Cat Project Archives for July 23-27,
23, 2018: "Cats are a mysterious kind of folk- there
is more passing in their minds than we are aware of." -
Sir Walter Scottt
Gratuitous Kute Kittiness: Fortune-cookie kitty.
Cat Mewvie: The feline "Dine & Dash".
Feline Art: "Giant
by Barrett Thompson.
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
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
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
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.”
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
Cat Mewvie: Friends with the Big
Cats (This man's nuts.)
Feline Art: "Rocket
Conceptual art for "Big Hero 6".
25, 2018: "A black cat dropped soundlessly from a
high wall, like a spoonful of dark treacle, and melted
under a gate." - Elizabeth Lemarchand
Gratuitous Kittiness: Just another day at the Lanai Cat Sanctuary.
Cat Mewvie: A baby is a baby.
Art: Conceptual art by Goro Fujita.
26, 2018: "If only cats grew into kittens." -
R. D. Stern
Gratuitous Kittiness: "I'll just stay here until Summer's over,
Cat Mewvie: Spin-kitty.
Feline Art: "Crookshanks"
27, 2018: "The more you rub a cat on the rump, the
higher she sets her tail." - John Ray
Gratuitous Kittiness: Hmmm, nice crop of kitties this year.
Cat Mewvie: "Dude, quit it!
I already said no!"
Feline Art: "Shaved
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.
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
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,
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
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