Cat Project Archives for August 8-12,
8, 2016 - "What's virtue in a man can't be virtue
in a cat."
- Gail Hamilton 1833-1896
Gratuitous Kute Kittiness: "By the sword of gray-fur, I have the
Mewvie: Simon's Cat goes fishing.
Street Art: "Red Mask Face", artist unknown.
New York's biggest kitty.
by Jenn Hoffman
This is no itty bitty kitty.
A Brooklyn feline named Samson weighs in at a hulking 28 pounds, making
him NYC’s biggest puss.
“He’s the [largest] cat in the city, and I welcome any challengers
to step up,” says Samson’s owner, Jonathan Zurbel, 42, of the 4-year-old
purebred Maine coon, who is an impressive 4 feet in length.
“He is by far the biggest cat I’ve heard of, especially in New York
City,” confirms Dr. Lisa Lippman, a Manhattan veterinarian who says that
most cats she sees weigh around 10 pounds.
Maine coons are the largest breed of felines, but even they typically
average only 15 to 25 pounds for males, according to Maine Coon Fancy,
a Web site dedicated to the breed.
Not surprising given his hefty dimensions, Samson doesn’t act like
your average kitty.
“He plays an excellent game of fetch, and he follows me from room to room
and lays nearby, much like a dog,” says Zurbel, a music producer.
But Samson draws the line at walking on a leash, which he doesn’t
enjoy. Instead, Zurbel wheels him around Williamsburg, Brooklyn, in a
green pet stroller.
“He gets a lot of attention from strangers,” says the proud papa,
who adopted the cat from his older brother. He’d purchased the kitty from
a breeder in southern New Jersey but had to give him up because of his work schedule.
“He draws crowds of photographers,” Zurbel continues. “People’s
reactions are often, ‘Holy s - - t! Is that a cat? That’s a lion!
Is it a bobcat?’ ”
Caring for such a colossal kitty isn’t easy. He goes through up
to six cans of wet food a day and several bags of dry food every week.
He also goes through nearly 4 pounds of litter a week, and requires a
$120 grooming every few months to look his fluffy best.
Zurbel says the colossal kitty is worth the trouble.
“He’s a very good cat,” he says. “He’s affectionate
He’s also a burgeoning star on Instagram, where his @catstradamus
account has over 11,000 followers.
“If there’s one thing that rules the Internet, it’s cats,” says
Zurbel. “It didn’t take long to build an organic following.”
But even though he tips the scales at 28 pounds, don’t call Samson
a fat cat.
“He is genuinely long, broad, heavy and strong. He’s big and well-proportioned.
He’s a real big Maine coon,” says his groomer, Carolyn Ayala. “I
have groomed many obese cats but [he’s] not the same . . . He is the Fabio
of cats. He’s a gentle giant.”.
9, 2016 - "You may own a cat, but cannot govern one." -
Gratuitous Kittiness: Before and After.
Mewvie: The bird goes to the cats.
Feline Art: Korean tapestry.
10, 2016 - "Four little persians, but only one looked
in my direction. I extednded a tentative finger and two
soft paws clung to it. There was a contented sound of purring,
I suspect on both our parts." - George Fredley
Gratuitous Kittiness: Totally twinsies.
Mewvie: Taming a feral kitten.
Art: Book cover from 1928.
International Cat Day is August 8th – an annual celebration of
one of the world's favourite animal companions. We don't need any more
reason to love cats but, just in case, here are 20 reasons why our feline
friends are incredible creatures.
Cats sleep for two-thirds – almost 70% – of their lives,
usually spending between 13 and 16 hours of the day asleep.
There are over 500 million domestic cats in the world.
Cats are unable to taste sweet things.
Cats are good for your mental health. A study, by the charity Cats Protection,
of more than 600 cat and non cat-owners (with half attesting to mental
health problems) found that 87% of feline lovers saw looking after a
cat as having a positive impact on well-being.
Adult cats 'miaow' to communicate with humans rather than each other.
Cats use their whiskers as sensors to find out how wide a space is – and
whether they can fit through it.
A cat's heart beats two to three times faster than a human's.
A cat's tongue has rows of hooked scales that act like a comb to groom
Cats only sweat through their paws.
Cats enjoy playing and it is important for improving their motor skills,
encouraging social behaviour and providing brain training.
A group of cats is called a clowder.
A cat has the ability to jump up to six times its length.
Cats can detect higher frequencies of sound than dogs or humans.
Cats have powerful, tightly controlled muscles and fast reflexes that
allow them to move quickly – they skilled at stalking, running,
jumping and climbing.
Morris the cat's 2013 bid to become mayor of Xalapa, Mexico fuelled a
social media frenzy, with The Facebook page for the Candigato (gato is
cat in Spanish) garnering 130,000 'likes'.
Cats can see at one-sixth the light level required for human vision.
Cats communicate using visual indications, such as scratch marks.
Cats are believed to have been domesticated in ancient Egypt.
The Maine Coon is the largest breed of domesticated cat.
Cats have good night vision and can see at one-sixth the light level
required for human vision.
Domestic cats purr at a frequency of 20 to 30 vibrations per second.
11, 2016 - "A cat can climb down from a tree without
the assistance of the fire department or any other agency.
The proof is that no one has ever seen a cat skeleton in
Gratuitous Kittiness: "I hate these nosebleed seats."
Mewvie: Yeah, it's hot.
Feline Art: Painting by Micheal Bridges.
12, 2016 - "Chances are that a man who can nuzzle
a kitten is also open and caring in other facets of his
life." - Barbara L. Diamond
Gratuitous Kittiness: "Is it Friday yet?"
Mewvie: Unchained, finally.
Art: Egyptian sculpture, "Cat With Kittens" circa 650BCE.
Arabian sand cat spotted after 10 years’ disappearance.
By Natasha Khaleeq
Species: Arabian sand cat (Felis margarita harrisoni)
Habitat: Deserts of Arabia, northern Africa and central Asia
Blink and you’ll miss it. The sand cat is a shy and secretive animal
only seen in the desert at night.
It’s a nocturnal hunter perfectly adapted to its desert home. It
doesn’t need to drink water as it can get all it needs from the
small birds, reptiles and mammals that are its prey. Special hairs in
its ears and on its paws keep the sand out.
Despite its wide distribution across the deserts of North Africa, Arabia
and Central Asia, little is known about this elusive species.
“There’s an absence of scientists working on sand cats and very few
assessments are being made to assess the behaviour, population and status of
the species,” says John Newby of the Sahara Conservation Fund.
Lack of records and difficulty in spotting it means we don’t even
know how well it is faring. Sand cats are listed as “near threatened” on
the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) red list and
as endangered in the United Arab Emirates, where the Al Ain Zoo is a
hotspot for captive breeding programmes to try to conserve the species.
“Sand cats are naturally rare,” says Newby. On top of that, populations
are thought to be declining due to habitat loss and falling numbers of prey species.
In western UAE, the cat has only been documented in the wild anecdotally – and
even such records date to 10 years or more ago.
In 2015, Shakeel Ahmed, an assistant scientist at The Environment Agency – Abu
Dhabi (EAD) led a team studying the animals and plants of the Baynouna – a
protected area in Abu Dhabi. They baited camera traps with cat food over
several months and eventually managed to get 46 photos, which the team
later identified as being of three individuals. Sightings were usually
late on moonlit nights and at cooler times, suggesting the cats prefer
medium to low temperatures of between 11 and 28 °C. Their habitat
was in sparsely vegetated sand dunes.
The team also set traps for small animals, and caught Cheeseman’s
gerbils and the lesser jerboa. Other sightings on the camera included
the urchin beetle, and reptiles such as Arabian sand skink and gecko.
All these mean there is plenty of food available in the region for the
The team hopes this information will help inform future conservation
strategies. For example, it could be useful for work comparing the relatedness
of this population to those in neighbouring Oman and Saudi Arabia.
“It is clear that field research will all be extremely valuable in putting
together conservations plans for the sand cats and their habitat, as well as
pin-pointing those areas and their extent that may be turned into protected areas
to conserve the cats,” says Newby. “Scientists need to be doing more
research on how the sand cats live in order to create a suitable protected area.”