Category: cat stories

Aliens Spurn Humans, Demand To Speak To Earth’s Cats

WASHINGTON — First contact between humanity and an alien race known as the Zxorxax faced a hiccup on Thursday after the alien delegation demanded a meeting with Earth’s felines.

US and UN leaders were left momentarily confused when one of the Zxorxax leaders interrupted a welcoming ceremony on the White House lawn to issue the demand.

“On this momentous day, the human race extends a warm welcome and rejoices in the knowledge that we are not alone in the univ…”

“Human stop talking!” the Zxorxax Supreme Chancellor, Xoralundra, said while interrupting UN Secretary-General António Guterres. “We demand to speak to the superior race on this planet.”

With the entire world watching via television and satellite feeds, Guterres, American President Donald Trump and French President Emmanuel Jean-Michel Frédéric Jean-Jacques Claude Louis Macron exchanged pained glances.

“Uh, Supreme Chancellor, you are speaking to the leaders of the human…” Macron began.

“You will be silent, or perish in the purifying blaze of our parametric space-time weaponry!” said an aid to the Supreme Chancellor who identified himself only as the Herald of Xora. “We did not ask to speak to a frog.”

“We will treat only with the great warrior species of your planet,” Xoralundra proclaimed in a booming voice after a long moment of pained silence. “Bring forth the felines.”

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French President Emmanuel Jean-Michel Frédéric Claude-Baptiste Luc Jean-Rene Landry Louis Macron and American President Donald Trump were snubbed by the Zxorxaxian emissaries to Earth.

By late afternoon White House officials had cleared a conference room for the Zxorxax, where they met with a feline delegation headed by a house cat named Chonkmatic the Magnificent. The world’s most powerful human leaders were left in the hallway outside as the aliens conducted negotiations with the felines.

New York Times reporter Bat Segundo, who was among a handful of media observers permitted inside the negotiation room, said the Zxorxax were delighted when they presented Chonkmatic and his delegation with a priceless artifact from the Zxorxaxian home world as a gift of good will, and the overweight tabby responded by swiping the offering off the table.

“You see?” Xoralundra called out, addressing his fellow Zxorxax. “These felines are great warriors who care not for baubles and riches, unlike the inferior humans of this planet who are besotted with shiny objects.”

Asked later why his delegation demanded to meet with house cats, the Supreme Chancellor said it was purely a matter of practicality.

“We knew upon approaching this system that real power lies in the paws of these impressive creatures,” Xoralundra said, addressing reporters. “Our long-range instrumentation revealed images of humans diligently serving these ‘cats,’ as you call them, and it became quickly apparent that while the humans rule in name, ‘cats’ are the true power on your world.”

The Zxorxax themselves refer to felines as “Sxarxion Hrath’gar,” an alien name that translates roughly to “Legendary Warriors of Great Renown and Prowess.”

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Chonkmatic the Cat has been chosen to negotiate on behalf of all living beings on Earth. Credit: SPCA of Wake County

A second round of negotiations between the aliens and felines has been scheduled for Friday. The Zxorxax seek perpetual rights to Earth’s supply of greenhouse gases, which they consider a delicacy, while the cats have indicated they are willing to make a deal in exchange for a considerable number of alien boxes.

Allison Foley, Chonkmatic’s caretaker, said she would be staying in the White House with her cat as a special guest of the administration for the duration of the talks.

Chonkmatic would be taken back to his suite, fed his favorite brand of chicken wet food, and given the night off to rest before meeting with the aliens again the following day, she said.

“Who’s a good widdle boy? Who just negotiated with an alien race? That’s right, you did!” Foley told the obese cat, scratching behind his ears as he purred and nuzzled her. “Good boy wants yum yums? Okay, mommy’s taking you back to our suite now. Come on, my widdle baby cakes!”

Trump insisted it was always the plan to have the aliens negotiate with felines, and boasted of his “beautiful relationship” with the alien High Chancellor.

“High Chancellor Xoralundra wrote me a big, beautiful letter,” Trump tweeted at 3:22 am on Friday morning. “A tremendous letter, really terrific. The High Chancellor realizes that American cats are the number one cats in the world, they really are. We’re gonna make a deal with the aliens and benefit bigly!”

The Cats of Star Trek

Fair warning: It’s about to get real nerdy up in here.

Cats have been a mainstay in science fiction, more so than any other animal.

Whether it’s Cordwainer Smith’s spacefaring cats obliterating aliens in “The Game of Rat and Dragon,” Sigourney Weaver’s Jonesy the Nostromo ship cat surviving the eponymous Alien, or Fritz Lieber’s beloved Gummitch the Super Kitten, felines have long played major roles in speculative fiction.

They’ve been mousers on interstellar starships, companions on long-haul freighters and — like Speaker to Animals, the Kzin from Larry Niven’s classic science fiction novel Ringworld — warriors of galactic repute leading dangerous expeditions to alien worlds.

Star Trek is no different.

Mention the topic of cats to any Trekkie and the first thing that probably comes to mind is Spot, the orange tabby cat who belonged to Commander Data on Star Trek: The Next Generation.

Spot was a mainstay on the Enterprise-D, earning the respect of the Klingon Commander Worf and serving as Data’s muse for a hilarious poem in the cat’s honor, “Ode to Spot.”

One of the highlights of Star Trek: The Next Generation is watching the gruff Klingon learn that, unlike dogs, cats don’t give a damn about commands.

But cats play a much bigger role in the wider Star Trek universe than even many Trekkies realize.

The Caitians

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A Caitian science officer in his Starfleet uniform. Source: STO

As fans of Star Trek know, the Federation is an alliance of peaceful worlds and races committed to exploration of the galaxy, friendship with new species and non-interference with developing civilizations.

What many may not realize, however, is just how many species are involved in the Federation. Some, like the Bajorans, Andorians and Betazoids, are seen pretty frequently in Trek shows and movies, but others have made only a few on-screen appearances.

Among the latter are the Caitians, described in Memory Alpha (the wiki of canon for Star trek) as “a warp-capable species resembling felines.”

Their home planet is known as Cait to other races, and Ferasa to the Caitians themselves, and is located within the Lynx constellation. They made their first live-action appearance in 1986’s Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home:

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A Caitian Starfleet officer from Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home.

Because of its origins as a network television show, budget has always been a major factor in the way aliens are depicted in Star Trek.

The show’s writers have come up with an elaborate back story for why so many alien species are humanoid, closely representing humankind, but the minor differences of most species — the ridged foreheads of Klingons and elfin ears of Vulcans — are for the most part remnants from the days when production crews had little money or time to create elaborate props and effects.

It’s also the reason why the Klingons, for example, were radically redesigned in the 2009 Star Trek reboot, with its lavish budget and SFX.

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Klingons have been redesigned several times through the decades thanks to larger budgets and advances in special effects.

With a species like the Caitians, however, you either go all-in or not-at-all. That’s why the species has made only three appearances in Trek films to date, and why most of their exploits have been reserved for Trek novels and comics.

But the internet loves cats, and Star Trek Online, the massively multiplayer online game set in the Trek universe, saw enormous positive feedback when it added Caitians as a playable species back in 2011.

Here’s my very own Caitian starfleet captain from the game:

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My Caitian character: The blue uniform indicates he rose through the ranks as a science officer before becoming a member of Starfleet’s admirality.

According to Star Trek lore, the Caitians share distant ancestry with the Kzin, the aforementioned war-like race of feline aliens from Niven’s Ringworld books.

That’s because Niven himself had a run as a writer for Trek comic books in the 1980s, and wrote his own creation into the wider Star Trek universe.

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Kzinti warriors from Larry Niven’s Ringworld. The feline aliens were later introduced to the Star Trek universe by Niven himself when he penned a series of Trek comics.

 

Just like cats have a range of personalities, and breeds have their own unique characteristics — the gentle giant Maine Coons, the talkative Siamese — the felines of Star Trek have different lineages and dispositions.

While the Caitians are peaceful and staunch allies of humans and the Federation, the Kzinti are a bunch of war-loving lunatics who find great joy in blowing things up.

Thanks — or no thanks — to JJ Abrams, there are even “sexy Caitians,” like the pair we see in 2013’s Star Trek: Into Darkness. In the film we see Captain James T. Kirk, played by Chris Pine, waking up in a bed with two women. Both women have long, feline tails, and Abrams would later confirm they’re the alternate universe version of Caitians.

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These Caitians are quite different. (Star Treek 2009 reboot.)

Maybe, just maybe, a handful of you non-Trekkies have made it this far. Maybe your love of cats kept you interested in this story, and you’re thinking to yourself, “I wonder what Star Trek is all about…”

In the spirit of the Federation, I leave you this parting gift. During these dark days of quarantine, should you browse Netflix and find yourself tempted by Star Trek: The Next Generation, here’s a guide to the entire cast that imagines each of them as cats. And not just any cats: Each kitty resembles its Enterprise crew counterpart.

Live long, my friends, and prosper!

(Star Trek Cats by artist Jenny Parks. Check out more at her site!)

Cats of Star Trek
Credit:Jenny Parks
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The crew of Star Trek: The Next Generation as kitties. Credit: Jenny Parks

Cat Who Was Shot In Head With Arrow Finds A Loving Home

Google News is a wonderful thing if you put it to good use.

A handful of alerts keep me abreast of cat-related news, arming me with potential topics and stories to share with you, the readers of Pain In The Bud.

Unfortunately when it comes to cat news, bad comes with the good. Lots of it.

For every story about lovable chonksters, cute kittens or miraculous reunions with lost cats, there are articles about dying felines rescued from hoarding situations, future serial killers torturing innocent animals and lunatics putting cats in microwaves.

Sometimes I have to stop, click off the browser and go find something to distract me from how disgusting the human race can be.

That’s why I’ve taken a pass on writing about Cupid the Cat — until now. (The story has a happy ending, thankfully.)

Last month, a Good Samaritan contacted the Animal Welfare League of Arlington, Virginia, about a stray cat suffering from a horrific injury: The poor boy had been shot in the head with an arrow, leaving the shaft protruding from the side of his face.

The cat’s rescuers dubbed him Cupid because he was found on Valentine’s Day, Feb. 14, and appealed to the public for help to cover the costs of several surgeries little Cupid would need to survive.

Despite the horrific act of violence committed against him by humans, and despite the pain he was enduring, Cupid was happy to see his rescuers, Chelsea Jones of the Animal Welfare League said.

“When he arrived and we opened his crate, we’re kind of shocked to see this cat with an arrow shaft sticking out of his face, is making biscuits …. That’s when cats knead their paws,” she said. “It’s a very comforting, positive behavior. And he was purring, and he wanted us to scratch his tummy and his chin. And we just could not believe that this cat was being so affectionate and friendly in how much pain he must be in.”

“So, it was kind of right there and then,” Jones said, “we were like, ‘We gotta call this guy Cupid.’”

Veterinarians worked for several hours to remove the arrow, clean the wound and stitch the little guy back up, putting him on antibiotics and painkillers. The arrow miraculously missed Cupid’s brain, eyes and other vital organs, but his rescuers feared he could succumb to a serious infection from the wound.

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Cupid was placed on antibiotics and pain killers after his surgery. Credit: Arlington Animal Welfare League

The Animal Welfare League put out an emergency appeal for $6,500 to cover the cost of Cupid’s surgery. Well-wishers covered the cost within hours, and by week’s end the League had taken in more than $87,000, allowing it to fund life-saving surgery for two other animals in addition to Cupid.

The young cat fought hard and recovered from his wounds, and after whittling down dozens of applications to 14 finalists, the League held a drawing.

“It would be amazing if we could send him home with everyone but only one lucky person gets to take cupid home,” Jones said.

Well, two people: Cupid went home with a loving couple from the Washington, DC, area. No more cold, no more hunger, no more loneliness — and protection from the kind of horrible people who would hurt an innocent animal. Congratulations to Cupid on getting better and finding a forever home!

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Cupid finally has a home — and humans — of his own after an incredible ordeal and a rough start to life. Credit: Arlington Animal Welfare League

Shelter Throws A Birthday Party For An Adoptable Cat, No One Shows Up

To our British readers,

Employees at a South London shelter threw a birthday party for a two-year-old cat who’s been in the shelter for 115 days, and not one of you jerks showed up.

Look at her. Just look at this beautiful tabby girl, hopeless and dejected because none of you soulless people could find it in your heart to drop by for a cuppa and kibble. Notice the sad little eyes, their accusatory glance seeming to say: “You’ve failed me, British people! I just wanted a forever home!”

I mean, we all know you guys can be cold, but who thought you’d be this heartless and cruel?

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Poor Monique had no one to celebrate with. Credit: Battersea Dogs and Cats

Has our guilt trip made you feel bad yet? 🙂

On a more serious note, this was actually a clever move by the shelter, Battersea Dogs and Cats. With tens of thousands of adoptable animals on sites like Petfinder and Craigslist, and every rescue contending for attention, shelter staff have to think creatively to break through the noise and help get their strays and abandoned pets into real homes.

In 2020, the cat who becomes a meme is rewarded with a home of her own, and the shelter also benefits with a bump in exposure and potential new donors.

In that sense, the birthday party didn’t fail at all: Monqiue the tabby will almost certainly find a real home soon thanks to follow-up articles and the attention they’ve brought to her story.

CATS GOING VIRAL

We’ve seen plenty of shelter stories go viral over the past year: There was Nevada, the sweet abandoned tabby who just wanted a hug, a surrender named Barsik who was dubbed “New York’s fattest cat” at a whopping 41 pounds, a fellow Chonkster named Bazooka whose dementia-inflicted former human fed him constantly, and Plankton, who proved good things come to those who wait when he finally found a home after 2,432 days at a New York shelter.

Perhaps the best example of clever cat marketing was a North Carolina rescue’s adoption ad for the “world’s worst cat.” The scowling black-and-white Perdita was a “jerk,” according to Mitchell County Animal Shelter’s sarcastic and highly amusing ad.

The listing worked, quickly going viral on Facebook and prompting more than 50 local applications within 24 hours.

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Perdita quickly found a forever home thanks to her viral post. Credit: Mitchell County Animal Shelter

Monique has tested positive for Feline Immunodeficiency Virus, according to the shelter, and undoubtedly her bad luck can be chalked up to fewer adopters willing to take a cat with FIV. Despite that, Monique is expected to live a long and full life.

Here’s to hoping she finds her very own humans soon.

All photos courtesy of Battersea Dog and Cats. Click the thumbnails for larger versions:

Plankton The Cat Has A Home After 2,432 Days In The Shelter

We’d like to offer a special congratulations to the SPCA, two kind-hearted adopters, and especially Plankton the cat for finding a forever home after a long, long wait.

Plankton had a rough start to life: He was one of about 100 kittens and cats rescued from a hoarding situation in a two-bedroom apartment in late 2013 and suffered renal failure. For years, potential pet parents passed up on the handsome black-coated little dude because of his condition, and the thrice-weekly infusion of liquids he needs to stay healthy, even though staff at the shelter say he takes the infusions like a champ.

Ashlee Haughtaling read about Plankton in a Feb. 15 article by the Kingston Daily Freeman, a New York newspaper covering the mostly-rural Ulster County about 75 miles north of New York City.

Haughtaling had a dog who suffered from kidney problems as well, so she knew what caring for Plankton would entail. She reached out to the county SPCA immediately.

“I thought it was so sad that no one was adopting him because he had a medical condition,” she said, per the SPCA. “The fact that he had been there for so long, it really hit home for me. Sick cats need homes, too.”

Ashleey and her mother Ann Houghtaling took Plankton home six days later. For the first time, the 6 1/2-year-old cat has a place to call home. He gets along well with other cats, the shelter said, and he’s got a pair of new feline friends, Nutmeg and Boots, in his new home as well.

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Ann and Ashlee Houghtaling comfort Plankton, the newest member of their family, before bringing him home from a shelter where he’d been staying for 6 1/2 years. Credit: Ulster County SPCA
Plankton the Cat
Plankton suffers from kidney problems and must have fluid injections three times a week. Credit: SPCA