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!”
We’ve all heart the familiar knocks on our feline friends: They’re aloof, selfish animals who are indifferent to their humans as long as their bowls are filled with food and they’ve got a warm place to sleep for 16 hours a day.
NPR hosts took a look at those stereotypes in their new segment, Animal Slander, in which they take “common phrases and stereotypes about animals — blind as a bat, memory of a goldfish — and figure out how much truth there is to them, or if they’re really just slanderous to these animals.”
Emily Kwong and Maddie Sofia of Shortwave — NPR’s daily science podcast — host the series, taking a look at a different animal in each segment.
“We can at least set the record straight on some potential slander that cats endure,” Sofia said, “such as cat are aloof, especially compared to dogs, that they love food more than they love us, and the idea that cats love people who don’t love cats.”
Kwong and Sofia spoke to Kristyn Vitale, an animal behaviorist from Oregon State University. If Vitale’s name looks familiar to you it’s because we’ve talked about her work before on Pain In The Bud. Along with researchers at Sophia University in Tokyo, Vitale’s team at OSU has been putting out most of the headline-making cat research in recent years.
They were responsible for the much-talked-about study showing cats relate to their owners the same way human children relate to their parents in uncertain situations. They were also the authors of a study that found cats prefer affection from humans more than food.
The former validated the feelings of many cat servants by confirming the similarities between the parent-child and caretaker-animal dynamics. In other words, we’re surrogate parents to our cats.
“It was very interesting to find just how closely those numbers match what we’ve seen in dogs and humans,” Vitale said. “The majority of both dogs and human children are securely attached, and that’s anywhere from about 60 to 65 percent of the population, which is exactly what we found with cats.”
It wasn’t so long ago that scientists had apparently given up on cats, concluding they’re too uncooperative to serve as research subjects.
“I can assure you it’s easier to work with fish than cats,” comparative psychologist Christian Agrillo told Slate in 2014. “It’s incredible.”
Cats “freaked out” when taken from their homes to a lab for studies, Agrillo said, and most weren’t interested in the test.
“Very often, they didn’t participate in the experiment or they walked in the wrong direction,” Agrillo said at the time. “It was really difficult to have a good trial each day.”
The teams at Oregon State and Tokyo’s Sophia University have worked around those issues by designing studies that focus on feline reactions rather than scenarios that required them to take certain actions. That method may not yield results in the sort of comparative psychology studies scientists like Agrillo design, but it’s given researchers a window into the feline mind.
Stereotypes about cats can dissuade scientists from studying them, Vitale said, which is why it’s important to debunk them.
The stereotypes “do bother me because some of these ideas are why the field of cat cognition has been stagnant for a long time,” she said. “A lot of these expectations shape the work that people want to do, and if we say cats are aloof and untrainable, well, then they can’t learn to how engage in cognitive testing. But in our lab we’re showing cats can be trained just as readily as dogs.”
Likewise, stereotypes can negatively impact the way owners treat their feline friends. That’s something we’ve talked about before: While dogs warm quickly to people, earning the love and trust of a cat takes effort. The better you treat a cat, the tighter your bond becomes.
“If people don’t think they can bond with their cat, or engage in a lot of these interactions, why even try?” Vitale asked. “And if we don’t try with our cats, that’s going to produce a very different individual than we see with dogs.”
As for the NPR hosts, they concluded cats have indeed been unfairly maligned.
“The next time someone says ‘I love this cat so much because it acts like a dog,'” Kwong said, “lovingly tell them ‘No, this cat acts like a cat.'”
“The failing Time magazine didn’t even put me on their top 10 cats list. If they did, maybe they would sell more copies! Sad!” Buddy tweeted after the story was published.
Others expressed their outrage at Time’s snub.
”Time magazine has proven itself irrelevant by failing to include the handsomest tabby in America, and quite possibly the world,” gossip meower Pawrez Hilton wrote. “Do they realize thousands of kittens have posters of Buddy on their walls? He’s absolutely dreamy.”
“No Buddy? Absurd!” Meower user @SexyCalico24 commented. “I mean, have you seen his muscles? RAWR!”
Time’s editors were forced to backtrack after a deluge of angry phone calls and emails, along with a hundreds-strong protest outside the magazine’s Manhattan headquarters.
“It was a grave oversight on our part to exclude Buddy from our list, and we apologize,” the magazine’s editors wrote in a statement. “We know it will take time to win back the trust of our readers, but we hope to make it up to them with a 24-page photo spread of Buddy in our April issue.”
Claws Woodward, a purrfessor of feline journalism at the Harvard School for Cat Studies, said the embarrassing oversight is a sign that Time magazine is out of touch with kittens and young cats.
“Buddy is an action hero, like Snacky Chan or Ahnold Schwarzenmeower,” Woodward said. “With his movie star good looks and his rippling muscles, he clearly should have been on that list. I mean, ‘Jealous Cat’? Real Housewives meme cat? Come on! You don’t put Z-listers ahead of one of the most treasured cats of our generation.”
Still, not everyone was convinced Buddy should have made the list. Pop singer Taylor Swift was among those who clapped back at Buddy for his vanity.
“Buddy who?” Swift tweeted, throwing shade at the Budster. “If any cats should be on that list, my kitties should occupy all ten spots. I’m going to write a song about how they were cheated. Let me finish!”
It seems like a new super chonk cat goes viral everyday, and it’s always the same story — the cat comes from a home where its owner is either negligent or unable to properly care for kitty, and a rescue is left with the dual responsibility of finding a new home and getting the cat to slim down.
That’s the case with Wilford, a handsome eight-year-old tabby who weighs in at a hefty 28 pounds.
Wilford is living with a D.C.-area foster couple, who have the long-haired dude on a diet and are trying to get him to exercise. They say his ideal weight is about 14 pounds, half of what he weighs now.
But as the video below illustrates, Wilford is so heavy, “playing” for him means laying on his back and doing “crunches” while batting at his wand toys instead of chasing them:
“Wilford absolutely loves to play- but he only feels comfortable doing so while safely ensconced beneath the dining room table,” his foster humans wrote on Instagram. “Kind of like preferring to work out at home instead of at the gym!”
In a bit of TMI, they say Wilford’s dropped some weight and is ready to start the process of screening for a forever home, but they’re still concerned over his sluggish ways and his “irregular vowel movements.”
Read: If you’re looking to adopt this regal little guy, you shouldn’t be the type who’s squeamish about blown-up litter boxes.
While handling Wilford feels like “picking up a greasy watermelon when you have to move him from place to place,” foster parent Jen tells DCist, “he is an absolute delight and we are so grateful to have the opportunity to spend time with him.”
Wilford’s favorite position is laying on his back, and unlike most cats, he actually likes it when humans scratch his belly.
“I mean, he’s just absolutely adorable,” Jen said. “He’s very dramatic, and when he wants something, he’ll roll over and just squeak. And you’re basically like, ‘Alright, Wilford, I’ll give you another tummy rub.’”
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA v. Buddy the Cat, defendant
THE GRAND JURY CHARGES THAT:
19 USC § 741D (Unauthorized Distribution of Schedule I Catnip)
The defendant and other relevant persons
1. Between or on about April 22, 2014 and January 1, 2020, defendant BUDDY THE CAT (“Buddy”) operated a vast interstate operation dedicated to the cultivation, packaging, distribution and sale of Nepeta Cataria, commonly known as CATNIP, and by the street names “The Nip,” “Feline Piff,” and “Meowijuana,” as well as Actinidia polygama, commonly known as SILVER VINE.
2. While overseeing his criminal organization, defendant Buddy the Cat headquartered his operation out of a New York apartment, entrusting his lieutenants Nipsy Rock, Socks the Evil Killah, Chairman Meow and Pawblo Escobar with the sale and wholesale distribution of catnip and silver vine, both Schedule I nipcotics according to the United States Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA).
3. During his tenure as the east coast’s primary “Niplord,” Buddy the Cat did engage in a ruthless campaign of violence and intimidation in order to claim territory (“corners,” “stoops” and “blocks”) for himself and his criminal organization.
23 USD § 892b (Criminal Endangerment of a Kitten)
4. Buddy the Cat, aided by his capitans, lieutenants and soldiers, did participate in the recruitment of kittens younger than six months of age for the purpose of serving as runners for “The Nip” and as lookouts to provide advance warning of the presence of law enforcement. The young kittens were recruited with promises of a glamorous lifestyle, compensation in the form of Temptations treats, and “street credibility.”
USD 113a § 046 (Feliny catslaughter in the first degree)
5. Buddy the Cat and his aforementioned lieutenants participated in the ruthless and diabolical elimination of rivals and potential “snitches,” among them Fat Tony Catsonova, consigliere of the Il Nipolino catnip cartel, Felix “Heisenpaw” White, chief chemist for the Los Angeles-based Los Gatos criminal gang, and “Meowvelous” Mikey Mike, a show cat who moonlighted as a dealer specializing in high-grade silver vine.
USD 562a § 215 (Conspiracy to transport catnip across state lines)
6. On or about Oct 12, 2016, defendant Buddy the Cat and Nipsy Rock were observed by a federal agent discussing the shipment of 4,000 lbs of premium Meowijuana, with a street value of approximately $200,000 USD, from a grow warehouse in California to the operation’s Nip Distribution Center in Newark, NJ. In addition, defendants Chairman Meow and Pico de Gato were overheard planning the ambush and robbery of a silver vine shipment intended for a Los Gatos stash house in Houston, Texas.
The Substantive Violation
Defendant Buddy the Cat did willfully participate in the manufacture, distribution and sale of Schedule I nipcotics, the termination of rival Niplords, a protracted series of turf wars and a permanent campaign of disruption and terror aimed at his rivals in the illegal catnip trade.
Have you seen Buddy the Cat? Federal authorities have announced a $10,000 reward for information leading to the successful capture and conviction of the notorious niplord.
Chronicling the adventures of Buddy the Cat and his various criminal enterprises.