Category: Buddy

How Cats See The World

Have you ever wondered what the world looks like to your cat?

Veterinarians, animal ophthalmologists and researchers from the University of Pennsylvania’s ophthalmology group provided insight for this article and the accompanying images, which show how scenes look to us humans and to our feline friends.

The images are striking and show the relative strengths and weaknesses of feline vision. While cats see the world in muted colors and in less acuity than typical humans, they make up for it with their astounding night vision and their ability to instantly detect motion within their visual fields.

This image shows feline night vision at work thanks to the tapetum lucidum, a layer of tissue that acts as a retroreflector, increasing the amount of light that makes it to the photoreceptors in cats’ eyes. The tapetum lucidum is best known as the reflective “lens” that makes cat eyes appear to glow in the dark:

catsview2

This image shows the trade-off compared to human vision. Cat eyes have a wider field of view, seen below, but they don’t pick up reds or greens, and their overall vision is blurry compared to average human eyesight, represented in the top image:

catsview

Night vision and extreme visual sensitivity to movement are important to cats as crepuscular hunters, allowing them to spot prey in low light conditions and to negate advantages from natural camouflage, as motion gives away the presence of prey animals.

Cats have a slightly wider visual field than people do, at approximately 200 degrees compared to the human 180 degrees, while most cats have between 20/100 and 20/200 vision. (That’s much better than Big Buddy sans glasses, whose 20/600 vision enables him to see blurry, colorful shapes and not much else. No wonder Little Buddy likes to torture his human by swiping his glasses.)

Of course, these images do not entirely account for how cats see the world, which is why I’ve created my own image. Behold a Buddy’s Eye View, showing how the world — and humans — look to him:

Downton Buddy
From Buddy the Cat’s perspective, humans are all servants, constantly standing by to attend to him.

Sunday Cats: Should Kitties Be Allowed On Passenger Jets? Plus: Footballers Adopt Cat From Qatar

Happy Sunday, dear readers. Buddy’s apparently angry with me about something, because I found a copy of this on the printer:

Human Buddy 4 Sale
Listed under “For sale by owner.”

What could I have done to deserve this? And $16? Isn’t that a little low? It’s insulting! We’re gonna need to have a little chat, Buddy to Buddy.

Should Cats Be Allowed On Airplanes?

CNN’s Jacqueline Swartz has a column about the challenges of traveling when you’re afflicted with severe allergies. Swartz is thoughtful, isn’t resentful of cats and understands it’s on her — for the time being, at least — to prep for flights by taking allergy medication, but she also believes airlines can do more to accommodate people who are allergic to pets.

As a cat guy and someone who dealt with really bad cat and dog allergies in my childhood and teenage years, I can sympathize with Swartz’s plight, and I agree that airlines can do more.

Of course, by “Should cats be allowed on airplanes?” she’s really asking if cats should be allowed in the passenger cabin. Even if a feline’s snug in a carrier, tucked beneath its human’s seat and well-behaved during the flight, a relatively short six-hours from New York to LA can cause all kinds of havoc on the immune systems and sinuses of people who are ultra-sensitive to cat dander.

Cat on passenger flight
Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Putting cats in cargo compartments is not an answer, and neither is banning cats from flights. Sometimes flying with a cat is a necessity, whether you’re moving cross-country or planning to live abroad temporarily. But airlines are notorious for trying to extract every dime from passengers, whether it’s charging thousands for business class or up-selling regular seats as “premium coach” by offering a Louis Vuitton-branded pillow or whatever.

Perhaps some enterprising airline executive could build goodwill with travelers, earning extra business and loyalty along the way with an innovative and friendly way to handle animals. How much space could possibly be required for a quiet, closed-off, climate-controlled closet where six or eight cats in carriers can snooze during a flight? That would solve the allergy problem, make life easier for everyone and probably make traveling easier on cats too.

Dave the Cat has a new home in England

While a thoughtless PR official for Brazil’s national team drew the ire of animal lovers for the way he mishandled a cat during a press conference — an unforced error, since the cat wasn’t bothering anyone — some good is coming out of the World Cup for at least one feline.

Dave the Cat, a friendly stray befriended by England defenders Kyle Walker and John Stones, will be adopted by the players, who both suit up for the Premiere League’s Manchester City during normal club play.

Dave, a cream-colored tabby, won’t be reunited with his new pals right away. He’ll have to endure four months of quarantine first, as per the UK’s rules on bringing animals to the country, and then presumably he’ll be adopted by Walker, Stones or the entire team.

Brazil World Cup cat
An official with Brazil’s national team caught heat for the way he picked up and tossed a cat in Qatar. (Screengrab)

 

Cat in Qatar
Thankfully, the cat seemed unharmed.

Point-Counterpoint: ‘Personal Space Is Sacred!’ vs ‘You’re My Mattress, Human!’

‘Personal Space is Sacred!’

buddycolumnHey! Unhand me, human! Did I say you could assault my cheeks and ears?!?

Well, yes, usually I do like when you give me scritches, but right now I could do without your sweaty, no-fur-having, clumsy human paw.

As a matter of fact, get away from me! I was here first! This is my couch, I merely let you occupy it out of the goodness of my heart because I’m such an unselfish feline. I would like to remain undisturbed until further notice!

What is it with humans and personal space, huh? What kind of malfunction leads your supposedly intelligent and “superior” species to sidle up uninvited and just start stroking feline fur? Did we call you over? Did we paw deliver a “Come pet me!” card in golf leaf ink? Did I personally invite you to groom me?

I think not.

We’re gonna have to start working on boundaries, human. Now fetch me a snack while I mull this over.

‘You’re My Mattress, Human!’

buddycolumnNothing’s better after a long day of eating and sleeping than having a nice dinner and settling down on your lap for a comfortable nap. Don’t get me wrong, your my bed isn’t bad. The chair is comfy. I even nap on your computer chair from time to time, especially after you vacate it and it’s nice and warm. The rug underneath the table even has its charms.

But nothing beats sleeping in your lap, or on your legs, or on your chest, or even sleeping on your back and using your butt as a pillow. When you woke up the other night and could hardly breathe because I was draped over your face, that was pretty funny, wasn’t it?

Yep. It’s nice that we’re such good pals, human and cat, that I can use you as my mattress!

As you know, it’s impossible for me to catch some Zs without sleeping directly on top of you, burrowed into your side, or even with a paw resting on you if it’s a hot summer night. That way you can’t get out of bed without me knowing about it, and you can’t sneak off to the bathroom without me.

What’s a bit of personal space between feline and human friends?

‘Aww, Your Kitty Is So Cute!’

As much as Bud can be a wimp fearless protector of the apartmental realm, he’s also very friendly when he feels confident, and he loves Halloween.

Every Halloween since kittenhood, little man has answered the door with me, standing right by my side as I hand out candy. He’s just as curious about the kids as they are about him.

“Your kitty is so cute!” one girl of about 10 said tonight as Bud looked up at her.

“Thanks!” I said. “He loves answering the door.”

The little girl, dressed as a witch, was the third trick-or-treater to compliment Bud tonight. That may not seem like much, but we had surprisingly few kids this year. I expected a lot more since the last two Halloweens were muted by the threat of COVID, but for whatever reason the little ghouls and goblins have not returned to pre-COVID levels.

For what it’s worth, when I was a kid we used to love going to apartment buildings, which offered the best time-to-candy ratio. You could knock out an entire floor of 20 apartments in 10 or 15 minutes, then walk up the stairs and do it again. By the end of the night, you were guaranteed to have overflowing bags of candy.

Things have really changed in two decades. My brother, my friends and I would just go out by ourselves in our Batman, ninja and robot costumes. Mom would tell us to be careful, but we weren’t chaperoned. Nowadays every trick-or-treater has a parent in tow. I’m not sure if that’s a smart precaution or a sad reflection on our society.

Alas, Bud didn’t wear a costume this year. Usually I’m able to get him to tolerate a simple bandana or his little tuxedo, at least for the time it takes to answer the door. I couldn’t find either of them this year, so I tried to bribe him into wearing a little penguin hat from an old costume.

Despite the payoff in snacks, Bud tugged the hat off three times. It was a bit too small, and he’s too smart. The hat didn’t have a chance.

Happy Halloween! I hope all PITB readers and their feline masters are having a great night. Have fun polishing off the leftover candy!

Catstronauts Vol. III: Star Commander Bud Leads His Fleet To Victory & Catnip

In Catstronauts Vol. III, we meet Lieutenant Luna, a hotshot young pilot, Star Commander Leonidas, a stalwart explorer, the brothers Star Commander Zeus and Star Commander Taro, massive and fearless tiger warriors, Star Commander Hera, the most feared tigress in the galaxy, Lance Cpl. Oliver, a rising star in intelligence, Star Commander Alexandros, a decorated veteran of many galactic campaigns, Star Commander Xysto, the Felid Fleet’s most respected and capable captain, and Star Commander Buddy, whose bravery and prolific napping are the stuff of legend. (Click to view larger versions of each portrait.)

The Battle of Dog 359, Stardate 2662

Star Commander Xysto and the fleet’s flagship, the USS Sparta, led a task force to the Wolf 359 system that included Zeus and Taro on their redoubtable USS Voidclaw, and Buddy with his dependable USS Fowl Play.

After the early evening Fleetwide Nap Time (FNT), the task force engaged the Gorn approximately 6.4 AU out from the system’s binary helix and earned a resounding victory. Cats occupying the bridges, engineering decks and gunneries of all three ships broke out catnip — the good stuff laced with silvervine, not that weak ‘nip made by domestic companies — and were toasting each other when their consoles meowed warning of approaching ships.

The celebration was short-lived as the flotilla was ambushed by a larger Gorn force that emerged from the shadow of an icy moon orbiting the system’s most impressive gas giant. The Felid Fleet was victorious once more in the ensuing combat, but at a cost: both the USS Sparta and the USS Voidclaw sustained heavy damage, while Star Commander Buddy was able to avoid enemy fire by hiding behind the other ships conducting a tactical retreat. Crew members from the other ships reported hearing Star Commander Buddy crying over the fleet-wide comms channel during the battle.

“I believe the commander was saying he was too young and handsome to die,” said Lt. Silverpaw, a science officer serving on USS Sparta. “We heard the commander’s own officers trying to calm him down, but the rumor — and again, I’m not saying this is definitely true — is that he soiled the captain’s chair before his XO was able to get him off the bridge and into his cabin.”

Star Commander Buddy, however, recounted the events differently.

“On Stardate 2262.45, the fleet under the command of Star Commander Xysto engaged with a Gorn expeditionary force that had been raiding colonies in the Outer Realm. While our forces engaged the first Gorn detachment, those sneaky lizards had a second group of ships flank us in an ambush pincer movement. Both the USS Sparta and USS Voidclaw were heavily damaged in the ambush, but my own USS Fowl Play evaded enemy fire due to my deft maneuvering and brilliant tactical handling. Taking command of the fleet, I was able to save the day. In fact, my leadership was so effective that before the battle was done, I declared I was going to have a nap and left the mop-up duties to my executive officer as I retired to my quarters.

“I recommend the admiralty give me medals and commendations and stuff, and ignore the obviously false and defamatory reports of my jealous rivals, who have concocted an absurd story about me ordering my ship to hide behind the others. I haven’t done that since I was a kitten!”

After action reports indicate Star Commander Buddy’s USS Fowl Play resumed its course in time for the regularly scheduled Fleetwide Nap Time (FNT) and returned to Starbase 12, home of the Feline Federation’s most widely celebrated restaurants, including Cluckin’ Clancy’s Turkey Extravaganza.

Catstronauts Vol. III