Category: strays and ferals

Former Stray Cat Adopts A Stray Kitten

This former stray clearly has paternal instincts. He found an abandoned kitten and, remembering his own rough life on the street not so long ago, brought the little guy home to his human like “Can we keep him?!?”

@arnold.little

My cat found a kitten and this was right before he brought him inside his new house! #straycats #straykitten #meantforeachother #feralcats

♬ original sound – Arnold.little

The white cat’s human agreed to let him adopt the hungry baby, and now he’s a full time dad:

@arnold.little

He definitely has his hands full! Single dad life is not easy!! #straycats #feralboys #ijustwanttosleep

♬ Ricotrap God why – Ricotrap

Sunday Cats: Brave Woman Rescues Kitten From Sewer Pipe, Fortnite Copies Buddy

When volunteers in Elkhart, Indiana, went to trap a mom and her kittens near an industrial site, one of the babies panicked and ran straight into a hole, taking a tumble into a drainage pipe beneath.

The rescuers from a non-profit TNR group called Catsnip didn’t give up on the four-week-old baby even after finding her proved to be much more difficult than they imagined. They called off the search in Elkhart — about 160 miles north of Indianapolis — the first night when it was too dark to keep working. They dropped food for the scared fluffball, whom they could hear but still could not locate in the dark, tight subterranean space.

The next morning they were back at it, trying to literally flush the kitten out before a volunteer named Ashley descended via a manhole 75 feet from the spot where the kitten had fallen in.

The entire saga took about 48 hours and hinged on Ashley who, because of her small size, was able to squeeze into a pipe and crawl 30 feet to the terrified baby cat — then had to crawl out backwards the way she came while cradling the little one.

Mom and kittens
Piper was reunited with her mom and littermates after the rescue. Credit: Catsnip

It was worth it for the volunteers, who named the kitten Piper in honor of her adventure, gave her fluids and formula from a dropper, then reunited her with her mom. Read about the whole encounter at The Dodo. (And serious props to Ashley! Just thinking about what she had to do makes me shudder. Cats may love tight spaces, but most humans do not.)

Hey! That’s Buddy’s MO!

As gamers who generally prefer more depth, the Buddies never got on the Fortnite bandwagon, so we weren’t aware that Fortnite has a character named Meowscles until encountering this article from Cracked.

Fortnite's Meowscles
Meowscles has a Buddesian physique. Credit: Epic Games

As you can see, Meowscles was clearly inspired by Bud, who is known for his incredibly ripped physique and totally isn’t a bit chubby. (“That’s all muscle, not fat!” Buddy insists.)

Fortnite is a battle royale-style game in which up to 100 players compete against each other in live matches. The game is free-to-play, with developer Epic Games making its money by selling cosmetic items as microtransactions. Meowscles is one of about 1,400 different “outfits” players can purchase to customize their characters.

The game has been a monumental success for Epic, earning billions and leading the company to launch the Epic Games Store, the first serious competitor to Steam, which has been the dominant platform for PC gamers for years. Epic has been so flush with cash that’s it’s been giving away free games every week to lure customers away from Steam, even upping the freebies to a new game every day during the holidays.

Cat and Owner Costume Contest?!?

In Massachusetts, the Cat Fancier’s Association held its ninth annual cat and owner costume contest on Sunday. Unfortunately, the only story we can find about the event comes from the local public radio affiliate, so there’s not much in terms of photos.

If you were going to enter such a contest with your cat, what costumes would you and your fluffy overlord wear?

I’m thinking maybe I’d be a Targaryen with Bud as a baby dragon perched on my shoulder in honor of Game of Thrones/House of the Dragon. But that might offend little dude, who tends to think of himself as a hulking tiger. Perhaps the easier and more realistic “costume” would be Bud dressed as a king, snug in his own little carrier designed to look like a royal palanquin, with me carrying the palanquin as his dutiful servant. Thus, art imitates life.

Cat and Owner Costume Contest
“I put on my wizard hat and robe…” Credit: WBZ

Dubrovnik Cat Is Back At Historic Palace, But Without Her Fancy House

Anastasia is still living the palace life.

The community cat found herself in the middle of an uproar after staff at the Rector’s Palace, a historic site in Dubrovnik, Croatia, kicked her off the palace grounds which had been her home for 17 years.

In 2021 staff at the Rector’s Palace, a six-century-old structure which is now a museum, said Anastasia’s little nook, with food and water bowls on top of cardboard, was an eyesore and wanted her gone.

They took away her belongings in May, prompting local carpenter Srdjan Kera to build a beautiful wooden cat house that mimicked the color and architectural details of the palace, giving Anastasia a dwelling that would shield her from the elements as well as blend in with the historic building’s facade.

But palace staff wouldn’t accept the compromise and had the wooden home removed, sparking an outcry among Dubrovnik’s locals and tourists. A petition demanding Anastasia be allowed to stay was signed by more than 12,000 people — a figure greater than the number of people who voted for the city’s mayor, representing more than a fourth of the city’s population.

The furor died down and there hasn’t been much news since then, but Mark Thomas, editor of the English-language Dubrovnik Times, told PITB Anastasia is back at the Rector’s Palace and basking in her fame.

“She doesn’t have her fancy home that was built for her,” the U.K. expat told us, “but rather her spot on a piece of cardboard. She is well fed and seems to be more than happy and enjoying having her photo taken with tourists.”

Thomas said he’d last seen Anastasia just a few days ago in her usual stomping grounds at the palace.

It seems odd that staff at the palace wanted her gone because they found her original nook unsightly, then removed the aesthetically pleasing cat house created by Kera only to go back to the old cardboard arrangement, but we’re glad the senior kitty isn’t subjected to the stress of being forcibly moved from the only home she’s ever known.

Previously, staff at the Rector’s Palace said Anastasia didn’t need her shelter all year round, so perhaps they’ve come to a compromise and will allow it during the winter. Dubrovnik enjoys a mild Mediterranean climate, with temperatures bottoming out at about 50ºF (10ºC) in January, its coldest month, but while the city remains temperate, it experiences significantly more rain in the winter months.

The New York Times Is Back To Spread Misinformation About Cats

Prompted by the recent news that Polish scientists have added cats to a list of invasive alien species, the New York Times ran an enterprise story on Tuesday titled “The Outdoor Cat: Neighborhood Mascot Or Menace?”

I’m highly critical of print media stories on animals because I’ve been a journalist for almost my entire career, and I know when a reporter has done her homework and when she hasn’t. Unfortunately it looks like Maria Cramer, author of the Times story, hasn’t.

Her story identifies the stray cats of Istanbul as “ferals,” cites bunk studies — including meta-analyses based on suspect data — and misrepresents a biologist’s solutions “to adopt feral cats, have them spayed or neutered and domesticate them.”

Doubtless the biologist understands cats are domesticated, but Cramer apparently does not, and her story misrepresents the domestication process.

Individual animals can’t be domesticated. Only species can. It’s a long, agonizingly slow process that involves changes at the genetic level that occur over many generations. Domestication accounts for physical changes (dogs developing floppy ears while their wolf ancestors have rigid ears, for example) and temperamental ones. A hallmark of domestication is the adjustment to coexisting with humans.

agriculture animal beautiful cat
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

In other words, if cats were wild animals it would take hundreds of years to fully domesticate them, and I’m sure no one’s suggesting we wait hundreds of years to solve the free-ranging cat problem.

Ferals can be “tamed,” but the majority of cats living in proximity to humans are strays, not ferals. The difference? Strays are socialized to humans and will live among us, while ferals are not and will not. Strays can be captured and adopted. In most cases ferals can’t, and the best we can hope for is that they become barn cats.

To her credit, Cramer does make efforts to balance the story and quotes the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds in the U.K., which places the majority of the blame squarely at the feet of humans, noting “the decline in bird populations has been caused primarily by man-made problems such as climate change, pollution and agricultural management.”

Even our structures kill billions of birds a year. That’s the estimated toll just from the mirrored surfaces of skyscrapers, and no one’s suggesting we stop building skyscrapers.

Indeed, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman al Saud (MBS), the de facto ruler of Saudi Araba, has been busy commissioning science fiction city designs when he’s not murdering journalists critical of his policies. The design he’s chosen for his ultra-ambitious future city, which he hopes will rival the pyramids in terms of lasting monuments to humanity’s greatness, is a 100-mile-long mirrored megacity called Neom, which is Arabic for “Dystopian Bird Hell.” (Okay, we made that up. Couldn’t resist.)

Take a look:

The point is, of the many factors driving bird extinction, humans are responsible for the majority of them, and if we want to save birds we have to do more than bring cats inside. Additionally, sloppy research portraying cats as the primary reason for bird extinction has resulted in cruel policies, like Australia’s effort to kill two million cats by air-dropping poisoned sausages across the country.

This blog has always taken the position that keeping cats indoors is the smart play, and it’s win-win: It protects cats from the many dangers of the outdoors (predators like coyotes and mountain lions, fights with other neighborhood cats, diseases, intentional harm at the hands of disturbed humans, getting run over by vehicles), ensures they’re not killing small animals, and placates conservationists.

At the same time, we don’t demonize people who allow their cats to roam free, and we recognize attitudes vary widely in different countries. Indeed, as the Times notes, 81 percent of pet cats are kept indoors in the US, while 74 percent of cat caretakers allow their pets to roam in the U.K.

We have readers and friends in the U.K., and we wouldn’t dream of telling them what to do, or suggest they’re bad people for letting their cats out.

Ultimately, tackling the problem depends on getting a real baseline, which Washington, D.C. did with its Cat Count. The organizers of that multi-year effort brought together cat lovers, bird lovers, conservationists and scientists to get the job done, and it’s already paying off with new insights that will help shape effective policies. To help others, they’ve created a toolkit explaining in detail how they conducted their feline census and how to implement it elsewhere.

Every community would do well — and do right by cats and birds — by following D.C.’s lead.

You Can Now Play Stray As Your Own Cat And As Garfield Thanks To Mods

More news in the world of Stray, the play-as-a-cat video game that’s taken the world by storm with rave reviews, plenty of memes and hilarious videos of real cats reacting to their humans playing the game.

Thanks to players who create custom game mods, short for modifications, Stray players can now replace the game’s ginger tabby protagonist with cats of their choosing. Currently there are mods that make the title cat a Siamese, a black cat with yellow eyes, a white cat with heterochromia (different color eyes), a tuxedo and a Calico, among others.

The most popular mod, dubbed Pick of the Litter, features many different coat colors and patterns that users can select and switch between.

There are currently at least two gray tabby mods, but neither of them match Buddy’s chubby incredibly muscular physique.

One modder is taking commissions from gamers and creating custom cat avatars based on photographs, so if a player’s cat has a unique color or pattern — or you just want something more accurate — they have that option. Perhaps we’ll inquire if it’s possible to add huge meowscles as well as edit coat patterns and colors.

graytabbystray
Gray tabby mod: Clearly not meowscular enough to be Buddy.

Other mods allow players to substitute a dog as the protagonist (come on, now…), add snazzy spectacles to the kitty, and tweak graphics settings for greater photorealism.

Finally, if you’re a fan of a certain lasagna-loving cartoon cat, you’re in luck: He’s now in the game thanks to the efforts of one dedicated fan, and he’s as lazy and heavy-lidded as he’s always been.

It should be noted that mods are unique to the PC, which is an open platform. If you’re playing the game on a Playstation 4 or 5, you’re out of luck.

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Garfield in Stray: Maybe you can feed him lasagna to restore his health?