Cat Project Archives for August 27-31,
27, 2018: "Cats think that our accents are really
weird when we meow at them, and only respond out of politeness."
Gratuitous Kute Kittiness: Well, since you put it that way.
Cat Mewvie: Who watches the watched?
Feline Art: "Cat Vortex"
by Danial Ryan.
save starving, abandoned cat from NC mountain.
by Abbie Bennett
The tiny white cat was alone, wet, hungry and stranded on top of a 1,500-foot
His stark white fur left him exposed to predators.
But volunteers with Brother Wolf Animal Rescue in Asheville were determined
to save him, aid Jackie Teeple, spokeswoman for the rescue.
The cat, now called “Elgee” was spotted by hikers on Looking
Glass Rock in Brevard earlier this month.
The hikers fed the little cat some jerky and gave him some water, but
weren’t able to get hold of him, Teeple said, so they posted about
him on Facebook, and Brother Wolf was alerted.
Brother Wolf field operation manager Eric Phelps, along with rescue volunteers
Mary Ann and Bill Pruehsner, set out up the mountain to rescue Elgee,
a 6.5-mile, three-hour hike.
“Something I have always admired about our team is that there’s not
much that can stand in the way between us and an animal in need — including
an incredibly steep hike up a mountain,” Teeple said.
The three rigged an Army backpack frame to carry a humane animal trap,
Teeple said. A can of cat food in the trap landed a very hungry Elgee
in fewer than five minutes.
When the three found Elgee, he weighed less than 6 pounds and had parasites,
“Luckily we’d had rain that week so he had water, and after the Facebook
post people knew to leave whatever trail food they might have carried up,” Teeple
“ Our biggest concern was predators since his white coat would have made
it nearly impossible for him to hide.”
The next step for Brother Wolf was to find Elgee a home. He was named
for the peak he was found on — Looking Glass.
Elgee’s rescuers, Bill and Mary Ann, were not looking for another
cat. They already had two rescue cats. But in the process of rescuing
the little white cat with brown and black markings, they fell in love,
Teeple said. And it was almost like fate.
“On a hike 20 years ago — almost to the day — they had rescued
their first cat, Blackledge, from a similar experience. Blackledge was also skinny
and fearful from surviving on her own in the forest,” Teeple said.
But Mary Ann and Bill nursed Blackledge back to health and taught him
to overcome his fears. They did the same with their current two cats.
“Having worked with shy cats before, they were the ideal candidates for
adoption, and after just a few days decided to make it official,” Teeple
said. “He will have two other cat siblings and will never have to fend
for himself again.”
Elgee is slowly being introduced to his new home, starting with a crate
in his new parents’ bedroom.
“He’s making very good progress,” Teeple said. “They
even bought a camera to check on him while still respecting his space and need
But how Elgee managed to get stranded on the top of a mountain remains
“It’s hard to guess how he might have ended up so far from civilization,” Teeple
said. “He was an unneutered male and they tend to roam. It’s possible
he was in a car at the parking area with visitors and got loose, but no one answered
his stray report listing. Finally, he may have been left there in the hopes someone
would take him home. He isn’t feral, so we suspect he did have a family
at some point.”
Brother Wolf helped rescue about 6,000 animals last year, Teeple said,
through adoptions, foster care and a program that works to keep pets
with their families in times of crisis.
28, 2018: "The problem with cats is that they get
the exact same look on their face whether they see a moth
or an ax-murderer." - Paula Poundstone
Gratuitous Kittiness: "Love mah lamb."
Cat Mewvie: More "Simon's
Feline Art: "Bullet
Cat & Eve" by
29, 2018: "Cats are the tigers of us poor devils.
- Theophile Gautier
Gratuitous Kittiness: The perfect sleeper.
Cat Mewvie: Grab a cat, win a
Komic: Catfish cannibalism
Art: "Me and My Cat" by krisperCB.
30, 2018: "If you want to write, keep cats." -
Gratuitous Kittiness: Mismatched pair.
Cat Mewvie: How cats use their
Feline Art: "Blueberry
Purring is an automatic safety valve device for
dealing with happiness overflow."
Gratuitous Kittiness: "I is a waffle."
Cat Mewvie: Don't mess with Mr.
Feline Art: Untitled
by Danial Ryan.
health benefits of being a cat lover.
by Kira Newman
August 8 was International Cat Day. Cora probably started the morning
like she does any other: by climbing on my chest and pawing at my shoulder,
demanding attention. I likely sleepily lifted up the comforter and she
snuggled underneath it, sprawled at my side. For Cora — and thus
for me — every day is International Cat Day.
Cats may wake us up at 4 a.m. and barf at an alarming frequency, yet
anywhere between 10 to 30 percent of us call ourselves “cat people” — not
dog people, not even equal-opportunity cat and dog lovers. So why do
we choose to bring these fluffballs into our homes — and spend
over $1,000 per year on one who isn’t genetically related to us
and frankly seems ungrateful most of the time?
The answer is obvious to me — and probably to all cat lovers out
there, who need no scientific research to justify their fierce love.
But scientists have studied it anyway and found that, while our feline
friends may not be good for our furniture, they might make some contribution
to our physical and mental health.
According to one Australian study, cat owners do have better psychological
health than people without pets. On questionnaires, they claim to feel
more happy, more confident, and less nervous, and to sleep, focus, and
face problems in their lives better.
Adopting a cat could be good for your kids, too: In a survey of more
than 2,200 young Scots ages 11-15, kids who had a strong bond with their
kitties had a higher quality of life. The more attached they were, the
more they felt fit, energetic, and attentive and less sad and lonely;
and the more they enjoyed their time alone, at leisure, and at school.
With their gravity-defying antics and yoga-like sleeping postures, cats
may also cajole us out of our bad moods. In one study, people with cats
reported experiencing fewer negative emotions and feelings of seclusion
than people without cats. In fact, singles with cats were in a bad mood
less often than people with a cat and a partner. (Your cat is never late
for dinner, after all.)
Even Internet cats can make us smile. People who watch cat videos online
say that they feel less negative emotion afterward (less anxiety, annoyance,
and sadness) and more positive feelings (more hope, happiness, and contentment).
Admittedly, as the researchers found, this pleasure becomes a guilty
one if we’re doing it for the purpose of procrastination. But watching
cats annoy their humans or get gift-wrapped for Christmas does seem to
help us feel less depleted and regain our energy for the day ahead.
I can attest that a warm cat on your lap, giving your thighs a good kneading,
is one of the best forms of stress relief. One afternoon, feeling overwhelmed,
I said aloud, “I wish Cora would sit on my lap.” Lo and behold,
she trotted over and plopped down on me seconds later (though attempts
to replicate this phenomenon have been unsuccessful).
In one study, researchers visited 120 married couples in their homes
to observe how they would respond to stress—and whether cats were
any help. Hooked up to heart rate and blood pressure monitors, people
were put through a gauntlet of daunting tasks: subtracting three repeatedly
from a four-digit number, and then holding their hand in ice water (below
40 degrees Fahrenheit) for two minutes. People either sat in a room alone,
with their pet roaming around, with their spouse (who could offer moral
support), or both.
Before the stressful tasks began, the cat owners had a lower resting
heart rate and blood pressure than people who didn’t own any pets.
And during the tasks, the cat owners also fared better: They were more
likely to feel challenged than threatened, their heart rate and blood
pressure were lower, and they even made fewer math errors. Out of all
the various scenarios, cat owners looked the most calm and made the fewest
errors when their cat was present. In general, cat owners also recovered
Why are cats so calming? Cats won’t judge us for our poor math
skills, or become overly distressed when we’re distressed—which
explains why cats were actually a more calming influence than significant
others in some cases.
As Karin Stammbach and Dennis Turner of the University of Zurich explain,
cats aren’t simply small beings who are dependent on us. We also
receive comfort from them—there’s an entire scientific scale
that measures how much emotional support you get from your cat, based
on how likely you are to seek them out in different stressful situations.
Cats offer a constant presence, unburdened by the cares of the world,
that can make all our little worries and anxieties seem superfluous.
As journalist Jane Pauley said, “You cannot look at a sleeping
cat and feel tense.”
Cats are beings we care for and who care for us (or at least we believe
they do). And people who invest in this cross-species bonding may see
benefits in their human-to-human relationships, as well.
For example, research has found that cat owners are more socially sensitive,
trust other people more, and like other people more than people who don’t
own pets. If you call yourself a cat person, you’ll tend to think
other people like you more compared to someone who is neither a cat or
dog person. Meanwhile, even people who watch cat videos feel more supported
by others than people who aren’t such big fans of feline digital
While these correlations may seem perplexing, it makes sense if you consider
cats just one node in your social network.
“ Positive feelings about dogs/cats may engender positive feelings about
people, or vice-versa,” write Rose Perrine and Hannah Osbourne of Eastern
When someone—human or animal—makes us feel good and connected,
it builds up our capacity for kindness and generosity toward others.
As that study of Scottish adolescents found, kids who communicate well
with a best friend are more attached to their cats, probably because
they spend time playing as a trio.
“ Pets appear to act as ‘social catalysts,’ inducing social
contact between people,” write U.K. researcher Ferran Marsa-Sambola and
his colleagues. “A pet can be accepting, openly affectionate, consistent,
loyal, and honest, characteristics that can fulfill a person’s basic need
to feel a sense of self-worth and loved.”
Finally, despite what you might have heard about kitty-to-human brain
parasites, there’s a smattering of evidence that cats could be
good for our health.
In one study, researchers followed 4,435 people for 13 years. People
who had owned cats in the past were less likely to die from a heart attack
during that time than people who had never owned cats—even when
accounting for other risk factors like blood pressure, cholesterol, smoking,
and body mass index.
This was true of people even if they didn’t have cats currently,
the researchers explain, which suggests that cats are more like preventative
medicine than treatment for an ongoing disease.
In another study, James Serpell of the University of Pennsylvania followed
two dozen people who had just gotten a cat. They completed surveys within
a day or two of bringing their cat home and then several times over the
next 10 months. At the one-month mark, people had reduced health complaints
like headaches, back pain, and colds—although (on average) those
benefits seemed to fade as time went on. As Serpell speculates, it’s
possible that people who form a good relationship with their cat continue
to see benefits, and people who don’t, well, don’t.
Much of this research on cats is correlational, which means we don’t
know if cats are actually beneficial or if cat people are just already
a happy and well-adjusted group. But unfortunately for us cat lovers,
the latter doesn’t seem to be the case. Compared to dog lovers,
at least, we do tend to be more open to new experiences (even if our
skittish cats aren’t). But we’re also less extraverted, less
warm and friendly, and more neurotic. We experience more negative emotions
and suppress them more, a technique that makes us less happy and less
satisfied with our lives.
On the bright side, that means it’s more likely that cats actually
do bring us as much delight and joy as we claim they do, although the
research is far from conclusive. In fact, the vast majority of pet research
focuses on dogs, partly because they’re easier to train as therapy
assistants. “Cats have been left behind a bit by the research,” says
Serpell. Yet another bone to pick with our canine counterparts.
While we’re waiting for more data, I will continue to gush to everyone
I meet about how happy I am to have a cat in my life—and in my
bed, on my dining table, and watching me go to the bathroom. What I lose
in sleep I make up for in soft, furry love.