Cat Project Archives for February 1-5, 2016.
1, 2015 - "When a cat chooses to be friendly, it's
a big deal, because a cat is picky." - Mike Deupree
Gratuitous Kute Kittiness: "Yes, the water's just that good."
Mewvie: Cat trap.
Street Art: He's saying "Where are the amorous cats?" Indeed.
Giant Cat Is Taking Over Times Square
A contemporary art
cat video will take over Times Square every midnight this
February. Büsi, a short film by legendary Swiss contemporary art
duo Peter Fischli and David Weiss that finds an adorable kittycat lapping
at a platter of milk, is next month's Midnight Moment by Times Square
Arts. "Büsi sits amongst Fischli & Weiss' explorations
of the ordinary as extraordinary and the extraordinary as ordinary. This
cat can easily represent the everyday triumph that any of us feel living
in the density of this metropolis, taking one's time amongst the frenzy
of media messaging," Times Square Arts Director Sherry Dobbin tells
the Creators Project.
2, 2015 - "Cats have intercepted my footsteps at the
ankle for so long that my gait, both at home and on tour,
has been compared to that of a man wading through low surf."
- Roy Blount, Jr.
3, 2015 - "Many cats simply pounce to their own drummers." -
Gratuitous Kittiness: "Me? Horny? Not paticularly. Why do
Mewvie: I think this cat is defective.
Art: Painted chairs with painted cat.
Jenga. Yes, it's a thing.
If you consider yourself both a cat lover and a Jenga master, then Cat
Jenga might be the perfect new challenge for you. A Chinese company called
Common has developed a brand new version of Jenga by cleverly combining
cutout kitty poses with the game’s precarious stacking challenge.
Players have to balance the wooden cat-shaped pieces on top of one another,
as high as they can, with the hope that the feline silhouettes don't
topple over. Though conventional Jenga starts with a pile of blocks and
builds from that, participants of Cat Jenga stack the figures from the
ground up, hoping to place the last feline on the tower and become the
Cat Jenga isn’t entirely new to the novelty-game market. It was
released in China a few years ago, but it’s taken all that time
to be released in the United States. Now, each set of six is available
in either teak or maple wood, and each piece is an adorable depiction
of a cat stretching, pouncing, climbing, and of course, sleeping. The
more cats you have, the higher the tower climbs, and the more challenging
the game becomes.
4, 2015 - "I don't mind a cat, in its place. But its
place is not in the middle of my back at 4 a.m." -
Maynard Good Stoddard
Gratuitous Kittiness: Putting our heads together.
Mewvie: Cooking with cat.
German postcard. Cat clock, by Parmigiani.
5, 2015 - "A cat is a tiger that is fed by hand."
- Vakaoka Genrin
Gratuitous Kittiness: "Ooooh, I just WUVS your squishy widdle
Mewvie: Five cat life hacks.
Art: Artist, Ben Heine
your cat need high-tech toys?
by Julie Kliegman
Many cat owners have long clung to the simple wisdom that their pets
will always have the most fun with the cheapest, least thrilling items
around the house: shoelaces, cardboard boxes, newspapers, and so on.
But it's hard to reconcile that notion with a survey of the cat toys
on the market today.
The old standbys are still kicking, of course. You'll never have to search
too far for a plush mouse in your favorite color. But alongside the classics
are a growing array of electronic cat toys. They range from the decidedly
cheap to the more extravagant and soon to the artificially intelligent.
Can innovative electronic toys really offer your cats something that
traditional, non-battery-powered options can't? That depends on the needs
of you and your cat.
" As Americans, we tend to value being busy. People are often looking for
ways to entertain their cats that they don't have to be involved in," said
Patricia McConnell, a University of Madison-Wisconsin zoology professor and certified
animal behaviorist. "I don't see that as a particularly good thing."
But fancier toys don't always take pet owners out of playtime. Nor is
that necessarily what cat lovers want when they spring for innovative
Consider Mousr, which Petronics claims will be the first artificially
intelligent cat toy when it goes on the market this year. The Kickstarter-funded
robotic mouse is programmed to sense your cat's movements and react accordingly
in a predator-prey dynamic. It'll come equipped with a fully automated
mode — which means you don't have to be there to play with your
cat — but other options are meant to give humans some control over
where and how Mousr darts and hides.
This is meant to optimize a cheap game most cat owners are familiar with.
If you've ever subtly moved a piece of string and then hid it from view
until you cat pounced, you know the low-tech premise behind Mousr well.
"A cat has the game in mind it wants to play," Friedman said. "That
game is, 'I caught sight of the mouse and I don't think he saw me yet, so I'm
going to hide and I'm going to watch.'"
For a lot of cats, the stealthy hunting approach works better than either
humans or machines frantically waving toys around, which they may quickly
adjust to and get bored with. They prefer the chase. But what's most
important is considering your cat's individual needs.
"Sometimes we tend to get toys that we think are fun," said Pamela
Perry, a resident at Cornell University's Hospital for Animals. "We've got
to remember that we've got to tailor them to the cats' individual needs."
That's the trick for cat owners: figuring out what kinds of play their
pets most enjoy. Maybe it's running and jumping, or maybe it's hiding
and pouncing. Cats also have preferences for different features, like
scratching pads, feathers, and bells. From there, it's about finding
toys — in any price range, and at any level of technological innovation — that
satisfy those needs, rather than trying to push cats toward activities
that aren't as natural or enjoyable.
"A cat can't lie to you," Friedman said. "I can put a toy in front
of a cat and he hates it and I can't be like, 'Well you really should like it,
because we tried really hard to do this.'"
The challenges associated with getting cats engaged aren't unique to
high-tech toys, McConnell said, and there are some basic principles to
keep in mind that can get your cat moving.
Incorporating food as positive reinforcement, observing your cat's natural
behavior, and rotating which toys they have access to all promote increased
Safety concerns are pretty similar across the board, too: Read reviews
of toys and watch how your cat plays with them, Perry said. Identifying
causes for concern — like lasers, choking hazards, and crevices
where paws may get stuck — is a good practice.
Pet owners with cash to spare might find it fun to mess around with fancier
toys once they know what sorts of toys are best for their cats, but there's
nothing wrong with sticking to the basics. Introducing high-tech toys
might be a fun way for owners and cats to shake things up, but it's not
a necessity for enhancing playtime.
"I caution people to not shell out large sums of money for something they
don't know if their cat is going to be interested in," McConnell said, suggesting
that pets probably aren't keeping up on the latest trends meant to entice them,
anyway. "They don't read the chapters on cat behavior. They don't read marketing.
Your friends' cats may adore some new $200 product, but your cat may not."