Category: cat care

This Handsome Chonkster Does Crunches!

It seems like a new super chonk cat goes viral everyday, and it’s always the same story — the cat comes from a home where its owner is either negligent or unable to properly care for kitty, and a rescue is left with the dual responsibility of finding a new home and getting the cat to slim down.

That’s the case with Wilford, a handsome eight-year-old tabby who weighs in at a hefty 28 pounds.

Wilford is living with a D.C.-area foster couple, who have the long-haired dude on a diet and are trying to get him to exercise. They say his ideal weight is about 14 pounds, half of what he weighs now.

But as the video below illustrates, Wilford is so heavy, “playing” for him means laying on his back and doing “crunches” while batting at his wand toys instead of chasing them:

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***Wednesday Workouts with Wilford!!*** . Look at this guy go!! . Wilford absolutely loves to play- but he only feels comfortable doing so while safely ensconced beneath the dining room table. (Kind of like preferring to work out at home instead of at the gym!) . He is doing really well and has officially started to lose weight. He is definitely down at least half a pound, and I suspect even more, but again, his irregular bowel movements make getting an accurate assessment difficult. In any event- he’s definitely heading in the right direction and seems more and more confident and content every day. . We finally feel that Wilford is in a good place to start looking for his forever family and are making him adoptable as of this week. If you know of anyone who might be interested, please have them reach out. We are looking for local adopters only right now. (Greater Washington DC area). . *************DISCLAIMER************ Yes, Wilford is morbidly obese. No, it’s not ok. He is a foster and he is being treated for his obesity as well as other issues. He is under veterinary supervision. *************************************** . #Wilford #wilfordthegreat #wilfordbrimley . #adoptdontshop #fosteringsaveslives #foster #ldcrf #handsomecat #adorable #studmuffin #cats #catsofinstagram #preownedcat #obesecat #fatcat #love #weightlossjourney #lostdogandcatrescue #adopt #cat #love #adoptyourbestfriend #lovemeow #bestmeow #catloversclub #cats_of_instagram #cathealth #obesepet #weightloss #cute

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“Wilford absolutely loves to play- but he only feels comfortable doing so while safely ensconced beneath the dining room table,” his foster humans wrote on Instagram. “Kind of like preferring to work out at home instead of at the gym!”

In a bit of TMI, they say Wilford’s dropped some weight and is ready to start the process of screening for a forever home, but they’re still concerned over his sluggish ways and his “irregular vowel movements.”

Read: If you’re looking to adopt this regal little guy, you shouldn’t be the type who’s squeamish about blown-up litter boxes.

While handling Wilford feels like “picking up a greasy watermelon when you have to move him from place to place,” foster parent Jen tells DCist, “he is an absolute delight and we are so grateful to have the opportunity to spend time with him.”

Wilford’s favorite position is laying on his back, and unlike most cats, he actually likes it when humans scratch his belly.

“I mean, he’s just absolutely adorable,” Jen said. “He’s very dramatic, and when he wants something, he’ll roll over and just squeak. And you’re basically like, ‘Alright, Wilford, I’ll give you another tummy rub.’”

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Declawing: Florida Moves Ahead On Ban, Ozzy Osbourne Joins PETA Campaign

A ban on declawing passed a key committee vote in Florida this week, while Black Sabbath frontman and reality TV star Ozzy Osbourne has become the new face of a PETA campaign against the harmful practice.

Florida aims to become the second US state to ban the elective and harmful procedure after our home state, New York, passed the country’s first statewide ban on declawing in 2019.

The Florida bill, which was introduced in August, was approved by the state senate’s agricultural committee by a 4-1 vote on Tuesday. It’s expected to pass two more committee votes before it goes to a final vote on the senate floor.

The ban would levy relatively stiff penalties for owners and veterinarians who ignore the law. The former would face fines of $1,000 per cat, while veterinarians would be fined $5,000 per cat, as well as discipline from the state’s Board of Veterinary Medicine.

Meanwhile, Osbourne and People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals have teamed up for a public announcement campaign aimed at increasing awareness of the damage declawing does to cats.

The ads feature a striking image of Osbourne holding up both hands, with his fingers severed at the first knuckle to illustrate what’s done to cats during the procedure. It’s bloody, like Osbourne’s long-time stage antics, and controversial, like many PETA campaigns.

“Amputating a cat’s toes is twisted and wrong,” Osbourne said, per PETA. “If your couch is more important to you than your cat’s health and happiness, you don’t deserve to have an animal! Get cats a scratching post—don’t mutilate them for life.”

Ozzy Osbourne in PETA's declawing ad
Ozzy Osbourne poses for a bloody anti-declawing ad in cooperation with PETA. Credit: PETA

It’s Official: Cats Love Youtube

At first, Buddy wouldn’t look at the TV.

I’d pulled up a live feed of a nature cam on Youtube, hoping my cat would be drawn to it by the sounds of bird calls and the sight of vividly-plumed orioles and robins alighting on a feeder, but he just didn’t seem interested.

Leaving the stream on just in case, I went back to my writing, then checked on the little guy again 20 minutes later to find him glued to the TV, sitting close and staring up like a small child watching Saturday morning cartoons.

Buddy was watching a quintet of Bluejays pick seeds from a tray feeder in Ohio, his eyes following the quick movements of the birds while he chirped in excitement.

The channel, Bird Watching HQ, is one of dozens catering to a rapidly-growing segment of YouTube’s viewership: cats.

Kitty wants the remote

In retrospect it seems like it was inevitable that cats — the stars of innumerable YouTube videos viewed billions of times on the platform — would become viewers too.

Indoor cats get a visceral thrill from watching birds and small mammals the same way people do while watching thrillers, horror flicks or adventures: It’s a way to get adrenaline flowing in a safe environment.

For Scott Keller, the proprietor of Bird Watching HQ, cats weren’t his intended audience, and the fact that felines love his channel is a happy coincidence. It started as a blog “about how to attract wildlife to your backyard,” he said, prompted by how much he enjoyed taking his kids and his dog for walks near his home in Ohio.

“The live cameras were added in September 2018 to show the specific feeders and food that I was currently using,” Keller said. “I was certainly not thinking about entertaining videos for cats.”

Keller now has four live streams for viewers — human and feline alike — to get their nature fix: Two are set up in his backyard in Ohio, one in California is run by a partner whose feeders are frequented by hummingbirds, and the last is in an animal sanctuary in the Czech Republic. The operator of the California cam goes through between 50 and 100 pounds of sugar a week to keep her feathered guests happy,  Keller said, and the European bird cam often captures unexpected visitors.

“It has actually been a great way for me to learn the birds of Europe,” Keller told us. “We have even seen owls catching mice at night here.”

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“MUST…KILL…LARGE BIRD!” A cat is determined to break the magic glass and reach the bird inside.

Cats as couch potatoes

If you’re wondering whether it’s a good thing to introduce your cat to TV and Youtube streams, veterinarians say there’s little downside.

“It won’t hurt your kitty’s eyes, so you don’t have to tell Fluffy not to sit too close to the TV,” veterinarian Jillian Orlando told VetStreet.

The only real danger, Orlando said, is your cat getting a little too stimulated and potentially charging at the TV to go after the on-screen birds or rodents. Most cats won’t, but if yours is the type to charge head-first into a window screen after spotting a bird outside, then you might want to keep an eye on kitty as she gets her fix.

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“Not so fast, big guy!” An overexcited kitty attacks a bear on the National Geographic channel. Credit: Mandadadada/imgur

The topic’s been the subject of academic research as well, with a 2007 study concluding TV was effective in relieving the boredom of shelter cats who didn’t have windows to gaze out of. While cats don’t see colors as well as we do, videos featuring prey animals hold “enrichment potential” for indoor cats, the authors concluded.

Cat-centric TV is official

As for the phenomenon of bird-watching videos and channels created specifically for cats, Youtube is well aware of it. Content tagged “videos for cats” was viewed more than 55 million times on Youtube in 2019, Youtube trends and insights lead Earnest Pettie told Wired.

That actual number of feline viewers could be much higher, since it doesn’t count content like Keller’s, which isn’t created for cats but has nonetheless reached them as an audience.

“We now have this world where cats are an emerging audience,” Pettie said, “and movies for cats are an emerging trend.”

As for Keller, he believes indoor cats and humans enjoy the videos and cameras on his channel for many of the same reasons.

“I have also heard from a lot of people that can’t go outside anymore, such as in a retirement home, with disabilities, or special needs children that are using the cameras to get a glimpse of wildlife each day,” Keller said. “There are also many people that are sitting at their cubicles at work during the week that just need some natural sounds.

 

This Cat’s In For A Rude Awakening

Meet Bazooka.

The orange butterball weighs in at 35 pounds and was surrendered to the SPCA in North Carolina’s Wake County this week after his former owner died.

Although the shelter says some people were initially outraged that a person would let the ginger tabby grow to such elephantine proportions, it turns out there’s more to the story: Bazooka’s owner was inflicted with dementia and, never sure if he’d fed the amiable cat, he just kept feeding and feeding — and feeding — Bazooka, who has apparently never met a cup of kibble or a can of tuna he won’t happily scarf down.

We wouldn’t be surprised if there was some insistent meowing prompting his late human to keep refilling those bowls.

“[Bazooka’s owner] thought he was doing the best thing for his cat by feeding him,” the SPCA’s Darci VanderSlik told North Carolina’s News-Observer. “We need to look on this with a compassionate view. He was loved.”

Bazooka the Cat
Bazooka with his foster mom. Credit: Wake County NC SPCA

It turns out Bazooka is a loving and chill dude as well.

“He wants to be around people,” said Michelle Barry, the big guy’s foster mom. “He’s happiest lying right next to you. And he’s more active than I expected him to be.”

He’s in for quite an adjustment period, going from a life of on-demand meals to a strictly-regulated diet designed to get him down to a healthy weight. As any cat servant knows, there’ll be lots of agitated meowing in his future.

The ‘Zookster has already been adopted and will soon move into his forever home after the shelter provides some basic veterinary care and draws up a weight loss plan for him. Working with his new human, staff at the SPCA want to get Bazooka down to 20 pounds or so, which they feel is appropriate for his large frame.

They say they’re just glad to help.

“We don’t know a lot of the back stories of the animals we get, but we try not to judge people or make people feel bad about the circumstances that led to their surrender,” VanderSlik said. “We’re really lucky to have the resources to take him in and help him get a home he deserves.”

Bazooka the Cat
Bazooka’s a handsome kitty with a lion-like mane. In this photo, he’s thinking about pastrami sandwiches. Credit: Wake County NC SPACA

 

 

 

AI Is Here, And It Wants To Study Your Cat’s Poop

When Alan Turing was dreaming of a future made better by intelligent machines back in 1950, it’s a safe bet he wasn’t imagining computers that could analyze your cat’s excrement.

Turing, often called the father of artificial intelligence, couldn’t have envisioned a device like the LuluPet litter box, which harnesses the combined intelligence of man and machine — a proud lineage of devices from the Speak N Spell to the latest iPhone — to conduct “stool and urine image analysis” and compare your cat’s bowel movements to “excretory behavioral algorithms.”

Excretory behavioral algorithms! A sentence so ridiculous that you must be thinking I’m shitting you, dear reader, just like I double-checked to make sure the whole thing wasn’t some recycled April Fool’s joke.

Nope. The LuluPet litter box is real. It earned an Innovation Award honoree nod at CES 2020’s tech trade show, and it’s headed to Amazon, where you’ll be able to buy it for $149.

LuluPet-s-intelligent-litter-box-detects-littering-frequency-litter-weight-condition
The LuluPet litter box looks like it could be a high-tech microwave built for astronauts on the ISS.

Using a scale and sensor system, LuluPet can determine whether your cat’s performing a Number One or a Number Two inside the covered box, and it’s got visual recognition as well.

Featuring state-of-the-art optical fecal recognition

When your cat goes for a pinch, built-in cameras zoom in on the freshly-dropped deuce nuggets and, uh, log the images to LuluPet’s growing database of kitty crap. That’s when sophisticated algorithms get to work, analyzing the turds’ attributes — including texture, consistency and color, apparently — so it can compare them to others, ostensibly to alert you to any health problems plaguing your stoic kitty.

Worried that the device won’t work because your cat buries her business? Fear not! LuluPet uses “AI image restoration technologies” to recreate your cat’s turd so it can run it through its stool database.

“The litter box comes with 2 AI systems: one for litter analysis, and another that analyzes clumping between litter and litter box material,” the Taiwan-based company explains. “The latter attempts to reconstruct litter shape and present it to the former for confirmation, and can currently identify litter with an accuracy of up to 90%.”

NASA doesn’t even have tech like this!

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“SkyNET became self-award in my litter box!”

Put away those fears of rogue AI trying to wipe out humanity. Lighten up. Take a load off. AI doesn’t want to kill you. It just wants to amass the world’s most impressive collection of feline fecal photographs.

There’s an app for that

Of course, you may want to verify your cat is performing healthy bowel movements for yourself, and an integrated app allows you to tap into the litter box’s camera feed to watch kitty having a nice growler. Welcome to the future, folks.

And for those of you who think this is a fantastic idea but might balk at the pricy LuluPet because you’ve got an entire pride of little lions, fear not: The device’s AI can differentiate between the output of multiple cats by looking for the unique features of each kitty’s downloads.

Again, I’m totally not making this up.

Now that we’ve had our fun, it’s only fair to note the LuluPet litter box is well-intentioned, and if it works as intended, it could lead to critical early diagnosis for animals who are notorious for hiding pain and discomfort:

“Among the top ten causes of death for domestic cats, seven were feces-related diseases. Cats, however, are born concealers of their own weaknesses, making it difficult for owners to find out whether their precious feline is in pain. LuluPet illustrates this with the example of kidney failure: Statistically, a cat’s kidneys are 70% damaged by the time the owner suspects an illness and brings the cat to the veterinarian. The organ damage is not only irreversible, but subsequent medical fees may cost up to US$ 1,200.

Sick cats aren’t completely undetectable. According to the Bristol stool scale, cat feces may be divided into 7 categories, ranging from constipation to diarrhea; constipation may be caused by the pressing of a tumor, while symptoms of diarrhea may be the result of common systemic diseases such as kidney failure. Stool analysis thus becomes the most straightforward way of detecting these diseases.”

Maybe an all-knowing machine overlord to watch over your feline overlord isn’t such a bad thing.

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“Urinalysis complete. Stool satisfactory. Have a nice day.”