The Daily Catmute

Update! The Kickstarter campaign was a success – Cats are coming to a London Tube station!

If you are like millions of people around the world living in a big city you rely on some form of public transit to get around and, you probably would love to find some way to improve it. If you live in London and ride the tube you are in luck, as you now have a chance turn your daily commute into a daily catmute.

Citizens Advertising Takeover Service, or C.A.T.S, is a group of cat lovers from London who are part of Glimpse, a group of creative professionals who are trying to make “positive social change” feel more appealing to millions of people. One of their current projects aims to replace every single ad in a London tube station with you guessed it, pictures of cats. OK, you had me at cats!

The group has teamed up with Battersea Dogs and Cats home and Cats Protection in the UK to feature real stray cats, that are looking for homes, in the final posters. They are hoping to raise £20,000 with which will be enough to outfit a whole platform, in a small station, with cats and then expand the project if they raise more.

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Mock up of possible posters, which will all be unbranded – Image The Citizens Advertising Takeover Service (CATS)

The campaign is aimed at helping adoptable cats find homes, improving the daily commute and getting people to realize that they might not need to buy all the stuff typical advertising tries to sell us on a daily basis. Who says cats can’t be deep?

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“Your Cat Here” – Image The Citizens Advertising Takeover Service (CATS)

For £1 reward they will ‘stroke a cat for you’ and, for a £20 pledge they will design, print and send you a high quality postcard of your own cat starring in a London Tube advert as well as provide a digital image that you can share on social media. For the £100 reward level you can put your cat on one of the ads, their image will be placed on a small space on one of the posters and you will be emailed with the when and where of the posters location.

For the big spenders £2,500 will get your cat his or her own photo shoot with a professional photographer and an entire poster all to themselves – there are 4 spots left at this reward level.

Their Kickstarter campaign is currently running and ends May 21!

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Cemetery Cat

Cats are being recognized more and more for their ability to help humans whether in nursing homes as therapy cats or by helping kids learn to read. Science has also caught up with what cat lovers already know – that on top of companionship cats provide us with many health benefits. When it comes to providing comfort or stress relief cats are masters at it and we often don’t even realize they are working their magic on us. In the UK Barney the cemetery cat is once such feline who has worked his healing magic on people for 20 years.

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Barney the cemetery cat consoled mourners for 20 years. Barney lived at St Sampson’s Parish cemetery in Guernsey, UK. Image – Mirror.co.uk

Barney, who had been at the cemetery since he was a kitten, originally lived next store with his owners, but after they moved away the ginger tabby kept returning. Barney was eventually re-homed at the cemetery and looked after by the parish staff where he attended funerals and provided much-needed comfort to people mourning their loved ones.

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Barney the guardian angel has been praised for the positive impact he has had on people. – Image Mirror.co.uk

Last Friday the parish announced that after providing 20 years of service to the public Barney passed away from old age and was laid to rest. The Real-Fix reports that one of his keepers, Alan Curzon, has confirmed that Barney has now been “laid to rest at the place where he spent his entire life brightening up the lives of hundreds during their darkest moments.”

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Barney will have a plaque and a bench commissioned in his name along with being buried in the cemetery. Image – Mirror.co.uk

Alan tells the Real-Fix that “When relatives and friends have suffered the awful loss of someone close to them and go to visit a cemetery they are not in best frame of mind but Barney was always there to cheer them up… for those who entered the cemetery with a heavy heart, he lightened up the experience for them. When people walked through the gates, he often came up to them and brushed against them.”

Hundreds of tributes have come in for Barney and many people are in tears over his passing. Area residents who knew Barney, and are grateful for his presence over the years, have expressed their thanks.

“Writing on Facebook Debbie Ann Le Page said: “God bless you Barney, remember that lovely sunny afternoon, I laid down on the grass in the cemetery and we cuddled up together for two hours. I needed a friend that day and there you were my angel!! God bless you.”

Sue Falla, whose daughter is buried at the cemetery, said: “I always felt my young daughter was never alone when he was there. Really going to miss you, Barney, RIP.” – via Real-Fix

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Barney was well loved and members of the public fully supported having him buried in the cemetery. Image – Mirror.co.uk

Barney most definitely had a calling, providing an unspoken and invaluable service to the public, one he fulfilled right to the end. For all the ‘Barney’s’ out there working their magic I hope that his story will encourage more praise and respect for our feline friends everywhere.

RIP Barney, you have earned your wings.

Cats in a Coal Mine

The term ‘Canary in a Coal Mine’ is a familiar one and refers to the practice of using canaries to help detect dangerous gases while miners worked. Canaries were apparently used right up to the 20th century and phased out in the UK as recently as 1986. Besides these commonly used birds a wide range of other animals were also employed in mine work, including cats.

At first glance it may appear that cats were running around in coal mines, however a little further research revealed that cats in a coal mine were used to help to keep the rodent population under control in the pony stables, thankfully the cats never actually entered the mines.

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Leia, now retired from the UK’s last deep coal mine in Beal, Yorkshire. Leia along with fellow colliery cat Solo went to a nearby farm after the mine closed last month. Image – Your Cat

Four feral cats including Leia, pictured above, who worked at the North Yorkshire mine in the UK kept the stables clear of mice and rats and in turn they received food, shelter, water and care from the miners.

James Hodgkison of the Cats Protection York Adoption Center said the charity was called in to assist, trap and help transition the cats to new homes after the mine was slated to close last month. He said that the cats  were “very much valued by workers for keeping rodents in check…and had been well cared for by the miners…they were in great condition.”

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Florence was re-homed, with Betty pictured below, also to a nearby farm. Image – Pet News today

The new owners, who were very happy to provide homes for the cats, see them as an important part of mining history. They report that they are doing well and are continuing to work hard as mouser’s. Amanda Beal, who named the two cats she adopted Leia and Solo, tells Your Cat that while Solo is still “very feral…Leia very quickly decided that she likes some creature comforts and moved into the house.”

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Betty and Florence were named after two women involved in the miners strikes in the 1980s. – Image Sunday Express UK

While researching this piece I came across an urban legend that says cats were “thrown down closed coal mines in England during the Thatcher years by cruel people wanting to dispose of their pets.” According to the story, many years later, it was found that the cats had survived the fall and had “mutated into a community of blind cats with huge ears who were adapted to living in the complete darkness of the mine shaft.” More on this myth and how it was debunked can be read here under the Blind Coal Mine Kittens.

Post-Impressionist Cat

When an abandoned cat was found on the streets and taken in by The Mayhew Animal Home, in Kensal Green London, the staff would soon discover that the feline shared more than a distinguishing physical characteristic with her future namesake.

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Image – Artist Susan Herbert – source Pintrest

Unlike the famous human artist Vincent Van Gogh the cats injury was not self-inflicted, and upon further inspection the vet staff determined that a previous surgery on her ear had been performed incorrectly and was the cause of her ongoing ear infections. It was decided the best course of action was to remove the whole ear, which corrected the problem and left the cat with a very memorable look and name – Van Gogh.

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“She came in with one part of an ear missing and a distressing flea allergy” Van Gogh – Image Mayhew Animal Home

Van Gogh proved to have a knack for post-impressionist art and the cat, who is four years old, soon began creating her own paintings, the staff noticing that her “mucky paw prints seemed to make a pattern.

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Van Gogh, the first cat-impressionist with one of her paintings. Image – Mercury Press & Media Ltd.

Van Gogh’s feline senses helped her interpret and create her own versions of famous paintings like The Starry Night and Sunflowers. Her medium of choice however is fruit juice, this protects her paws and ensures she stays safe during her artistic forays.

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The staff told The Telegraph that Van Gogh has been showing a variety talents since she first arrived and has even managed to make a few phone calls by draping herself on the handset. While Van Gogh may not be looking for an agent to represent her work, she is most definitely in search of her forever home.

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Image – Mercury Press & Media Ltd.

She’s a very special cat who is hugely affectionate and will make a lovely pet for someone. She loves to be cuddled all day long.

Van Gogh’s work is also being sold by The Mayhew Animal House, all the money raised will go to help other animals in need. If you live in the UK and would like to adopt Van Gogh, or know someone willing to give her a permanent and loving home please visit her adoption page.

Retirement Home For Cats

It’s an all to familiar sight, an elderly person passes away or is sent to a residential care facility and no one is willing to take on the responsibility of caring for their cat. In the case of senior cats it’s not an ideal situation to have them enter the shelter system, but what if there was an alternative that, with a little planning could give someones beloved cat a place to retire?

If you live in the UK the Lincolnshire Trust for Cats provides just that, an ideal place for kitty to retire and live out the rest of their lives with all the love, comfort and care they will need.

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All Images from Lincolnshire Trust for Cats unless otherwise stated

The retirement home is set in seven acres and is south-facing, which gives the residents lots of opportunity to sunbathe. The accommodation comprises, three centrally heated sitting rooms, enclosed outdoor areas…and several insulated houses for the less social cat.The cats are fed a top quality food and individual diets are catered for.

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“I don’t think anywhere else does it because people come all the way from London with the cats to come here” – BBC News

The Trust is connected to a feline rescue which houses 400 cats 80 of which are in the special “Retirement” facility. Cats have round the clock care and founder Jain Hills tells the BBC News that she believes the retirement home is “unique” in the fact that no other charities seem to be doing it on the scale that they are. Besides providing a home for your cat it gives owners something that is priceless – piece of mind.

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All the cats get lots of attention from staff and a cozy fire-place.

There is a one time booking fee of eight hundred and fifty pounds, and the Trust then will take on any and all future costs for treatment/surgery that the cat may need. Since they are a charity they rely solely on monetary donations or money raised through their charity shop, in order to keep providing this amazing service.

Hopefully most of us won’t have to think about a retirement plan for our cats, but if we do it’s good to know that places like this exist and that our feline family members have the option of living out their golden years having their every whim catered to.

Looking for more info on retirement placements for your cat?

The Zimmer Feline Foundation provides tips on estate planning and helping choose the right place for your cat and, If you live in the US or Canada The Sunshine Home offers both temporary and permanent long-term care to clients from all over North America, while F.A.T. Cat Haven located in California offers both a retirement home and adoption center for cats.

 

Manifesto For Cats

Cats are awesome and amazing creatures who hold us captive with their mystery and grace, always managing to leave us wondering what they are thinking. Throughout history they have either been worshiped or persecuted, and if you read the headlines it seems more of the latter is taking place. Thankfully there are many cat lovers speaking and standing up for them, making the world a better place for both owned and homeless cats.

The voice for cats just got a little louder thanks to Cats Protection the UK’s leading feline welfare charity who announced their Manifesto for Cats.

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“In this General Election year, 2015, we’ve launched our Manifesto for Cats and will be calling on the new Government to put in place measures to protect cats from abandonment, harm and neglect. After a three-month public consultation 93 per cent of participants agreed with all of our 10 suggested manifesto priorities which are designed to benefit cats, owners and society as a whole.”

Some of the key points of this Manifesto include:

  • Tighter regulation of licensing of air guns, banning the use of snares, both of which cause unimaginable pain and suffering to cats on a daily basis
  • Measures to control breeding and sale of kittens by unscrupulous breeders
  • Updating the Dangerous Dogs Act to allow prosecution of dog owners whose dogs
    attack, injure or kill cats
  • Inclusion of animal welfare in the National Curriculum so all children learn about
    responsible pet care
  • Government recognition of the needs of people with cats or other companion animals in rented housing and care homes to allow people to keep their pets
  • Government recognition of the benefits which cats and other companion animals
    bring to health and personal wellbeing when an individual’s care needs are assessed

Cats Protection put together a touching video where cat lovers share their personal stories and ask the policy makers to help bring about the long overdue and much-needed change to improve the welfare and lives of cats. Some of the people in the video recount how their own cats had been killed or injured in ways that this manifesto is trying to address, reduce and prevent.

If you live in the UK, or have friends there, please share and support this, for more click here

Cats Protection is pleased to be working with Government and to be presenting our first ever Manifesto for Cats. Delivery of the manifesto would improve the lives of thousands of cats and prevent them from harm.”

Book Review: My Name Is Bob

Cat, My Name Is Bob, Book, kids, James bowen, street cat named bob                          Authors: James Bowen and Garry Jenkins Illustrated by: Gerald Kelley                          Publisher: Barron’s Educational Price: $16.99 US/$19.50 CAN

If you are a cat lover like myself, you may already know of the books A Street Cat Named Bob and sequel The World According To Bob.  Both are based on the real life stories of how a serendipitous encounter changed the lives of street musician James and a stray cat named Bob. The famous duos presence on the streets of London would be the basis for an amazing and inspiring tale.

Being a huge fan I jumped at the chance to review the newest addition, a prequel of sorts, called My Name is Bob which is geared for young children and is smartly told from the point of view of Bob the cat! The book introduces a whole new generation of readers to Bob and what his life was like before he met James. Bob is a house cat who is very much-loved and well cared for by his elderly owner, however a series of unfortunate events lead him to experience some unhappy times as a stray cat on the streets of London.

Readers journey with Bob as he encounters people, other cats and the perils of the big city before finally meeting James. Once they meet their lives are changed, a beautiful and life long friendship ensues and the rest is history.

My Name Is Bob makes a wonderful gift for any young child, it is fun to read, entertaining and well illustrated. It also includes some wonderful pictures of the real life Bob and James along with a synopsis of where the pair is at now. It is a story of hope and perseverance that will be sure to engage and inspire a young person.

I also appreciate that the story brings awareness to the plight of stray cats by highlighting real life challenges they face on the street, making it a positive tool for teaching kids about compassion towards animals.

My Name Is Bob is a great introduction to the world of Bob and James and it will make a purrfect stepping stone for reading the other books later on.

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Bob and James

Release date is early May and can be purchased online from Barron’s Educational. It will also be available at most major and independent booksellers which include Barnes & Noble and Amazon.com in the US and retailers like Chapters Indigo, Amazon.ca, and Target here in Canada.

Did you know In real life James and Bob raise money for the Blue Cross animal charity in the UK giving back to the organization that helped them?

A copy of the book was supplied by the Publisher and the review was done for love not money 🐱