Category: cat photography

Bohemian Catsody: Cats Sing Queen

Queen frontman Freddie Mercury loved his cats so much that when he found himself missing them on tour, he’d ask his girlfriend to put them on the phone.

“He’d get to a hotel, we’d dial through, and he really would talk to his cats,” Peter Freestone, Mercury’s personal assistant of 12 years, wrote in his memoir.

Mercury’s feline infatuation began years earlier when Mary Austin, his girlfriend and eventual fiance, adopted a pair of kittens named Tom and Jerry when she and Mercury moved in together. Austin would stay home to take care of the duo — and a subsequently growing pride — when Freddie did gigs.

“Mary would hold Tom and Jerry in turn up to the receiver to listen to Freddie talking,” Freestone wrote. “This continued throughout the years with succeeding feline occupants of his houses.”

Mercury was a servant to 10 cats throughout his life, and loved them so much he dedicated an album to them, devoted a song to his cat Delilah, and took great joy in picking out presents for them at Christmas.

Thus, Bohemian Catsody seems both inevitable and so natural, it’s a wonder someone hasn’t done it before. New Zealander Shirley Șerban uploaded the video on Oct. 1 and it’s already got 89,000-plus views.

The lyrics couldn’t be more appropriate:

“I choose to employ you, now attend to me
Open the door, then I’ll come, then I’ll go
Feed me now, don’t be slow!
Stalk you in the bathroom
Privacy don’t matter to me…to me!
Mama, just killed a mouse
Ate it all except the head
That’s your present on the bed
Mama, a sign of my love
Why did you scream and throw it all away?
Mama, ooooh, oooh!
Didn’t mean to make you cry
I’ll try to find a bird for you tomorrow!”

Nursed Back To Health, Rescue Kitten Becomes Garfeldian Superstar

Meet Fedya, Instragram’s newest feline star.

The playful cat with a permanently surprised look on his face was just a week old when he was separated from his mom last year. Natalia Zhdanova heard his cries and found him alone, hungry and sick in her backyard in Rostov, Russia.

With help from her neighbor’s cat, Handsome, Zhdanova nursed Fedya back to health, and now the little guy is up to a healthy weight and thriving at 18 months old.

“He was very weak and was dying,” Zhdanova told the UK’s SWNS wire. “Handsome cleaned and licked Fedya and became like a father figure to him.”

The two cats are now “the best of friends,” and Zhdanova said Fedya “purrs very loudly” for her and Handsome.

“He is a very sweet, gentle, playful, and intelligent cat,” she said.

You can see more photos and videos of Kedya on Instagram @fedja_kot, where he’s accumulated more than 36,000 followers.

Meet Tux, A Cat So Dapper He’s Always In Formal Wear

Cat name: Tux, a tuxedo (duh!)

Cat’s age: 8

Cat’s human servant: “Two slow humans”

Tux’s origin story:

Reader Julie wasn’t always a cat person.

“Never had a cat or wanted a cat before,” she said. “I believed the myth that they were cold and selfish animals.”

When her teenage son came back home one day with a kitten rescued from a “sketchy” house in a friend’s neighborhood, Julie didn’t want to let him keep the baby cat.

“I regret to say now that at the time I insisted that he go to the Humane Society,” July told PITB. “Two challenging teenagers and two elderly dogs with health problems were enough to handle.”

But Tux was special and needed a good family who would show him love. The kitten was the sole survivor of a cat family that was asphyxiated in plastic food containers, presumably by the home’s occupants, who left in a hurry one day.

There was one survivor mewing from the attic. The theory is that Tux’s mom was trying to protect her babies and got him to safety before she ran out of time and cruel humans ended her life.

Julie’s son named the cute kitten, and her daughter kept the little guy in her room. But she had a busy schedule between school and work, and Julie was the only one home most of the time thanks to a job that allows her to work from home.

“Even though I didn’t initially want a cat, I checked on him often hiding in her room and he started to let me pet him,” she said. “Eventually he started following me around, and soon hung out with me. [My daughter] was mad that he chose me and said that I stole him from her!”

Tux worked his feline magic, and Julie quickly became a cat person. His presence turned out to be a blessing for the family when their dogs died within six months of each other.

These days he rules the home like his own kingdom by keeping watch atop his tree house, stealing plastic bottle caps to play with, knocking things over (he’d get along great with Buddy!) and, of course, “scolding us when he perceives that we have slacked off with servant duties!”

“I never could have imagined the great love from Tux over the years,” Julie said. “He seems to understand so much of what goes on and he is my feline child! Yes, I might be a crazy cat lady now! He is smart and funny and so loving. As long as the humans know their place!”

 

Real Cats vs AI-Generated Cats II: Which Kitties Were Real?

After a few days of patiently waiting, we finally have a winner in our unofficial contest from earlier this week.

Reader Romulo Pietrangeli got it right: None of the cats pictured in our April 13 post are real felines.

All nine images were created by the machine learning algorithm that powers the site This Cat Does Not Exist, a riff on the original This Person Does Not Exist, a site that uses generative adversarial networks (GANS) to create stunningly realistic images of people on the fly.

(Above: All six images above are computer-generated using the same technology behind ThisCatDoesNotExist.)

Phillip Wang, the 33-year-old software engineer behind both sites (and a few others using the same tech and concept), explained to Inverse in an earlier interview why he created ThisPersonDoesNotExist.

“I’m basically at the point in my life where I’m going to concede that super-intelligence will be real and I need to devote my remaining life to [it],” Wang said. “The reaction speaks to how much people are in the dark about A.I. and its potential.”

Because the internet is ruled by cats, it was only a matter of time before a feline-generating version of the human-creating algorithm was brought online.

(Above: More artificially-generated cats. Artefacts in the images can sometimes give away the fact that they’re fake, such as the third image in the second row, where part of the cat’s fur is transparent.)

A CNN article from 2019 explains how GAN technology works:

In order to generate such images, StyleGAN makes use of a machine-learning method known as a GAN, or generative adversarial network. GANs consist of two neural networks — which are algorithms modeled on the neurons in a brain — facing off against each other to produce real-looking images of everything from human faces to impressionist paintings. One of the neural networks generates images (of, say, a woman’s face), while the other tries to determine whether that image is a fake or a real face.

Wang, who said his software “dreams up a new face every two seconds,” told CNN he hoped his creations would spark conversation and get people to think critically about what they see in front of them. It looks like he’s achieved his goal.

Christopher Schmidt, a Google engineer who used the same technology to create fake home and rental interiors, agreed.

“Maybe we should all just think an extra couple of seconds before assuming something is real,” Schmidt told CNN.

Pietrangeli, for his part, says he can tell the difference: “All of the animal images,” he wrote, “lacked ‘aura.'”