Cat Project Archives for July 13-17, 2015.
13, 2015 - "There is no snooze button on a cat who
wants breakfast." - Unknown
Gratuitous Kittiness: Just one?
Mewvie: Cats are such butts.
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.
14, 2015 - "The way to keep a cat is to try to chase
it away." - E. W. Howe
Gratuitous Kittiness: "Just one piece of dat cheese, pleeeeeeease?"
Mewvie: "I'm in your fridge, eatin' your food."
15, 2015 - "Cats, like butterflies, need no excuse." -
Robert A. Heinlein
Gratuitous Kittiness: "Take the damn picture!"
Mewvie: Surprise Xmas kitten.
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
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
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."
16, 2015 - "Dogs believe they are human. Cats believe
they are God." - Jeff Valdez
Gratuitous Kittiness: The indisputable top-cat.
Mewvie: Yes, this is a real thing.
17, 2015 - "A cat's behavior is a direct reflection
of his feelings." - Carole Wilbourn
Gratuitous Kittiness: "Sometimes you eat the shark..."
Mewvie: Cat dentist.
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
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
7. Getting trapped under a porch or in a basement/window well and becoming
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
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."