Caturday felid trifecta: Best cat posts from the week of June 30; old cat on the Silk Road; black panther photographed in India (and lagniappe)

Bored Panda has a list of the best cat posts from early in July. Click on the screenshot to see:

Here are a couple:



This article on The History Blog summarizes a scientific paper on the remains of a thousand-year-old find: a pet (or at least semi-domesticated) cat found buried in a midden in Kazakhstan. Click on the screenshot:

An excerpt:

The skeletal remains of the cat was found in the fill of an abandoned house at the intersection of the citadel and city walls. They were well-preserved with no weathering or evidence that the bones had been marked, cut, gnawed on or in any way altered post-mortem. The find site was a midden and contained large numbers of discarded animal and fish bones, but the cat’s bones were articulated so it seems it was buried in the trash pile, an “expedient burial” with no associated ritual. Radiocarbon analysis of the femur returned a date range of 775-940 A.D. making it the earliest domestic cat found on the Silk Road.

The cat was at least a year old at the time of death, and bone wear suggests it was older. Nuclear DNA extracted from the bones found that the cat was male and while its species could not be ascertain with certainty, its genome bears the highest affinity to the domestic cat (Felis catus). Isotope analysis found enriched nitrogen values indicative of a diet high in marine protein.

They gave it fish, or it scrounged fish remains. Here’s the recovered skeleton:

Remains of the cat found in Dhzankent. Credit: Ashleigh Haruda / MLU

If you want to read more, click on the title page below, which takes you to the free paper in Nature Scientific Reports:


This report, also from Bored Panda, tells about a black panther (actually, a melanistic mutant of an Indian leopard, Panthera pardus) photographed over several years by Shaaz Jung in the Kabini Forest in Karnataka, India.

More info on Jung: | Instagram | Facebook (h/t mymodernmet). Click on the screenshot to see all 19 photos; I’ll show five.

“I spent two and a half years in the Kabini Forest, between December 2017 and January 2020, on a filming permit,” Jung told Bored Panda. “This filming permit allowed [me and the team] to make a documentary on the black panther for National Geographic.”

He was the Director of Photography and said every day was like a journey into the unknown. The attempt to unravel the secrets of the enigmatic black panther has been one of the most challenging projects Jung has ever worked on.

“This black panther is a leopard with an abundance of melanin. Unlike other cats in the Kabini Forest, there is only one black panther,” Jung explained. “This of course makes him far more difficult to photograph. However, since 2015… photographers have been fortunate enough to see him and take pictures. We are, however, the first to make a dedicated movie on him.”

And the “normal” leopard with the black variant (the black mutation is recessive, so you need two copies to get the black coat):

I recommend going to the site and seeing the other 14 photos, which are stunning.


Finally, some lagniappe: scientific proof that German is the best language to use if you want your cat to respond:


h/t: Jeremy, Reese, Su


  1. Randall Schenck
    Posted October 3, 2020 at 9:59 am | Permalink

    Really great photos of the panther. Just to see an animal like that would be a rare event.

  2. Debra Coplan
    Posted October 3, 2020 at 10:24 am | Permalink

    Great post! Those photos of the panther were so thrilling.
    It really got me in the mood for the
    Snow Leopard Gala starting today at 10:00 am PT going for 24 hours.

  3. boudiccadylis
    Posted October 3, 2020 at 10:36 am | Permalink

    Its as if the leopard was very aware of being photographed. The deer were certainly aware when it passed.
    IV seen where there have been trip cameras fro both the melanistic leopard and the snow leopards. The last snow pictures were mom with three cubs. One of the cubs was particularly interested in the camera.

  4. rickflick
    Posted October 3, 2020 at 12:25 pm | Permalink

    Scientific proof? Are you kidding? I’d insist on controlled experiments. No humans visible, completely white room with no furniture, voice would be artificially produced, no food reward, odor controlled artificial air circulation (clean room quality), dozens of double blind trials with vast numbers of subjects from every county and language group.

  5. Glenda Palmer
    Posted October 3, 2020 at 2:05 pm | Permalink

    Interesting articles and stunning photos of the black panther.

  6. revelator60
    Posted October 3, 2020 at 2:17 pm | Permalink

    Maybe cats respond to German because it sounds much more EMPHATIC than the other languages, judging from that phrase at least. The cats felt they could safely ignore all those other phrases uttered in cuddly tones. But the German one sounded dangerous!

    • Jay
      Posted October 3, 2020 at 4:08 pm | Permalink

      “Stardenburdenhardenbart” isn’t even a German word; it’s just made-up. The cats look like they might be reacting to the trilled “r”s, which the speaker is not actually pronouncing correctly. He’s trilling in the front of the mouth instead of in the back.

    • infiniteimprobabilit
      Posted October 4, 2020 at 6:06 pm | Permalink

      I have this sneaky suspicion that maybe the cat’s name is ‘Stardenburdenhardenbart’ ??


  7. Posted October 3, 2020 at 3:22 pm | Permalink

    Don’t usually check this post but the word ‘panther’ I could not go past. What a magnificent animal. Talking of the past, we has a panther in the Auckland zoo NZ in the ’50s-’60s fascinated the hell out of me, along with our terribly lonely gorilla. All in concrete cells, I’m so glad we don’t do that anymore.

  8. merilee
    Posted October 4, 2020 at 5:04 pm | Permalink


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