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Infinite Cat Project Archives for August 3-7, 2015.

Mewsings: August 3, 2015 - "My cat does not talk as respectfully to me as I do to her." - Colettet

curious kitty

Gratuitous Kute Kittiness: "I'm helping."

Cat Mewvie: Meeting a mountain lion.

cat in the laser lab

Today's Kitty Komic


Rockette doesn't quit.
By Melissa Brunner

Animal rescue workers say they see cruelty every day. But one lucky cat -- shot, scared and left for dead -- is reminding them why they continue their efforts to fight for all creatures.

Her name is Rockette - and it's safe to say Rockette has used up a few of her nine lives.

"She was pretty bad," recalls Dr. Jami Grace, veterinarian for Helping Hands Humane Society's veterinary services. "She was one that euthanasia as an option was discussed."

In late March, a fisherman spotted a bag lying along the bank of the Kansas River. He opened it to find a cat, barely clinging to life. He called Animal Control, who brought her to the veterinary clinic at Helping Hands.

Dr. Grace says the cat's face was so swollen, she first thought the animal had been hit by a vehicle. Then, she started to find the lead pellets in her face and ears. She says they pulled out a handful that they could see. One of the lead pellets damaged her left eye to the point where there was no eye left. But Dr. Grace was undeterred, thinking this cat who's survived being shot, stuffed in a sack and tossed in the water came to her for a reason.

"She was a survivor so I thought I ought to give her a chance," she said.

She gave the cat pain medication, antibiotics and fluid. She took the cat home for the weekend, where her eight-year-old son took it upon himself to help with feeding her and making her drink water. By the end of the weekend, the cat started to come back to life.

"(My son) said, 'We have to give it a really tough name,' so we named it Rocky," Dr. Grace said. "Then about Sunday, I looked and saw Rocky was a girl, so we changed it to Rockette!"

Rockette had another surprise. Turns out, her will to survive might have been a bit of maternal instinct. A few weeks after she arrived, they discovered she was pregnant. Rockette delivered five kittens in mid-May. Three survived and are thriving, under Rockette's loving attention.

"She's a great mom," Dr. Grace said.

While Rockette's survival is incredible, unfortunately, her story is not unique. Dr. Grace says the staff at Helping Hands sees cruelty daily, with Rockette among the most severe cases. She says the community needs to know animal abuse exists - and that they have options.

"If people don't know what to do or can't care for their animal, bring them here," she said. "We will take care of them. We will invest in them and give them every opportunity we can."

Rockette still has a long road ahead. Another surgery may be done to remove two pellets still lodged in her right eye and nasal area that are causing continued inflammation, and leaving her with little to no vision. But she's a fighter, launching a loving comeback in the face of what could have been a horrible end.

"It's the reason I do what I do," Dr. Grace said. "Not every is as lucky as Rockette. She's really lucky. She's a great cat."

Rockette's kittens should be ready for adoption in three to four weeks. Dr. Grace then will evaluate the next steps in Rockette's treatment.

Mewsings: August 4, 2015 - "A cat is the only domestic animal I know who toilet trains itself and does a damned impressive job of it." - Joseph Epstein

cat sitting on dog

Gratuitous Kittiness: Riding on the shoulders of giants.

Cat Mewvie: "AGAIN!"

cat in copier box

Today's Kitty Komic

Mewsings: August 5, 2015 - "The trouble with sharing one's bed with cats is that they'd rather sleep on you than beside you."- Pam Brown

paper shredder cat

Gratuitous Kittiness: "This is not  what it looks like."

Cat Mewvie: Rough start, happy ending, good people.

penthouse cat

Today's Kitty Komic

lucky the shipwrecked cat

'Shipwrecked' cat finds new home.
By Brandon Messick

Bonnie Butterworth arrived at the Western Arizona Humane Society at noon on Tuesday. She had been speaking to WAHS Director Patty Gillmore all week, in the hope of adopting a brown tortoise-shell cat who was rescued on Saturday, July 25, from a sunken boat on Lake Havasu.

Butterworth has been rescuing cats since she was a child, as her family adopted and cared for strays throughout her neighborhood. “I was in tears after I read her story,” Butterworth said. “I can’t even think about what this cat went through.”

“Lucky” is a nine-year-old female who survived a terrifying experience last month after stowing away on a low-profile power boat belonging to Genaro Rudaldava, of Orange County, Calif. She climbed into the front compartment of the boat where Rudaldava stored his supplies, and without his knowledge, accompanied him on his voyage across the lake. High waves overtook the craft near a sandbar North of Lake Havasu City, where it sank to the bottom.

A Mohave County Sheriff’s Department search and rescue team contacted John Zucalla, of Dive Time Recovery, to recover the vessel. Zucalla was already on the lake, and responded to the scene within an hour to pull Rudaldava’s boat ashore. Zucalla brought the boat to a local mechanic to have the water flushed from its engine. There, they discovered the wet, shaking and terrified cat.

Lucky survived underwater for more than an hour, using an air pocket within the boat’s front compartment to breathe. Submerged in the cold water of Northern Lake Havasu and with her air supply running out, Lucky’s rescue had come not a moment too soon.

Mechanics contacted Zucalla when they found Lucky, and had to cut away pieces of the boat’s upholstery to extract the terrified feline. Lucky was taken to the WAHS Intake Center the next day, and was moved into the shelter’s general holding area three days later.

Lucky’s story went viral last week as news organizations around the world reported on the feline’s ordeal. She wasn’t microchipped, or tagged, which made finding her owners nearly impossible. She also wasn’t spayed, and WAHS performed the operation as a matter of policy.

Butterworth already owns two other cats, and she has plenty of space to accommodate Lucky. “This is not my first cat rescue. People don’t understand how much rehab these cats have to go through. It takes a lot of patience, but if you do it right, you can have a really great cat.”

Butterworth says that Lucky will need a few days in a quiet environment as she adjusts to her new life. “I’m just thrilled to finally get her out of the shelter,” she said. “She needs to heal.”

Lucky didn’t have any serious injuries after her ordeal, according to WAHS, but she suffered blisters to her paws as she scrambled inside the sinking vessel, and may have suffered minor injuries to her back during her ordeal.

“ She’s still very nervous,” Gillmore said. “Our veterinarian says that she’s going to need a lot of tender loving care. She’s been through a lot of trauma after she was stuck under water for so long, but she’s a lot more comfortable than she was last week, thank goodness.”

Gillmore says that anytime that a cat is turned over to WAHS by an owner, or brought into the shelter as a stray, it’s a traumatic experience. “When they’re taken to an unfamiliar place, it’s always a stressful experience for them,” she said. “They hide in their litterbox, which is usually a sign that they’re stressed. When you think about how frightened she was, it’s going to take time for her to feel secure again.”

Gillmore has been receiving calls from dozens of news agencies throughout the country about Lucky, and has received calls from hopeful pet owners as far away as Oregon who hoped that Lucky might be identified as their own missing pet.

Mewsings: August 6, 2015 - "I have studied many philosophers and many cats. The wisdom of cats is infinitely superior." - Hippolyte Taine

pointy eared cats

Gratuitous Kittiness: "This is not how WHAT works?"

Cat Mewvie: "Ah LOVES me some hair!"

mysterious hairball cartoon

Today's Kitty Komic

Mewsings: August 7, 2015 - "I There is, incidently, no way of talking about cats that enables one to come off as a sane person." - Dan Greenberg

kitten looking at empty fish tank

Gratuitous Kittiness: "Feed me."

Cat Mewvie: "Workin' for mah dinner."

cat decision tree

Today's Kitty Komic

museum cats

How cats took over the internet: new exhibition for feline fans.
By Jordan Hoffman

(Please note the opening image features the Infinite Cat Project. SQUEEEEEEEEEE!)

“To be honest, I’m allergic,” confesses Jason Eppink. The associate curator of digital media at New York’s Museum of the Moving Image (MoMI), should be thankful his aversion to felines won’t affect the institution’s new exhibition: How Cats Took Over The Internet. It is a continuation of previous exhibits like Cut Up, a collection of re-edited popular work from largely self-taught, hobbyist editors and The Reaction GIF: Moving Image as Gesture, an enormous wall of emotional memes.

“ It’s fun, but it isn’t frivolous,” notes Carl Goodman, the museum’s executive director, keenly aware that projections of funny cat vids are in the direct line of sight of an Orson Welles portrait from MoMI’s permanent collection.

How Cats Took Over The Internet is on view in the museum’s Amphitheater Gallery from Friday. It’s the same space that not long ago showed new collages from master Czech animator Jan Svankmajer alongside a looping reel of his celebrated work. Critics and cinephiles love Svankmajer (and other film-makers are inspired by him), but his reach doesn’t exactly extend into the mainstream. Anyone who accesses Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Reddit, BuzzFeed or email has looked at one of the internet’s famous funny cats, such as Maru or Lil Bub.

So why cats? Eppink has some interesting answers. Celebrating cats in this fashion is tiedwith new technology. Eppink quotes BuzzFeed’s Jack Shepherd in referring to the internet as a virtual cat park. Dog owners can go out and have their pets sniff one another, cats are mainly indoors. There was also the long perceived pejorative around cats – the crazy cat lady, a lonely spinster knitting and playing Carole King records. When the internet gave us a peek at everyone else’s cats, and how owners are delighted with the silly and obnoxious things they do, it changed their perception. It was no longer a private thing to be secretly happy when your cat decides to knock a drink over for no reason and give you a blank look. A community of cat worship not seen since the days of Imhotep was born.

The core of the exhibit is a timeline that is (here it comes) catnip to people who trade in web memes. Kitty Cams emerged in 1996, one of the many low-fi broadcasting sites that were always more interesting in theory than practice. Then came funny pictures like Pet of the Day, followed by Cat Scans, a 1998 trend, in which owners put their cats on home office scanners. The middle of the last decade saw Reddit’s user generated Caturday, which then morphed into the classic “lolcat”. At the same time came Stuff on My Cat (a personal fave), in which owners would put household objects on their pets who just did not, in internet speak, GAF. “The internet’s memory can be a bit ephemeral,” Eppink said.

In 2007 someone stuck the phrase “I can has Cheezburger?” on a seemingly smiling cat (named Happy Cat) and things really took off. Investor Ben Huh created the Cheezburger Network, which is your ground zero of internet memes. Anthropomorphizing real (not cartoon) cats with the Impact font became the de rigueur way to respond to an email or message board comment.
The still images led to gifs (Nyan Cat) and then videos (Keyboard Cat) and then, eventually, movie stars. “What you have here, in addition to some adorable imagery, is a window into the history of the internet. Cam subjects, still pictures and now, with broadband, celebrities,” Eppink said. Grumpy Cat has starred in a kid-friendly TV movie, Lil Bub has been the subject of a documentary. Maru the Cat has had two books published in the US and Japan.

The existential French feline Henri, le Chat Noir didn’t make the wall, but his owner (and founder of the Cat Video Festival) Will Braden curated the looping 30-minute highlight reel of great cat videos that will play in the amphitheater. Additionally, and in keeping with the user generated nature of the phenomenon, people will be able submit their picks if they think something is missing. If you crack up every time your pain-in-the-butt puss sits down on the newspaper you’re trying to read, this is your chance to capture that and put it in a museum where it belongs.

There will also be dates during the run where the museum will work in conjunction with pet adoption agencies, and they are planning to announce visits from some very internet famous real life cats. On Saturday 10 October, the museum’s chief film programmer David Schwartz is planning The Cat-vant Garde Film Show, a night of pet-focused art cinema featuring the work of, among others, Stan Brakhage, Carolee Schneeman and Maya Deren. (Additional programs with different titles are set for November and December. Fingers crossed for some Chris Marker.) Schwartz sees commonalities between avant garde film-makers, who often work alone, with videos in the exhibition that are “made by amateurs with low- and no-budget equipment”. Also, whether you are an experimental artist or not, nearly everyone is drawn to cats who are “eminently photographable, yet mysterious”.

MoMI’s core collection begins with zoetropes, trompes l’oeil and projectors the size of a Mini Cooper. Over the years their programming has included the complete works of Pasolini’s Salo, Peter Greenaway’s early short films and a two-day showing of Rivette’s Out 1. Purists may scoff and say an eight-second loop of a kitten playing with a toilet paper roll is not exactly advancing the art of cinema. But for moving images in our culture, there are few that are more ubiquitous. When Eppink and I start discussing the Kuleshov effect in comparison to a cat’s mercurial nature, Goodman’s ears, perhaps still feeling a slight burn from the gaze of Orson Welles’ portrait, perk up. “Feel free to project any and all film theory on to this,” he beams. There might be something in that: Citizen Cat anyone?


The Infinite Cat Project
Presented by Mike Stanfill, Private Hand
Illustration, Flash Animation, Web Design

©Mike Stanfill