Category: news

Sunday Cats: The Man Who Saves Fukushima’s Felines, Ridiculous Cat Names and More

Saving Fukushima’s Forgotten Felines

It’s hard to believe that March 11 will mark 10 years since the tsunami-caused nuclear disaster at Fukushima. While more than 100,000 people were evacuated from their homes to avoid the initial reactor meltdowns and resulting fallout, Sakae Kato stayed to care for the animals who were left behind.

His main focus is Fukushima’s cats, and he cares for 41 kitties who live in his home and a nearby building he owns, per The Guardian, which has a photo gallery via Reuters illustrating Kato’s efforts.

The Fukushima disaster was the worst nuclear accident since the infamous Chernobyl meltdown in 1986. Like the area surrounding Chernobyl, a no-go exclusion zone exists around the disaster site and will not be deemed fit for human habitation for perhaps hundreds of years. While scientists are still learning about the consequences for wildlife, animal populations have flourished in the Chernobyl exclusion zone, where they’re isolated from humans.

Exclusion Zone

Ridiculous and amusing cat names

If you’re planning on adopting any time soon or you’ve got an as-yet-unnamed furball and need some help finding a good name, you might find inspiration in this list from Reader’s Digest.

There are celebrity-inspired names (Kitty Purry, Catalie Portman, Bob Meowley, Cat Dennings, Catrick Swayze), Star Trek-inspired names (Captain Purrcard, Levar Purrton, William Catner, Leonard Nemeow), literary names (Haruki Purrakami is my favorite along with Holden Clawfield and Stelmaria), names inspired by history (Mewlius Caesar, Fuzz Aldrin), and names from the world of sports (Catfish Hunter, Meowhammad Ali). There are even food- and personality-driven names.

Thai sailors get props from PETA

The Thai Royal Navy sailors’ heroics went viral when they rescued four cats from a sinking fishing ship earlier this week. Now they’ve earned PETA’s “Hero to Animals” award.

“These sailors’ courageous and compassionate actions have made a splash with kind people around the world,” PETA senior vice president Jason Baker said. “PETA hopes their example will inspire everyone to keep an eye out for animals in danger and do whatever it takes to get them to safety.”

Update: After Ordeal At Sea, Cats Recover With Their Rescuers

The four lucky felines who were rescued from a sinking ship by Thai sailors on Wednesday were dehydrated and spooked by their ordeal but otherwise doing well, the Thai Royal Navy said.

Their brush with danger began when the Phamonsin Nava 10, a local fishing vessel, caught fire and capsized in the Andaman Sea, a section of waters off the west coast of Thailand and Myanmar. The ship was about eight miles from Koh Adang, the nearest island.

The Phamonsin Nava’s eight human crew members abandoned ship and took their chances in the water until a nearby fishing vessel was able to scoop them up. It’s still not entirely clear why the crew left the cats, who were forced to huddle together on a perilous perch as the ship sank.

The cats would have been doomed if not for the timely arrival of a ship from the Thai Royal Navy’s Air and Coastal Defense Command, which was dispatched to assess the abandoned ship for a potential oil spill. Wichit Pukdeelon, one of the sailors on the Thai navy vessel, spotted motion on the sinking ship and used his camera’s zoom function to locate the frightened feline quartet.

With nowhere else to retreat, the terrified cats were huddled together on a wooden beam. One of the sailors, 23-year-old Thatsaphon Saii, swam to the wreck and rescued each of the cats separately by placing them on his shoulders for the swim back to his ship.

“I immediately took off my shirt and put on a life jacket so I could jump into the sea. The flames were at the back of the boat but it was starting to sink, so I knew I had to be quick,” Sai told the Daily Mail. “I’m so relieved that we were able to save the kittens. They would have drowned or died of thirst if they went into the sea.”

Saii, Pukdeelon and the rest of their team are caring for the cats at their base on Koh Lipe, an island that together with Koh Adang and several others forms part of a maritime national park. Their heroics have made them celebrities in their country, with thousands of appreciative fans from Thailand sending them congratulatory messages online.

 

Dramatic Rescue: Sailors Save Cats From Sinking Vessel

Four terrified cats learned humans are good for more than just opening tin cans, fluffing pillows and providing massages when they were rescued from a sinking, burning ship by a Thai navy officer.

The ship caught fire in the Andaman Sea — a popular area for fishing and commercial shipping bordering coastal Thailand and Myanmar — on Tuesday, and the human crew were rescued and taken to safety by a passing ship.

But four ginger cats remained aboard and their time was running out. When a Thai navy vessel was ordered to the site of the capsized vessel to check for a potential oil spill, First-Class Petty Officer Wichit Pukdeelon saw the domestic kitties huddled together on a small wooden beam. Most of the ship was below the water line at that point and the cats didn’t have anywhere else to go.

Cats In Trouble
The cats were miles off shore and had retreated to a wooden beam as the ship sank. Photo credit: Wichit Pukdeelon

“I used my camera to zoom in to the boat, and I saw one or two cats popping their heads out,” Pukdeelon told Reuters.

One of the officers dived into the choppy waters and swam to the sinking ship, where he took the cats on his shoulders and brought them to the safety of the Thai Air and Coastal Defense vessel. All four cats survived.

The sailors took the cats back to their base on Koh Lipe, an idyllic island on the Andaman Sea known for its beaches and dive sites. The presumably grateful furballs will remain there in the care of the sailors for at least the foreseeable future.

(Note: It wasn’t clear why the original crew abandoned the cats. We’ll keep an eye out for updates and follow up if we learn anything.)

Dramatic Kitty Rescue
This may be one of the few times a cat didn’t mind getting wet. Photo credit: Wichit Pukdeelon 

 

Sinking Ship
The sinking ship as seen from the prow of the Thai navy rescue vessel. Photo credit: Wichit Pukdeelon 

Cat Attacks Pilot, Forces Emergency Landing

Here’s a roundup of amusing cat stories from the past few days:

Pilot Lands After Berserk Cat Gets Into Cockpit

The captain of a Qatar-bound passenger flight was forced to return to Khartoum International Airport in Sudan — his takeoff point — after a berserk cat got into the cockpit and began attacking him, according to news reports.

The Wednesday flight was headed to Doha, Qatar’s capital, and was in the air for about an hour before the cat forced the emergency landing. Flight crew weren’t able to subdue the cat, who likely slipped onto the plane undetected the night before when it was stored in a hangar, according to airline authorities.

The cat-jacking was not the first incident of its kind, Euro Weekly News noted. In perhaps the most well-known incident in 2004, a cat named Gin escaped its carrier mid-flight and snuck into the cockpit while stewardesses were passing meals to the pilots. Gin attacked the captain and co-pilot, forcing them to return to Brussels. Also in 2004, a cat breached the cockpit of a plane bound for Bangladesh and caused havoc. While the plane arrived at its destination without any problems, it took the flight staff another two hours after landing to trap the frightened furball.

Earlier this month, a cat snuck onto a grounded El Al jet at Ben Gurion Airport in Israel. On Feb. 21, maintenance staff at the airport discovered the relaxed feline “sunning himself” on the dash after using the pilot and co-pilot seats as his personal scratchers.

The cute shop cats of Cleveland

Cleveland.com’s Anne Nickoloff has a nice write-up about the shop cats of Cleveland who occupy bookstores, record shops, a brewery, a hardware store and a comic book shop, among other businesses. Some of the shop cats serve part-time as mousers, but most of them are really mascots and friendly faces that keep regulars coming back.

Shop Cats of Cleveland
The shop cats of Blue Arrow Records in Cleveland. Credit: Cleveland.com

Among them is Saaz the cat, who calls The Cleveland Brew Shop home.

“She’s part-pet, part-employee because we have a lot of malted barley here, and so often if you don’t have a deterrent, it can attract rodents,” Brew Shop owner Darren Cross told Nickoloff. “It’s actually true – the pheromones of the cat will eventually get around the store and mice can detect those pheromones and they’ll stay away.”

“I’d recommend having a cat for any store. People walk into our store just to pet the cat… She comes to the door when people walk in, she’s not shy like you would expect a cat to be, so it works out well.”

Cat is reunited with owner after 15 years apart

While this is a nice story, it’s also a cautionary tale about allowing your cats outside. Along from the anguish of losing a cat, I imagine the worst part is not knowing what happened to the little one.

A Los Angeles man named Charles adopted Brandy when she was just two months old and had her for only a short time before she disappeared. Charles told the Associated Press he searched for her and put up signs, but after his efforts proved fruitless he guessed coyotes may have gotten to the young cat.

“I wanted her back because when I adopted her I made a moral obligation to take care of her for her life,” he said.

On Sunday he received a call from a Los Angeles area shelter who had picked up Brandy and scanned her microchip. The long-lost cat was skinny and malnourished, but “seemed content” and was purring.

“I did break down and cry because I thought about all of the years I lost from her,” Charles told AP.

Charles and Brandy reunited
Charles and Brandy. Credit: Los Angeles County Department of Animal Care and Control

Despite Snow and Danger, This Buddy Made His Way Home After 2 Weeks

Today we’re bringing you a story about another Buddy the Cat from New York, a well-loved domestic shorthair who went missing before a series of snowstorms walloped the New York City area.

This Buddy belongs to John Forestieri of Southold, NY, a town in Suffolk County, at the easternmost tip of Long Island. Forestieri brought the little guy to Fork Animal Hospital in Southold on Feb. 8 for surgery, but on the way out of the veterinary office something spooked Buddy and he bolted from his carrier.

Forestieri searched for his missing feline friend and enlisted the help of others. The veterinary office wasn’t far from his home at just more than two miles away, but a storm was bearing down on the area and Buddy would have to cross busy roads to make his way back.

“I walked for miles, for days and days and days,” Forestieri told local media. “Then the weather got nasty. I didn’t give up on him, but I did think, ‘I don’t think I can do anything for him now.'”

The New York area was already deep into winter weather after it was blanketed with more than a foot of snow on Feb. 2 in one of the worst winter storms in recent memory. A second snowstorm dumped another half foot of snow on the day Buddy went missing. To make matters worse, New York was caught in the deep chill that enveloped most of the country, knocked out power to millions and set new records for low temperatures.

“At first I was holding out hope that he’d be able to stay warm,” Forestieri said.

The Long Island man was beginning to think the worst when he was awoken by scratching outside his sliding door at 4 a.m. on Wednesday morning.

Forestieri was overjoyed to see his Buddy. The cat, who’s been with the family for 10 years, was skinny and his epic trek had taken a toll on him, but he was otherwise okay. He cried out to Forestieri, and the Long Island man said he cried too — tears of joy at his cat’s safe return.

“I thought I was dreaming,” Forestieri said. “But he did it. He found his way home.”