We all know what it’s like — you’re trying to get something done when your pet, beloved as he or she is, has decided to be really annoying in insisting on treats.
Finn the cat was in this position recently when his pet, Piper the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, had her eye — or more likely her nose — on a small bowl of Cinnamon Toast Crunch on the kitchen counter. Piper couldn’t reach the tasty snack, so Finn climbed up, fished out a piece of cereal one at a time and dropped them for his loyal canine companion. (Finn himself had no interest in the sugary cereal, lacking in meat as it is.)
This should settle any remaining questions about where cats and dogs stand relative to each other:
Homeless kitten from UK has rare condition, is neither male nor female
A kitten rescued by a shelter in Warrington, about 20 miles west of Manchester, was originally listed as female and given the name hope. However, during a routine exam, a veterinarian found Hope does not have reproductive organs, according to The Guardian.
“There’s an outside possibility of some ectopic ovarian tissue hiding away internally but we think this is extremely unlikely … This is so rare that there isn’t really a commonly used term for this condition, but it is effectively sexual organ agenesis,” said Fiona Brockbank, senior veterinarian at Cats Protection in Warrington. “While this means we don’t have any previous cases [on which] to base our knowledge of how this will affect Hope in the future, we spent time monitoring this cat to ensure they can urinate and defecate appropriately before they were considered ready for rehoming.”
Hope’s condition is so rare it doesn’t have a name, but shelter manager Beni Benstead told the newspaper that shouldn’t dissuade potential adopters. Hope is very friendly with other cats at the shelter and “has been a delight to care for.”
The Guardian’s Tim Dowling thought he was writing a column about his dumb cat when he inadvertently described how the cat’s got him trained.
The short of it’s that Dowling and his family have a cat and a dog who thankfully get on really well and have become best pals. The dog was in desperate need of a grooming session recently, and when Dowling’s wife brought the pup home after getting a trim, their cat regarded the dog warily and bounced. He returned from the family’s yard only to eat and kept a watchful eye on the dog each time.
In Dowling’s estimation, the cat didn’t recognize the dog after grooming, which makes him stupid.
Yet cats can tell when their humans are coming home long before the key turns in the lock, probably due to their incredible hearing (detecting footfalls), their remarkable olfactory abilities, or both. They know where we are in the home at all times because they can track our movements several different ways, and they can even tell where we’re headed in a completely pitch black room thanks to their whiskers, which can pick up micro-changes in air density — but Dowling thinks they can’t recognize a groomed dog.
The more likely explanation is the dog smelled different, which upset the cat, or the haircut itself offended kitty. Felines are, after all, notoriously averse to change.
If your cat starts acting weird after you’ve rearranged your furniture, it’s not because the cat is an idiot who can’t navigate the room. It’s because felids of all kinds don’t like changes to their territory or their belongings, especially when those changes happen without warning. (And make no mistake, if your cat rubs up against something, whether it’s a couch, your dog or even you, you are included in that tally of his or her “belongings.” A cat is marking you with scent glands when she rubs against you, and what do you think scent-marking is for?)
Dowling disses feline smarts and praises them for their perseverance in the same sentence, but hilariously doesn’t realize his cat’s been conditioning him to provide treats on demand:
But cats are actually pretty stupid – their approach to problem-solving is only notable for bottomless persistence. As I sit at the kitchen table in the morning pretending to answer emails, I can hear the cat behind me, methodically clawing at the door of the cupboard where the cat food is kept.
I say: “Don’t be insane – I fed you half an hour ago.” But I think: I really don’t want to repaint that cupboard door. After about 10 minutes, I give in.
Later, he describes the same sequence of events:
The next day while the dog is at its appointment, I sit with my laptop in the kitchen, waiting for the driving rain to stop before I cross the garden to my office shed. Behind me the cat is sitting on its hind legs, working on the cupboard door with both paws, like a boxer hitting a speed bag.
“I can’t feed you three times in the same morning,” I say. “Imagine how weak that would make me look.” Ten minutes later, I give in.
Without taking the column too seriously, it’s obvious Dowling is a man who doesn’t know when he’s being played by his furry overlord.
The “stupid” cat has trained Dowling to feed him snacks on cue: Sit in front of the cupboard and do annoying things for a while, and the human will relent and dispense the good stuff.
Give in once and a cat will return to the same method again. Give in twice and it’s pretty much over. If you thought kitty was persistent before, now you’re going to see a whole new level of patience exhibited by your feline master if you get ideas about changing the routine.
It happens to the best of us, especially when in our human arrogance we underestimate our little friends.
When Buddy was still pretty much a kitten, I thought I was training him to come in from the balcony by shaking a treat bag. In reality he was training me, as evidenced by the fact that when I called him to come in and didn’t have a bag of treats at the ready, he would stop right at the threshold of the door and refuse to move until I bribed him with a snack.
This is a cat blog, but every once in a while Little Buddy the Cat magnanimously allows us to issue well-deserved props to dogs who do extraordinary things, like Patron, a two-year-old Jack Russell terrier in Ukraine.
The bomb-sniffing good boy has so far sniffed out 150 dangerous explosives, including landmines and live ordnance left behind by the retreating Russians, according to Ukraine’s foreign ministry. He finds the explosives, tells his human buddies, and the de-miners go to work on neutralizing the devices.
Patron is a service dog in #Chernihiv. He has discovered over 150 explosive devices in #Ukraine since full scale #Russian invasion began. Patron works closely with deminers to make #Ukrainian cities safe again.
Not only does Patron help save lives at a crucial time in the war, when Russian forces are covering their retreat with mines and other traps, he’s also a handsome little guy and he happily cuddles with kids who could really use a little brightness after what they’ve endured. Is there anything Patron can’t do?
Patron and other bomb-sniffing dogs perform a critical task as they help their human handlers sweep cities and towns before civilians can return. While some “experts” predicted Ukraine would fall in days, the country has shocked the world by not only enduring the Russian invasion, but pushing the invaders back after inflicting heavy losses on them.
Making home safe for returning refugees
As a result of their failure Russian units are consolidating in eastern Ukraine, and some Ukrainians are cautiously returning to what’s left of their cities and neighborhoods for the first time since the Feb. 24 invasion. Since Russia abandoned efforts to take Kyiv and the entire country, tens of thousands of Ukrainians have been returning home every day, according to a United Nations report.
While Kyiv was a ghost town just a few weeks ago, people have returned to the streets, bakeries and cafes have reopened, and churches are holding services again. Patron and his buddies are making sure hidden mines and other traps are neutralized before people come home, avoiding further tragedy after so much loss.
Patron has been helping clear Chernihiv and its surrounding environs. The northern Ukrainian city, which is about 150 kilometers northeast of Kyiv, has been designated a “Hero City” by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. The title has also been given to cities like Kharkiv, Volnovakha and Mariupol, and marks sites where Ukrainians dug in to defend their homes despite the brutality of the Russian invasion.
“One day, Patron’s story will be turned into a film, but for now, he is faithfully performing his professional duties,” staffers at Ukraine’s Centre for Strategic Communications and Information Security wrote on Twitter when they shared a video of Patron last month.
A dog called Patron, who works with SES rescuers in Chernihiv, has helped defuse nearly 90 explosive devices since the beginning of the full-scale invasion 🐶 One day, Patron's story will be turned into a film, but for now, he is faithfully performing his professional duties. pic.twitter.com/2PpT8p4Yfr
Buddy the Cat salutes Patron and says cats “would totally would help sniff out explosives, but the dogs seem to have a handle on that and we don’t want to steal anyone’s thunder.”
Instead, Buddy said, he’s sure the felines of Ukraine are engaged in some other kind of dangerous, patriotic work, such as reminding humans when it’s dinner time, keeping seats warm and providing delightful company to the war-weary.
Patron atop a destroyed Russian tank.
Patron is one of many animals living through war in Ukraine and enduring alongside their human friends.
A Ukrainian EOD tech shows explosives found by Patron, the bomb-sniffing Jack Russell terrier.
When he’s not helping his buddies find dangerous explosives, Patron cuddles with kids.
Last time we posted a stand-up clip about cats, we watched the hilarious Zoltan Kaszas put a room in stitches with his stories about his cat Jessica, her emphatic rejection of a diet, and Zoltan’s wife’s obsession with special-needs cats.
This time we’re checking in with comic Corey Rodrigues, who explains why cats are better than dogs.
After taking a quick, informal poll asking his audience whether they like cats or dogs, Rodrigues turns to a man near the front, points and asks bluntly: “Why don’t you like cats?”
“There’s no purpose,” the dudebro says, shrugging.
“There’s no purpose, right? There’s no purpose?” Rodrigues says, drawing laughs. “Like the cat’s purpose is to serve him, like ‘I’m here for you, meow!’ What do you mean, no purpose? These are the things people say when you ask them if they like cats.”
With the crazy cat lady trope and American society’s weird insistence that felines are strictly pets for women, there’s a social cost for men who love their cats — and a double standard, since guys who have dogs aren’t considered weird.
“It’s weird if you say you like a cat. If you’re at a bar and someone’s like, ‘Wanna see a picture of my cat?’ you’re like ‘You’re a freak, get away from me!'” Rodrigues says, summing up the reaction he gets. “People will show you their puppy all day, right? But you can’t show a cat at a bar. If a dude pulls out a cat picture at a bar they’re like ‘He’s a creep, get away from that weirdo with three cats on his phone! What’s this dude doing?'”
While dogs are overly earnest, cats “just have personality. You can’t bribe them with treats all the time.”
“You pull a treat out on a cat, the cat’s like ‘Yeah, right! Walk away from it! Put it on the ground and walk away from it! I’ll come back and smell it and decide if it’s safe!’ The dog’s just like ‘Give me that treat!'”
First I’d like to thank everyone who chimed in to reassure me that little Buddy lost his claw sheath, not his entire claw.
I’d never seen such a complete piece of claw come off like that, which is what got me worried. Buddy has the best readers who not only tell him he’s a handsome cat, but look out for his safety too!
The little dude appears just fine and there’s no indication of any injury on his paws.
Which brings us to our next subject: The sudden glut of “sky raisins” for pets living within the cicada “Brood X” territory.
Billions of the large, winged insects have emerged from the ground in Pennsylvania, Illinois, Indiana, Delaware and parts of Michigan, Virginia, West Virginia, Tennessee and northern Georgia. The current brood, dubbed Brood X, is near the end of its 17-year life cycle, and the cicada’s songs are at their most deafening this summer.
As cats and dogs are wont to do, they go after the larger-than-usual insects, and for them, a successful swat out of the air means a tasty treat.
That has lots of people wondering: Is eating cicadas harmful to my pet?
The answer is no, according to veterinarians who spoke to the New York Times, NPR and other press outlets in recent days.
There’s no truth to the rumors that a fungal toxin which affects cicadas can do any harm to cats and dogs, veterinarians say, and at worst, your pet might throw up the exoskeletons if they’ve snacked on a few of the relatively large insects.
“Most pets who ingest a few cicadas will only develop mild stomach upset,” Tina Wismer, a veterinarian with the ASPCA’s Poison Control Center, told the Times.
That said, veterinarians also caution that you shouldn’t let your furry friend gorge on “nature’s snacks.” One or even a few won’t cause any harm, but making an entire meal of them could make your little buddy sick.
Speaking of meals, lest we judge our four-legged pals for their nasty eating habits, it’s worth nothing that plenty of our own species eat cicadas too. Yuck.
Feline humor, news and stories about the ongoing adventures of Buddy the Cat.