Category: Uncategorized

Army of the Dead Has A Zombie Tiger, And He’s A True Cat

Army of the Dead, the long-awaited post-apocalyptic heist movie from director Zack Snyder, has a simple premise: Las Vegas has been overrun by zombies and cordoned off behind massive corrugated steel walls, becoming a kingdom for the undead who are ruled by a handful of intelligent and incredibly dangerous “alpha zombies.”

A Japanese businessman (Hiroyuki Sanada) approaches a famed zombie killer (Dave Bautista) and tells him he’s got $200 million in a vault inside one of the now-inaccessible casinos. If Bautista and his team can fight their way in and get the money, half of it is theirs to keep.

The catch? They have a little more than a day until the US government plans to drop a low-yield tactical nuke on the city to wipe out the zombie plague.

Bautista and his crew hire a coyote (French actress Nora Arnezeder) to get them inside the city, and as they make their way toward the Las Vegas strip, they hear a blood-curdling roar. A four-legged figure approaches, obscured by dust, smoke and the ruins of abandoned cars, until it climbs on top of one of the vehicles and we see it properly for the first time — it’s a pissed-off zombified white tiger!

“Valentine,” Arnezeder says, turning to her huddled companions. “One of Siegfried and Roy’s.”

The zombie tiger, she explains, patrols the outskirts of the zombie “kingdom,” making a light snack of anyone who ventures too close.

Army of the Dead
“We’ll kill some zombies, grab the cash and play some slots. You know, make a day out of it!” Image credit Clay Enos/Netflix

Later in the movie there’s a scene in which the alpha zombie leader rallies all of his undead — including Valentine — and sends them en masse toward the hotel where the protagonists are trying to crack the safe and get at the piles of cash inside.

Snyder makes a great show of the endless zombie hordes thundering toward the hotel with Valentine among them, and it looks like the big cat is going to lead the charge until he stops, yawns and settles down on the hood of a car for a nap.

Is there anything more feline than that?

As it turns out, Snyder and his team were looking for a big cat expert to help them nail the tiger’s signature gait and physical tics as they created the CGI felid, and the consultant who agreed to provide them with feedback was none other than Big Cat Rescue’s Carole Baskin. As Variety notes, production on the movie began long before Baskin became a household name with the release of Netflix’s Tiger King documentary.

Although the inclusion of a zombie tiger was a fun surprise, my all-time favorite tiger from zombie fiction is The Walking Dead’s Shiva. She’s got a compelling backstory: The character Ezekiel was a zookeeper before the apocalypse and, realizing no one was tending to the animals as the world was collapsing, he risked his life to get back to the zoo and feed the trapped creatures.

When he got there, Shiva was so malnourished and hungry that her gratitude for Ezekiel’s intervention was obvious. Gambling that the powerful tigress — whom he’d taken care of for years — wasn’t going to hurt him, Ezekiel opened her enclosure to set her free. But rather than run off on her own, Shiva decided to stay with her human friend, and the two became inseparable as the world ended.

While Valentine was just another zombie, Shiva fought the undead, and she was badass. The show also earned praise from animal rights groups after opting for CGI instead of using a real tiger. The special effects team responsible for Shiva did such a fantastic job that viewers were convinced she was the real deal.

Shiva
Ezekiel, left, with the majestic Shiva. Credit: AMC/The Walking Dead

The Guardian: Online Trend Of Fat Cats ‘Has To End’

Back in May, we were appalled at UK Metro’s seemingly endless appetite (sorry) for photos of chonky cats:

“Do you have a pet who’s even chunkier than Manson? Get in touch to share their story,” Metro’s editors wrote at the end of an article profiling a 28-pound fat cat.

Now The Guardian is similarly alarmed, declaring the trend of glorifying morbidly obese cats online “has to end”:

The internet is now full of pictures of fat cats that their owners think are adorable but are actually health disasters, barely able to fit through a cat flap, let alone jump on to a ledge. In fact, the only time they jump is when their owner fills their feeding bowl.

The newspaper cites popular Instagram accounts like Round Boys, which counts almost 800,000 followers and features a constant stream of plump butterballs in cute poses, and Cats Is Chonky, a Facebook group that does not allow any discouragement of overfeeding cats, which the page’s operators say amounts to “shaming.” (There’s only one cat who can surf the internet and read its content, as we know, and his name starts with Bu and ends with ddy. Thankfully he’s more concerned with reading comments about himself and trying to order turkey.)

The Guardian’s call — and our own post — has nothing to do with shaming and everything to do with the fact that rewarding bad pet parenting only encourages more people to overstuff their cats.

Fat Cat Harvey
Like many others, Harvey’s owners have capitalized on his size, creating an Instagram account for him which is now followed by more than 81,000 users.

If people think fattening up their cats is a shortcut to internet fame and lucrative $15,000 sponsored Instagram posts, they’re much more likely to hand out snacks like crack, and much less likely to use the word “no,” which as we all know is a necessary part of the vocabulary when caring for cats.

Obesity is not healthy for our feline friends. The chonk craze is dangerous. Not only does obesity lead to early death — as in the case of Buddha, pictured at the top, who died at age 6 from obesity-related complications — but by overfeeding, we are choosing an unhealthy lifestyle for our pets, who can’t give their consent or complain about unhealthy meals.

Please do right by your cats and feed them healthy, balanced foods. More time with your little buddies is more important than ephemeral internet fame.

Twitter Censors President Buddy As Votes Are Tallied

Twitter generated another round of controversy Wednesday after censoring meows by President Buddy, claiming they were misleading or inaccurate.

It was the fourth time in less than a week that the social media giant censored or amended warnings to the president of the Americats’ messages. The first was President Buddy’s election day tweet to his followers:

“Vote 4 me and all your wildest dreams will come true!!” Buddy tweeted. “Turkey and bacon will rain down from the heavens! The panda demic will last forever, ensuring your humans are always home to do your bidding! Chihuahuas will be deported back to Chihuahua! Great rivers of catnip will flow through the streets!”

The tweet was up for more than 20 minutes before Twitter amended it with a warning to users: “Our community guidelines team have decided this tweet violates our terms of service. No politician can make turkey or bacon rain down from the sky.”

buddytweet

A second tweet was semi-censored late on election night, with Twitter’s team deactivating retweets on the post.

“Well, that looks about wrapped up!!!” Buddy tweeted to his 56.3 million followers. “Tremendous victory! Stand by for turkey — oven roasted, sliced and fried — to rain down from the heavens, my friends, amid clouds ushering in the sweet smell of bacon as crispy bits of it form a deluge over patriotic American skies. (The counties that voted for me.) I’ll sleep well knowing I have four more years! ‘MERICATS!”

buddytweet2

By Wednesday morning, President Buddy’s posts had changed in tone as vote tallies indicated tighter contests in North Carolina, Arizona and Georgia. Exit polls indicated the president did well with desert cats in Arizona, who said poultry and bacon were two of the most important issues this election cycle.

“WHAT IS THIS BULLS–? They CHEATED. This is the work of the Siamese, folks! They’ll tell you it was the Russian Blues, but who are all these tech companies beholden to? THE SIAMESE. Americat tech companies are conspiring with the Siamese to censor me, President Buddy, and STEAL THE ELECTION! Sad!”

Less than a half hour later, Twitter tagged the post with another warning: “Our fact-checking unit has determined this tweet is wrong or misleading. There is no evidence the great and powerful Siamese, led by the awe-inspiring Chairman Xinnie the Pooh, have exerted any influence in the Americat election. Xinnie is too wise a man to trouble himself with such rubbish. May he live forever!”

joebitintweet

The president’s supporters cried foul, calling for anti-trust proceedings against social media giants like Twitter, Facebook and Google.

The fourth and most recent censored tweet was sent on Thursday.

“It’s been an exhausting few weeks, but we made it to the finish line!” Buddy tweeted. “Gonna go crash on my human and enjoy a nice long nap.  Nothing’s better than sleeping on my Big Buddy.”

Like earlier tweets, the Thursday post had reduced visibility, with Twitter’s engineers blocking the ability to share the tweet.

“Our office of standards and opinion moderation has determined this tweet violates our rules against advising users on sleeping habits and sleep hygiene. In addition, our fact-checkers have determined that declaring Big Buddy as the best human mattress is an opinion that cannot be verified or fact-checked by other cats. All hail Chairman Xinnie.”

Twitter CEO Peter Dinklage did not respond to requests for comment.

joebitintweet2

Dosey-Dinklage
Twitter CEO Peter Dinklage in February, left, and in a congressional hearing in October, right.

President Buddy Unveils Plan To Move Earth Closer To Sun

WASHINGTON — Emboldened by new research that shows UV light and heat have a dramatic effect on the novel Coronavirus, President Buddy unveiled a new plan on Thursday to move the planet closer to the sun.

Leaning against his podium/scratcher, the president pointed a paw toward a large monitor showing an animation of Earth moving closer to the sun on the ecliptic.

“My advisors tell me sunlight is very powerful and does a tremendous job of destroying the virus, so I said, ‘Why can’t we increase the amount of sunlight, like with a brighter bulb or something?’” President Buddy told reporters. “I was surprised to learn that we can’t make the sun brighter, but what we can do is move our planet closer to the sun to soak up more of those terrific UV rays!”

earthsun2
Seeking to use “more of that tremendous sunlight” to combat SARS-CoV2, President Buddy unveiled a plan to move Earth closer to the sun.

The plan drew immediate condemnation from CHOW — Cat Health Organization Worldwide — as well as from the international community, with fellow heads of state maintaining President Buddy could not unilaterally move the entire planet without first consulting with other world leaders.

“This aggression will not stand!” Siamese Chairman Xinnie the Pooh declared during his own press conference.

Asked about pushback from global leaders, President Buddy shrugged and yawned.

“Who’s the leader of the free cats? Oh, that’s right. I am! I say this is a terrific plan, the number one plan, and it’s going to be fantastic, believe me.”

6C48CBE6-6462-4FEB-A919-ADF7E65FFCC5
Dr. Deborah Purrx wearing one of her trademark scarves.

The president’s science advisors said the plan was to move the Earth approximately .5 AU closer to its home star, soaking up “all that tremendous UV” to eradicate the Coronavirus.

Dr. Deborah Purrx, who heads the White House Coronavirus Task Force, tried to reassure nervous reporters that all life on the planet would not be wiped out in a great wave of all-consuming fire.

“The President feels the whole country would be more like Florida,” Dr. Purrx said, pausing to lap at a water bowl next to the podium. “The weather’s pretty good in Florida, isn’t it? I mean, that’s where kitties go to retire.”

Stocks in companies that manufacture air conditioners soared after the announcement, with some pawlitical rivals accusing senatorial cats of snatching up those stocks ahead of time before the plan was announced to the public.

“That’s ridiculous,” Sen. Widdle Tiger said in response to criticism after he purchased $4 million in air conditioner manufacturing stocks. “What we should be outraged about is…oh look, someone’s giving out free Temptations!”

Reached later on Thursday at a nursery where he was sniffing the fur of kittens and telling stories about his days as a boxer, former Vice Purrsident Joe Bitin’ — President Buddy’s presumptive opponent in the general election — blasted the president’s plan as “stupid and dangerous.”

“I used to deal with bullies like the president all the time,” Bitin’ said, leaning in to take a deep huff of a six-week-old kitten’s fur. “But this ain’t 1962, it’s 1988, and we don’t put up with bullies anymore.”

The former vice purrsident looked momentarily confused as an aide whispered into his ear, then nodded.

“I misspoke, folks,” Bitin’ said. “That reminds me of the time I ate Coco Puffs in Lincoln, Nebraska back in 1983. Look at these beautiful kittens. Wow. Was it Coco Puffs or Corn Pops? Or maybe Rice Krispies…”

“Stray” Lets Gamers Play As A Cat In Hong Kong

After 2015’s Shelter 2 — in which gamers take on the role of a female Lynx protecting her cubs in the wild — proved there’s a real audience for games from a cat’s perspective, there have been a few feline-centric games coming down the development pipeline.

None of them, however, look as unique and fascinating as Stray, a newly-unveiled title in which players take the role of a cat surviving in a post-human future Hong Kong.

The game’s trailer is spectacular, following an orange tabby cat navigating a neon-lit urban landscape populated only by machines. Details about the narrative haven’t been revealed and it’s not clear what happened to humanity in the game’s universe, but cats are alive and well in Stray, and it looks like they’ve manipulated robots into serving them the same way they had humans wrapped around their little paws.

“I will throw my money at anything that lets me play as a cat,” one Youtube user posted.

“There’d better be a meow button,” another wrote.

Although it’s early yet and we haven’t seen gameplay videos, the cat depicted in the trailer is exceptionally well-modeled and rendered by game artists who clearly love the little furballs. The feline’s gait, movements and vocalizations are spot-on.

Stray will be a PS4/5 exclusive at launch (boo!) but will also have a PC release, presumably at least a few months later. We’ll be watching eagerly for more news about this interesting and unique game, which is slated for a 2021 release.

Stray (game)
The feline player character seen in the trailer sports a backpack which could serve as a player inventory or hide gadgets. We always knew cats were smarter than they let on.
Shelter 2
A mother lynx and her cubs in Shelter 2, which employs heavily stylized visuals to represent animals and their environment.
Peace Island
Peace Island is another game currently in development that will allow players to control cats, who are the protagonists of the game.