Thursday, November 29, 2007

Tag -- You're It

Last week, Brenda tagged me to list the five things in life that I'm thankful for. I wondered if I should make all five things pet or animal-related because, you know, this blog is all about critters. I decided that anyone reading this blog knows that I like animals, so to write a list of animal-related stuff that I'm thankful for...well, that might just make me seem a little too much like the crazy cat lady.

I'm thankful for:

My family and friends (and animals, of course)

Good health

Knowing better than to waste time looking back on life with regret

Summer (which can't come back too soon)

A husband who cooks (now I've just got to find me one who cleans)

I'd love to hear what you're thankful for.

Monday, November 26, 2007

The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

The Good

In Going, Going, Gone, I reported that the black-footed ferret was teetering on the brink of extinction. The good news is they have made a come-back in Wyoming. In 1987, the last seven known ferrets were captured and placed in a breeding program. They have since produced 4,800 juveniles, many of which were returned to the wild.

The Bad

The Ontario SPCA reports that Parks Canada plans to cull (shoot) several thousand Double-crested Cormorants beginning in Spring 2008.

In the last five years, the cormorant colony has declined from 6,600 to 4,600 nests. Parks Canada would like to see a more substantial decrease in the number of nests on Middle Island, in an effort to stop and hopefully reverse some of the destructive effects this colony is having on the island.

From an OSPCA news release:

Parks Canada has stated that they will not proceed with the cull if there are enough objections from the public.

"Previous cormorant culls performed in North America have demonstrated that one in three birds that have been shot do not die immediately or without suffering, resulting in many birds suffering for days before finally dying," says Animal Care Program Manager Judith Wilson. "As well as being inhumane, culling is an ineffective solution to reduce a population. The killing of animals existing in an ecosystem simply provides opportunities for other individuals to occupy the vacancies left by the animals that were killed."

The Ontario SPCA encourages the public to express to Parks Canada and their Member of Parliament their objections to shooting Cormorants as a method of reducing the colony size and their preference for humane and more effective alternatives. Humane alternatives include leaving Middle Island to evolve through its natural processes or using alternative humane methods (such as deterrent techniques, predator platforms, nest destruction, and oiling and addling eggs) to manage the colony on the island.

Share your objections to culling
Email Parks Canada at
Contact your Member of Parliament. Call 1-866-599-4999 or visit Government Canada for contact information.

The Ugly

On November 18, a fleet of Japanese ships set sail, intending to kill over 1,000 whales, including 50 humpback whales, for "scientific purposes".

"Humpback whales in our research area are rapidly recovering," said Hideki Moronuki, whaling chief at the Fisheries Agency. "Taking 50 humpbacks from a population of tens of thousands will have no significant impact." He adds that killing whales allows marine biologists to study their internal organs.


Saturday, November 24, 2007

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

No Guts, No Glory

If you're a regular visitor to my blog, you'll have noticed that I seldom address the real issues affecting animals. Sure, I've shared my views on animals performing in circuses, dogs left in sun-soaked cars, and the loss of the world's wildlife. But the down and dirty stuff? No.

I haven't the guts to read about abused animals, never mind write about them. I know the horror stories are out there, and it just about breaks my heart to acknowledge that there are some people (and I use that term lightly) who would treat an animal with anything but love and respect.

Luckily, there's lots of brave folks who can and do deal with the important stuff. And so, today, I'm honouring those who make a difference--thank you.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

The Perfect Christmas Story

Yes, it's a bit early, but I wanted to give everyone plenty of time to order the most perfect Christmas story--you know, one that you traditionally curl up with on Christmas Eve. In our house, it's The Christmas Day Kitten, written by James Herriot, and illustrated by Ruth Brown.

I've been a James Herriot fan for years. His books detail his life as a country vet in Yorkshire, and are both heartwarming and humorous. The Christmas Day Kitten is all that and more. It's a 30 page, illustrated story about a stray cat, I won't ruin the surprise. Just buy the book, and make it a tradition in your own home. I promise you won't be disappointed.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Animal Adages

Cat got your tongue? A pig in a poke? Three dog night? If you're anything like me, you've spent many sleepless nights wondering about the origin of those adages. So put away your sleeping pills because I'm going to answer these burning questions--in other words, I'm going to put you to sleep.

Cat got your tongue?
Well, this one's a little gross. It may have originiated, long ago, in the Mideast, when it was common to punish a liar by cutting out his tongue. This tasty treat was then given to the king's pet cats for dinner.

A pig in a poke
Means to buy something without examination--an unknown. In the middle ages, a suckling pig would be sold in a bag (a poke). Some sellers would try to trick buyers by putting a cat in the bag instead. So don't buy a pig in a bag without checking it out first. You've been warned.

Cat's out of the bag
When the buyer finally got home with what he believed was a pig in a poke (see above), he discovered the bag held a cat instead. The cat was out of the bag, and the truth was known.

Three dog night
All these years, I thought Three Dog Night was just an early 70's band. Wrong. This adage comes from Australia, and means that on cold nights, aboriginals would sleep in a hole in the ground while embracing a dingo (or three).

Hope this helps with all that tossing and turning.

Thursday, November 8, 2007


Just some updates on previous posts:

1) Was downtown yesterday, and saw that the hawk silhouettes are still on the Stock Exchange windows. It's been about 20 years since I wrote that letter, so that's kind of cool.

2) My friend, Carolyn, has an update on the dog she found during the California fires. You can read all about it here (plus some great pics).

3) Still searching for the perfect wide-enough-for-whiskers bowl.

4) Have only written 4,200 words on my WIP. Since I'd like to write 1,000 each day this month, I appear to running behind. I was having trouble getting into my lackluster characters, but had an "aha" moment on the train yesterday. Hopefully, I'll be able to run with it.

Picture from Public Domain

Monday, November 5, 2007

How to Get Rid of Stray Cats in One (Not so Easy) Swoop

(Note: This post is somewhat tongue-in-cheek. If you need helpful advice about dealing with stray and feral cats, click here for my post about feral and stray cats, plus helpful comments from readers.)

Last summer, I found a huge raccoon-sized cat under the leaves of a hosta in my backyard. He had blue eyes, blond/grey fur, and was abolutely gorgeous. It was a hot day, so I brought him water and food. After he ate, he lazed around for several hours before making his way across the street to the forest.

He returned several times over the next week. I can't blame him--my backyard had become his holiday resort. I thought he might have been lost, so I attempted to put him in my cat's carrier to have the vet look for a chip. I gave up on the carrier after 15 minutes of struggling with what must have have one of the strongest cats I've ever encountered. He never bit or scratched--he just put his muscle into the job of staying out of that carrier. Finally, I just placed him in the backseat of the car and left the carrier behind.

Dripping with sweat after the workout, I drove to the vet, while my feline Arnold Schwarzenegger gazed out of the passenger window. The vet said the cat was old, neutered, well-cared for, but without a chip. So back in the car we went. When we reached my house, I opened the car door, he hopped out and took off across the street.

I always imagined that if he could talk, this is what he would have told his owners when (if?) he got home that night:

"Meow! You can't even begin to imagine the kind of day I had. I get invited to lunch and before I know it, BAMM! Some crazy lady tries to shove me in a box, traps me in her car, then takes me to the vet (and you know how I hate the vet). "

Well, surprise, he never came back. Until this summer, that is.

He visited me once more, had a bite to eat and a cool bowl of water then slept in the shade of the garden for the afternoon. I guess the cat's memory was bad (the vet did say he was old), and he'd forgotten all about last year's 'episode'. Nonetheless, I was very pleased to see the big guy was alive and well.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

And Now for the Good News

Just some good news for all you pet owners out there (and now that I think about it, "pet owners" sounds wrong, doesn't it? Would pet companions be better? Pet slaves? I'm open to suggestions). Anyway, on to the good news:

People who have pets live longer and have fewer heart attacks.

I think having kids might cancel out this benefit. So play it safe--have twice as many pets as you have children.