Why do some cats (like you) have flabby tummies? Why do those flabby stomachs jiggle when some cats (like you) run around? Like Anna Delvey famously asked Vivian: “Are you pregnant or are you so very, very fat?”
Horrified in Honolulu
What you’re seeing is my primordial pouch, also known as the Warrior’s Pouch, the Paunch of Feline Heroes and the Champion’s Abdomen. When it’s prominent, as in my case, it indicates the cat in question comes from a line of feline warriors, and that the blood of fierce combatants courses through his veins.
If your primordial pouch is not prominent, it means you’re descended from wimps who probably hid under the stairs when faced with threats, like the angry machine god Vakuum and the Elevator, the Mysterious Room That Eats People.
You see, according to scientists, the primordial pouch offers protection to our vital organs during battle, so an errant slash won’t open our guts.
The pouch serves another critical function, allowing us to fully stretch our bodies, thus making possible the incredibly acrobatic and awesome moves that distinguish us as the graceful combatants we are. The primordial pouch makes it possible for us to jump really high, cover incredible distance in a single bound, and tear up the dance floor.
As you can clearly see from the photos, I’m all rippling muscle aside from the primordial pouch, so I’m totally not chonky.
I think that’s because he feels safe here, he’s got plenty of places to hide if he wants, and he’s got a big cat tunnel with four ways in or out. He doesn’t need another little space to crawl into.
Still, like any cat, the little dude likes a good box. When he gets to play with a new box he likes to sniff it, rub against it once or twice, then jump inside and determine if it’s comfortable. Then he gets serious, looks around, and slowly sinks down below the top of the box…
…and remains there for a few seconds before cautiously raising his head and looking around. Usually this is accompanied by a delighted trill, and I get the strong sense that he thinks he’s invisible to anyone outside the box while he has the advantage of seeing them.
“You cannot see Buddy, but Buddy sees you!”
Does he ambush me from the box? Does a bear crap in the woods?
There isn’t an abundance of research into why cats love boxes so much, but the existing data combined with what we know about the feline mind strongly suggests that, first and foremost, boxes have a strong psychological effect. They make cats feel secure and well-protected.
Anyone familiar with cats knows the little furballs like to wedge themselves into hideaways, scurry under tables and hide in laundry baskets. The behavior starts in kittenhood when they’re tiny enough to crawl into shoes and sneakers.
In 2021, animal cognition grad student Gabriella Smith conducted a study in which she found cats will happily sit in Kanizsa contours with the same enthusiasm they have for boxes.
Kanizsa contours are two-dimensional. The participants created them by using tape and paper to make the shapes on the floor. They’re not even proper boxes, just the illusory suggestion of boxes or general square shapes. That doesn’t seem to matter to cats:
Research shows cats are attracted to two-dimensional boxes as well as boxes made of cardboard and other materials.
A cat sitting in an illusory Kanizsa box.
Of course pieces of tape or paper on the floor do not afford any real protection, so the feline affinity for boxes seems to be more about feeling protected.
Since cats are territorial, it could be that they also like clear boundaries around their personal space.
The key here seems to be having the boundary without blocking access, as cats are notoriously not cool with closed doors or being confined. If they want to spend an hour in a tiny space and it’s their idea, they’re fine with it, but they don’t like to be restricted by when they can come and go.
Notably, this isn’t behavior limited to felis catus. So far there doesn’t seem to be any exception to the box-loving rule among felines and felids of any species. Tigers, lions, jaguars, leopards, snow leopards and pumas seem just as fond of them as their smaller cousins, as you can see in this video from Big Cat Rescue:
Boxes are comforting, cozy, fun to explore and make the perfect hiding spots for ambushes. If you’re a cat big or small, what’s not to like?
HOLLYWOOD — One of Hollywood’s most iconic studios has gotten a facelift, replacing its familiar roaring lion logo with a new feline face.
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer has used “Leo the Lion” as its mascot since the early 20th century merger between three production houses that vaulted the new company into Hollywood’s “big five” studios.
Now 97 years later, Leo has been replaced by a tiger — a Buddinese tiger, to be exact.
“While Leo has served us well for almost a century and audiences have come to love his iconic roar, we felt it was time for something more modern, more hip, to connect with younger audiences,” studio head Marcus Mayer told Variety. “When someone floated Buddy’s name during a brainstorming session with our PR people, it seemed like a no-brainer.”
While Leo’s roar was actually sampled from a tiger and overdubbed in sync with the lion opening his mouth — a little-known piece of cinema trivia — the new logo and title card will feature both Buddy the Cat’s famous likeness as well as his blood-curdling roar.
“The first time I heard Buddy’s roar, I got goosebumps and I almost shat myself,” admitted sound man Mark Mangini, who created the 1980s update of the MGM logo and the 2001 rebrand featuring Buddy. “I knew we had to convey that kind of power and ferocity for our brand by associating it with Buddy.”
Neither MGM nor Buddy’s representatives would comment on compensation for the world famous tabby cat, but a source close to the deal said it was worth “in the seven figures of wet food cans,” presumably all or most of it turkey, the ferocious cat’s preferred meal and currency. The deal would vault Buddy into the top 50 most wealthy cats in the world, with the majority of his wealth held in turkey-related assets.
Movie-going audiences are expected to see Buddy again late this summer with the highly-anticipated release of “Cat On Deck: A Little Buddy’s Bravery,” about a British ship’s cat named Simon who rallied the crew of the HMS Amethyst in 1949 after it was nearly sunk by a volley from a Chinese Liberation Army gun battery.
Army of the Dead, the long-awaited post-apocalyptic heist movie from director Zack Snyder, has a simple premise: Las Vegas has been overrun by zombies and cordoned off behind massive corrugated steel walls, becoming a kingdom for the undead who are ruled by a handful of intelligent and incredibly dangerous “alpha zombies.”
A Japanese businessman (Hiroyuki Sanada) approaches a famed zombie killer (Dave Bautista) and tells him he’s got $200 million in a vault inside one of the now-inaccessible casinos. If Bautista and his team can fight their way in and get the money, half of it is theirs to keep.
The catch? They have a little more than a day until the US government plans to drop a low-yield tactical nuke on the city to wipe out the zombie plague.
Bautista and his crew hire a coyote (French actress Nora Arnezeder) to get them inside the city, and as they make their way toward the Las Vegas strip, they hear a blood-curdling roar. A four-legged figure approaches, obscured by dust, smoke and the ruins of abandoned cars, until it climbs on top of one of the vehicles and we see it properly for the first time — it’s a pissed-off zombified white tiger!
“Valentine,” Arnezeder says, turning to her huddled companions. “One of Siegfried and Roy’s.”
The zombie tiger, she explains, patrols the outskirts of the zombie “kingdom,” making a light snack of anyone who ventures too close.
Later in the movie there’s a scene in which the alpha zombie leader rallies all of his undead — including Valentine — and sends them en masse toward the hotel where the protagonists are trying to crack the safe and get at the piles of cash inside.
Snyder makes a great show of the endless zombie hordes thundering toward the hotel with Valentine among them, and it looks like the big cat is going to lead the charge until he stops, yawns and settles down on the hood of a car for a nap.
Is there anything more feline than that?
As it turns out, Snyder and his team were looking for a big cat expert to help them nail the tiger’s signature gait and physical tics as they created the CGI felid, and the consultant who agreed to provide them with feedback was none other than Big Cat Rescue’s Carole Baskin. As Variety notes, production on the movie began long before Baskin became a household name with the release of Netflix’s Tiger King documentary.
Although the inclusion of a zombie tiger was a fun surprise, my all-time favorite tiger from zombie fiction is The Walking Dead’s Shiva. She’s got a compelling backstory: The character Ezekiel was a zookeeper before the apocalypse and, realizing no one was tending to the animals as the world was collapsing, he risked his life to get back to the zoo and feed the trapped creatures.
When he got there, Shiva was so malnourished and hungry that her gratitude for Ezekiel’s intervention was obvious. Gambling that the powerful tigress — whom he’d taken care of for years — wasn’t going to hurt him, Ezekiel opened her enclosure to set her free. But rather than run off on her own, Shiva decided to stay with her human friend, and the two became inseparable as the world ended.
While Valentine was just another zombie, Shiva fought the undead, and she was badass. The show also earned praise from animal rights groups after opting for CGI instead of using a real tiger. The special effects team responsible for Shiva did such a fantastic job that viewers were convinced she was the real deal.
Feline humor, news and stories about the ongoing adventures of Buddy the Cat.