Tuesday, 28 June 2016

The History of the Cat - Die Geschichte der Katze (Documentary in German)

Last weekend I discovered on Germany's national TV ZDF a new documentary: The History of the (House) Cat. Available in German language only, I still find it worth a few notes of facts I got out of this well presented and filmed documentary.

Screenshot from the documentary © ZDF
  • The cat is the pet number 1  >^..^<
  • She is only a cousin of the big wild ones, such as lion, tiger, cougar, leopard, lynx, etc. The cat as we know it stems from another forefather that lived in Europe, parts of Africa, Asia.
  • It was during the Stone Ages some 7,000 years ago that the cat entered the symbiosis with the human being, when mankind started to settle down and farm, storing the harvested crop. Rodents took advantage of the grain stores, while cats discovered a new feeding ground. And soon they became a beloved (and useful) member of the clan. They quasi domesticated themselves. And all that happened in Old Egypt, from where the (house) cat spread into other cultures.
  • Excessively hunted and killed during the (dark) Middle Ages due to religious belief that the cat is the manifestation of the devil, in some areas in Europe she was almost extinct. Rodents prospered again, and with them came the plague
  • Today there are over 60 different breeds.
  • Cats are designed to jump savely from trees and heights, and always land on their 4 paws. Slow motion shows that they automatically turn their bodies towards the ground, shortly before they "arrive". During a test way back in 1948 in simulated zero gravity on a plane, this mechanism didn't kick in, and the kitties where zig-zagging around just like the astronauts-to-be. 
  • The highest ever recorded fall, a cat survived, was in Manhattan, New York, from the 32nd floor.
German speaker, check out the documentary, as long as it is online on ZDF Mediathek

What the documentary did not cover - except for a quick take about the Torre Argentina Cat Colony/Sanctuary in the center of Rome - was the growing number of stray cats in many countries and the imperative need to TNR

Sunday, 26 June 2016

Guestpost on Katzenworld UK: Islands of Cats – a unique Book dedicated to the Work of Stray Cat Carers in the Maltese Islands

Thank you, Katzenworld UK, for having our guest post on June 25th:



Mention the Maltese Islands and one arouses thoughts of sun, sea and beaches. Whilst enjoying the archipelago’s rich offerings in history, culture, and, of course gastronomy, you cannot help but notice the feline members of the local population. You will find strays in most corners of the world, the only difference is in Malta and Gozo the cats are not scraggy and musty, in fact the opposite, they are well fed and in peak condition, with glossy fur and bright eyes.

While touring the archipelago, Gabriele and I noticed there was an affinity between a part of the local residents and the Islands’ feline citizens. Curiosity got the better of us and we decided to discover more about these mostly shy and reserved caregivers. In our quest we were surprised to find that there was a sub culture of over 1,000 carers, and that they came from all walks of life, housekeepers, hand-workers, business persons, professional gamblers and university professors, all united in one cause – to act as guardians to the islands’ estimated 300,000 stray and feral cats.

The fruit of our research is “Islands of Cats” a photographic journey, portraying a representative 22 of these humble and devoted caregivers. Each chapter is teeming with colourful descriptive photographs, which capture the carers and the cat colonies in genuine, unfeigned situations, and a narrative highlighting each caregiver. The book also includes interesting facts about the localities visited, besides cat related information. “Islands of Cats” is unique, as it is the first book to feature Stray Cat Carers and their work.

As ebook available on Lulu.com in English, German and Maltese, and in the Kindle Store (English, German) for now, we hope to be able to release a hardcover version throughout the coming months. With every book sold, some proceeds will be returned to the stray cat carer community in Malta and Gozo in the format of food and vet vouchers, to provide some relief from their expenses, including TNR.

We are always open for feedback and will be happy to answer any questions about the Maltese Stray Cat Carer Community. Grazzi ħafna.

Alexander Johnson – Idea, Author
Gabriele Ruttloff-Bauer – Photographer, Design

View original post and more photos here



Sunday, 12 June 2016

Stray Cats and their Carer on national TVM

Clip was shown on Saturday 11 June 2016 in prime time news...What a nice surprise when we were contacted by Malta's national television station PBS/TVM for an interview together with a stray cat carer out in the fields. Luckily, a carer from the northern part of Malta was able to find a friend to take over her usual feeding tour that late afternoon of June 8. Now she had more time for the interview.


We met with Janine of the SASG at one of her colonies close to St. Paul's Bay. Adrian, the interviewer, and Charles, the camera man, had already arrived, wondering whether those cats that suddenly appeared when they parked the car, were actually friendly. They would find out soon, as stray cats only got food on their mind when it's their feeding time.


The sun was still shining, and the cats were posing nicely, as Janine fed the colony of almost 20, and talked about her work. In the light of a few recent incidences around stray cats in Malta, such as the internationally renowned Cat Village in St. Julian's being moved (for profit from building development), and the controversy around the famous, chipped cat "Masha" in Valletta recently being euthanised by the authorities (without informing the owner), the stray cat topic is gaining more momentum in the public, and we are particularly happy that national TV will dedicate 5 minutes of the evening news to the hundreds of thousand of stray and abandoned cats in Malta very soon. And we are happy for the chance to talk about our book "Islands of Cats", which is dedicated to the important work of the more than 1,000 individuals in Malta and Gozo, looking after the welfare of our furry co-citizens.


Watch video clip on YouTube