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Infinite Cat Project Archives for June 29 to July 3, 2015.

Mewsings: June 29, 2015 - "For me, one of the pleasures of cats' company is their devotion to bodily comfort." - Sir Compton Mackenzie

cat joys of motherhood

Gratuitous Kittiness: "Ah, the joys of motherhood."

Cat Mewvie: "Back off, pal!"

cat rundancies comic

Today's Kitty Komic

cats on rat patrol

Cat rescues on rat patrol

Like the characters played by the actor who inspired his name, Pacino was no scaredy cat. The brown tabby had prowled the streets of Los Angeles, a drifter scraping for his next meal.

After the cat was turned in at an L.A. County animal services shelter, there was little hope that Pacino would be adopted. He was too distrustful, too fierce, too mean.

Then Melya Kaplan came along, looking for a cat with grit, street smarts and attitude.

Several hours after the customers and merchants have gone home and the lights are dim, the cats start their patrol in the Los Angeles Flower Market June 25, 2015. The Working Cats program is using unsocialized "feral" cats in a program to keep rodents away from the market.

The Working Cats program is using community cats in a program to rid the Los Angeles Flower Market of rodents. The cats dont kill the rodents they manage to repel them by their scent.
The 10-pound, 6-ounce cat would become the nighttime warden at the Original L.A. Flower Market, making sure rodents and other vermin didn't get out of hand. He's part of a group of tough cats recruited by an animal rights nonprofit to find homes in places that could use their hard-scrabble qualities. Along with another cat named DeNiro, Pacino would prowl the Italian side of the flower market. Of course.

" Mother Nature doesn't make mistakes," said Kaplan, executive director of Voice for the Animals. "We probably just haven't found a purpose for it yet."

As part of the Working Cats program, street cats like Pacino are rescued from animal shelters and sent to locations ranging from police stations, like the LAPD's Wilshire and Foothill divisions, to private homes, businesses and schools. Over the years, the program has placed about 500 cats in nearly 50 locations.

Kaplan, a frequent customer of the market, developed the program in 1999 when Carl Jones, a market employee, told her about the rats in the workplace. Exterminators would spray the warehouse with poison, but the vermin remained. Every so often, a customer would spot a pair of beady eyes hidden in the row of flowers.

" Anytime you heard a customer scream, you generally knew the rats were to blame. And then I had to stop what I was doing and go chase the little thing away," said Jones, who has worked at the market for 15 years. "It definitely wasn't the highlight of my job."

Scott Yamabe, executive vice president of the Original L.A Flower Market, said the facility had battled rats since the beginning of the 20th century. All kinds of things were tried to get rid of the rats, but the results were always the same: nibbled-on flowers.

" The rodents even chewed through the wooden refrigerator doors where we kept the flowers," said Yamabe. "Those rats were too smart. We really needed help."

About 15 years ago, Kaplan made a proposition to Yamabe. She would deliver three cats to the flower market to get rid of the rats. And if they could not take care of the rodents, she would take them back.

Kaplan attributes the program's success to the simple fact that adding a predator to an environment will scare away its prey. Once rodents smell a cat on the prowl, they go somewhere else, she said.

" It's not anything new. People used to have barn cats or church cats to keep out rodents," Kaplan said. "We just brought [it] to the city, and it seems to be really working."
Yamabe remembered one gray cat that died after several years of service patrolling the second-floor parking lot. Within days, the rats returned and Yamabe needed to call for another cat.

" It was unbelieveable. The rats returned like they never left," Yamabe recalled. "And they disappeared just as fast when a new cat appeared. Those cats make a real difference."

On a recent day, a cream and white cat hid behind an iron grate door during business hours. Its two eyes stood out from a darkened corner while a patron passed with petunias. The cats can be difficult to spot during the day because most are still shy around people.

For a cat like Pacino, living in a warehouse almost certainly adds years to his life. Living on the streets is tough on any sentient being, including a cat. Kaplan said cats that might have lived fewer than five years on the streets can live more than 14 years in a home, business or police station. They're given meals and the buildings give them protection from bad weather, dogs and cars.

And for cats that lived most of their lives on the street before ending up in a shelter, a program like Working Cats can be a lifesaver, Kaplan said. It's not easy to find adoptive homes for cats, and that's especially true of those that have not been socialized around humans. In 2014, L.A. County euthanized nearly 19,000 cats, about 70% of those that entered shelters.

Kaplan said that in time, some of her more veteran cats got used to being around people and became house cats. That, in turn, created space for other cats to be rescued by the program.
" We're saving cats and helping people. And it's always great when the two grow closer together and we can place another cat," she said. "It's what I call a win-win-win."

Mewsings: June 30, 2015 - "No one shall deny me my own conclusions, nor my cat her reflective purr."
- Irving Townsend

three sleeping cats

Gratuitous Kittiness: Two cats in one.

Cat Mewvie: "Gimme dat icy cream!"

cat who breaks the rules comic

Today's Kitty Komic

Mewsings: July 1, 2015 - "A cat is the only domestic animal I know who toilet trains itself and does a damned impressive job of it." - Joseph Epstein

habdsome kitty

Gratuitous Kittiness: So very handsome.

Cat Mewvie: Whoa! Cat feeds baby birds like a momma bird would.

cat with new box comic

Today's Kitty Komic

cats will scratch

Face it. Cats are gonna scratch.
By Elizabeth Marshall Thomas

I once saw a photo of an enormous mound of fluff piled on someone’s lawn. I had no idea what it was, then learned it was a sofa belonging to a veterinarian whose cats had destroyed it.

Most of us who live with cats have noticed that they like to sharpen their claws, and will do this on whatever is handy, especially if it’s made of fabric or paper, more especially if it’s stuffed with cotton batting, and sooner or later will reduce the object to the condition of the veterinarian’s sofa. So how to stop them?

Alas, you can’t stop them. If you see them clawing and yell, “STOP STOP!,” they keep right on clawing because sharp claws are more important to them than your whims. Certain people have their cats declawed, meaning that the tips of the cats’ toes are cut off. This is harmful, especially if the cat goes outdoors. It might need to defend itself or climb a tree if threatened by something. A cat is unsafe without claws.

The way to handle cat vandalism is to accept it. Our four cats are more important than our sofa or our papers or pillows or curtains or wallpaper or that beautiful china cup made by a famous pottery artist in Prague or the 400-page manuscript I was planning to send to my agent. The destruction of the cup resulted from another form of vandalism — the desire of cats to jump into cupboards (if the doors are carelessly left open) and to sometimes push things out. Most of our cats can jump from the floor into a high cupboard, land on their feet, and disturb nothing, so they seem to push things out on purpose, perhaps to watch them fall.

As for the manuscript, its destruction was unintentional. While watching a chipmunk through a window, a thoughtless cat stood on my computer keyboard with his hind foot on the “enter” key until the manuscript was 5,000 pages long. To delete the extra pages one by one would have taken days and would have been boring — you can’t do anything else while you’re pushing the delete key — so I had to delete the whole thing and start over. I had a copy.

Our sofa is leaking fluff at the seams, the screens in our windows have holes in them, and we no longer have curtains because when the cats climbed them, they came crashing down, torn curtains, bent curtain rods, and all. And our hallway is hung with shredded wallpaper torn from the baseboard up to the height of a cat on its hind feet. That’s the downside.

The upside is that higher on the wall the paper is smoothly in place showing charming scenes of an old-fashioned village. If visitors are disturbed by the shreds, they can look up to where the ceiling meets the wall.

Actually, the vandalism is in our eyes only. The cats are indifferent to the appearance of our house. They hunt mice, which is good, and the mice live in the basement, so the cats catch them there and bite off the heads, leaving the bodies where they fall. Our basement has been called the Mouse Mausoleum. I go down with a rubber glove and a plastic bag and pick them up.

Sometimes the destruction is caused by us (although it’s a cat’s fault), especially when a cat brings a chipmunk indoors and lets her go so he can chase her. Then the race is on, the chipmunk in the lead, the cats right behind her, and the people right behind the cats, all running as fast as we can while our remaining possessions come crashing down around us.

The cats are motivated by excitement, the people and the chipmunk are motivated by fear, and it all ends when we manage to throw a towel over the chipmunk, pick her up, and restore her to her safe home in our stone wall.

Our reward for the destruction is purring. No sound in the world is as soothing or as pleasant as purring. The cats sit on our laps while purring, and we relax. Peace and happiness fill our hearts as we stroke their heads and behind their ears so they keep on purring. We so enjoy the sound.
Oh, and as for destruction, as cats grow older they don’t cause as much, and scratch-pads sold in pet stores help a little. We saved an armchair by pinning towels around it, and we’ve all lived happily ever since.

Mewsings: July 2, 2015 - "When Mother Nature saw fit to remove the tail of the Manx, she left, in place of the tail, more cat." - Mary E. Stewart

cat with happy face

Gratuitous Kittiness: Put on a hap-hap-happy face!

Cat Mewvie: Flower power!

cat and the deceitful vet comic

Today's Kitty Komic

Mewsings: July 3, 2015 - "If your cat falls out of a tree, go indoors to laugh."- Patricia Hitchcock

cxhomper cat bed

Gratuitous Kittiness: all cats love the Chompy-Bed.

Cat Mewvie: Flower pot power!

cat east food on floor

Today's Kitty Komic

petting a cat

Scientists Determine How You Should Pet Your Cat.
By Katre Seamons

If your cat doesn't seem to want to sit still while you pet it, you might be doing it wrong. Yes, it turns out there is a right and wrong way to pet a cat, per a study published in Applied Animal Behaviour Science in late 2014. As the researchers from UK's University of Lincoln note in their abstract, "As part of its role as a pet, cats are expected to not only tolerate but enjoy being touched." They set out to determine how one should best do that via two experiments, which zeroed in on "handler familiarity," the cats' various body regions, and the order in which they were touched. The upshot: Leave the tail alone. That "caudal" region returned the most negative scores regardless of how familiar the petter was.

The Washington Post explains the tail area "is sort of a cat erogenous zone, and petting may overstimulate it." It further points to a 2002 study that echoes that caudal finding and says that petting in the temporal region (between the eyes and ears) was most preferable. As for whether you start with the ears or the back, the study showed the order of body region touched didn't really matter. One odd finding that needs further investigating, per the researchers: Negative responses were higher when owners, not strangers, stroked the cats. University of Lincoln researchers have examined the topic before: In a 2013 study they found that cats who dislike being petted but allow their owners to do so may be stressed out. (Another recent study found cat owners may be in denial about their darling pets.).


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