Tag: stray cats

Twitter Malcontents Shame Journal Into Dropping Study About Cats

Last Monday, the academic journal Biological Conservation published a “controversial” study about cats.

It didn’t last a week.

The journal quietly took the paper offline after it was buried in a heap of scorn and hysteria from that fount of good vibes, Twitter.

People whose profiles are appended with tags like “she/her” and “he/him” outlined why the paper is “problematic,” providing an afternoon’s worth of fresh outrage for the grievance enthusiasts.

The study, by a research team from China’s Nanjing University, has two main conclusions: The more women living on a college campus, the more stray and feral cats live there too. Additionally, the team surveyed men and women about their interactions with strays — with responses indicating women are more likely to care for them — and followed a handful of men and women to watch their interactions with cats.

53BD6F3A-1F10-4058-99ED-11FF84E3F124
“Study? Yes, I like to study…how to bend humans to my will so they feed me more delicious yums!”

Is it ground-breaking science? No. Do the results prove women are better caretakers of cats than men? Nope. Did the authors perhaps overextend themselves by mixing up correlation and causation? Probably.

But it’s still research, and studies should not be buried or banished from peer-reviewed journals because a handful of malcontents on Twitter cry sexism. Some aspects of the paper, like the small sample of observed interactions, are thin. But the authors did look at 30 universities, a healthy sample size as far as institutions go.

If follow-up studies indicate that women are indeed more likely to care for cats, so what?

Is reality sexist? Do we need to protect people from even the most mildly controversial things?

As a man who loves cats, I don’t doubt that most caretakers are women. I see the anecdotal proof among the ranks of rescue volunteers. I see it in my readership here — aside from the Extraordinary League of Cat Dads, some 85 percent of this blog’s readers are female.

And that’s perfectly fine!

I would like to see more men warm to the idea of adopting and caring for cats, but the fact that women in general seem to have more empathy for them isn’t sexist. It doesn’t mean every woman loves cats any more than it means all men don’t.

Very Sad Buddy
Pain In The Bud’s readership is overwhelmingly female, but most of our traffic isn’t from women — it’s from female cats who find Buddy devilishly handsome!

Some readers know I have a background in journalism and spent almost 15 years of my career as a reporter and editor. One thing that appalls me as a journalist is the routine practice of quoting tweets in lieu of speaking to people face to face or picking up the phone and asking questions.

Platforms like Twitter thrive on negativity. Whether 140 or 280 characters, Twitter’s bite-size messages may be good for people who have the attention span of gnats, but they don’t exactly foster productive or nuanced discussion. Perhaps most important of all, people are more likely to say negative things online than they are in a human-to-human conversation, and too often handfuls of loudly-complaining people are mistaken for a majority.

Studies show negative tweets are far more likely to spread than positive or neutral messages, which skews public perception. They also show Twitter opinions are not representative of the general public, in part because most of Twitter’s power users come from similar backgrounds and share world views.

To put it bluntly, Twitter is full of roving bands of grievance artists constantly on the lookout for new things to shit on, and we should stop assigning so much importance to what we think are the prevailing sentiments on social media platforms.

Academic journals are peer-reviewed. Taking the vetting responsibility away from experts and giving it to a few unhappy people on social media is not a smart way to present research.

The study authors’ peers will poke holes in their work if the holes indeed exist, and that’s part of what peer review is for. Not to bury research, but to encourage scientists to rethink it, refine it and try again.

Dramatic Photos Show Cat Narrowly Escaping Coyotes

Allyson Seconds was driving through midtown Sacramento on Thursday morning when she saw flashes of fur weaving between cars in traffic.

“I pulled over thinking I’d seen two loose dogs crossing the street and went into rescue mode,” the Sacramento woman recalled. “When I saw they were coyotes I grabbed my phone and took just these four shots of them running and jumping up at a tree.”

Seconds didn’t didn’t understand why the coyotes were so worked up until she reviewed the shots.

“I didn’t realize at first that it was a house cat they were after until I looked at the pictures,” she wrote. “That’s one lucky cat!”

The swift tabby managed to stay a stride ahead of his canid pursuers before going vertical and beating a quick retreat up a tree.

This photo shows the telltale signs of a terrified cat: Kitty’s tail is raised, rigid and three times its normal size while its ears are pinned back against its head.

Cat dodges coyotes
A tabby cat narrowly escapes the jaws of two coyotes on Feb. 6 in Sacramento. Credit: Allyson Seconds
Cat vs Coyotes
The coyotes were right on kitty’s heels. Credit: Allyson Seconds

The next two photos show the end of the chase: In the first we can see just a flash of fur as the cat scurries up the tree, and in the second shot the coyotes look miffed at being outplayed by a domestic cat.

B58F4FBA-2B03-4805-A3D2-E24BD1C9445B

835258A9-998E-4FDF-A7FF-06F279143DA0
Credit: Allyson Seconds

 

As for Seconds, she understands what so many people and local media reports get wrong. There aren’t “more” coyotes, as if they’ve suddenly decided to start becoming prolific breeders. The reason those of us in urban and suburban neighborhoods see them more often is because we encroach on their habitats with every development, cul-de-sac and ugly strip mall we build.

It’s a story that is sadly repeated across the globe as animals as varied — and endangered — as mountain lions, tigers and orangutans find fewer contiguous plains, jungles and forests to hunt and forage within.

“This is not even close to a coyote damning post,” Seconds wrote on Facebook. “Housing developments and more homeless living at the river are certainly driving them inland from their more suitable terrain but guess what? The coyotes are adapting to city life and we are seeing more and more of them in all corners of our town. They aren’t going anywhere.”

She signed off by making a suggestion we’ve advocated many times on this blog.

“And as for those worried about their cats for reasons illustrated in my photos? Time to start keeping kitty inside.”

 

Some Jerk Stole the Baby Yoda Cat

Two weeks after a sickly stray named Joy was rescued off the streets, someone stole the still-ailing animal from the local Humane Society.

Thanks to her resemblance to the Internet-breaking Star Wars character, Joy and her story went viral, with kind donors opening up their wallets to help pay for the kitty’s veterinary bills. Per New York’s ABC affiliate:

A North Carolina woman found Joy with a large neck wound and an upper respiratory tract infection in mid-December. The woman asked Humane Society of Rowan County for help, and one of the non-profit’s veterinarians started treating Joy for her injuries. In the meantime, Joy captured the hearts of internet users for her resemblance to “The Child,” the breakout star from the “Star Wars: The Mandalorian” series.

In six days, Facebook users donated over $1,250 to help Humane Society of Rowan County pay for Joy’s medical bills.

But the story didn’t just attract the attention of the kind-hearted, and a few days ago someone made off with the viral feline after claiming Joy was their long-lost pet, according to the Humane Society of Rowan County.

Baby Yoda
A Star Wars fan who couldn’t wait to hand his or her money to Disney for a Baby Yoda doll decided to steal a cat who bears a resemblance to the character instead.

Making matters worse, Joy wasn’t ready for her forever home yet, and was supposed to remain under veterinary care and supervision while the Humane Society took applications from potential adopters.

It is with heavy hearts that we announce that Joy is no longer in our care. Joy was released without our knowledge or consent to a person claiming ownership.

It is likely that HSRC will still be responsible for Joy’s vet bills.

We wish we could provide more details but are unable to at this time. We pray that Joy, still with unhealed wounds and not fully recovered, will be given proper medical care and make a full recovery.

Return the cat, nerd! And while you’re at it, consider switching your allegiance to a decidedly more feline-friendly science fiction franchise. You’ll live long and prosper! 🙂

A Black Cat Didn’t ‘Hex’ The Giants: They Just Stink

It’s been two days since a black cat briefly halted play by dashing onto the field during a nationally-televised football game between the Cowboys and the Giants, and now people are blaming the cat for the Giants’ loss.

Sportswriters are leading the charge, writing about hexes and omens and jinxes, and dusting off the cat puns as fans share memes about the kitty’s dark powers of suckage. It’s a “cat-tastrophe!” Har har!

We’re here to state the obvious: The New York Giants suck regardless of the black cat. They sucked before the cat appeared, they sucked during the game, and they’ll continue to suck for the seven remaining games of the season.

You could say they’ve elevated it to an art, registering losing records in six of the last seven seasons.

Giants Black Cat
Horrified by another losing season, the unnamed black cat tried to flee MetLife Stadium.

On Monday night the Giants took a drubbing, losing to the mediocre Dallas Cowboys 38-17 at home and lowering their season record to 2-7. The cat’s break for freedom was the most exciting play of the game.

In other words, the cat wasn’t the cause of the losing, he was a symptom — horrified by his team’s play, he took flight and was desperately trying to find a way out of the stadium. We’re sure of it!

In the meantime, stadium staff still haven’t found the freaked-out feline, and while an anonymous team employee says there are some 300 cats living in and around the stadium, a team spokesperson says that number is closer to 30, according to the New York Post.

Some of the cats live in the bowels of MetLife Stadium while others live on the grounds of the adjoining Meadowlands race track. They’re descended from cats brought in “decades ago” to tackle a rat problem at the track and in the tunnels connecting the facilities, according to the Bergen Record.

The stadium’s owners pay to keep the cats fed and spayed/neutered, per newspaper reports, while staff at the complex care for the animals. Good on them.

Now the Giants look ahead to Sunday’s match-up with the Jets in an event affectionately referred to as the Toilet Bowl. The two New York teams are a combined 3-14 this year, but fear not — as they go head-to-head, one of them is guaranteed to come away with a win!

 

Feeding Buddies Is Not A Crime!

Nancy Segula lost her husband and her cats in 2017 and, feeling lonely, she made friends with the stray buddies in her neighborhood via the most direct route to a kitty’s heart — food.

Now poor Nancy has the prospect of 10 days in jail hanging over her head because curmudgeons in her hometown of Garfield Heights, Ohio, complained about her acts of charity service to cats and called the police.

“I’m an animal lover, and I feel guilty that they’re wandering around out there and they have nothing to eat,” Segula explained, as if serving cats requires explaining. “So I just feel that I need to give them food.”

What a sad legacy for a town named after a fat orange tabby cat!

9F7D3874-4484-4CF7-B7C3-33711ECBC3E4

Now a judge has intervened and will hold a hearing this month in an attempt to diffuse the situation and avoid jailing the kindly Mrs. Segula for the “crime” of doing what all humans should do.

Buddy wants YOU to write letters of support on behalf of Mrs. Segula! It’s very important that you DO NOT send them poop! Ask your humans for envelopes and stamps, then dictate the letters to them. Or if you have one of those fancy computers, you can email the mayor directly at vcollova@garfieldhts.org and ask him to get rid of that ridiculous ordinance that makes it a crime for humans to feed their feline overlords.

Remember, no poop!