Today is the international Take your cat to the vet day! Unfortunately, little fuzzball doesn’t care about human days. What shall you do?
Start with doing mock checkups at home, to get the kitty used to being poked, prodded and squeezed. Get the cat familiarized with the (preferably) solid carrier let Admiral Wuss-Wuss sleep in it, leave in the living room, and make it a general part of life. Next comes car familiarization: take your cat on small rides, and gently increase their length so that Mittens gets used to it, as well as disassociating rides from vet visits.
Its also a good thing to take a towel or blanket that smells of home with you. Use it to make the kitty calmer in the waiting room, in the procedure area, and even leave this bit of home if overnight stay is required. Having a good rapport with the vet also helps being less stressed and having a caring doctor helps the cat, too!
The group was able to achieve the heartwarming success with their #HomeForTheHolidays promotion, helping them adopt over 25 dogs and 23 cats.
The non-profit shared the news through a triumphant video on their Facebook page, accompanied with the proud message, “What happens when your last available dog gets adopted? Your staff and volunteers jump into the kennels to celebrate!”
The shelter already has new animals in need of homes, and asks that people, “keep those adoptions coming!”
You can adopt, or sponsor an animal’s stay at “Hotel HSPPR” here.
The meow starts off as a kitten vocalization. It’s something they use in order to call their mothers over…the mother is very attentive to those meows. And then as the kitten grows up, it gradually stops meowing, presumably because it just stops working. The mother wants to wean the kittens and stops responding. A pet cat is constantly meowing at its owner. It’s a way of getting the owner’s attention.
Pretty cute, am I right? They’re just trying to talk to us!
Cats like attention, and as you can see from these photobombing felines, they’ll do anything to get it! Whether they’re crashing family photo shoots, private selfies, unsuspecting dogs, or even each other, these cats are on a mission to turn every purrfect picture into an absolute cat-astrophe! Check out this list, compiled by Bored Panda, for some hilarious furry photobombers. Don’t forget to vote for the best!
We all know the premise of Jurassic Park. Humans manage to bring dinosaurs back to life and put them in a park before they escape and wreak all sorts of havoc on the world. Pretty cool idea, but also a pretty scary one.
But you know what would be even scarier? If it wasn’t giant prehistoric reptiles that mankind genetically recreated but giant domestic house cats! OK, so we know it doesn’t sound particularly scary, but just wait until you see the pictures. Forget Jurassic Park, this is Purrassic Park! (h/t: cheezburger)
Christmas is a hard time for so many creatures, hoomins and non-hoomins alike.
These shelter dogs from the Animal Rescue League of Iowa had the time of their lives, however, when staff members allowed them to select a special Christmas toy from underneath the shelter’s Tree of Life.” The shelter sets up the tree every year to help benefit the animals.
Somewhere in the photo below is a cat. I couldn’t find it, I needed someone to point it out (shame!) I don’t want to tell you how long I stared for because it’s embarrassing. What I will tell you is that there is definitely a cat.
Take a look. If you see it right away, congratulate yourself and show it to someone else. If they don’t see it immediately, they’ll be like me, staring aimlessly wondering if it’s a prank.
If you lose patience, scroll to the bottom of the post to see where the cat is. Good luck!
Toilet paper is nothing but a necessity for us, but for animals it is a strange, but funny object. It rolls, it’s soft and it doesn’t taste THAT bad… These little cats have the time of their nine lives!
We needed a quick learner; one small enough to fit into the nooks and crannies cats hide in. Mostly, we needed a dog with no desire whatsoever to chase cats
Molly is the worlds first trained cat detection dog. Her job is to rescue missing moggies. We had been looking for a dog with a particular temperament and intelligence to join our team of pet detectives for 18 months. We had scouts out and had spoken to the countrys top breeders.
We needed a quick learner; one small enough to fit into the nooks and crannies cats hide in. Mostly, we needed a dog with no desire whatsoever to chase cats.
I came up with the idea in 2014. Ihad been doing the job for 20 years and my business, Pet Detectives, was getting around 30 calls a week about missing cats. When cats go to ground, they go into a comatose-like state and if they are not found quickly, within a fortnight, they often dont survive after being rescued.
One particular couple who called me had bought their cat after struggling to have children. We found it in a neighbours garden shed, but it later died. Seeing them so bereft was a tipping point for me.
I worked in the police as adetective inspector for many years, and had seen dogs search for drugs and bombs and help with murder investigations. I figured, if a dog can be trained to find amphetamines, then it can be trained to find cats.
We found Molly, an 18-month-old black-haired cocker spaniel, on Gumtree. She was a giveaway. The ad said: Needs a good home, cannot cope. If cocker spaniels are not stimulated they become uncontrollable. She had been passed from pillar to post and had three owners in under two years.
I first met her in February 2016, at the home of Medical Detection Dogs, the charity that would help train her. We had already rejected 12 dogs without seeing them. Three others didnt make it through initial training: one was too timid, one got car sick and the other was too inclined to chase.
At first, Molly was anxious. But she had intelligent eyes and was a problem-solver. She was also hyper and fixated on catching tennis balls. She had the right temperament: abright working dog from a breed with a natural disposition to search for game. We just had to channel that instinct into finding cats.
She had to be cat-tested, so we took her to a farm with a dozen cats to see if she would chase them. She didnt even bark. Her focus was on interacting with her handler.
Her training took nine months with experts, including two doctors of canine behaviour. This had never been done before. She was aquick learner. The first phase was lab training, where we taught her to isolate scents. She then worked with a behavioural specialist who taught her to understand signals and commands. The final stage was teaching us to work together.
On assignments, Molly is trained to pick up cats scents from their bedding. When she finds the missing cat, she lies down to signal success, so as not to scare them, but you can see her trembling with excitement. She gets rewarded with her super-treat: black pudding.
Her first success was in February this year. A tri-coloured moggy had been sighted six miles from home on the roof of a garden shed. Molly quickly picked up her scent on the grass. I sent her across the back of 30 gardens until she started clawing at a fence. She charged across the lawn to a summer house and lay down. The cat was inside. The owners were over the moon and quite amazed by her.
Molly has helped to rescue 11 cats so far, and our search success has increased by a third. She wears afluorescent harness and has her own abseiling kit, which we once used to lower her over a 10ft wall. Were getting special boots made to protect her feet in outbuildings where there may be nails or glass.
Many people said that training a dog to rescue cats was crazy; that all dogs chased cats and it couldnt be done. Nothing has felt quite so rewarding as seeing it work. People are fascinated when they watch Molly at work, but shes not fussed. She still doesnt know that those things with four legs that she searches for are called cats. To her, itis just her favourite game.
If you own a cat, you are probably acutely aware that they are mad, mischievous mysteries. These curious critters do some incredibly bizarre things that appear to have no immediate explanation remarkably often. Why do they like sitting inside boxes all the time? Whats the deal with them digging their claws into your skin as you diligently pet them? Why do they revel in murderous activity so much?
Scientists have deciphered some of the domesticated felines more errant behaviors. We know that they see us as incapable furless kittens and somewhat competent landlords at the same time. They are, generally speaking, quick-to-enrage control-freaks that act without care or moral fortitude, all in a quest to prove that they are, essentially, tiny lions seeking dominance.
This new animation from TED-Ed goes into the evolutionary back story of the domesticated cats, offering up some possible explanations as to why theyre so thoroughly weird today. Perhaps most remarkably, it explains how their purring may be used to help regenerate damaged tissue.
In any case, theres a lot we still dont know about our furry companions. Inarguably, the most tantalizing question that is still yet to receive a definitive answer is: Are they really terrified of cucumbers?
The algorithm behind Google Photos will now be able to recognize your Very Good dogs and cats automatically, and will group the reams of photos you’ve taken of them just like it does with pics of people. Google announced the new functionality in a blog post, which is alone worth a read for the sheer number of paw puns pulled off in five short paragraphs.
You’ll also be able to assign a label to each grouping of pet photos, so when you’re in need of an Instagram-worthy pupper shot, you can just search your photos by your dog’s name.
Google claims you’ll be able search your photos by breed, too, but the company acknowledged to BuzzFeed that the algorithm could have trouble differentiating between multiple animals within that parameter. You’ll also be able to search using 🐶 and 🐱 emoji through all of your animal images, whether they’re actually your own, or just the funny cat pics you download from the internet.
The new search and organization features are only available for dogs and cats, though. If you love your horse or iguana or massive rideable python, you’re sadly out of luck. You’ll have to organize those pics yourself.
A firefighter emerged with Tink draped over his arm. I assumed she was dead. He put an oxygen mask on her and incredibly, she took a breath and coughed
Early one morning last February, I felt the thud of my cat Tinks paws as she landed on my legs. Iwas fast asleep and she woke me up, which had never happened before. It was completely uncharacteristic: she sleeps downstairs and never comes into the bedroom.
I sat up feeling groggy because Idbeen out the night before, but Isoon realised something was very wrong. The room was half-filled with a layer of white smoke, eerie and alarming, hanging in the air about three feet deep like a bank of white cloud.
I woke up my partner, Russ, in apanic and we jumped out of bed. As we waded through the thick smoke, I was still trying to process exactly what was going on, and the danger only really hit me whenIwent out on to thelanding.
Our son Jake, 19, had woken up, too, and as he opened his brother Scotts door, black smoke billowed out. The smoke from Scotts room curled up to the ceiling; it was only then that the smoke alarm was triggered. Scott, 22, emerged, shouting above the racket that he was struggling to breathe. I phoned the fire brigade, who told us to leave the house as quickly as wecould.
It was a massive wrench, leaving all of our belongings behind, but we knew we had no choice. We assumed Tink had slipped out of thehouse, too.
Within minutes, six fire engines arrived. As I stood blearily in the road, I looked at our house and realised that the source of the fire was actually our next-door neighbours flames were licking the front of her house. She had also managed to get out and was later taken to hospital for smoke inhalation. I dreaded to think what was happening in our house as the smoke poured out of the windows. Icouldnt bear to look.
For half an hour, our two houses were drenched with water until the firefighters were satisfied that the blaze was out. By now, however, our assumption that Tink was safe began to falter. We assumed she hadmanaged to escape, but there was no sign of her. Russ told a firefighter and, even though he wasnt meant to, he went back into our house to look for her.
After a few moments he emerged with Tink, completely limp and draped over his arm. She wasnt breathing and her tongue was hanging out. He had found her behind a cupboard in Jakes room. We assumed she was dead, and Ifelt heartbroken; she had saved us but died in the process. Then the firefighter put an oxygen mask on her and incredibly she took a breath and coughed. She was alive. Groggy and stinking of smoke, but alive. She had an anti-inflammatory injection at the vets later that day and was lively enough to show her displeasure at having the soot washed from her fur.
As our house was drenched and smoke-damaged, we had nowhere to live, so Tink went to my daughter Lesleys while we stayed in a hotel for a month. It took weeks to recover from the trauma of what had happened. One corner of our house had been burnt and all our belongings were ruined. Iwas especially devastated to lose all my photographs and couldnt bear to open a cupboard to see what was salvageable. It all felt dreadful, but at least we were alive.
When we went to visit my daughter, it was clear that Tink had been traumatised, too. She was clingy and timid, refusing to leave my lap when I tried to get up. We have moved into rented accommodation while our house isrenovated and Tink has finally come back to us.
The source of the fire was electrical forensics are gauging exactly what and the smoke had seeped through the vents between our terraced houses. The firefighters told us we would have had six minutes to get out before we died inthe fire, so Tinks sixth sense saved us. She could have deserted us, but she came up to the most dangerous smoke-filled area to warn us. Generally cats arent known for their altruism, but she is the exception.
The Internet will never tire of the strange beauty of an awkwardly placed cat.
This poor feline who is stuck on the stairs, somewhere between a comfy cat-loaf position and actually being able to stand is a perfect example.
We’re sure the cute kitty was able to find a way to another part of the house, but not before a picture was taken for the Internet’s amusement and so Redditors could photoshop it to their hearts’ content.
You made it weird, Internet.
Have something to add to this story? Share it in the comments.
An online Q&A session with Nils Uakovs, the mayor of Latvia’s capital, Riga, was all well and dandy until a fluffy feline made its debut and casually crashed the interview.
Uakovs is an animal lover and has two cats living at Riga’s Town Hall building, so sometimes this means things can get a bit unpredictable. The cat got a little thirsty, strutted onto the scene, and boldly sipped out of the mayor’s cup like it owned the place.
You can see Uakovs trying to stare his pet down so it’d get the hint. He tries to remain cool, but can’t keep a straight face after the adorable interruption.
Cats rule everything around us, even Latvian government work.
The winter blues have finally set in. Sure, the days are “officially” becoming longer, but the weather is definitely also getting colder. In other words, there are few things that will get you out of your warm bed — food, work, and maybe showering are on the list.
If you’re like me, though, there is one thing that warms me up just thinking about it — a big, adorable, fluffy kitten. Get ready to feel all warm and fuzzy inside.
1. “First let’s get the bed all nice and warm for ya!”
The world isnt divided into cat and dog people, but pet and petty ones
To celebrate International Cat Day this week, Facebook put its best and brightest to work on this groundbreaking study: cat people are single; dog people like horrible movies.
As I read through the descriptions of things cat people like reading The Hobbit alone in a basement, apparently I was like, Thank god Im not a cat person. And as I read through the things that dog people like watching Duck Dynasty in a group I was definitely like, Dogs are the worst. I am, as scientifically confirmed by my dislike of all the things cat people and dog people love (including cats and dogs), not a cat or dog person. But try as I might, the cat v dog debate is not one Ive been able to avoid.
Ive always been a little surprised how often it comes up. Yes, I know its supposed to be lighthearted fun, but its still everywhere. Ive been asked if Im a cat or dog person in job orientations, on online dating questionnaires, at cocktail parties. My answer has usually been, Im whatever type of person doesnt ask pointless questions.
And as I was rolling my eyes in judgment of the tastes of both types of people as described in the Facebook study, I realized there are two types of people in the world, but they arent dog people and cat people: they are pet people and petty people, and Im the latter.
I scorn both cat and dog people alike. I wrinkle my nose in disdain at your pet pics. I judge your movie choices whether you are a cat person who loves Alien or a dog person who loves the Blind Side. I laugh inwardly at whatever music it is you listen to (which this study didnt cover, but Im going to go ahead and be petty and assume its awful, whatever it is).
I dont want your dogs slobber on me, and I dont want your cats hair on me. I cant tell if that picture you posted on Facebook is of a new cat or an old cat because all cats look like cats to me. I will not attend your pet weddings. I will not celebrate your pet birthdays. And unless your pet has learned how to tell some great jokes, I firmly believe it has no place in dinner party discussion.
And, petty as I am, Im really sick of this cat v dog discussion excluding people like me. So, using Facebooks ultra-scientific information on cat and dog people (pet people) and my own personal knowledge (petty people), Ive decided to reframe this data in a way that includes me and my petty brethren. Youre welcome.
Books and movies
Cat people tend to like sci-fi and fantasy, while dog people like books about love and animals, according to Facebooks data wizards. That is: pet people like books and movies. Petty people like Twitter beefs, Instagram fights and YouTube response videos.
The only thing better than seeing a dog on a normal day is seeing a dog dressed up in a geeky costume for Halloween. Each of these Star Wars pet costumes come in small, medium, large, and extra large, so regardless of if you have a Maine Coon cat, Chihuahua or a bulldog, the nerding out possibilities are endless.
The only thing cuter than dressing your pet up as Chewie is if you dress up as Han Solo with them. The best part is that when you return from the Halloween party, you can say “Chewie, we’re home” and then chuckle to yourself.
College students do too much. Theyre in a unique part of their lives hopping from class to class, balancing internships and part-time jobs. They have an infinite amount of student organizations at their fingertips and somehow find time to live by a social calendar. On top of all these commitments, the fact that some of them can handle owning a pet is a mystery.
The truth is many find out they cant. But that doesnt stop the romantic idea from forming. A roommate speaks the thought into the air, it gets momentum, and becomes a doable possibility in everyones heads”I can totally skip class to walk the dog so he doesnt chew up my shoes again,” or “sure, I can eat Ramen to afford a trip to the vet this month.”
They often end up at an animal shelter, having made a pact on the car ride there that they wouldn’t walk out with a pet. Before they know it, they’re on their way home with the furriest member of their tiny, student apartment household.
University of Texas student Kendal Tieu and her three roommates found themselves in a similar situation in October when they heard about a free adoption weekend at the Humane Society in Austin, Texas.
I wanted one but I knew realistically it wasnt a good idea. It was just kind of a spur-of-the-moment thing, Tieu told the Daily Dot.
Once they set eyes on a three-month-old black lab pup named Maggie, they were sold.
But after a couple of weeks of Maggies messes and pent-up energy from not being able to go outsidedue to their complex’s policy barring them from owning pets and the puppys lack of a parvo vaccinethe roommates were forced into a corner.
Someone would message the group and they would be really upset and you could tell they would be really upset over what Maggie did or having her, Tieu said. So someone was like, ‘Well we should really sit down and talk about it.’
The group decided it would be best to return the dog to the Humane Society. They tearfully drove Maggie back that afternoon.
Tieu and her roommates are hardly the only students who have experienced such a predicament. Countless pet postings are shared on UT Pets, a Facebook page that connects pet lovers and owners who attend the University of Texas. The group features everything from pet-raising tips, veterinary care suggestions, and cute pictures of animals. Students who find themselves incapable of keeping a pet turn to the page to post informal adoption notices, often shaking up this animal-protective community.
Just today, UT Pets is ripe with 423 postings for petsthe majority of them students needing to give away an animal. (Some are pet supplies on sale.)
Even if these people were irresponsible, theyre going to have to give up the pet somehow, said Kelsie Grimes, founder and administrator of UT Pets. I would rather have it go to a responsible UT student than just go to a shelter where you never know whats going to happen to it.
Its not hard to be seduced by the benefits of owning a pet. Having a furry pal to take on refreshing walks has a therapeutic effect on your average, stressed college kid. Those study breaks go a long way to maintaining mental health and wellness. When tragedy strikes, pets are a useful friend to have around. Eighteen percent of college students reported that their pet helped them through a difficult time, according to a research study at Ohio State University. The top reason students cited as being the most useful part of owning a pet is that it helps counter loneliness.
University of Texas sophomore Madison Holloway feels the same way about her puppy.
When I come home and Im having a bad day or Ive just bombed a test and I walk in through the door, hes just so happy that Im back. Holloway said. He doesnt even care. He just wants to cuddle and play. Its kind of the best thing ever, having something unconditionally love you.
Having a lighter schedule than usual this semester, she determined she would have the time necessary for raising a puppy. At the end of Christmas break, Holloway met Finn, a six-week-old Australian shepherd puppy, who is now an 11-week-old Instagram celebrity.
We made him an Instagram and we started taking him places around campus and taking cool pictures of him and then posting it to it, Holloway said. A few weeks and 34 photos later, Finn garnered a 2,215-person following. All these students are watching Finn grow up online.
Holloway has nailed the balance between student life and being a pet parent, budgeting an extra $150 every month and planning breaks throughout her day to come home and check on Finn.
If you have to regularly balance a busy schedule and are considering owning a pet, keep these warnings in mind:
“If you have a giant block scheduledont get a puppy. It wont work out well for him,” Holloway said. “Hell be unhappy, he wont get enough exercise and everything.”
It’s also helpful to research the breed ahead of time, according to Holloway. If you’re an active person, it’s safe to get an active dog. If not, then you’ll risk not being able to keep up with your dog’s exercising needs.
But it’s not all about considering the pet. After owning Maggie as a college student, Tieu said research and communication between people sharing a space is the big problem students don’t consider.
“If you live with roommates you guys should talk it out more,” Tieu said. “Even if youre just by yourself, if youve never had a dog before or maybe youve had a dog but your parents mainly took care of it, you should do more research beforehand just so you know what youre getting yourself into.”
Philippa Perry on her struggle with total devotion to her cat, Kevin
Pets can highlight your mental health issues. Ask my late dad how he was, he would tell you, Fine. If you wanted more information, it was best to ask him how the dog was. Oh, the dog is depressed. My dad was doing what Freud described as projection. This is when you split off a part of you that is too shameful for you to own and project it on to someone else and you believe your stuff is their stuff. My father could not own his vulnerability, but he could dump it on his dog. I hope I would be far too self-aware to project on to my pet. Id hate to think I was that dotty, but the magazine has just asked if they can send a photographer round. Kevin isnt too keen on photos, I said.
Our cat Kevin had been a stray and came to us from Battersea two years ago when he was around six months old. His body was the size of a can of extra-strong lager. That tubular torso would press against me all night, sometimes stretched alongside me, sometimes curled up in my armpit. In the evening, he would start on a lap but his thin body would elongate itself from your ankles to your thighs like a furry tube. He was playful, affectionate and excellent at being a cat.
We followed the Battersea instructions of keeping him indoors for a month and then only let him out accompanied until he knew where to come back to. When he was ready for unaccompanied roaming, I tried to get a collar on him, but however tight I made it, he could spring it off. Even if he left the house with a collar on, he came back without it. Then one day he did not come back at all. The first time he went missing, he turned up at the Blacksmith and the Toffee Maker, a gastro pub half a mile from our house. He was returned to us swiftly by the landlord, who had taken him to the vet to get his microchip read. Getting Kevin microchipped was a very good idea. My fantasy is that he had chased the pubs resident cat all the way home and then did not know how to get back.
How to describe how you fall in love with a cat? First, the softness of their fur and their choice of your ankles to rub around makes you melt a bit. Secondly, you get used to their presence in your home and come to rely on it for company; and thirdly I think we project our love for ourselves on to our animals and believe it is coming back our way. I like to think Kevin really does love me. Whether he does or not, I love him. For most of my adult life I have lived with a cat, sometimes two, and once I lived with three. I came to appreciate their individual characters and the different ways they kept me company, amused and comforted. But my love for Kevin seems more intense.
There is a type of interaction adopted by cults and abusers when they want total devotion from you, called intermittent positive reinforcement. They start the relationship by heaping praise and appreciations on to you and then gradually begin to mock you, or ignore you, or dish out other types of cruelty so you try harder to win back that approval that you became addicted to. Kevin, having got me smitten, now occasionally ignored me, or bit me if his food bowl got as low as half-empty. Oh, sorry Kevin, Id say, and do his bidding. People who are susceptible to intermittent positive reinforcement tend to be those who have an insecure attachment style. This means they feel insecure in their relationships and compelled to work extra hard at adapting, being too nice or too paranoid, and check up on their significant other as they cannot assume, like a secure person does, that their partner will not stray.
I have been in a loving and stable relationship for 30 years I believed myself cured; thought I was now secure. My unhappy youth, when romantic attachment was about the pain of longing rather than the joy of love, was, I thought, truly behind me, yet Kevin had reignited the feeling of longing.
Saleh Bin Fawzan Al-Fazwan appeared on TV in mid-April.
Stop it with the selfies.
That’s the message from a prominent Saudi cleric who was asked about the “new trend” of people taking photos with cats in order to “be like the Westerners.”
Saleh bin Fawzan al-Fawzan, a member of the Saudi Council of Senior Scholars, made the statments during a TV appearance posted in mid-April and translated by the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI).
Asked several times about a “new trend of taking pictures with cats” that has been spreading among people, the cleric replies “What?!” before saying, “What do you mean pictures with cats? Taking pictures is prohibited.”
Fawzan’s stance isn’t specific to cats themselves, but ratherstems from an ultra-conservative, Wahhabi interpretation of Islam which considers photography blasphemous for depicting human or animal images.
The cats dont matter here, he said. Taking pictures is prohibited if not for a necessity, not with cats, not with dogs, not with wolves, not with anything.
A similar pronouncement was issued earlier in May, when another Saudi cleric, Nasser al-Omar, called on the faithful to stop using filters on Snapchat. He claimed they are “sinful” as they are “distorting the image of the human face and the creation of God just to make people laugh.”
However, selfies and photographs are extremely popular in the Gulf kingdom and unlikely to be banned for real, despite the opposition of some hardline clerics.
Muslim pilgrims even take selfies during the Hajj, the pilgrimage to Mecca that is a mandatory religious duty for all Muslims at least once in a lifetime:
Carli Davidson is a 34-year-old animal rights activist and photographer from Portland, Oregon. Her latest project, “Shake Cats,” captures more than 60 felines, most of them rescues, as they shake their heads after grooming or being petted. A book by the same name is being published today.
Davidson began her career photographing birds of prey at the Oregon Zoo. In 2013, she published a book titled “Shake,” which we covered on Bored Panda.
“I was inspired by the animals in my life, mainly my dog Norbert who had so much drool to give the world, and my walls for that matter, ” Carli told Bored Panda. “I wanted to work with mostly rescues so we reached out to local shelters and friends who had rescued their cats…One of my favorite things about working with animals is that about 30-45 minutes has to be factored in per animal to make them happy, which makes me so happy. Lots of treats, and pets, and just sitting on the floor together.”
(CNN)Barren, wind-swept rock is all I can see through the telescope.
But my Ladahki associate assures me that “shan is there,” and I trust him since he is one of the best wildlife spotters in all of the Himalayas.
At last, on a ridgeline a mile distant, the snow leopard (shan in Ladahki) slowly lifts its head, yawns, shifts slightly to find a more comfortable position on the exposed boulder, and lays back down.
Even at this distance I see the cat’s thick fur being tousled by the biting wind on the mountain ridge 17,000 feet (5,000 meters) up.
Superbly adapted to life in the highest, coldest and most rugged mountains on the planet, the snow leopard seems content to continue its midday nap. Less well adapted, I retreat to the village below our vantage point.
Seeing a wild snow leopard is rare due to their inaccessible habitat, how few exist and how sparsely they occur across their vast range.
Known as the “ghost of the mountains,” snow leopards inhabit the major ranges of Asia, including the Altai, Tian Shan, Kunlun, Pamirs, Karakoram, Hindu Kush and Himalayas.
Only 4,500 to 10,000 of the elusive cats roam roughly 800,000 square miles of precipitous terrain from southern Siberia in the north to India in the south, and east to west from Uzbekistan to Yunnan, China.
This may explain why the sleepy snow leopard in Ladakh, India was only the seventeenth I have seen in over two decades of studying and working to conserve the species.
Remote but not isolated
While I am extremely fortunate to have seen even one of these magnificent beasts in their natural surroundings, the many humans, mostly pastoralists, who share Asia’s high peaks with snow leopards are somewhat less enamored with the stealthy predator.
Snow leopards subsist on wild mountain-dwelling hoofed animals such as ibex, bharal and markhor.
Domestic sheep and goats whose predator avoidance skills have been mostly lost, provide livelihoods for humans in the dry cold region where other forms of agriculture yield minimal returns.
Snow leopard habitat is often labeled as “remote” but that’s a relative term.
It is not “remote” to the large human population that pushes ever deeper into central Asia’s high valleys seeking grazing land for their herds.
There are few snow leopards who don’t interact with humans and their livestock at some point. Thus, the elements of conflict are all present and many snow leopards are killed in retaliation for preying on livestock.
Blame cannot be laid at either’s feet — snow leopards apply a highly evolved skill to gain a meal and a poor shepherd defends his flock to feed his own family.
A path to coexistence has long been sought by snow leopard conservationists.
National laws, international treaties and protected areas all play a role in saving endangered species such as snow leopards, but lacking participation of the people who live with the cats, true conservation success would be elusive.
Social science as much as biology guides snow leopard conservation today and yields remedies equitable to people and cats.
When herders in Pakistan explained they lost more livestock to disease than to predators, offering a vaccination program in exchange for tolerance of a few losses to snow leopards was an obvious, and quite successful solution.
In Ladakh, India and the Pamirs of Tajikistan, the root cause of conflict is removed by helping herders build predator-proof corrals.
Where corrals are not feasible, community-managed livestock insurance programs lessen the financial impact of predation.
On the Tibetan Plateau of China, Buddhist monks help monitor snow leopard numbers with automated cameras and use the images to encourage their followers to protect the cats.
It is moving to see 10,000 people at a Buddhist festival pledge to protect snow leopards for the rest of their lives. These are but a few of the many examples of how people who once feared snow leopards have become their stewards.
Is the snow leopard now safe?
Closer, but loss of native prey, poaching for hides and bones (valued in traditional Asian medicine), and the potentially serious impacts of climate change on their fragile high-elevation habitat still mean an uncertain future for snow leopards.
It may be time to throw out the old dog years rule, you know, the one that says multiply a dog’s age by seven to get his “human” age. A 10-year-old dog would be the equivalent of a 70-year-old person under this rule.
Just like us, dogs — and cats — are living longer and for many of the same reasons: better medical care, improved diet, and an understanding that couch potatoes with four legs run some of the same health risks as couch potatoes with two.
And also just like us, our pets’ longevity needs to be accommodated. Here are some things that those with fur babies should know:
1. Small dogs live longer than big ones.
Chihuahuas, one of the smallest dog breeds, live 15 to years on average. Your Great Dane? Expect to say goodbye to him much sooner.
2. We are all what we eat.
Our domesticated pets rely on us to feed them and, by all intents and purposes, we have risen to the occasion. At the same time that you shovel into your mouth something from the World Health Organization’s bad-for-you list (and you know very well what we’re talking about), you will drive out of your way for a bag of the organic good stuff for your dog. No cans of over-processed mystery meats for your big guy, am I right?
3. We lavish love with our wallets.
In 2014, Americans spent $58 billion on their pets and they’re on track to spend more than $60.5 billion this year, according to the American Pet Product Association. We spent $6.2 billion on grooming and treats for our pets in 2012 which — according to The Atlantic — is more money than Facebook made in advertising revenue that same year. Of the $58 billion we spent in 2014, nearly half was spent on veterinary care, which leads us to ….
4. Everyone has the same messed up health insurance.
Just like Medicare doesn’t cover the things that older humans need — eye glasses, hearing aides, and dental care — pet insurance generally doesn’t work out so great either. Consumer Reports says only in uncommon cases, when a pet required very expensive care, would pet insurance coverage pay for itself. One issue might be the lack of competition. Three companies control 90 percent of the pet insurance market.
Consumer Reports used the lifetime vet bills of Roxy, a 10-year-old relatively healthy beagle, to test whether pet insurance was a good deal. They adjusted Roxy’s total bills into present-day dollars and asked the insurers how much their policies would have covered. None of the nine policies they compared would have paid out more than the projected premiums. The picture changed a bit when some hypothetical illnesses were added to Roxy’s medical history: chronic arthritis, incontinence as a result of spaying, hypothyroidism, the removal of a benign tumor, and euthanasia. In that case, some policies returned a positive payout. Uh, euthanasia? Isn’t that what we are hoping to avoid?
5. Where we go, they go.
Just a decade ago, only 19 percent of owners took their fur babies with them on road trips. Now that number has more than doubled to 37 percent of owners. And after all, retirement is for travel, right?
Cats have a reputation for being cold and evil, but they’re definitely sweet and protective when it comes to their kittens. These momma cats posing with their kittens prove that every mom can be proud of her children!
Mother cats are tender and caring, but there are cases in which they can reject their kittens. This can happen when their kittens have birth defects, when their litter is too large, or for certain stress-related reasons. It’s important to socialize kittens after 2 weeks, but be sure they spend most of their time with mom she’s got important lessons to teach them!
About five years ago I started volunteering with an animal group in New York called Anjellicle Cats Rescue. Two years in, we rescued a litter of strays. One of them was Bennie — he was super shy, slow to warm to strangers. I worried he might not get adopted because a lot of people only want a cat they can pick up and hug. But at our adoption event, I noticed a guy spending time with Bennie, petting him and really interacting with him. I was so happy when he decided to take Bennie home.
The guy’s name was Shaun; he mentioned he had a blog about his life in New York, and that he’d post about Bennie. I started checking out the site. He’d write posts called “Moment of Ben” and put up these amazing pictures of Bennie with quizzical expressions on his face — he captured his personality so well. Bennie followed him everywhere; he would even lie on the top of the fridge while Shaun cooked.
From the way he wrote about Bennie, I could tell Shaun felt a deep bond with this cat. And that made him really attractive to me. So I started commenting on his pictures and posts, and soon we were emailing about random stuff: family, food, travel, careers. We set up a date, and everything just clicked. A year later, he moved in with me, and in September we got married. Bennie is no longer with us, and we really miss him, but we now have three rowdy rescues. After my years of volunteering, I know there’s a person out there for every cat, and a cat for every person. It’s the same with people — you just need to find that right match.
They might not look it, but lions are really just big kittens at heart. Don’t believe us?
Well, these females at the Oregon Zoo are about to show you.
While they generally spend their days lazing around (sound familiar?), being fed at the same time, and never fearing for their safety, these beautiful lions still crave a little wild adventure now and then. In an effort to keep them alert and agile, workers at the zoo came up with a fun toy that plays on their feline instincts.
The fact that lions weigh in at over 250 pounds and can leap that far into the air proves Mother Nature wasn’t messing around when she created these amazing predators.
I guess they’re a little different from kittens after all…
Bearded clerics make rare foray into pop culture to pose with their pets for a glossy 2016 calendar
A calendar featuring Russian Orthodox priests posing at home with their feline pets has gone viral in Russia.
Priest + Cat is published by an association of Christian artists, who commissioned a photographer to capture 12 smiling clerics in traditional robes.
Aimed at promoting modern Orthodox culture, the calendar starts with archpriest Oleg Batov and his cat Apelsin. Mr February archpriest Pyotr Dynnikov, who also runs an animal shelter is photographed with his two pets Angola and Vasik.
While the latest issue of the famous Pirelli Calendar might have signalled a cultural shift by foregoing its usual provocative nudes, the makers of Priest + Cat hope to challenge the idea that traditional Orthodox calendars must depict saints and icons.
The projects coordinator, Xenia Loutchenko of Pravmir religious news website, said Priest + Cat should be considered as the Russian Orthodox answer to the annual Italian Calendario Romano, featuring handsome Catholic priests, and the I gatti di Roma calendar, featuring Romes city cats.
Loutchenko says the casting process for the calendar was spontaneous: It was whoever had a cat and was ready to pose for a photo, she said.
She said the calendar is not officially supported by the Russian Orthodox Church, and was inspired by a photography book about the everyday lives of Russian clergy.
I dont see a big sin here, Russian Orthodox Church spokesman, Archpriest Vsevolod Chaplin, said of the calendar. Priests have cats, cats have priests, sometimes cats even live in a church. I wouldnt put such a calendar up on my wall though.
While the reaction to the calendar was mostly positive, some Russian internet users said they thought project was kitsch.
I got some comments from those who are far from the church, [who said] Nothing can help these priests, their image cant be improved even with cats! Loutchenko told the Komsomolskaya Pravda newspaper.
Users commenting on the religious website Pravmir, where Loutchenko works, also had varying reactions to the project.
One anonymous user wrote: The portraits are good, the priests are cheerful, but the idea is strange. The priests are not pop stars to be depicted on a calendar. Neither are they close relatives. It is possible that someone orders a calendar featuring their relatives. But this one is a strange enterprise.
User Elena Gatchinskaya countered the criticism. Whats the issue here? This is a normal calendar for an upcoming year. The priests will remind you of Christ, and the cats are anti-stress. And they will also remind you of Christ.
The Priest + Cat calendar had an initial print run of 1,000 copies but now looks set to print more as demand surges.
Let’s hope this feline’s friends NEVER see these photos.
Mimo, an adorable tabby cat in Japan, experienced the ultimate feline humiliation this week when his owner covered him in stuffed mice while he was sleeping — something we can only assume is the cat-owner equivalent to the old “draw a penis on your passed-out friend’s face” move in college.
The fact that Mimo is quite a heavy sleeper apparently inspired his owner — identified only as a 22-year-old named Mimoza — to set up these shots, according to REX Shutterstock.
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After a long day at work, the last thing you want to come home to is housework. All you want is to chill, but you can’t relax peacefully when you know your floors are dirty and your cats are climbing up the furniture.
It’s time to hire some help. Say hello to the Mocoro Robot Cleaning Ball: it’s fluffy, funny, and will tire your cats out while keeping your floors clean (without the noise of a vacuum.)
This robotic duster looks like something straight out of a Dr. Seuss book, but there’s a method to the fluffy-ness: the microfiber actually attracts dust, dirt, and pet hair on hardwood and tile floors. It freely rolls around your home with a mind of its own, changing directions when it hits an obstacle to prevent getting stuck in a corner.
The furball goes on cleaning duty about every 15 minutes, making sure your floors stay sparkling throughout the day. It shuts off by itself to conserve battery, but a gentle kick is all it takes to get the ball rolling again.
Here it is in action:
The microfiber coat can be brushed clean, or you can drop it into the washing machine if it was a super dusty day.
As for your cat, well, let’s just say you may be replaced as their best friend.
It’s a present for you and a present for your cat — how can you not? Check it out for $40.29 here.