Tag: Youtube

Are Schools Forced To Accommodate Kids Who ‘Identify As Cats’?

Two curious stories relating to cats have been circulating online this week: In the first story, a substitute teacher claims she was fired because she refused to meow back to a student who “identifies as a cat,” while parents in a Michigan school district were infuriated by a rumor that the district was providing litter boxes to cat-identified students in school bathrooms.

First, the obvious, or perhaps not-so-obvious considering the media attention and outrage surrounding both stories: Neither one is true.

Why did people believe them? Because we’ve gone insane as a society, of course, and basic reality now means different things to different people depending on their political ideologies. If you’re on the left, you might think parents who aren’t sophisticated news consumers are so paranoid about school curricula, they’d believe just about anything. If you’re on the right, you’re might argue that some schools have gone so overboard with political correctness, it’s not a stretch to imagine privileges conferred on the allegedly cat-identified.

For those of us who subscribe to neither ideology, the whole thing is another sad example of the polarization that is destroying the US, the same divisive talk amplified by platforms like Twitter and Facebook.

But that’s beyond the scope of this blog, which is to celebrate cats, have a laugh and occasionally put the spotlight on animal welfare. I don’t want to lose readers by wading into a political landmine field, but most importantly I don’t want anyone to feel unwelcome on this site.

The Michigan incident started when a mom of kids at the Midland School District, about 130 miles northwest of Detroit, spoke at a school board meeting about a rumor — which she took as fact — alleging the school was accommodating “furries” by providing litter boxes in unisex bathrooms.

Lisa Hansen asked other parents to join her to “do some investigating” into the policy

“I’m all for creativity and imagination, but when someone lives in a fantasy world and expects other people to go along with it, I have a problem with that,” Hansen told the Midland school board. “This whole furry thing has just got me. I’m staying calm, but I’m not happy about it, and it’s happened on your watch, and I don’t understand it.”

Here’s the video: (It should start at the relevant section, but if it doesn’t, Hansen speaks at the 32:44 mark)

Hansen’s claims were picked up and reshared by a state GOP chairwoman, Meshawn Maddock, who warned “Parent heroes will TAKE BACK our schools” in a Facebook post.

The school’s superintendent, Michael Sharrow, was forced to do damage control with a public statement, telling parents it’s a “source of disappointment that I felt the necessity to communicate this message to you.”

“There is no truth whatsoever to this false statement/accusation,” Sharrow wrote. “There have never been litter boxes within MPS schools.”

The story about the fired substitute also had its roots in an online video, with a woman who says she’s a teacher relating the story via TikTok. The woman, who uses the handle @crazynamebridgetmichael, said she was taking attendance when a student responded to his name with feline vocalizations.

“I get to the third row and I hear this ‘meow!’ ‘Uhhh, excuse me? Excuse me?'” she said in the TikTok video. “I start looking on the ground, through the fourth row—everything’s good. Go to the fifth row—everybody’s there. Then I hear ‘meow!’ I’m like, ‘Okay, what’s up with that? Who’s doing it?’ And this little girl in the very front row says, ‘You have to meow back at him; he identifies as a cat.’ Are you kidding me?”

The student stormed out of the classroom when she laughed at him, she said, and the school’s administration fired her: “They said ‘We no longer need your services if you can’t identify with all the children in the classroom.'”

The story was picked up by several widely-read sites, included in Tucker Carlson’s daily newsletter, and reshared on prominent Twitter accounts in addition to going viral on Facebook.

PJ Media: The Substitute and the Cat
The story was widely shared on social media and reported by a few dozen online media outlets.

The Cat and the Substitute

The only problem is it isn’t true. In a follow-up video the teacher admitted she made up the story to “create awareness of what kids are going through at school.” She didn’t elaborate, so it’s not clear if she was criticizing school policies for allowing students to identify as different genders or arguing that kids’ needs aren’t accommodated. Occam’s Razor would indicate she was just chasing clicks.

The one thing that’s certain, however, is that cats don’t deserve to be in the middle of this mess.

Top image: A 20-year-old Norwegian woman who identifies as a cat. The woman says she was “born the wrong species.” “My psychologist told me I can grow out of it, but I doubt it,” she told an interviewer. “I think I will be cat all my life.”

Kiwi Cat Dad Builds Lift For His Aging Buddy

Liam Thompson is a 21-year-old Youtuber who’s known for building cool stuff.

His cat’s name may be Frodo, but Thompson said he’s in “Gandalf territory” at 20 years old and has been having trouble getting around to his favorite spots, especially a sunny corner of the backyard where he likes to sit poolside and enjoy the New Zealand warmth.

“Despite his ancient-ness, he still insists on hobbling down these stairs every day to sit out in the sun,” Thompson says in a video about his latest project. “That is, until today.”

The video shows the handy Kiwi building an “elevator” — more like a stair lift for a cat — out of wood, an electronic hoist and a handful of small hardware pieces. The passenger compartment is a simple cart, and at the press of a button the cart descends or ascends the stairs along a wooden track.

Frodo isn’t bothered in the slightest.

“Are you ready to go downstairs without having to move a muscle?” he asks his cat before the maiden ride. “I hope so, because it took me four days.”

Thompson is delighted as the elevator works perfectly and Frodo rides it without fear or protest, laughing as the orange senior cat makes himself comfortable during the ride. The current setup requires Thompson to push a button, but perhaps in the future he can add a simple button for Frodo directly on the cart.

Speaking of elevators, this cat thinks he’s Leslie Chow from The Hangover:

Jurassic Park With A Cat Instead of A T-Rex

Owl Kitty’s human has put his house panther into The Matrix, John Wick, Home Alone, Titanic — and now the original Jurassic Park as a stand-in for the terrifying tyrannosaurus rex.

Despite standing at least 20 feet tall and weighing several tons, Jurassic Owl Kitty is a kindler, gentler threat to Sam Neill, Jeff Goldblum and the kids. Kitty just wants to rub up against the Jeep and purr, and perhaps score some cat food, not eat people like that evil dinosaur.

Plus we can now confirm that, even if they were twice the size of African elephants, cats would still be cute:

Why Scaring Cats Isn’t Funny

Whether they’re surreptitiously placing cucumbers behind their cats’ backs while the kitties are eating or filming their felines’ terrified reactions to Halloween props, some people apparently love scaring their furry friends.

Since many of the resulting videos go viral, people hungry for online fame have even more incentive to “prank” their cats as they chase clicks. The result is potentially thousands of house cats terrorized by people with ambitions of being the next TikTok or YouTube star.

On the surface, the way cats respond to being startled might seem comical. The term “scaredy cat” didn’t manifest out of nothingness, and cats who are truly frightened have a cartoonish way of leaping back and pumping their little legs while they’re still in the air like Looney Tunes characters.

But when you think about it from your cat’s perspective, in the context of feline evolution and psychology, the cruelty of scaring a cat for “lulz” becomes obvious.

Screenshot 2021-11-01 at 08-48-55 245 jpg (WEBP Image, 1200 × 800 pixels)

First, cats are ambush predators. It’s why they love boxes, why they do the adorable crouch-and-butt-wiggle routine before pouncing on their toys, and why they like vantage points where they can see but not be seen.

They particularly dislike surprises, which is why they bolt. Cats are supposed to get the jump on other animals, not the other way around. The impulse to flee as quickly as possible — and return unseen — is hardwired into the feline brain, as natural to them as burying their poop or kneading when they feel content. Because domestic cats are small and can be predator and prey, that impulse is even stronger, but it also exists in 500-pound tigers or 200-pound jaguars.

So when you intentionally frighten your cat with an object that will be perceived, however briefly, as a predator, you’re triggering a fight-or-flight response, a rush of adrenaline and fear.

catwiggle

However, scaring a cat in its own territory (your home) or in a place he or she feels especially secure (feeding areas) adds another layer. A cat walking around outside will be naturally wary, but if you’re giving your cat a good home, as well as the love and space she deserves, she’ll feel comfortable. She’s on her home turf, in a closed environment where threats don’t pop up unexpectedly.

When a cat turns around after enjoying some yums and sees a cucumber, her hardwiring takes over, she registers the intrusive vegetable as a snake and goes into flight mode, scrambling to get away as fast as possible. It’s not just that kitty’s shocked or can get hurt scurrying away from a perceived threat, it’s also the inherent cruelty in teaching your cat that the place she thought was absolutely safe from intruders may not be.

We’re not immune to this kind of conditioning ourselves. If you settle down for a nap one day and your spouse, a sibling or a friend thinks it’s funny to wake you by dropping an ice cold bucket of water on your face, will you feel comfortable dozing off on the couch next time?

Trust is implicit in our relationships with our cats. If we abuse that trust, especially for something as meaningless as social media likes, we’re endangering our human-feline friendships and making our cats feel unsafe in their own homes.

Sunday Cat Round-Up: Sanctuary Welcomes Baby Snow Leopard, ‘Two-Face’ Cat Goes Viral

When Venus’ human posted photos of her to Instagram, people thought the half-black, half-ginger cat was photoshopped. A video of the unique kitty debunked that rumor, showing the heterochromatic, multitone cat in all her glory. Now Venus is a star, amassing tens of millions of views on Instagram and TikTok:

Welcome baby!

Snow leopards Laila and Yarko of the UK’s Big Cat Sanctuary are the proud parents of a newborn cub, and the sanctuary wants the public to help name the little guy, whom they’re calling Little Cub in the meantime.

“He appears to be developing and growing beautifully and is becoming more active day by day. Laila is an experienced mother and is just as attentive and devoted with this little one as she has been before,” Big Cat Sanctuary curator Briony Smith wrote.

Although Little Cub was born on Sept. 15, his birth was not announced until Oct. 21 in the video below:

Tabby founders pitch to Shark Tank

Remember Tabby, the cat dating app that Bud insisted was “fake news” because he can’t even fathom the possibility of sharing his kingdom with another cat?

The app’s founders will pitch to the big fish of Shark Tank on Friday, Oct. 29, looking for investments in return for a stake in their company.

Somehow I don’t see Mark Cuban or Lori Greiner as cat lovers, but Mr. Wonderful strikes me as the kind of guy who has a chonkster at home and secretly dotes on her, as he doesn’t want to harm his image as a ruthless businessman. (Edit: I searched around to see if O’Leary really is a cat lover, and while he described himself as a “non-cat guy,” he reached a deal with cat DNA company basepaws back in 2019, so clearly he understands businesses related to our feline overlords are good investments.)

Mr. Wonderful
Kevin O’Leary, aka Mr. Wonderful