Caturday felid trifecta: Cougar plays with a swing; black panther and d*g become best friends; cats on stamps; and lagniappe

December 3, 2022 • 9:45 am

The recently-posted video below (click here or “watch on YouTube” shows a cougar (“mountain lion”) playing with a children’s swing made of logs.  The YouTube notes:

The Wichita Eagle has the story:

The funny side of Colorado’s fierce mountain lions was caught on a trail camera, when one suddenly realized the log it was sleeping under was a tree swing.

This discovery was made when the big cat touched the seat and it began to sway.

The video, posted Sept. 6 on YouTube, shows the predator was at first startled, then became completely charmed by the back and forth motion.

Thaddeus Wells recorded the video the first week of September near Black Hawk, a town about 40 miles northwest of Denver. He built the swing hoping to see bear cubs, but instead got a mountain lion acting “like a kitty cat.”

“When I saw this reaction to the swing I laughed and fell in love with her. Who wouldn’t?” Wells told McClatchy News.

“You can see her mind at work. She seems surprised to find that it moved at all and then surprised to see it swings so far as to hover over her. She really focuses her attention on it for some time. It’s edited to remove stuff like her tasting and biting the swing.” The mountain lion had been feeding on a deer prior to the discovery, he said.

The mountain lion had been feeding on a deer prior to the discovery, he said. The swing is near a spring, so the area frequently attracts wildlife in search of water.

“After four days of feasting, she was displaced by three bears who … spent the night at the spring while they devoured what remained of the deer,” he said.

“I have never seen so much bear poop in one location before. They tend to poop wherever they sleep and they slept there for several days.”

Mountain lions — also known as cougars, panthers and pumas — are native to Colorado. It’s estimated as many as 7,000 roam the state, and males can grow to 150 pounds, according to Colorado Parks and Wildlife.

Wells says the one seen playing with his swing was young but looked bigger due to a swollen jaw. He suspects the ill-fated deer may have kicked it in the face.

“This is just a hobby for me. Four years ago a mountain lion took down a deer in my actual backyard and then it was savaged by coyotes …” he said. “That led me to put a camera on it to see what else was going to happen.”

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A black panther is really the melanistic form of a jaguar, leopard, or cougar. Since this one was Asian, it’s probably a black leopard. Here’s a video from FB showing a beautiful black cat, Luna, who was rescued after her mother refused to feed her.  Amazingly, the cat became friends with the rescuer’s Rottweiler, Venza.

Look at these animals play with each other.  With those big teeth, I’d be worried, but neither the staff nor the d*g seem to worry!  The video implies that some day Luna may have to find another home, which is sad.

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This site, Stampboards.com, is a stamp collectors’ site, and the page below (click to see lots) has a great selection of CAT STAMPS. I’ll show a few

Big Cat posted this one.

Switzerland issued this stamp last year to mark the Locarno Film Festival. I would love it to be a jaguar (it would look great in the exhibit I’m working on :D ), but I rather think it’s probably a leopard. Can anyone confirm?

From JLeefe:

1983 New Zealand Health Mini sheet

From CMJ: one stamp on a sheet:

Also from CMJ, stamps from the Marshall Islands:

Angolan stamps from uncanadago:

Posted by uncanadago, a lovely stamp from Japan:

A German stamp from lesbootman; “For the children”:

And from Monaco, Baudelaire avec les chats, posted by jps55liquefy.  Perhaps this refers to his poem “Les chats” from Fleurs du Mal:

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Lagniappe: Two kitties are missing part of their front limbs: one has no forelegs at all and the other is missing paws and is also hyrocephalic. The legless one can hop on its own, and the will probably need surgery to put a plate in its head. But they’re well taken care of and seem to be enjoying their kittenhood.

h/t: Erik, Ginger K.

Caturday extra: Spot the cat!

November 26, 2022 • 10:00 am

I may have posted this before but I don’t remember it. At any rate, hidden among these owls is a cat. Can you spot it? It took me a LONG time, but some of you may see it right off the bat.

Don’t reveal the location in the comments; I’ll post a reveal at 1 pm Chicago time showing the cat.  Enlarging the picture may help:

h/t: Nicole

Caturday felid trifecta: Campus cares for its feral moggies; Hemingway’s polydactylous cats survive Hurricane Ian; a refugee girl from Romania gets her cat back after an arduous rescue; and lagniappe

November 26, 2022 • 9:30 am

All the contributions today come from reader Ginger K. First, a story from I Heart Cats about how the University of Nebraska at Lincoln takes care of its feral moggies. Click to read:

An excerpt:

Like many college campuses across the country, the University of Nebraska-Lincoln had a feral cat problem.

In 2008, a band of faculty and staff created the volunteer group, Husker Cats – named for UNL’s mascot, the Cornhusker. The project has managed to reduce the on campus feral population from over 100 cats down to less than 70 through humane Trap/Neuter/Release and foster/adoption programs.

Instead of rounding up the cats and attempting to make them someone else’s problem, UNL embraced the population by creating feeding stations and cat houses for shelter across campus.

Image Source: Facebook/Rebecca Cahoon
Image Source: Facebook/Nancy Becker

The administration recognized that the cats offered more than just an opportunity to do some good; they offered a wonderful chance for students to learn about compassion and civic responsibility.

Staff volunteer Rebecca Cahoon posted the following photo with the lovely caption:

This is how many cats show us they love us. They watch for us and wait for us, every day. We look for them and they look for us. No head butts, no belly rubs— just faith. That’s love too.

 

The original goals of the program were to stabilize the population through trap and release, place kittens into foster care and permanent homes, provide food, shelter and veterinary care to the colony cats, and reduce the feral numbers to a healthy, non-reproductive state within 5 years. All this while maintaining the beauty of the campus.

It was a very ambitious plan, but the Husker Cats volunteers made it happen. Today the kitties are as much a part of campus life as dorm rooms and cafeteria food – embraced by faculty, staff and students alike.

Ginger said this about these other I Heart Cats articles: “Good news about kittehs in dangerous places.” (Click screenshots to read).  You probably know that Ernest Hemingway’s home in Key West, Florida, is populated by many polydactylous cats (“Super Scratchers”). These are descendants of a cat that Hem staffed. The Hemingway Museum site notes:

Ernest Hemingway was given a white six-toed cat by a ship’s captain and some of the cats who live on the museum grounds are descendants of that original cat, named Snow White. Key West is a small island and it is possible that many of the cats on the island are related. The polydactyl cats are not a particular breed. The trait can appear in any breed, Calicos, Tabbies, Tortoise Shell, White, Black, etc. They vary in shapes, sizes, colors and personalities.

And a photo of Hemingway’s son Gregory with Snow White:

The following article gives the good news that the Super Scratchers at the Hemingway Home survived Hurricane Ian in late September of this year. Click to read:

Whenever a hurricane approaches the Hemingway Home and Museum in Key West, fans worry about the 60 polydactyl (six-toed) cats living on the property. Luckily, there are lots of dedicated staff members who do what they can to keep the felines safe.

When Hurricane Ian approached Key West, Florida, many people worried about the safety of the six-toed cats. Like during Hurricane Irma, some staff members chose to stay behind with the cats and protect them from the storm. Now that the storm has passed, the attraction has shared an update on the beloved felines.

From Instagram

All the cats at the Hemingway House are descendants of Ernest Hemingway’s first six-toed cat named Snow White. As a tradition, every cat has been named after someone famous.

There are about 60 cats currently at the attraction, and all of them carry the polydactyl gene. Yet, only about half of the cats physically have extra toes. Most cats have five toes on their front feet and four on their back feet, but cats with this gene can have extra toes and give birth to cats with extra toes.

From Instagram

As Hurricane Ian approached Key West as a Category 4 hurricane, the famous author’s granddaughter, Mariel Hemingway, was worried the building would be destroyed. She said if any of his houses were damaged, it would be heartbreaking.

Mariel normally advises the staff members to evacuate with the cats, but once again, a few people stayed behind with the cats instead. The building’s strong structure protected the humans and cats from Irma, so everyone was hopeful that the same would be true during Ian.

From Instagram

According to Alexa Morgan, a representative of the Hemingway Museum, the building faced minimal damage during Hurricane Ian. All the cats are doing well after being kept in a safe shelter space with the humans.

The staff members are currently cleaning up the debris left behind by the hurricane. However, they didn’t let the storm hold back their business. The attraction closed on Wednesday while the hurricane hit, but it resumed operations the following day.

The six-toed cats are in great shape because many people cared about their safety. All the felines have returned to their regular routines. They will continue to roam the Hemingway Home and Museum, so if you’re visiting Key West, consider stopping by to see them.

From Instagram

 

 Finally, a heartwarmer (click to read):

When Russia’s invasion of Ukraine began, people had to quickly find ways to escape and keep their families safe. Sadly, many had to evacuate without their pets due to travel restrictions. One 10-year-old girl was especially devastated when her family traveled to the U.S. from Ukraine without her feline by her side.

The girl had trouble sleeping every night as she wondered whether she’d see her cat again. When her mom saw how devastated she was, she began to ask others for help. Soon, a group of volunteers stepped up to reunite the cat with his family, but it was a long and tedious journey.

10-year-old Agnessa had to part ways with her cat named Arsenii when the war in Ukraine began. Her mom, Maria, left the cat with her brother-in-law in Ukraine as she traveled to the United States with her family, including her three daughters, their father, and their grandmother. Agnessa is the youngest child.

The family, known as the Bezhenars, made it to safety because of a kind man named Geoffrey Peters. Peters wanted to travel to Ukraine to help people evacuate, but when that didn’t work out, he realized he could help people from his home. His son had been planning to rent out a house in California, but instead, he agreed to donate it to the Ukraine family for two years.

The Bezhenars are planning to stay in America and begin their new lives. But without Arsenii, Agnessa was having a difficult time adjusting. She was losing sleep and couldn’t stop worrying about her furry friend.

During the flight to America, Maria bonded with their flight attendant, Dee Harnish. After the family got settled, Harnish checked in on them and found out how heartbroken Agnessa was without her cat.

So, Harnish got in touch with another flight attendant, Caroline Viola, who rescues animals. Soon, many volunteers stepped up to help Maria’s brother-in-law get the cat from Ukraine to the United States. He needed to ensure Arsenii was vaccinated and had the proper paperwork to fly.

Arsenii went through several rides to get to a temporary family in Romania. Once he had all his documents, volunteers sent Arsenii to Greece, where he was able to fly home with a kind volunteer who was on vacation. When the volunteer landed at her home in Washington, the Bezhenars traveled there to reunite with their beloved feline.

Arsenii on the way home. What a wonderful pair of flight attendants, and kudos to them and the other recuers. Here’s one of them, Mimi Kate, who cut her Greek vacation short to help Arsenii:

After a 7,000-mile adventure, Agnessa finally got to hold Arsenii in her arms again. Agnessa cried tears of joy as her furry friend cuddled with her. Adjusting to their new home has been easier for the family now that Arsenii is back.

“When Arsenii is with us, it’s like home is with us. Like part of our home is with us,” Maria said.

The family is slowly adjusting to their new lives. They’re working on improving their English and starting a business to support themselves. Yet, getting where they need to be will be a slow process, so the community continues to support them. If you’d like to help this family get back on their feet, you can donate to their GoFundMe.

And a video of the news story. You can see how incredibly complicated it was to get the cat to the U.S. via Moldavia, Romania, Greece, and Canada. The reunion between Agnessa and Arsenii at the end will bring tears to your eyes.  Don’t miss the video!

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Lagniappe:  A pool-playing cat:

Caturday felid trifecta: The case for cats; woman claim she’s a cat trapped in a woman’s body; 101-year-old woman adopts agéd shelter cat; and lagniappe

November 19, 2022 • 9:45 am

From The Atlantic we get the case for cats, a short paean to felines. Click to read.

An excerpt:

Before my spouse and I married four years ago, we made an important pledge: From that point on, there would always be at least two cats in our household.

As our marble tabbies, Calvin and Hobbes, can soundly attest, that promise has so far survived, and our relationship with it. We are Cat People and unafraid to share it. My spouse wears a large pin to work that implores his (human) patients to “ask me about my cats.” Since joining The Atlantic just over a year and a half ago, I have taken every opportunity to write about felines; no other animal, apart from us lousy humans, has commanded more of my attention since. Our apartment is cluttered with cat toys, our clothes coated with a patina of gray and black fur. We cuddle our cats nightly, plan our vacations around them, and sometimes—okay, often—abscond from social events early to spend more time with them at home. My spouse and I sing to Calvin and Hobbes, and our list of absurd nicknames for them stretches dozens and dozens long. And … yeah. We brush our boys’ teeth three times a week.

Life wasn’t always this way. My spouse and I both grew up as die-hard dog people, but now, in the clear light of adulthood, we’re a pair of cat converts.

Good choice!  One more bit:

. . . every cat I’ve met has been such a distinct individual, such a character: bursting with strong opinions, clear-cut preferences, bizarre and memorable quirks. And those traits are steadfast. Whether they’re scared, happy, suspicious, or confused, Calvin and Hobbes are always Calvin and Hobbes. I get that cats can sometimes be contrarian. I get that their outer shell can sometimes be tough to crack. But for me, that makes them all the more fascinating. Their trust and affection is hard-won. So when it’s earned, it feels that much more meaningful.

The last sentence is absolutely on the mark.  Although d*g people will disagree with me, cats are more like people: if you want them to be your friend, you must win them over. D*gs, on the other hand, are obsequious from the get-go, and I, for one, don’t care for unmitigated, slobbering affection!

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IHeartCats has the story of a cat “otherkin”: someone who claims they’re a cat trapped in a woman’s body (see a recent paper dealing with this topic in The Journal of Controversial Ideas). Click to read:

Meet The Woman Who Claims She’s A Cat Trapped In A Human’s Body

Some excerpts:

In Oslo, Norway, 20-year-old Nano identifies herself as a cat.

She said her lightbulb moment came when she was told by doctors she had a “genetic defect” at the age of sixteen. That’s when she realized why she was different: she was really a cat.

While uncommon,  Nano is not alone in feeling she embodies the spirit of an animal. There is a phenomenon called Otherkin, which Wikipedia describes as “people who identify as partially or entirely non-human.”

Because she identifies herself as a cat, she lives her life a little differently. She sleeps in sinks and on windowsills. She hisses at dogs and hates water. Sometimes, she walks around on all fours.

Nano even claims she has heightened senses, hearing things that humans can’t, and possessing the ability to see better at night than in the daylight. She says she can see critters scurrying in the dark, and when asked if she’s ever got a mouse, she says that she’s tried, but has yet to catch one.

Although Nano’s condition is not common, she seems to have found a kindred spirit. Her best friend Svien, who still considers himself human, also feels he is partially cat. It’s a little confusing, but as Nano puts it, “He is human but have someone in his head that is a cat, and I am born as a cat.”

The two even claim to “communicate in cat language” with each other,  even translating snippets of human conversation into meows for the reporter.

But there’s one small inconsistency between Nano and Svien’s exchange and cat culture: cats don’t actually meow as a form of conversational language, but rather, to express their emotions to their humans.

While Nano’s psychologist says that she’ll grow out of her cat identity, she claims that this will never happen because her “genetic defect” is permanent.  Nano says that she was “born in the wrong species.”

There’s one bit of information missing, and you know what it is: DOES SHE USE A LITTER BOX?

I found a video.  Contrary to her claim, her DNA does NOT prove she’s a cat!

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Also from IHeartCats is a very heartwarming story; the headline tells the tail:

101-Year-Old Woman And Oldest Shelter Cat Become A Purr-Fect Match

Meet Senior Cat Gus:

Excerpts from the article:

A cat named Gus was 19 years old when he arrived at a shelter. His family was heartbroken to give him up, but a sudden life-changing situation left them with no choice. The shelter promised to give Gus lots of love, but they knew he deserved a more suitable environment for his senior years.

Upon arriving, Gus got a health screening that showed he was in excellent condition for almost 20 years old. He was still very active and loving despite everything. Senior pets are often the last to get adopted, but luckily, Gus’ perfect family found him sooner than expected.

A cat named Gus was 19 years old when he arrived at a shelter. His family was heartbroken to give him up, but a sudden life-changing situation left them with no choice. The shelter promised to give Gus lots of love, but they knew he deserved a more suitable environment for his senior years.

Upon arriving, Gus got a health screening that showed he was in excellent condition for almost 20 years old. He was still very active and loving despite everything. Senior pets are often the last to get adopted, but luckily, Gus’ perfect family found him sooner than expected.

And so a senior cat found its way into a senior’s hands as a replacement for a plush cat:

The Humane Society of Catawba County worried that it would be hard for Gus to find a home because of his age. But to their surprise, someone was looking for a senior cat around the same time.

A few weeks into Gus’ shelter stay, the volunteers received a call from a family looking for a cat for their 101-year-old mother named Penny. Penny’s cat recently passed away, so her kids gave her a plush cat to cuddle with, but it didn’t fill the hole in Penny’s heart. To Penny, a stuffed toy would never live up to the purring of a real cat.

Specifically, the family asked for a senior cat. When they learned about Gus, they fell in love.

. . . Penny would get to enjoy lots of Gus’ cuddles while her family helped care for him. It seemed like the ideal situation for ever

Penny and the Cat (good song title for Elton John). Notice the “Birds” book!

Penny would get to enjoy lots of Gus’ cuddles while her family helped care for him. It seemed like the ideal situation for everyone involved. So, the shelter completed the adoption and sent Gus home with his new loving family.

I’ve always found it sad that cats live around 20 years, while humans live much longer. This means that those of us who love cats and get one or more when we’re fairly young will have to live through their demise. I wish they’d breed cats that could live fifty years!

It didn’t take long for Gus to get comfortable in his new home. According to Bowers, the family said he has “settled in fine and was eating like a horse.” He already loves sitting on Penny’s lap and watching out the window for squirrels.

Senior pets are often overlooked at shelters, but they are usually the most grateful and loving animals out there. So, if you’re looking to adopt a new furry family member, consider meeting some adoptable seniors.

Gus having vicarious fun:

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Finally, lagniappe from reader Gregory, who, when I asked if it was his photo, replied.

Yes, I pulled up behind that truck at a stoplight this morning and then had to follow him for two blocks to get the photo. It was surprising to see that license plate on a burly and lifted pickup truck.

 

h/t: GInger K.

 

Caturday felid trifecta: Armorer for cats; why cats ignore you; cat wins award for “most bizarre insurance claim”

November 12, 2022 • 10:00 am

From Open Culture we have an artist who manufactures armor not just for cats, but also for mice, which makes one envision horrible battles.  Click on the screenshot below to see the article, and then on the video:

An excerpt:

As a child, Jeff De Boer, the son of a sheet metal fabricator, was fascinated by the European plate armor collection in Calgary’s Glenbow Museum:

There was something magical or mystical about that empty form, that contained something. So what would it contain? A hero? Do we all contain that in ourselves?

After graduating from high school wearing a partial suit of armor he constructed for the occasion, De Boer completed seven full suits, while majoring in jewelry design at the Alberta College of Art and Design.

A sculpture class assignment provided him with an excuse to make a suit of armor for a cat. The artist had found his niche.

Using steel, silver, brass, bronze, nickel, copper, leather, fiber, wood, and his delicate jewelry making tools, DeBoer became the cats’ armorer, spending anywhere from 50 to 200 hours producing each increasingly intricate suit of feline armor.  A noble pursuit, but one that inadvertently created an “imbalance in the universe”:

Here’s a 4-minute video introuction to De Boer’s works

Here’s some elaborate cat armor (even the tail is protected!):

Though cats were his entry point, De Boer’s sympathies seem aligned with the underdog – er, mice. Equipping humble, hypothetical creatures with exquisitely wrought, historical protective gear is a way of pushing back against being perceived differently than one wishes to be.

Accepting an Honorary MFA from his alma mater earlier this year, he described an armored mouse as a metaphor for his “ongoing cat and mouse relationship with the world of fine art…a mischievous, rebellious being who dares to compete on his own terms in a world ruled by the cool cats.”

Each tiny piece is preceded by painstaking research and many reference drawings, and may incorporate special materials like the Japanese silk haori-himo cord lacing the shoulder plates to the body armor of a Samurai mouse family.

Mouse armor!:

Another set of mouse armor. The fabrication of the helmet is discussed below:

Additional creations have referenced Mongolian, gladiator, crusader, and Saracen styles – this last perfect for a Persian cat.

You can see more videos on De Boer’s YouTube page.

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From ScienceAlert we learn what we already know (click to read):

First, your pet will listen to you more attentively to other people, but only when all the voices are in that high-pitched baby voice people uses when addressing pets or infants:

In a series of experiments on 16 house cats, researchers have shown feline pets know their owner’s voice. They also behave differently when their owners are talking to them as opposed to another person.

At the sound of a familiar voice, the cats in the study often froze, tails flicking, eyes blinking, or ears twitching – but only when the words were spoken in a register reserved for a cutie pie fluff ball with li’l bitty paws and a big old tum-tum.

If the owner used their typical human voice to utter the same sentence, the cats seemed to sense the speech wasn’t directed at them.

Higher-pitched, short utterances with repetitive sounds are common features of human speech when directed at infants or pets. Dogs, for instance, have been shown to sense both tone and meaning in their owner’s voice.

. . .The findings suggest adult house cats that aren’t used to strangers have only learned to decipher the nuances of their owner’s speech. The closeness of a cat-human relationship, in other words, might be based on experience rather than an innate preference for friendly, intimate qualities in a human voice.

An issue: the cats studied all lived in studio apartments and had only one owner. The design:

To reduce stress to unknown elements, experiments were conducted within each cat’s apartment. Their owner was also always in the room, although they sat silently and did not interact with the cat throughout the trial.

The experimenter, who the cat had met before, would then play a series of audio recordings with 30 seconds break in between. These recordings were previously taped during natural interactions between the cat and its owner, including the calling of the cat’s name.

Afterwards, the pet owner recorded the same words they said to their cat in a tone meant for another human. Finally, a stranger was taped copying the owner’s words and tone in all the scenarios.

When the final audio was played to a house cat, the pet’s behavior only changed when the owner’s voice spoke in a cat-directed way. The cat, for instance, might stop grooming itself to meow back or look towards the sound. Other times, a cat’s response was less obvious, their ears quietly turning to the sound of their owner’s voice while looking otherwise uninterested.

When a stranger’s voice was heard, or their owner’s voice sounded as though it was talking to another human, the cat’s behavior went unchanged.

If you want to read the original paper in Animal Cognition (I haven’t), you can click the screenshot below.

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From msn news we have a story that, well. . . . the headline tells the tail:

Meet Rafa:

Here’s his harrowing tail:

Rafa, a Siberian mix from Seattle, decided he was going on an adventure after he sneaked out the front door of his house this past April while his mom labored to bring some pizza boxes inside. However, this spontaneous trek didn’t exactly go to plan.

Rafa’s owners, Jose and Susan, noticed their cat was missing after it seemed eerily quiet in their house. They set off on a search right away but had no luck. They resumed the next morning, and Susan eventually heard meows in the distance while calling Rafa’s name. The couple found out the noises were coming from a nearby storm drain, so they needed to call for extra help.

Neighbors, the fire department, Seattle Public Utilities staff, and Roto-Rooter employees all united to help save the trapped, freezing feline. The cat, nicknamed Puffy, had plummeted 45 feet down the sloping pipe, and he was up to his neck in freezing water—and an incoming storm was going to fill the pipe with even more water.

The team had to act fast to get Rafa out safely before the storm arrived, but it wasn’t easy. The team worked to cut down obstructing blackberry bushes, dig up the pipe, and cut the pipe open over the course of several hours. Thanks to their hard work, Rafa was finally free and safe in Jose’s arms.

He was rushed to an emergency veterinarian right away and was diagnosed with severe hypothermia and other complications. Thankfully, after spending a week at the ICU, Rafa made a full recovery and was back to his boisterous self in no time.

Here’s actual footage of Rafa being rescued (the video says he was in the ICU for four days, not a week.)

Rafa also won an award given by an insurance company for “most bizarre insurance claim of the year,” but it’s not clear that Rafa’s owners actually filed any claim, and on what basis would they have a claim?

Thanks to Rafa’s wild adventure, he earned the Hambone Award from insurance provider Nationwide. The Hambone Award is given to the most peculiar pet insurance claim of the year, as voted on by the public. Rafa’s family received the winning prize: a $1,000 gift card, a $1,000 donation in their name to a pet charity of their choosing, and the ham-shaped Hambone Award trophy.

Rafa faced some tough competition for the coveted award, beating out 12 other nominees. His competition included an orange cat who became covered in spray foam insulation, a mini Australian shepherd who was stung by a jellyfish-type animal, a Doberman pinscher who scuffled with a raccoon, and a Siamese mix who went for a spin in the dryer.

Russell, a California mixed-breed dog who cracked several teeth after falling face-first onto a concrete step, finished in second place. Rex, a shih tzu from Michigan who lodged a wishbone in his throat, captured the bronze. The families of Russell and Rex were awarded a $500 gift card and $500 donation in their name to a pet charity of their choice.

It turns out from the Hambone Award site above, that Rafa had pet health insurance, which is the basis of the claim.

Having pet health insurance helped Rafa’s pet parents, Jose and Susan, with decisions regarding the life-saving treatment Rafa required. “If we hadn’t had insurance, we would have had to consider every single measure and weigh it out,” Susan said. “In this case, we could just be like ‘No, throw the whole kitchen sink at this problem. Do whatever has to be done,’” she adds.

Finally, you need to see how the “Hmbone Award” got its name:

The Hambone Award was originally named after a dog who ate an entire Thanksgiving ham while stuck in a refrigerator. Finalists for this year’s award were determined following a review of nearly 3.4 million claims submitted by Nationwide members from across the company’s database of more than 1 million insured pets.

Well, that sure wasn’t a Jewish dog!

h/t: Ginger K.

Caturday felid trifecta: Why your cat sheds; this year’s Supreme Cat Show, best Halloween cat costumes, and lagniappe

October 29, 2022 • 9:00 am

My goal, as long as this website persists, is to never miss a Caturday felid. So here we are with three items.

The first comes from LiveScience; click screenshot to read:

Here are the main reasons for adaptive shedding. Causes of “unhealthy shedding” include stress, mite infestation, and issues with the immune system.

Shedding is a regular part of life for animals with hair, and not a waste of effort. Normally, shedding helps to remove dead hair and release natural oils in the skin, according to animal health company Zoetis(opens in new tab). If dead hair does not get removed, skin irritation can result.

In addition, cats and dogs often seasonally undergo molting, or heavy shedding, about twice a year to help them control their body temperature, veterinarian Angela Martin,(opens in new tab) co-founder of Island Veterinary Group in Huntington Station, New York, told Live Science. This usually happens in the spring and the fall; spring shedding helps pets lose their heavy winter coats, whereas fall shedding helps them prepare to grow winter coats, Zoetis noted.

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Every year in Birmingham the “Supreme Cat Show” takes place, described by Wikipedia as a prestigious competition:

The Supreme Cat Show is organised every year by the world’s oldest cat registry, the Governing Council of the Cat Fancy, and takes place each October at the National Exhibition Centre (NEC), in Birmingham, England. Special awards of UK Champion and Supreme Champion can be gained at this show only. A contestant cat wins each show’s “Best in Show” award.

Here are a few pictures of contestants and, at the end, the WINNER (photos and captions from ABC News):

Sue Goodger poses for a photograph with her Sphynx kitten named ‘Archiebald Juan’ after being exhibited at the Governing Council of the Cat Fancy’s ‘Supreme Championship Cat Show’ held in the NEC on Nov. 24, 2012 in Birmingham, England.

Yvette Barber poses for a photograph with her Tabby Colourpoint cat named ‘Firecracker’ after being exhibited at the Governing Council of the Cat Fancy’s ‘Supreme Championship Cat Show’ held in the NEC on Nov. 24, 2012 in Birmingham, England.

I like this big chonk:

Rosa Wardle poses for a photograph with her cat named ‘Blue Snowman’ after being exhibited at the Governing Council of the Cat Fancy’s ‘Supreme Championship Cat Show’ held in the NEC on November 24, 2012 in Birmingham, England.

Leanne Dawson poses for a photograph with her Abyssinian cat named ‘Strangewaytotell’ after being exhibited at the Governing Council of the Cat Fancy’s ‘Supreme Championship Cat Show’ held in the NEC on Nov. 24, 2012 in Birmingham, England.

And the winner, declared on October 22 (an appropriate tribute to Jerry Lee Lewis, who just died):

SUP UK OG Imp Gr Pr Cheham Chantilly Lace
(RGM n 03 21 32)

Owner: Ellen Camilleri

Breeders:  Chris Powell & Allen Wells

Image copyright Shirlaine Forrest

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From World’s Best Cat Litter (click on screenshot), we have 23 of the best Halloween costumes for cats, and where you can buy them. I’ll show four of my favorites, but there are 19 more at the link.

Rodeo Kitty, from Amazon:

 

Bat Cat from Amazon:

Spider Cat from Wal-Mart:

Stegosaurus Cat from Chewy. Matthew would love this one, but it’s out of stock.

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Lagniappe:  According to the Times of London, this instrument might be obsolete, but for good reason (click on screenshot):

Of all the artefacts of traditional culture, few are so quintessentially Japanese as the musical instrument known as the shamisen.

An elongated, three-stringed banjo with a piercing twangy note, it is the instrument played by geisha in their tea houses, and the accompaniment to folk songs and classical plays. But now the future of the shamisen is in jeopardy because of a shortage in the material that gives it its distinctive tone — the skins of cats.

Shamisen are made out of mulberry wood, sandalwood, silk and ivory. But the most important ingredient is the hide, which is tightly stretched over the sound box — the cured skin of the domestic cat.

To wit:

For decades after the war, there were professional cat-nappers who supplied shamisen-makers with the skins of strays, but changing attitudes to animal rights in a nation of ardent pet lovers have made their work impossible.

For a while, cat skins were imported from China, or substituted with inferior dog leather, but these too are now regarded as morally unacceptable. Shamisen-makers have offered to use the skins of some 70,000 cats that are put down every year, but to no avail.

Yearly production of the instrument has dropped from 18,000 in 1970 to about 3,000 in 2017.

h/t: Malcolm, Ginger K.

Caturday felid trifecta: Marx for cats; world’s oldest living cat dies; why your cat doesn’t follow orders; and lagniappe

October 22, 2022 • 9:30 am

Yes, there’s a book coming out called “Marx For Cats”, and it’s apparently not a joke, according to David Rieff’s Substack column. As he notes:

Duke University Press is about to publish Marx for Cats: A Radical Bestiary by a professor at the City University of New York named Leigh Claire La Berge. The gambit of the book, Professor La Berge writes, “is that the history of Western Capitalism can be told through the cat and that doing so reveal a heretofore unrecognized animality at the heart of Marx’s critique.” Cats, it seems, “have long been creatures of economic critique and communist possibility.” However, Professor La Berge insists, “a specter is haunting Marxism, the specter of the cat and the time has come for a feline critique, both of capitalism and of Marxism.”

It would be pleasant to imagine that Professor La Berge was mounting an elaborate, Alan Sokol-style prank (including on Duke University Press), but this is anything but the case. To the contrary – guess what? – the joke’s on us: she is in deadly earnest. There is even a video on, yes, MarxforCats.com in which La Berge in all seriousness explains key Marxian concepts to an audience of cats, going so far as to pose questions to them such as, “What is a commodity?”, and then, “Is art a commodity?” At one point, she even them a passage from Marx’s text, “Bourgeois Revolutions.”

Rieff doesn’t pull punches about what he thinks of the book:

What would a generation ago have been called delusional – the stuff of people in lunatic asylums who imagined themselves to be Christ or Cleopatra – is now called cutting edge critical theory. . .

. . . If ever there were a demonstration of what one sardonic person on twitter, who styles herself ‘Uppity Witch,’ and tweets at @senjii2022, has called the “deep vein of puerile immaturity that drives modern culture,” it is Marx for Cats. And yet increasingly that is precisely what not only what the humanities within the Academe have become, but also what the culture in general has become: a subsidized play pen in which those within its confines produce nothing so productive as a sand castle, but instead deliver their daft fancies with a passionate conviction born of the belief that theirs is not a but the emancipatory project of our time. I do not see how such a culture can be saved, nor any earthly reason why it should be mourned, and only hope to live long enough to assist at its funeral rites.

Well, judge for yourself. The book isn’t yet listed on the author’s webpage on Amazon, so you’ll have to listen to the videos below.

There are ten videos on the Marx for Cats Vimeo page, but I couldn’t be arsed to do more than sample them.

And here’s the video. Note: it’s 96 minutes long. Author Leigh Claire is introduced at 6:15 in, gives her spiel for 30 minutes, and then she has a conversation with the moderator. After listening to some of these, I wouldn’t recommend spending much time; these are snoozerinos. The only good bit are the kitties, to which she lectures in deadly earnest (see here, for instance).

 

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From I Heart Cats, we learn of the sad passing of the world’s oldest cat. Click on the screenshot to read:

The moggy’s name was Rubble:

Ordinarily, when we think about a cat living for a really long time, an age around 20 will likely come to mind. But one feisty feline named Rubble shattered the previous record by making it to the ripe old age of 31.

After living his life without many health problems, Rubble suddenly became ill and passed away shortly before his 32nd birthday.

By reaching the age of 31, (150 in human years) Rubble managed to narrowly beat the former record holder, Scooter the Siamese. The Texas native had lived to be 30 years old before he passed away in 2016.

Michele, Rubble’s mom, was gifted the stunning Maine Coon right around her 20th birthday. It was shortly after she moved out of her parent’s place, and she had found living alone to be lonely. It was perfect timing that a friend of her sister was looking for homes for a litter of kittens. The pair had been together ever since.

I think they’ve got it wrong here. If you look at Wikipedia’s list of oldest cats, you’ll find these who have beat Rubble:

. . . not long before his upcoming birthday, Rubble stopped eating his beloved favorite foods and opted only to drink water instead. This is when his family realized that Rubble was nearing the end of his time here on earth.  The owner said this:

“He became very thin. I went to work as usual and when I got home my husband said Rubble had gone over the road as he did every day and never came back, so we believe he went off to die as cats do.”

RIP, Rubble. You may not have held the record, but you ha a good run.  BTW, Creme Puff and Granpa Rexs Allen, were owned by the same guy. It’s worth investigating them, especially to see the diet to which their staff attributed the cats’ longevity.

Here’s a 30th birthday shot:

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Here’s an article from Science Norway that explains why you can’t get your cat to follow orders. Click on screenshot to read:

The answer is pretty obvious, and much of it is based on their evolutionary history and how they were domesticated (remember, nearly all wild cats, including the closest ancestor of house cats, are solitary:

The reason why it can be hard to get a cat to do what you want is that a cat does not basically accept the premise that you are the boss. Or even that there are bosses.

Moreover, according to the biologist John Bradshaw the cat doesn’t even think of us as a different species. It thinks we are big cats.

As cats have not been bred over the millennia like dogs, they are not as domesticated. They have been kept for their natural ability to keep rodent populations down, but have never been bred to perform any special function.

They are not designed by nurture or nature to fetch sticks or guard the house. And as 85 percent of cats mate with wild males, the species has remained relatively wild.

Bradshaw says that the way cats relate to humans is driven more by instincts than by learned behaviour.

Actually, you can train cats, as you’ll know if you’ve seen videos of performing cats in “cat circuses”. Of course they can’t do anything more elaborate

Here’s the author’s list for how to train a cat if you’re foolish enough to try. The bon mot of Samuel Johnson applies here:

“Sir, a woman’s preaching is like a dog’s walking on his hind legs. It is not done well, but you are surprised to find it done at all.”

Checklist for training cats:

  • Have patience.
  • Find the reason for the problem.
  • Use a reward as an inducement: If the cat will not use its cage, reward it every time it gets close to the cage. Then give it more if it steps inside it.
  • Use phrases like ‘good’ or ‘smart kitty’ and do so right before giving the cat something good or petting it. Then it will associate the phrase with an agreeable moment and this will be a reward in itself.
  • Clicker training, more commonly used on canine than feline training, might work with your cat.
  • Never use punishments.
  • Scents can help. There are special cat sprays that can be applied on spots to make the location feel safe and recognizable for the cat. Or you can use the cat’s own scent by petting it with cotton gloves, especially in the areas of its scent glands around its cheeks and ears. Then you rub the scent around the area where you want the cat to feel secure and comfortable.
  • And remember: A kitten is easier to train than an adult cat.

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Lagniappe: The world’s biggest cat (I won’t vouch for it) has also passed away. Click on screenshot:

Weighing an impressive 28lbs. and reaching lengths of four feet, Samson, also called Catstradamus, was an enormous cat. As a Maine Coon, he was expected to be large as the males of the breed average 13 – 18 pounds and lengths of up to 40 inches. Making others in his breed look like little kitties, Samson was something else with his amazing size. But at ten years old, his big body was feeling its size and age.

On Instagram, dad Jonathan Zurbel explained that hip dysplasia and osteoarthritis sometimes made it difficult for Samson to walk. But with his family giving due diligence to their furry king’s quality of life, Samson still enjoyed a good living. But an unexpected trip to the vet changed everything, and suddenly, Samson was gone, leaving his family, including kitty sibling Dante, to mourn their deal furry angel.

Here’s the huge cat:

The site gives more details, and here’s an Instagram post.

h/t: cesar

Caturday felid trifecta: A real Ceiling Cat; paintings of cats stealing food; world’s most matted cat loses two pounds of fur; and lagniappe

October 15, 2022 • 10:15 am

From Justsomething (click link below) we hear of a genuine Ceiling Cat in Japan.

Cats are famously sneaky; there’s a reason why particularly stealthy burglars are called cat burglars.

A group of Japanese office workers were reminded of this fact when a cat unexpectedly targeted their office.

This sneaky kitty wasn’t stealing, though. He was using his stealth for something else:

Perhaps the cat was just trying to make sure that everyone was focused on their work and doing their best.

We’re certain that we’d all have better work ethic if we knew this cute kitty was keeping a close eye on us.

Better work ethic my tuchas! I’d spend all my time looking at the cat, and trying to find out if it needed to be rescued:

But now I discover that the original Ceiling Cat may be bogus—it may be a floor cat.

The original meme:

And an analysis from reddit, suggesting that the cat is standing on a floor and looking through a hole in the wall. True?  The “floor” looks to me like the cat’s fur.  You be the judge.

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The Great Cat is undoubtedly the best source for cat art, arranged by artist and copiously documented. Here’s one of their artists,

Here’s a cat artist of interest (click on screenshot to see his feline-related oeuvre:

I can’t copy and paste from that site, so here are the details about Desportes:

Here are a few paintings by Desportes of cats as thieves, but go to the site to see the rest:

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From LoveMeow we have a long-haired cat whose fur was so long and matted that it had to be sheared off, yielding two pounds of fur.  Clickbelow to

The text is indented.  The first photo is the cat as it was brought in.

Mattie, an orange cat, was brought into York County SPCA needing a lot of help. He was so severely matted that he had to be transported in a dog crate.

The tabby was spotted outside as a stray in Hanover, Pennsylvania by a community member. “Mattie was the worst matted animal I’ve ever seen in my career. The mats were so large and heavy that it was hard to see where his actual body was,” Dr. Weekes, the York County SPCA Shelter Medical Director said.

Mattie could barely move and was understandably scared and anxious. The medical team immediately began working on him.

They were able to safely shave off his matted locks, which weighed in at about 2 1/2 pounds. Staff continued to care for Mattie post procedure and provided medical treatment and plenty of TLC to ensure a smooth recovery for the deserving boy.

“They offered affection when he showed interest, gave him space when he needed it, provided socialization and enrichment,” York County SPCA shared.

Mattie shaved!:

Mattie’s beautiful fluffy coat grew back over time and gave him a magnificent lion’s mane. His personality emerged and he started seeking affection and head scritches. He was estimated to be 10 years old and had a few health issues, including diabetes.

“After several months recovering at the York County SPCA, Mattie has transformed from a suffering stray to a handsome, kind man who’s ready for many happy years ahead.”

Here he is as a lion cat.

The story adds that Chandler Scull, a veterinary technician who’d just lost a diabetic cat, saw Mattie (who also had diabetes) and decided instantly adopt him:

A few months prior to meeting Mattie, Chandler lost her beloved diabetic cat, Tulip, and it left a void in her heart. “There was still a hole in our home. When I saw Mattie’s face in those pictures, I realized what that hole was.”

She reached out to the shelter to inquire about Mattie, and it turned out to be the perfect match. About a week later, Chandler and her boyfriend, Dan, traveled halfway across the state to bring Mattie home.

For the first few days, Mattie’s health issues made his transition into a new home a bit challenging. Chandler who is experienced in feline diabetes management, was able to stabilize him through supportive care, fluids, and syringe feeding.

“Thankfully, I have the equipment, supplies, and experience to do so from home, which helps keep his stress as low as possible. After several days and a lot of TLC, Mr. Mattie is on the upswing,” Chandler shared with Love Meow.

And now the matted cat (the obvious source of his name, is healthy and has a loving home:

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Lagniappe: “Missing cat returns home, rings doorbell”, one decent piece from Huffpost (text is indented). Click to watch below:

A missing cat proved she wasn’t missing after all thanks to a cordial return to her New York home.

Stefanie Whitley, a Long Island woman who owns 8-year-old cat Lily, said her beloved feline went missing roughly two weeks after a recent move to Mastic Beach, WPIX-TV reported.

Whitley said she was worried that Lily, who enjoys being “outdoors and exploring,” would react differently to her new home.

Her suspicions were on the nose but, despite being gone for four days, Lily later proved to her family she wasn’t going to leave them in their new residence.

Whitley said she and her family were “startled” when their Ring doorbell was activated one night.

A Ring doorbell notification appeared on their TV and it revealed Lily had returned to their doorstep.

Click video to play it:

“We all gasped. We were laughing. We were emotional. We were crying. It was a great moment,” Whitley said.

Whitley explained to People that Lily appeared to be “mimicking” her kids and meowing “mom” to the camera upon her return.

The feline has continued to use the method to signal her return home since then, her owner told the news site.

Whitley told WPIX-TV that she isn’t sure how Lily found the family’s home but she believes she understands how Ring works.

“Every time the notification goes off, she’ll look toward the door. She knows what she’s doing,” Whitley said.

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h/t: John, Ginger K., Merilee

 

Caturday felid trifecta: Cats and Jews; espionage cats, motorcycle moggie; and lagniappe

October 8, 2022 • 8:15 am

I may be debilitated, but the Caturday felids will persist!

This article comes from a site call Aish, which aims to “create a culture of Jewish learning, with three million Jews around the globe learning, incorporating, and sharing timeless Jewish wisdom and values.” Today’s “timeless Jewish values” involve cats: 8 “Jewish facts” about them. Click to read; any quotes are indented:

Here are the facts; each is accompanied by an explanation in the article:

1.) Cats were worshipped in ancient Egypt.  Yes, but what does that have with Jews?

2.) Jews have kept cats since ancient times.

The Talmud describes cats living in Jewish homes in ancient times. They were particularly prized for their ability to hunt snakes and keep residents safe. The Jewish sage Rav Pappa was thought to have counseled against entering houses that had no cats in them at night, lest one step on a snake accidentally (Talmud Pesachim 112b:10).

3.) You can learn modesty from a cat.

Every cat owner knows how neat and fastidious our feline friends can be.  Their  neat qualities were  recognized by the great sage Rabbi Yohanan who noted that we can learn many good traits from animals. He counseled that “Even if the Torah had not been given, we would nonetheless have learned modesty from the cat…” (Talmud Eruvin 11b:29). Something to think about the next time you watch your cat obsessively clean itself and its litter box.

4.) Caring for pets and feeding them first. 

. . . Jewish law states you must feed your pet before feeding yourself (Talmud Gittin 62,Berachot 40a).  Rabbi Moshe Feinstein (1895-1986) advised us to develop an extra sensitivity when it comes to our pets, and suggested that we not so much as taste a bite of food before making sure that our animals are fed.

5.) Cats inspire us as fierce hunters.

. . . When it comes to cats, King David singled out their magnificent hunting abilities.  A cat sings, “I pursued my foes and overtook them, and did not return until they were destroyed” (Psalms 18:38).  It’s a stirring image, using the instantly recognizable instance of a cat stalking its prey to inspire us to similar bravery in battle.

6.) Cats stimulate our human need to love. 

According to the Rabbi Eliyahu Dessler (1892-1953), many of us think about love all wrong. Love doesn’t lead to giving. It’s the opposite: by giving, we come to love.

Ergo, take care of your moggy satisfied the human need to connect and love. (This is Jewish wisdom?)

7.) Two million cats in Israel.

Today, Israel is home to over 2 million cats, many of them living wild in cities and towns.  Israel’s warm climate, combined with the generosity of many Israelis who often feed street cats, has allowed the cat population to burgeon.

That may not be a good thing, though!  Finally,

8.) Israelis have developed innovations in cat care.  For example:

Israeli artist Ruth Kedar, who designed Google’s logo, also designed a smart litter box which tells cat owners when the litter needs to be changed. Another Israeli startup, CatGenie, even invented a self-changing litter box.

Well, so be it. You can find anything in the Talmud, including stuff about cats. But you have to hand it to the Jews, for in Christian scriptures, including the new Testament, there is nothing about cats. Only d*gs.  Muslims also love cats; read the Wikipedia article “Islam and cats,” which begins:

The domestic cat is a revered animal in Islam. Admired for their cleanliness, cats are considered “the quintessential pet” by Muslims.

Read the (probably apocryphal) story of Muezza, Muhammad’s cat.

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From How Stuff Works, a spy cat (click to read):

They tried to make cats into acoustic spies! The details:

The Cold War made people do crazy things. The United States government was so desperate to defeat communism that it threw money at any half-baked scheme that would give Americans an advantage over the Soviet menace.

Exhibit A: “Project Acoustic Kitty,” a top-secret CIA research program that tested whether housecats could be used to spy on Soviet operatives. If that sounds like the plot of a bad movie from 1966, it was (with a dog instead of a cat). But it was also a real thing and we have the heavily redacted CIA documents to prove it.

. . .The CIA’s Office of Technical Research and Office of Research and Development spent five years and an estimated $20 million on “Project Acoustic Kitty,” according to Mental Floss. The high price tag came from the high degree of technical difficulty. In an era before microchips and digital devices, the CIA scientists had to figure out how to discreetly equip a cat with a microphone, antenna, transmitter and battery.

In the end, a 3/4-inch (2-centimeter) transmitter was implanted at the base of the cat’s skull, a microphone was stitched into its ear canal, and an antenna was woven into the fur of the cat’s tail.

The cats were supposed to be released and then eavesdrop. Needless to say, the project failed. And the kitties were mutilated:

The results weren’t pretty. Victor Marchetti, a former CIA officer, told The Telegraph in 2001:

“A lot of money was spent. They slit the cat open, put batteries in him, wired him up. The tail was used as an antenna. They made a monstrosity.”
A tweet:

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Informant Michael says this about the video of a motorcycle-riding kitty, who also has an instagram page.

The video is from 2016. The only fakery here is it’s probably a borrowed Harley, usually it’s a piece of Japcrap. The fatso marmalade is Gato Chiquinho AKA the Brazilian Garfield – a resident of the Favela da Rocinha, in Rio de Janeiro along with his hooman Alexandre Goulart. He has a Youtube page & the last video was a year ago.

The cat biker jacket secures him to the petrol tank & there’s a collar around his neck that similarly attaches him – I think the cat adopts that stance on the tank because he has no choice.

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Lagniappe: There’s  new Netflix documentary on cats, sent by Malcolm. The show’s website is here, and you can watch a trailer. Several readers emailed me that it’s an excellent show. Click to go to the site and watch a trailer.

h/t: Malgorzata, Pati, Ginger K., Michael, Merilee