Cat Project Archives for April 18-22,
18, 2015 - "Even if you have just destroyed a Ming
Vase, purr. Usually all will be forgiven." - Lenny
Gratuitous Kute Kittiness: "JACKPOT!"
Mewvie: That kitty's HONGRY... and damn cute.
Street Art: "Girl with Sphinx".
DA taps robotic cats for role in victim support
For Boulder prosecutors, it's the purrfect machine.
The Boulder District Attorney's Office has secured a grant to buy a pair
of robotic cats that will be used to help comfort victims who are elderly
or have dementia.
The idea may give some pause, but robotic animals — or companion
pets — are widely used around the world, and Boulder District Attorney
Stan Garnett hopes they can help calm victims during the legal process,
which can be a difficult experience.
"We'll do everything we can to make sure people's trips to the justice system
are as healthy and as healing as possible," Garnett said. "If robotic
cats can help some folks, that's terrific."
Lizbeth Parker, a volunteer with the community protection division of
the Boulder District Attorney's Office who applied for the grant, pointed
out that the mechanical meowers were even featured in the New York Times.
"There is research that it is a very effective tool to connect with some
elderly people or people in various stages of dementia," said Parker.
Parker said the community protection division got the idea for the robotic
cats after hearing about PARO, a robotic baby harp seal developed in
Japan to ease stress in hospitals and care facilities.
But while PARO is cute, it comes with a hefty price tag of $6,000, so
Parker said they began to look for cheaper options. That's when they
came across Joy for All companion pets from Hasbro, which ran at just
$99 a piece.
The mechanical meowers were even featured in a New York Times article.
Parker applied for a volunteer grant from the Boulder County Commissioners
and secured $250 to pay for two cats and batteries. She hopes to have
them in a few weeks.
"We're extremely interested to see how it's going to be received," Parker
said. "We're very grateful to the county for the opportunity to do it this
The cats can actually detect light and touch, and can even "interact" with
people by nuzzling hands or rolling over for more petting, according
to the website.
"It's relatively life-like," Parker said. "It looks like a cat,
it is able to meow, it responds to human touch, it responds to noises in the
The Boulder DA's Office is no stranger to using animals to comfort victims
and witnesses. For two years now, the office has had a golden retriever
named Amigo serving as a courthouse dog.
"Watching Amigo and how his presence really just calms people made us think
this is worth a try," Garnett said.
Parker said live animals aren't allowed in some places, so having the
robotic cats as an alternative to Amigo will allow staff to try and comfort
victims no matter where they are.
"There are many situations where you just can't bring a live animal, like
care facilities and hospitals," Parker said. "We wanted an option that
was going to be able to go anywhere."
As for Amigo, Parker said she thinks dogs and cats living together will
not result in mass hysteria.
"I have yet to see anybody Amigo doesn't get along with, so I'm quite confident
he'll get along with our new friends," Parker said..
19, 2015 - "One small cat changes coming home to an
empty house to coming home."- Pam Brown
Gratuitous Kittiness: So ladylike.
Mewvie: Never turn your back on big cats.
Feline Art: By Christian
20, 2015 - "If a cat spoke, it would say things like,
'Hey, I don't see the problem here'."
- Roy Blount,Jr.
Gratuitous Kittiness: They're not eyes, they're stars.
Mewvie: A little slice of cat Heaven.
Art: Accidental Renaissance.
you can train your cat.
It’s easiest to train your kitty if she likes treats. It’s
even better if she likes treats A LOT! That doesn’t mean, however,
that even if your cat isn’t too food-motivated, she can’t
be trained. Affection, sweet-talk, and play can also be used as a reward.
You can give your cat a reward after she performs the desired behavior,
or, you can teach her with a clicker. The clicker sound is made EXACTLY
when the cat performs the desired behavior, and then she is given her
reward (treat). She’ll soon learn to associate the click sound
with the treat, and also recognize that when she hears the click, it
means that she did something right. So, the click acts as a bridge between
the action and the treat…the clicker allows you to precisely mark
when your cat does the thing you want her to. And you’ll find that
soon your cat will be doing things so that she can hear the click!
So how do you get your cat to do what you want her to do in the first
place? Start off with something simple, like the command SIT. I trained
my cat Abbey to sit in about five minutes using this technique:
Start with a treat in your hand that your cat really likes. I usually
hold the treat between my thumb, middle, and ring fingers, leaving my
index finger as a pointer. When she sees that you have it, she’ll
start to come to you.
When she walks over to you, move the treat just over her head and a little
bit behind her (so that it’s just a few inches above her, and you’re
moving the treat in the direction of her rear. Say “SIT”,
and make a pointing motion down, with your index finger (and the treat
still in your hand) – she’ll eventually associate the word
and visual cue of your finger pointing down with the sit action.
She’ll follow the treat with her eyes, lifting up her head…and
usually, as the head goes up, the butt will go down on the floor.
As soon as her butt hits the floor, click the clicker (or say “good
girl!”, or whatever), and then give her the treat.
Repeat as necessary!
a good video for teaching the SIT command, step-by-step (she does it
a little differently than I do, but you’ll get the gist!). Interestingly
enough, after your cat learns how to do the command, it’s best
if you don’t reward her every single time…the behavior will
get “cemented” if you have her perform the trick occasionally
without the treat reward. This will keep her guessing – will I
get the treat this time? Let’s find out! It’s kind of like
people playing slot machines…we know that there’s a chance
we’ll get the reward, so we keep playing (and paying).
There are SO MANY fun things you can teach your cats to do – all
you have to do is search YouTube and you’ll find tons of ideas
for training your kitty. Have you heard of the Acro-Cats? I saw them
in Portland a few years back, and it’s a must-see show. Yes, cats
will be cats and not everything worked out perfectly in the show, but
that’s part of the charm and humor of cats, I think. Everything
that the cats learned for the show was through positive reinforcement;
enjoy this video of the Acro-Cats and their trainer! Perhaps you and
your kitties can start an act, too!
21, 2015 - "A cat will never drown if she sees the
- Francis Bacon 1561-1626.
Gratuitous Kittiness: Scene from a pet shelter.
Mewvie: The sound of good eatin'.
Feline Art: "Orange Cat" by Nicholas Chistakov.
22, 2015 - "My cat speaks sign language with her tail." -
Robert A. Stern
Gratuitous Kittiness: "What do you MEAN there's no Santa Claus?"
Mewvie: Bathing beauty.
Art: "I think they captured me perfectly."
do cats stretch so much?
by Laura Geggel
If there were an Olympic event for stretching, cats would win gold. They're
constantly stretching their muscles, likely for many of the same reasons
that people do, experts told Live Science.
The main reasons? It feels good and increases blood flow, said Andrew
Cuff, a postdoctoral researcher of anatomy at the Royal Veterinary College
Cats sleep between 12 and 16 hours a day, about twice as much as people
do, according to Rubin Naiman, a clinical psychologist at the University
of Arizona, as reported by the Huffington Post.
When humans sleep, the brain paralyzes most of the body's muscles to
prevent people from acting out their dreams. The same thing happens to
cats during catnaps, which prevents the cat from sleepwalking off the
sofa or wherever it's snoozing, Cuff said.
Once the cat wakes up, the stretching begins.
Cats stretch to get their muscles moving again after periods of inactivity,
whether they've been sitting still or sleeping," Cuff told Live
When a cat is sleeping or relaxed, its blood pressure drops, Cuff said.
The same is true for people, he added. Stretching can help to reverse
"As you stretch, it activates all of your muscles and increases your blood
pressure, which increases the amount of blood flowing to the muscles and also
to the brain," Cuff said. "This helps wake you up and make you more
As the muscles start moving with each stretch, they also flush out the
toxins and waste byproducts that build up during periods of inactivity.
For instance, carbon dioxide and lactic acid can accumulate in a cat's
body, but stretching can increase blood and lymph circulation, which
helps to remove the toxins, he said.
What's more, stretching readies the muscles for activity. If a mouse
scurries by — or, let's be honest, a spider if we're talking about
house cats — the cat will be prepared to pounce if he or she has
already stretched its muscles.
"It's good for them to be ready to go at any instant," Cuff said. "Whether
it's a snake, a feather or something on TV, as the case may be with cats."