rare-october-autumn-storm-leaves-cats-cold

Winter Storm Alfred Strikes Connecticut Hard!

Written By: chriscat65 - Jan• 18•12

October 2011:

My cats watched out the window as a rare Nor’easter struck us head on and hard here in Connecticut Saturday, October 29th. It was forecast to start as rain but for the most part began as a wet heavy snow around 1pm. During the night, the wet heavy snow built up on the trees, still heavy with leaves, and took down large limbs and branches, blocking roads, tearing power lines down on every street and knocking power out to over 800,000 Connecticut customers.

Today is November 3rd and we are still without power. We only just received internet and TV today, as the main ATT box is right across the street from my house and they placed a generator on it so we can at least have TV and WiFi (those of us with generators anyway) until electricity is restored, which is not estimated to happen for another 3 or 4 days!

The first few days with no heat was the worst. The cats loved it. They ran around the house like kittens, tearing up rugs like something out of a cartoon as they raced up and down the hall. But by the next day I had the generator in place outside and large safe wires coming in through the window, which had my 6 kitties quite curious but fortunately smart enough not to touch.

Now, I have heat, TV, computer and internet and a few lights. No water or anything to cook with as the microwave is too much for the small generator. So, I have been eating out a lot! I have not had luck finding anyone with a hot shower yet and I have been going through many gallons a day of store bought water just to do every day routines.

The cats certainly don’t seem to mind not having light, though they can see in the dark. I cannot. They have learned to stay out of my way, as I have accidentally tripped over or kicked more than one feline in the dark.

Outside resembles a war zone, or a tornado path. No tree was spared damage and many are just gone. My back yard, though we have only one tree which only lost a single limb, is littered with large branches from the neighbor’s trees. Wires still hang onto the sidewalks all along the main roads. Some trees sill hang precariously over the road and I always hold my breath when I drive underneath them.

Connecticut was hardest hit in this storm. Out of almost 1.8 million power outages, almost a million alone were in CT. Most of us are still without power, but the numbers are dropping. Apparently, many crews are reluctant to respond since they were never paid from help they gave the state after Hurricane Irene. Not fair to those of us living in the dark, but Congress people had better get their stuff together and make sure they pay their bills. The way the weather has been around here, who knows what odd weather phenomena will hit next.

I took this opportunity to exercise my creative muscles and make a dramatic video from scenes and photos I retrieved in my travels. For more on getting your own video (or having your old VHS tapes turned into beautiful DVD memories, please visit my web site at www.hoovesandpawsvideo.com.

See Pictures, Video and Slideshow Here: http://www.examiner.com/cats-in-hartford/winter-stromalfred-strikes-connecticut-hard

Freaky Felines

Written By: chriscat65 - Oct• 07•11

It’s October and this month I will be focusing on Freaky Felines, cats born with unusual abnormalities such as two faces (our first cat), four ears and more. Visit my articles on the Examiner (http://www.examiner.com/cats-in-hartford/christine-church) for all my cat articles.  For this week’s focus cat, visit: http://www.examiner.com/cats-in-hartford/october-freaky-felines-series-two-faces-to-love

You can read about Frank and Louie. He is a beautiful (in his own way) special kitty!

Frank and Louie has 2 faces

Frank and Louie the two face cat