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Infinite Cat Project Archives for July 13-17, 2015.

Mewsings: July 13, 2015 - "There is no snooze button on a cat who wants breakfast." - Unknown

melted cat

Gratuitous Kittiness: Just one?

Cat Mewvie: Cats are such butts.

cat relations

Today's Kitty Komic

obligate carnivore

The Verge Review of Domestic Cats

Everyone knows cats are metal as hell.

As obligate carnivores, cats must eat meat — like all other obligate carnivores (a fellowship that includes mink, dolphins, and sea lions), they've lost their ability to make certain amino acids. They must kill to survive. This probably explains why, as any cat owner can attest, one of their moods is best described as kill 'em all and let God sort 'em out. To execute this mission, these creatures essentially have razorblades attached to their hands. Their tongues are optimized for stripping flesh from bone, and they can see in the dark, have excellent depth perception, and are extremely attuned to motion. Here's how crazy their vision is: cats' eyes, unlike ours, don't need to be lubricated by blinking — the better for keeping watch on prey.

Cats are both more recently domesticated than dogs and less domesticated, since intermixing with feral populations has meant humans haven't weeded out all their wild traits. But unlike dogs, they got smarter during the domestication process. This is an animal that knows a win-win situation and exploits it.

That's not all. Cats are capable of controlling mice — their prey — with chemicals in their urine. And they're the preferred home of the parasite Toxoplasmosis gondii; though the single-celled parasite infects many animals (most human infections in the US are due to lamb, pork, and venison, not cats), it can only reproduce in cats, which means that even cats' parasites are capable of toying with cats' prey. T. gondii infections in mice make them attracted to the smell of cat. There's some evidence that T. gondii can even mess with human brains.

But despite being asocial killing machines, they've snuggled their way into our homes and hearts. They're the rare huggable vicious killing machine, nature's version of Tony Soprano. Their purrs — which happen both when cats are comfortable and when they need to soothe themselves in stressful situations — may help heal muscles and bones. And because hunting for dinner means a lot of work, they conserve energy through frequent napping. (In the interest of full disclosure: I am writing this review with a kitten asleep on my lap right now, so you know I'm calm, thoughtful, rational, and entirely unbiased.)

The soothing power of cat purrs may explain another weird benefit of these tiny monsters: they're really great for people. One study — take it with a grain of salt, since it was presented at a conference and not in a peer-reviewed paper — showed that cat owners reduce their risk of heart attacks by a third, compared to non-cat owners. And like Tony Soprano, cats really do love their families: they remember when people, especially women, are kind to them and return the favor.

Do cats have downsides? Sure. In North America, they're an invasive species, and they're just hell on birds. (Though honestly, humans are way worse.) Of course, this is easy to deal with: keep your cat indoors.

In conclusion, cats are tiny huggable murderers with soft tummies, healing powers, and mind control. I give them a rating of 10.0 points on our 10.0-point scale — that's right, purrfect — and if that's due to my T. gondii infection, it's still well earned.

Mewsings: July 14, 2015 - "The way to keep a cat is to try to chase it away." - E. W. Howe

snuggle kitty

Gratuitous Kittiness: "Just one piece of dat cheese, pleeeeeeease?"

Cat Mewvie: "I'm in your fridge, eatin' your food."

cat for president comic

Today's Kitty Komic

Mewsings: July 15, 2015 - "Cats, like butterflies, need no excuse." - Robert A. Heinlein

so very happy kitty

Gratuitous Kittiness: "Take the damn picture!"

Cat Mewvie: Surprise Xmas kitten.

work life balance with cat

Today's Kitty Komic

Pops the cat

Meet Pops, Britain's oldest rescue cat

Britain's oldest rescue cat is struggling to find a home because potential suitors are put off by its "terrifying" eyes.

Pops was found dazed and stumbling by the side of the road two months ago. The 19-year-old was rushed to the vet by a concerned member of the public, only to be told she was simply suffering from old age.

Pops has slightly matted ginger fur, struggles to walk and is almost blind in both eyes - giving her a ghoulish appearance. It is thought her owner might have been an elderly person who passed away - with family members forgetting about Pops.

She was later taken in by the Cats Protection League's Midsomer Norton and Radstock branch near Bath, Somerset.

But visitors are put off by its striking eyes and lack of mobility, so Pops - who is 93 in cat years - is being constantly overlooked. It is thought it is the oldest cat currently looking for a home in a rescue centre.

Belinda Dark, a volunteer at the charity, said: "I think because of her sight and health problems, she isn't everyone's first choice. Her appearance isn't as favourable as some of the younger kittens. I think people are put off my eyes or how frail she is.

"It would be lovely to see her go to a loving family. We think she may have been abandoned after an elderly owner became unable to look after her.

"She was very confused when she came to us, her sight is very poor and she is a weak old cat, but she loves being close to you and being petted - she's incredibly friendly and doing well for her age.

"Pops is certainly the oldest cat we are aware of in our care. We've had a 14-year-old before, but never one as old as her."

Figures from across Cats Protection's 31 adoption centres show currently nearly 10 per cent of cats in care are 11 years old and older.

On average, older cats take around five times longer than kittens to be adopted. However, during kitten season - which runs between April and September - older cats take six and a half times longer to be rehomed than kittens.

Despite more than 500 people engaging with Pops' story on Facebook in the last two months, as well as being advertised on Animal Search UK, no one has yet come forward to either claim or offer her a home.

Ms Dark added: "During the spring/summer months, we see a dramatic rise in kittens being adopted instead of older cats, it can be horribly sad to see them left behind.

"I think often older cats can get a little overlooked, much like second-hand items, but ultimately there is just as much joy in rehoming an older cat as there is a kitten.

"Life in a pen is no substitute for a permanent home so we would urge people to consider adopting an older cat. Pops is a loving, adorable cat who loves to be petted. If only cats could talk I feel Pops probably has a very sad story to tell - it would be lovely to give her the happy ending she deserves."

Mewsings: July 16, 2015 - "Dogs believe they are human. Cats believe they are God." - Jeff Valdez

top cat

Gratuitous Kittiness: The indisputable top-cat.

Cat Mewvie: Yes, this is a real thing.

cat comic peeling mice

Today's Kitty Komic

Mewsings: July 17, 2015 - "A cat's behavior is a direct reflection of his feelings." - Carole Wilbourn

food tatses better with cat hair in it

Gratuitous Kittiness: "Sometimes you eat the shark..."

Cat Mewvie: Cat dentist.

cat temperatures

Today's Kitty Komic

indoor cats

Ten reasons to keep your cats inside.

Do cats have nine lives? They can use them all up quickly if they spend a lot of time outside. Cats that are outside, especially at night, face numerous dangers that may end with a visit to a veterinarian with life-threatening symptoms. Statistically speaking, your cat will live a much longer life if it is one enjoyed inside; outside cats’ average life span can be as low as three years, compared to 10 years and longer for inside cats.

Consider the following scenarios that could shorten the life of an outside cat:

1. Motor vehicle accidents
2. Falling out of a tree or off of a fence
3. Attacked by a dog or other wildlife, such as a coyote, fox or raccoon
4. Torn up by a fanbelt under the hood of a truck
5. Ingesting a few sips of antifreeze, which is often fatal.
6. Getting into a fight with another cat, and developing an abscess or scratched cornea.
7. Getting trapped under a porch or in a basement/window well and becoming dehydrated.
8. Having contact with a rabid bat, a rabbit infected with Tularemia or a plague infested rodent.
9. Getting bitten by a heartworm- infected mosquito.

10. Other unknown trauma, toxicities and possibilities too numerous to name.
Often we will see sick or mangled cats in our ER without any history other than having been outside, and sometimes the cause of their problems are never determined.

Cats that are outside can also create a danger for people if they defecate in your, or your neighbor’s garden, creating a significant risk of infectious disease to pregnant mothers that might come in contact with the feces. Toxoplasmosis is a parasite that can cause birth defects when pregnant women become infected.

It can be challenging keeping a cat inside, but by creating an inside “Shangri-la”, most cats can get be transformed, even ones used to life outside. Large houseplants, or even plastic plants, create a hiding place. A bird feeder outside a window can provide hours of entertainment. An aquarium, or even a looping DVD of an aquarium scene, will entertain. Catnip and cat toys may occasionally rouse some playfulness in even the laziest cat.

Inside cats also face some medical risks. It is almost a given that inside cats need to be on a calorie-restricted, weight loss diet. String, yarn and dental floss must be inaccessible for inside cats, or it can result in intestinal surgery to remove a linear foreign body. Medications must be safely stored, and houseplants that are potentially toxic must be removed from the house (especially Easter lilies).

If you must give your cat some outside time, connect a harness and long leash and enjoy a cup of coffee as your feline prowls the lawn or yard. Turning your cat loose adds a layer of risk where a stray dog, another cat or some other phobic stimuli could freak out your feline and cause them to run off or race up a tree.

Truly committed cat people can build a screened-in enclosure off of a window that can give your cat or cats a safe place to explore the smells and sounds outside and lolygag at their convenience. Or you could drop $800 for a large cat-propelled wheel that will work off some calories and possibly get them a spot on “Funniest Cat Videos.”

Keep your cats inside. There’s too much trouble out there."


The Infinite Cat Project
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