Rescue Cat Wednesday! 13/03/19

While reading is my oldest love, I am also very passionate about animals. I volunteer twice a week with a wonderful Toronto-based charity called Action Volunteers for Animals. They rescue homeless cats from all around Ontario, as well as run Trap-Neuter-Release programs to help control the population of homeless cats. Every week, I plan to post pictures of some of the delightful kitties currently staying with us at the local adoption facility.

If you or anyone you know is interested in adopting a rescue cat, you can find out more at actionvolunteersforanimals.com

After a few weeks off we are back with another installment of Rescue Cat Wednesday! One of the reasons I haven’t posted pictures of our wonderful shelter kitties is that we simply don’t have very many right now. AVA together with PetsMart had a hugely successful adoption weekend in February, with thirteen cats finding their forever homes from just our location in Scarborough!

When we don’t have very many cats in the adoption center, this gives us a lot of time to socialize and work with the cats that we do have. Since most of the cats that come to our shelter are rescues from the streets or cat colonies, they don’t always have a lot of trust or confidence around people.

 

Kennedy

Using gentle words, interactive play, and occasional bribery with treats, the volunteers at AVA are always working to help our cats become more comfortable around humans. Sometimes this takes just a few days, sometimes it can take months! For example, shy Kennedy has been with us since October, and only last week was a fellow volunteer able to pet him and scratch under his chin. This is a huge step for Kennedy!

 

Spencer

Kennedy is bonded with Spencer, who is a lovely, gentle cat who wants everyone to be happy. He got used to being around people very quickly, and loves to be petted and scratched behind his ears.

 

Buddy and Sweetie are two more cats that need a little patience and a lot of love. They were found in a nearby trailer park as half-grown kittens. Because they started out life on their own, they can be defensive around people, but they love to play, and this has been a great way of encouraging these two eight month old cats to become more comfortable around people. They are a bonded pair, so they will go to their forever home together!

You can see more photos of our wonderful rescue cats, learn more about AVA, and become involved as a volunteer by visiting actionvolunteersforanimals.com

 

Book Review: Are We Smart Enough to Know How Smart Animals Are? by Frans de Waal (2017)

Are We Smart Enough to Know How Smart Animals Are?

Review 2.17

 

What separates your mind from an animal’s? Maybe you think it’s your ability to design tools, your sense of self, or your grasp of past and future—all traits that have helped us define ourselves as the planet’s preeminent species. But in recent decades, these claims have eroded, or even been disproven outright, by a revolution in the study of animal cognition. Take the way octopuses use coconut shells as tools; elephants that classify humans by age, gender, and language; or Ayumu, the young male chimpanzee at Kyoto University whose flash memory puts that of humans to shame. Based on research involving crows, dolphins, parrots, sheep, wasps, bats, whales, and of course chimpanzees and bonobos, Frans de Waal explores both the scope and the depth of animal intelligence. He offers a firsthand account of how science has stood traditional behaviorism on its head by revealing how smart animals really are, and how we’ve underestimated their abilities for too long. [Source]

Last year I read Frans de Waal’s The Bonobo and the Atheist, which asked whether or not animals are capable of demonstrating selflessness and empathy towards themselves and towards us. I wasn’t a huge fan of that book, partially because anyone who has spent even a small amount of time observing the animal world will tell you that the answer is a resounding “Duh”.

I was unaware at the time that there is a surprising amount of resistance to the idea of altruism in the animal kingdom. For decades the idea of true animal awareness was laughed out of universities and scientific journals. Man, it seems, needs to maintain a moral superiority over morality itself.

In Are We Smart Enough to Know How Smart Animals Are?, de Waal begins by lambasting his fellow scientists in a highly informative and highly enjoyable tirade against modern testing methods. He lists study after study designed to test the difference in cognitive abilities between toddlers and apes that failed, not due a fault of intelligence on behalf of the ape, but by unfair testing standards. For example, toddlers were tested while sitting on their mothers lap in a warm and comfortable environment, with scientists there to reassure them. The apes were alone in a steel cage, with no explanation of the test or comfort from the testers. Until recent years it was considered unprofessional even to give personal names to the “test subjects”.

De Waal is a passionate advocate for animal rights. After thoroughly beating his colleagues about the head in the first part of Are We Smart Enough to Know How Smart Animals Are?, he then begins giving case study after case study of animals that not only rivaled our own intelligence, but often surpassed it.

My favorite thing about this book is that it is not ape-centric. We have long ago learned to recognize a thinking mind behind the eyes of a chimpanzee, an orangutan, or a gorilla. But what about a crow? Any pet owner will gush about how smart their dog is, but is can their intelligence be measured using any kind of objective scale that we understand? Cats, elephants, dolphins, and monkeys all get their place in this book, as well as less “traditionally” intelligent animal such as cuttlefish. I loved the section on the octopus, which is my favorite animal to show off to my science students.

in The Bonobo and the Atheist, I felt that de Waal struggled to stay on topic. He would give a few interesting anecdotes about the animal world, and then pause for a discussion on medieval art, or the rise of atheism. Are We Smart Enough to Know How Smart Animals Are? is more tightly edited, and jumps merrily from subject to subject while maintaining the central theme that animals are capable of more than we ever thought possible.

I love animals. I love learning interesting things about animals. If you love learning interesting things about animals, you will enjoy this book.

My rating: 5/5

You can find Are We Smart Enough to Know How Smart Animals Are? here on Amazon or here on Book Depository. The Audible version is narrated by Sean Runnette and can be found here.

Happy reading everyone!

Rescue Cat Wednesday! 13/02/19

 

While reading is my oldest love, I am also very passionate about animals. I volunteer twice a week with a wonderful Toronto-based charity called Action Volunteers for Animals. They rescue homeless cats from all around Ontario, as well as run Trap-Neuter-Release programs to help control the population of homeless cats. Every week, I plan to post pictures of some of the delightful kitties currently staying with us at the local adoption facility.

If you or anyone you know is interested in adopting a rescue cat, you can find out more at actionvolunteersforanimals.com

 

Pretty Tabitha and sweet Georgiana were adopted together to a forever home this week!

 

 

Jazz and Tuxie are definitely not shy anymore, and have made it their mission to inspect every corner of the adoption kiosk. Jazz is quite the little acrobat; I had to scoop her out of the back cupboards the other day! These two are great friends and must be adopted together!

 

 

This big boy is Manny. He is an incredibly affectionate four-year old. Manny spent most of his life as a tom, and doesn’t do great with other animals. He is a total lap cat, and would be great as the only pet in a household!

Manny

 

You can see more photos of our wonderful rescue cats, learn more about AVA, and become involved as a volunteer by visiting actionvolunteersforanimals.com

 

Rescue Cat Wednesday!

While reading is my oldest love, I am also very passionate about animals. I volunteer twice a week with a wonderful Toronto-based charity called Action Volunteers for Animals. They rescue homeless cats from all around Ontario, as well as run Trap-Neuter-Release programs to help control the population of homeless cats. Every week, I plan to post pictures of some of the delightful kitties currently staying with us at the local adoption facility.

If you or anyone you know is interested in adopting a rescue cat, you can find out more at actionvolunteersforanimals.com

For those of you who have been following on Facebook, we have a surprise return guest this week!

 

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Scar has returned to AVA! He was adopted just in time for Christmas, but was having a lot of trouble getting along with the other cat in the house. He was becoming stressed and aggressive, so his owner thought he might do better in another home. We now think Scar will be best as the only pet in the house, since he needs to know that he has all of your love!

For those that don’t know, Scar was brought to AVA in September after being rescued as a stray. He had lived rough on the streets for four years as a tom, and has the rakish appearance to prove it! Scar has made great strides since his first arrival. He loves wands and laser toys, but enjoys spending most of his days snoozing in a cat perch, preferably one near a window.

Scar likes to be petted and scratched, but can become overstimulated which causes him to occasionally swat or bite. We are training him to act out this “attack” behavior on his favorite stuffed animal instead of hands. With some love and patience, Scar will make a great addition to a quiet home with no young children or other pets. His donation fee is $175.

All three of our orange brothers found their forever homes this week. Sweet Philip went to a home to be a companion to another young cat. Eric and Rudy were adopted together to a very experienced couple who will work to make them feel comfortable in their new home.

 

 

Besides Scar, there are four new cats to introduce this week!

 

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Ginger and Rose were adopted from AVA as kittens. Now two-and-a-half, they were unfortunately surrendered when their owner could no longer take care of them. They are a sweet and gentle pair who are bonded and must be adopted together. Ginger (the orange one) has been a little braver so far, coming to the front of the cage for pets and scratches. Rose has preferred to hang out in her comfy cat box and observe for a few days. The donation fee for Ginger and Rose is $300.

 

 

orange dlh

This gorgeous long-haired orange tabby came from a cat colony in Bobcaygeon, Ontario. Hidden behind him is his friend, an equally stunning female Siamese mix. Due to a clerical mixup, we don’t know their names or ages quite yet. I’ve temporarily dubbed them Aladdin and Jasmine, since they’ve spent all their time cuddled up on a rug. Both cats are quite shy, though Aladdin likes to be gentle petted as long as you move slowly. We hope to adopt them together, since it would be helpful to have a friend when they move to their new home. The donation fee would be $175 for one cat, or $300 for the pair.

 

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Felicity and Sadie are now bunkmates but they could be mistaken for mother and daughter! Both love playing with wands and getting head rubs. Sadie is beginning to become your typical rambunctious kitten. I think she’ll be venturing out of her cage soon!

 

 

You can see more photos of our wonderful rescue cats, learn more about AVA, and become involved as a volunteer by visiting actionvolunteersforanimals.com

Rescue Cat Wednesday! 16/01/19

While reading is my oldest love, I am also very passionate about animals. I volunteer twice a week with a wonderful Toronto-based charity called Action Volunteers for Animals. They rescue homeless cats from all around Ontario, as well as run Trap-Neuter-Release programs to help control the population of homeless cats. Every week, I plan to post pictures of some of the delightful kitties currently staying with us at the local adoption facility.

If you or anyone you know is interested in adopting a rescue cat, you can find out more at actionvolunteersforanimals.com

 

We had four adoptions this week at my local animal shelter, and it’s great seeing all the cats find their new forever homes! Among the adopted cats was one that I featured last week:

theodore

Cuddly Theodore found a new home with his sister Buffy. It’s great when we get to keep siblings together, however they still have one littermate who needs a family.

 

sadie

This is Sadie. She has come so far in the short time she’s been with AVA. Originally she was very hissy and did not like to be petted at all. In one short week, she’s discovered that she loves pets and scratchies although she still gets really scared if you try to pick her up. Volunteers are working to help Sadie become a true lap cat! Her donation fee is $200, and she needs to be adopted with a friend or to a home that already has a young cat.

 

simon

Simon is new to AVA this week, and is still getting used to his temporary home. He is a recently neutered tom who would probably do best as the only pet in the house, although he may become better with other cats once he is less nervous. He loves being petted and stroked, but can become overwhelmed at times and try to bite or swat. Simon would do well in an experienced home with no young children. His donation fee is $175.

 

eric

Eric was rescued from a cat colony near Durham, Ontario with two other orange tabbies who may or may not be his brothers. Eric is still very shy, but is beginning to explore his cage and interact with the volunteers a little more every day. He likes to play with wands, and can be petted for short amounts of time. Eric would do best in a home with other cat friends to make him feel comfortable. His donation fee is $200.

 

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Tabitha didn’t want to come out and play this week. Instead she enjoyed cuddling up with her favorite stuffed snowman.

 

You can see more photos of our wonderful rescue cats, learn more about AVA, and become involved as a volunteer by visiting actionvolunteersforanimals.com

 

Rescue Cat Wednesday!

This is the very first segment in a weekly post I hope to start this year. While reading is my oldest love, I am also very passionate about animals. I volunteer twice a week with a wonderful Toronto-based charity called Action Volunteers for Animals. They rescue homeless cats from all around Ontario, as well as run Trap-Neuter-Release programs to help control the population of homeless cats. Every week, I plan to post pictures of some of the delightful kitties currently staying with us at the local adoption facility.

If you or anyone you know is interested in adopting a rescue cat, you can find out more at actionvolunteersforanimals.com

 

theodore

Theodore is three months old, and is still getting used to people. He’s discovered that he loves treats and pets, but can be easily startled. With love and patience, he has definite lap cat potential. Theodore needs to be adopted with another kitten or to a home that already has a young cat.

tabitha

Two-year old Tabitha is shy, but becoming braver everyday. She is very curious about life in the shelter, and has been venturing outside of her cage to investigate the other cats. She has done well with the other cats in the shelter, and could make an excellent companion to a home that already has a cat. She is probably not great with dogs.

 

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Felicity is also two years old, and she has made so much progress since first coming into AVA’s care a few months ago. She is still shy, but now enjoys being petted and scratched. Felicity suffered an illness or an injury that left her partially blind in one eye, but all her other cat senses are keen. Felicity would enjoy a quiet home, preferably with another feline friend.

philip

Philip is six-months old, and has earned the affectionate nickname of Snaggletooth, due to the canine that sticks over his top lip. He is the bravest of his brothers, and is becoming more and more comfortable being petted and handled. He needs to be adopted with another kitten, or to a home that already has a young cat.

 

oakey

Don’t let Oakey’s grouchy face fool you, he is a total sweetie! Oakey was found badly injured, and the scars have left him with an adorably rakish appearance. Oakey loves to eat, he has put on weight in the shelter and could definitely use some exercise! He loves to play with feather wands and laser pointers, and would make a great cat on his own or with a friend.

 

If you want to learn more about these kitties or any of the other cats available for adoption, find out more at actionvolunteersforanimals.com/