Hi There Furiends,
I’m hoping we make it through this week without any technical difficulties. The Purrsonal Assistant is doped up on antibiotics but we asked Alexa (can’t Google without opposable thumbs) and we think the meds should not interfere with work, although Alexa kept trying to give us all sorts of useless information like “Meow is the sound a cat makes” and she even meowed back. I have no ideas why you humans are so crazy about these voice devices. When we can pry the Purrsonal Assistant away from her phone we might give SIRI a try.
It was a nice Thanksgiving although the Female Human went to another house and did not make the turkey and there was no turkey for us. She did redeem herself by giving us extra treats. As you can see below, Oliver and I were a bit lethargic in our regularly scheduled brofur wrestling match after eating so much.
Lily kept watch at the living room and dining room windows and alerted The Female Human to all our Thanksgiving day visitors.
We love to watch the little squirrel that frequents the upstairs bird feeder. We are told he is a pine squirrel and, despite his tiny size, he is FIERCE! He chases away the big fat “town squirrels” like an animal four times his size. We looked up information on these little guys. It appears that they are officially called Douglas’s Squirrel or Chickarees (around here the humans insist on calling them Pine Squirrels). They eat acorns, fruit, mushrooms, buds, and sap, and visit bird feeders for nuts. Their main diet is conifer seeds and they have plenty of those around our house. They’re bright, feisty and noisy. We can attest to the noisy part because if The Female Human is late filling the feeder good grief does he scream!
We hope you all had an excellent and animal-filled Thanksgiving and now on to this week’s notable feline news.
There’s been a lot of meowing going on these days about you humans understanding what we felines are trying to convey to you. A recent study said that we also communicate with facial expressions.
Georgia Mason, a veterinary researcher and author of a study analyzing humans’ ability to understand cats has figured out the complexities of cats. “Anyone who writes cats off as sort of moody or distant is probably underestimating them,” said . Her work was published last month in the journal “Animal Welfare.” She says we felines are signaling things to you, it’s just subtle and you need to spend the time with us to figure out what the signals mean.
Mason and her colleagues were interested in gauging how accurately humans pick up on feline emotions written in their fuzzy little faces. They asked more than 6,000 participants to watch 20 context-free cat clips, collected via veterinarians or YouTube, and to decide whether the featured feline was experiencing a negative or positive emotion.
I’d love to say that the humans knocked it out of the park but sadly, correct responses were 11.85 out of 20. Still, there were some humans in the group who were purrticularily connected to feline expressions.
The researchers concluded that it is the human/cat connection that is the key. If you spend time getting to know your cat, you understand their expressions. Oh and another interesting note, female humans did better than male humans. Cat Daddy’s, you need to step up your game.
Sadly, we got to the end of the article and the researcher says that “data also show that cat owners are generally less bonded to their pets than dog owners — contributing to the sad outcome that, compared to dogs, cats are more likely to be neglected, abandoned and passed-over for adoption.”
I think this is a bunch of malarkey as we have furiends all over the internet whose humans are closely bonded to them. The researcher did redeem herself when she ended with this comment, ““We’re hoping [to conduct] more research to develop tools to help people read their cat better,” added Mason. “That would make living with a cat more rewarding.”
Now before you start meowing and saying, “Why is Alberto considering this newsworthy?”, I must remind you that the feat this human accomplished is not only noteworthy it is a clear violation of “Cat Code”. If you are not furmiliar with this part of the code it reads, “When a human advances toward a feline to take a photo, said feline must remain still until right before the photo is taken and then race out of the frame.”
In fairness, it did take this human who lives in Wales, several weeks to get the shot. This dear lady rescues animals (which is how she ended up with such a big tribe that also includes four parakeets, several fish and a baby hedgehog).
What magic did she use to get this shot? First she used treats for the dogs to get them to pose. She said the dogs were easy, they will always pose for treats. And then there were the cats.
Getting the nine felines to pose required that she rush back and forth with the camera at the ready to retrieve the less than enthusiastic felines who broke ranks and sauntered out of the frame (purrfect Cat Code behavior). She then put them back in place-again and again. The lady stated, “I now know the real meaning behind herding cats,” But she persevered finally, after two weeks she got this amazing shot. Hmmmm, I wonder if The Female Human will attempt to get all five of us in one shot.
Staff Sgt. Dan Brissey, on his fifth tour overseas and his third trip to Afghanistan, has raised more than the required $3,000 to bring the feline he rescued and her sibling to the United States. Brissey found Sully while she was sunning herself in the crook of a concrete blast wall on his way back from getting fuel. Even though he is allergic to cats, Sully, one of a litter of four, bonded with him immediately. It was love at first meow.
Brissey serves with the Maryland National Guard and said his mind was blown when he realized how much money had been raised through Nowzad, the Afghanistan animal rescue through Facebook donations. Nowzad’s mission is to relieve the suffering of animals in Afghanistan and to provide and maintain rescue, rehabilitation and education facilities. A representative from Nowzad said the extra money raised will go toward the transportation costs of getting Sully to the United States. Anything beyond that will be used for the Nowzad shelter and clinic where Sully was spayed, vaccinated and microchipped. And, since enough funds were raised after this article was written there is enough to get Sully’s sister to her new home as well. Nowzad is the only official animal shelter in Afghanistan, and it is home to more than 130 dogs, 40 cats and seven donkeys.
Our Purrsonal assistant got a bit teary eyed when she read this comment by Sgt. Brissey, ““It makes the deployment days a little better when you have a furry little buddy to spend some time with,”
You never know what the next viral feline tweet or social media sensation will be. This week it’s a cat in New Delhi . A Twitter user posted a picture of a cat riding on a motorcycle, looking chill and quite at home. The tweet attracted a myriad of comments. Some lauded the calm feline and said that cats also want formal educati0ns and posted a pic of a cat in the University of Mumbai. Others expressed concern for the cat’s safety (this was our Female Human’s reaction). Some were even angry tweeting, “Should have tagged Mumbai Police and PETA for No helmet’, endangering the safety of an animal….”. We just hope the human bike rider gets a clue and puts a basket on the back for feline safety.
I have reported on the purrlitical felines in London and Palmerston, the Uk Foreign Office’s “Chief Mouser”. He disappeared from the spotlight earlier this year and there was great concern about his health and wellbeing.
Finally, a tweet appeared at @DiploMog Twitter profile, announcing his return to frontline duties. Working cats are no different than working humans and sometimes the pressure requires a little R & R. Sir Simon McDonald, the permanent Under Secretary and head of the Diplomatic Service at the Foreign Office, stated this week, “It was no longer an environment that was working for him. He was over-grooming on his front legs, a sign of stress.”
Palmerston, named after Britain’s longest-serving foreign secretary, was moved on vet’s advice to the home of one of McDonald’s staff in July.
“During his summer holiday, Cabinet ministers, colleagues and overseas visitors have asked me anxiously about his whereabouts,” McDonald wrote. “The good news is that Palmerston is coming back this week. But we must remember why he needed a break, and change our behavior towards him. He is happy, healthy and full of energy. His pelt is glossy and mostly grown back. We need now to keep him that way.”
The @DiploMog Twitter feed set out new rules for Foreign Office staff when the animal returns to active duty.
Dubbed the “Palmerston Protocols,” Palmerston’s posts said they were “designed to ensure my welfare and happiness.” Evidently the size of the building of Palmerston’s workplace was difficult for him to maintain, adding to his stress. He’s been given a more manageable zone and it was noted that Palmerston should be allowed to choose whether he wants to interact with staff.
In other words humans, keep your paws off Palmerston unless he invites you over for a petting session. Staff have also been advised not to wake him when sleeping and that Palmerston has “full choice and control of who he deigns to greet or imperiously ignores.”
The Twitter feeds of other government cats lit up with welcome back messages to Palmerston. And humans tweeted “good to see you back: messages as well.
The Tribe of Five is calling a meeting to set some ground rules for our workspace. I don’t believe The Female Human takes our job stress seriously enough.