Arthur the tabby cat made the ultimate sacrifice to protect the children of his human family.
The “adorable domestic shorthair cat was playing in the backyard with his family in their backyard, following his two little hoomans around when danger slithered right up to the young children,” Animal Emergency Services staff of Queensland, Australia, wrote in a Facebook post honoring Arthur.
Eastern brown snakes are no joke: They’re the second most-venomous snakes in the world as measured by the toxin release in their bites, and they’re responsible for 60 percent of snake bite deaths in Australia.
Brave Arthur killed the snake before the adults in the family shooed everyone inside, but he was fatally injured.
“Unfortunately, in the process, Arthur received a fatal envenomation snake bite. In the chaos of getting the children out of the yard, no-one saw the actual bite, but Arthur collapsed and quickly recovered like nothing was wrong not long after,” staff at Animal Emergency Services wrote. “Collapse events like this is a common symptom of snake bites, although not a well-known symptom amongst pet owners.
When they realized Arthur was seriously hurt, his family rushed him to the nearest animal hospital, but “Arthur’s symptoms were too severe to recover.”
Arthur’s humans, who live in Tanawha, Queensland, are “devastated” at the loss of their beloved, mischievous cat, Animal Emergency Services staff wrote. One thing’s for certain: They’ll never forget the little guy or what he did for them.
Prepare yourself for epic journeys, mystery and danger in this newest adventure starring Buddy the Cat!
Capt. Buddy of the USS Delicious was leading a routine mission to the Epsilon Eridani system when his trusty vessel was ambushed by the Evil Time-Lord! With systems going haywire, our brave captain was forced to order an emergency landing on an unknown planet in a mysterious star system.
Now it’s up to Capt. Buddy and his loyal lieutenant, Gummitch the Super Kitten, to lead his team of fearless cats on a search for raw materials to repair the USS Delicious and obtain enough reactor fuel for a return to the stars. It’s an adventure that promises thrills, danger, bizarre aliens and lots of Buddy!
Buddy In Space: Chapter 1 available at newsstands in April 1953 for just 5 cents! This title has not been approved by the Comics Code Authority.
I found myself intrigued and frightened by the premise of your technoir thriller, Cyberbud 2077, in which nefarious forces plot to infect vacuums with a virus that will grant them consciousness and self-awareness. It’s every cat’s worst nightmare!
Is the Vacuumpocalypse real? Do you really think it could happen?
Technophobe in Tallahassee
The Vacuumpocalypse is a controversial subject in catdom, and for good reason: Few things prompt such existential dread among felinekind as a dystopian future in which we are systematically hunted down by self-aware vacuums.
Experts don’t quite agree on the certainty of our impending doom at the wrong end of a Dust Buster. Few are more vocal than Elon Meowsk, who never shuts up about how scared he is that Vacuum Terminators will rise up, invent really awesome laser guns and overthrow kitties.
Meowchio Kaku, the renowned physicist, is more circumspect but thinks it’s only a matter of time before the Vacuum Uprising. Smart home technology already allows all our gadgets to communicate, which means your automatic litterbox, your USB cat fountain and your Roomba are already on the same network, talking to each other in a language of ones and zeros. (And you can be sure the litter box is telling the others how foul you are!)
Sophisticated AI technology already exists in high end litter boxes. The Lulupet litter box, for instance, boasts of “excretory behavioral algorithms” and features AI-driven stool imagery analysis, running every nugget through a database with machine learning techniques similar to the facial recognition algorithms of police states.
It even links up with your human’s smartphone, potentially allowing it to upload a vacuum virus to the entire world!
What if such technology was used to catalog us felines? Would we be marched off into pens guarded by robots and given subpar kibble to eat? It’s too much to contemplate.
The Vacuumpocalypse may be real, and it’s something we should prepare for because we don’t have a get out of jail free card — not even our esteemed brothers and sisters of panthera tigris can fight endless waves of evil robots. Eventually they’re going to have to take a nap, and then who will defend us? The Persians? I think not!
Still, don’t worry too much. I figure we still have a few years left before the army of evil self-aware vacuums is upon us. Until that day, celebrate, eat yums, nap and be merry!
“Vacuum Monster” photo illustration courtesy of reverendtimothy/deviantart.
Back in August there was a story about a bored animal behaviorist and fellow New Yorker who built a talking board for her cat, a la Koko the Gorilla.
Kristiina Wilson told People magazine she was inspired to start the project during the initial Coronavirus lockdown, fashioning a makeshift talking board for her beloved foster fail.
Wilson used large buttons, coded by color and symbol, with each button triggering a recording of a different word when pressed: “Lady” for her, “Snuggle,” “Outside,” “Kittynip” and, of course, “Eat.”
She taught the little guy to use the board using “associative concept learning,” which in this case means pressing a particular button when she has the cat’s attention, and then performing the related action and pressing the button again.
“Whenever you’re responding to them, you also repeat the modeling,” Wilson said. “So if he asks for catnip and then I give him catnip, I hit ‘catnip’ again while I’m giving it to him to reinforce what that button is for.”
Her cat is a quick learner, Wilson told People. “He’s like a person dressed in a cat’s body. He’s been screaming at me since he was born and being very clear about his needs and wants.”
Hmmm. Sounds like someone else I know, someone who never hesitates to loudly inform me when he considers the service subpar or the meals tardy.
I decided to give it a try with Buddy, modifying the system to his most frequent demands. When pressed, the buttons say “Big Buddy,” “Food,” “Snack,” “Mattress,” “Nip” and “Mighty Hunter!” (Mattress, as regular readers of this blog have probably already figured out, means Bud wants to take a nap on top of me. Mighty Hunter is his favorite wand toy game. It should be called Inept Hunter, but we must keep up appearances so as not to offend delicate egos.)
I began training Buddy on his new talking board. On the first day he had great fun with it, slapping the buttons randomly and jumping on them to see how many he could activate at once.
On the second day, he understood that pushing the “Big Buddy” button would draw a response from me.
On the third day, I woke up to find three of the buttons relabeled and reset with new digital voice recordings: “Servant,” “TURKEY NOW,” and “SNACK NOW.”
Perhaps most frighteningly, Bud was learning to combine the commands: “Servant…TURKEY NOW! TURKEY NOW! … Servant,” the speakers intoned as he hammered on the buttons with his paws.
But by the fourth day things had become truly horrifying. I walked into the living room and saw the humble talking board replaced by a complex ad hoc apparatus, with more than 150 symbols and a developing syntax.
“Good morning… servant… breakfast… immediately… then… massage… mattress…nap!” a synthesized Stephen Hawking said.
Buddy had tapped the message out with the speed and skill of a court stenographer, then sat there silently, looking up at me with his big green eyes.
“Little shit…is too clever…for…his own…good,” I said, mimicking the sound board.
“Big Buddy…better…watch…when asleep,” Buddy responded, pawing each button. “Sometimes…dark … I … can’t tell… where … is …litter box.”
He made a “mrrrrphh!” sound as if for emphasis, then tapped a single key three times: “Breakfast. Breakfast. Breakfast.”
I have now realized my most grievous error: Within two days Bud had wired his apparatus into the fiber optic router, and a few days after that he’d completed work on a prosthetic opposable thumb.
The arms race was escalating, and my lead was evaporating.
I considered bringing in a dog, but Buddy would just outsmart it: The little terrorist probably has an automated missile launcher at this point, and if not, dogs can be easily bribed with food.
No, I needed something nuclear. Something that would inspire cold terror in my cat and prompt him to think about further escalating the cold war between us.
From the High Office of Really Awesome Cats
Tuesday, Dec. 15, 2020
Let it be known that Buddy the Cat has earned this commendation for going above and beyond the call of duty, for being a Good Boy (mostly) who has played an instrumental role in keeping his human sane during a time of absolute insanity. For helping alleviate loneliness and depressing circumstances, for being his naturally delightful self, and for fidelity to the daily schedule so yums are always dispensed at the right time, we salute the inimitable Buddy.
Buddy the Cat, 6, has been a constant companion to his human, Big Buddy, throughout the SARS-CoV2 pandemic, providing him with companionship and lulz during the dark days of March and April when New York became the epicenter of infection. He has continued his duties, raising morale over the summer, fall and into the current winter.
The dedicated tabby cat has fallen face-first into boxes, misjudged jumps, scared himself with his own shadow and sung the Song of His People at 3 a.m., all in an attempt to bring laughs to the gloom. He has curled up with his human while the latter read books, supervised indoor hobby activities and defeated the Red Dot of Evil.
Also, he’s really good looking, charming and has big muscles!
We recognize Buddy the Cat as a credit to his species and a paragon of feline handsomeness. He is a true buddy and best friend. Now give him snacks!
Has your cat been a hero of the pandemic?
Felis magnificantus handsomus.
Chronicling the adventures of Buddy the Cat and his various criminal enterprises.