Men who make a difference for animals

Albert Schweitzer. He set an example of compassion. After reading his book, African Notebook”, I understood that here was a man who spent his life sharing Europe’s hard-won medical discoveries with people who would have died without help. Understanding that not every culture is alike, he created hospitals where African beneficiaries of his generosity could feel at home.  He had a feeling for all animals, human or not human.

I recommend this book for anyone interested in how Dr. Schweitzer showed compassion in Africa.

A man who made a difference.
A man who made a difference.

Automatic cat feeders & drinking bowls be careful!

I’m cat sitting for an old kitty who lets me pat his head and rub his ears, but hisses if I dare touch his body. Oh well! He’s earned the right to be a cranky paws.

When I visited, I noticed his water bowl wasn’t full. The bowl is like this. Water is supposed to drain into the bowl from the bottle on top. The bottle part of the bowl was screwed on a little askew, just a bit off kilter, so water stayed in the bottle instead of going into the bowl. It’s the sort of mistake any busy cat owner could make. This seems like a small thing, but if kitty didn’t have a cat sitter who checks the water bowl, kitty would be going without water for a few days.

Same thing goes for the feeder. The feeder is the type with a clear plastic container on top. You fill the container. Food dribbles into the bowl part of the feeder. The problem comes when you fill the feeder with anything other than tiny round cat food pellets. If you use larger pellets or pellets with corners, the food doesn’t dribble into the bowl.

Be careful when you use automatic anything.  This is why you want to hire a cat sitter or a cat-savvy friend to visit your home at least once a day when you’re away.  Why a cat-savvy friend? A friend who doesn’t own cats may not think to check the water dispenser or the food dispenser. They might assume all was well.  Only a paranoid cat owner or cat sitter will take the time to check. Paranoid is good!

What do nail salons and pet salons have in common?

A long NYT article about nail salons has got New York government riled up.  The crusaders are crusading. They say they’re going to help nail salon workers by informing them of their rights and making safety rules. Then the government decided to expand their efforts to other industries. Yee haw! The fun begins.

NY government reps may discover that crusading collides with reality. The “victims” may be the ones fighting back hardest against government protection. Funny how that works.

I know this because I work in an essentially unregulated service profession. Training requirements? Safety rules? Tax compliance? Pffft! Are you kidding?

What about the so-called victims of unregulated, lawless salons? The pathetic workers who are robbed of unemployment insurance, workers comp and overtime? These victims are the ones who will slam down the phone and curse out a salon owner if she (and it’s mostly “she”) insists on following government rules. They don’t want to be classified as employees. They don’t care about the government’s protection. They want commission. They want cash. They especially want the option of hiding income to avoid tax. It’s just how it is.  Unemployment insurance, safety regs, overtime pay and the rest can take a flying leap off a dock as far as many groomers are concerned. I’m not one of those groomers, but I’d say I’m in the minority.  I think we’ll find the same is true of nail salon workers.

I’m not saying this is ideal human behavior, but denying reality has pitfalls.

TNR cat grooming. Grooming a matted outdoor cat.

Got an email from a TNR (trap neuter return) group. One of their cats is pretty friendly and can be brushed for about ten minutes a sitting, but he’s matted. Here’s my reply.

“Look, cat grooming is simple because it’s 99% about handling and 1% about tools. If you can handle the cat, you’ve almost got it licked.

Throw away the darned Furminator. That thing is a piece of marketing crap. If you overdo it you tear the skin’s surface. If you use it gently, you’re not making progress. Junk. They should be ashamed of themselves. Cat skin is like our eyelids — super thin and tears like paper. Cats won’t react when you tear their skin, so you don’t even know you’re doing it until it rips all the way through which might not happen for a week or two.
This is the stuff to get — cheap, easy to use.
Also get a small ball-tip scissor so you don’t poke the cat when you trim. Should cost about $8.
Don’t brush and comb like a wussy. Most people brush like their hand is made of cotton candy and the cat is made of fairy dust. If you’re just doing the surface, don’t even bother doing it. Need to get to the skin, like when you’re late for work and brush your own hair. You use some energy then, right? Not hard or hurtful, but all the way to the skin.
As far as winter goes, shelters and heating pads are what counts, so not sure what you mean about his coat. Winter or summer, he needs to be free of mats because those mats are pulling on his skin and blocking flow of air to his skin. Usually there’s a bunch of dandruff under the mat, sometimes even an infection if the mat pulls hard enough.
If he’s really matted though, with solid mats up against his skin tight, then shaving needs to be done most likely. We call that  type of mat a “pelt”.
Good luck and good for you for doing TNR. I’m against putting outdoor cats in shelters because I’ve been there, done that.
You want to arrange a training session for your group, let me know.
$80 for a half hour. We could meet at my place on upper east side. I’ll show you tools, how to hold, answer questions.”