Weekly News Roundup 8/23 to 8/29

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“Crazy cat ladies” are not a thing, study finds

It’s the news cat owners have been waiting for: Owning lots of cats does not, in fact, mean you’re mad, sad, or anxious. That’s according to researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles, who analyzed more than 500 pet owners and found nothing to support the long-held “crazy cat lady” stereotype. The study, published in the journal Royal Society Open Science, observed how people reacted to distress calls from animals and also compared pet ownership with mental health–related or social difficulties. Its results will come as a relief to those people who prefer cats to dogs—and should give those who cling to the popular “cat lady” trope pause for thought. “We found no evidence to support the ‘cat lady’ stereotype: cat owners did not differ from others on self-reported symptoms of depression, anxiety, or their experiences in close relationships,” the study said. . . . more

Florida panthers are stumbling around like they’re poisoned, and scientists don’t know why

A mother panther walks into frame and pauses. She looks around, ears alert. One of her cubs appears and looks healthy and strong. Then her other cub stumbles into the frame and falls to the ground. At least 10 panthers and bobcats in Florida are having (or had) trouble walking, and wildlife experts don’t know why. Two cats died recently from other causes, but scientists confirmed they, too, were suffering from whatever is going around. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is monitoring the status of the cats on trail cameras. The list of possible panther and bobcat afflictions is long; researchers are testing for infectious diseases, nutritional deficiencies, and exposure to heavy metals and multiple toxins, including rat poison and toxic algae. . . . more

Maryland pet stores sue to block state ban on dog, cat sales

Pet stores are suing to block a Maryland law that will bar them from selling commercially bred dogs and cats, a measure billed as a check against unlicensed and substandard puppy mills. The stores’ federal lawsuit, filed Friday, challenges a ban set to take effect on January 1, 2020. Maryland is the second state, after California, to pass such restrictions on the sale of dogs and cats. The pet stores fear the ban will put them out of business. Their suit says animal welfare organizations have made unfounded claims that pet stores are fueling the growth of puppy mills. Charm City Puppies manager Becky Schmidt, whose Columbia store is one of the plaintiffs, said it only uses breeders who are “quality inspected” and federally regulated. “If anything, if our doors close, it’s going to force consumers to have to go to the unregulated, uninspected sources,” Schmidt said. . . . more

FDA: Altaire Pharmaceuticals, Inc. issues voluntary recall of veterinary ophthalmic products

Altaire Pharmaceuticals, Inc., announced last week that it’s voluntarily recalling some veterinary ophthalmic drug products and lots due to concerns regarding some quality assurance controls in the manufacturing facility. The recalled products will be evaluated as part of Altaire’s review. The products are manufactured and labeled exclusively for Dechra Veterinary Products, which distributes the products. . . . more

Owning a pet may boost heart health

Owning a pet—particularly a dog—may help some people have a healthier heart, according to new research published in the September issue of Mayo Clinic Proceedings: Innovations, Quality & Outcomes. For the study, a team of European and American researchers analyzed health and demographic information—including information on pet ownership—gathered from 1,769 people, aged 25 to 64, living in the city of Brno in the Czech Republic. The participants are volunteers in a research project that is looking for factors that might explain—and help reduce—the particularly high prevalence of cardiovascular disease in Eastern and Central Europe. . . . more