Caturday felids: cat and squirrel play cat and mouse, kitty history, epic cat door fail, Google cat map in Japan

September 5, 2015 • 9:30 am

Lucky you—we have no fewer than four cat items today.

In the first, a cat and squirrel play hide-and-seek around a telephone pole. The squirrel wins, of course! Click on the screenshot to go to the video:

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Don’t let the light-hearted music mislead you: this funny video on “Kitty History” is also left-wing, has some dark moments, and flirts with conspiracy theory about 9/11. But be sure not to miss the brief moment where a kitty TSA agent touches someone’s junk:


This video, posted by the staff “Philo Cat,” has an explanatory note:

Yesterday, I spent an hour and half installing a new cat door so Philo the Cat could come and go as he pleases. This is his reaction.


Finally, don’t miss the “Google Street” view map FOR CATS that the prefecture of Hiroshima, Japan, has created for tourists to the city of Onomichi (I can’t see how moggies could use their paws to manipulate the interactive map). Click on the screenshot below to see it:

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The site, explained in English by Vox Maps, gives four “cat walks” with pictures at a low, cat’s-eye-view level, includes information about where resident felids live on the walk (and info about each cat), and special places for cats and cat lovers to visit. Here are three screenshots from the map, presented on the Vox site:

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And, as lagniappe, a tw**t, emitted just this morning by Brian Cox. It shows his cat Herschel (a female, of course), named after the astronomer Caroline Herschel.

Cats: the Official Companion Animal of Atheists™

h/r: dano 1843, Lesley, Taskin, Cindy


25 thoughts on “Caturday felids: cat and squirrel play cat and mouse, kitty history, epic cat door fail, Google cat map in Japan

  1. Sam Weller knew something about cats in the kitchen . . .

    (from Pickwick Papers)
    ‘I lodged in the same house vith a pieman once, sir, and a wery nice man he was – reg’lar clever chap, too – make pies out o’ anything, he could.  What a number o’ cats you keep, Mr. Brooks, says I, when I’d got intimate with him.  Ah, says he, I do – a good many, says he, You must be wery fond o’ cats, says I.  Other people is, says he, a-winkin’ at me; they ain’t in season till the winter though, says he.  Not in season! says I.  No, says he,  fruits is in, cats is out.   Why, what do you mean? says I.  Mean! says he.  That I’ll never be a party to the combination o’ the butchers, to keep up the price o’ meat, says he.  Mr. Weller, says he, a-squeezing my hand wery hard, and vispering in my ear – don’t mention this here agin – but it’s the seasonin’ as does it.  They’re all made o’ them noble animals, says he, a-pointin’ to a wery nice little tabby kitten, and I seasons ’em for beefsteak, weal or kidney, ‘cording to the demand.

    1. I suspect that a cat-door-looking object was attached to the door of a person who knew his cat was latch-savvy. It makes for a better Youtube video.

    1. Almost certainly the result of some form of digital image stabilization. Note how the video in general doesn’t jitter, as if it’s gyroscopically stabilized, even though it’s clearly shot with a smartphone.

      Image stabilization up until now has typically been done with motorized floating elements in a lens; coupled with a gyroscope and some sophisticated computer controls, the floating elements are moved in the opposite direction of the shaking hands (or whatever). More recently, some manufacturers have been moving the camera’s sensor rather than lens elements; it permits stabilization of any lens, but tends to be less effective overall.

      You can achieve a similar effect by slightly cropping the final image, and, frame-by-frame, shifting the pixels in the video file so each frame lines up with the one before. However, this is going to introduce and amplify motion artifacts known as “rolling shutter” and “jello,” which is what you see here. Basically, the video isn’t a series of still photos at all. Instead, the top half of a frame might be from one 1/30 of a second and the lower half from the next 1/30 of a second. In practice, the image might be interleaved with various scan rates. When there’s not much motion it all looks normal, but it can easily get distracting — and digitally futzing with things even further can make things worse.


      1. Quite often, an extra-wide-angle lens such as on a Go-Pro causes verticals to bend at the edge of the view. (It causes horizontals to bend at top and bottom as well, but we’re used to that). For example, when tracking along a electrified railway line (e.g. some ‘cab ride’ videos), the poles are straight and vertical in the distance and curve just as they disappear out of the side of the video.
        For example:

        There’s an example of the second technique you mention (image stabilisation done after-the-fact in software) here:
        See e.g. the 3-minute mark
        Basically the subject has been kept steady and the framing adjusted up and down accordingly. It can be quite distracting.


        1. Quite often, an extra-wide-angle lens such as on a Go-Pro causes verticals to bend at the edge of the view.

          No, that’s something different from the video in question. The GoPro lenses simply have garden-variety barrel distortion, which reaches its extreme in fisheye lenses. But there’re (expensive!) super-wide-angle lenses with rectilinear projection. See, for example, Canon’s new 11-24mm zoom lens, with a 126° diagonal field of view at the wide end of the zoom range. That’s wide enough that a tripod’s legs would often be included in the edge of the frame…and yet the lens has no more distortion than your typical el-cheapo “kit” lens included with entry-level consumer cameras.

          Basically the subject has been kept steady and the framing adjusted up and down accordingly. It can be quite distracting.

          Yes, that’s what’s been done to the video Jerry linked to — only the black border and much of the video itself has been cropped, only leaving the center bits. And it’s an unintended consequence of that specific digital post-processing combined with this specific camera, most likely, that caused the telephone pole to visibly bend even though it remained centered straight up and down in the middle of the frame.


          1. I note that in the second video I lined to, *if* they had cropped the top and bottom edges as well, it would have appeared quite ‘all right’.

            I find it interesting because I was unaware of software that would do that (the ‘steadying’ I mean).

  2. “Cats: the Official Companion Animal of Atheists™”

    – speak for yourself, Jerry ! Dogs all the way ! Well, some anyway, like my gentle, adorable black lab. The likes of vicious pitbulls can go to hell…

    1. As a breed, pit bulls are no more and no less vicious than any other dog. I’ve known pit bulls who are the sweetest, most loving, most playful and friendly and helpful animals you could imagine. And there are golden retrievers out there you’d never want to see uncaged — at least, not unless you were wearing body armor.

      It all comes down to the humans raising them.

      Pit bulls are favored by psychopaths because they’ve got a particularly powerful musculature. A vicious teacup chihuahua isn’t going to be any more or less aggressive than a vicious pit bull, but the pit bull can do a lot more damage.


      1. This is why you can’t lead a lion around in public. (And I’d far sooner trust a lion than a pit bull).

        Any time I see one of those damn things I feel intimidated. A golden retriever, not so much. If it does bite me it’ll get a good kicking. But a pit bull…


        1. I wouldn’t automatically assume any animal in public on a leash is to be distrusted, regardless of its physical prowess. I’d instead look to cues in posture and attitude, especially those of the human at the other end of the leash. All the pit bulls I’ve seen on leashes over the past few years have been far more likely to lick you to death than anything else. Not that long ago there was a cute young lesbian couple whose daily walks took them past my house and whose pit bull fit that description.

          Most people are no more likely to take dangerous animals for a walk than they are to wave around loaded weapons with the safety off. And a pit bull would be much more like one of those oversized fluorescent-colored bulbous battery-powered water guns — messy, perhaps, but in reality not actually dangerous unless you fill it with something other than water, and who’s gonna do that?

          Now, of course, if something’s not right about the animal or the human, you’d want to be much, much more wary about a pit bull than a toy breed…but I’d urge you to be every bit as wary of a retriever in such a situation as a pit bull. The retrievers were bred as hunting dogs, and are quite effective….


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