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Infinite Cat Project Archives for December 12-16, 2016.

Mewsings: December 12, 2016 - "Any conditioned cat-hater can be won over by any cat who chooses to make the effort." - Paul Corey

sigourney weaver and jones the cat

Gratuitous Kute Kittiness: Sigourney Weaver and Jones the cat.

Cat Mewvie: A Guide to Winter,  from Simon's Cat

cat laughs at Trump comic

Today's Kitty Komic

Jean-Baptiste Perronneau

Feline Art: "Girl with cat and fish", by Jacob Gerritsz Cuyp, 1620.

gazpacho the cat

The Xmas shelter cat.
by Nara Schoenberg

Of all the cats in the shelter, the big orange tabby with the leaky left eye just might have been the one least likely to get adopted.

While kittens frolicked and healthy cats snuggled with enraptured children, the tabby lay in his bed, battling a chronic eye infection. He barely raised his head when my son Calvin sent me over to say hello. The cat had been in the shelter for four months, and even as Christmas approached — and the pool of available cats dwindled — eager adopters were giving this one a wide berth.

"What about him?" Calvin said.

I made counterproposals: How about a younger cat, one more inclined to play? How about a bonded pair of cats? They could keep each other company. That would mean two cats — one for Calvin and one for his brother!

Calvin, then 10, listened politely. But when Mr. Leaky Eyes somehow managed to rouse himself, walk over to us and look up expectantly, tail raised in friendly greeting, Calvin took it as a sign, and I had to admit, the kid had a point. The big orange cat made beautiful eye contact. Viewed from the right angle, his lopsided squint actually had a certain tough-guy appeal. And, most of all, he had made a choice.

He seemed so very, very sure that he was our Christmas cat.
Three years later, the orange cat wouldn't be any less dear to us if he'd come home on, say, an average Wednesday, but I'd be lying to you if I said it didn't mean something to us that he made his first appearance in our home on Christmas Eve.
Mr. G
Adopted on Christmas Eve 2013, Mr. G. appreciates the holidays -- and any other time when laps are freely available. (Nara Schoenberg / Chicago Tribune)
When I told my story to Gail Buchwald, a senior vice president at the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, I was afraid she might scold me for encouraging impulse adoptions, but she said that kind of thinking is outdated. Impulse adoptions are actually rare, she said, and there's evidence that animals given as gifts (to people who are already seriously considering a pet) are more likely to stay in their adoptive homes than other animals.

There's the emotional aspect, too, Buchwald said, putting into words what I'd been struggling to say about our favorite cat's holiday debut.

"This cat is imbued with this wonderful story and the sentimental attachment that goes along with it, not only of the holiday and the gathering, but of this was a beautiful thing that you did for your family to enjoy for many years," Buchwald said.

"It makes it more special than bringing home a cat on another day of the week. It really does."
With Calvin

The Humane Society of the United States is "very much supportive" of holiday adoptions, but it's important to do your homework, says Illinois state director Marc Ayers. Ask yourself, do you have enough time to devote to a pet? Does someone in your household have allergies? What would be the best pet for your household? Consider nontraditional pets (rats, hamsters) and older dogs and cats, who may be calmer and better behaved.

Once you know what kind of animal you're looking for, check websites such as The Shelter Pet Project for comprehensive information and pet profiles. Ayers also recommends checking your local shelter's website and taking the time to visit in person.

Local shelters such as PAWS Chicago and the Animal Care League in Oak Park offer holiday-themed adoption events. PAWS adoption center Director Diane Wilkerson suggests a way that parents can make the holiday pet a complete surprise: Give a collar as a wrapped present, and tell your kid that after the holidays, you're going to choose the pet together.

I had to work on Christmas Eve 2013, so it was my husband, Sam, a man partial to small dogs and similarly sized cats, who brought home our supersize (13-pound) cat. Calvin and his twin brother, Zephy, were thrilled. Sam borrowed a cat carrier from a neighbor and headed off to the Animal Care League. A staffer took one look at the carrier and laughed.

"Oh, he's not going to fit in that," she said.

Not long after that, out came our cat — shelter name: Gazpacho — big and ill and none too happy about being held.

Sam swallowed his doubts as a staffer eased the angry cat into a disposable carrier.

Mr. G., as we came to call him, slept fairly continuously for about 48 hours upon his arrival, but even then, he'd rouse himself to greet people at the door. We put medicine in his eyes, and the infection cleared up. Soon, we realized that everywhere we went, the cat was there too. He'd snuggle with us while we watched TV. He slept with the boys in shifts: the first part of the night for you, the second part for you.

Today he's bossy, really bossy, but in the best possible way. He steals Zephy's pillow, and we'll find him sleeping at the top of the bed, our son sleeping at the bottom. Mr. G. has been known to demand a seat at the dinner table. We'll pull up a chair, and he'll jump up and watch calmly, as if following the conversation.

His enthusiasm can be daunting to the uninitiated. The upholsterer who fitted the couch with a new slipcover couldn't get Mr. G to stop pouncing on the fabric. The cable guy looked up to find the cat right in his face, eager to offer assistance from his perch on the TV stand. "Lady," I heard a voice calling from the living room, "can you come get your cat?"

He's a handful, Mr. G., but when he lies down with you, he'll put a paw around your neck as if he's giving you a hug. He makes us laugh, and laugh, and laugh.

We're grateful for him all year — he wouldn't stand for anything less — but when the first snow falls and the carols start playing, we're a little more grateful because this is his season, because, after careful consideration, Mr. G. chose us.

Mewsings: December 13, 2016 - "I have studied many philosophers and many cats. The wisdom of cats is infinitely superior." - Hippolyte Taine

naked xmas tree

Gratuitous Kittiness: "Oh, Christmas stick, oh, Christmas stick...".

Cat Mewvie: Max, the Canadian lynx.

people get crazy around cats comic

Today's Kitty Komic

cat art by brendan wenzel

Feline Art: "Cat, Mouse and Fishy" by Yuko Higuchi

Mewsings: December 14, 2016 - "An ordinary kitten will ask more questions than any five year old."
- Carl Van Vechten

three snug kittens

Gratuitous Kittiness: Snug as three bugs.

Cat Mewvie: The Happy Cat Sanctuary. (See story below.)

dog easy to please comic

Today's Kitty Komic

tiny cat sculpture by kerri pajutee

Feline Art: Tiny cat sculpture by Kerri Pajutee.

cat man of long island

The cat man of Long Island.
by Kelli Bender

Chris Arsenault is crushing the cat lady stereotype.

Known as the “cat man” of Long Island, the New York resident has earned this title, transforming his home into a haven for homeless cats and kittens.

According to CBS New York, Arsenault is currently caring for over 300 rescue cats at Happy Cat Sanctuary. He was inspired to turn his abode into a safe space for abandoned, abused and unwanted felines after his son’s tragic death, wanting to honor the boy’s life by providing a new start to dozens of animals.

The furry residents of Happy Cat Sanctuary live both inside and outside the fenced home, and all of them appear to adore Arsenault, a 58-year-old retired train conductor. Felines affectionately swarm the man anytime he arrives at the sanctuary, as if they sense that it was Arsenault who saved them.

“Their lives were so horrible, from not having food, or threatened of being poisoned or being dumped somewhere,” Arsenault told CBS New York.

Arsenault cares for the kitties with aid from a team of volunteers and donations, which help cover the $1,000 per week it costs to keep the sanctuary running and the felines happy.

“It’s unconditional love, you know, the cats they just know that you’re helping them,” Arsenault said.

To learn more about Happy Cat Sanctuary and how to donate, visit the shelter’s website.

Mewsings: December 15, 2016 - "You can not look at a sleeping cat and feel tense." - Jane Pauley

cat with perky ears

Gratuitous Kittiness: "Are those reindeer hooves on the roof?"

Cat Mewvie: Train conductor saves a kitty.

philosophy cat

Today's Kitty Komic

june bug cat by sue ellen brown

Feline Art: "June Bug" by Sue Ellen Brown.

Mewsings: December 16, 2016 - "Cats are dangerous companions for writers because cat watching is a near-perfect method of writing avoidance." - Dan Greenburg

gray cat shaking head

Gratuitous Kute Kittiness: "You talking to me?"

Cat Mewvie: Simon's cat vs. the little-bitty box.

cats like to sit on laps comic

Today's Kitty Komic

ancient japanese art of cat tattooing

Feline Art: "Cat Tattooing" by Kazuaki Horitomo.

browser the cat

The cat the swung an election.
by Aimee Lutkin

In a little town called White Settlement in Texas, a man named Elzie Clements went up against a library cat named Browser—and lost.

According to a local CBS affiliate, Browser was adopted to the local library as a kitten, as a means of controlling the rodent population and delighting book lovers. Then in July, over at City Hall, a worker wished to bring his puppy into the office and was denied. The unnamed man transferred his anger onto the innocent cat living amongst the stacks. If his puppy couldn’t come to work, Browser should be put out on his fluffy ass!

The White Settlement City Council put the matter to a vote. Only one person stood against Browser, City Councilman Clements. The support for Browser from the city council was in part a response to a huge backlash against his proposed eviction, when viral media caught wind of Browser’s tale. The mayor, Ron White, told ABC News at the time that he’d received more than 1,500 emails from all over the world demanding justice for Browser. In early July it was confirmed that the kitty had triumphed.

So what of Elzie Clements? CBS DFW reports that he lost in a landslide to his opponent this November, defeated by his cat vendetta. According to Death and Taxes, Mayor White firmly connected Clements loss to his anti-Browser stance when he told local radio station KRLD, “I don’t know why he was after Browser, ‘cause it’s my understanding he has cats at home. For some reason he had it in his head that there should not be a cat in a public building.”

We have until 2020 to find the cat who is willing to run against Donald Trump.


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