Part of the Bay Area News Group

Archive for November, 2008

Engineer’s Guide to Cats: You don’t want to miss this video!

This is a You-Tube link to a video called, “An Engineer’s Guide to Cats.” Reader Mike Shatto e-mailed this to me and says “It is a subtle riot. Enjoy.”

** I’m taking my annual Thanksgiving Week vacation from Nov. 24-28 and I hope this hilarious video will help keep you amused until I return on Monday, Dec. 1. You have a Happy Thanksgiving yourself! /Gary

As Mike Shatto said, enjoy!

Posted on Friday, November 21st, 2008
Under: Cats, Video | No Comments »

Gov. Schwarzenegger wants to TAX your PETS

Dr. Brisbin, DVM, gives Jasmine a checkup at Benicia Cat Clinic
kitten teeth

Mike Markarian’s blog — Animals & Politics — on Tuesday (Nov. 18) was about the vet services tax that’s being proposed by Gov. Schwarzenegger. Yes, I didn’t know about this, either.

Markarian is the president of the Humane Society Legislative Fund, a non-profit that lobbies for animal welfare legislation and works to elect humane-minded candidates to public office.

If you’re like me and VERY concerned about this, please read on and find out all you can about the “Pet Tax” that Arnold is proposing so you can see what you can do about it. Do you want your vet bill to be considered as “nonessential or luxury services” and be taxed accordingly every time you have to take your pet to the hospital? I hope not.

What follows is an excerpt from Michael Markarian’s blog of Nov. 18. A link follows that so you can click on it and read the rest of his enlightening (and concerned) comments.
Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Thursday, November 20th, 2008
Under: Governor Schwarzenegger, Pet Tax, Pets | 12 Comments »

Audubon California: Killing woodpeckers in Rossmoor isn’t right solution

Acorn woodpecker by Brian Murphy, Walnut Creek, Calif.

Emeryville, CA — Experts with Audubon California today expressed surprise and disappointment that two homeowners associations in Rossmoor have obtained permits from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to kill up to 50 acorn woodpeckers that are drilling holes in homes to store food.
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Posted on Wednesday, November 19th, 2008
Under: Acorn woodpeckers, Rossmoor Retirement Community, Wildlife | No Comments »

Shooting acorn woodpeckers: Just a few in Rossmoor want to do it.

Acorn woodpecker by Brian Murphy, Walnut Creek, Calif.

Dear Gary:
I love your column and hope you are still coming to Rossmoor on Wednesday.

Unfortunately, your column and the paper in general has touted “Rossmoor” as the evil hunters of the Woodpeckers. Let me explain that the community of Rossmoor is made up of different areas that have control over the actions in their “Mutual.”
Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Tuesday, November 18th, 2008
Under: Acorn woodpeckers, Depredation Permits, Rossmoor Retirement Community | No Comments »

Acorn woodpeckers doing their thing: Does Rossmoor really have to kill them?

Acorn Woodpecker S.O.S. art by Kat Mulkey, Lafayette

If you haven’t been following my daily columns about Walnut Creek’s Rossmoor Retirement Community vs. the acorn woodpeckers, you can catch yourself up here on my Friday (Nov. 14) and Sunday (Nov. 16) columns:

Basically, a family of acorn woodpeckers have been pecking holes in the upper reaches of a couple of the retirement community’s resident buildings. Rossmoor has obtained a depredation permit from the feds which allows them to shoot 50 acorn woodpeckers.
Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Monday, November 17th, 2008
Under: Acorn woodpeckers, Acorns, Rossmoor Retirement Community | No Comments »

Duffy dog challenges chess-playing cat to game of Scrabble

Scrabble dog photo by Bob Carlton, Walnut Creek, Calif.
scrabble dog

Dear Gary:
OK, we’re not going to take a chess-playing cat lying down. Here’s our dog, Duffy, playing Scrabble with our son Craig and myself back in 1974. He didn’t win too often because his vocabulary was somewhat limited (ride, walk, out, etc.). He did know the word “squirrel” but he couldn’t spell it.
Bob Carlton, Walnut Creek

Dear Bob:
Tell Duffy “it” is spelled I … T. /Gary

Posted on Friday, November 14th, 2008
Under: Cats, dogs, Games | 2 Comments »

Who’s smarter … humans or cats? And the winner is:

Chess Cat, photo by Jim Duyn, Oakland, California
cat chess

Oakland’s chess-playing cat ponders her next move. CHECKMATE! /Gary

(Thanks to Jim Duyn of Oakland for a great photo. He says his brilliant female Maine coon cat is willing to take on ALL comers.)

Posted on Friday, November 14th, 2008
Under: Animal Intelligence, Cats | No Comments »

Tiger attack survivors finally sue S.F. city and zoo in federal court

Tatiana the Siberian tiger

The two San Jose brothers who survived a tiger attack by Tatiana, a Siberian tiger, at the San Francisco Zoo on Christmas Day, 2007, have finally sued San Francisco and the San Francisco Zoo for slander and civil rights violations. Tatiana was shot and killed.

So what do you think? /Gary

Posted on Thursday, November 13th, 2008
Under: San Francisco Zoo, tiger attack | 9 Comments »

Want to know what a coyote looks like? Check this out.

Coyote on Mount Diablo by Brian Murphy

I’ve been getting a lot of calls lately from people wanting to know what a coyote looks like. You’re in luck!

We’re fortunate to have an excellent local photographer named Brian Murphy in Walnut Creek, who manages to get incredible shots of wild creatures in our neighborhood. Brian passed along some photos of coyotes he photographed on Mount Diablo.
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Posted on Wednesday, November 12th, 2008
Under: Brian Murphy, coyotes, Wildlife | 2 Comments »

Let’s have a Live Chat Wednesday morning, Nov. 12, 8-9 a.m.

If you’ve been waiting for the chance to ask questions a little more directly and interactively, now’s the time!

If you’re up early Wednesday (Nov. 12), stop by or from 8 to 9 a.m. for a live chat with me. I’ll answer questions about pets, animals and anything else that comes to mind.

Anyone should be able to go to either or

See you there! /Gary

Posted on Tuesday, November 11th, 2008
Under: Live Chat, Pets, Wildlife | 6 Comments »