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Infinite Cat Project Archives for June 12-16, 2017.

Mewsings: June 12, 2017 - "A cat can be trusted to purr when she is pleased, which is more than can be said for human beings." - William Ralph Inge

sleeping cat face

Gratuitous Kute Kittiness: Stegosaurus kitty.

Cat Mewvie: Little caracal demands his cara-kibble.

cat in box comic

Today's Kitty Komic

cat on heart by sue ellen brown

Feline Art: "Cat On Heart" by Sue Ellen Brown

lego cats

Lego cats you can love to pieces.
by Elizabeth Ananda

If Lego and cats are among your favorite things in this world, now you can order a playful statue made of 'Legos' to liven up even the dullest office space or a living room. Hong-Kong-based company JEKCA offers mini Lego sculptures for 'kidults' that come around 1.6 ft each - and their variety will surprise even the pickiest of customers.

While JEKCA doesn't differentiate between cat breeds, you can order your 'Lego' feline in different positions and various colors.

A single Lego statue will cost you around $66 and you assemble the building blocks with the kits provided yourself. "These cats are like real sculptures and will not collapse or break apart," JKCA writes on their Facebook page.

What a great way to honor your pet by getting a sculpture of it while it's still alive - or to confuse your kitty by getting something that looks just like the Lego version of it.”

Mewsings: June 13, 2017 - "Everything I know I learned from my cat: When you're hungry, eat. When you're tired, nap in a sunbeam. When you go to the vet's, pee on your owner." - Gary Smith

caracal with long ears

Gratuitous Kittiness: "I'm 'all ears'. Yeah, never heard THAT one before."

Cat Mewvie: How cats say "I love you."

cats in divorce comic

Today's Kitty Komic

strange cat painting

Feline Art: Cat art is not always pretty. (Artist unknown)

Mewsings: June 14, 2017 - "Artists like cats; soldiers like dogs." - Desmond Morri

kittens lying belly to belly

Gratuitous Kittiness: "Work? Yeah, right."

Cat Mewvie: Kitty's first spinner.

cat ob book comic

Today's Kitty Komic

cat art by emi lenox

Feline Art: "Rolly Cat" by Emi Lonox

catrubbing on leg

Aye, there's the rub.
by Michael Price

Silly cat faces might entrance you online, but how do they engage you in real life? Not so well, it seems. That’s the conclusion of researchers who recently developed an intricate index of every feline facial expression possible. They found that—no matter the doe-eyed demeanor or grumpy grimace—a cat’s countenance didn’t make any difference in whether it got adopted from a shelter.

Instead, fur babies boosted their chances of finding a home by rubbing on toys and furniture.

But why study cat faces to begin with? In 2013, evolutionary psychologists found that shelter dogs who raised their brows more frequently were adopted more quickly than other dogs. A dog who raised its brows 20 times while meeting a human found a home about twice as quickly as its peer who only did so five times. Researchers concluded that the brow raises made even older dogs look puppylike and friendly, a trait that would have made them more appealing to humans during their millennia-long domestication.

Curious whether cats do the same thing, those same researchers developed something called the Cat Facial Action Coding System. The system—based on similar programs for humans, chimps, macaques, gibbons, orangutans, and dogs—encompassed every possible facial movement a cat could make, based on its musculature and anatomy: fifteen facial movements, seven ear movements, and six other movements involving the tongue, lips, nose, eyelids, or pupil. The scientists then came up with a list of common facial expressions and body movements, based on visits to 106 cats across three animal shelters in the United Kingdom.

Next, they tracked how quickly the cats were adopted, looking for statistical correlations between their facial expressions, movements, and adoption speed. Unlike dogs, felines weren’t adopted any quicker because of their facial expressions. However, cats that frequently rubbed their bodies on toys and furniture inside their pens were adopted about 30% more quickly than cats who didn’t, the team reported recently in Applied Animal Behaviour Science.

That means that, compared with dogs, cats haven’t faced as much evolutionary pressure to appeal to humans, the researchers say. That might be because they only started living near humans relatively recently, and because they were domesticated thousands of years after man’s best friend.

Dennis Turner, an evolutionary biologist who studies companion animals at the Institute for Applied Ethology and Animal Psychology in Zurich, Switzerland, says the experiment only loosely resembles real-life adoptions, so more work needs to be done before he’s convinced. But if cat expressions do play a small role, he wouldn’t be surprised. “I seriously doubt that cat facial expression was subjected to selection during domestication,” he says, because humans kept cats around to catch vermin, not to be bosom buddies. “If facial expression was selected for at all, it was during the last 200 years during the development of different purebreds.” Those are rarely the animals being adopted from shelters, he adds.

Mewsings: June 15, 2017 - "Most cats, when they are out want to be in, and visa versa, and often simultaneously." - Louis J. Camutii

pulling on cat whiskers

Gratuitous Kittiness: "Smile, darn you, smile."

Cat Mewvie: Floof vs. the shower-head.

cat wants everything comic

Today's Kitty Komic

cat statue in Turkey

Feline Art: Cat statue in Turkey.

Mewsings: June 16, 2017 - "A cat sleeps fat, yet walks thin." - Unknown

cat admiring statue

Gratuitous Kute Kittiness: "I may not know art but I know what I like."

Cat Mewvie: Napoleon Kitty Syndrome.

cat poop comic

Today's Kitty Komic

cat quilting erin michael

Feline Art: "Meow or Never" by Erin Michael.

woman and black cat

How Worried Should Cat Owners Be About Toxoplasmosis?
by Karen Weintraub

Q. How worried should cat owners be about the parasite Toxoplasma gondii, especially with babies in the house?

A. The only people who face a risk from Toxoplasma gondii are pregnant women who have not previously been infected, babies under 6 months old and any household member whose immune system has been weakened by cancer treatment, transplant therapy or an infection like H.I.V.
About 20 percent of the American public is infected with Toxoplasma gondii, a parasite that can infect birds and most other animals but that reproduces sexually only in cats. The parasite typically remains dormant in people after an initial few days of mild flu-like symptoms, said Dr. Michael Grigg, a senior investigator with the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. If the dormant parasite becomes active, causing the disease known as toxoplasmosis, it can result in neurological problems, such as seizures.

“It is quite possibly the most successful parasite on the planet,” Dr. Grigg said, but if you have a working immune system, “you really have almost nothing to worry about.”

A previously infected woman who gets pregnant will not have a problem, because her immune system will keep the infection in check, said Dr. Rima McLeod, director of the toxoplasmosis center at the University of Chicago. She will also pass that immunity on to her unborn child.

But a first infection during pregnancy will cross the placenta, Dr. Grigg said, potentially leading to fetal death, stillbirth or problems in a newborn, including an enlarged head, cognitive deficits and almost certainly eye disease. Newborns born to mothers without previous infection are also vulnerable to the parasite, he said.

“ This can be a very serious infection,” said Dr. McLeod, who is also a professor of ophthalmology and pediatrics at the University of Chicago. “It can cause a devastating disease in infants, with significant harm for them at birth and also later in life. It can have consequences for them and their families, lifelong.”

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There are precautions a pregnant woman can take. If a test early in pregnancy shows she has not previously been infected, she should avoid changing cat litter herself and have someone else change it daily, using boiling water to disinfect the box, Dr. McLeod said.

“If they’re able to keep their cat inside while they’re pregnant and give the cat tin food that’s cooked, then they don’t need to worry,” she said. “The cat that’s a problem is the feral hunting cat or cat fed uncooked meat.”

An acutely infected cat or kitten can excrete in two weeks up to 500 million oocysts — the infectious form of the parasite — which can remain infectious in soil and water for up to a year, Dr. McLeod said. A person can get infected from even one of these oocysts. “It’s an amazingly effective dissemination system,” she said.

There are other ways to get infected besides direct contact with cats, including eating undercooked meat or unwashed fruits and vegetables, drinking unfiltered water, leaving sandboxes uncovered (where cats may defecate) or gardening without gloves.

“In all cases, I think pregnant women should be screened monthly by their obstetrician because there’s so much risk in the environment,” Dr. McLeod said.

Treatments can keep the parasite from doing damage, she said, but cannot get rid of it completely. Vaccines and curative treatments are under development, and Dr. McLeod hopes that someday Toxoplasma gondii will pose less of a threat to pregnant women, infants or those who are immunocompromised.


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