If I had a cat — and I don’t — I would never let it play video games.
Why would anyone want to take an animal that is always so joyously in the moment — in the natural moment — and immerse it in an artificial, non-tactile, monotonously repetitious, pixelated, and quite possibly addicting world where time passes in a blur?
To take the house pet perhaps best known for being able to make a game out of anything — string, toilet paper roll, dust bunny — and put a $200 iPad in front of it so it can paw at virtual fish? That just strikes me as wrong.
It might be fun for you to watch the first time, and it might even be amusing for the feline for a while.
But then it becomes more obsession than play, and your feline, once a wildly imaginative beast with an admirable knack for making anything fun, is stalking the room, zombie-like, Jonesing for his iPad.
Then, when you try to take their iPads away, they become evil tantrum-throwing monsters who no longer see joy, mystery and adventure in something as mundane as a cardboard box or paper bag.
Sure, it is all starting out innocently enough. Remember, though, we humans started with Pong before progressing to virtual murder and mayhem. If history is any indication cat computer play will progress into darker realms — to the point where cats are tuning the real world out and, albeit virtually, engaging in pretend sex and violence, car theft even, on their computers.
Am I exaggerating to ridiculous proportions? Clearly. But seriously, taking the long view, is this best for cats?
Or will we, with all good intentions, slowly drive them insane?
How long, for example, can you watch this before feeling a certain panic in your soul?
Video games for cats have been catching on for several years now — to the point that even some animal shelters have turned to them.
The Regina Humane Society in Canada turned to iPads last year to keep their resident cats occupied and engaged.
“This is just another way, another tool in our toolbox that allows us to keep our animals healthy and happy while they’re awaiting their special someone who’s going to take them home forever,” said Lisa Koch, executive director.
“Owned cats around the world have apps that they play with on their owners [iPads], and it’s something that we’ve adopted here at the Humane Society for cats who don’t have families to make the environment that they’re living in more stimulating for them mentally.”
Koch said these programs are meant to keep cats active and stimulate them mentally.
Stimulate? Maybe. But does laying down and pawing a mouse on a $200 screen keep a cat more active than batting an actual $1.29 play mouse around the room and chasing it?
Lost, too, if we let cats live their nine lives in the virtual world, is interaction with humans. High-tech pet toys that bill themselves as “interactive” have a way of removing a human’s resolve to spend one-on-one time with their pet, to the point where they no longer feel much need to do so. It’s like setting child in front of TV set for three hours.
The Regina Humane Society does good and noble work, and maybe in a shelter situation, where it’s challenging to keep all the animals occupied, something like this is acceptable.
On the other hand, cats are already the ultimate game inventors. We should be pinpointing what is in them — a play gene? — that makes them so able to look at a spool of thread, a pencil, a puzzle piece, and see an amusement park.
Instead, we appear headed to making them as addicted to the computer screen as we are?
Posted by John Woestendiek January 10th, 2017 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: animal shelters, animals, apps, canada, cat, cat apps, cat games, cat toys, cats, dangers, fish, games, high tech, interactive, ipad, laser games, lasers, mice, petns, play, regina humane society, screen, stimulation, technology, toys, video
The true story of how a street cat named Bob changed the life of an alcoholic street musician in London came out in book form three years ago .
Now the movie version is coming — in which Bob is played (mostly) by Bob.
James Bowen’s autobiographical book telling the story of his struggle with addiction and of his life on the streets, in homeless shelters and in supported housing sold millions of copies.
Its focus was on the bond he formed with Bob after the cat found his way into Bowen’s room in a subsidized housing complex.
The pair went on become inseparable, winning fans across London.
Luke Treadaway stars as Bowen, a street musician overcoming a troubled childhood.
But in most of the scenes featuring Bob, that’s the real Bob you’ll be seeing.
The film is scheduled for release in early November.
Posted by John Woestendiek September 19th, 2016 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: a street cat named bob, addiction, alcoholism, animals, bob, book, busker, cat, cats, changed, homeless, james bowen, life, luke treadaway, movie, musician, pets
If we can trust the source of this study — and sleazy as the source may be, we probably should — dog owners are less likely to cheat on their partners.
IllicitEncounters.com, a dating website in the UK for married people, has found that of all the pet owners using its service to start an affair, dog owners are the least represented.
The website surveyed members, finding only about 10 percent of them own dogs — a far smaller portion than in the UK’s overall population.
“There has already been a plethora of scientific studies that claim that owning a dog, or dogs, makes you happier and healthier, and now you can add loyalty to that list,” said website spokesperson Christian Grant.
Grant noted that, in a way, pet owners seem to reflect the personality of their pets, at least when it comes to dogs and cats.
Dogs are generally viewed as loyal, he said, while “a cat’s loyalty is a little more unclear. Often lazy, they’ve been known to drift to whomever is offering them more food, so it’s of little surprise to see that lack of loyalty reflected in our study.”
Fidelity is rarer among cat owners, if the study is to be believed. They make up 25 per cent of the website’s membership.
According to The Telegraph, the website surveyed 700 members of its members.
Apparently, even while juggling spouses and paramours these cheaters had time to take the survey. (We’ll assume they didn’t cheat on it.)
Of those member surveyed about 16 percent said they owned fish, 13 per cent hamsters or gerbils, 11 per cent rabbits and 11 per cent reptiles.
But the biggest disparity between the spouse cheaters — or at least hopeful spouse cheaters — and the general population was how few had dogs in their homes.
“Man’s best friend is the UK’s most popular pet, and has been for a very long time, but not among this particular community it seems,” Grant said.
The website claims it has had more than 1 million users since 2003, and it issues the following disclaimer on its opening page:
“WARNING: NOT EVERYONE IS SUITED TO HAVING AN AFFAIR. THEY ARE NOT AN ALTERNATIVE TO WORKING ON OR ENDING A MARRIAGE. NOT ALL AFFAIRS HAVE A POSITIVE EFFECT ON A MARRIAGE, SOME CAN BE VERY DAMAGING. ALWAYS CONSIDER OTHER PEOPLE AND IF YOU ARE GOING TO HAVE AN AFFAIR, PLEASE SELECT YOUR PARTNER WISELY.”
Posted by John Woestendiek September 7th, 2016 under Muttsblog.
Tags: affairs, animals, cat owners, cats, cheat, cheating, dog owners, dogs, fidelity, illicit encounters, infidelity, loyal, loyalty, members, owners, partners, personality, pets, sex, spouses, survey, types, uk, website
A dream decades in the making — one that is said to date back to the early 1900’s and a dog who rode a streetcar to deliver lunch to his owner — became a shiny new reality yesterday.
The Forsyth Humane Society opened its new shelter on Country Club Road in Winston-Salem — one with double the old shelter’s capacity, lots of space for dogs to romp and more than 10 times as much parking.
Even so, the new parking lot was overflowing within an hour of the grand opening, and FHS reported on its Facebook page that 26 animals were adopted before the day ended — 21 dogs and six cats.
The landmark day began with a flag raising, and saw a non-stop stream of visitors — some there to adopt, some there to check out what, thanks to a $3.8 million fundraising drive, the humane society had turned a former seafood restaurant into.
For 75 years, the Forsyth Humane Society has acted as an advocate for unwanted and uncared for dogs and cats.
It owes its start to money left in a will by Lydia Schouler for the purposes of establishing a fund in the name of her husband, department store owner D.D. Schouler, that would help prevent cruelty to animals.
The Schoulers wanted to honor the memory of their dog, who would catch a streetcar every day to bring Mr. Schouler his lunch.
The facility is the third to house the Forsyth Humane Society, which first took up residence in an old house, then built and moved into a larger building on Miller Street in the 1980’s.
They soon found themselves cramped there, and about five years ago began looking at raising funds needed for a new shelter.
“This has been a dream of the Forsyth Humane Society for decades,” Sarah Williamson, the center’s executive director, told the Winston-Salem Journal.
The new shelter has space for up to 100 animals. There’s a new, more accessible intake center, storage space for food donations and a gift shop named “Re-Tail,” that features Forsyth Humane Society labeled clothing.
It is named in honor of longtime donors Chris and Mike Morykwas, who helped fund the construction of the new building. The old building, after the family helped fund its expansion, was named in honor of their two bassett hounds, Franklin and Peabody Morykwas.
It’s intriguing how so many of the good things done for dogs can be traced back to dogs — and the inspiration they provide.
It is to me at least. That’s one of the reasons I’m teaming up with the Forsyth Humane Society, in a volunteer capacity, to serve as their historian and archivist.
As it steps into the future, I’m going to dig up what I can about its past.
You’re invited to help. Please contact me if you have any documents, memorabilia, scrapbook entries, photos, memories or reminiscences about its history — especially its early years, and that lunch-toting dog.
The email address is email@example.com.
Posted by John Woestendiek August 24th, 2016 under Muttsblog.
Tags: adopt, adopted, adoption, animal welfare, animals, archivist, bus, cats, d.d. schouler, dd schouler, dogs, dream, facility, forsyth humane society, future, historian, lunch, lydia schouler, morykwas, new, north carolina, opening, opens, past, pets, rescues, shelter, shelters, streetcar, true, winston salem foundation, winston-salem
There’s a new taxi service for dogs in the nation’s capital.
Launched earlier this month, Rapid Paws will transport your pooch (or cat) wherever he or she needs to go — be it vet, groomer, day care, airport, or even to another state.
The on-demand limousine service for animals has a fleet of two climate controlled, high-roofed vans, and they’re even equipped with cams should you want to check in and take a look as your dog gets from here to there.
Customers can schedule a a door-to-door pickup and local delivery to anywhere in Washington and its burbs, and they can do that by phone, via the Rapid Paws website, or through a smartphone app.
While the service may sound over the top, owner Paul Ozner says it’s filling a need.
“It’s an excessive service for some, in terms of basic necessities. But some of the people in this area, they’re time-constrained, and they do have pets. So what are you going to do? You have to treat them right,” he told the Washington Post.
So far, he said, most clients are middle aged professionals too busy to take off work to run their pet to the vet, or disabled, ill or elderly pet owners seeking a little help.
Rapid Paws has teamed up with one real estate company to transport the dogs or cats of people who are relocating.
Ozner said he and his partners came up with the idea based on their experience with a company that delivered meals to schools and the elderly.
Fares typically run from $25 to $60, depending on the length of the trip.
Posted by John Woestendiek April 18th, 2016 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, app, cats, day care, dc, dogs, groomers, limousine, maryland, pet, pets, rapid paws, services, shipping, taxi, transport, transportation, vet, veterinarian, virginia, washington, website
In less than two days, the ASPCA found new homes for more than 500 dogs and cats seized from an unlicensed North Carolina shelter less than two months ago.
Potential adopters arrived early and in large numbers Friday morning, with a line stretching around the warehouse in Sanford that served as a temporary shelter for the dogs.
Just hours into Saturday, the planned third day of the event was canceled because all the animals had been adopted.
The dogs and cats were among more than 600 seized in January by Hoke County deputies and the ASPCA from The Haven – Friends for Life, an unlicensed no-kill shelter located in Raeford, N.C.
Since then, the animals have been held at the temporary facility for evaluation and veterinary care.
Adoption fees were waived during the event, and each animal was micro-chipped and spayed or neutered.
By Friday evening, more than half of the animals were adopted, the Fayetteville Observer reported.
Just a few hours into Saturday, all the dogs had been adopted, and the event closed early when the final cat was adopted Saturday afternoon.
Lynn and Carl Draus arrived Friday morning with a photo they had taken of a dog off their TV screen during a news report about the event.
Wandering through the rows of cages, they managed to find her.
“I feel in love with her just from the picture,” Lynn Draus told WRAL. “I didn’t know she was a puppy, but I just had a feeling that was the one I was going to get. So, we came here, and we were asking everybody where she’s at, and we found her.”
“The ASPCA is pleased to report that after an overwhelming successful two-day adoption event in Sanford, all 524 available cats and dogs were adopted into safe and loving homes,” the organization reported in a news release.
“The remaining cats and dogs who were not made available for adoption, as well as the 68 farm animals, will be placed with the ASPCA’s network of animal welfare agencies across the country to be made available for adoption.” the release said.
ASPCA officials have called the seizures from The Haven the largest companion-animal raid they’ve conducted nationwide in the last 20 years.
Authorities charged husband and wife Stephen and Linden Spear with four counts of animal cruelty and three counts of possession of a controlled substance, stemming from an animal medication not authorized on the property.
The Haven failed state inspections for more than a decade but was never shut down.
(Photo by Shannon Millard / Fayetteville Observer)
Posted by John Woestendiek March 21st, 2016 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: adopt, adopted, adoption, american society for the prevention of cruelty to animals, animals, aspca, cats, dog, dogs, event, friends for life, news, north carolina, pets, raeford, sanford, seized, shelter, the haven, unlicensed
About 70 shelter dogs were killed in a fire at the Humane Society of Southeast Texas.
About 200 animals were being housed at the shelter and, according to various reports, anywhere between 67 and 74 of them died in the Tuesday night fire, all of them dogs.
Beaumont Fire Department Captain Brad Penisson told KHOU the fire was apparently sparked by malfunctioning dryer.
The Humane Society of Southeast Texas reported what happened early yesterday on its Facebook page.
“It is with heavy hearts that we must inform you of the great loss we suffered tonight. Earlier this evening our facility caught on fire. Though the fire and police department did everything in their power to save all of our animals a total of 67 dogs died in the fire.
“There are no words to describe the pain we are feeling right now. Thank you to all of the staff, volunteers, veterinarians, and service men and women who came and assisted us tonight. We will be walking through the shelter in the morning to assess the damage and to make decisions on the best way to move forward.”
While foster homes have been found for the cats and the 11 dogs that survived, the society is taking names of those interested, and it is accepting donations to help in recovery efforts.
Donations of money can be made through The Humane Society of Southeast Texas website.
These scenes of the fire’s aftermath are from a Beaumont Enterprise photo gallery.
(Photos: At top, one of the surviving dogs; at center, the dryer where the fire is believed to have started; at bottom, two shelter staff members console each other; by Ryan Pelham / The Beaumont Enterprise)
Posted by John Woestendiek March 17th, 2016 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animal welfare, animals, beaumont, cats, cause, deaths, dogs, donations, dryer, fire, foster homes, humane society of southeast texas, pets, rescues, shelter, shelters, texas, tragedy, tragic