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Infinite Cat Project Archives for April 18-22, 2016.

Mewsings: April 18, 2015 - "Even if you have just destroyed a Ming Vase, purr. Usually all will be forgiven." - Lenny Rubenstein

refrigerator jackpot

Gratuitous Kute Kittiness: "JACKPOT!"

Cat Mewvie: That kitty's HONGRY... and damn cute.

human drama cat

Today's Kitty Komic

girl with sphinx cat

Feline Street Art: "Girl with Sphinx".

robot cat

Boulder 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 year."

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 room."

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..

Mewsings: April 19, 2015 - "One small cat changes coming home to an empty house to coming home."- Pam Brown

ladylike kitty

Gratuitous Kittiness: So ladylike.

Cat Mewvie: Never turn your back on big cats.

cat moves next door to fish comic

Today's Kitty Komic

christian guemy

Feline Art: By Christian Guemy.

Mewsings: April 20, 2015 - "If a cat spoke, it would say things like, 'Hey, I don't see the problem here'."
- Roy Blount,Jr.

kittenw with blue eyes

Gratuitous Kittiness: They're not eyes, they're stars.

Cat Mewvie: A little slice of cat Heaven.

cat dj

Today's Kitty Komic

cat watchjng over sleeping man

Feline Art: Accidental Renaissance.

train your cat

Yes, 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!

HERE is 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!

Mewsings: April 21, 2015 - "A cat will never drown if she sees the shore."
- Francis Bacon 1561-1626.

forest the cat

Gratuitous Kittiness: Scene from a pet shelter.

Cat Mewvie: The sound of good eatin'.

comic cat bed warmer

Today's Kitty Komic

orange cat by nicholas chistakov

Feline Art: "Orange Cat" by Nicholas Chistakov.

Mewsings: April 22, 2015 - "My cat speaks sign language with her tail." - Robert A. Stern

worried tiger

Gratuitous Kittiness: "What do you MEAN there's no Santa Claus?"

Cat Mewvie: Bathing beauty.

cat space station

Today's Kitty Komic

regal cat painting

Feline Art: "I think they captured me perfectly."

stretching cat

Why 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 in London.

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 Science.

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 that.

"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 alert."

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."


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