Headless cats.

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Lance Kennedy
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Headless cats.

Post by Lance Kennedy » Sat Jul 28, 2018 4:33 am

Reference, New Scientist, 21 July 2018, page 26

Article by Prof. Stephen Harris, who is an expert on fox behaviour.

What appears to be yet another case of mass hysteria, this time in Britain . About 500 cats have been found dead, minus head. Police were called and a hysterical response from cat lovers, fearing a feline mass murderer is on the loose.

According to Harris, this is an entirely normal situation. About 230,000 cats each year in Britain are road kill. A significant number then become food for foxes. Apparently foxes do not have jaws and teeth strong enough to crunch up a whole cat body, so they bite through the thin neck and run off with the head for later consumption.

Another mass hysteria outbreak. As skeptics, we need to be aware of this flaw in human nature, and be prepared to exercise critical thinking for such episodes. Where others are losing their heads, we stay staunch.

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Re: Headless cats.

Post by TJrandom » Sat Jul 28, 2018 7:54 am

I doubt that - having seen a fox carry off a (deer) fawn that was nearly the size of the fox. And on other occasions, carry off fat rabbits.

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Re: Headless cats.

Post by Poodle » Sat Jul 28, 2018 8:06 am

I've seen foxes do exactly that (the head bit). In fact, I've seen foxes (we have a lot around here) carry off any bit they can manage to separate from the general mangled mass. At any one time in the UK, dead cats are a considerable food source, and this has been known since cats were domesticated, I suspect. Even so, a single letter to the Times or Guarniad or Telegraph tends to spark off typical mass dickheadedness. We Brits are famed for it. I'm sure others are, too.
I'm a bit surprised at the New Scientist. There was a time when it was a serious publication.

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Re: Headless cats.

Post by Lance Kennedy » Sat Jul 28, 2018 9:08 am

TO Poodle

500 headless cats out of 230,000 road kill is not much, and easily ascribed to foxes. It is the idiotic reinterpretation of moronic humans I am more interested in.

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Re: Headless cats.

Post by gorgeous » Sat Jul 28, 2018 9:14 am

sure....
Science Fundamentalism...is exactly what happens when there’s a significant, perceived ideological threat to one’s traditions and identity.

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Re: Headless cats.

Post by TJrandom » Sat Jul 28, 2018 11:03 am

Serious question... what is the relative size of Brit foxes to cats? Here I`d say maybe 4 or 5 to one. If your foxes are significantly smaller, or cats significantly larger - such that a fox would have difficulty in carrying the entire remains, then whatever could be carried makes sense.

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Re: Headless cats.

Post by Poodle » Sat Jul 28, 2018 1:15 pm

The average UK fox is bigger than the average UK cat - but not overwhelmingly so. It would take a determined fox to take on a cat in a straight fight, and rabbits are plentiful. If the cat's already dead, that's another story.

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Re: Headless cats.

Post by scrmbldggs » Sat Jul 28, 2018 3:46 pm

Poodle wrote:...At any one time in the UK, dead cats are a considerable food source, and this has been known since cats were domesticated, I suspect...
:| I.... umm.... never suspected.... :mrgreen:
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Re: Headless cats.

Post by landrew » Sat Jul 28, 2018 3:51 pm

scrmbldggs wrote:
Poodle wrote:...At any one time in the UK, dead cats are a considerable food source, and this has been known since cats were domesticated, I suspect...
:| I.... umm.... never suspected.... :mrgreen:
Separating pets from livestock is a fairly recent distinction.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wor ... 430eb12b37
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Re: Headless cats.

Post by Poodle » Sat Jul 28, 2018 3:57 pm

I feel I must point out that the food source I referred to is one for such animals as foxes, badgers and werewolves. I, for one, prefer hedgehog sandwiches.

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Re: Headless cats.

Post by landrew » Sat Jul 28, 2018 4:39 pm

Poodle wrote:I feel I must point out that the food source I referred to is one for such animals as foxes, badgers and werewolves. I, for one, prefer hedgehog sandwiches.
I still miss the tiny spare ribs.
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Re: Headless cats.

Post by TJrandom » Sat Jul 28, 2018 7:32 pm

The story I heard was that during the war - rabbits were sold for food with one paw left unskinned, so as to be able to distinguish between ground rabbits and `back fence rabbits` - a cat, sold for human consumption. I recall having searched for collaborating stories but not finding any, so assumed that it was just an alcohol fuelled yarn - but wiki has a write-up.

I googled `fox size compared to cat` and see that red foxes are just slightly larger than, but not a fighting match, for a cat. Skip to the three minute mark…

The fox I saw with the fawn was a grey – but I see that they are only marginally larger than a red – so now suspect that what I saw may have been a wolf or even a wild dog.

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Re: Headless cats.

Post by landrew » Sat Jul 28, 2018 7:57 pm

We are a bit picky about which land animals and parts of them we eat,
but it seems like anything we drag out of the ocean is edible to someone.
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Re: Headless cats.

Post by Lance Kennedy » Sat Jul 28, 2018 8:34 pm

TJ

Nice work. Sign of a good skeptic, doing the research, getting the data, and modifying your belief system accordingly.

Sign of a bad thinker (not you, TJ) is getting the data and refusing to change your opinion even when the data refutes it. Too many people like that, including a few who contribute to this forum.

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Re: Headless cats.

Post by landrew » Sun Jul 29, 2018 12:16 pm

TJrandom wrote:The story I heard was that during the war - rabbits were sold for food with one paw left unskinned, so as to be able to distinguish between ground rabbits and `back fence rabbits` - a cat, sold for human consumption. I recall having searched for collaborating stories but not finding any, so assumed that it was just an alcohol fuelled yarn - but wiki has a write-up.

I googled `fox size compared to cat` and see that red foxes are just slightly larger than, but not a fighting match, for a cat. Skip to the three minute mark…

The fox I saw with the fawn was a grey – but I see that they are only marginally larger than a red – so now suspect that what I saw may have been a wolf or even a wild dog.
Nice anecdotal evidence.
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Re: Headless cats.

Post by TJrandom » Sun Jul 29, 2018 1:57 pm

Yes - and it was a very enjoyable and memorable moment. I was maybe 50 feet away, on the other side of a wire fence that was at a crest in the field and it was running with the dead fawn - but I only got a brief look at it before it disappeared in the brush. In my mind at the time I thought it was a fox, but now don`t see how it could have been. I am guessing that the fawn would have been about the same size as the red fox in that ytube video.

BTW - a couple of days ago while on my morning walk I saw a `kyon` which is maybe the smallest deer species, native to Taiwan, a foreign pest here in Japan which has proliferated and is causing crop damage - an escapee from a now defunct local zoo. I got it on video running on the beach. It typically is about the size of a medium sized dog when fully grown. Another memorable moment. I heard today that they are edible, so I will ask a trapper that I know, to give me one.

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Re: Headless cats.

Post by landrew » Sun Jul 29, 2018 5:48 pm

TJrandom wrote:Yes - and it was a very enjoyable and memorable moment. I was maybe 50 feet away, on the other side of a wire fence that was at a crest in the field and it was running with the dead fawn - but I only got a brief look at it before it disappeared in the brush. In my mind at the time I thought it was a fox, but now don`t see how it could have been. I am guessing that the fawn would have been about the same size as the red fox in that ytube video.

BTW - a couple of days ago while on my morning walk I saw a `kyon` which is maybe the smallest deer species, native to Taiwan, a foreign pest here in Japan which has proliferated and is causing crop damage - an escapee from a now defunct local zoo. I got it on video running on the beach. It typically is about the size of a medium sized dog when fully grown. Another memorable moment. I heard today that they are edible, so I will ask a trapper that I know, to give me one.
Pardon me for saying this, but it sounds odd that someone from Japan would question that something is edible, much less a species of deer. I mean in a country that eats puffer fish, a species that could kill you instantly, it caught my attention.
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Re: Headless cats.

Post by Lance Kennedy » Sun Jul 29, 2018 8:34 pm

Fugu (puffer fish) is an interesting case. The first law of toxicology is that it is all about dose. All toxins in low enough dose are non toxic. Some, like alcohol, which kill in high dose, can give a wonderful feeling of well being in lower dose. That is the case with the toxin in fugu. So special chefs prepare the flesh of the puffer fish so as to exclude most of the toxin, making the remaining flesh taste wonderful, mostly due to the traces of toxin left which make you feel good.

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Re: Headless cats.

Post by Wordbird » Sun Jul 29, 2018 8:46 pm

Lance Kennedy wrote:Sign of a bad thinker (not you, TJ) is getting the data and refusing to change your opinion even when the data refutes it.
Funny thing is I almost posted that I didn't believe it, so I looked on YouTube and found a video of a fox eating a cat carcass, and it didn't take too much of a stretch of the imagination to assume it was trying to separate the head.

I also found a video of someone feeding a live cat to a dog over a fence. I don't know why I clicked on it, but it disturbed me enough that I closed firefox and lost track of the fact that I was going to post in this topic.

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Re: Headless cats.

Post by TJrandom » Sun Jul 29, 2018 8:59 pm

landrew wrote:
TJrandom wrote:Yes - and it was a very enjoyable and memorable moment. I was maybe 50 feet away, on the other side of a wire fence that was at a crest in the field and it was running with the dead fawn - but I only got a brief look at it before it disappeared in the brush. In my mind at the time I thought it was a fox, but now don`t see how it could have been. I am guessing that the fawn would have been about the same size as the red fox in that ytube video.

BTW - a couple of days ago while on my morning walk I saw a `kyon` which is maybe the smallest deer species, native to Taiwan, a foreign pest here in Japan which has proliferated and is causing crop damage - an escapee from a now defunct local zoo. I got it on video running on the beach. It typically is about the size of a medium sized dog when fully grown. Another memorable moment. I heard today that they are edible, so I will ask a trapper that I know, to give me one.
Pardon me for saying this, but it sounds odd that someone from Japan would question that something is edible, much less a species of deer. I mean in a country that eats puffer fish, a species that could kill you instantly, it caught my attention.
Well, of course everything is edible, and no doubt everything has been eaten by someone at some time. But Japan is now a rich country, so famine does not dictate tastes. So today, kyon, wild boar, alligator turtles, bass, and no doubt a few other critters which as invasive species are killed for the bounty, are usually not consumed, but rather are disposed of.

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Re: Headless cats.

Post by Gord » Sun Jul 29, 2018 9:07 pm

TJrandom wrote:BTW - a couple of days ago while on my morning walk I saw a `kyon` which is maybe the smallest deer species...
Here's a video with one in it:

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