Cat Project Archives for August 6-10,
6, 2018: "If you want to be a psychological novelist
and write about human beings, the best thing you can do
is keep a pair of cats." - Aldous Huxley
Gratuitous Kute Kittiness: The Creation of Adam.
Cat Mewvie: Crop-circle kitty.
Feline Art: "Atomic
York Cat Fashion Show.
by Maxine Wally
It’s not just a joke from the movie “Anchorman” — there’s
a real, live catfashion show and it’s held yearly at The Algonquin
Hotel in New York City. On Aug. 2, a group of cats dressed in fashions
by certified animal fashion designer Ada Nieves were shown off by their
owners in celebration of the new in-house cat of The Algonquin, Hamlet
VIII. Hamlet was born a street cat, but was rescued and brought into
his newfound home this year. The place was mobbed — turnout rivaled
that of some of the most in-demand New York Fashion Week parties. Photographers
snapped pictures using enormous flashes, every iPhone in the house was
out and taking videos, and the cats, well, they just sort of sat there
Except one — Mango, who was dressed as Charlie Chaplin, in keeping
with this year’s theme “The Purring Twenties.” When
his owner reached the front desk (which had been turned into the viewing
area for the cats), Mango thrashed about wildly, trying to remove his
top hat and get away from the flashes. Poor guy.
Meanwhile, owner Melanie Lee, whose two cats Sake and Merlin also participated
in the show, said her pets have naturally calm demeanors.
“These two absolutely love it,” she said. “I don’t teach
them to be calm, they teach me that they are calm. They’ve shown me in
their personalities that they are relaxed, and I listen to that. If you don’t
listen to your cats’ personalities, then they’re just objects to
Siobhan Moore, a breeder, had three cats showing on the runway. She said
her cats are show cats, and have competed in multiple competitions around
the East Coast, West Coast and in Canada.
“When I first started breeding the Persians and Himalayans, people told
me, ‘Prepare for half your litter to die,’” she said, fixing
the cat ears she wore on her head and dusting cat hair off of her black tank
top. “And yes, these two came from a litter of six and they were the only
“There’s a little Siamese mixed in those Himmies,” she added. “Gives
them an edge.”
On hand at the show was The Algonquin’s resident Reiki cat healer,
Carole Wilbourn. She sat on a table, clothed in whisker-printed tights
and shoes with cats on them, and explained that she comes in once every
few weeks to perform Reiki treatment on Hamlet. She initially “helped
Hamlet with the transition from street cat to indoor cat,” she
said. Her method of Reiki involves touching Hamlet to transfer energy,
petting him, and also performing what’s called distant Reiki, which
involves giving Hamlet mental Reiki by putting symbols she wants to show
him through her mind.
Wilbourn, who has written six books including “Cats on the Couch” and “Cats
Prefer It This Way,” said she once cured a friend’s cat through
distant Reiki. Her friend’s son had accidentally put their family
cat in the dryer with articles of clothing, and ran the machine. The
cat emerged blistered and traumatized, but Wilbourn said the cat lived
through the ordeal — in part because of her Reiki treatment.
After the fashion show at The Algonquin, a silent auction was held to
raise money for the Mayor’s Alliance for NYC’s Animals.
7, 2018: "If animals could speak, the dog would be
a blundering, outspoken, honest fellow-but the cat would
have the rare grace of never saying a word too much." -
Philip Gilbert Hamerton
Gratuitous Kittiness: "I am trapped by shoe. Please call 911."
Cat Mewvie: "Tiggy says Hello",
Feline Art: "Faraday
Cat" concept art by Stas Lebedev.
8, 2018: "A sleeping cat is ever alert." - Fred
Gratuitous Kittiness: The most zen cat ever.
Cat Mewvie: Bad-ass kitten.
Art: "The Gift" by Dreama Tolle Perry.
9, 2018: "Cats are only human, they have their faults." -
Gratuitous Kittiness: "Whoa. What day is it?"
Cat Mewvie: I don't... think that's...
Feline Art: "The
Purple Cat's Dream"
by Cara Wong.
10, 2018: "We quickly discovered that two kittens
were much more fun than one."
- Allen Lucy
Gratuitous Kittiness: "Target acquired."
Cat Mewvie: Margot's Other Cat.
Feline Art: "Volcano
story of CIA cats.
by Becky Little
The most famous kitty in spy history is probably the white Persian of
James Bond flicks. The image of a faceless villain stroking the cat in
the early 1960s films is now a meme (see: Inspector Gadget, Austin Powers).
Lesser known is the cat whom, during the same decade, the CIA attempted
to turn into a spy.
“Operation Acoustic Kitty” was a secret plan to turn cats into portable
spying devices. However, the CIA only ever produced one Acoustic Kitty because
it abandoned the project after a test with this cat went horribly wrong.
The Acoustic Kitty was a sort of feline-android hybrid—a cyborg
cat. A surgeon implanted a microphone in its ear and a radio transmitter
at the base of its skull. The surgeon also wove an antenna into the cat’s
fur, writes science journalist Emily Anthes in Frankenstein’s Cat:
Cuddling Up to Biotech’s Brave New Beasts.CIA operatives hoped
they could train the cat to sit near foreign officials. That way, the
cat could secretly transmit their private conversations to CIA operatives.
“ For its first official test, CIA staffers drove Acoustic Kitty to the
park and tasked it with capturing the conversation of two men sitting on a bench,” Anthes
writes. “Instead, the cat wandered into the street, where it was promptly
squashed by a taxi”—not the outcome they were expecting.
“The problem was that cats are not especially trainable,” she writes.
In a heavily redacted memo, the CIA concluded: “Our final examination of
trained cats…convinced us that the program would not lend itself in a practical
sense to our highly specialized needs.”
Still, this does not mean the U.S. government’s days of animal-engineering
were over. In 2006, the Pentagon’s Defense Advanced Research Projects
Agency, or DARPA, asked scientists to create cyborg insects (yes, insects
With DARPA’s support, researchers at the University of California
Berkeley successfully created a cyborg beetle whose movements they could
remotely control. They reported their results in Frontiers in Integrative
Neuroscience in October 2009.
“Berkeley scientists appear to have demonstrated an impressive degree of
control over their insect’s flight; they report being able to use an implant
for neural stimulation of the beetle’s brain to start, stop, and control
the insect in flight,” reported Wired the month these findings came out. “They
could even command turns by stimulating the basalar muscles.”
The idea of secret spy bugs may sound a little terrifying, especially
for anyone who saw the robot bees episode of Black Mirror (on a related
note, Walmart filed a patent for robo bees this spring). But rest assured
that it’s probably still safe to have private conversations around
cats. Their notoriously smug, indifferent attitudes will likely keep
protecting them from CIA conscription.