Join us in celebrating International Cat Day!
You may not know it, but Tuesday 8th August marks International Cat Day, and we can’t wait to celebrate it here at HiLife Heights. The day was brought about by IFAW, the International Fund for Animal Welfare, together with other animal rights groups, in order to celebrate the planet’s most popular pet.
We obviously love our cats, so we thought we would get you “feline” in the mood for International Cat Day by compiling an international “cat-alogue”, which looks at which species of cats can be found on all of the different continents across the world. Enjoy!
Africa hosts an impressive array of cats, from the very small black-footed cat, which is endemic to the dry, open savannah and grassland of South Africa, to the second largest cat found in the wild – the mighty lion.
Other feline inhabitants of this continent include the leopard, the cheetah, the serval and the caracal, which has pretty black tufts of hair springing from its pointy ears.
This is the only continent in the world that doesn’t count cats amongst its animal population, the climate within Antarctica has prevented its successful colonisation by our feline friends. It has had its share of domestic cat tourists however, as several expeditions to Antarctica have included a feline companion.
One such Royal Navy expedition in 1843 saw the discovery of a previously unknown type of fish. It was uncovered by crew who were chipping ice from the bow of the ship, but before it could be preserved, it was promptly eaten up by the ship’s cat!
A continent of extremes, Asia’s cat population does not disappoint in this arena either, as both the world’s smallest and world’s largest breeds of wild cats hail from this region. The Siberian tiger claims the title of largest feline, whilst the rusty-spotted cat of India and Sri Lanka, holds the accolade for smallest.
This continent also wins the prize for most interesting cat selection, as it can claim the bizarre-looking flat-headed cat and the fishing cat, the only wild cat known to fish regularly, as its residents.
Hundreds of domestic cats were released into the wild by early settlers to control the mice and rat population down under. As a consequence, Australia has a huge feral cat problem with an estimate of up to 6.3 million felines roaming free. Sadly, they have been linked to the decline and extinction of some of its native animals and are seen as a major invasive species.
There are no true cat species native to Australia, but the closest is probably the now-extinct thylacine or “Tasmanian tiger”, which had several cat-like qualities.
Together with the raft of domestic cats now inhabiting Europe, wild occupants of this region include the imaginatively named European wildcat, the Scottish wildcat, and the Eurasian and Iberian lynx.
Once thought to be the same species as the Eurasian lynx, thanks to a specialist program in Spain which saw 300 Iberian lynx released across seven regions, the species is now off the critically endangered list and experts are hopeful that it will continue to thrive.
Campaigners are promoting the benefits of reintroducing the Eurasian lynx to the UK where it was hunted to extinction in 700AD. It is believed it will help with the explosion in the deer population, which threatens forests as deer graze on sapling.
The continent of North America, or more specifically, the state of South Carolina, is home to the largest individual cat in the world – Hercules the liger. Weighing in at an impressive 900 pounds plus, Hercules weighs significantly more than his father (a lion) and his mother (a Bengal tiger) combined, and stands at 6 feet tall. Ligers only exist in captivity, as lions and tigers do not live in the same areas in the world, so would not meet in the wild.
The largest native cat species to North America is the mountain lion, which many know as the puma or cougar, whilst other famous inhabitants include the bobcat and the lynx.
The mountain lion also roams around South America – in fact, you’ll find it in all corners of the Americas, from the northern tip of Canada down to the southernmost areas of Chile. This big cat is joined on this continent by the jaguar, although with an estimated population of only 15,000, the jaguar is a severely endangered species.
At the other end of the scale, South America’s small cats include the pampas cat, that live in reed beds, and the Margay, which looks like a little jaguar with huge brown eyes, and which are mainly tree dwelling animals.
If you have a favourite photo of your cat to share on this special day please post it on facebook.com/hilifecat or Twitter@hilifecat we’d love to see some pictures of our native cats living right here in the UK.
Treat your dog to a fur-nomenal holiday
We've been catching up with our friends at Holiday Cottages to find out some of the best dog friendly locations to head to this summer...
As man’s best friend, dogs offer us a love like no other; they’re waiting with a wagging tail when you get home after a long day, they’re a comfort when you’re ill, and you forge lifelong memories together. For all these reasons and many more, heading off on a dog-friendly holiday with your canine companion is the ultimate treat for the furry friend who’s by your side no matter what. We’ve paw-picked some of the best locations in the UK to head with your pooch for a cottage break to remember.
The Cornish coast has so many beaches that you’ll be spoilt for choice where to head first. Your pooch can dig and splash to their heart’s content with many of the sandy coves only having restrictions for a few months, if at all! Let them sprint along the shores and breathe in the sea air before heading back to your cosy cottage where they can curl up by the fire.
There’s so much to love about the Lakes, both for you and your dog, but we’re pretty positive that what they’ll love most is the miles and miles of walks you can go on together in a brand-new place! Wander amongst rolling green hills exploring the beautiful landscape, and keep an eye out for one of the many dog-friendly pubs as you go; it will be the ideal end for your dog after a long day of sniffing out all of the interesting new scents, plus it means you get to enjoy a pint of something local and have some delicious food.
Put a spring in their step with a trip to the Cotswolds, a glorious Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty in the Heart of England that is easily reached from many English counties. Your excitable hound is sure to discover plenty of muddy woodland tracks and parks to play in, but there are also lots of dog-friendly attractions in the area too, so you can both enjoy a pawsome day out. Our top picks include Cotswold Wildlife Park and the Batsford Arboretum.
There are some fantastic cottages for canines across the country, so what are you waiting for? Treat your four-legged best friend to the ulti-mutt holiday!
Yipee! Tomorrow is bring your dog to work day
The excitement here at HiLife is mounting, as we eagerly anticipate our favourite day of the year…Bring Your Dog to Work Day!
The initiative was dreamed up in 2014 by cruelty-free dog product manufacturer HOWND, when an office move meant that they were only able to bring their dogs to work for one day of the year.
Spotting an opportunity to raise money for charity, and truly believing in the benefits that having a pooch to pet brings to the workplace, HOWND founders Jo and Mark Amit launched the concept nationally, and it is now being embraced by thousands of businesses across the UK.
We are lucky enough to have Molly the dog as our office companion here at HiLife, so we know first hand how beneficial her presence can be.
There is scientific proof to the benefits of an office dog, too, with various studies showing that bringing a dog to work can improve productivity and reduce stress.
“There is a myriad of benefits to having the presence of dogs in the working environment,” explains Jo.
“Just interacting with these wonderful animals can help reduce stress levels and blood pressure. I’ve never seen an unhappy office dog, only unhappy employees who have to leave their beloveds at home.”
Employees that bring their dog into the office give a small contribution that goes towards the charities that the initiative has chosen to support. This year, Bring Your Dog To Work Day is supporting two organisations.
All Dogs Matter is a rescue charity that rehomes over 300 dogs annually in and around London, whilst international charity Animals Asia is dedicated to reducing harm to dogs and cats in China and Vietnam, and putting an end to the cruel practice of bear bile farming.