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Dear Readers: I received a letter this morning of a ghost sighting confirmed by the local cat-in-residence. On a small island off the rugged coast of Scotland, the manager of the local lodge and distillery outfitted their cat, Elvis, with a petcam.  Here’s the letter from contributer Harry Hussain. With this post, we hope to hear from Harry who promises to add the ghost photo. Thanks Harry for this story!

A new photo from the ‘petcam’ of Elvis – the Jura Distillery cat – has revealed what appears to be a ghost within the Jura Lodge.

When Distillery Manager Willie Cochrane initially fitted the local distillery’s four year old moggy with a petcam to take some ‘cat’s eye’ pictures of the island’s Music Festival, Elvis failed to produce any photos whatsoever. However, following a second attempt to secure some feline flicks, Willie got much more than he bargained for. Having downloaded images from the petcam onto his computer, a photo taken from inside the Lodge appears to show a spectral figure that matches the descriptions of a ghostly presence seen and felt by a number of guests who have stayed in the Lodge.

As well as the sighting, many who have stayed in the Lodge’s green room claim to have been woken by mysterious sounds of moving furniture, doors opening and closing and an indescribable chill in the air. However, this is the first time that the Lodge ghost has been caught on camera.

Distillery Manager Willie Cochrane said: “We knew that Elvis had some special qualities, but seeing dead people is a new one on us. Unsurprisingly, most of the photos we downloaded were unviewable, but this picture from the Lodge took us all by surprise! Elvis has already developed a bit of a cult following from those who have met him on Jura, so I’m sure this will only help to boost his popularity. Like many other places across the West Coast of Scotland, we’ve got many old ghost tales here on Jura, so Elvis has just helped to add another great story to our catalogue of myths and superstitions.”

Thanks to Harry and Elvis!

You can find us at our new Guardian Cats blog. I weighed all the pros and cons between staying here at WordPress or moving  to Blogger.com, but the ‘connectivity’ is so much better at Blogger and for whatever reason, the cats and I felt at home right away.

We’d like you to join us. We have so much more to say.

My children’s book is written. I hesitate to call it ‘done’ because I’ve revised it so many times already. But it’s resting comfortably as I practice the art of writing query letters. Who knew that would be harder than writing the book?

While the cats were sleeping I started another blog – The Dead Cats Society, same name as my book. Don’t be fooled by the name. It really isn’t about cats. The blog, I mean. It’s for writers and word geeks.

Check it out at: http://deadcatssociety.wordpress.com/

They called a Board Meeting this morning, but I was late and my advisors were in the middle of a heavy discussion when I walked in. They had a serious message to convey to me and hummed and hawed around before they could get it out. They knew I wouldn’t like to hear what they had to say.

“You are evading your other writing project with this blog”, they told me. “You have to give it up.”

It was harsh news, but I knew they were right. ‘I’m having a lot of fun here at the Newsroom,’ I told them. ‘I can’t give it up completely.’

‘You’re never going to finish your book this way.’

I sighed and reluctantly agreed that I would stop, but just until I’m done with my book. ‘I can ‘paws’ it’ I told them. They got the joke. They’re very smart cats.

I will miss being here, but I’ll check in from time to time for comments, so feel free to have your say.

Hope to be back soon.

The Mewsers voted unanimously to give me the time to write this report. I know I’m supposed to be working on my book rather than blogging, but they agreed that this story is too important not to post. After I ramble on a bit, you can read an email from a contact I made in China about what the government decided to do to clean up Beijing for the Olympics. Officially, stray cats became an ‘image issue’. Puzzling, isn’t it? And apparently feeding stray cats in China is a subversive activity.

My Chinese contact wanted to remain anonymous and sent a detailed reply to my email even though my blog was blocked on this person’s computer.

A couple of weeks ago, I was so innocent. I began researching ‘cats in China’ stories before the Olympics thinking that it would be an interesting sidebar to all the Olympic hoopla. Right away though my research turned up horrifying accounts of cat cleansings in Beijing. Actually, you’d be hard-pressed to find much positive information for cats in China.

One of the main stories I read was in London’s DailyMail called “Olympics clean-up Chinese style: Inside Beijings shocking death camp for cats” by Simon Perry. It was a shocking, disturbing account. I wanted to report on this, but I did not want to simply regurgitate someone else’s news story and pass it off as true in the same way I don’t forward hysterical emails without checking Snopes.com.

I wanted to do some more research, but when I read the cryptic note at the end of Mr. Perry’s article indicating that his sources had to remain anonymous, I was wary as to whether to proceed with what could be a dangerous investigation into the back alleys of Beijing.

But the Mewsers are dauntless and intrepid reporters and they encouraged me to follow through, especially in such matters involving their brother and sister cats. It has taken several weeks to confirm this story, but you can read for yourself an account directly from someone who has personally observed this activity in Beijing.

Note: I must say that after watching the opening ceremonies of the Olympics with its display of breathtaking beauty and artistry intricately woven together with off-the-charts technology, it made it even harder to juxtaposition what goes on behind the scenes in China.

The very public Olympics display and the secretive cat cleansings seem to illustrate the two opposing faces of China better than anything I can think of. If the Chinese want to change their image with the world, then they must understand that brutal removal and extermination of innocent cats in the name of ‘housecleaning’, makes no sense and only further damages their image. I would encourage an ‘official’ reconsideration of this senseless and shameful activity.

The Olympic cat cleansing stories have been circulating since March, 2008 but here is the latest update from the email I received this last week from China:

 
Thanks for your mail to me. Sorry for keeping your waiting, as I have been quite busy recently to care of several sick cats at same time.
 
Sharing with you for the below information:
 
As Olympic is coming, Beijing Government doesn’t take action on behave of themselves, but they seems delivered oral brief to street’s manangement to clean up stray cats in each community. 
 
The street’s management asked the catching cats team of government to take the cats off without any notice to any of the cats feeders. They have sent the cats to the shelter of government, put them for a while ( within 15 days) if no body adopt them, they will put down the cats ( They don’t have any ways of telling people to adopt the cats, even they locate in very far and rural place which are not easy to find ) or they will send the cats for experimental purpose.
 
Attached pls find two photos of two animal shelters in Beijing, one is for Chaoyang district, one is for Haidian district ( without any notice at the door/entrance ).
 
The above mentioned actions were happened in early July:pls see the below quoted mail which I sent to other cat friend: 
 
 
Here in the city there have been several catching stray cats accident happening in early July, there are several catching cats actions happened all over the city, focusing in Chaoyang district, which is the Nestle stadium located.
 
Such campaign hasn’t get any media coverage before hand, so that we haven’t know anything till the happening. They just want to do secretely and no body can stop them in advance.
 
 So far we know there are the below places in the city has happened the accident:
 
1.In Huayan li area ( near Nestle stadium ). July 04: more than 10 cats were taken away by the catching cat team of government, now the cats are being kept in Chaoyang Animal Shelter,  the feeders and other cat friends will go to ask back of them tommorrow.
 
2. No 35 North Garden Road, Haidian district ( near nestle stadium), belongs to army, July 04. around 18 cats were taken away by the soldiers. More than 30 soldiers with big sticks in hands, beaten and drove the cats into cages, and taken them to Chaoyang animal shelter, all the cats are being fed by an old lady over 70 year old, she is too old to stop the action from soldier, only asked back two cats from the catching. she is feeling so sad, as she feeds them each day, and most of the cats are friendly.
 
3. At least  other two communities around Nestle stadium had same accident in recent days.
  
In FengTai District, 北京装甲兵工程学院, July 03: over 20 cats were beaten to death. 
 
For the first two accidents are both happened around my place, so that I know they are true.
 
Some people who hate animal borrow this opportunity to hurt cats, there was another accident happened in An Hua Li July 27, the street management blocked the cat holes with cement + metal net with welding, cat lovers tried to open it, but second day the holes were blocked again. cats are inside and crying over day and night,,
 
There is a news link about it:
http://www.morningpost.com.cn/article.asp?articleid=139898
 
All are not so positive to stray cats in Beijing… 
When forward my message, please omit my name and address.

And that is the very sad state of affairs for Chinese cats.

Comments welcomed. 

Thought I’d take a peek around at what life is like in China for felines. In doing so, I discovered the horror stories about cat culling to rid the city of its strays before the Olympics. I am doing some further investigations into this horrifying situation before going to ‘print’ here at the Newsroom.

Along the way, during my search, I discovered Scarlett Zhang who founded Beijing Cats in 2001 and has rescued and re-homed over 100 cats since starting her work.

Her website, Beijing Cat has videos and slide shows of the cats up for adoption. She makes it easy to become a Guardian Angel and sponser one of her cats. Or you can adopt while you’re at the Olympics and rescue one of Beijing Cats to bring back home with you. Her link to PetTravel, provides a wealth of information about traveling anywhere in the world, by car, train, or air, with your pet.

Scarlett’s cats seeking adoption are healthy, dewormed, neutered and vaccinated. They are also friendly, with sweet personalities, and suitable for adoption. She says:

If you are kind and responsible, have a stable income and can make a long-term commitment to bringing a new member into your family forever (including bringing him or her back to your home country if/when you leave China), then there are many wonderful cats here waiting for your love!

The grim reality of the government sponsored cat shelters, which was posted on her video page from what looks like a cell phone, provides a wakeup call to help Scarlett, however you are able, in her efforts with Beijing Cats.

Alternative method to bathing a cat

I’ve been contemplating bathing The Mewsers. For about a year now. What’s holding me back? Childhood memories of the scratches on my arms from cats I don’t even remember the names of. The scratches etched upon my arms are now embedded in my memory.

I’m testing out some alternative methods, as suggested by the photo here.

There’s some waterless shampoo products now on the market, which I will try on Marco and Polo. Will report back on the results.

 

 

 

I’ve also included–free of charge– this now famous,  funny ‘instructional’ video on ‘How to Wash a Cat” by Bud Heron.

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