Cat Project Archives for March 13-17,
13, 2017 - "Poets generally love cats--because poets
have no delusions about their own superiority."- Marion
Gratuitous Kute Kittiness: "I am a banana!"
Mewvie: I think she likes the kitten.
Feline Art: "Olivia"
by Amy Giacomelli.
great cats once roamed the Americas.
by Whit Gibbons
Bobcats, the only native cat in North America that is still relatively
common though seldom seen, can weigh more than 40 pounds. The two "big
cats" living today in the Western Hemisphere are the mountain lion
(aka panther, cougar) and the jaguar. Much less common than bobcats,
they can weigh more than 200 or 300 pounds, respectively. Impressive?
Yes. But how would you feel about big cats weighing 600, 700 or 800 pounds
roaming the area where you live? Well, they once did.
Scott Pfaff, curator of herpetology at Riverbanks Zoo and Garden in Columbia,
S.C., knows a lot about big cats. According to him, six of these giants
were prowling around the Southeast a few thousand years ago looking for
prey, which mostly included large hoofed animals. Presumably, this was
not a good time for humans to be wandering around in the forest alone.
The earliest inhabitants of North America probably crossed paths with
several big cats that are no longer with us.
Paleontologists, even armed with modern DNA analyses, are not in total
agreement about the evolutionary origins and relationships among many
of the North American big cats. Some hypotheses suggest they are descendants
of ancient European, Asian or African species. But the exact details
of their ancestry are not critical for appreciating them, as most authorities
agree that several were here. Of the two still with us, jaguars are mostly
in Central and South America, but individuals occasionally enter some
of the southwestern states near the Mexican border. Mountain lions are
still present in the states west of the Mississippi River, but outside
of southern Florida, no populations have been verified in the East. The
other four are all extinct, but fossil material provides confirmation
of their existence.
The best known extinct big cat was Smilodon, the so-called saber-toothed
tiger, although true tigers are not known to have ventured south of Alaska.
Everyone has seen drawings of saber-tooths with their pair of incisors
extending from the front of the upper jaw. The longest Smilodon teeth
have been measured to be more than 10 inches in length. Upon encountering
saber-tooths, the first humans to arrive on the continent probably wondered
whether the trip across the Bering Straits from Siberia had been a good
idea. The eventual extinction of these big cats with the remarkable teeth
occurred about 10,000 years ago and was no doubt a relief to all edible
inhabitants, including early humans.
Another species, the scimitar-toothed cats, are known scientifically
as Homotherium. Their front canine teeth were shorter than those of Smilodon,
but they were massive and sharp enough to bring down a wooly mammoth.
The scimitar-toothed cats were as large as an African lion. But another
big cat, the American lion, was even larger, with an estimated average
weight of more than a quarter of a ton. One was estimated to have weighed
more than 700 pounds. The sixth big cat, the American cheetah, was presumably
like the modern cheetah of Africa in being able to outrun fast prey,
even pronghorn antelope of the western plains.
Reasons for the decline and disappearance of America's big cats are speculative
at best. Did competition with humans lead to their demise? I personally
doubt that early hunters with their primitive spears could have been
the direct cause of extinction for any of these cats. Mountain lions
are now virtually gone from the eastern United States, but even that
took at least a couple of centuries of relentless pursuit by men with
dogs and guns. A more likely explanation is that the big cats of the
past gradually died out with the decline of the large prey they depended
on for food.
An intriguing thought is that in the distant past, a variety of big cats
roamed what is now your neighborhood. Fortunately, we still have a couple
left to be captivated by, plus the real possibility of encountering a
14, 2017 - "There is, indeed, no single quality of
the cat that man could not emulate to his advantage." -
Carl Van Vechten
Gratuitous Kittiness: "Tiny hands... they're ALL the rage."
Mewvie: A silly question?
Feline Art: Monmon cat
by Kazuaki Horitomo.
15, 2017 - "Cats can work out mathematically the exact
place to sit that will cause most inconvenience."-
Gratuitous Kittiness: "You shall not pass!"
Mewvie: Kewwwwl designer cats.
Art: Cat folk art, artist unknown.
gross! Cat gets snake caught in nose.
by Ben Hooper
A California man who noticed his family's cat had something caught in
her nose took a closer look and identified the offending object -- a
snake she apparently tried to eat.
The Mendocino County resident and some friends captured video of the
uploader's wife's cat meowing for help with a few inches of what appears
to be a sharp-tailed snake -- including the reptile's head -- hanging
out of her nose.
"So, this is a cat, who has a snake hanging from her nose," a man says
in the video. "Her name is Marian. We don't know what the snake's name is."
The men are able to help Marian by pulling the snake out through her
"My wife's ridiculous cat failed at eating her prey. Hopefully next time
she wont forget to chew. A friend of mine was in town for the weekend and helped
catch this on video," the pet owner wrote. "That is the snakes head
hanging out. Our best guess is that it tried to get free while she was eating
it but only managed to wriggle into her sinuses... and then out her left nostril."
The snake, thoroughly deceased, was extracted without further incident.
16, 2017 - "Don't think that I'm silly for liking
it, I just happen to like the simple little things, and
I love cats!" - Michelle Gardner
Gratuitous Kittiness: Handfull of fluffy.
Mewvie: "All together now!"
Feline Art: "Cross Cat" by Tom Ungerer.
17, 2017 - "The sun rose slowly, like a fiery furball
coughed up uneasily onto a sky-blue carpet by a giant unseen
cat." - Michael McGarel
Gratuitous Kittiness: Napping cheek-to-cheek.
Mewvie: Encounter with a wild cheetah.
Feline Art: Art my Waterinmypaint
for the multi-cat household.
by Dr. Dana Koch
Many pet parents often ask themselves “why can’t they all
just get along?” when it comes to having more than one cat. Owners
of multiple cats often face many challenges when trying to balance distinct
and varying personalities of their feline residents. There are several
elements to consider and preparations to be made when adding new animals
to your household.
1. Space and resource requirements: It would be wise to have designated
areas or safe zones for your cats to enjoy personal time. This may be
a separate room, multiple cat trees, a covered bed, a cardboard box,
or a carrier with the door left open. Carefully monitor for any territorial
tendencies over these hiding or napping spots. Toys, scratching posts
(both horizontal and vertical), catnip and interactive games should be
in ample supply. On average, active cats that exert more energy when
engaged in play will exhibit less aggressive behaviors toward other animals
within the household.
2. Litter box usage: Many veterinary behaviorists recommend that a household
should have the same number of litter boxes as cats in the household
plus one extra. Cats may prefer to mark one litter box as their own or
chose to use one litter box for urinating and one for defecating. Litter
box cleanliness is essential for preventing unnecessary fighting among
felines as well lessening the chance of inappropriate urination outside
the litter boxes.
3. Meal time: Creating a specific feeding schedule is ideal for multi-cat
households. Not only does this allow you to carefully observe how your
cats handle meal times (such as sharing, territorial feeding behaviors,
etc.) it also is helpful in maintaining a healthier weight over those
cats that have free choice feeding. Pet owners want to ensure that one
cat is not consuming the majority of the food while the other cat is
pushed out of the way. Having more than one bowl is recommended to help
evenly disperse the volume a food consumed on a daily basis. In terms
of water bowls or fountains usually one or two is sufficient. Fights
over drinking water is not frequently reported by cat owners.
4. New cat on the block: In the event you are preparing to bring a new
cat it would be recommended that you prepare a separate space for your
new feline to spend the first couple of days. This also allows that other
cats in the household to become more accustomed to the new scent circulating
through their space. After a few days, allow for chaperoned interaction.
It is important at this stage for you to not leave the cats completely
on their own and to watch closely for signs of potential trouble, including
flattened ears, flickering tail, raised paw or vocalization. Eventually
you can begin to trust your cats to be alone together and develop their
own (hopefully) compatible relationship.
5. Ongoing issues: Obviously there are going to be cases where particular
cat personalities do not mix even with separate spaces and proper litter
box maintenance. This can be a very frustrating problem for pet owners.
It would be ideal to discuss this issue with your veterinarian or veterinary
behaviorist. If there no underlying medical issues, they may suggest
some natural calming therapies such as feline pheromone diffusers that
emit a cat specific pheromone to help reduce stress and to induce a calming
effect among cats. In extreme cases your veterinarian may discuss medications
that help cats with emotional or hormonal imbalances that result in aggression