Friday, August 29, 2008

How To Rescue A Cat

Cats are usually pretty good at looking after themselves, but every now and again they do find themselves stuck in a tree, on a roof, or on the wrong side of a wall.

Cats stuck on roofs will take advantage of a handily placed ladder. Alternatively, park your car so your kitty can jump onto the roof and then to the ground.

Cats stuck down wells and storm drains will climb up if you throw them a tarp. Your pet will do this while you stand there and encourage them. But a strange cat will see you as a potential danger and will be too afraid to take advantage of your care. In this case put the escape mechanism in place and walk away. The cat will come out in half an hour or so.

We had a near cat-astrophe the other day but thank heavens all is well. Check out Target's great adventure in the print section of the Malaysian national daily, The Star, tomorrow - Weekend section!

Friday, August 22, 2008

Dog Talk: Do Dogs Listen?

Girl (pictured left) was showing off her best party trick last week. Her father asks her to sit, give one paw, then give the other paw, and then to “speak”. Girl dutifully sat, shook one paw after another with him and barked just once. Then she jumped up, barking happily, tongue lolling out, pleased as punch at her own cleverness.

Thing is, does Girl know what her dad is saying or is she operating on some other level? Check out Clever Girl or Clever Hans in the print version of the Malaysian national daily The Star Weekend section tomorrow.

And FYI here are some of the sources for the piece:

Word Learning in a Domestic Dog: Evidence for "Fast Mapping"
Juliane Kaminski, Josep Call, and Julia Fischer prove that a border collie, Rico, is able to fast map. Rico knows the labels of over 200 different items.

Clever Hans the Math Horse A nicely written account of how the Clever Hans trick worked.

The Skeptics Dictionary Clever Hans phenomenon article has some interesting resources for further reading.

Also: This is Joey. She runs around Friends Furry Farm all day, playing with people and her furry friends. The only time she likes to be alone is during feeding time: Joey is very greedy and pushes the others away from their food bowls with fierce barks! This 3 year old girl is very smart. She comes whenever you call her name, and she can scale tall fences with no problem. She’d be a great candidate for an agility training programme. Joey needs a loving home. If you want to adopt her, please email sabrinayeap AT or sms to 016-6319018.

PS: Sorry I'm a bit behind on the blogging. I've got piles of work and just haven't had the time. Plan to clear the decks soon and then catch up with everyone!

Friday, August 08, 2008

Dog Talk: Sniffer Dogs

We saw some K9 unit dogs at the airport last week. Very sweet looking dogs and so clever!

The dogs we saw were a collie and a lab. In theory any sort of dog with the right attitude can work as a sniffer dog. But in practice some breeds have some natural advantages over other breeds.

Dogs with bigger muzzle like bassets and labs have more scent receptors than dogs with short snozzles like pekingese. Also, hounds were bred to have big long ears that "scoop" up scent from the ground and waft it right into their noses.

Anyway, the Dog Talk column is out tomorrow in the Weekend section of the Malaysian national daily, The Star - print version only.

As usual here are some links to info about Man's Best Friend's sniffer...

Search and Rescue Dogs Great for kids who want to learn more about search and rescue dogs.

Dog Games Some ideas for playing hide and seek with your pet. Not sure about the food thing, especially in our tropical climate rich with bugs but the other games look like great fun.

Electric Nose Could Put Dog Out Of Business A CNN article about threat detecting technology.

How A Dog Can Sniff Through Concrete
Interesting BBC article about sniffer dogs.

Dogathon Tomorrow's dog games day in Serdang's UPM college. Check it out!

Monday, August 04, 2008

Monday Mancats: Camouflage Kitty

This is me, sneaking about in the ferns, waiting for that pesky bird to come down close enough for me to catch it.

I’m totally covert but for some reason the featherbrain won’t come within paw’s reach. And I've been hiding here for HOURS!!!

I blame the servant. Taking my picture gave away my super secret position. Still, she's good with the ham and biscuits so I'll forgive her - provided she hands over a generous share of yesterday’s left over roast chicken!

After all, a hunting cat has got to keep up his strength.

I'm going back out for another steak-out. But first I'll check out my Mancat friends. Maybe their luck is better than mine.

Friday, August 01, 2008

Snowflake’s Story

This is our friend Snowflake who lives in our local aquarium shop. He's just recovered from an FLUTD. As you can see, he's looking bright and breezy again.

Snowflake’s Story is out in the Weekend section of the Malaysian national daily, The Star, tomorrow - print version only so you have to buy it :-)

Also, here is some more info about FLUTDs:

Urethral Obstruction And "Flutd" In A Cat

Bladder Problems In Cats by Peter G Knapp MRCVS

Urolithiasis: Overview from Merck Veterinary Manual

FLUTD Brochure by the American Association of Feline Practitioners and the Cornell Feline Health Center