Cat Project Archives for January
21, 2019: "We have a theory that cats are planning
to take over the world, just try to look them straight
in the eye...yup, they're hiding something!" - Dog
Gratuitous Kute Kittiness: Basking in beauty.
Cat Mewvie: Excitement is afoot
Feline Art: "Crossing
by Reddit user "Droseng".
you think cats are antisocial it may be that you're
just a jerk.
by Karin Brulliard
Dogs may have stolen the Internet from cats, but cat memes endure - and
many center on one theme: Cats are aloof jerks.
The primary ambassador of this notion, naturally, is Grumpy Cat. But
cats of all sorts, these memes tell us, desire to be left alone with
their coffee, or demand darkness, or prefer ankle attacks to head scratches.
Okay, maybe you know cats that fit the bill. But it is not the case that "cats
skew toward independency", in the words of a new study on cat social
In fact, researchers at Oregon State University found, many pet and shelter
cats are pretty eager to interact with humans - particularly people who
seek out kitty caresses.
"In both groups, we found [cats] spent significantly more time with people
who were paying attention to them than people who were ignoring them," said
Kristyn R. Vitale, a postdoctoral scholar in animal behavior and the lead author
of the paper, which was published in the journal Behavioral Processes.
This may come as little surprise to people who have spent time with cats,
some of which might be confused with lap dogs.
Nor was it a great surprise to Vitale, whose previous research found
that cats will choose to interact with humans over food or toys.
But the idea that cats are attuned to our behavior and respond to it
remains somewhat novel, because despite cats' popularity as pets, little
research has been done on their social relations with people.
That might be, the study says, "due in part to a common misconception
that cats are not a social species" - the meme fodder.
"It's a cool study, and it does show that when we're attentive to cats,
they are interested," said Mikel Delgado, a postdoctoral fellow who studies
cat behavior at the University of California at Davis's School of Veterinary
The study consisted of two experiments. In the first, 46 cats - half
at a shelter, half at their own homes - were placed in a room with a
stranger who sat still on the floor.
For two minutes, the person pretty much ignored the cat; for another
two minutes, the person could call the animal by name and pet it freely
when it approached. The second involved only pet cats, who went through
the same two cycles with their owners.
On average, the cats spent much more time near the human when showered
with attention, Vitale said.
Delgado praised the "cat-directed" design of the study, noting
that previous research has suggested that cats are usually more into
interactions that they instigate.
"Even in the attentive phase, the cat had a lot of control, and that's really
what we think they like - the ability to leave," Delgado said. "It's
not that they're aloof. It's just that they want choice."
The 23 shelter cats in the study, whose stays at the Heartland Humane
Society in Corvallis, Oregon, ranged from three to 455 days, spent more
time than pet cats interacting with the inattentive person, which Vitale
said could reflect that those felines needed attention or that their
living situation conditioned them to unfamiliar people.
John Bradshaw, a University of Bristol biologist who has long studied
cat behavior, cautioned against reading much into the differences between
the two groups, because cats are territorial, and only the pets were
tested in familiar surroundings.
"Cats behave quite differently depending on whether they know the place
they're in," Bradshaw said.
But Bradshaw said the study importantly emphasized that cats are kind
of like us at an individual level: Sure, some are aloof. But some are
Why that is remains unclear, though he said his own work has pointed
to "a complex interplay between genetics, early experience of humans,
and learning during adolescence."
The takeaway for cat owners, Vitale said, is that it's worth making the
first move even the most detached-seeming kitty.
"In my opinion, it's very important to go out and try to interact with your
cat and see what happens," she said.
"I think there's this idea that dogs are this way, and cats are that way.
But there's a lot of variability in both populations."
By offering a little love to a grumpy cat, Vitale added, "you may
actually be helping them become more social toward you.".
22, 2019: "If you yell at a cat, you're the one who
is making a fool of yourself."
Gratuitous Kittiness: When you can't find your cat.
Cat Mewvie: Kitten acrobatics.
Feline Art: "Dark-Eyed
scratchboard art by Reddit user "Klusie".
23, 2019: "An ordinary kitten will ask more questions
than any five year old."
- Carl Van Vechten
Gratuitous Kittiness: Feeding time!
Cat Mewvie: "I hear you knockin'.
Art: "Coffee Tigers" by Reddit user "Gnevol".
24, 2019: "Essentially, you do not so much teach your
cat as bribe him." - Lynn Holly
Gratuitous Kittiness: Bunk buddies.
Cat Mewvie: Shootin' the shit
with Mr. Clinton.
Feline Art: "Rest" by
Reddit user "anxietycatto".
25, 2019: "There are few things in life more heart
warming than to be welcomed by a cat." - Tay Hohoff
Gratuitous Kittiness: The Introvert.
Cat Mewvie: The "Meow-Meow" song.
Feline Art: "Heeeere,
by Eugene Korolev.
by Mary Jo Dilonardo
Technically, Remy the cat doesn't live at Harvard University.
The 4-year-old orange tabby has a loving family (and a home) about a
mile away from the edge of campus. But his owners know the kitten likes
to stroll, and his favorite haunts are the nearby vaunted buildings and
Ivy League green space.
"He has been in student dorms, at parties, attended lectures, and taken
photos with tourists in Harvard Yard," his owner, Cambridge resident Sarah
Watton, tells The Harvard Gazette.
All doors on campus are open to Remy the Harvard cat. (Photo: Rose Lincoln/Harvard
Watton said her family originally tried to walk Remy on a leash, but
he would have none of that and always managed to find a way to escape.
He always comes home eventually — but only after sauntering around
campus, making friends and visiting his favorite hangouts. Remy has become
so popular that he has his own Facebook page, which has more than 4,100
Remy followers post photos of the cat napping in offices, visiting labs
and staking claims to boxes throughout campus. Fans are excited about
Remy sightings, often posing for selfies with the famous feline.
However, it appears not everyone on campus is aware of Harvard's renowned
visitor. Law professor Annette Gordon-Reed tweeted a photo of Remy sauntering
along a hallway in the law school, saying it was the first time she had
seen the cat.The tweet inspired a Twitter moment, which brought even
more attention to the collegiate cat.
Remy once went missing for several weeks, according to the Gazette, and
his owners used his Facebook page to help locate him. These days, he
wears a GPS tracker on his collar. But there are still his legions of
friends and followers who help keep an eye on him wherever he meanders
Says Watton, "We really appreciate Remy’s community and the
love and happiness he spreads wherever he goes!"