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Infinite Cat Project Archives for March 11-15, 2019.

Mewsings, March 11, 2019: "Cat lovers can readily be identified. Their clothes always look old and well used. Their sheets look like bath towels and their bath look like a collection of knitting mistakes."
- Eric Gurney

sassy cat

Gratuitous Kute Kittiness: "I'll bet you didn't think cats could make signs. Right?"

Cat Mewvie: The power of an auto-tuned cat.


cats eat mice comic

Today's Kitty Komic

cat head art

Feline Art: "Blue", colored pencil, artists unknown.

cat pouncing

Answering the "butt-wiggle" question.
by Serena Sonoma

As many pet owners will attest, when their cat prepares to pounce, it does a little butt wiggle first.
This butt-wiggling pounce lasts just a few moments as the feline crouches down low and wiggles its rear end before launching itself at its target … which is sometimes your feet under the blankets.
There hasn't been any formal research yet on this quirky behavior, but one scientist who studies animal locomotion said he had a few ideas about why kitty does a twerk-like shimmy before its ambush.

"The short answer is science does not know; the butt-wiggling has not been studied, to my knowledge, in an experimental context," said John Hutchinson, a professor of evolutionary biomechanics at the Royal Veterinary College in London.

According to Hutchinson, butt-wiggling may help press the hindlimbs into the ground to give cats added friction (traction) for pushing them forward in the pounce. "It may also have a sensory role to prepare the vision, proprioception [an awareness of one's position and movement] and muscle — and whole cat — for the rapid neural commands needed for the pounce," Hutchinson noted.
Butt wiggling may also give the cat an aerobic warm-up, of sorts.

"It probably does stretch the muscles a bit and that might help with pouncing," Hutchinson told Live Science. "And we can't exclude that it's just fun for cats; they do it because they are excited by the thrill of the hunt [and] prey."

Domesticated cats aren't alone in this behavior; wild cats — yes, even fierce creatures such as lions, tigers and jaguars, shake their derrières before striking (just hopefully not your feet).
But unlike lions and tigers, the house cat has been domesticated for about 10,000 years. So, the time is ripe to get to the bottom of this butt-wiggling mystery.

An ideal experiment would have cats pounce with and without butt-wiggling, so scientists could determine what effect wiggling (or lack thereof) has on their pouncing performance, Hutchinson said.

Granted, Hutchinson has a lot on his plate, but he joked that "it must be done, somehow. I shall marshal some scientists, and some friendly cats, in due course."

Mewsings, March 12, 2019: "I could endure anything before but a cat, and now he's a cat to me."
- Shakespeare, "All's Well That Ends Well"

two cats above one dog

Gratuitous Kittiness: Guess who rules this roost.

Cat Mewvie: Floppy paws! Floppy paws! Floppy paws!


cat saving the day comic

Today's Kitty Komic

cat or croissant art

Feline Art: "Cat or Croissant", author unknown.

Mewsings, March 13, 2019: "Since she's frequently a cat, just about every Hogwarts student at some point has seen Professor McGonagall's asshole." -- Hehyih

white kitten

Gratuitous Kittiness: 4-star kitten kuteness.

Cat Mewvie: Deaf white kitty says "Welcome Home!"


high fiving the cat comic

Today's Kitty Komic

impressionist cat art

Feline Art: "Kitty" by Elizabeth Jancewicz.

Mewsings, March 14, 2019: "Actually, cats do this to protect you from gnomes who come and steal your breath while you sleep." - John Dobbin

two cats sleeping together

Gratuitous Kittiness: Watching over the little ones.

Cat Mewvie: Blind raccoon and his bodyguards.


burying the cat comic

Today's Kitty Komic

cat and sprite hunting bees art

Feline Art: "Beehunt" by Jemaica Murphy.

Mewsings, March 15, 2019: "You’re not crazy for talking to your cats; You’re crazy if they talk back."
- Reddit user "ACE415"

happy white cat

Gratuitous Kittiness: So very much happy.

Cat Mewvie: Bad to the bones.


spider-cat comic

Today's Kitty Komic

cat sleeping on fence art

Feline Art: "Evening Kitten", Lia Beju.

cat bok art

The oldest American picture book is about.... cats.
by Emily Temple

Today, March 11, is the anniversary of the birth of Wanda Gág (I know what you’re thinking, but it rhymes with “jog”). For the uninitiated, Gág was a celebrated artist and lithographer in the Greenwich Village-centric Modernist art scene in the 1920s, a free-thinking, sex-positive leftist who also designed her own clothes and translated fairy tales. When Gág was just 15, her artist father died of tuberculosis, and his last words to his daughter were: “What Papa couldn’t do, Wanda will have to finish.”

I don’t know if art is every really finished, but Gág certainly continued his work, becoming a prominent artist and illustrator. Then, in 1928, Gág published her first book, Millions of Cats, which was adapted from a story she had made up to entertain her friends’ children. Written and illustrated by Gág, it also featured hand-lettered text (created by her brother) and something brand new for picture books: the illustrated double-page spread.

Here’s the story: a very old man and a very old woman live together in a house surrounded by flowers. The only thing missing in their lives is “a sweet little fluffy cat” (the cats in question were modeled after Gág’s own, Noopy), and so the very old man goes off to search for one. But instead of one, he finds “hundreds of cats, thousands of cats, millions and billions and trillions of cats.” Obviously, he has to bring them all home. Which causes some problems! In the end, they all eat each other (that’s right), leaving only the homeliest cat—who only needs some love and milk to become beautiful.

Her editor, Ernestine Evans, wrote in the Nation:

Millions of Cats is as important as the librarians say it is. Not only does it bring to book-making one of the most talented and original of American lithographers, an artist who has a following both here and abroad, but it is a marriage of picture and tale that is perfectly balanced. And the story pattern, so cunningly devised with such hearty and moral simplicity, is told in a prose as skillful as jingle.

It was an instant hit, and remains the oldest American picture book still in print. In fact, some would call it the oldest American picture book, period—at that time most illustrated books in circulation in America were British.

Millions of Cats won a Newbery Honor in 1929, making it one of very few picture books to do so (the Caldecott medal had not yet been created), and continues to be ranked among the best American children’s books—by those who remember it, at least. For the rest, it’s ripe for rediscovery. After all, look at all the cats!


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