What do you think about microchipping your pet cat ? In essence it's probably a great idea to identify your cat if he gets lost but surely it only works if someone decides to get the cat scanned. None of mine are microchipped but in the past when they lead indoor outdoor lives they all had collars with name & phone tags. Maybe I'm old fashioned but I think that a cat with a collar looks like he's owned and it's easy and obvious to anyone looking who he belongs to. If you find him you can just phone the owner. In fact when I lost one of mine many years ago I did get a call from a kind lady who had found my cat in the local park where she'd obviously come to grief. If it hadn't been for the collar and tag I would never have known what became of her. Things can and do go wrong when a chip is inserted into the animal as the story of Muffin shows, who became paralysed following the operation.
Just off the easel, this painting of an Amur leopard mum and cub on a trail through the snow has taken longer than normal to complete. My dear old cat Rueben was reaching the end of his life throughout the time I conceived and painted this image. In fact he died before I could finish it and for weeks I just couldn't go near it. I took a break to work through the grief knowing anything I did with paint right then would be a disaster. Instead I did a photobook to celebrate the wonderful lives of three of my dear companion cats Rueben Sasha and Mister who have all gone. What a space they have left. Only last week I was able to finish this artwork and feel reasonably satisfied that I achieved what I set to in this painting. The Amur leopard is absolutely my favourite of all the big cats and what a tragedy it is that there could only be 30 - 50 in the wild. I would love to see them in the 'flesh' and hope that the next visit to the UK may give me the opportunity to see them in captivity, what a thrill.
It seems that obesity in cats is becoming a real problem. Just as people are battling obesity so are our furry friends so why ? If people are eating all the wrong things and too much of it then it stands to reason that they would be feeding their pets in the same way. Our food is full of preservatives and so is pet food. Just a glance at the shelves in any super pet store would indicate that. Packets of dry food and all sorts of decadent delights to spoil our fur children. Personally I think most of what is marketed for our pets is actually directly marketed at us and so much of it is just pure rubbish if we stopped and thought about it. The idea of feeding solely dry food seems at odds with what any thinking person knows about the cat as a carnivore, so with that in mind I feed Fergus a lot of chicken necks and a small amount of dry food. Trouble is that it's hard to avoid the preservatives even in the chicken necks so what do you do ? Fergus leans towards being a chunky cat so I have to be very careful with feeding him too much because he loves his food. It makes us content to indulge our pets but we can kill them with kindness.
It's the news any wildlife lover wants to hear. The war on wildlife crime must be won and to know that a group of these low life poachers have been arrested is very gratifying. Kruger National Park is a wonderland of some of Africa's most iconic and desperately endangered animals, everything must be done to save them so I applaud any good news story particularly that some of these murderers have been stopped. Everyone should be concerned about where the funds from wildlife crime eventually go and often it's to fund terrorist activities which will affect us all if it isn't stopped. I salute the wildlife warriors who risk their lives to save these beautiful animals who are disappearing at such an alarming rate mostly due to poaching.
Having fallen in love with the Maine Coon breed at least 25 years ago I told myself that one day I would have one. A week ago a visit to a breeder to see a kitten impressed on me again what a wonderful cat they truly are. Yes they are big and just as big on purrs and delighting in attention. It was my first visit to a breeder of any kind so it was quite an experience and I left with a real sense of excitement that I am soon to be a mum to one of these great big gentle giants. Our little kitty was only 4 weeks old and he is a black tabby. Now we have to wait until he is old enough to come home at about 14 weeks. He will be desexed, vaccinated, micro chipped, the works, and I'm just so looking forward to the day we have him. Being only young he should get along fine with Fergus although there will be an adjustment period but we are so excited at the prospect of having a companion for him and another young soul in the house after losing both Sasha and Fergus to old age this year.
The story of a family in Melbourne including the family cat to help sell their luxury home is an interesting one. Could you sell your pet cat ? Gee I doubt I could. There would have to be some pretty desperate extenuating circumstances for me to even consider it and even then, no actually I couldn't. Obviously this family can so I can't help wonder just how attached they are to their cat. It certainly makes you consider the value of the cat in their lives. I remember my father always used to say rather cynically that everyone has a price, obviously that is true in this case. Just hope that her new owners care for her the way she's been used to.
Therapy cats change lives. It's a statistical fact that animals in your life can improve well being in many levels. That they help with stress levels and even help us live longer because we are happier is an impossible thing to ignore. Having always had cats in my life I would be the first to agree that life isn't the same without them. As I struggle to come to terms with the loss of my beloved Rueben I know only too well how important animals are and the idea of a life without them in it is just not an option for me. Fergus is my only cat now and it feels so strange to have just one cat in the house, somehow there seems to be a lot of empty space.
This film really captures the wonderful diversity of Africa's wildlife and always fills my heart with a longing to go there and experience it first hand. As a wildlife artist film like this goes a long way to gaining insights into animal behaviour and their habitat that I can interpret in my paintings.