#straysofmoldova part 4 – Red

Red is one of the offsprings of a cat that lived near a huge supermarket just across the street. Sometimes, there’s Red the First. Sometimes he’s joined by Red the Second (a brother). One is fatter than the other, he also is cross-eyed. Both were grew up on those steps.

Chisinau is home to thousands of stray cats and I would refrain from giving even a modest estimate of their numbers. There are two colonies of cats that I can see from the windows of my apartment block. While one slowly dwindled to some 4-5 mostly feral cats, the other one amounts to at least 15. There is a third colony living in a courtyard where the pups from #straysofmoldova Part 3 used to live and one more a bit further down from there. Even the most modest estimate would amount to at least 50 homeless felines (most likely the number is closer to 80-90) in the space of a bit more than one square km.

The situation in other parts of Chisinau is even more dire. Why are the numbers so high? Unfortunately, as it stands with dogs, cats do not benefit from any legal protection and breeding is absolutely unsupervised. Cats end up in the streets because numerous carless and uneducated owners prefer not to neuter their supposedly beloved pets because that is against nature.

What happens very often is that cats are left to roam the streets during the day and come in for the night. Knowing the extremely large numbers of both male and female cats that have not been sprayed and neutered, such carelessness leaves a regular increase in stray cat population…

Oftentimes, cats get thrown out for misbehavior, for instance a fairly recent Facebook post by a cat owner comes to mind. The man in question was looking for a new home for his young cat because he was misbehaving. The man wrote on Facebook that he’d put the animal down if a new home will not be found…

Aside from it all, the stray dogs which used to roam the streets of our neighborhood and many other neighborhoods around Chisinau get routinely poisoned. Thus, stray cats are left without any natural predators (aside from humans of course) and cold and hunger become their primary concerns
These are a few of the many reasons behind this drastic situation.

#ginger #cat #straysofmoldova

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Book review: The Smarter Screen: Surprising Ways to Influence and Improve Online Behavior by Shlomo Benartzi and Jonah Lehrer

The most suffocating part about my previous job – and I understood this quite recently – is the fact that it suffocated my reading. The inspiration and the motivation for enlightenment have gone for a long walk… I switched to fiction. I love fiction, don’t get me wrong, but what I love even more is a book that makes me discover things and makes me crave for more knowledge.

 I am thrilled to say that The Smarter Screen: Surprising Ways to Influence and Improve Online Behavior by Shlomo Benartzi and Jonah Lehrer reminded me about the things that I was missing.

Few of us are aware of the visual biases and behavioral patterns that influence our thinking when we’re on our laptops, iPads, smartphones, or smartwatches. The sheer volume of information and choices available online, combined with the ease of tapping “buy,” often make for poor decision making on screens. Using engaging reader exercises and provocative case studies, Benartzi shows how digital designs can influence our decision making on screens in all sorts of surprising ways.

Continue reading “Book review: The Smarter Screen: Surprising Ways to Influence and Improve Online Behavior by Shlomo Benartzi and Jonah Lehrer”

#straysofmoldova part 3 – the pups that lived under a tennis table

Back in the Soviet days, most of the neighborhoods had playgrounds that could put modern equivalents to shame. The remnants of the former cult of sport remain scattered around Chisinau courtyards. This particular courtyard – a two minute walk from my apartment block – had table tennis tables made of solid concrete. These days these weathered and worn things hardly remind of their former purpose…

Looking for a mum. Stray pup from Chisinau #straysofMoldova #dogs #Moldova #puppy #abandoneddog

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This is one of the five pups that were born under one such table. I’ve noticed them by pure chance, when I took an unexpected detour on my way from the gym. Only two male and one female pup remained at that point. The mum would sometimes be present too, although she was mostly out scavenging for food.

The female pup, as I was told, was once thrown into one of those huge garbage bins used by the nearby houses. The one that threw her was a kid. At one point – after the original incident – she could not walk at all, once again falling victim to abuse.

About two weeks later, all three of the pups were found with a broken neck. Almost at the same time, one of the local street cats was found with her head smashed in. The witnesses have once again named a child as the murderer. Nobody was ever punished.

The mother of the three pups was still alive in Autumn 2016.

#straysofmoldova part 2 – the Nightstand

Tubochka, or the Nightstand, lived at Dinamo stadium in the center of Chisinau. Was she well-fed or just sick and overweight? I wouldn’t really know, but her short, stocky and angular body earned Tumbochka her peculiar nickname.

#Moldova #Chisinau #straysofmoldova #straydog #dogs #stadium

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What I do know is that Nightstand was a victim of abuse. First time I saw her, she ran away, even though I wasn’t even trying to approach her to make our acquaintance. Strangers terrified her. Strangers 10 meters away made her run and hide somewhere under the stands. A gentle talk from a distance would make her wag her tail, but an attempt to approach would make her flee.

#straysofmoldova #straydog #stadium #Chisinau #Moldova

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A few months after our meeting, she finally allowed me to pet her and give her food, even though she’d flinch and run at the slightest movement.

#straysofmoldova, part 1 – Nameless

This can hardly be called a personal project, but I suppose, in a sense it became one.

You see, I’m one of those people that says hello to dogs. Any dogs. Stray dogs, pets… While I was still employed, on the weekends I’d go out to buy bones for the stray dogs that lived scattered around our Chisinau neighborhood. My mum once called me “a dog mummy”, even though I am by far doing much, much less than a lot of people I know or know of by animal protection groups.

The animals that I have managed to capture on my iPhone camera… most of them are already dead. I wish I could say they found a safe home and a loving family, but the harsh reality of the street life in Chisinau doesn’t leave me optimistic. Especially knowing that whole groups of my furry friends disappeared at the same time.

Continue reading “#straysofmoldova, part 1 – Nameless”