The young French girl placed her most precious items in an elaborately decorated antique box — among them a personal letter, old coins, a sea shell, a compass and two glass negatives.
French photographer Matheiu Stern, who discovered the accidental time capsule earlier this year, used a vintage technique to develop the plates and reveal the images they contained: A photo of a small tabby cat posing on a door step, and another of the same tabby with a kitten and a gentle-looking dog.
The process Matheiu used is called cyanotype, and as its name implies, it renders everything in a blueish scale rather than grayscale or color. The process was popular for most of the 19th century before it gave way to newer and more accurate photography methods, but it was used long after that as a cheap method of reproducing architectural schematics, thus the name “blueprints.”
The photographs have the unmistakable hue of the process used to develop them, and show the people of the 19th century bonded with their cats just as we do.
They also prove that people have always loved taking photos of cats, and the ubiquity of cat images on the Internet was inevitable. Resistance always was futile:
Zoos around the US are closed because of the Coronavirus, but that doesn’t mean we have to miss out on the milestones of baby animals like the San Diego Zoo’s Ryder and Skyler, two black-footed kittens.
Black-footed cats are notable not only for their diminutive size — typically maxing out at two or three pounds — and their cuteness, but also for their astonishing hunting skills. The tiny terrors have voracious appetites and a 60 percent success rate when hunting. That eclipses the 25 percent success rate of lions, 32 percent success rate of domestic cats and the zero percent success rate of Buddy.
Ryder, a male, and Skyler, a female, were born in April. They haven’t started hunting yet, but they’ve now reached the stage where they’re eating meat instead of milk, as this video shows:
Russell Crowe was training for the 2005 movie Cinderella Man, in which he plays boxer James J. Braddock, when he “took the bunch of blokes who had been beating me up for their pay check” — his trainers and fellow actors playing boxers in the movie — on a mountain bike ride in rural Australia.
After cresting a “particularly punishing hill” and stopping for a sip of water, Crowe wrote, he heard plaintive mews coming from the trees off the rural Australian trail.
“Underneath the swirl of sounds I heard something out of place. Was that a meow? I started to look around me. I heard it again. I took a few steps of the track into the rain forest. Thick with ferns and vines. One more step and then I saw it. A kitten…”
The baby cat was abandoned, and Crowe says he thinks the cat might have been dumped by a driver who passed the bicyclists a few minutes earlier.
“I looked back down the track and the boys were gaining on me,” he wrote. “I put the kitten in my backpack and rode on.”
After returning to camp, Crowe took the kitten out of his pack, showed it to his friends and told them he was going to give it to his mother, who had been talking about adopting a cat.
“There’s something reassuring in a bunch of big sweaty boxers going crazy over a kitten,” Crowe wrote. “We flew down the hill in a tight group and arrived back at my farm together where I presented my mother with this tiny baby kitten. She was floored. So happy.”
That was in 2003. Cinders lived for 17 years and died on June 9. Crowe shared the story of finding and adopting the beloved cat in a Twitter thread.
Crowe, who was living with his mother while training for the movie, said he was originally opposed to getting a cat because felines are “the notorious enemy of bird life.”
When he found Cinders, he wrote, he felt “this was the universe telling me to respect my mother and give her what she wanted.”
“She had never grown to be fully trusting of humans, but, she loved my mum and my mum loved her.”
“They have only recently been spotted out of their den and seem to be getting more curious each day. They both seem very healthy and have started to show a little bit of personality,” a spokesperson for the sanctuary told the Independent. “They’ve been giving our very small team a lot of joy during this all this uncertainty and put a smile on our faces each morning.”
Their mom (pictured above) has been so protective of her babies that staff at the sanctuary haven’t gotten close enough to determine the gender of the kittens.
Rusty spotted cats are among the smallest felids in the world: As adults they max out at between 2 and 3.5 pounds, with a body between 14 and 19 inches. That’s about a third the size of a typical domestic cat.
Along with black-footed cats, who are about the same size, they’re the tiniest of the entire feline family.
Rusty spotted cats range in parts of India and Sri Lanka, but like so many other wild animals, they’re threatened by habitat loss and fragmentation. They’re famously elusive, difficult to photograph or film in the wild, and the Porfell sanctuary says there are only about 50 of them in captivity around the world. The sanctuary is a participant in a breeding program to help conserve the species.
Like so many other sanctuaries and wildlife refuges, Porfell is hurting due to the SARS-CoV2 outbreak. You can support their efforts via GoFundMe.
We know the meow originates as a way kittens communicate with their mothers, and adults generally don’t meow to each other. In fact, the iconic vocalization — which is the cat’s actual name in some languages — is a feline’s attempt to communicate with us, their human caretakers.
Give the little stinkers the credit they deserve: They know we don’t read tail, whisker, ear or even feline facial expressions very well, and they know we communicate verbally, so they meow to us.
We also know house cats develop exclusive “languages” with their favorite humans, forming personal and proprietary ways of exchanging information.
They’re even capable of meowing at the same frequency as a human baby’s cries by embedding the infant-like call in their purrs: Because we humans are hard-wired by evolution to respond urgently to those frequencies, our feline friends quickly realize their “solicitation purrs” are the most effective way to get our attention.
Clearly they’re manipulating us, not the other way around.
Have you decoded your cat’s repertoire of meows and other vocalizations? In addition to the meow — which comes in several different types and forms — cats can chirp, trill, chatter, growl, chirrup and purr.
Buddy is a very vocal kitty, and he likes to use trills to communicate. Here are Buddy’s favorite “words” and sentiments:
Hrrrruuuhh – “Okay then”/”I have no idea what you’re talking about”/”Sorry, not interested”
Brrrrr! Brrrrt! – “I don’t like this!” or “I don’t know about this!” (Heavy trill sound.)
(The brrrrt sound goes all the way back to Bud’s babyhood, when he wasn’t litter box trained and got nervous every time he had to eliminate. To this day, he makes that sound when he’s nervous and unsure of what to do.)
Brrrrruuuup! – “I’m fast! Watch me run! I’m running!”
(A vocalization that serves as a prelude to an energy-expending burst of activity.)
Rrrrooow! – “No!”/An expression of annoyance. May also mean “Get away from me!” in certain contexts.
Ahhhhmmmm – “Interesting!” High-pitched.
Hurrrrr – Affirmation. “Bud, do you want turkey tonight?” “Hurrrrr!”
Mmmmohhh! – “Oh, but I want to!” (Reserved for when he’s told not to do something, like scratch the couch.)
Excited chatter – About to receive catnip or one of his favorite foods.
Mrrrump! – Straining or jumping down. Often heard as he hits the ground when jumping down from a couch or bed.
Nyeeea – Okay, I’m awake!
Mmmyeoowww! – I WANT FOOD!
Mrrrrrrrooww! – I WANT FOOD!
Mrrooww! Mrrooww! – FOOD NOW!
Bah! Bah! – You jerk!
Mnyakk ak ak! – A chattering sound. “I see birds! I see birds and I can’t attack them!”
Incessant crying – Open the door so I can come in, and after five minutes I’ll cry again until you let me out. Then I’ll do it again until you let me in…
You, dear reader, have your own private language with your cat(s) too, whether you’re consciously aware of it or not. If you haven’t given it much thought, pay close attention to the sounds your cat makes and the ways you respond…and don’t get too freaked out when you realize who really runs your home. 🙂
Chronicling the adventures of Buddy the Cat and his various criminal enterprises.