Tag: pyramids

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.

Archaeologists Find New Pyramid In Buddy’s Litter Box

CAIRO, East Litter Box — A new pyramid dating to the 3rd dynasty has been found buried beneath the sand in Buddy’s litter box, a university dig team announced in the scholarly journal Fecal Archaeology.

The find is significant not only because it reveals one of the few surviving artifacts of the Old Kingdom, but because it lies outside the so-called Valley of the Kings, an area rich with deuce deposits and hidden burial chambers, Egyptologists said Thursday.

“Previously King Poopankhamen, a 3rd dynasty pharaoh, was considered apocryphal,” said Ferdinand Lyle, an Egyptologist with the British Museum. “Now, thanks to the inscriptions found in the newly-discovered pyramid, we know King Poopankhamen did indeed exist, and is responsible for many of the most fabulous monuments in the eastern litter box region.”

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Priceless statues of felines recovered from the newly-discovered pyramid in Buddy’s litter box. (Credit)

Of particular interest to archaeologists was an internal chamber of the Temple of Deuceamemnon featuring a cartouche extolling the excretory potency of Buddy.

The cartouche, Lyle said, proved Buddy was worshiped before the 4th dynasty pharaoh, Pooptolemy, founded the Cult of Budster.

“The inscriptions in the poop burial chamber speak of mighty nuggets of feces raining down from the sky,” Lyle said, “which was seen as a sign that Buddy was angry and signaled an impending yellow flood.”

heiroglyph
A hieroglyphic inscription reads: “And so as man angered the Buddy, the sky opened up and a yellow rain came pouring down.”

Still, not all were convinced to change their views in light of the newly discovered pyramid.

“It’s obvious we couldn’t have built those pyramids without the help of aliens, bro,” said Joe Rogan, who is best known for making contestants eat roaches on the short-lived show Fear Factor. “Like, when you get stoned and really think about it, it’s clear that aliens were here millennia ago and were worshiped as gods, like in the movie Stargate.”

Worship Us, Oh Puny Humans!

Dear Buddy,

Did you hear the news about the cat mummies and the big trove of cat statues found by archaeologists in Egypt? My dad says Egypt is a special place ‘cause that’s where humans used to worship us a long time ago. Is that true? Why did they stop?

Kitten in Kentucky


Dear KiK,

Your dad is right! Egypt is a magical land, a place where humans were once keenly aware of our status as the most awesome species on Earth.

Egypt is where you’ll find the biggest litter box on the planet. It stretches for miles and miles until finally the horizon reveals a huge weather-worn statue of a cat and three stone pyramids jutting out of the litter.

The Great Sphinx and Pyramids of Giza
The Great Sphinx of Giza keeps watch over the world’s most sacred litter box.

It is said that by pooping in front of the Great Sphinx and reverently burying the poop in the great litter dunes, one can gain the wisdom of the Sphinx and power over the red dot.

This new discovery solidifies our special status in Egypt and gives us insight into how humans worshiped our ancestors. As you can see, the bodies of the kitties are wrapped up. Those are called funerary blankets, nice and soft for kneading and sleeping.

The discovery was made when archaeologists opened the tomb of a royal priest in service to a pharaoh who ruled long ago, when humans knew their place and cats were viewed as da bomb. Inside the tomb, the archaeologists found two mummified lion cubs and the mummies of several kitties, as well as lesser animals like crocodiles.

Also among the treasures were 75 boxes of cat statues which were venerated by the ancient Egyptians.

Archaeologists are calling the find “unprecedented”:

In a rare discovery announced at a press conference by the Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities on Nov. 23, this dusty duo of long-deceased baby lions was found in a Saqqaran tomb filled to the brim with gold-decorated wood, stone, and bronze cat statues, and a cache of cat mummies.

The tomb was found near Giza’s Saqqara necropolis, which archaeologists believe was associated with the cat goddess Bastet and Miysis, who was her son and a lion god himself. Egyptians also worshiped another cat goddess, Sekhmet, who like Bastet had the body of a human woman and the head of a lion.

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The hieroglyphics read: “Hark, for there will come a handsome cat prince named Buddy, and ye shall worship him by presenting only the tastiest turkey.”
Statues-of-Lioness-Goddess-Sekhmet-Unearthed
This relief sculpture portrays the cat goddess Sekhmet.

But there’s one thing you should know, Kitten in Kentucky: Humans never stopped venerating us. They just need to be reminded once in a while with a good hard smack.

This is why, my dear kitten, humans work all day whilst we lounge, and it’s why they often spend more money on our food than they do on their own.

Rejoice, little one, for you are descended from deities!

Your friend,
Buddy

Bastet-the-Egyptian-
A statue of Bastet guards the eastern litter box region of Abydos.
sekhmet
This statue depicts Sekhmet, a lion goddess worshiped in ancient Egypt.