Tag: Russia

This Good Boy Has Helped Defuse 150 Russian Explosives In Ukraine

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.

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.

Cats have your back, dawgs!

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.

In Ukraine, Cats and Dogs Suffer Along With Their Human Companions

If you’ve got a cat who doesn’t handle the Fourth of July well and gets freaked out by the annual fireworks, imagine that multiplied by about a thousand, with no respite.

Then imagine that, instead of reassurance from calm humans who know the explosions are just part of a celebration, the cats and dogs of cities like Kiev pick up on the anxiety of the people around them, sensing their fear, reading their body language.

War takes a terrible toll on humanity, a fact that’s been well-documented for centuries, but much less has been written about the suffering and fate of animals in the crossfire of forces they can’t comprehend. (One outstanding take on animals in war is 2006’s Pride of Baghdad, a heartbreaking account of four lions who escaped Baghdad Zoo as US bombs rained down on the Iraqi capital. While Pride of Baghdad is a fictionalized account of what happened to those lions, the story is sadly, infuriatingly true and remains one of the lesser-known accounts among the tens of thousands of stories told about the toll of that war.)

In Ukraine, where the Russian military has taken control of the local airspace and destroyed the country’s airports, people are taking their pets and what possessions they can as they try to escape by land via routes to the border that are backed up by 15 miles or more.

Ukrainian soldier with stray cat
A soldier holds a cat in Mariupol, southeastern Ukraine. Credit: Aleksey Filippov

Meanwhile, as all men of fighting age have been called to stay, stray dogs have been a comfort to Ukrainians on the front line. The soldiers feed the dogs, and the hyper-vigilant dogs alert the soldiers to any unusual activity they pick up on.

“She immediately barks or growls if the enemy is planning an attack. It’s safer and calmer with her – no wonder they say that a dog is man’s best friend,” a 21-year-old Ukrainian soldier named Mykyta told Agency France-Presse as he gave an affectionate pet to a dog adopted by his unit.

Stray cats are cozying up to the soldiers as well. Dmytro, a 29-year-old soldier, said a black cat he named Chernukha has kept him company and helped him cope.

“You come back to the post, lie down on the bed, and here comes Chernukha,” Dmytro told AFP. Chernukha “lies on your stomach and looks at you as if she wants to be petted. It’s a sedative.”

Like many Ukrainians, staff and volunteers who man the country’s shelters have remained defiant and refused to leave. In Kiev, staff at Best Friends shelter are rationing food and trying to locate more.

“It is very difficult and scary for [the animals] and for us. Due to the fighting, suppliers of food for animals are not working,” a shelter staffer told Newsweek. “We need help now with animal food and its transportation to the shelter. We will also be grateful for the financial support.”

Getting food is already difficult and will become more so as Russian troops push further into the capital and civilians hunker down in homes, basements and bomb shelters.

Nastya Aboliesheva, who works for Kiev-based Happy Paw shelter, said “no one is willing to risk their lives to deliver what is needed.”

“Our work now remains important and necessary, because animals do not understand what is happening and also need food and treatment….the main thing that people can help now is not to throw their animals at random, but to be near them or to evacuate with the animals,” she said. “We very much hope that local authorities in Kyiv and other cities will allow people to take animals in boxes to bomb shelters.”

Top image: A Ukrainian soldier petting a cat. Credit: AFP

Buddy Claps Back At Tennis Star Over ‘Small Cat’ Insult

NEW YORK — Buddy the Cat declared men’s tennis number one Daniil Medvedev “a lanky human” after the latter called a chair umpire “a small cat” during a match on Friday.

Medvedev, who is known for his outbursts on the court, suffered a meltdown during his semifinal victory at the Australian Open. The Russian yelled at the chair umpire for allegedly allowing his opponent, Stefanos Tsitsipas, to receive coaching from the stands, which is a no-no in professional tennis.

After the umpire hit Medvedev with a warning, the top-ranked men’s player launched a minute-long tirade.

“Bro, are you mad?” Medvedev yelled to the umpire. “For what? And his father can talk every point? Bro, are you stupid? His father can talk every point!”

When the umpire made it clear he wasn’t sympathetic to Medvedev’s complaints, the frustrated Russian dissed him.

“If you don’t give him a warning, you are — how can I say it? — a small cat!” he said, gesticulating wildly.

It was the second time in as many matches that Medvedev had resorted to insults. Asked why Australian fans booed him during his quarterfinal match against Nick Kyrgios, Medvedev told an interviewer it was because the fans “probably have a low IQ.”

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Above: Medvedev’s meltdown and offensive anti-feline insults

Buddy the Cat assembled a hasty press conference within a few hours. Flanked by the Rev. Al Sharpclaw and other feline community leaders, Buddy accused Medvedev of “blatant antifelinism.”

“There is nothing wrong with being a small cat,” the silver tabby said, pounding his paw on a table for effect. “In fact, Medvedev unknowingly paid the umpire a compliment. But that doesn’t change the fact that he intended it as an insult.”

Buddy, Sharpclaw and other leaders demanded the WTA sanction Medvedev and mandate his participation in species tolerance classes.

In the meantime, the 25-year-old Medvedev has advanced to the Australian Open men’s final, where he’ll face 36-year-old Rafael Nadal on Sunday.

The Mallorcan not only has 20 major titles under his belt, he’s also held in high esteem by the world’s felines, who see a kindred spirit in Nadal’s obsessive-compulsive behavior and tendency to erupt into short bursts of energy expenditure. It’s also long been rumored that Nadal loves boxes.

Fellow tennis star Sebastian Korda named his cat after Nadal. No one has named a cat after Medvedev.

Rafa Nadal

Russian Woman’s Maine Coon Is The Size Of A Lynx

It’s not easy having a huge cat.

As readers of PITB know, I have first-hand experience with taking care of a massive beast of a cat, with Buddy weighing in at a jaw-dropping 10 pounds, most of it pure meowscle of course.

That means I can sympathize with Russian one-percenter Yulia Minina, who bought a Maine Coon kitten less than two years ago only to see him balloon into an almost 30-pound behemoth — and he’s still growing!

Visitors often mistake Kefir for a large dog at first, Minina said, but the Maine Coon is the kind of gentle giant typical of his species and acts more like “a very affectionate and modest child.”

“When friends and acquaintances come to the house, all the attention is on him and he willingly allows himself to be stroked,” Minina told the UK’s South West News Service.

Kefir the cat
The scary part? Kefir isn’t done growing. Credit: Yulia Minina/Instagram

While most cats are just about their full size after a year, Maine Coons can continue to grow until after their second birthdays. (There’s no evidence that they continue to grow until they’re 5 years old despite claims online, mostly from breeder sites.) That means Kefir, who already looks like a robust lynx, could end up challenging domestic cat size records if he enjoys another growth spurt.

Kefir is just starting to go viral within the past day or two, and as his Instagram follower count (7,288 as of this post) continues to tick up, so do the enquiries from people who want to buy the big guy.

“To everyone who wants to buy my cat, I answer: NOT FOR SALE!” Minina wrote in an Instagram post on Monday. “But I can give all the information about the breeder that many have asked! At the moment, 3 gorgeous snow-white blue eyes are available in the nursery age 1 month. I think you don’t need to praise their beautiful and big parents, you already know everything!”

No word yet if Minina gets a commission on successful referrals to the breeder.

In the meantime, Buddy can rest easy knowing that even if another cat rivals his huge and intimidating presence, he’s all the way in Stary Oskol, a safe 4,873 miles away.

Budzilla the Meowscular
The similarly massive Buddy, who rivals the size of a football. Credit: The Buddy Society for Preservation of Buddy Photographs

Nursed Back To Health, Rescue Kitten Becomes Garfeldian Superstar

Meet Fedya, Instragram’s newest feline star.

The playful cat with a permanently surprised look on his face was just a week old when he was separated from his mom last year. Natalia Zhdanova heard his cries and found him alone, hungry and sick in her backyard in Rostov, Russia.

With help from her neighbor’s cat, Handsome, Zhdanova nursed Fedya back to health, and now the little guy is up to a healthy weight and thriving at 18 months old.

“He was very weak and was dying,” Zhdanova told the UK’s SWNS wire. “Handsome cleaned and licked Fedya and became like a father figure to him.”

The two cats are now “the best of friends,” and Zhdanova said Fedya “purrs very loudly” for her and Handsome.

“He is a very sweet, gentle, playful, and intelligent cat,” she said.

You can see more photos and videos of Kedya on Instagram @fedja_kot, where he’s accumulated more than 36,000 followers.