It’s Caturday, and you know what that means. (I don’t believe I’ve missed a week in years.)
Reader Peter sent this video of a treed cat being rescued in Sacramento, California, and added his take:
Here’s a short video of the Sacramento Fire Department rescuing a cat from a tree — the cat is fine and the guys have fun with it, but unfortunately the one they sent up the ladder clearly doesn’t know much about cats! He paid the price.
It is nice that some fire departments send out ladder trucks to do this. My one question is this: What happened to the cat after they brought it down? Did it have an owner?
From ilovelibraries we have an article about what “library cats” (those moggies who actually live in libraries) are doing during a time when nobody can go to libraries. Click on the screenshot to read a short article. Here are four cats and what they’re up to with pictures below:
Browser from Texas’s White Settlement Public Library may be one of the nation’s most famous library cats. In a viral story from 2016, a city council member tried to oust Browser from his position at the library; after a public outcry, Browser was reinstated for life while his political opponent lost his reelection campaign.
Browser has stuck around the library during the pandemic closure but seems to be missing the crowds.
“He is generally quite independent, but since the closure he always wants to be near people. We can usually find him in the lap of a staff member, or lying helpfully on their keyboard,” library staffer Kathryn King told I Love Libraries. “Now that we are offering curbside service, he posts himself at the window during curbside hours to watch the patrons come and go.”
Cosmo (Note how effective cats can be to enforce mask wearing):
Cosmo strolled into the kid’s room at Grand County Public Library (GCPL) in Utah two years ago and has been a beloved fixture of the community ever since. Today, staff see him as “the face of the library”: he appears in monthly library newsletters and even has a weekly “Cosmo’s Corner” feature in the local paper where he (and his human co-writers) highlight different library services.
He’s stayed at GCPL throughout the pandemic, and now that that the library is starting to resume in-person services, patrons have been thrilled to see him.
“He’s also a peacemaker,” library director Carrie Valdes shared. “We’ve found it incredibly effective to enforce rules (especially the mask mandate) by focusing on Cosmo’s health!”
The MU Library Cat:
the library cat at Ireland’s Maynooth University has also been adjusting to life during COVID-19. Known only as the MU Library Cat, he’s been a campus celebrity ever since he started hanging out by the school’s library building; since then, staff have installed a hut to make his spot extra comfortable and even created a Twitter account on his behalf.
“He has become something of an unofficial mascot,” said Fiona Morley, head of digital programs and information systems for the library. “He is a popular, informal, and positive feline ‘face’ of the university and the library.”
Library staff know him to be extremely self-sufficient, but during the pandemic people have still been sure to drop by his hut to check in and share snacks. He’s also remained active on social media (with help from Fiona and fellow librarian Hugh Murphy), which he uses to stay connected to the campus community and share reminders about the importance of social distancing.
Socks, the resident cat at Alabama’s Pinson Public Library, has been spending quality time with staff during the pandemic. A few years ago, he and his littermates were rescued by a city council member, who brought the kittens to the library hoping staff might be willing to adopt them. As it turned out, Socks ended up finding a home at the library instead, where he helps greet patrons and promotes the library on social media.
Library director Allison Scanlan thinks the COVID-19 closure may remind Socks of when the library moved to a new location in 2019. “We closed the old location for 3 months to pack everything up and move, so it was just the staff in the building with Socks at that time too. I think he was worried at first that we might be moving again!” she explained. “We have even scattered some boxes around for Socks. He will meow at patrons through the door if they approach. I know that he misses his adoring public.”
Like many of us, these cats clearly miss their regular human contact. I don’t when libraries will open up again (our university library is closed, but doesn’t have a cat, and at any rate there’s no indication it will reopen soon).
But every library and every bookstore should have a resident cat, so long as it’s properly cared for and has the right temperament.
Finally, we come to the pervasive question of ailurophiles: Why do cats chatter at birds and other prey items? (It’s also called “machine-gunning”.) One would think it would be maladaptive for a stalking predator to make noises, as it could alert the prey. Here are two videos that show and then address the problem. The main answer is WE JUST DON’T KNOW, though there are many possible explanations. Four of them, discussed here, include excitement, frustration, practicing the killing “neck bite”, and mimicry of the prey sounds (the last seems highly dubious to me.
Here’s a project for an enterprising researcher.
And a compilation of chattering cats. I knew I’d find one on YouTube:
h/t: GInger K.