Cat Project Archives for June 12-16,
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
Gratuitous Kute Kittiness: Stegosaurus kitty.
Mewvie: Little caracal demands his cara-kibble.
Feline Art: "Cat On
Heart" by Sue Ellen Brown
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.”
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
Gratuitous Kittiness: "I'm 'all ears'. Yeah, never heard THAT one
Mewvie: How cats say "I love you."
Feline Art: Cat art is
not always pretty. (Artist unknown)
14, 2017 - "Artists like cats; soldiers like dogs." -
Gratuitous Kittiness: "Work? Yeah, right."
Mewvie: Kitty's first spinner.
Art: "Rolly Cat" by Emi Lonox
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
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.
15, 2017 - "Most cats, when they are out want to be
in, and visa versa, and often simultaneously." - Louis
Gratuitous Kittiness: "Smile, darn you, smile."
Mewvie: Floof vs. the shower-head.
Feline Art: Cat statue
16, 2017 - "A cat sleeps fat, yet walks thin." -
Gratuitous Kute Kittiness: "I may not know art but I know
what I like."
Mewvie: Napoleon Kitty Syndrome.
Feline Art: "Meow
or Never" by
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,
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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.
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.