Most people know leopard spots afford the big cats excellent camouflage, but this is ridiculous. There’s a leopard in this photo. Can you see it?
The viral photo has been making the rounds online over the past 24 hours. If you can’t find the leopard, don’t feel bad: I stared at the damn thing for 10 minutes until I cheated and looked up the answer.
Unfortunately it looks like the highest-resolution version of the photo that exists on the web is only 1280×720, so we don’t get the benefit of HD. Either way, this cat has an impressive ability to blend into its surroundings.
A search turns up quite a few similar photos, like this one of a snow leopard:
See it yet?
How about now?
Like all big cats, leopards are disappearing from the wild due to habitat destruction, hunting and cub-poaching.
The year-old tabby and his human are enjoying viral fame after the latter snapped this shot of Roscoe catching his reflection in two mirrors at the same time, prompting a hilarious look of shock:
Roscoe’s human, Katie B, explained how she got the shot.
“I was just going about my business when I looked down and saw his reflection in the magnifying mirror and I started laughing hysterically,” said the 24-year-old PhD student, who lives in Chicago. “It was hilarious, and thankfully I was holding my phone. So I quickly took a picture and sent it to my friends on Snapchat.”
Roscoe’s bewildered look has reignited the debate about feline self-awareness, a topic that still hasn’t been settled by science. It’s a subject we’ve explored here on Pain In The Bud, detailing Buddy’s “long and tumultuous history with mirrors” and his reactions to seeing himself — and me — reflected back at him.
Katie calls Roscoe “a funny little dude” and her “furry best friend.” She’s started an Instagram account for Roscoe where she documents the little guy’s antics for his followers.
“It’s been really fun seeing how much people love it and all the memes and drawings people have done of Roscoe,” Katie told Buzzfeed. “He has brought so much joy into my life, and I’m glad he’s bringing joy to others too!”
Allyson Seconds was driving through midtown Sacramento on Thursday morning when she saw flashes of fur weaving between cars in traffic.
“I pulled over thinking I’d seen two loose dogs crossing the street and went into rescue mode,” the Sacramento woman recalled. “When I saw they were coyotes I grabbed my phone and took just these four shots of them running and jumping up at a tree.”
Seconds didn’t didn’t understand why the coyotes were so worked up until she reviewed the shots.
“I didn’t realize at first that it was a house cat they were after until I looked at the pictures,” she wrote. “That’s one lucky cat!”
The swift tabby managed to stay a stride ahead of his canid pursuers before going vertical and beating a quick retreat up a tree.
This photo shows the telltale signs of a terrified cat: Kitty’s tail is raised, rigid and three times its normal size while its ears are pinned back against its head.
The next two photos show the end of the chase: In the first we can see just a flash of fur as the cat scurries up the tree, and in the second shot the coyotes look miffed at being outplayed by a domestic cat.
As for Seconds, she understands what so many people and local media reports get wrong. There aren’t “more” coyotes, as if they’ve suddenly decided to start becoming prolific breeders. The reason those of us in urban and suburban neighborhoods see them more often is because we encroach on their habitats with every development, cul-de-sac and ugly strip mall we build.
It’s a story that is sadly repeated across the globe as animals as varied — and endangered — as mountain lions, tigers and orangutans find fewer contiguous plains, jungles and forests to hunt and forage within.
“This is not even close to a coyote damning post,” Seconds wrote on Facebook. “Housing developments and more homeless living at the river are certainly driving them inland from their more suitable terrain but guess what? The coyotes are adapting to city life and we are seeing more and more of them in all corners of our town. They aren’t going anywhere.”
She signed off by making a suggestion we’ve advocated many times on this blog.
“And as for those worried about their cats for reasons illustrated in my photos? Time to start keeping kitty inside.”
What would domestic cats be like if they were the same size as big cats?
It’s a question that seems to pop up often on cat-centric and Q&A sites and the answer is complex, but it turns out nature has given us a pretty good idea with the puma.
Also known as the cougar, mountain lion and the more generic panther (which can be a name for jaguars and leopards as well), the puma is big, but genetically it’s related to small cats and it shares some physical features with our familiar domestic kitties.
It’s capable of the intimidating wild cat scream often heard from the largest felines, but the puma can’t roar like big cats. Instead, it purrs like its smaller relatives, and it can even meow with the best of them!
Visually, the puma is a striking animal — it’s muscular with a shiny tan coat and facial features reminiscent of both panthera and felis. While its ears more closely resemble those of small cats (felis), the puma’s eyes have circular irises like its larger cousins.
It’s also remarkably adaptive. The puma boasts the largest range of any cat, and is found all throughout South and North America. Here in good ol’ ‘Merica, the cat ranges from the coastal mountains of California to the forests of New England, and a subspecies — the famous Florida Panther — occupies swampland and dense jungle habitats.
After the jaguar, it’s the second-largest cat in the Western Hemisphere.
The puma is a wild animal, meaning its place is out in the world fending for itself, protecting its territory, hunting, mating, grooming and sleeping a lot, like all cats do. Pumas are emphatically not pets.
Yet pumas have a disposition closer to house cats than big cats, meaning they’re not hostile to humans by default, and much like feral cats, they’ll go out of their way to avoid humans.
Again — and it cannot be emphasized enough — pumas are wild animals who belong in the wild, but there have been rare cases where the big-little cats have lived with humans when circumstances make it impossible to return them to their natural habitat.
In some cases it’s because the puma is maimed and can no longer hunt for itself, while others remain under human care because they were born into zoos or circuses and literally do not know how to live like wild cats. Those animals are better off in sanctuaries than left to fend for themselves, which they’re unable to do, but should only be cared for by professionals.
While pumas don’t have any interest in hunting or harming humans, that doesn’t mean they’re not dangerous. Males can tip the scales at up to 220 pounds, while females can weigh as much as 140.
That’s a LOT of cat: Most of us know the kind of damage 10-pound domestic felines are capable of rendering, especially with sharp claws and teeth that can shred delicate human skin. A 220-pound puma, while not as lethal as a tiger pushing 600-plus pounds, can fatally injure a human being.
Thankfully, these animals are famously elusive and confrontations with humans are exceedingly rare.
Do cats understand and appreciate when humans rescue them?
It’s a question that comes up often, even though cat owners servants are quick to answer in the affirmative based on their own experiences with thankful felines.
Thanks to a tiny rescue kitten named Blossom and her beaming smile, any doubts can be officially put to rest. Here’s Blossom happily posing for the camera in the home of her foster mom, Lauren Boutz of New Mexico:
Blossom and her two sisters are receiving round-the-clock care from Boutz and her boyfriend, who have taken over mom duties for the orphaned trio.
The grateful kitty’s sunny mug has been shared a few thousand times since Boutz shared the photos to Facebook. Like all good models, Blossom has several looks.
Now if we could only get a certain grouch around here to smile…Why so serious all the time, Bud?
Chronicling the adventures of Buddy the Cat and his various criminal enterprises.