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Infinite Cat Project Archives for July 23-27, 2018.

Mewsings, July 23, 2018: "Cats are a mysterious kind of folk- there is more passing in their minds than we are aware of." - Sir Walter Scottt

fortune cokie kitty

Gratuitous Kute Kittiness: Fortune-cookie kitty.

Cat Mewvie: The feline "Dine & Dash".


subway cat comic

Today's Kitty Komic

cat tsunami

Feline Art: "Giant Astronauti" by Barrett Thompson.

fluffy sleeping cat

Allergen-free kitties? don't hold your breath.
by Kate Sheridan

Two US companies say they plan to use gene editing to modify cats so they don’t cause allergies.

Indoor Biotechnologies, based in Charlottesville, Virginia, and Felix Pets, outside of Denver, each say they have filed patents on the idea and that early experiments are under way.

Allergy sufferers probably shouldn’t count on sneeze-free cats soon, though. Both efforts remain small, and cat lovers have been disappointed before.

Back in 2009, a company called Allerca received wide media attention when it promised to use genetic tests to deliver allergy-free kittens. The cost of the cats reportedly ranged from $4,000 to more than $7,000 each.

Yet Allerca’s promises were apparently hollow. In 2013, an ABC report found that a kitten Allerca tried to sell reporters was an ordinary cat from a local pet breeder. (Allerca did not respond to attempts at contact.)

Gene modification remains an alluring solution to the allergy problem. Other treatments are imperfect: allergy shots can have spotty results, and clinical trials to develop a vaccine have failed. “Hypoallergenic” cat breeds will still make your eyes water.

By and large, people who have cat allergies are reacting to a single protein known as Fel d 1, which probably has a role in keeping cats’ skin healthy and may also interact with their hormonal systems. Male cats make the most Fel d 1; neutered toms make slightly less, and female cats less than that.

Martin Chapman, the CEO of Indoor Biotechnologies and a former professor of medicine and microbiology at the University of Virginia, says ever since scientists identified the protein, they’ve wondered “what would it be like if we could really get rid of [it].”

Gene editing now makes that easy to do, in theory. Chapman says his lab hopes to use the gene-editing tool CRISPR to try to remove the gene that makes Fel d 1 from cat cells.

However, it’s still not simple to actually generate an edited cat, a process that could involve cloning and working with embryos.

“Getting actual animals is likely the harder part, not editing the genes,” says Peggy Ozias-Akins, a horticulturist at the University of Georgia and director of the Institute of Plant Breeding, Genetics, and Genomics, who has worked on creating a less allergenic peanut.

There are also lingering questions about whether cats without Fel d 1 will be healthy. No one is sure what will happen to a cat’s body if the gene is removed.

David Avner, founder of Felix Pets, says he has been trying to make an allergy-free cat since about 2004 on a shoestring budget. He says investors like the idea but want to see a cat before they invest.

“Everyone understands it right away—they’re enamored with it,” says Avner. “They want to be a part of it—once the animal is produced and they’re assured that it’s allergen free, like we claim.”

Mewsings, July 24, 2018: "They say the test of literary power is whether a man can write an inscription. I say, "Can he name a kitten?" - Samuel Butler

man holding two kittens

Gratuitous Kittiness: "Crazy Cat Dude" starter kit.

Cat Mewvie: Friends with the Big Cats (This man's nuts.)


hairless cat beach comic

Today's Kitty Komic

rocket cat art

Feline Art: "Rocket Cat" Conceptual art for "Big Hero 6".

Mewsings, July 25, 2018: "A black cat dropped soundlessly from a high wall, like a spoonful of dark treacle, and melted under a gate." - Elizabeth Lemarchand

lanai cat sanctuary

Gratuitous Kittiness: Just another day at the Lanai Cat Sanctuary.

Cat Mewvie: A baby is a baby.


clairvoyant cat comic

Today's Kitty Komic

cat and girl on VW van art

Feline Art: Conceptual art by Goro Fujita.

Mewsings, July 26, 2018: "If only cats grew into kittens." - R. D. Stern

cat in refrigerator

Gratuitous Kittiness: "I'll just stay here until Summer's over, thank you."

Cat Mewvie: Spin-kitty.


death pets a cat

Today's Kitty Komic

black cat and girl painting

Feline Art: "Crookshanks" by ink_of_me.

Mewsings, July 27, 2018: "The more you rub a cat on the rump, the higher she sets her tail." - John Ray

cat in planter

Gratuitous Kittiness: Hmmm, nice crop of kitties this year.

Cat Mewvie: "Dude, quit it! I already said no!"


cats that stare comic

Today's Kitty Komic

shaved pussy art

Feline Art: "Shaved Pussy" by Danial Ryan.

cat wearing tiarra

Cat beats dogs, and a peacock, to become mayor.
by Lisa Gutierrez

Here’s what happens when a town elects a cat as its mayor.

News people litter the story with puns.

(Us included.)

We’re not kitten you,” the Detroit Free Press promised in reporting that tiny Omena, Michigan has elected a 9-year-old cat as its mayor.

She has “pawfect style,” the newspaper gushed.

The cat named Sweet Tart vanquished 13 dogs, a peacock, a goat, a chicken and another cat to become mayor, according to WPBN in Traverse City, Michigan.

She was inaugurated on Saturday and took a victory lap in her pet carrier set inside a little red wagon. One TV reporter shoved a microphone in her face and asked what changes she planned to make around the town.

Sweet Tart just stared with no-comment eyes.Omena, a northwest Michigan town of about 250 to 300, people in Leelanau County, has had ceremonial mayors with more than two legs for more than a decade, according to WPBN.

The election is run by the Omena Historical Society, which posts photos of the candidates on its website and collects $1 for each vote, money that goes to its endowment fund.
“ This is by far our largest total,” Keith Disselkoen, the society’s president, told WPBN of this year’s election take of more than $7,000.

“ We suspect that there were many votes coming from outside of the immediate area because of our internet reach and because of our publicity and because of the ability to receive votes from PayPal. It’s really expanded the number of people that have participated.”

Madame Mayor’s winning resume looked like this on the society’s website:

She is the cat daughter of Harold and Kanda McKee.

“I served from 2012-2015 on the Omena Village Council, and from 2015-2018 as Omena Vice Mayor,” she “wrote.”

“While I’m home schooled, I graduated first in my class!”Her favorite foods are duck and peas. She confesses to no “naughty deeds.” And her “pet peeve” is people thinking that she’s stuck up. “I’m really just shy,” her bio claims.

She argued that she should be elected because she has experience “governing/supervising” her household and her name pays homage to the cherries Michigan is known for - sweet and tart.
She is hardly the first animal to hold public office in America.

Others have gone before, including Stubbs the cat in Alaska and a famous beer-swilling billy goat named Henry in Texas.

A Great Pyrenees named Duke served four years as mayor of Cormorant, Minnesota before he retired last month. Rumor has it a “tell-all” biography is coming, ABC 7 in Chicago reported.
Because no one is really a loser in Omena’s election, Sweet Tart’s competitors were given seats on the city council.

According to the society’s website, Diablo Shapiro, a dog “born near the border in Texas,” is now first vice mayor.

Punkin Anderson-Harden, a dog currently enrolled in “Sit 202, Stay 201, Beach walking 201, Shake 101 (and) a repeat course of Come 101.” is second vice mayor.

Harley Jones, a goat, is press secretary.

Penny Labriola, a chicken, is “special assistant for fowl issues.”

Penny was given a special title because of all the candidates, she was the only candidate owned by a child.

Sweet Tart and the rest of the council will remain in office for three-year terms, according to the Free Press.

As for the signing of official documents, “we accept paw prints,” Disselkoen told WPBN.


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