Captain's Cabin

Pirate Lord of the Platinum Coast
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Dogs have owners, Cats have staff.
Cleo on the Beach - Dianna
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Friday, March 30, 2007

Outside

I tell Ellie Calico this story (Flopmop4 on Petsplaces.com), and she think it funny story, so I will tell you and expand a bit on it. This what happened when I came to my new home.

I was living with Loreta-Bean, who could not keep me anymore. So just before Turkey Dinner Holiday, she bring me to a new human who is to take care of me. This is why we celebrate my birthday on November 27th, because that is when I came to live with this new Bean.

Loreta-Bean bring me to her apartment and tell her I did not like going outside. I don't know where she got that idea from, because I always try to go outside! I lived outside and while I prefer nice warm house with a full plate of food to live in , I know how to live outside. And I like to go out and enjoy the sunshine, sharpen my claws on trees and make sure my terriorty is properly marked and patroled. How else to keep rodents in line if I do not police them?

But Loreta-Bean call me escape artist because I always sneak out of the apartment and adds that I would not come when called. Well, yeah, if you are going to trap me inside all the time, why would I come? Of course I am going to try to enjoy my freedom while I have it!

So this was what the big fight was over with this new human, and why I piss on her bed, because I want to go out and she wouldn't let me.

So we go through period where I sneak out and new human trick me into being caught. Food...feather sparkler...well, you get idea. But Diamond is not a stupid Cat. You do it once, maybe twice and I pick up on it and it doesn't work anymore. So...

One day I get out and she could not Catch me and had to go to work, leaving me outside. She probably worry herself sick all day about that, but I was good Cat and was waiting at the door when she come home. So then she figure, maybe I was not the moron Cat Loreta-Bean made me out to be. So eventually, but not every day, I was allowed to go outside when I wanted. So we didn't fight anymore and I didn't piss on the bed anymore.

I feel it prudent though not to let new human get too comfortable with situation. So I try going up on roof and pretending I couldn't get down a few times. Evidently, she is not overly stupid either, and knew I was trying to scam her and and wouldn't fall for it.

So no big production, no ladders and firetrucks and "here's some special tuna food kitty". She leave me up on roof once all night while I cry piteously. How hard hearted can you get? I down waiting at the door at daybreak through, because I want breakfast, especially after missing dinner.

Anyway, now I am allowed to go out and come in. I go by door and rattle the blinds when I want out, and I sit by door and meow to come in. If she is slow to come when I call, I will bang on the door.

When I out and she wants me in, sometimes I come when called, usually if I'm done with whatever needed doing outside. Sometimes I come when called if food is offered, if that is better than rolling in dirt or stalking bird. Sometimes I spend whole night outside to get in touch with my inner-panther.

I do not go in street or around cars. If something dangerous comes that I cannot handle I will go on roof or hide on porch. I hide good. Or I go hide in tree. I can go see people when they come by and get pets, or I can chase birds and ratties and lizards while I am out. I like to go down in the storm pipe because ratties hang out there. I like to go to neighbor's yard. I sit in window and tell neighbor's inside Cats all about outside and what they are missing.

The weather is nice now. I do not like being outside when it rains, so if I know it going to rain, I stay inside.

Today I go outside when Bean wake up to let me out. It still dark out then. I check things out, then meow to come back in and get treats and Catnips from Bean before she goes to work.

Now I write blog, and then I take Catnap then maybe have some lunch. If Bean had little tent overnighted, I could hide in little tent, but no, she have it shipped ground. I will never get to hide in little tent it will take so long to get here!

I think I find some new Cats on Petster, but I already ask to be friends with them, they just never online.

I think that all for today furrriends. Have a nice weekend, if I do not meow at you before that.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Pugle-Puss

Bean tell friend Tony's mom that she is going to sign up for Pug Meet Up and take me to Pug Meet Up.

"That won't work," she says. "She doesn't look like a Pug."

"You don't think I could pawn her off as a black Pug."

"Not unless you smushed her nose in with a hammer." (Ouch! That would hurt!)

"How about a Black Pugle? Their noses aren't smushed in."

"No, I don't think they'd buy that either. The tail would be a dead giveaway."

"Well...what if I told them she was a Pugle-Puss?"

"Now that's a new one..."

She THINKS if she starts taking me to PetSupermarket and PetsMart and Petsco she can get me used to going in car and being around people.

"Can't you just start by putting her leash on her and walking her to work?"

"She won't walk on a leash. I put the leash on her and she lays down. She expects me to pick her up and carry her." (Of course, much easier than walking.)

"But if I take her to PetSupermarket," Bean says, "she might be okay with that because she can pick out her own toys and treats."

Now that might not be a bad idea. I always want to go to PetSupermarket. I wonder if it is a long car ride, because I do not like to go in car! I AM member of PetSupermarket VIP Club!

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Catnip! & Odds & Ends

Ah...I get my catnip yesterday from Catnipetc.com. Bean had is sent to her work. We were both surprised that it came so quickly. There was also a nice thank you note enclosed, but no catalog. Website is nice, but Bean wanted catalog.

But she bring it home and put box on bed and I try with all my might to get into box while she is puting the rest of her things way. I could really smell it and I wanted it NOW. So she takes out playmat for me and then puts catnip down on playmat and went totally crazy on it. That's some good stuff they are raising up in Canada, let me tell you!

But once I get done with that I am all tired out and not in the mood for long blog entry. But there are some items to go through, so...

April Florida Cat Show Calendar

7-8 Sanford, Fl: City Beautiful Cat Club (CFA). Sanford Civic Center, 401 E. Seminole Blvd. Show hours 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Info: Mona Cherrington (904) 269-5871.

14-15 Melbourne, Fl: Gasparilla Feline Friends (CFA). Melbourne Auditiorium, 625 E. Hibiscus Blvd., Show hourse: 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Info: Mona Cherrington (904) 269-5871

28-29 St. Petersburg, FL: Tampa Bay Feline Fanciers (ACFA). Florida Army National Guard Armory, 3601 38th Ave., Show Hours: 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Info: Laura Gregory (813) 265-0765 tampabayfeline@aol.com

AJ have some things to say about cat shows on the Show Pets group on Petsplaces.com, but that is a topic for another day I think.

Cat-Minster: The CFA International Cat Championship

GSN (The Game Show Network) wants your favorite pet photos! Send a photo of your favorite feline and you could see your cat on national TV!

If you're the proud parent of a precious cat or two, or even more, and have a perfect pet picture you'd like to show off to the world, login and upload them, then check out Cat-Minster, April 1st, on GSN.

Click here to upload and for more information.

Free Sample of Naturals

Purina Cat Chow is offering a free 6 oz sample of their Natural line. You can take advantage of this offer at Catchow.com/naturals.

Purina and their Natural line of produces has not been affected be the Menu Food recall.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Big Birds and Food

So someone pull Tigger's carcus off the road and throw it onto one of the lawns. About half way through the day, these BIG birds came and started eating on Tigger's carcus. Not crows. I've seen those before. Bean called these Vultures. They are very ugly birds and they are bigger than I am! I didn't know birds got that big.

When they showed up, I went on the porch and sat on the green chair and watched them. Usually when Bean come home I go meet her in the driveway, but when she came home Friday I just stay on the chair. They birds flew to the top of the neighbor's house when Bean drove up but that wasn't far enough away for me! Bean of course was not afraid, she is not afraid of anything.

"What's wrong?" She ask me. "Those birds too big for you to take out?" Well, not just that, but they didn't look very tasty either, with those ugly heads!

Finally, the people's whose lawn that was came home and took Tigger's carcus away. So the big ugly birds left.

Yesterday, the gentleman down the street stopped by while Bean was offloading the car. "You have the most beautiful cat," he tells her. He lives with tabby cat.

He admire my coat and my eyes and my markings. There is a black Puuuurrrrsian that lives down the street too. He is funny, every time a dog comes by his yard, he runs down to the street to chase it off. Dogs are on leashes anyway, they not come into his yard.

The tabby's gentleman was very nice though. I like it when people admire me.

Then I have cat greenies for the first time. These are to clean your teeth (no brushing) and to improve your breath. They look weird but taste pretty good. These were ocean fish greenies, there are also salmon greenies that Bean buy for me. I also get more Cat Candy, which is the best stuff. Bean go to PetSupermarket again and I am now member of the VIP club, because I am very important.

They try to get her to switch my food again, but she does not want to do that until after the recall is over and says besides, they don't have the kinds of foods I like in gravey, so I probably wouln't eat it. She ways the lady at the store says none of the Foods on recall were found in Florida, but that's okay, she doesn't want to chance it.

She also says until they give her sample to see if I like, she won't change foods because she can't see wasting money on something I won't eat.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Pet Food Recall

I'm sure everyone has already heard about the massive food recall, right? 51 Brands affected are affected, so please check your food carefully.

Here is a link to the manufacture who's had the problem.

In addition, Hill's® Pet Nutrition, Inc. has announced a voluntary precautionary recall in the United States and Canada of a very small number of canned cat products that are co-manufactured by Menu Foods.

Hill's is voluntarily recalling the following products:

1. Science Diet® Kitten Savory Cuts® Ocean Fish 3 oz. and 5.5 oz.
2. Science Diet® Feline Adult Savory Cuts® Beef 5.5 oz.
3. Science Diet® Feline Adult Savory Cuts® Chicken 5.5 oz.
4. Science Diet® Feline Adult Savory Cuts® Ocean Fish 5.5 oz.
5. Science Diet® Feline Senior Savory Cuts® Chicken 5.5 oz.

Rat Poison on wheat which was imported from China is being blamed for the recall.

I eat Purina ONE dry food, which is not affected by the Menu Foods pet food recall. Neither is Fancy Feast, which is the canned food I eat, which is also made by Purina.

The other food I eat is Meow Mix Market Select, which is made by Del Monte Pet Products, and is not subject to the recall either.

Two Deaths

Bunny friend Clover from Petster pass over the Rainbow Bridge yesterday. He have GI Stasis. I do not know what this is, since I do not know bunny diseases, but I look it up online.

GastroIntestinal Stasis is called The Silent Killer in bunnies. A rabbit's intestine can become static for a variety of reasons, including (1) stress, (2) dehydration, (3) pain from another underlying disorder or illness (such as gas, dental problems, infections, or urinary tract disorders) (4) an intestinal blockage or, (5) insufficient dietary crude fiber. Left untreated, the slowdown or complete cessation of normal intestinal movement (peristalsis) can result in a painful death, in a relatively short period of time. If your rabbit stops eating or producing feces for 12 hours or more, you should consider the condition an EMERGENCY. GET YOUR BUNNY TO A RABBIT-SAVVY VETERINARIAN IMMEDIATELY.

Clover was a lop-eared bunny. You can find her tribute page here.

The English Lop may be the oldest breed of domestic rabbit known to man. It's origin is lost in the mist of time. Research has found it existed by 1700. Records indicate that it was exhibited in the British Isles in 1846. Little is known of the development of this fascinating breed of rabbits which is know as the "King Of The Fancy". Like most breeds, there are many interesting stories about them. The English Lop is probably the best known breed of Lop. There are others, among them being the Swiss Ram, Danish Lops and French Lops. At one time, there were even varieties such as the Half Lop, a rabbit with only one ear lopped over; Horn Lops, Lops with ears twisted such as those on a Ram; and many that were created or shown for one reason or another. English Lops revoked the most favor in England and for many years, it was almost unheard of for any rabbit but the Lop to take the coveted "Best In Show" award.

So this make me sad. If Easter Bunny is dead, who will bring good cat Cat Candy for Easter?

Then this morning Bean and I discover that tiger tom cat that Bean calls Tigger got hit by car last night. I just fight with him yesterday!

I not too sad about this because I did not like Tigger and always fight with him. He only interested in making kittens, like he did with tuxedo cat across street, and I cannot make kittens. So he gets mad at me because I will not make kittens with him and attack me. I always fight him off.

He not have easy life, because he ferrel, and will not come by any humans. Bean feel bad for him, but there nothing she can do to help him, he do not want to be helped.

Bean bleeding heart anyway, wants to save every cat in world.

It probably better off that he die. This way, he not suffer any more, and I know he not be doing too well the past few weeks as he had hurt paw. Hopefully he will be nice to Clover on other side of rainbow bridge and not try to bully her or make kittens with her.

August 15th in National Cat Day. One of the purpose of National Cat Day is to help galvanize the public to recognize the number of cats that need to be rescued each year. Another is to urge you to celebrate the cat(s) in your life, to give them unconditional love for the companionship they bestow.

You can find out more about National Cat day at http://www.nationalcatday.org/.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Good Weekend

I have good weekend.

Thursday I get cat jewlery. I not sure what up with that, but it hang on my collar. I would rather not wear collar, but Bean says if I go outside, I have to have collar on, otherwise someone might think I do not have a home and steal me. I do not think they would do that, but I like this home, so I humor her.

I get a crown, because when people come over they say "Oh is this your little princess?" and I get a shamrock because I Irish cat. I am not little princess, I am Queen Empress of the Universe, but humans are so dense. I am glad that I have mine firmly under my mind control.

Anyway, she think cat jewlery is pretty and it little, so it hang on collar and make her happy. Sometimes it is good to humor the humans.

Friday I get Catster Plus! I still not play much with it with codes, but I'm working on it. Now I will have to have many more pictures taken of me to fill up Catster Plus photo album! But NO MORE dress up photos!

Saturday, Bean brings home Pitt'r Pat Cat Candy which is my favorite treat! I eat a whole tin! She also brings home Nutro Max Salmon Treats that I like and little furry mousies with feathered tails. She only give me three so far. I pull tails off. I know she has more in the bag. More cat candy too!

They try to talk her into changing Cat Food to Nutro Max but then I read where Nutro Max Gourmet Classics and Nutro Natural Choice is on recall list, so I glad she does not change foods. I eat Purina One dry - I like the Salmon and Tuna flavor with yogurt - and Fancy Feast and Meow Mix Market Select. These are not on recall list.

Human go to baseball game, so I go outside ALL DAY until human come home. Then I eat. Then, when human leave to go to store, I go outside again and I stay outside ALL NIGHT. Now, you might say "Diamond, why you want to stay outside when it cold out and sleep?" because it was cold this weekend, but sometimes I like to sleep outside. It gets me in touch with my inner-Panther and reminds me of my wildness - even if I do have to wear collar with silly cat jewlery on it.

Sunday I sleep all day after catting around all night. But when human go to leave for store I ask for toys. I think this mistake, because I think she realizes I have Kitty Telepathy now and may be more wary of things I put in her mind. BUT - come home with flutter balls, which are little balls with feather on top. Name reminds me of some Tom Cats I know. Kind of like little birds, they more fun to chase when human throws them then they are to bat around. I not pull feathers off yet.

Then I win things from Pikapet! I win Pink Safari Kitty Litter Mat from Felinerina, and One Pound Kittybags Canadian Leaf & Buds Catnip and 9 x 12 Kittybags Catnip Playmat from Catnipetc.com. So, I set for a while with catnip! I also win 4th Place in Pikapet St. Patrick's day contest. Dumb dog wins. Now who would vote for dumb dog over me? But that only down point of weekend.

I hope you all have nice weekend too!

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Kitty Telepathy

My Human writes:

Cats are so good at training their humans...and we never even seem to realize it...

It used to be, that I couldn't sleep with Miss Diamond in the room with me. We even had a somewhat unkind term - Plaquating the Cat - which meant gluing the cat to the wall on a Sunday morning so she could not walk all over the humans and wake them up.

Not that we would ever really do this, of course, but sleeping with the bedroom door shut to keep Diamond out became something of the norm. I remember this now...vaguely. She probably used some form of Kitty Telephany to erase the entire thing from my mind.

What I'm not sure about, is when I got to the point where I couldn't sleep without Diamond. But several weeks ago, during a nasty bought of bronchitis, I suddenly found myself begging her to please come into the bedroom with me, so I could get some sleep.

Sadly, all the coughing made her uncomfortable, and she didn't really like curling up with me. She did however, deign to sleep in the same room, but on her chair. She simply would not share the bed with me in that condition. Didn't want my human germs all over her, I guess.

I think she figure out the telepathy part when I send her to store for kitty toys today!

Tony at Pugfest

My Bean says "I can put your harness and leash on you and take you to see your friend Tony, at Pug Fest." I said "Yes, and I can scratch your eyes out too." That pretty much ended that silly idea she had. I knew she would take camera though, so here are some pictures of friend Tony, the Irish Pug, at Pug Fest:

Tony


Tony


Tony


I put more pictures in Xanga album, and I will more pictures of other cute Pugs from Pug Fest soon.

Friday, March 16, 2007

You're a Tabby too!

I want to be in Tabbyland! And I'll tell you why!

According to the book "The Complete Encyclopedia of the Cat", every cat has a tabby pattern in it's make-up, even non-tabby cats. You can sometimes see this in non-tabby kittens which have vague , but still quite clear tabby markings that disappear as they get older. Very occasionally, the tabby markings remain visiable, but only in certain lights - like when cat is lying in the sun and you can see markings on legs and tail. These fadded tabby markings are called "ghost markings". (Ghost markings are considered a fault in many breeds.)

Because all cats carry a tabby gene, two solid color cats will sometimes have tabby kittens in their litters. (The cat across the street, which is a Jellical or Tuxedo cat, gave birth to four tabby black tabby kittens, but I think the father was the orange tabby stray that My Bean refers to as "Tigger".)

Tabby is a camouflage pattern that enables the cat to merge more or less with it's enviroment so it's prey does not see it and it can hunt more successfully.

Cat's develop the Tabby pattern when they inherit a dominate agrouti gene (A) from their parents. The pattern comes into being because the agrouti gene, to a greater or lesser extent, suppresses the production of the basic color on the hair shaft in specific places, so that a set of alternating dark and light-colored band is formed on each hair, but it then misses out the hair in some places. These retain their basic color over their whole length and form a pattern on the agrouti background.

There are four different types of tabby patterns: the ticked tabby, the striped or mackeral tabby, the classic or marbled tabby, and the spotted tabby.

The ticked tabby is often called the Aby Tabby because the coloration was first seen in the Abyssinian breed of cat. Somali and Singapuras also display ticked tabby markings. A ticked tabby gene will usually mask the operation of the gene that causes a striped or marbled coat. Ticked tabby is not so much a pattern, but the absence of one.

The stripped or mackerel tabbies are popularly called "tiger cats". Stripped tabbys have uninterrupted stripes on their bodies, although sometimes these stripes are interrupted by spots. Preference in shows for for uninterrupted, thin stripes on the cat. The stripped gene is dominant over the classic tabby pattern.

The classic, blotched or marbled tabby has butterfly markings on each side at the height of the shoulder with a broad stripe running along the back from the butterfly to the tail. The cats also have an "Oyster mark" on both flanks, surrounded by one or more closed rings.

The spotted tabby has the same markings as the stripped and classic tabby, but on the sides and back they have a clearly defined pattern of spots. The Ocicat is a good example of a spotted tabby. Norwegian Forrest Cats also display a spotted tabby pattern.

When naming a tabby the basic color of the cat is always said first - for example a Blue Stripped Tabby or a Lilac Classic Tabby. A cat is never really a "Brown" tabby. A "brown" tabby is either a black tabby or a "Chocolate tabby" as Chocolate is the color designation for brown in cats. Most brown tabbys have a basic black coat with brown markings, making them "Black Tabbys".

A tortoiseshell tabby is called a tortie tabby, but to be a true torti tabby, the pattern of the coat needs to be visiable in both colors, and not just in the red and cream parts. A tortie tabby must have tabby markings in the basic color eumelanin (black,chocolate, cinnamon, blue, fawn or lilac).

Now, I say I am a Black Tabby. I have a black coat with black markings. It all looks the same though, so of course, every says "Oh, you are a black cat," which is true! But some of my hairs have two colors on them, black and white, so I do carry a tabby gene. So, since I am a black tabby, I think I should be allowed into tabbyland! Don't you?

New leopard species found in Borneo

By VIJAY JOSHI
Associated Press Writer


KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia - The clouded leopard of Borneo — discovered to be an entirely new species — is the latest in a growing list of animals and plants unique to the Southeast Asian country's rainforest and underscores the need to preserve the area, conservationists said Thursday.

Genetic tests by researchers at the U.S. National Cancer Institute revealed that the clouded leopard of Borneo and Sumatra islands is a unique cat species and not the same one found in mainland Southeast Asia as long believed, said a statement by WWF, the global conservation organization.

"Who said a leopard can never change its spots? For over a hundred years we have been looking at this animal and never realized it was unique," said Stuart Chapman, WWF International Coordinator of the Heart of Borneo program, which is dedicated to preserving the flora and fauna in the deep jungles on Borneo.

The secretive clouded leopards are the biggest predators on Borneo, growing sometimes to the size of a small panther. They have the longest canine teeth relative to body size of any cat.

"The fact that Borneo's top predator is now considered a separate species further emphasizes the importance of conserving the Heart of Borneo," Chapman said.

The news about the clouded leopard comes just a few weeks after a WWF report showed that scientists had identified at least 52 new species of animals and plants over the past year on Borneo, the world's third largest island that is shared by Indonesia, Malaysia and Brunei.

The Heart of Borneo, a mountainous region about five times the size of Switzerland covered with equatorial rainforest in the center of the island, is the last great forest home of the Bornean clouded leopard.

Researchers believe that the Borneo population of the clouded leopard likely diverged from the mainland population some 1.4 million years ago.

Over the millennia, at least 40 differences emerged between the two species, making them as distinct as other large cat species such as lions, tigers and jaguars.

The results of the genetic study are supported by separate research on geographical variation in the clouded leopard, based mainly on fur patterns and coloration of skins held in museums and collections.

The Borneo clouded leopard is darker than the mainland species and has many distinct spots within its small cloud markings. It also has a grayer fur, and a double dorsal stripe.

Clouded leopards from the mainland have fewer and fainter markings within large clouds on their skin. They are also lighter in color.

"It's incredible that no one has ever noticed these differences." said Andrew Kitchener from the Department of Natural Sciences, National Museums, Scotland.

A total of 5,000 to 11,000 Bornean clouded leopards are estimated to live in the jungles of Borneo. The total number in Sumatra could be in the range of 3,000 to 7,000 individuals. The cats' biggest threat is destruction of their habitat.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Florida Panthers (Puma concolor coryi)

Dianna with Florida Panther My friend Torti, on Petster, made a comment about my Bean playing with a Mountain Lion. Bean is not playing with Mountain Lion in her pictures, she is playing with Florida Panthers.

Tortis says "Mtn. Lion ?, Fla Panther ?...they look the same to me !!..." so in order to help out Torti and anyone else who might be wondering about them, there are some differences between a Florida Panther and a mountain lion.

The Florida Panther (Puma concolor coryi) is one of more than 20 subspecies of cougar (Puma concolor). Until 1993, the cougar was classified in the genus Felis along with the domestic cat, the ocelot, and 27 other species. In 1993 the cougar was reassigned to the genus Puma. (So we was once close cousins, now we are not quite as close cousins as we were.)

You can not really call them mountain lions, because there are no mountains in Florida. In fact, there are not any really big hills. I suppose you COULD call them Swamp Lions, if you wanted to, but Florida Panther what their real name is.

Concolor means one color. Cougar adults are a uniform tawny color with lighter fur on their lower chests, belly, and inner legs. Shades of individual animals may vary considerably from grayish to reddish to yellowish. Kittens are born with spotted coats that fade to the tawny color as they mature.

The subspecies name coryi comes from naturalist and hunter Charles Barney Cory who first described the panther as a subspecies of cougar in 1896 in Hunting and Fishing in Florida. He named it Felis concolor floridana, but floridana had already been used for a subspecies of bobcat so scientists changed the name to Felis concolor coryi.

The Florida Panther has been isolated from other Puma populations for at least 100 years, and so there are some physical differences between Florida Panthers and the typical Western Cougar.

The Florida Panther is smaller than the cougars in the West and has longer legs, smaller feet, and a shorter darker coat. In 1896 Cory described the coat as "more rufous or reddish brown" than more northern cats. Male panthers are larger than female panthers. They weigh from 100 to 150 pounds; female panthers weigh between 60 and 100 pounds. Panthers vary in height at the shoulder from about 2 to 2 1/2 feet and measure from 40 to 80 inches from nose to tip of tail. (I am only about 1 foot tall at the shoulder and weight about 12 pounds, so they are much bigger than I am!) Male cougars in western states stand almost 3 foot tall at the shoulders and may exceed 98 inches in length.

The skull of the Florida Panther is distinct from other subspecies of cougar. It is relatively broad and flat with highly arched nasal bones, giving the face a roman-nosed appearance.

The Florida Panther also often has a right angle crook between the second and third vertebrae from the end of its tail, a whorl of hair or a "cowlick" in the middle of its back, and white flecks in the fur on its neck. The crook in the tail and the whorl of hair may be the result of inbreeding within a small population and are not defining characteristics of the subspecies. Kinked tails and whorls have been reported in other subspecies of cougar, but in much lower frequencies. The white flecks in the coat on the neck are thought to be the result of tick bites.

Genetic studies have revealed that panthers in South Florida, where I live, may belong to two distinct stocks: those in the Everglades and those in Big Cypress. Everglades cats may be descended from seven captive South American cats released into Everglades National Park between 1957 and 1967 from the Piper Collection of Everglades Wonder Gardens.

This idea is supported by an absence of kinked tails in the Everglades population.

Florida Panther once ranged through much southeastern United States from Louisiana through Tennessee. Currently, only about 70 adult panthers remain in national and state parks and nearby private lands in southwest Florida, making them among the most endangered animals in the world. A few individuals have been reported in Southeastern Georgia as well, but these are generally limited sightings and Georgia is not considered part of the current range of the Florida Panther.

Panthers are strictly carnivores: they only eat meat. About 90 % of their diet is feral hog, white-tailed deer, raccoon, and armadillo. Occasionally they consume rabbits, rats, and birds, and on rare occasion alligators.

Panthers feeding on large prey are heavier and healthier than those that feed on small prey. A panther has to kill and eat about 10 raccoons to equal the food value of 1 deer. To maintain their health and fitness, adult panthers need to consume 1 deer or hog per week. Females with kittens may need twice this amount. Juvenile kittens, like teenagers, need more food than younger kittens.

Florida Panthers are shy and usually avoid people. There are no documented cases of a Florida Panther attacking a person. Other kinds of cougars have on rare occasion attacked and killed people. Between 1900 and 1995 cougars killed 11 people in North America. Your chances of being killed by a cougar are far less than your chance of becoming a victim of lightning, honeybees, moose, deer, pit bulls, football, snow-shoveling or crossing the street in front of your house.

If you ever feel threatened by a cougar, you should stand firm, yell and fight back. Don't play dead. Never turn your back and run. Running triggers a chase instinct in cats and other predators. Crouching may also trigger attacks. Cougars are generally intimidated by humans standing upright. Put small children on your shoulders. Dogs may attract cougars. So if you're in cougar country, leave pets at home.

(Much of this information was taken from Florida Panther Net, which includes all sort of intersting facts on these cats.)

The Panthers that my Bean is playing with are part of a captive breeding program and travel the state to promote Florida Panther conservation. Money to keep them is by private donation, although Florida Panther conservation is also promoted through the sale of Florida Panther license plates in Florida.

It is noted that the Panthers in these pictures are really well behaved and are just really big babies, and that Bean was never in any danger while she was playing with them. Some of them like to play in the pool with their human attendants. However, private individuals should not keep Florida Panthers unless they are trained to care for their special needs and can provide adequate housing and food for the animals. You will also need a special Exotic Animal permit to keep a Florida Panther as a pet. It is much better to find a gold domestic cat at your local shelter, and adopt him and give him a good home, than it would be to try to keep a Florida Panther as a pet.

Bean is wearing a Florida Panthers sweater in this picture. The Florida Panthers hockey team takes there name from the animal, and has also raised money to help the conservation efforts so that Florida Panthers will be part of the Florida Ecosystem for generations to come.

Thursday, March 8, 2007

Do you have ESP?

How many of you have done things like hide when you know your human is going to take you to the V-E-T, even before the cat carrier comes out? I know I do!

From this week's Purina Connect Petcentric article:

Biologist Rupert Sheldrake, author of Dogs That Know When Their Owner is Coming Home believes that animals have perceptive abilities of telepathy and premonitions. Veterinarian and author, Dr. Allan Schoen says in his book, Kindred Spirits, that people and animals are intimately connected. Pets whom we feel especially close to, seem to understand our needs, read our moods, and sometimes even communicate with us on a level that transcends words or body language.

Can pets be so connected and attuned to their owners when they are far apart, even when there is no possible way they could be using their sense of smell or hearing? Physician and author Dr. Larry Dossey, says there is a connection between all species, which is not limited by locality. He refers to it as a “nonlocal mind.” Consciousness is not restricted to the brain or the body or time or place. Therefore people and animals can have an effect on each other, even when miles apart.

Traditional scientists remain skeptical about psychic abilities among people – let alone pets! They say much of the phenomenon can be explained in other ways, through pets’ acute senses of hearing and smell, reading human body language, or noting other cues happening in their environment. Dogs and cats live mostly in a scent world, and are also very sensitive to sounds. It may be that when an owner thinks about taking her dog for a walk, this happy thought causes a slight change in her body chemistry, which the dog can smell, and associate with walks. Some who swear their dog knows when their owner is coming home, may find their pets are unable to do so when they come home in a different car.

Another simpler explanation is that owners notice their pets’ mysterious behaviors only when related events coincide. The cat may curl up by the phone now and then, but the owner doesn’t notice. If the cat happens to sit by the phone when “dad” calls, the owner is more likely to take note of it.

There is no dispute that our pets live on a sensory level that’s different from our own. Though we share the same five known senses, dogs and cats take in their world mostly through scent and sound and act on instinct. We take in our world mostly through sight and act on intellect and emotion. So it’s not surprising that our pets are able to clue in on things that we can’t imagine could be possible. But sometimes, hard science has no explanation for extraordinary pet perception. The debate goes on.


So tell us, do you have ESP?

Monday, March 5, 2007

Pug Idle

PugFest III to benefit annual Florida Reading Festival


My Pug friend Tony is going to be in this:

The Bell Tower Shops on the corner of U.S. 41 and Daniels Parkway, Sunday, March 11, from noon-4 p.m., will host PugFest III, a pet-friendly joint fund raiser to benefit the Lee County Library System’s annual Florida Reading Festival and the Lee County Animal Services Animal Care Trust Fund. Come and enjoy a variety of activities including the Pug Idle competition, pug fashion show, costume contest for all dogs, and pet-themed exhibitions as well as a Chinese Auction for prizes. Authors Nancy Levine, “Letters to a Young Pug,” “Homer for the Holidays,” and “The Tao of Pug;” Lisa Knapp, “Fantastic Pugs,” and Nancy Bush who writes a mystery series whose lead character, June Kelly, owns a pug (not surprisingly so does Nancy Bush).

Last year’s PugFest drew more than 1,000 people and 250 dogs. More than $3,500 was raised to benefit the Southwest Florida Reading Festival and the Animal Care Trust Fund. For more information, visit leelostpets.com or lee-county.com/library and click on the Pug Idle Logo. Pug Idle contest entry forms are available online or by calling 239-432-2090 ext. 241.

Tony is a good dog and the humans say he is good looking, for a Pug dog, I guess, but I don't like him to come over too much because he eats everything! He even tries to eat my toys!