Category: cat photography

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.

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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?

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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!

Who’s That Handsome Kitten?

I was digging through some old files when I found these photos of a young Buddy the Cat:

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What a dapper fellow!
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“Hey, where’s that steak you promised?”

These were taken in my brother’s apartment on the Upper East Side. It was early summer, so Buddy was probably about four months old, give or take.

He spent almost the entire day in the yard where he made friends with Cosmo the Dog and had lots of fun chasing insects, running around and rolling in the grass. He made friends with every human there, of course. Then when he was tired out from all that playing, he had a super special treat: Steak from the BBQ.

I’d love to bring the little guy to more social events and barbecues, but alas, almost all of them involve dogs who are not Cosmo, and I’m not sure how Bud would do with three or four dogs running around, let alone 20+ people. Smaller gatherings sans pups are a better bet.

Can You Spot The Cat?

Here, kitty kitty! Oh where could you be?

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Not a challenge? Let’s try this one. Hint: Kitty’s shy:

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This cat is well hidden, but she’s like a deer in headlights:

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This cute cat is getting ready for an ambush:

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Last but definitely not least, if you enjoy a challenge (or just feel like driving yourself crazy), I assure you there is a cat in this photo. Hint: Kitty’s in plain sight, not half-buried in the junk. Good luck!

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Russian Woman’s Maine Coon Is The Size Of A Lynx

It’s not easy having a huge cat.

As readers of PITB know, I have first-hand experience with taking care of a massive beast of a cat, with Buddy weighing in at a jaw-dropping 10 pounds, most of it pure meowscle of course.

That means I can sympathize with Russian one-percenter Yulia Minina, who bought a Maine Coon kitten less than two years ago only to see him balloon into an almost 30-pound behemoth — and he’s still growing!

Visitors often mistake Kefir for a large dog at first, Minina said, but the Maine Coon is the kind of gentle giant typical of his species and acts more like “a very affectionate and modest child.”

“When friends and acquaintances come to the house, all the attention is on him and he willingly allows himself to be stroked,” Minina told the UK’s South West News Service.

Kefir the cat
The scary part? Kefir isn’t done growing. Credit: Yulia Minina/Instagram

While most cats are just about their full size after a year, Maine Coons can continue to grow until after their second birthdays. (There’s no evidence that they continue to grow until they’re 5 years old despite claims online, mostly from breeder sites.) That means Kefir, who already looks like a robust lynx, could end up challenging domestic cat size records if he enjoys another growth spurt.

Kefir is just starting to go viral within the past day or two, and as his Instagram follower count (7,288 as of this post) continues to tick up, so do the enquiries from people who want to buy the big guy.

“To everyone who wants to buy my cat, I answer: NOT FOR SALE!” Minina wrote in an Instagram post on Monday. “But I can give all the information about the breeder that many have asked! At the moment, 3 gorgeous snow-white blue eyes are available in the nursery age 1 month. I think you don’t need to praise their beautiful and big parents, you already know everything!”

No word yet if Minina gets a commission on successful referrals to the breeder.

In the meantime, Buddy can rest easy knowing that even if another cat rivals his huge and intimidating presence, he’s all the way in Stary Oskol, a safe 4,873 miles away.

Budzilla the Meowscular
The similarly massive Buddy, who rivals the size of a football. Credit: The Buddy Society for Preservation of Buddy Photographs

Buddy’s A Good Sport, While I’m A Yuge Hypocrite!

A few weeks ago I wrote a post about people dressing their cats up in elaborate outfits for Instagram, and how it’s exploitive of the kitties. At other random times I’ve opined that most cats want nothing to do with clothes or accessories, and it’s cruel to treat them like dolls and play dress up with them.

My opinion on the subject hasn’t changed, but now I’m a hypocrite.

While my family was exchanging Christmas gifts, I was handed a small present while my brother and his wife explained that the gift was from my 8-year-old niece, who had found it and picked it out herself.

I opened it, revealing a pair of tiny “cat sunglasses,” with the packaging in Russian and a photo of a cat rocking the shades. (My brother works for the State Department and has been living in a former Soviet bloc country for the past year and a half. It’s a downgrade from Tokyo, but hey, you can’t get amazing assignments every time.)

“They’re for Buddy,” my niece said, beaming.

At the time I was thinking there’s no way in hell Bud would wear them, and I wasn’t going to try…but I knew my niece would expect to see a photo of him rocking the shades.

And so, after a bit of negotiation and the promise of tasty treats as a reward, Buddy agreed to wear the glasses just long enough for me to snap a few photos. I didn’t press my luck.

Here’s the glorious result:

Buddy In Shades
“I look too awesome in these, human, which is why I can’t wear them for more than 10 seconds. Any longer and I would generate a vortex of awesomeness from which nothing could escape.”

Credit to the little guy for posing and being a good sport. I wouldn’t have forced him to wear the glasses if he freaked out, and he didn’t seem to mind. He was curious and interested in biting the glasses more than anything.

Bud was rewarded handsomely in moist chicken cat treats and gobbled them down happily. A short while later he climbed up onto me, laid his head on my chest and started purring, so I’m as sure as I can be that he wasn’t traumatized by his brief fashion show.

So there you have it. I’m a hypocrite.

As for my niece, she loved the photo. Her and her younger sister are very fond of Buddy, and he’s started to warm to them as well, even if he remains cautious and well aware that they are young humans who haven’t totally developed fine motor control.

Besides, they have incentive to be extra nice to Bud. LOL Dolls are all the rage among young kids now, and I’ve told my nieces that Buddy’s got a huge collection of them, as well as a vast assortment of Pokemon. If they’re good to Buddy, he just might let them play with his toys…