In the last week of every month we take a look back at the crazy creatures and amazing animals that have made the headlines in recent weeks. Here’s a reminder of what November’s headlines told us about some of the animals that share our planet:
New Zealand’s ‘first cat’ tragically killed
Sad news from down under this month, as Paddles, feline companion of New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, was hit by a car outside her home. Paddles had become something of a social media sensation once her mum was elected in October, as she was polydactyl (having opposable thumbs). She also unwittingly took part in the congratulations call made to the official residence by President Trump, mewing loudly in the background throughout! The cat had previously been adopted from the Royal New Zealand Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and her family are encouraging donations to the charity in her memory.
Red squirrels return
Happier news from Scotland this month, as we learn that red squirrel numbers are enjoying a healthy increase throughout northwest Scotland. The native population had been badly affected for many years by disease and competition from the grey squirrel, prompting the introduction of 85 red squirrels into three sites early last year. Ongoing population monitoring shows that the steady rise in numbers seen in recent years continues. It is believed that there are now around 138,000 red squirrels thriving across Scotland. Historical records suggest there were once as many as 3.5 million red squirrels in the UK, with numbers falling to an all-time low of just 27,000 in 2007. It’s great to see the conservation focus paying off, as this beautiful native species goes from strength to strength once more.
Perils of plump pooches
A survey published this month finds that 90% of Brits do not know how many calories their dogs should be eating each day. Inadvertent overfeeding and treating pets without reducing their daily food intake accordingly are causing an obesity problem that threatens dogs with increased risk of developing arthritis. Thirteen percent of carers also admitted being more than a little vague with the facts when asked by their vets about how much their pet eats! Vets warn that, depending on the breed, overfeeding can take as much as four years from a dog’s lifespan, as well as bringing on diabetes and other health problems. If you want reassurance about your pet, don’t forget that your local vet practice will be happy to give advice on his / her ideal weight, and the nurses can help devise diet regimes to keep your dog happy and healthy.
Until next time, very best wishes from Shailen and The Ralph Site team
The Ralph Site, non-profit pet loss support