Caturday felid trifecta: Cat a candidate for “New Zealander of the Year”; cats defying the law of gravity; cats refuse to work for food,

September 5, 2020 • 9:00 am

If you follow Celebrity Cats of the World, you’ll know of Wellington’s renowned and peripatetic moggy Mittens, who’s famous enough to have his own Wikipedia and Facebook pages.  He was given the key to the city (joining Sir Peter Jackson and Sir Richard Taylor), and has been, according to the Guardian story below (click on screenshot), nominated for New Zealander of the Year (other contestants include the Prime Minister). There was no stipulation that the winner had to be a human.

Mittens has a home, but wanders widely, mostly in downtown Wellington. He even goes up in elevators and is likely to show up in offices, where he naps. His location is erratic, and is reported on his Facebook page (below). His nickname is “His Floofiness”, as he’s a furry cat.

I didn’t know Mittens existed when I visited Wellington a few years ago; had I known, I would have scoured the streets of the city looking for him. For when you find him, and especially when you pet him, you get bragging rights, as did the fellow below:

I am a devout follower of Mittens’s Facebook page, The Wondrous Adventures of Mittens, which you have to join. It’s nice to see people posting pictures of their encounters with the moggy, and if you’re an ailurophile, this is one cat page you don’t want to miss (join by clicking on screenshot below).

People make lots of artwork involving Mittens, and you can even buy a facemask emblazoned with Mittens’s mug:


There’s even a song written about Mittens. (Pictures of Mittens, including one with the singer, are shown at 3:47):

Sadly, Mittens didn’t win New Zealander of the year; that title went to actress Jennifer Ward-Lealand. I think it’s shameful that cats are underrepresented in these awards; it’s arrant speciesism to shut out felids from “New Zealander” of the year awards. #AwardsSoHuman. Maybe next year. . .

All hail His Floofiness!


From Bored Panda (click on screenshot) we have 40 pictures of cats apparently defying the laws of physics. All of them are great, but I’ll show just six:

This is my favorite by far. (Source)






Finally, from Catitude Daily (click on screenshot below), we have a scientific report on cat behavior. It shows what you expect: in contrast to some other species, cats prefer to get their food without having to work for it. Some species, like mice, dogs, chimps, and grizzly bears, when given a choice of free food or food you must work for, digging it out of a puzzle or complicated apparatus, prefer the latter. This is called “contrafreeloading.”

A summary from the site (I couldn’t find the original paper):

For this specific study, researchers set out to prove if cats would exhibit “contrafreeloading” in order to obtain a meal. If you’re not sure what this term means, it’s best described as “when an animal is provided with a choice between making an effort to obtain food or by eating it from a freely-available source, a curious thing happens.

UC Davis cat behaviorist Mikel Delgado, and her colleagues, Melissa Bain and Brandon Han, offered 18 domesticated felines two choices. The first choice, a food puzzle. And the second, a tray of free food. As the cats entered the room, I’ll let you take a wild guess as to which food presentation they moseyed on over to more times than not.

Ms. Delgado said that,

“It wasn’t that the cats NEVER used the food puzzle, they just used it less, ate less food from it, and typically would eat from the freely available food first.”

The abstract of the paper is provided, and includes the sentence, “Our results indicate there is no sign of contrafreeloading among domestic cats.” The authors’ hypothesis is that the puzzles provided don’t mimic cats’ hunting behavior, so they simply weren’t interested. My own hypothesis, which is mine, is that cats don’t want to do any more work than necessary.

h/t: Divy, Ginger K., David

13 thoughts on “Caturday felid trifecta: Cat a candidate for “New Zealander of the Year”; cats defying the law of gravity; cats refuse to work for food,

  1. On the other hand, when given the choice between a fresh bowl of easily accessible water and searching out the muddiest, slimiest, most stagnant puddle in the area, guess which cats choose?

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