Monday, 30 May 2016

Newsletter #7: Ebook Out Now: "Islands of Cats - about Stray Cat Carers in Malta"

» read newsletter online   » newsletter auf Deutsch
'Islands of Cats' out now !
E-Book on for €7.99
(excl. VAT)

We are proud to announce the release of 'Islands of Cats' - in English, German, or Maltese.

'Islands of Cats' portrays a representative 22 of 1,000+ Stray Cat Carers and shelters in Malta and Gozo, outlines places of interests in the wider area of the cat colonies, contains interviews, cat facts and much more. An entertaining, informative and educational publication with the purpose to create more awareness of the important work of Stray Cat Carers and their feline protégés in the Maltese Islands.

The ebook comes as fixed-layout PDF, with 222 high-resolution colour photographs on 121 pages, readable on any device with a pdf-reader: desktop, notebook, tablet, and smartphone.

From each book sold, we will return 1 Euro to the community of Stray Cat Carers. We are currently evaluating cat food vouchers and/or vouchers for spaying and neutering.

Help us to help the stray cats carers
We are still looking for start-up support for the printing of the first 1000 hardcovers of 'Islands of Cats'. Your purchase is well invested, als all income from the ebook brings us closer to our goal. » click here for more...

Please share the news with your friends and family, and like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, and visit our blog. Thank you so much for your time and consideration.

Kind regards
Alexander Johnson
Gabriele Ruttloff-Bauer
» read newsletter online   » newsletter auf Deutsch

Saturday, 28 May 2016

Famous Cat Village in St Julian's, Malta, under Attack

A public representation has been submitted online by the blog author Gabriele today to object against the construction plans of the owners of the Portomaso complex in St Julian's, Malta, to exploit the last small piece of land at the corner of their huge development, which will consequently lead to the destruction of the famous Cat Village - one of many cat colonies more than 1'000 individuals in Malta and Gozo take care of. Objections can still me submitted until May 31 (, PA/01735/16). Below my text:

Dear Sir, dear Madam

I would like to object to this construction, as it will destroy the "Cat Village". The place is not only a refuge for stray and abandoned cats living in the area (a consequence of irresponsible pet owners chucking unwanted and un-neutered pet cats into the street over years), but has also become a tourist attraction with regular fans as far away as Japan and the US.

The "founder" of the cat village, Mrs. Rosa Sammut, has passed away in the Noughties (not to confuse with her devoted successor's similar name). Rosa Sammut was appointed Senior of the year 2000 by then Prime Minister Fenech Adami  for her work with the Cat Village (see photographs » here). The Cat Village has truly become a landmark in St. Julian's, and can be found in many tour guide books and has many mentions on the web.

Malta's shelters are bursting with abandoned animals. Cats cannot just be "replanted" to somewhere else. They are territorial animals. And who is going to feed them and pay for their food if relocated? Malta and Gozo have more than 1,000 individuals who not only pay for cat food but also cover veterinary costs incl. spaying and neutering primarily out of their own pockets. It is their quiet work that keeps the cat population in Malta limited!

Destroying the Cat Village will, once again, push a public issue into the hands of the private sector. And this is not only unfair for the cats, but also for the community of volunteer cat carers.

Thank you.
Gabriele Ruttloff-Bauer

Friday, 27 May 2016

Video: Humanity's Worst Trick: Making Big Cats Disappear (via Newsly)

Conservation groups say big cat populations are shrinking across the board and that human factors play a role in those declines.

Newsly 24 May 2016:  "'Big cat' is not a formal scientific term, but a generally accepted label for eight members of the family Felidae. Five are from genus Panthera, and the three others are cougars, cheetahs and clouded leopards.

It's hard to get accurate counts for certain cats thanks to their secretive nature and remote habitats, but conservationists say populations across the board are decreasing.

The big problem, in a word, is us. Wild cats might be the apex predators in their natural environments, but we humans are pushing them back, out-competing them for prey and, in some cases, killing them directly.

Half of the cats on the list suffer significant habitat loss from human interaction, including..." read here and watch video.

Wednesday, 25 May 2016

Winning the battle with feline kidney disease (via Playful Kitten)

illustration: original post
Playful Kitten 23 May 2016: "When it comes to Feline Kidney Disease, knowledge is much of the battle. If we don’t know that a disease is present, how are we supposed to help our cats fight it? Lucky for our kitties, IDEXX has introduced a brand new way of testing for Feline Kidney Disease (the IDEXX SDMA™ Kidney Screening Test) that may change what we know about this fatal disease.

A cat’s kidneys work as a filtration device for their blood. A network of tiny filters, known as nephron, work to remove toxins from the blood, regulate the amount of water in the blood and do other important regulatory functions. Having functional kidneys is essential to a cat’s survival.

Cats are born with a certain number of nephrons. Some of the nephrons are used while are held in reserve. Over time, normal wear and tear, as well as disease, and other environmental factors cause nephrons to die. As these nephrons die, the reserve nephrons take over. Nephrons are not regenerated in the cat’s body, so when they are all gone, the kidneys cease to..." read on.

Monday, 23 May 2016

Feral and Stray Cats—An Important Difference (via Alley Cat Allies)

Stray in Malta (photo Gabriele Ruttloff-Bauer)
Alley Cat AlliesFeral, stray, and pet cats are all members of the same species; they are all domestic cats. But stray cats and feral cats are also different from each other in a very important way—in their relationship to and interactions with people.
Whether you are a shelter worker, veterinarian, or feral cat advocate—or you just share your neighborhood with feral cats—knowing how to tell the difference can help inform how best to interact with a cat or what, if any, intervention would be in each cat’s best interest.
Read on and download documentation

Thursday, 19 May 2016

You’re killing your cats with human food (via New York Post)

illustration: original post
New York Post 17 May 2016: "Want to extend your cat’s nine lives? Stop feeding her human food and get her moving.

 A recent study of 9,000 British pets by pet insurer Animal Friends discovered that the number of dogs and cats diagnosed with diabetes skyrocketed by 900 percent in the past five years. Cats were at a particular disadvantage, with a 1,161 percent gain.

Stijn Niessen, who runs a British clinic devoted to the study of feline diabetes, told the Daily Mail that more than half of the cats kept indoors are dangerously overweight, compared with a quarter of those that regularly go outdoors.

 'They get tasty, rich foods from us, which thousands of years were not available,' Dr. Niessen said. ‘But genetically cats are much the same as they were...'" on.

Wednesday, 18 May 2016

Diabetes in cats and dogs up by 900% over the past five years (via MailOnline)

Diabetes in cats and dogs up by 900% over the past five years: Owners giving pampered pets human food partly fuelling huge rise in cases
  • Animal Friends study said cats most at risk from exploding diabetes rates
  • Weight gain was one of the main reasons diabetes in pets is on the rise
  • Symptoms of the illness can include pets often being hungry or thirsty

Photo: Gabriele Ruttloff-Bauer
MailOnline 17 May 2016: "Britain's pampered pets are struggling with the effects of obesity, as figures show a massive increase in the number of dogs and cats being diagnosed with diabetes. In the last five years there has been a 900 per cent increase in diagnosed cases of the life-threatening condition. According to a study of 9,000 pets by pet insurer Animal Friends, cats are most at risk from exploding rates of diabetes – with a 1,161 per cent increase in feline claims since 2011. The data also shows cases in dogs have also seen an increase of 850 per cent in the same time span. An expert from UK veterinary charity PDSA, said weight gain was one of the main reasons diabetes in pets is on the rise and this is fuelled, in part, by owners feeding their..." read on.

Monday, 16 May 2016

How England's First Feline Show Countered Victorian Snobbery About Cats (via Atlas Obscura)

The 1871 cat show ushered in a new era of appreciation for the furry rat-catchers. 

Atlas Obscura 13 May 2016: "In the 1860s, the cats of England were suffering from a major image problem. Having experienced the highs of Ancient Egyptian veneration and the lows of medieval torture on account of their supposed allegiance with the devil, cats were regarded by the average Victorian as scruffy, mewling rat-catchers who weren't welcome in well-appointed rooms. Then came one man who, with his unabashed adoration of his feline friends, shook up the cat world for good: Harrison Weir, organizer of England's first cat show. Before Weir united cats and aristocrats, kitties were considered street animals. Cats provided a useful service—rodent extermination—but were not generally valued for their cuteness, cuddliness, or companionship. Charles Darwin lamented their "nocturnal rambling..." read on.

Sunday, 15 May 2016

There Are 12 Types Of Cats. Which One Is Yours? (via Huffpost Home)

Huffpost Home 29 Oct 2015: "It’s no secret that cats rule our homes — and pretty much our lives
Though there are many breeds of feline, there are also many (non-clinical) cat personality types, from the furry food vacuum to the backyard womanizer who can’t keep his paws off the ladies. Artist Landysh, from the doodle site Lingvistov, was kind enough to break it down in these hilarious drawings. Which type of of cat is yours?"... view all 12 types.

Saturday, 14 May 2016

What’s Your Cat’s Tail Telling You?

Photograph © Islands of Cats
Huffpost Healthy Living 10 May 2016: "Some say cats are inscrutable. While that may be true, here are a few tips to help you interpret signals your kitty’s tail can reveal:

Tail standing straight up and quivering 
If you’ve spent much time watching your cat, you’ve seen it — a tail that stands straight up and quivers. This is a sign your feline is feeling fine and experiencing anticipation, pleasure, or excitement. You may notice this when he’s caught a mouse, or hears the familiar sound of the can opener humming, meaning dinner’s on the way.

Straight up tail 
A cat who’s feeling confident, comfortable, and content holds his tail high and straight. Tall tail with a question mark You may notice your cat’s tail standing tall with..." read on.

Thursday, 12 May 2016

Japan Saves Native Rabbits by Neutering Thousands of Cats (via Catster)

To protect the Amami rabbit, a "living fossil," Japanese officials are using TNR rather than mass killing. Other nations should take notice. 

Catster 11 May 2016: "Japan really loves its cats. This makes managing stray overpopulation in ecologically vulnerable areas a challenge, at least if you believe it should be done in a way that doesn’t involve cruelty to animals. Other nations, including Australia and New Zealand, take a horrific and merciless approach with “culling” that often uses brutal tactics such as trapping and mass poisoning, even though these methods often have unintended consequences. For Japan, these options were a nonstarter when looking at how to protect the fragile Amami rabbits of Tokunoshima island, so the nation devised a better..." read on.

Wednesday, 11 May 2016

Cat café controversy highlights challenges of doing business with cats (via CBC News)

CBC News 9 May 2016: "Having a coffee with a cat close by was once a privilege only cat-owners could enjoy.

 But today, cat cafés are offering that opportunity to all: order a hot beverage and enjoy it in the midst of adoptable cats in a cafe setting. There are currently 255 cat cafés in 37 countries and 143 cities, according to Coffee With Cats, a website that tracks cat cafés.

But a recent controversy in Toronto's only cat café, the TOT Café on College Street, has highlighted how difficult it is to run a business with..." read on.

Tuesday, 10 May 2016

A cat's tale: Ralphie's amazing journey

Daily Messenger 7 May 2016: "The city life appears to be as much of a lure to Ralphie the tomcat as catnip is to a housecat.
Or maybe Ralphie likes hanging around with Nancy Yacci — the cat whisperer, as a friend calls the Gibson Street resident — so much that he keeps coming back.
“She is the protector of all felines in the city of Canandaigua,” joked Dave Sauter, who owns a barn in the town of Canandaigua.
Or, as Yacci said: “I have sympathy for strays.”
Whatever the reason, against all odds, perhaps in a way only a Disney movie could tell, Ralphie is back with..."
read on.

Sunday, 8 May 2016

Newsletter #6: Update from 'Islands of Cats': hectic Kitten Season, upcoming Pre-Release

» read newsletter online   » newsletter auf Deutsch
Photo courtesy Antonella Bartolo
It's kitten season. Stray cat carers in Malta are very busy these days. Many kittens have been born all over the Islands - often as a result of careless pet owners who have abandoned their un-spayed cats and un-neutered tomcats in the streets. Those litters land on the doorsteps of the carers, with the mother-cat in distress, or in a worst case run over by a car. However, there are many good souls in networks of foster caregivers who raise the little ones, while the mother, along with other youngsters, are being trapped for sterilisation.
Recently we noticed a bunch of young cats in the colony opposite of the house where we live, ready to procreate. In agreement with their feeder, we were able to arrange for a dedicated volunteer to trap the felines and have them neutered by a non-government animal organisation's vets. Meanwhile the cats are back in their colony, happily minding their cat business, thanks to another soul with a big heart for stray animals.

From the distance: trapping one early evening in Marsaskala
Update on «Islands of Cats» - the photo-story book that highlights the dedication and devotion of stray cat carers in the Maltese Islands. All stories have been written, all 222 photos selected, layout has been finalised, and thanks to our contributors from our crowdfunding activity in February and March, the 20'000 English words have been translated to Maltese and German. We strive to pre-release «Islands of Cats» as ebook within the next couple of weeks, while the hardcover edition is still pending funds.

"Hello, I stray in Gozo."
Help us to help the stray cats carers. We are still looking for start-up support for the printing of the first 1000 hardcovers. Your contribution is very welcome, also sponsorship » click here.

Please like our page on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, and regularly visit this blog. Thank you so much for your time and consideration, and stay tuned for more.

For today, our best wishes to all (cat) mothers !
Alexander Johnson & 
Gabriele Ruttloff-Bauer

Chilling at the Tomasina Cat Shelter in Malta

Saturday, 7 May 2016

The Good Mews Shelter Helps Kids and Cats Through Reading (via Catster)

Youngsters read out loud to cats, helping the kids with reading and the kitties with socialization.

Catster 5 May 2016: Getting kids to read can be difficult, considering potential distractions such as video games, digital devices, TV, sports, and other activities. Adding animals to the mix via shelter-pet reading programs is one creative way teachers and parents have found to introduce children to the joy of reading.

These typically involve school kids reading to dogs, but Good Mews, a no-kill, cage-free cat shelter in Marietta, Georgia, recently launched Reading With Cats. This program brings in small groups of children for one-on-one reading sessions with some of the read on.

Thursday, 5 May 2016

Woodson: Don't underestimate the power of cats

Farmington Daily Times 3 May 2016: "Recently, sitting in a soft chair at home doing a little reading, I looked to my right and there perched above me were our two munchkin cats — Lilly and Sissy. I had a distinct realization of contentment and pleasure by their persistent company. They follow my wife and me around and are intertwined with our daily routine. Cats love the "status quo."

If you are not a cat person yet — meaning that one special cat out there hasn’t made his or her life choice to choose you and convert you — just wait. A relationship with a cat literally can change your life and health.

Personal trainer, psychologist, doctor — did you know your cat is a multi-faceted professional? He doesn’t need years of schooling to help you get into shape, be happier about your life and have better physical health. It is a talent that comes naturally to animals. So are you harnessing the healing powers of..." read on.

Monday, 2 May 2016

What’s Good for Veterinarians Is Bad for Cats

Vets make big bucks off declawing surgery—and now their leaders are spending thousands to kill a proposed ban on the procedure.

The Daily Beast 5 February 2016:"Vets make big bucks off declawing surgery—and now their leaders are spending thousands to kill a proposed ban on the procedure. It’s like a scene out of a torture session that the CIA would later deny: a captor drugs and ties down the victim and begins sawing through his feet, severing ligaments, tendons, and nerves, and crushing bones. The victim is then forced to walk immediately after the disfiguring procedure on his newly amputated and painful stumps.

This sort of mutilation happens daily—luckily not to humans, but to our beloved pets in the form of cat declawing surgery. Veterinarians who perform the procedure tout it a necessary evil to protect public health and keep finicky pet owners from discarding “problematic” cats to shelters where they might be euthanized. But critics of declawing have lately been speaking out in..." read on