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Glurp
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  Reply # 1198168 15-Dec-2014 23:19
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DarthKermit: 

What would you like me to tell you about Blackie? I have written quite a bit in my pets pic thread. Anything else you'd like to know about him? smile


I was mainly wondering how you got together but I re-read the pet thread and found the answer. In my case Boots was a Christmas gift from some close friends. He was part of a stray litter living under someone's house. In some ways he was more like a dog. We used to go exploring together and he loved to go on walks. It never even occurred to me to have him autopsied. When he died I was so shattered I couldn't think straight. 




I reject your reality and substitute my own. - Adam Savage
 




Glurp
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  Reply # 1198174 15-Dec-2014 23:25
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Fred99:

You should read the article.  It's fascinating from a scientific POV - that co-evolution could result in a commensalist relationship between a primary host and parasite allowing the parasite to complete a life-cycle, and the primary host to enjoy some easy hunting.
I'm not sure how your list of other "things which make you crazy" compare really.  Not that I'd like to be poisoned by mercury, but having an infection with parasites forming cysts in your brain, and that having evolved as means for the parasite to affect the behaviour / control the mind of the (secondary) host - potentially you - is quite freaky and rather disturbing IMO. 



I read part of it and it was interesting. I will go back for the rest later. If parasites are controlling me it would explain a lot but I still love my cats. 
 




I reject your reality and substitute my own. - Adam Savage
 


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  Reply # 1198175 15-Dec-2014 23:34
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Rikkitic:
DarthKermit: 

What would you like me to tell you about Blackie? I have written quite a bit in my pets pic thread. Anything else you'd like to know about him? smile


I was mainly wondering how you got together but I re-read the pet thread and found the answer. In my case Boots was a Christmas gift from some close friends. He was part of a stray litter living under someone's house. In some ways he was more like a dog. We used to go exploring together and he loved to go on walks. It never even occurred to me to have him autopsied. When he died I was so shattered I couldn't think straight. 


I'm sorry again for your loss. *hugs*

I have a video of when Blackie came home after being lost. It's on a VHS tape. One of these days, I should try to digitise it and upload it to You Tube so everyone can see my baby when he was still very young.




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  Reply # 1198205 16-Dec-2014 06:53
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gzt: It's very interesting. My understanding is toxo is only active for a few weeks around the kitten stage - and that is the danger time where transfer may occur to humans, particularly small humans.


The cats will excrete the pathogen (oocysts) for a couple of weeks after they are infected - but they don't need to be kittens.  Domestic kittens probably aren't exposed to infection early as they won't be fed wild prey by the mother, after milk-feeding then reared by humans with prepared (cooked) foods, so they may only get infected (and thus become infectious for a short time) once they start catching wild prey (or are fed raw meat by their owners), which could be any time.  I guess feral cats would tend to get infected early.
However, from what I've read, there's actually no direct correlation between cat ownership and rate of human infection. This is jumped on "in defence of cats" when toxoplasmosis is discussed - which IMO is rather silly as without cats, there is no toxoplasmosis at all - the pathogen dies out.  
I don't know what the rate of (latent) human infection is in NZ - only one article suggesting 40%, which would be relatively high.


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  Reply # 1198258 16-Dec-2014 09:14
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I've grown up around animals; my nana has volunteered for the SPCA for 50+ years and we always had dogs and cats growing up. My wife and I decided against getting a dog though because we are young professionals and we can't give enough time to a dog. We got a rescue kitten 5 years ago and for the first 3 years he was very scared of everything. He wouldn't even come near us for a long time. Nowadays he sleeps on the bed with us and is really vocal, to the point that he's annoying sometimes, lol...

 


I like that cats are independent and don't need to be walked, and they're pretty cheap to feed. He shows us affection but he doesn't need to be showered with affection in return, a simple fuss now and then keeps him happy. Does he kills animals? Well, in 5 years he's bought in 2 blackbirds. I've also found a dead baby blackbird bird in the garden and I have chased him away from trees where I know there are birds nests. So sure, he's bound to have killed more than I know.

We might get a dog one day but tbh picking up huge piles of dog poo and walking a dog every day doesn't really appeal to me.

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  Reply # 1198281 16-Dec-2014 09:27
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Fred99: 

You should read the article.  It's fascinating from a scientific POV - that co-evolution could result in a commensalist relationship between a primary host and parasite allowing the parasite to complete a life-cycle, and the primary host to enjoy some easy hunting.
I'm not sure how your list of other "things which make you crazy" compare really.  Not that I'd like to be poisoned by mercury, but having an infection with parasites forming cysts in your brain, and that having evolved as means for the parasite to affect the behaviour / control the mind of the (secondary) host - potentially you - is quite freaky and rather disturbing IMO. 



Freaky and disturbing?

Then you probably haven't been infected with T gondii yet.

Else you'd be calmly playing with your cats..

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  Reply # 1198301 16-Dec-2014 09:51
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Sidestep:
Fred99: 

You should read the article.  It's fascinating from a scientific POV - that co-evolution could result in a commensalist relationship between a primary host and parasite allowing the parasite to complete a life-cycle, and the primary host to enjoy some easy hunting.
I'm not sure how your list of other "things which make you crazy" compare really.  Not that I'd like to be poisoned by mercury, but having an infection with parasites forming cysts in your brain, and that having evolved as means for the parasite to affect the behaviour / control the mind of the (secondary) host - potentially you - is quite freaky and rather disturbing IMO. 



Freaky and disturbing?

Then you probably haven't been infected with T gondii yet.

Else you'd be calmly playing with your cats..


Precisely.
Cats (and dogs - working dogs excluded) have adapted to enjoy a parasitic life with humans as hosts anyway.  "But they give us pleasure" doesn't really change that. 
Cats killing a few rodents doesn't make them useful.  Even if it was argued that some rodents predate on birds, rodent population is primarily limited by availability of food resources, they breed very fast and predation by cats makes no meaningful difference to population numbers at all. Many birds on the other hand raise few young each year, predation by cats can have a big impact on the population.  Just because cats aren't the only (introduced) predators doesn't excuse them.  Cat owners should make an effort to reduce predation.  I get sick of them killing native birds and lizards in my garden, and sick of excuses made by cat owners.  I know that one neighbour's cat killed bellbirds, kingfishers at least.  It also proudly dropped  a half-eaten carcase of a jewelled gecko at it's owner's feet.  "Oh - it's just a lizard" said the owner.



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  Reply # 1198306 16-Dec-2014 09:58
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Fred99: You should read the article.  It's fascinating from a scientific POV - that co-evolution could result in a commensalist relationship between a primary host and parasite allowing the parasite to complete a life-cycle, and the primary host to enjoy some easy hunting.
I'm not sure how your list of other "things which make you crazy" compare really.  Not that I'd like to be poisoned by mercury, but having an infection with parasites forming cysts in your brain, and that having evolved as means for the parasite to affect the behaviour / control the mind of the (secondary) host - potentially you - is quite freaky and rather disturbing IMO. 

 

 

Ok, I read the article. As someone with a degree of scientific curiosity, I found it fascinating, but it still has not changed my feelings about cats.

 





I reject your reality and substitute my own. - Adam Savage
 




Glurp
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  Reply # 1198313 16-Dec-2014 10:13
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Fred99: Cats killing a few rodents doesn't make them useful.  Even if it was argued that some rodents predate on birds, rodent population is primarily limited by availability of food resources, they breed very fast and predation by cats makes no meaningful difference to population numbers at all.

 

 

Do you have research to back this up or is it just your opinion? Other evidence seems to suggest something different, for example, the Raglan cat killer story.

 

 

Of course cats do kill things they shouldn't and I sympathise with people who are upset by this. I do not believe cats should simply be allowed to pursue their instincts without any form of controls. But anti-cat arguments also need to be kept in perspective. How many birds and lizards and other creatures are the victims of human carelessness and indifference? 'So what if I just hit that bird with my car? There are plenty more where that came from.'

 





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  Reply # 1198401 16-Dec-2014 12:53
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Cats are neither good nor bad.  They are just doing what they do.  I live with two cats (not mine).  They seem to kill what is handy.  At our old house they caught rats, mice, lizards and birds.  At our new place they don't bring home rodents, just birds and lizards.  We are on the urban fringe and almost all of the prey they bring home is native animals. 




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  Reply # 1198469 16-Dec-2014 15:11
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I heard something on TV recently, a discussion about the role of cats in harming native wildlife. I didn't hear the full article but caught the mention of Trap-Neuter-Return by someone. I may have incorrectly heard that the person who mentioned it (possibly someone from SPCA?) said it's not a good solution for the alarming issue of rising cat population.

My partner is a vet nurse, and we are involved with the local Christchurch organisation called Cat Rescue. To my knowledge they're the only one in the country who are running a TNR programme. We have fostered numerous feral (they prefer to call it "unsocialised") kittens so far. They have been raised to be amazing young cats (thanks to one of our dogs who turned out to be a kitten whisperer extraordinaire), before they're neutered/spayed and placed in suitable homes. I don't believe TNR is the silver bullet for the rising cat population issue, then again, I'm not sure such a silver bullet exists for this issue. However, I think it can be a great part of of a wider solution. I'm surprised it hasn't been mentioned more around the country.

Have you guys heard of this programme? What are your thoughts?




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  Reply # 1198470 16-Dec-2014 15:16
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MikeAqua: Cats are neither good nor bad.  They are just doing what they do.  I live with two cats (not mine).  They seem to kill what is handy.  At our old house they caught rats, mice, lizards and birds.  At our new place they don't bring home rodents, just birds and lizards.  We are on the urban fringe and almost all of the prey they bring home is native animals. 


Differnet cat breeds behave very differently. Burmese for example are almost like dogs, you can teach them tricks, they come to you on command, play fetch,  and can roll over on command etc.



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  Reply # 1198487 16-Dec-2014 16:14
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dpw:

Have you guys heard of this programme? What are your thoughts?


 

 

It is common in some places, not sure about NZ. I have been doing this privately for the cats in my area, to the extent I can afford. Local SPCA and vet helped for a time with discounts.

 





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  Reply # 1198491 16-Dec-2014 16:25
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I'm guessing 95% of cats in NZ are mixed breed.  

I have taught my dog the practical basics (sit, stay, heel, wait, speak, leave, bed, inside, outside, up, lie-down, you-may-eat, nicely,). 

Never had to teach him to wind, track, flush game, fetch, retrieve bail or hold.  He just does. 

Did have to teach him to leave small furry things alone.  Not easy.

I don't teach tricks, not my thing. 

Unless I had a small dog I could train as a Frisbee catcher.  Frisbee catching is awesome.

mattwnz: Differnet cat breeds behave very differently. Burmese for example are almost like dogs, you can teach them tricks, they come to you on command, play fetch,  and can roll over on command etc.




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  Reply # 1198509 16-Dec-2014 16:53
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MikeAqua:
Did have to teach him to leave small furry things alone.  Not easy.


I didn't teach my dog not to chase cats - the neighbour's cat taught him, with the old one-two clobber on the snout. Now he just barks at them from a safe distance.

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