New Cat Brings Joy, and A Mystery

2870UV reclinin copy-001

Our new kitty, bright-eyed Little Ultraviolet Girl!

Cats have always just walked into our lives. When our Bud departed for the Rainbow Bridge in June and left us catless, we thought we’d have to go looking for a kitty. I thought, well, we’ll go to a shelter or rescue and I’ll seek my favorite fur color, black.

The pictures are dark and may not show our new cat’s colors very well, but I don’t have time to brighten them for this quick announcement. UPDATE: I’ve now had time to try to do some quick beginner’s editing on the first two pictures. They still don’t show the color well as the two colors in the fur mean a challenging edit. I’m trying for a natural look, but when the black areas are dark enough, the reddish tinges become too red. It’s not important, she’s the sweetest little cat and that’s what matters to us! The backgrounds need some more work too, another time.

2834UVfullgaze4 copy

Our new black kitty, Little Girl aka Ultraviolet or UV.

Then we found out a friend who feeds ferals was also feeding a friendly black cat outside who showed up about a year ago. Our friend has a No-Other-Cats! sort of cat and couldn’t take Little Girl in, and would be pleased if we’d scoop her up and give her a home.

Little Girl has more reddish-brown on her than our friend had remembered, but she’s a solid black cat. She just has a blaze of ruddy color on her floofy back, and elsewhere. It’s like “tipped” fur, with a black undercoat.

Ultraviolet is a small cat

We have a feeling it’s her natural coloration, not the “rusting” that black cats can undergo in the sun, and the vet is of the same opinion. She also has red on her chest and legs, areas that don’t get so much sun exposure. And I could swear a few of her extra-long whiskers are ruddy.

She’s not a tortoiseshell, her fur isn’t brindled, or patched with discrete areas of red and black. I’ve never seen anything like this, though I’ve seen a lot of cats. I checked The Messybeast Cat Resource Archive by Sarah Hartwell and found a description of a “smoke” black cat – black with a light or silver undercoat – if I’m interpreting that correctly. Messybeast also notes that “tipped”, “shaded”, and “smoke” refer to three types of hair shaft color banding, described as being over a lighter undercoat. Again, that’s my take on it, which can always be wrong. Source:

I went looking for images and descriptions of the Abyssinian breed of cats because I remembered one phase as being a deep red and black combo. But, they are basically ruddy cats and the few black areas are “ticked”, in other words black is just on the top part of the hair shaft, the undercoat is red.

So where does our kitty fit into known cat colors and phases??? Known or unknown, she’s a fetching kittygirl! Not a tortie, but a diva nonetheless!

Little Ultraviolet Girl aces lounging

I’m going to call her Ultraviolet, UV for short, although like as not we’ll call out “Little Girl”, or “Sweetheart” too. The vet says she’s about ten years old and basically healthy. She’s lost all her teeth to resorption, but eats like a horse. She has a loud purr and she trills a bit. When she opens her mouth to meow almost no sound comes out. To acknowledge, I say, “I see that meow.” She’s such a purring joy of a kitty, and I hope for many years with her!

Do I hear a Phssssst from the Rainbow Bridge?

Sorry Buddy! She’s found your favorite sleeping spots and trails through the house already, but at least she hasn’t shown any interest in editing – so far.

(As is often the case, I may not be quick to post and answer comments due to too doggone much to do.)

Posted in black cats, Cat Topics, Cats | Tagged , , , | 87 Comments

Troubling Times Bring Bud Back from the Beyond

Looking through old pictures, I feel a warmth. Bud, is that you?

Solar Bud

“Purrrrr …. hey, even I sorta like that one.”

“You in October light last year, remember?”


I blink back.

Spectral Bud

“Gah! I’m supposed to be at the Rainbow Bridge, not wearing it!”

“I need cheering up.”


“Well, here’s an unretouched picture.”

Bud the Editing Cat

“Ruhruhruhruh, MEOW! I look regal!”

Bud knows a trick or two

“RAWR, that is so court jester!”

“Uh, how do you know about court jesters?”

“You think I was going to let that Complete Works of Shakespeare just sit there while you were asleep?”

Bud reclining on purple

“I miss us. Lounging around on chilly winter days.”

“Me too.”

“But I’m really always with y’all.”

“We know, but, sigh …”

Bud sees deeply and clearly into the human heart

“You seem sad, troubled. It’s Charlottesville, isn’t it.”

“Yeah … ”

“All the animals at the Rainbow Bridge are upset and want to know, what the heck? We’re all checking on our humans. You were demonstrating for peace, love, and nonviolence in the 60s, amiright?”

“The 60s were way before you were a kitten. So how … ?”

Bud with pizazz

“Oh I went through all your old photo albums while you were napping. Lots of 60s pics,   and I was also impressed by the number of cat pictures. Y’all humans need lots more peace, love, and nonviolence and big girlfriend, you’re too activity-limited now to be in demonstrations, or even online as much as before, but your heart still can’t rest.”

“I’m heartsick.”

“The cats where I’m at now had good chances to study their humans for a long time. I mean, you know we’re always watching. Cats know humans are social, they should all get along. So why don’t they? Why are there hate groups?  We don’t get it.”

“We and our friends, we don’t get it either, Buddy. We love all humans, and animals too.”

“Well, we’re still watching. Keep trying. Stay hopeful. That’s all I know to say. I have to go, but I’ll be back to check on you.”

Bud begins to fade back to the rainbow bridge

“Please don’t go … I need to tell you we plan to get another cat, I’m catless and forlorn without you.”

“Phsssst. I said I’m always with you.”

“Well, yes, but,”

“Don’t you be lettin’ any new cat scratch my edits! Phsssst.”

Always in our hearts, purrrrrr

“You haven’t changed. Wait, don’t go … ”

“I can’t stay, but I do stay. Purrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.”

August, with gloom

The room cools, the sun slants and glows. Even in the forest, peace and comfort feel far away.

(It may take me some time to publish and answer comments because, eclipse, and I have energy deficits and a giant to-do list.)

Posted in Cat Topics, Cats | Tagged , | 40 Comments

A Sad Goodbye to Our Bud

budspan6 copy2

MochaBud 2001 – 2017

Bud left us a week ago. He was 16 years old and had been in kidney failure for a long time, but he was doing well on medication. But when he suddenly became really ill, and the vets told us there could be no meaningful recovery, we had to release him. Rest in peace my big, beautiful, beast of a boy. You will always be in our hearts.

Bud trilled to me in his last days although he had never been a triller. He edited valiantly and ferociously up until the last. Now I have to press on with bookwork without an Editing Cat. I’ll continue, hoping he is somewhere at the Rainbow Bridge freting over the work, trying to get his opinions across to me. It may take me some time to answer comments, my heart is so heavy.

Bud will stand sentinel for me here while I work on the book.

Posted in Book topics, Cat Topics, Cats | Tagged , , , | 144 Comments

Extreme Photo Editing; Opinions by Bud the Cat

Little Buddy, Spring 2012, gazing out at the woods

I took some time to brighten up our avatar picture recently. Deep book editing in black and white means I have to surface for air sometimes. Photo editing lets me luxuriate in bright color. I’ve also tuned up most of the photos in the following two posts. The colors are hotter than before, but I did try to stay within realistic and pictorial sense. It’s a bold new look for those photo essays; I hope y’all check ’em out:

Both posts star our late Little Buddy. The photo of him above was taken in spring 2012, almost a year after he and Annabelle made it through the tornado with us at Mom’s. Early in the mornings, I would wake and see Little Buddy reclining atop boxes near the window, drowsing and watching the woods. I’d reach for the old camera. The pictures aren’t very sharp. In photo editing, I fiddled with “curves” to make the color pop out, and played with saturation sliders. All this color splashed everywhere, and I don’t really know how it all happened – from the traces of light in the original really dark picture? Or something added by the editing programs? I’m a novice at photo editing, but I’m OK with the effusive color bursts I sometimes get, and grab. Little Buddy is now at the Rainbow Bridge; we miss him, every day. Our avatar picture came from this photo. More on that later.

An April morning, early

The picture above is before editing. The cropped version used to be the profile picture. I spiffed it up in two color schemes, and used the one you now see on this blog.

“Phsssssst! Why so much about that Othercat? You know I want to be the profile picture.” Bud glides up, then settles himself into loaf position.

“Well you were pals with Little Buddy, you remember?”

“Hisssssss. I only put up with him.”

Glorious Bud

“Here’s one of you Bud, ears up listening while you lean against a pillow, that’s why your whiskers are bunched up on one side.”

“Purrrr … I look regal … but you picture me too freakin’ bright! I look as neon as a night in Las Vegas! Not a true portrayal! Some werewolf might get me if I went around like that. Don’t you hear those werewolves yapping out in the woods? Oh I forgot, you’re not a cat, you don’t hear worth a …. ”

“I do hear them, but they’re coyotes. But what do you know about werewolves? They’re not even real.”

“I watch the same news y’all do. And that would make a good avatar pic. It flat sure glows enough.”

“Some of what we watch is just stories, Buddy. And how would you know about Las Vegas? Or neon?” Bud’s eyes slowly close and he’s asleep. I think.

Sleepy Little Buddy, photo enhanced by adding highly saturated color

Little Buddy snoozing in partial sunlight on May 21, 2013. We first sandwiched his picture with one of refracted sunlight. Recently I put it back into photo editing, and cranked up the color saturation. More about the earlier work on the picture at this link:

Little Buddy a few moments before the above picture

An unedited picture from the same day, right before Little Buddy moved into the position we see in the edited picture.

I brightened up the cropped avatar picture, saved it, and then went back to make various combinations of brightness, contrast, saturation, color balance sliders and “curves” in an ancient Photoshop program. I’m really a frustrated painter who can’t paint any more, not a photographer, so this is fun. Almost too many permutations, though!

Little Buddy, darker design

Little Buddy, lighter design

Picture of Little Buddy turned red in editing!

Serene morning with Little Buddy









Colors turning towards red in the “curves” was a big surprise! Talk about unreal! I then used the scale that changes colors and slid on to the green you see in the first photo!

Annabelle in sun

Annabelle, another of Mom’s cats, is now also at the Rainbow Bridge. A master sunsoaker, she stays in our hearts, much loved and missed. She stars in the banner picture for this website.


“Really Bud, she was your mother. And you never answered my questions. Here’s another pic of you. Purrrr now?”

Bud the Editing Cat wakes, and has plans for us

“Meow! Momcat’s still not me. Othercat. And what happens in Vegas … I want to edit the book now.”

So we will. Back later!

(There might be delays in publishing comments because this will be published right before a busy time with lots of storms with severe potential, when the computer will be off. Please bear with me, I’ll be back as soon as possible.)

Posted in Art, black cats, Cat Topics, Cats | Tagged , , , | 64 Comments

Seeing Things in the Creek; Commentary by Bud the Cat

Once you see this a certain way ...

Once I see this a certain way …

The un-retouched photos from a walk on the creek reveal how we might “see things” there. This shadow always looks humanoid, and comes festooned with riffles, dazzles and leaves. Who all’s out there? Who or what?

The longer view

The longer view

Casual personification along the creek. Oops. That’s what the brain does, seeing patterns in clouds or water, especially human faces and forms. I come by it naturally, as they say.



And I’m not done with last fall either, we’re looking back to November here. Every angle, every instant, means another switcheroo. What’s in that water, anyway?

Most pictures just tell of the stream, the rocky stream bed, the sky, the light, the forest. We’re cool that way, too:

Currents weaving leaves

Currents weaving, using leaves

I think I know where this was

I think I know where this was

Rapids in repose

Rapids in repose

Step back:

Going somewhere?

Going somewhere?

“They’re out there,” says Bud my Editing Cat. “What did I tell you?! I hear a cacophony of critters around us all the time. From that sector I also hear rushing and trickling sounds with voices like yours! So that’s what they look like! Let me loose down that way, I’ll get ’em!”

Fun at the creekbank

Fun at the creekbank

“Um, no, not what you hear, Buddy, it’s running water, the harmonics sound like voices; nothing’s there; the rustles and squeaks are rodents, raccoons, possums. You can’t go …. Let’s look at something else.”:

Cowcumber tree leaf, aka Broadleaf Magnolia

Leaf from Cowcumber Tree, aka Broadleaf Magnolia

Detail of leaf pack

Detail of leaf pack

Leaf pack detail, another angle

Leaf pack detail, another angle

A giant leaf and its companions.

“I just want to chase them. Snort, chuff ….”

The pleasing way leaves float

The pleasing way leaves float

“You know that’s not actual size you see on the computer screen, don’t cha? They look to be mouse-sized but they’re bigger than you, and me.”

How does this happen?

How does this happen?

“A swamp thing!”

Autumn centerpiece, just add water

Autumn centerpiece, just add water

“No …”

Now we see it ....

Now we see it ….

“Then they’re sea nymphs! Maybe they’ll bring me tuna, really fresh tuna straight outta the drink …. ”

Large magnolia leaves traveling together

Large magnolia leaves traveling together

Just flow, in a very rocky creekbed

Just flowing, in a very rocky creek bed

Irresistable flow

Irresistible flow

” … Purrrrrr. You see, they’re back!”

“Um … ”



A short time later and it’s all breaking up, going downstream. It’s fun to see them emerge, grab our imaginations, then flee.

“I just personify everything, Buddy, I’m shameless that way. They’re gone.”

Trees near the creek play their part

Trees near the creek play their part

“Aren’t you personifying me? Anthropomorphizing me? I’m still here.”

A sneak preview of forest posts to come. I must now vanish for a time to work on getting my book out, but we had exceptional light in our forest last fall and I’m not done posting it:

Faraway treetop

Not so faraway treetop

“Uh …”

Bud turns and strolls away to sulk, flipping his tail at me.

I was busy indoors, too. This is photo edited, just a little:

Our bright-eyed feral cat, Jim

Our bright-eyed feral cat in town, Jim

I didn’t hear Bud pad up. “RAWR at all that color! Did you slip out while I was napping and go to Mardi Gras? And who’s the Othercat? That’s not me.”

“That’s Jim, a wandering feral, like you once were. And those aren’t Mardi Gras colors, those would be green, gold, and purple. How do you know about Mardi Gras, anyway?”

“Snort, chuff.”

“But you’ll probably like your editor’s portrait this time.”

Bud, the grand editing cat

Bud, the ever-vigilant editing cat

“Ah, I’m cool with that picture. We’ll close with purrrrr.”

For another creek post where Bud and I discuss what’s out there, see this:

Posted in Cats, Creeks, Nature | Tagged , , , , , , | 52 Comments

Who Turned Fauvist Painters Loose at the Creek?

High sun on low water

High sun on low water

We walked through the forest down to the creek in glaring sunlight and, yowie, it looks like Les Fauves have been there, painting over parts of our fall creek scenery. We spooked ’em, they must have dropped loaded brushes and palettes full of paint into the water before vanishing from plein air into thin air. All the great colorists throughout history; Matisse, Derain, Van Gogh, Kandinsky, Gauguin, to name a few.

Easy drifting

Easy drifting

Kidding! A big sunsmack did this, on the magic reflecting creek at low water. Roaring rays packing color. All increments and permutations are contained in raw sunlight. Those riffles in the foliage and water, those shifting shadows, the clattering dry leaves? Only a light breeze, and frogs. No one, no ghosts, are here.

Some of us are still up there

Calming sparkle

Working together at the house, Bud the Editing Cat’s got something to say, “Those wild beasts are out there, I hear them and smell them. Just because you have sub-feline sensing mechanisms doesn’t mean the woods aren’t full of beasts.”

Currently colorful

Currently colorful

“You don’t understand, I mean painters …”

Rapids exit

Rapids exit


In the southeast US ‘painters’ and ‘panthers’ are old terms for mountain lions. The big cats are now generally thought to be absent here.

You wouldn't believe how blue the sky is today

You wouldn’t believe how blue the sky is today

“Well, never mind. Umm, when did you learn French?”

Gathering in the shallows

Gathering in the shallows

Blink blink purrrr. His usual answer.

Splashy pathway

Splashy pathway

We were just leaving

We were just leaves-ing









“And what do you know about panthers? They were around before your time.”

Upstream densities

Upstream densities

You are here

You are here









Blink blink purrrr.

Bud seems to be an all-knowing old soul.

Leaf jam du jour

Leaf jam du jour

Stony creekbed below

Stony creek bed below

The hues are quieter around Leaf Jam Island.

Jewel tones run in seams

Jewel tones run in seams

Did ghost painters flee to the opposite bank?

Did ghost painters flee to the opposite bank?

Radiance waiting to be caught

Radiance waiting to be caught

Looking sideways from center

Looking sideways from center









What the spectrum leaves!

What the spectrum leaves!

There is no photo editing on the creek and forest pictures, but I did enhance Bud’s pic. As chief editor of both word and photo editing, he wasn’t too pleased. During the process he meowed, “Whoa! Such a lead foot on the color pedal! Trying to get back to the 60s, are ya?”

Water circling

Water circling

“Well I made sure you still look like an earth-toned chocolate panther with green eyes. And yeah, maybe I am. Just how do you know about the 60s? You were a kitten in 2001.”

Just for fun

Just for fun

Blink blink purrrr.

Where Bud and I sit, edit, and discuss, autumn seeps slowly into the trees standing just outside the house in the gold October light:

Gold light added to slow fall

Wild Canopy

“And how could I see a mouse move through that mess of color? That’s just not realistic. It’s chromatic dissonance.”

Autumn's stroll

Autumn’s stroll

“How do you know? You have two-color vision! It’s my understanding everything’s there in the photos, a recorded impression of a tonal continuum. You don’t see it until you play with brights, darks, color, and saturation in photo editing.” I try to explain.

Bud, erudite Editing Cat

Bud, erudite Editing Cat

“Dang, girl, I know all that. Let’s get back to reality. I still say there’s something or someone out there.”

“Just purr, Buddy.” This time I’m the one going blink blink.

For more on color in nature and cats, check out this post:

Posted in Cats, Creeks, Nature | Tagged , , , , , , , | 79 Comments

Analysis of Cat, Bird, and Tree Life in a US Neighborhood

Late afternoon with slight sundog

Late afternoon with slight sundog


Mimosa gone to seed

Mimosa gone to seed








Spring Mockingbird 2016

Spring Mockingbird 2016

We can see more sky now. There’s a sundog, a light wash of refracted color, in the first photo. We have known one neighborhood a long time. Our late elders moved here, first my Mom, my husband’s parents later. The two households had adjoining yards. We visited with them, watching the fauna. The entire city had a canopy of tall trees; on our block we had oaks, pines, pecans, and a magnolia.

Chirps, tweets, screes, and woodpecker taps sounded from the trees. Glimpses of the singers and tappers flashed high up in the branches, and mockingbirds flitted in the low shrubbery; the yards were always fluttering with birds. Squirrels and chipmunks scrambled everywhere. The bird feeder on the porch at my in-laws’ house stayed busy. Birds and small animals flourished, with cats walking around. I’ve always loved birds and cats and trees.

We saw owned cats roaming, or sitting in their yards, friendly abandoned strays, skittish ferals. Mom began taking in strays and ferals, making them indoor cats. We rehomed the overflow when Mom had enough kitties in house. My husband’s father took in Bud, the cat that now edits for me; Mom took in Bud’s feral momcat Anna, who is pictured in other posts on this website.

Our beloved Budcat

Our beloved Budcat

Still, more cats came. We’d taken in all the unowned friendly ones; owned friendly and feral standoffish kitties were always coming and going. After a few years a neighbor moved in down the street and started TNRing the ferals. Elder care eventually took over our time so we could no longer tame and place cats in homes. Outside cats walked up to the door to peer through the screen at Mom’s cats, and jumped her back fence to sniff her yard. The birds and small animals thrived. We lived there awhile, observing animal life “in the field”, every day. The city also had occasional hawks, owls, raccoons, and possums.

What did flat-line the populations of our charming wild fauna? The EF4 tornado of 2011. Instant deforestation. Every tall tree around us went down. Forest became prairie. One extremely battered pecan tree stood, and revived. Smaller understory trees, along with brushy vegetation, were blasted and scrubbed down, too. A few red tips and mimosas survived. I don’t know if birds were killed or if they knew to fly elsewhere.

Our decision to rebuild meant we stayed present in the half-mile wide track of flat. From our corner of the earth, we saw first-hand what deforestation does. Squirrels and chipmunks and most songbirds were gone. The geese from the lake increased, eating well from the grassy ground. Mice and rat numbers also soared. We saw only a few mockingbirds at first. Deforestation, sudden, natural, instantly witnessed, was the culprit. Human-caused deforestation is in my estimation, the biggest factor in species declines world-wide.

Feral cats were largely unseen for a long time. We saw some dart into the storm drains. They might have hidden amidst the debris, from all the noisy humans and machinery in the streets. Some may have fled the hit zones. Total disruption of neighborhood routine no doubt made them feel unsettled. A tabby cat stopped by we couldn’t approach. We got a quick photo, but he never came back. Cats had been left behind when owners fled wrecked houses that day. Volunteers, and a neighbor a few blocks away quickly began to help with lost, stray, and feral felines. Owners were located when possible, strays were taken in; when the scarce ferals did come back around, they were kept fed.

All remaining trees slowly grew higher, the lone pecan, the smaller “understory” trees, mimosas, red tips; the fig tree we’d had to trim back so we had a path to clear debris, grew tall. Over the last few years the birds have started coming back to the neighborhood! We hear birdsong again. Squirrels are slowly returning as the pecan tree resumes making pecans.

Rufous-sided towhees, male and female, summer 2016

Rufous-sided towhees, male and female, summer 2016

Rufous-sided towhee, male

Rufous-sided towhee, male, summer 2016













Cardinal April 2016

Cardinal April 2016


Cardinal, close-up and preening

Cardinal, close-up and preening










I love blackbirds! I once wrote an article about grackles that was published by a nature journal.

Blackbirds February, 2016

Blackbirds, February, 2016

Coming back, but still shadows of former vegetation, they carry on:

Reviving pecan tree

Reviving pecan tree

Glorious mimosa, formerly of the understory

Glorious mimosa, formerly of the understory









We also have these guys or gals. Maybe three or four ferals, not sure how many lovely cats are out there. We hope to take them all inside one day; you have to start the taming by feeding them. The birds came back stronger when the trees gained altitude. They came to a neighborhood that’s never been without a few outdoor kitties. The birds flourished over the 2016 summer, with the cats there.

Unknown feral becoming friendlier, looking at me straight on

Unknown feral becoming friendlier, looking at me straight on

Ear-tipped unknown feral

Ear-tipped unknown feral









I’ve been watching and studying the dynamics of birds, cats, and other animals for many years. I’ve read widely about the fauna in the forest and city, and I know who eats birds and bird eggs. There’s a chapter about this in my now delayed, upcoming book; there will be more of my comparative studies of both small ecosystems in which I’ve lived. I also studied toxoplasmosis and rabies carefully. That’s in my book too!

Y’all can imagine just what I think about the book “Cat Wars” by Peter P. Marra and Chris Santella. I’ll only read it if the library gets it, I won’t support that. All of those studies saying cats kill such and such a number of birds are estimates, extrapolations, speculations. Unsound, imprecise science, to me. Raptors are protected species; some snatch small birds right out of the air. Other birds prey on bird eggs and nestlings. A study of how many birds are taken by other birds would be hard to nail down because the raiding raptors fly off; crow and jay predation takes place in nests high in trees. Public awareness of these incidents may be low because so many take place aloft, and/or shielded by leaves from human witnesses. We no longer talk about the gruesome side of avian activity! No online “buzz”, no “tweets”; though I expect if we could interpret realworld tweets (by birds), we’d find complaints about those freakin’ hawks! I’m also betting any accurate figure of birds taken by birds would be higher than the ‘birds taken by cats’ estimates.

In a variety of places we’ve lived, whenever cats have been few or absent, we’ve seen a spike in rodent numbers. No real surprise there. Rat and mice populations will soar if outdoor cats are ever killed off. Rats are also raiders of bird nests. Where neighborhoods have been leveled, meaning no more cat owners and their cats, rodents have shown up in homes bordering the cleared ground.

I love birds too. Deforestation and habitat loss are the real causes of declining bird numbers, along with other complex human-caused factors. There’s even human destruction of birds in many places for various reasons, one of which is crop consumption, as described in an article in the New York Times, America’s Wildlife Body Count, by Richard Conniff, September 17, 2016. I had trouble posting the link here within the text but it can be looked up. Or check out the first comment below where the link is posted.

ETA two months after I first posted, here’s an example of a bird kill by humans:

I have to ask, why would my conclusions about various neighborhoods be dismissed as anecdotal evidence? I don’t have a degree in science but I’ve been reading and watching thoughtfully, for a long ole time. In essence, I’m out doing field work in two locations. Ornithologists make use of birds counts by amateurs, so why would my seasoned observations not be taken seriously?

West Nile Virus almost killed my husband a few years back. Birds are the major reservoir host. Mosquitoes vector the disease to humans, and are also reservoir hosts, but they acquire the infection from birds.

West Nile is a growing human health threat. Yet we’re not calling for the eradication of all free-flying birds. How horrible that sounds! Say it about all free-roaming cats, and it’s just as chilling.

The complex and IMO incompletely understood and described disease toxoplasmosis often gets tossed into any anti-outdoor-cat discussion without qualification. One fact is, it’s found in mammals other than cats, and in birds:

Cats are easy targets for the convenient blame-another-species approach to saving species. There’s bias at work here. And as much as I always worried about cats, my own indoor cats who may slip out and behave like ferals if captured, my ferals, the cats belonging to others, now I have increased anxiety. I fear that even more antipathy towards kitties may have been awakened by this misplaced blame. Bird advocates need to look at and study big picture dynamics of the natural world – who eats what or whom – along with in-depth study of diseases. Only complete understanding will lead to creating workable advantages for species in decline. People are influenced by what they read online; they need to examine and research extensively. Science reaches knowledge through a multitude of studies, not just a few. Everyone needs to take real and thoughtful notice of what’s going on around them every day. One of the best possible scenarios is when bird groups and cat groups work together. Talking together is best. That’s happened in some places, I hope it spreads and continues.

From Peter J. Wolf on Vox Felina, here’s a well thought out, research-heavy refutation of the book “Cat Wars”.

Link to complete storm story:

Link to return of cats to tornado zone story:

Yes, the editor of this piece is a cat but he’s fair-minded and understands that in any scientific investigation, you must gather evidence carefully before you draw and apply far-reaching conclusions. As you can see, this topic doesn’t sit well, he has a look of concern. (In actuality, he heard something outside when the picture was snapped.)

Bud the Editing Cat with a "hmmm" face

Bud the Editing Cat in a “hmmm” moment


Posted in Cat Topics, Feral Cats, Nature, Tornadoes | Tagged , , , , , | 36 Comments