Cat Project Archives for April 22-26, 2019.
22, 2019: "Any conditioned cat-hater can be won over
by any cat who chooses to make the effort." - Paul
Gratuitous Kute Kittiness: "Summer? Where are my testicles?"
Cat Mewvie: "I'm not ALL
thumbs but they're a large percentage, yes."
Feline Art: "Hellcat" by
Shirin Rafie Jikko.
find a giant cat... in a drawer.
by David Grossman
Larger than a tiger, lion, or polar bear with a skull comparable with
a rhinoceros, this ancient predator cat, known as Simbakubwa kutokaafrika,
wasn't discovered in the field—but in a long-neglected museum drawer.
Paleontologists Nancy Stevens and Matthew Borths at Ohio University discovered
the new species of large meat-eating mammal, at the National Museums
of Kenya. They had been previously excavated within the country, and
were "not given a great deal of attention," according to a
press release from Ohio University.
"Opening a museum drawer, we saw a row of gigantic meat-eating teeth, clearly
belonging to a species new to science," says study lead author Borths in
the press statement.
"The most striking feature of Simbakubwa is the size of the specimen," their
study reads. "Based on its massive dentition, the animal was significantly
larger than any modern African terrestrial carnivore." Dentition refers
to the development of teeth, a key element of studying ancient fossils.
Using known methods of extrapolating body mass from teeth, scientists
estimate that the big cat weighed approximately 1,308 kilograms, or an
astonishing 2,888 pounds. For comparison, modern adult lions and tigers
weigh approximately 180 kg, or 400 pounds.
giant cat mandibles jaw teeth lion
The Simbakubwa was part of an extinct group of mammals called hyaenodonts,
which were apex predators in Africa for 45 million years after the extinction
of the non-avian dinosaurs.
As in any ecosystem, apex predators had a crucial role in the era known
to paleontologists as the Oligocene, a period of global transition between
the world of the dinosaurs, which had been destroyed an annihilation
event, and the modern ecosystems known today. On the African continent,
the Simbakubwa would prevent any herbivore species, including the earliest
primates, from dominating the landscape.
While hyaenodonts lived in various environments across the globe, they
went extinct between 15 to 18 millions ago. Scientists are still unsure
of the precise reasons, but their extinction came at a further moment
of change, when their forests began a transformation into grasslands.
Big predator cats can still be found in grasslands today, though they
remain threatened by yet another moment of changing climate.
" We don't know exactly what drove hyaenodonts to extinction, but ecosystems
were changing quickly as the global climate became drier," says Borths. "The
gigantic relatives of Simbakubwa were among the last hyaenodonts on the planet."
" This is a pivotal fossil, demonstrating the significance of museum collections
for understanding evolutionary history," says Stevens, a co-author of the
study. "Simbakubwa is a window into a bygone era. As ecosystems shifted,
a key predator disappeared, heralding Cenozoic faunal transitions that eventually
led to the evolution of the modern African fauna."
23, 2019: "You can tell your cat anything and he'll
still love you. If you lose your job or your best friend,
your cat will think no less of you." - Helen Powers
Gratuitous Kittiness: "How YOU doin'?"
Cat Mewvie: Nybble, the robot
Feline Art: "Blue-Eyed
Cat", artist unknown.
24, 2019: "Cats are much like they were when they
were first domesticated. They are very independent because
they had to be to survive." - Dr. Raymond Hampton
This is Gus. We found her and her sister in a muddy bog under a bush five
years ago, both crying for a mama who never returned. Countless bottle-feedings
later and both kittens grew to be the sweetest cats in the known
Gus died of a rare blood disease and
our hearts are broken, but we take solace
in knowing that, while she was here,
she lived the best five years a cat could
ever hope for.
Run free, little lady.
Cat Mewvie: The Garden Guardians.
Art: Latte Catte.
25, 2019: "Cats are connoisseurs of comfort." -
Gratuitous Kittiness: "I'll be your fuzzy little ball of fun
Cat Mewvie: Maru on the swing.
Feline Art: "Blue
26, 2019: "A cat can be trusted to purr when she is
pleased, which is more than can be said for human beings." -
William Ralph Inge
Gratuitous Kittiness: "He's doing that photobomb thing again,
Cat Mewvie: "Play it again,
Sam. And again, and again, and again..."
Feline Art: Felt cat
your cat with care.... and caution.
by Gerald Deas
This column is dedicated to my family’s loved and late cat, Mittens.
Born with deformed front feet that resembled mittens, this cat was calm,
cool and knew exactly who she was in relationship to our family and universe.
The English author, Oliver Herford (1863-1935), wrote, “A cat is
a pigmy lion who loves mice, hates dogs and patronizes human beings.” (And
though Benjamin Franklin defined a cat as an animal in gloves that catches
no mice, Mittens successfully kept our house mouse free.) Bidpai, a 4th
century author of Indian folk fables, wrote, “It has been the providence
of nature to give this creature nine lives instead of one.”
In a musical that I wrote, “Paper Bird,” a cat sings a song
which states, “Even a cat became somebody. She has been a friend
to everybody, because she has nine lives. She can deal with all the races,
because she doesn’t take anybodies jive.”
I love cats. I loved the musical “Cats.” I used to feed and
give water to stray cats. I also prescribed cats as pets to lengthen
the lives of patients of mine who lived alone. Cats are comforting and
a great tranquilizer to troubled souls. Although they like to be petted,
cats also reserve the luxury of petting you. Still, living with them
can present some medical problems. I can recall one of my patients who
lived with cats complaining of skin rashes and severe itching from fleabites.
I would strongly suggest not letting cats lay on one’s bed or sit
on padded furniture.
If you suspect fleas, give the animal a good bath and dusting with an
anti-flea chemical outside of the home, or let it wear a flea collar.
Make sure you vacuum rugs frequently. It has been reported that fleas
hate the smell of vitamin B1 (thiamine). Taking an ample amount of this
vitamin can ward off fleas and prevent bites. It has also been reported
that putting a couple of brewer’s yeast tablets in cat food can
help in preventing fleas on your pet.
If you have a playful cat or maybe a cat that doesn’t like to be
bothered, you may become the victim of a cat bite. A cat’s mouth
is full of bacteria, and a bite can lead to a serious infection resulting
in an abscess and cellulites (skin infection). A course of oral penicillin
is usually the answer for this type of infection, but remember, don’t
take penicillin unless your doctor prescribes it.
I can recall a patient who came to my office complaining of a group of
large nodes under her left armpit. Further patient history revealed that
she had been scratched by her playful cat. She also related that soon
after the scratch and swelling, she experienced chills, fever and muscular
pains. A skin test for cat-scratch fever was positive. This condition
is limited in nature and usually does not require an antibiotic.
Pregnant women should be warned to wash their hands thoroughly after
handling the cat’s litter box. A parasite found in cat feces can
cause the disease toxoplasmosis, which can cause a miscarriage or birth
defects. Beware also of walking barefooted in areas where cat feces is
abundant. Hookworm infestation may be the result.
So, my advice to all of you cat lovers: Be good to your cats but realize
they must be cared for with caution.