Caturday felid trifecta: CONTEST, Minneapolis tour of window cats; Simon’s cat goes to the vet; cats’ personality traits; and lagniappe

September 25, 2021 • 9:30 am

First, I give a suggestion broached by reader Lee:

I have a suggestion for a future Caturday. As a fellow cat lover how about asking for photos of readers’ cats with multiple digits?  I have a favorite barn cat, a polydactyl with paws that look like it is well on its way to developing an opposable thumb. I can imagine cat scientists a million years from now finding his fossil as evidence of early Felis catus hand evolution.

Lee’s cat, Bigfoot, is shown below.

So, if you have a polydactylous cat, send me a photo, preferably showing the extra toes (two photos are fine: cat and paw). Deadline is October 10.


The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette had an article on a very unusual tour: a walking tour of “window cats” in Minneapolis, Minnesota, aimed at seeing cats sitting in windows or displayed by their staff. The tour attracted hundreds of viewers! Here’s an excerpt:

John Edwards, organizer of the annual Wedge Cat Tour, marking its fifth year, was amused by the neighbors’ alarm, considering his harmless intent. “Just show us your cats and there won’t be any trouble,” he joked.

Each summer, Mr. Edwards leads cat lovers through his neighborhood, stopping to see the resident furballs perched in windowsills, or pried off the purr-niture and toted outside to greet the crowd. Biographical details are shared, photos are taken, whiskers are rubbed, and the group moves on.

Over time, the Wedge tour — the only known neighborhood cat tour of its kind — has become a branded affair, complete with commemorative, limited-edition cat-tour buttons, tote bags and T-shirts. For safety’s sake, Edwards has even made handheld “Caution! Cat Tour Approaching” signs.

The tour has drawn big crowds. Due to COVID-19, last year’s event was virtual (an hourlong livestream of Mr. Edwards walking the route ), but in 2019, more than 300 cat tourists viewed 50-some felines.

Here’s one they go to see: “Fish, a 13 year-old cat belonging to Zach Randolph, sits on the porch of Zach’s home in the Wedge neighborhood.”

From the paper: Antranik Tavitan/Minneapolist Star-Tribune via TNS

There’s a lot more. A few more excerpts:

. . .In 2017, on the first tour, he led a small group in an uncharted meander through the neighborhood in search of random cats.

Since then, by pre-registering cats, he planned a 1.5-mile route, which takes several hours to travel.

Cat tourists have seen hairless breeds on leashes, a long-haired diva queen called Nanette Cleopatra Philivant, and the necktie-wearing Saul Blackheart, famous for his love of Joan Jett and ability to change computer settings by walking on keyboards.

On one tour, a guy emerged from an apartment building wearing an enormous black-and-white cat-head mask to present his matching cat to the group.

. . . Nina Hale, whose cat, Rilke, has been participating in the tour since 2018, calls it “a pure show of communal eccentricity” and “a celebration of urban living.” Hale, who takes the tour seriously enough to bring binoculars, said she loves the contrast between the crowd’s fervor for the felines, and the cats who, well, basically don’t give a crap. Rilke is preparing for this year’s tour by practicing “his blank stare of disdain” while Hale looks forward to the “utterly joyous” event. “This is what the world needs right now,” she said.


This is one of the best “Simon’s Cat” videos ever.  Simon gets a bee sting on his paw and has to go to the vet. As you can imagine, it’s pandemonium. Don’t miss this 13-minute video!


According to ScienceAlert (click on screenshot; see also here), a group of researchers at the University of Helsinki have studied 7 personality traits in more than 4300 cats; the goal was to gain more knowledge about cat behavior (there’s a paucity of information compared to d*gs) to help with problematic cats, rescuing cats and preventing euthanasia, and improving cat welfare.

The second site says this:

In a questionnaire designed by Professor Hannes Lohi’s research group, personality and behaviour were surveyed through a total of 138 statements. The questionnaire included comprehensive sections on background and health-related information. By employing, among other means, factor analysis to process the data, seven personality and behaviour traits in all were identified.

  • Activity/playfulness
  • Fearfulness
  • Aggression towards humans
  • Sociability towards humans
  • Sociability towards cats
  • Litterbox issues (relieving themselves in inappropriate places, precision in terms of litterbox cleanliness and substrate material)
  • Excessive grooming

“While the number of traits identified in prior research varies, activity/playfulness, fearfulness and aggression are the ones from among the traits identified in our study which occur the most often in prior studies. Litterbox issues and excessive grooming are not personality traits as such, but they can indicate something about the cat’s sensitivity to stress,” [Salla] Mikkola adds.

The ScienceAlert site adds this:

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the results also revealed that different breeds skew towards different personality traits.

“The most fearful breed was the Russian Blue, while the Abyssinian was the least fearful,” says veterinary scientist Hannes Lohi of the University of Helsinki.

“The Bengal was the most active breed, while the Persian and Exotic were the most passive. The breeds exhibiting the most excessive grooming were the Siamese and Balinese, while the Turkish Van breed scored considerably higher in aggression towards humans and lower in sociability towards cats.”

The point of this research was not to perform behavioral analysis of the felines involved, but to demonstrate the validity of the team’s survey for collecting information on feline behavior.

The variation among breeds was the most salient finding, and is not that surprising. But to see more findings, consult the original paper below, free with the legal Unpaywall app:

Mikkola S, Salonen M, Hakanen E, Sulkama S, Lohi H. Reliability and Validity of Seven Feline Behavior and Personality Traits. Animals (Basel). 2021 Jul 2;11(7):1991.


Lagniappe: Cat is absolutely determined to get in the box!

h/t: Ginger K.

10 thoughts on “Caturday felid trifecta: CONTEST, Minneapolis tour of window cats; Simon’s cat goes to the vet; cats’ personality traits; and lagniappe

  1. I wonder if the cat behavior study will help me with my cat door problem. I have a newly installed cat door but we’re finding it hard to get one of our two cats to use it. One thing we’ve figured out is that they don’t want to use it when they see us looking at them through the human door right next to the cat door. They are evidently thinking, “Why should I have to use the cat door when you could easily open the big door for me?” We’ve heard this and will comply in future.

    1. One of the funniest pet experiences that ever happened in my life is somehow a science experiment, though I don’t know what it would be. Perhaps how transparent objects + expectation messes with minds.

      Our puppy grew to be a dog in a house with a sliding glass door. The was the main door she always used. She understood the door and its properties and when she was middle-aged, the door was suddenly switched to French doors. The first night, she (Dede), expecting to be let in, was staring at a hinged door, and not an open doorway she was used to. The open door was literally inches away, but it was at an angle, pointing out, and Dede was waiting for the horizontal shift of glass that was the opening of her “normal” door. It was falling down hilarious how long it took (and she was one of the keenest dogs I’ve known) for her to grok the difference. And it didn’t help that the new hinged door made a crazy reflection on the old glass she thought was still a door. She just sat there, waiting for us to open the opened door. It took us a couple minutes of calling her over, she was so stubborn, but once she figured it out, she got there instantly. But, oh boy, the laugh at Dede’s cogs discombobulating when the door wasn’t in its proper place. True laughter, like fear, gets the adrenalines pumping, and memory imprints. I’ll never forget that two minutes of my life. I’ll always love you Dede, you beautiful friend!

      1. That’s a lovely story. It is hard to imagine how our pets perceive the world.

        One of our cats hesitates virtually every time he tries to jump from the floor to a normal-height countertop, bobbing up and down before making the leap. I think it’s because he can’t see what’s on top until he’s committed to the jump. Sometimes he stretches up to peer over the edge to check everything is clear but, even then, he still hesitates before jumping. This is a cat who happily climbs trees, leaps from the roof of one house to another, and is generally quite the athlete. I just have to wonder what he thinks about these counters.

        Perhaps he had a fright involving a counter at some point in his life. He did have a serious fright as a kitten. He was on top of a kitchen chair and poked his head between the slats on the back then fell off the chair, essentially hanging by the head. We were in the room so got him out in seconds. I don’t know what would have happened if we hadn’t been there. He was still light so he could probably breathe but it would have been hard for him to extricate himself. It didn’t involve a counter though.

        1. You’re right about the difficulty of perceiving the world through our pets’ senses. Your cat’s anticipation and “leap of faith” onto a counter sounds cute. I once had a dog who caught her paw in the slats on the back of a chair. We were right there as well to free her. Scary! Getting a head stuck would be terrifying. It’s amazing the trouble kitties and puppies get themselves into, but they almost always come out ok. At least I’ve been lucky so far.

  2. As reluctant as I was to agree to getting the kitten, he’s wooed me completely. He’s incredibly social. He runs to greet me when I get home. He waits to hear my alarm in the morning before hopping into bed to lick my nose and make little chirping noises. He sits calmly when it’s time to get his harness on before going outside. He lies in the bathroom sink gazing at me as I get ready for work in the morning. He likes to get as much full body contact with his humans as possible, stretching himself to full length against my back to snuggle in bed. It’s a good thing he’s so cute, because he’s also a bit of a terror when it comes to cords. He’s sliced through three pairs of headphones already.

    1. I was reluctant to get a new puppy. 2 weeks now. You sum up my thoughts. Unlike a cat, when he gets full-grown and is still a “puppy”, he’ll be really strong, and I’m afraid of the damage. “We can’t have nice things anymore!” a quote from my wife. She has a love/hate relationship with the dude. It was my choice, so she has the luxury and I have the chores. Fair. He’ll win her over, but either way, puppies are awesome! And they SUCK! Phew, that feels better…now I’ll go clean up some pee.

    1. Very British – the tiny gardens are probably the giveaway. According to Wikipedia:

      In the summer of 2015, a crowdfunding campaign was launched to raise funds to allow Simon and his team to make a 13-minute colour episode of Simon’s Cat. Everybody who contributed at least £5, was offered a free access to the clip and other perks. The campaign was successful and the clip was released to supporters in August 2015. In January 2017, the clip went on sale (unlike the other episodes, Off to the Vet previously was not offered for free viewing). It was released for free viewing on 26 October 2017. It was then re-released in black & white on 26 April 2018 at the request of fans who are curious to see what the film is like in the series’ signature black & white style.

  3. Great display of the cat’s rear end in that clip. I don’t see many intact cats, and it always gives me a laugh to see their furry balls. I’ve always had my own male cats neutered, so I’m used to a much sleeker look.

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