NASA Photo Shows ‘Cats’ Got To Mars Before Humans Did

Cats are sneaky, quiet as a ghost when they want to be and have a habit of seemingly teleporting between spots, but could they somehow use their feline superpowers to beat us to Mars?

As the Perseverance rover continues to chug along and take photos as well as samples of rock and soil, people following the rover’s progress can vote for “image of the week,” and this time around they picked an image that, when seen from a distance, appears to show a crouched cat with its behind raised, in mid butt-wiggle as it prepares to pounce on some unfortunate Martian.

marscatloaf
A Martian Desert Cat spots a rich vein of Temptatiums in a natural deposit and is ready to pounce.

This isn’t the first time Mars enthusiasts have spotted a “cat” in an image from the red planet. In 2015, some people said a group of rocks resembled a “giant cat statue” poking out from the Martian soil in a photo taken by the Curiosity rover.

I don’t really see it. YMMV:

Perseverance is exploring the site of a former crater lake and an adjoining former river delta. The Bad Astronomy blog says it was “very clearly a lake of standing water at some point in the past.”

The blog provides a breakdown of the geography of the crater and what it can tell us about the Mars of the past. Knowing there was water on Mars makes the idea of life elsewhere in the solar system seem possible. Astronomers believe Jupiter’s moon Europa, for example, potentially hosts life. The satellite exists so far from the sun it’s in a permanent deep freeze and would normally be inhospitable to life, but the evidence strongly suggests there are oceans beneath Europa’s icy surface, and those oceans are heated by massive vents on the ocean floor.

Water, warmth, energy. The conditions for life are there. If Mars was covered with lakes at one point, what’s swimming in the oceans of Europa?

mars_jezerocrater_landingsite
Credit: NASA

So Mars had water and the entire planet was pristine litter box. If it had some prey to hunt and an atmosphere, the red planet could have been the perfect homeworld for felis sapiens, who would rival humanity in technology if not for the tragic fact that their species is only awake eight hours a day.

Now that’s a scary thought!

SPCA Offers $6k Reward After Shooter Kills NY Woman’s Beloved Cat

When Margaret Oliva’s husband died eight years ago, her cat Stella helped her through her grieving.

“She was my sanity, you know?” the Long Island woman said.

Oliva’s beloved tortoiseshell went outside on Sept. 1 and didn’t come back that night. Oliva enlisted the help of relatives to find Stella but wasn’t able to locate her until she heard “whimpering cries” on her Ring system’s audio.

Stella had collapsed near a bush on the front lawn. Oliva rushed her badly injured cat to an emergency veterinarian, where the fading feline fought for her life but succumbed hours later. The vet told the shocked Hicksville woman that someone had shot Stella twice, likely with a pellet gun.

“To have her taken like this…No, I can’t accept that,” Oliva told a local TV news station.

Now the SPCA is offering a $6,000 reward to anyone who provides information leading to the arrest and conviction of Stella’s killer. Matt Roper, a detective with the Nassau County SPCA’s law enforcement division, said he believes Stella was shot by someone in the immediate neighborhood.

spcastella
The SPCA is offering a $6,000 reward for Stella’s killer.

Studies have shown that house cats who are allowed to wander outside during the day rarely go far. In a paper published in Scientific Reports earlier this year, a team of scientists from the Norwegian University of Life Sciences tracked 100 indoor/outdoor cats by equipping them with GPS collars. The data showed cats spend almost 80 percent of their time within 50 meters — or about 164 feet — of their homes, and a handful of statistical outliers who traveled a longer distance didn’t exceed more than a quarter mile.

The SPCA’s Roper said Stella suffered one projectile to her chest and one to a leg. Her killer is likely nearby and almost certainly knows about the anguish caused to Oliva. If caught, the killer could face a felony charge.

“This could be a high powered pellet gun,” Roper said. “This could be something that could be shot a couple of houses length, a couple of yards in length.”

Oliva’s home in Hicksville is about 10 miles from Glen Cove, where a cat named Gracie was shot and left paralyzed last summer when one pellet hit her stomach and another hit her spine. Poor Gracie was in a neighbor’s yard, dragging herself toward her home while her back legs hung limp. A woman found Gracie after hearing her crying out in pain, Newsday reported.

“What happens is a woman takes her kids for a walk,” said detective Lt. John Nagle of the Glen Cove Police Department. “When she returns to the house she hears an animal crying and goes to investigate. She finds this cat, just beyond the neighbor’s chain link fence, and the animal is crying and it can’t walk. Another neighbor, who happens to be a vet, comes over. She gets a cat cage, places it in the yard — and the cat immediately crawls over to it … She takes the cat to her vet, where she works, thinking maybe it’s been hit by a car. That’s when she finds out it’s not damage from a car, but that there’s two bullets.”

There’s a $5,000 reward for Gracie’s shooter.

In October of 2021, a young cat the rescuers named Abraham was shot with a pellet gun in Suffolk County on eastern Long Island. Like Gracie, Abraham was struck in his spine. The SPCA of Suffolk County, which called Abraham’s shooting “a horrific act of animal cruelty,” is offering a $4,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of his shooter.

graciecatreward
Gracie’s shooter hasn’t been found yet either.

Former Stray Cat Adopts A Stray Kitten

This former stray clearly has paternal instincts. He found an abandoned kitten and, remembering his own rough life on the street not so long ago, brought the little guy home to his human like “Can we keep him?!?”

@arnold.little

My cat found a kitten and this was right before he brought him inside his new house! #straycats #straykitten #meantforeachother #feralcats

♬ original sound – Arnold.little

The white cat’s human agreed to let him adopt the hungry baby, and now he’s a full time dad:

@arnold.little

He definitely has his hands full! Single dad life is not easy!! #straycats #feralboys #ijustwanttosleep

♬ Ricotrap God why – Ricotrap

Cat On The Street: What Do You Think About Humans Translating Your Meows?

MeowTalk, an iOS/Android app that aims to translate your meows using a machine learning algorithm, is getting a new publicity push after a recent update. The app has proven particularly popular in Japan, a nation of cat lovers.

 

What do you think about MeowTalk?

“You’re telling me there’s a good chance my human understood me calling her a dim-witted biped who’s stingy with snacks?” – Midnight, 7, office supervisor

“Finally, a device that can translate all my loving utterances at 5 a.m. when my bowl’s empty!” – Cleo, 5, cushion tester

“If an app is translating our meows, then why do our humans still stink at giving us massages?” – Andre, 2, faucet operator

“You know what this means, don’t you? If my humans overheard me discussing plans for the feline takeover of Earth, I’m going to have to smother them in their sleep.” – Dragorth the Destroyer, 4, generalissimo

“Sometimes I like to meow in gibberish just to mess with the humans. LOL! Wait, how can this app translate Japanese meows AND American meows?” – Zelda, 3, princess

“CHECK IT OUT, THERE’S A KITTEN WHO LOOKS JUST LIKE ME BEHIND THE GLASS! HEY, STOP IMITATING ME! STOP THAT! IT’S REALLY ANNOYING! HEY!” – Christian, 3 months, archaeologist kitten

Sunday Cats: An Incredible Cat Condo That Looks Like Ghostbusters HQ

When I was a kid, the list of VHS tapes I’d worn out included Joe Dante’s Explorers, The Last Starfighter, The Last Dragon (the deliciously cheesy 80s kung fu classic set in Harlem, not the Bruce Lee film), Ridley Scott’s Legend, The Neverending Story, and maybe the first truly great comic book movie, 1989’s Tim Burton-directed Batman starring Michael Keaton, Jack Nicholson and Kim Basinger.

And, of course, there was Ghostbusters.

As a kid it was adventurous, fun and even a bit spooky. As an adult it evokes a rush of warm nostalgia and joyful recognition that the actors – Dan Aykroyd, Harold Ramis, Ernie Hudson, Bill Murray and Signourney Weaver — had a hell of a lot of fun making the film.

To this day when I see a stack of books I have to restrain myself from exclaiming “Symmetrical book stacking! Just like the Philadelphia Mass Turbulence of 1947!” like Aykroyd hot on the trail of a haunting at the New York Public Library. When someone tries to convey an object of massive scale, I find myself echoing Hudson’s Winston: “That’s a big Twinkie.” When someone questions my expertise in an area, especially one I know nothing about, I slip into Murray’s New Yorkese: “Back off, man, I’m a scientist.”

That’s why Buddy I was so excited to see this cat condo build that’s designed to look like Ghostbusters HQ from the 1984 classic. Buddy I would love to have one of these things. Instagrammer Shawn Waite explained in a post that he was just kidding around when he proposed the idea, and his family pushed him to go for it:

“We got a new kitten (her name is Stria) a couple of months prior, and we were adding some cat furniture to our home for her. We thought that she may enjoy having something in our home office, which is where I have my vintage toy collection, so I joked that we should build a cat condo that looks like the Ghostbusters Firehouse play set so that it would fit with the theme of the office. My wife loved the idea, and our twin daughters (age 9) were excited for Stria to have a condo.”

Waite not only managed to retain the three-story interior layout with a scratching post cleverly taking the place of the fire pole, he tweaked the logo so there’s a dog in place of a ghost, just in case any jealous pooches get ideas about lounging in Stria’s sweet condo.

ghostbusterscatcondo2

I’ve always wanted to learn to build stuff, especially after seeing examples like Waite’s build or the amazing Hobbit house litter box one cat servant made for his feline, Frodo.

frodohouse
Frodo the Cat and his hobbit house.

But hey, if I’m gonna go all out and build a spectacular lounging spot or bathroom for the Budster and mine 80s/90s childhood obsessions for ideas, wouldn’t the Thundercats HQ — known simply as the Cat’s Lair — be more appropriate?

That's A Big Twinkie
“Let’s say this Twinkie represents the normal amount of psychokinetic energy in the New York area. According to this morning’s sample, it would be a Twinkie 35 feet long, weighing approximately 600 pounds.” “That’s a big Twinkie.”