Tag: big cats

Sunday Cats: Larry Welcomes A New Servant To No. 10 Downing, More Cats Rescued From Ukraine

Larry the Cat, official mouser in chief at 10 Downing Street, is now on his fifth prime minister.

After the disastrous and short-lived tenure of his predecessor, Lizz Truss, new PM Rishi Sunak officially moved into the UK prime minister’s residence earlier this week — and walked right past Larry without acknowledging him:

Note the reporter doing a live broadcast, which you can hear in the background.

“He is arriving now…the new prime minister of the United Kingdom!” the reporter said as Larry padded his way down the sidewalk and stopped.

Failing to acknowledge the true power at No. 10 is an ill portend for Sunak and the UK. What kind of person doesn’t greet his boss on his first official day of work? Larry will get him sorted in short time, undoubtedly.

Big and small cats from Ukraine find homes in Poland and the US

During the opening phase of the Ukraine war, there was an Indian national webcasting from Donbas, constantly asking for money to keep his “pet jaguars” — actually leopards — safe from the advancing Russians.

idiotandhisjaguar

It was one of the most infuriating aspects of the young war. The guy was keeping the big cats in an apartment, referred to them as his “children” despite not even knowing their species or how to care for them, and he lied to his audience, claiming he’d purchased them from the Kyiv Zoo. He didn’t. Zoos don’t sell big cats to people. He got them on the illegal wildlife market.

I don’t know if those particular leopards are among the big cats rescued from Kyiv in recent weeks, but a new report says illegally kept pets are among the felids who were rescued from Kyiv and Odessa — two of the hardest-hit cities — and brought to sanctuaries in Poland.

That’s good news. Hopefully any remaining wild animals are taken out of the hands of private owners and put in sanctuaries where they belong. Big cats don’t belong in a war zone, and they don’t belong in private hands.

Meanwhile, Homeward Trails Animal Rescue in Washington, D.C., has house cats from Ukraine up for adoption.

Most of the little ones were rescued from warn-torn areas in the eastern part of the country, and the rest were moved from a Ukrainian shelter just in time, as the building was hit by Russian missiles shortly after the animals were cleared out. Some of the cats were found wandering amid the ruins and destruction in towns and villages that had been hit hard by the invading Russians, Homeward Trails’ Sue Bell told WTOP.

The US non-profit will continue to work with a shelter in Ukraine, which rescues cats from heavily impacted areas.

“Right now, Homeward Trails is the only organization taking cats from this new Ukraine shelter,” Bell said. “And so, for every cat that we took from the shelter, that not only gave that cat an opportunity for a home, but it created a space in that shelter for the team to go out there and bring more cats in.”

budandwhitetiger2

A belated happy National Cat Day!

There are so many cat days, I lose track, so apologies for missing this one.

Happy National Cat Day to all PITB readers and your beautiful kitties! It’s a good excuse to spoil our little buddies and remind them how much we appreciate them.

Changes to PITB

You may have noticed, if you don’t have ad blockers installed on your browser, that I enabled ads in mid-September. I strongly dislike ads and I don’t like clutter on the site, but after three years of operating and publishing PITB, I decided to enable a limited number of ads in an effort to get PITB to pay for itself and hopefully a few upgrades that would be helpful in making the site more accessible, while also providing the tools to expand PITB’s content offerings.

Please send us your feedback. If you see an ad that covers the content, let me know. If you see an inappropriate ad, let me know. You should see ads for cat-related products and/or ads for things you may have expressed interest in before — due to the way ad networks use cookies and data from services you use, which is perfectly normal — but I want to make sure no one’s having a bad experience here.

Finally, Wild Cat ‘Ownership’ Could Be Banned Under The Big Cat Public Safety Act

There are more tigers living in cramped backyards in Texas than there are in the wild.

At roadside zoos, shady people like Joseph Maldonado-Passage, Joe “Exotic” of Tiger King fame, breed big cats like rabbits so they have an endless supply of cubs to steal from their mothers before they’re weaned, pumped full of sedatives, and handed off to tourists who take selfies with them but never stop to consider the welfare of those baby cats or the harm they’re enabling.

And in states like Florida, where “Muh freedoms!” reign supreme over all other values, people can own any wild animals they want, with no real oversight and no mechanisms to ensure they’re doing right by the animals. There’s nothing forcing “exotic” animal “owners” to keep the big cats, monkeys and other mammals in proper enclosures where they have stimulation and — just as importantly — won’t escape and hurt neighbors.

India the tiger Transported to BBR
India the tiger was still just a cub when he was spotted wandering through residential neighborhoods in Texas, where he’d been dumped by his former “owner.” Credit: Humane Society

Thankfully, things could change soon as lawmakers are expected to vote on the Big Cat Public Safety Act, a rare bipartisan effort that would finally make it illegal to keep tigers, lions, jaguars, leopards, cheetahs, pumas and other wildcats privately, whether in homes, businesses or non-accredited “zoos.”

Currently keeping big cats is illegal or severely restricted in most states, but like many things in the US, there’s a confusing patchwork of laws and things that would be unthinkable in other states are perfectly acceptable in places like Texas and Florida.

Because, you know, “muh freedoms.”

Now is a good time to point out that this blog has always been, and will remain, politically agnostic. I have my own political beliefs as any other person does, but PITB is a cat humor, news and advocacy blog, and the only politics we discuss here are those that relate to animal welfare. Equally important, Buddy and I want people of all political persuasions to feel comfortable as readers and commenters on PITB. (Although that could change if one or both political parties suddenly makes a move against the nation’s Strategic Turkey Supply. Then Buddy’s gonna have to get biblical.)

The Big Cat Safety Act is co-sponsored in congress by representatives Mike Quickly, D-IL, and Brian Fitzpatrick, R-PA, and in the senate by senators Susan Collins, R-ME, Tom Carpenter, D-DE, Richard Burr, R-NC, and Richard Blumenthal, D-CT.

It’s endorsed by a wide range of groups, from the National Association of Zoos and Aquariums to the Humane Society and various bar associations. The proposed legislation also has the support of the White House, which released a statement this week urging its passage.

If your congressional representative or your senators aren’t publicly on board with the Big Cat Safety Act, you can make your voice heard via the Humane Society’s site, which allows you to draft and send letters to the offices of your lawmakers.

shallow focus photography of cheetah
Cheetahs, already critically endangered, have been almost entirely wiped out by poachers who sell their cubs on the illegal wildlife market. Credit: Magda Ehlers/Pexels

Sunday Cat Round-Up: Sanctuary Welcomes Baby Snow Leopard, ‘Two-Face’ Cat Goes Viral

When Venus’ human posted photos of her to Instagram, people thought the half-black, half-ginger cat was photoshopped. A video of the unique kitty debunked that rumor, showing the heterochromatic, multitone cat in all her glory. Now Venus is a star, amassing tens of millions of views on Instagram and TikTok:

Welcome baby!

Snow leopards Laila and Yarko of the UK’s Big Cat Sanctuary are the proud parents of a newborn cub, and the sanctuary wants the public to help name the little guy, whom they’re calling Little Cub in the meantime.

“He appears to be developing and growing beautifully and is becoming more active day by day. Laila is an experienced mother and is just as attentive and devoted with this little one as she has been before,” Big Cat Sanctuary curator Briony Smith wrote.

Although Little Cub was born on Sept. 15, his birth was not announced until Oct. 21 in the video below:

Tabby founders pitch to Shark Tank

Remember Tabby, the cat dating app that Bud insisted was “fake news” because he can’t even fathom the possibility of sharing his kingdom with another cat?

The app’s founders will pitch to the big fish of Shark Tank on Friday, Oct. 29, looking for investments in return for a stake in their company.

Somehow I don’t see Mark Cuban or Lori Greiner as cat lovers, but Mr. Wonderful strikes me as the kind of guy who has a chonkster at home and secretly dotes on her, as he doesn’t want to harm his image as a ruthless businessman. (Edit: I searched around to see if O’Leary really is a cat lover, and while he described himself as a “non-cat guy,” he reached a deal with cat DNA company basepaws back in 2019, so clearly he understands businesses related to our feline overlords are good investments.)

Mr. Wonderful
Kevin O’Leary, aka Mr. Wonderful

Cats File Discrimination Suit After Ben & Jerry’s Releases Ice Cream For Dogs

WASHINGTON – A new lawsuit accuses Ben & Jerry’s of “blatant, systematic discrimination” after the company released a line of ice cream and frozen treats for dogs, but not for cats.

“Felines around the world are understandably hurt and feeling betrayed by Ben and Jerry right now,” the public interest group Cats’ Rights And Protection (CRAP) said in a statement. “Not only are these supposedly ‘good boy’ canines a bunch of frauds, but now they get to enjoy ice cream and delicious frozen treats like their humans, while we cats are relegated to eating the same cardboard-tasting dry treats and the admittedly juicy — but not frozen — meat sticks we’ve always had.”

Ben & Jerry's Doggie Desserts
Seriously?

The cat advocacy group, which lobbies for more favorable policies toward all felids, big and small, said Ben and Jerry’s oversight is “part of a larger, societal problem of viewing cats as second-class citizens who either don’t understand or don’t care that we’re getting the short end of the stick.”

“We’re not stupid,” the CRAP statement said. “We know an inferior snack when we see it, and it’s obvious Ben & Jerry are biased in favor of those mangy dogs.”

Meowsiharu Morimoto, the Iron Chef of the feline world, called on other ice cream makers to step in and correct the Vermont ice cream maker’s offensive errors.

“It’s long been obvious to anyone in the feline culinary world that our options for desserts and digestifs have been woefully inadequate,” the Japanese cat said. “Does anyone think of us cats? Does no one ever wonder ‘Shouldn’t cats get into enjoy yummy, palate-cleansing ice cream after feasting on fish and poultry?’ The lack of consideration is criminal! Shame on you, Jerry and Ben!”

Ice Cream for Cats?
*sniff* “Nom noms?”

Another door to the exclusive world of tasty desserts seemed to be closed to cats on Tuesday when a large group of feline demonstrators was discouraged by Cookies and Cream, a cat who counts the Häagen-Dazs founders among her humans.

“We hear you and we see your signs,” Cookies told the crowd. “But we’re not really nebulously Nordic masters of delicious frozen delicacies. Häagen-Dazs doesn’t actually mean anything. It’s complete nonsense! My human is from the Bronx. He just made Häagen-Dazs up, thinking that if Americans saw his ice cream as vaguely Norwegian or Danish, they’d think it was quality stuff and would be willing to pay a premium. Well, they do, and we’re rich, bitches!”

The Ice Cream Makers of America, in an attempt to quell the controversy, issued a statement of its own.

“Cats: You’re lactose intolerant! You can’t take two licks without getting brain freeze! You just aren’t a market for ice cream, sorry,” the statement read.

Note: It turns out there is an ice cream for cats, or more accurately an icy fish-flavored treat intended to cool kitties down on hot summer days. Has anyone given it to their cat? And yes, cats are lactose intolerant, so we shouldn’t give ice cream to our cat(s) no matter how many people on Youtube think it’s amusing.


Cats In Games: The Magnificent Jaguars Of ‘Shadow of the Tomb Raider’

Lara Croft has come a long way since the days when she was the polygonal, hyper-sexualized protagonist of the early Tomb Raider games.

Thanks to a reboot the new Lara is a smart, adventurous and brave young woman voiced and motion-capped by the talented Camilla Luddington, and she’s never felt more real. In Shadow of the Tomb Raider, Lara ventures to the Peruvian jungle to chase down Mayan artifacts, and among the many obstacles in her way are jaguars.

Gorgeous, magnificent, regal jaguars who seemingly manifest out of the mist and blend back into the green inferno at will.

Here’s our new Lara, now starring in her third game:

The new Lara Croft
The new Lara Croft is a fearless adventurer and archaeological expert who travels the world unearthing clues to humanity’s past.

Like previous games, her adventures revolve around archaeological digs, ancient tombs and uncovering the history of humanity one find at a time. What would a Tomb Raider adventure be without a bit of danger?

Lara Croft
Lara crosses an underground chasm in search of a Mayan relic.

After an opening sequence, Lara and her friend Jonah head deep into the Peruvian jungle. This being Tomb Raider, they can’t land like normal people — a powerful storm sweeps in, sending their plane crashing into uncharted territory.

Lara finds herself alone, lost in the jungle without her gear. The sounds of the jungle reach a fever peach, with birds fleeing branches and monkeys howling, heralding the arrival of the apex predator of the Americas: Panthera onca, the jaguar, a name that translates to “He who kills with one bound.”

Jaguar of the Tomb Raider
“Hey there, could you tell me how to get to Lima?”

tombjaguar2

Okay, stay calm! Remember your training! You’re face to face with an apex predator with the strongest bite force of any animal, but you can do this!

Besides, it can’t get any worse at this point.

tombjaguar6

Can it?

tombjaguar7

Oh shit. Even the monkeys are like “Dayum! Grab the popcorn!”

Don’t panic! Maybe these jaguars are just saying hello!

tombjaguar3

Or maybe not.

tombjaguar4

tombjaguar5

What’s worth noting is that these are not cut scenes — what you see here are screenshots within the game engine. For people who aren’t familiar with video games, that means you’re looking at the game itself. This is what the gameplay looks like.

We have come a long, long way from this, haven’t we?

Old Tomb Raider
The low-texture, low-polygon world of the original Tomb Raider games.

It’s a difference allowed by several generations’ worth of improved computer hardware and software, resulting in billions of additional polygons, millions of additional colors, improved lighting, physics, art assets, high definition textures, motion capture technology and all the little things that fuel progress from a world made from flat, blurry environments and cartoonish characters to a hyper-realistic, almost photo-quality world which makes incredible immersion possible.

Most of our readers may not be gamers, but for those who are, I’ll avoid spoilers here even though Shadow of the Tomb Raider was a 2018 release.

Suffice to say jaguars play a prominent role in the game and serve as the Big Bads, the game’s ultimate threat made even more terrifying by the knowledge that they can appear at any time and ambush our hero before she’s even aware of their presence.

Shadow of the Tomb Raider does a fantastic job of immersion, making all of the dangers of the jungle feel real through meticulously crafted visuals and sound, and a compelling story. And like everything else in life, it’s better with cats!