Cat Project Archives for February 8-125, 2016.
8, 2015 - "You can not look at a sleeping cat and
feel tense." - Jane Pauley
Gratuitous Kute Kittiness: "Do I LOOK like I'm having a nice day?"
Mewvie: What doesn't kitty-kitty like?
Street Art: In a Bali street market.
to Make Eating Easier, and More Enjoyable, for
an Aging Cat
When it comes to aging, the changes in your cat can be subtle. It may
seem as if she’s going along fine: still sleeping most of the day,
still sitting in your lap when you get home from work, still doing a
couple of good daily stretches on the scratching post.
But there’s one sure sign that your cat is getting older, and it’s
one that you should be looking for. How well does she eat? Whether she’s
a nibbler or a gobbler, the way she eats is a solid clue to her well-being.
What to Look For
You may notice that your cat seems to have gotten picky in her old age.
Picky as in she picks up a piece of kibble in her mouth and then drops
it. That doesn’t necessarily mean she doesn’t like the food,
but it’s a good sign that her mouth is the gateway to gums that
are red, inflamed and swollen. When I examine some cats, the gums look
as if they’ve been hit with a flamethrower and a jackhammer.
Sadly, most cats don’t get the preventive dental care they need
and deserve. Cats with painful periodontal disease are more the norm
than older cats with good oral health. It’s been estimated that
by 2 years of age, 70 percent of cats suffer from some kind of periodontal
disease, which can progress to bone and tooth loss. There are no kitty
dentures, so once teeth are lost, your cat is going to be a gummer — and
even that can be excruciatingly painful.
If your cat is having trouble eating, ask your veterinarian to give your
cat an oral exam. She may recommend a professional cleaning, including
X-rays to assess for problems under the gums, and possibly the removal
of painful teeth to help your cat feel better and get back to her regular
Make Meals a Pleasure Again
If your older cat has lost a lot of teeth, or if she’s simply less
interested in her kibble, consider making a gradual transition to a high-quality
canned food. It’s soft and moist, making it easier to chew.
Just like humans, a cat’s sense of smell often weakens with age,
so we have to amp up the food’s aroma before older cats can smell
and taste it. Whether you are feeding dry or canned food, warm it slightly
in the microwave before serving (it may help to add a little water to
the dry kibble before warming). Heat it for seven to 15 seconds, stir
it thoroughly and test it with your finger to make sure it’s not
too hot for your cat’s mouth.
There are also commercial flavor enhancers you can add to your cat’s
food and special therapeutic foods that are formulated specifically for
sick or elderly pets who don’t want to eat. Ask your veterinarian
Most important, remember that tuna breath is only funny in cartoons and
do your best to keep your cat’s mouth healthy throughout life.
9, 2015 - "Most cats are not shy about letting their
people know what they want." - Karen Duprey
Gratuitous Kittiness: Beautiful Bengal cats.
Mewvie: Bless you, kind woman. (I have no other information
on this story.)
Feline Art: A little
10, 2015 - "One small cat changes coming home to an
empty house to coming home."- Pam Brown
Gratuitous Kittiness: "I'll keep an eye out for cops."
Mewvie: What a patient kitty.
Art: Cat topiary.
Brief History of Post Office Cats
by Erin Blakemore
When the Royal Mail announced that it will be opening a Postal Museum
and Mail Rail exhibition that will feature a restored section of a little-known
underground railroad, it kind of buried the real story. Sure, the institution
is responsible for such mail-delivery revolutions as the postage stamp
and the iconic red pillar mailbox, but the upcoming heritage effort is
exciting for more than mere philatelic history. Located beneath the streets
of London, the Royal Mail will also pay tribute to the phenomenon of
post office cats.
The Guardian’s Maev Kennedy reports that the museum will feature
a display paying homage to the the postal system’s furry employees
of yore—post office cats with their own wages and pensions. Early
postmasters weren’t necessarily cat lovers; they needed a way to
get rid of mice. So they brought cats in to their buildings. But cats
don’t eat for free, and in 1868 the Secretary of the Post Office
authorized post offices to hire cats, allotting only one shilling, not
the requested two, a week to feed all three original cats—over
time, the salary of these furry workers would sometimes result in bitter
battles over just how much money they deserved. In 1918, a finicky cat
helped bump the salary up, giving each cat its own weekly shilling, and
that rate remained until the 1950s, when it was revealed that the one-shilling-a-week
allowance had stayed the same, though the rate apparently kept up with
inflation over the years.
Tibs the Great was the Royal Mail’s most famous post office cat.
According to the mail service, he eventually weighed in at 23 pounds
and became the official Royal Mail Headquarters cat over 14 years of
service. When he died, Tibs (the son of Minnie, another epic post office
cat) was lauded with an obituary in the service’s magazine that
recalled that “there is no record of Tibs ever granting audience
to a Postmaster General.”
The UK may have had Tibs, but it didn’t have dibs on the idea of
hard-working postal felines. In 1904, the New York Times reported that
George W. Cook, “the only Superintendent of Federal Cats in this
country,” gave a party for 60 post office cats in honor of his
own 81st birthday. On the menu? Calve liver and lamb kidney.
Three years earlier, the population of post office cats had reached such
proportions that the New York Post Office took the unprecedented step
of banishing the entire group. The phenomenon was apparently quite common:
Historic newspapers are filled with accounts of post office cats, their
amazing rat- and mouse-catching skills, and their lives of brave (and
Daniel Piazza, chief curator of philately at the Smithsonian National
Postal Museum, says that post offices often kept beloved dogs as well.
One example is Owney, a mail dog so beloved his colleagues at the post
office had him stuffed and put him in a museum. "Dogs tended to
be mascots for post offices," Piazza explains. "They were kept
by the postal employees as pets, whereas cats were viewed more as working
animals." Today, Owney is one of the National Postal Museum's biggest
attractions, though Piazza admits he finds the taxidermied pup "kind
These days, things like exterminators and no dogs allowed rules have
made post office pets a thing largely of the past. But it’s fun
to think of the modern postal service being built on the backs of hungry
11, 2015 - "Who needs television when you have cats?" -
Gratuitous Kittiness: "Fluff-dry, please."
Mewvie: Practicing my dragon roar.
Feline Art: Beautiful, painted rocks by Ernestina Gallina.
12, 2015 - "There is, indeed, no single quality of
the cat that man could not emulate to his advantage." -
Carl Van Vechten
Gratuitous Kittiness: Cat ballet.
Mewvie: "Mommy's drowning! Somebody save her!"
Art: Spring is coming (artist uknown)
cat looking for its family
by Corey Charlton
A campaign is underway to reunite a friendly cat with its migrant owners
after it became separated from them during the boat crossing from Turkey
Nicknamed Dias after the modern Greek name for Zeus, volunteer Ashley
Anderson is hoping she can track down his original owners who she believes
have now settled somewhere in Europe.
Dias has since been flown back to Berlin, where Ms Anderson suspects
her owners, from Mosul, Iraq, have now settled.
Ms Anderson - who spent £480 of her own money to fly the cat to
Berlin - was helping on the island of Lesbos when the family came ashore.
But in the chaos of their arrival on shore, the panicked cat leaped onto
the beach and ran into hiding.
In the following days the family were unable to find him and were eventually
moved to a holding centre before eventually leaving the island altogether.
Ms Anderson wrote on the cat's crowdfunding page: 'We don't know the
family names or have a photo of them, but we do have the info of how
he came to be here at the beginning of November from eyewitnesses.
'We know his family is likely somewhere further up the route in Europe
somewhere. Thanks to some help from Edward St George, he's been to the
vet for a health check/vaccines/microchip. We got him fixed and he has
been happy and healthy ever since.
'While trying to locate his family, we found a kind foster mother in
Berlin, Germany. She will take him and keep him for one year while the
family is searched for via flyers and social media.
'If the family is not found, the foster mother has agreed to adopt him.
'In a small way, his journey represents the plight of all who are seeking
a better life. We need each other.
'If it wasn't for people taking notice of his vulnerable state and taking
him in under their wings, he'd likely be fighting for food and struggling
'By offering him a place to stay and good food, he's now able to sit
by the fire and process what all he's been through. He's sleeping a lot
and is very talkative when he's awake. He didn't go unnoticed, and will
not be forgotten about.'
Addendum: The cat, whose real name was Kunkush, was reunited with his
owners in Norway.