Tag: Featured

Here Are Some Cats Singing The Imperial March From Star Wars, Plus Some Feel-Good Cat-Human Reunions

Since we featured some sad news in our last post — though tempered with some really good news from a Portland cat cafe — we’ll wrap up the week with some humor, absurdities and science, all cat-related of course:

  • Do you have two cats? If so, you can help researchers from UC Davis and the University of British Columbia, who are studying the ways cats interact with each other in human homes. All you have to do is watch a few cat videos online, then answer a handful of questions about the behavior of the cats in those clips, as well as the behavior of your own kitties. With enough data from participants, the research teams hope they can better understand the often-inscrutable interactions, squabbles, truces and social hierarchies that define relationships between domestic felines sharing the same home territory. “Ultimately, we hope this research can help identify gaps in owners’ knowledge of cat behavior,” U of BC’s Sherry Khoddami told Gizmodo. “The welfare of cats in the home is an under-researched area.”

  • Yes, cats do have a long and distinguished history of “messing shit up,” and they simply don’t care. Maybe that’s why cats singing the Imperial March from Star Wars — okay, cats sampled and pitch-shifted to the Imperial March’s melody — feels appropriate. Our fluffballs are inevitable.

This week brought us stories of two cats who were reunited with their humans after more than a decade apart, both in the UK.

  • Tom, a tuxedo in Cardiff, Wales, went missing in 2009. He spent most of the past decade-plus living with another cat in the safety of a cemetery with the help of a nearby family, who kept them well-fed. It wasn’t until recently that someone tipped off a local rescue to the presence of the two “strays,” and finally Tom’s microchip was scanned. On Friday, Tom’s human, Donna, was overcome with emotion when she reunited with the little guy at Anna’s Rescue Centre of Cardiff, fighting back tears as she stooped down to stroke his fur. Donna also adopted Tom’s longtime companion from the cemetery. (Click the link for video, which we were not able to embed.)
  • Meanwhile in Aberdeen, Neil and Lucy Henderson were reunited with their tabby, Forbes, who had gone missing in 2011. Neil Henderson was so shocked, he had to pull over and stop his car when his wife told him Forbes had been located by the SCPA. “I was completely unprepared for what I was about to be told and hearing that Forbes had been found left me completely astounded,” he told the BBC. Forbes was picked up by an animal control officer who realized he was very friendly and had a microchip. The Hendersons “have no way of knowing where Forbes had been all this time or what adventures he might have been on,” but they’re ecstatic that he’s back home.
Forbes the cat's missing poster
The original missing poster created by the Hendersons when Forbes disappeared in 2011.

Would Your Cat Wait Outside The Hospital For You?

A story about an extraordinarily loyal dog has touched the hearts of animal lovers all over the world, and probably has many of us thinking: If I had a medical emergency, would my pet chase an ambulance to the hospital and wait there for days until I emerged?

That’s what Boncuk the loyal dog did after her owner, Cemal Senturk, suffered a brain embolism and was taken to a hospital in the northern Turkish city of Trabzon on Jan. 14.

Boncuk waited patiently for her best friend until Aynur Egeli, Senturk’s daughter, took the loving pup home the first night.

The next morning Boncuk was gone, and Egeli knew exactly where she was going.

“She comes every day around 9 a.m. and waits until nightfall,” Muhammet Akdeniz, a security guard at the hospital, told local media. “When the door opens she pokes her head inside,” Akseniz said, but the polite pooch “doesn’t go in.”

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Boncuk poked her head inside but knew she wasn’t allowed inside the hospital.

Boncuk was reunited with Senturk on Wednesday when an orderly wheeled the man out to the hospital entrance. Senturk was later discharged.

In photos and a short video of the reunion, Boncuk is the image of happiness and relief: Her tail wags uncontrollably and she can’t contain her enthusiasm as she literally jumps for joy.

“She’s very used to me,” Senturk said. “And I miss her, too, constantly.”

Boncuk’s story reminds us of Hachiko, the Japanese Akita dog who was so devoted to his owner, Hidesaburō Ueno, that he’d run to Shibuya station every day to greet Ueno as he stepped off the subway. Ueno was in mid-lecture in front of a class of students when he suffered a brain hemorrhage and died on the spot.

Hachiko returned to Shibuya every day at the same time for the next 10 years, waiting for his beloved human.

It’s a story of animal devotion that resonates so strongly with people that Hachiko was memorialized with a statue just feet from the spot where he stood every day, waiting for Ueno.

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Boncuk waits for her owner in front of the hospital.

Yes, this wonderful story begs the question: Would my pet do the same for me?

Putting aside the problem of actually getting to the hospital — which would be almost impossible given the distance, traffic and the fact that he’s an indoor cat — if Bud were allowed to stay in a hospital room with me, I believe wholeheartedly that he would remain by my side.

Like other pets who have strong bonds with their people, he knows when I’m not feeling well, and when I was sidelined with Bell’s palsy and a debilitating headache a few years ago, he never left my side.

That is not to say he wouldn’t be his usual incorrigible self. You know that little button that calls the nurse? He would abuse the hell out of it if he knew its function, and he’d probably think the nurses were there to serve him, bring him snacks and fluff his pillow.

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“Nurse! In here! My pillow needs fluffing! Also, could you be a doll and fetch me some Temptations?”

The truth is that pets are not allowed in the vast majority of hospitals. Writing in PetLife, Alicia Beyer notes pets “not only brighten patients’ spirits, but hospitals are reporting that the pet visits can have dramatic effects on patient’s health, recovery and emotional well-being.”

In Canada, there’s an organization called Zachary’s Paws, which was started by Donna Jenkins in honor of her 25-year-old nephew.

“While Zachary was in the hospital for many weeks and very sick after having a stem cell transplant,  he begged to see his dog, Chase,” Jenkins told Bored Panda. “We sneaked Chase into ICU to see him and the effect it had on Zachary was remarkable. When Zachary realized he was not going to survive his cancer, he made me promise to start the organization.

But as PetMD notes, there are good reasons why most hospitals don’t allow pets, including problems pets can pose to patients with compromised immune systems and allergies. Hospitals that do allow pet visits have strict standards, and the animals must be thoroughly cleaned by staff before they’re allowed in.

Alas, even as more hospitals allow pet visitation or therapy animals, many exclude cats, and a 2015 report by the Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America says cats “should be excluded.” The report claims cats can’t be trained as well as dogs, the risk of bites and scratches is higher, and more patients may be allergic to cats.

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!”

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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.”

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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…”

Dear Sir or Madam: I Have Recently Come Into An Inheritance of 5,000lbs of Premium Catnip

Dear Sir or Madam,

Warm salutations and greetings to you, my friend! I am writing to your most esteemed personage having just been informed by my attorneys that I stand to inherit more than 5,000 pounds of premium catnip, including Meowie Wowie, Purrple Haze, Kitty Kush and Mewbury OG.

However, due to the Byzantine inheritance laws of my homeland of Nigeria, I am unable to come into my considerable catnip fortune without an American bank account, which is needed to pay the inheritance fee to the Nigerian Office of Catnip Inheritance.

This is where I must humbly ask for your assistance, good sir or madame. It is my fervent hope that we may come to an agreement in which you allow me to make the inheritance payment from your account in exchange for a large portion of my inheritance. Would 2,000 pounds of catnip be acceptable recompense to you for this favor?

Yours truly, your friend,

Grand Prince Four One Nine, Nigerian Royal Family Cat


Dear 419,

Wow! Five thousand pounds of catnip! This sounds almost too good to be true! If I were you I’d build a big vault for all my catnip and go swimming in it daily, like Scrooge McDuck does with his money!

I don’t know where Nigeria is but it sounds like a wonderful country. I stole my human’s bank information and have attached it to this email. When will I get my 2,000 pounds of catnip?

Your friend,

Buddy

High on catnip!
Photo by Andrew Marttila.

Dearest Most Magnificent Buddy,

Warm salutations! It is my life’s honor to count you among my friends and execute this business deal together. Good fortune smiles on us both, and soon we will be bathing in rivers of catnip, the envy of all other cats!

There has been a small hiccup with the Ministry of Inheritance. In order to process my payment, I am required to submit a small processing fee with the Royal Processing Fee Bureau of Nigeria. It is only a paltry sum of $2,000, but again I am only able to make this payment via an American bank account.

If you would be so kind as to authorize the payment, you shall be reimbursed of course and we will be basking in our new catnip fortunes shortly!

With great affection and respect,

Four One Nine, Feline of the Nigerian Royal Family


Dear 419,

If you can repay the $2,000 right away, I’m happy to help! I’ll look out for the check and the catnip in the mail!

Buddy

Mmmm, catnip!
Photo by Andrew Martilla.

Most Marvelous Benefactor Buddy,

You, Sir, are my most valued and trusted friend! They say American cats are fat, lazy and selfish, but they are wrong, for you are not selfish at all! I have let it be known in my village that Buddy of America is a wonderful and wise cat. They sing songs about you and your generosity.

We are almost in possession of our catnip, my friend! All that remains is to cover the shipping fee and the Royal Nigerian Export fee. They are paltry sums, merely $4,000 and $3,500 respectively. I have already had my servant mail the $2,000 reimbursement for the processing fee, and will similarly return the funds promptly upon paying the export and shipping fees from your respected American bank account.

I received but a small sample of the Meowie Wowie this afternoon and raise a toast in your honor!

Your Loyal Friend,

Four One Nine, Cat Royal of the Family


Dear 419,

I’m fresh out of cash. What if I could scrounge up some cans of tuna and some old toys? Could we bribe the clerk to waive the export fee?

Buddy


Dear 419,

I haven’t gotten my $2,000 reimbursed and still no catnip! I know you probably forgot to write me back, but can you please tell me what the status is?

Buddy


Dear 419,

You tricked me! No catnip, no reimbursement, no village cats singing songs about me!

It just so happens I have a cousin in your country. He’s gonna pay you a visit!

Buddy

DBBAAD4A-4337-4064-A962-713532E3931C
Photo by Andrew Martilla.

Dearest Most Esteemed Honorable Buddy,

Your, ahem, cousin presented himself just minutes ago. Please, on my behalf, thank him again for not eating me! I did not know lions could be so merciful and had already emptied my bladder by the time I realized he would allow me to live.

Here is your $2,000 and the first 200 lbs of catnip you are owed. The rest will be delivered in installments for the next 24 months.

Lastly, I am instructed to inform you that, per your cousin’s direction, the music teachers have been drafting paeans to your majesty, and the kittens will stage a three-act play about how awesome you and your cousin are. But mostly your cousin.

Begging your forgiveness,

Four One Nine

All photos in this post are from photographer Andrew Marttila’s book, appropriately titled Cats on Catnip. Buddy highly recommends checking it out!

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Photo by Andrew Martilla.

Meanwhile, in Africa…

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Buddy’s cousin, enjoying the, uh, fruits of his labor. Photo credit: Linton Zoo