Walk Through The Web Wednesday 4/14

siamese cat on a leash walking through a garden

Happy Wednesday Furiends,
I hope you all had a great week filled with all the kibble you want. The D-I-E-T thing is going better for some of us than for others.

“Alberto, I am so weak I can hardly get up.” “Ollie, it’s not that bad, just stop eating your daily ration of kibble in one sitting!”

In The Human’s defense, she is trying to offer us new forms of entertainment to attempt to take our minds off our growling tummies and she plays with us to make sure we get some exercise. Oliver is having none of it and has taken to whacking his pottery kibble bowl down the hallway at 3:00am.

Lily isn’t bothered, she has never eaten that much and quite likes the fact that the snow is now gone and she can look down into the forest to keep track of our resident deer.

“Hey Human, the deer is back!”

As for me, I have really been enjoying my kitty TV experiences. Sadly, there was an unfortunate incident with the living room TV so my viewing has now been restricted to the small screen.

Of the three of us, Oliver is the most dramatic and fighting the new food regime. Lily and I (and The Human) do not pay attention to his histrionics and we are all hoping he will adjust soon.

“Somebody help me, I’m too weak to sit up.”

It’s time to leave the diet drama behind and see what feline stories were on the web this week.

Sensitive to Cat Allergens? Take The LiveClear Challenge with Purina Pro Plan and Mayim Bialik

I reported on this new food from Purina several months ago and it’s a game changer for people who love cats but are allergic to them. Now, Purina Pro Plan has partnered with actress and neuroscientist Mayim Bialik to kick-off The LiveClear Challenge. This challenge encourages cat owners with cat allergen sensitivities to discover the life-changing power of Pro Plan LiveClear. LiveClear is the first and only cat food that reduces the major allergen in cat hair and dander.

When you sign up for the challenge,  Pro Plan will donate $5 to the Petfinder Foundation, (up to $25,000) to fund a cat retention grant program that helps keep cats in happy homes – regardless of allergen sensitivities. These donations will be made throughout the rest of this year.

It’s been reported that 1 in 5 adults are sensitive to cat allergens. While many people think cat hair is the problem, it’s actually what’s on it—a protein called Fel d 1 that cats produce in their saliva. When cats groom, Fel d 1 gets on their hair and skin through the saliva, then into the environment when they shed.

When cats eat Pro Plan LiveClear, the key ingredient – a specific protein sourced from eggs – binds to Fel d 1 and safely neutralizes it in the cats’ mouth. By reducing the active allergen in saliva, it reduces the allergen transferred to the hair and dander when grooming, ultimately reducing the allergen in the environment.

“As a neuroscientist and all-around science ‘nerd’ myself, I appreciate the decade of research that went into developing Pro Plan LiveClear and what it means for cat-lovers like me,” said Bialik. “Several people close to me are sensitive to cat allergens, including my boyfriend, and while I take many steps already to manage allergens in my home, it’s often not enough. I’m taking The LiveClear Challenge with my three cats so that hopefully those I love can feel more comfortable being in my home and getting closer to my cats.”

While not intended to replace other methods for managing allergens, Pro Plan LiveClear can add another measure to help reduce the allergen burden in cat-owning households.

Find out more about Pro Plan LiveClear or sign up for the challenge (and save $8.00 on a bag of food), click here.

The pussycat went to sea: How cats were used to predict the weather

Unsinkable Sam

It has been understood over the ages that cats (and other animals) can predict the weather. One woman’s cat would always sit with it’s back to the fireplace when a storm was coming. For many centuries sailors, who were known to be superstitious and who were always looking for ways to predict the weather, believed that feline’s sensitivity to weather changes made them valuable crew members.

Cats were also considered to bring good luck to the ships they were on. They were valued members of the crew and treated as such. The crew would get to know their cat’s  behavior very well, so that if they started acting out of character, they would take it very seriously indeed. If a cat tried to leap overboard, or repeatedly pawed at its face,-p they knew bad weather was approaching and could therefore take preparatory action. If they were in dock and a nursing cat began to carry her kittens ashore, that was a very bad omen, and some seamen would refuse to sail at all.

Many centuries ago, there was the belief that a cat had magic powers, and could cause a storm by twitching its tail, but later sailors realized that the tail twitching was not causing the bad weather but rather was a sign that it was on the way.

Today, we know is that cats are sensitive to changes in air pressure, so when warm and cool air collide, which is how a storm develops, the moist warm air is forced upwards, while the cooler less dense air is forced down towards the earth’s surface. As a cat senses these pressure changes, it will often try to look for somewhere to hide, a natural survival tactic. It can also be seen repeatedly cleaning its face and ears with its paws, which eases the discomfort it feels due to these changes, and its general apprehension is evident in a constantly twitching tail.

Cats were carried on ships until relatively recently, the tradition ending only in 1975 when they were banned by the Royal Navy for health and safety reasons. I wrote about one of the most famous nautical felines, Unsinkable Sam, in my March 24, Web Wednesday feature.  According to the tale, he started out as mascot for the German battleship Bismarck, but after it was sunk in May 1941, he was rescued from the sea by the crew of the British destroyer HMS Cossack. The crew named the black and white cat Oscar from the letter O in the International Code of Signals, which means “man overboard”.

He sailed with HMS Cossack for the next few months until the boat, which was escorting a convoy from Gibraltar to Great Britain, was torpedoed and sunk by a German submarine in October 1941. The cat was rescued alongside the surviving crew by HMS Ark Royal, and it was then that he was given the nickname Unsinkable Sam. But his time aboard the Ark Royal was short, as it too was torpedoed by a German U-boat the following month. Attempts were made to tow it to Gibraltar, but it was taking on to much water and eventually sank 30 miles from the shore.

Sam was found unharmed and clinging to a plank, and ultimately taken back to land. After surviving the destruction of three ships, the Navy decided to retire him from ocean-going service, and he served in the Governor of Gibraltar’s office for a time, before being taken back to the Belfast Home for Sailors where he saw out the remainder of his days.

He died in 1955 and his portrait can be seen in the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich, England.

Houseplant Cat Club: PSPCA helps shy cats flourish with time, patience, and plenty of sun

What a meowvelous idea the Pennsylvania SPCA came up with in this program!  When the good folks at the shelter read about how humans, stuck in their houses, were learning container gardening to pass the time in quarantine. an idea was born.

 “Over the course of the last year, pandemic plants have become very popular with individuals wanting to care for living objects while creating tranquil indoor sanctuaries during these uncertain and stressful times,” shelter officials said in a press release. ”The PSPCA is hoping these very same people will open their hearts and homes to cats who are in search of tranquility, hope and a new beginning.”

The matchmaking effort comes in the form of a new initiative: the Houseplant Cat Club.

Specifically, the nonprofit seeks to showcase cats whose social skills leave something to be desired.

To encourage new cat families to “grow together,” the PSPCA is teaming up with Urban Jungle Philly. Under the program, adoption fees will be waived for these shy felines, and each adopter will receive a $25 gift certificate to pick up a houseplant from Urban Jungle. Adoptable cats will be featured on the garden center’s social media and on posters in store.

More than a dozen felines are currently designated as potential “houseplant cats,” but the shelter has no shortage of shy kitties, Maddie Bernstein, PSPCA’s manager of lifesaving, told WHYY News.

Paws Up award by FelineOpines.net for humans who do amazing things for cats

Shy and timid kitties don’t always get the attention they deserve when potential adopters visit shelters and hopefully this program will give them the attention they deserve and help them find furever homes. Paws up to the PSPCA and the Urban Jungle!

Take meow-t to the ball game: The scoop on the cats of Coors Field

Last Friday night, a bold feline dared to go where few of its comrades have trod before — and made himself famous in the process as he shot across a Major League Baseball field mid-game and captured the hearts of feline lovers across the country.

This cat is one of many who are called “the cats of Coors Field” and who keep the mice at bay. These cats have quite a few fans and have their own paparazzi. This colony has lived here for decades before the filed was ever built. They are shy and don’t like to mingle with the humans who come to watch the games.

The employees at Coors Field are as reticent about their feline residents as the felines are shy. There is one cat who does make frequent appearances and he’s been dubbed the Coors Field Cat (he isn’t the feline who disrupted the Friday game).  He is spotted often enough to earn himself his own Twitter account.

Now that the cats have become so famous, a local TNR (Trap, Neuter, Release) program is preparing to trap as many of the felines they can to neuter or spay them and then return them to their purrsonal baseball field.

A Connecticut drive in is inviting felines (and canines) to take in a movie with their humans

As you all know by now, I am living feline proof that cats can enjoy movies. And there are some enlightened folks at the Mansfield Drive In who understand this too. For the first time since the mid-1990s, the three-screen drive-in complex is letting people bring their furry family members with them.

The drive-in owners said that well-behaved dogs and cats, with well-behaved owners, are welcome at movie screenings.  Animals must be kept in cars or on leashes in their owner’s parking spots and owners must clean up after their pets. (Now that’s just too bad, I would love to run up and swat a gigantic bird on the big screen!)

Dogs were allowed at the drive-in in the ’90s but that was discontinued largely because people failed to clean up after their dogs. Hmph, it’s always the barkies that ruin a good thing.

Pet owners will be given a pet treat and a waste bag upon entering the drive-in. Extra waste bags can be found free at the snack bar or delivered to cars with a snack bar delivery order, which can be done through the app Noble Bar.

Now if they restricted their furry clientele to felines only, they wouldn’t have to spend all that money on waste bags since our staff can just bring our litter box along.

Animal admission is free with human admission. The owners are designating a local shelter every week to receive donations and they are hoping people will give a donation

This weekend’s movies are “Godzilla vs. Kong,”  “Joker” and “Sonic the Hedgehog” . I think I’d pick the hedgehog one and would also suggest Stuart Little, an American Tail and Ratatouille.

Walk Through The Web Wednesday 8/19

siamese cat on a leash walking through a garden

Happy Wednesday Furiends!
The heat is back in our neck of the woods but The Human has set us up quite well while she is away at that place she calls “work”. I hope you all are staying cool and comfortable. We are carrying on as usual on the upstairs deck because it is always shady there. You can see how “active” we are.

When the Human received the beautiful Muse medallion, we felt it was only fitting that we wear it for a while, after all, any product of this blog is thanks to the felines! The problem is that thing is HEAVY!

And now, on with the best about felines from the World Wide Web!

Cargo the stowaway cat finds a home

Meowza am I excited! It’s rare that I get to do a follow up on a previous feature. In my July 8th Walk Through The Wednesday feature I reported on a kitty that stowed away on a military cargo plane and landed in Bangor Maine.

Well, the cat has a home and a name! Cargo the cat was first fostered and then adopted by Nanci Hamlin and her boyfriend who both work at the Bangor airport and had been following the cat’s story ever since he was discovered hiding under a cargo pallet in the belly of the Boeing C-17 Globemaster III cargo plane.

Looking for Cargo’s family was difficult as the plane originated in California and made a stop in Colorado before landing in Bangor. Fortunately, the pilot of the Europe bound plane found the cat before they left for their next destination.

Finding a stow away cat was a first for the pilot and the staff at the airport. As I reported, Cargo was taken to the local Humane Society and they contacted shelters in California and officials at Air Force Bases as well as social media. No one came forward to claim Cargo.

When this kitty’s family could not be located the shelter put him up for adoption and that’s when he found his furever home.

Cargo now lives with four other cats and an Alaskan husky and fits in purrfectly. His humans say he took over the house right away and Cargo’s best buddy is the dog, Akiko.

Now, Cargo is allowed outside only with human supervision. His humans say that it seems he wants to know what is outside but she says,” He’s an indoor cat now.”

We are thrilled that Cargo has a home and Cargo my furiend, this feline advises you to stick to the inside and stay away from cargo planes!

Most Americans with cats say they couldn’t have survived lockdown without their feline furiends

“You may now commence the Zoom meeting Human” – Alberto

I often get my whiskers in a twist when I search the web for my feline features. There are too many people who have too much negative to say about us felines! This article made me very happy though. Evidently three-quarters of Americans say they couldn’t have lasted through lockdown without their cats.

A new poll questioned 2,000 people (57% of whom also have dogs – we won’t hold that against them) listed the benefits their feline furiends provided them during their isolation.

Fifty-seven percent said that their feelings of anxiety were eased and they felt less alone. Forty nine percent said they felt less anxious with their in-house purr therapist by their side.

In addition 41% said their felines gave them someone to talk to and 35% said their kitties brought a feeling of positivity to their days.

The poll was conducted by OnePoll on behalf of Royal Canin following International Cat Day Aug. 8.  

While spending more time together two-thirds (66%) of cat owners surveyed learned or noticed something new about their pet, and three out of four respondents became closer to their kitty as a result of the quarantine.

Being cooped-up indoors gave respondents time to uncover a new spot their cat enjoys hiding in (64%), notice a new behavior (57%) and discover a new food their pet likes (55%).

Despite all the good things humans found that their cats brought to them in the lockdown, 73% of those surveyed said their cat seems to be ready for some space. (Well DUH, who wants their human hogging their favorite spot on the sofa all day or constantly interrupting nap time??)

Felines with disabilities to take spotlight at Alternative Cat Awards

This makes my kitty heart melt. Imperfect felines will be in the spotlight at Cats Protection’s #AlternativeCatAwards, a virtual celebration of cats with impurrfections.

This event was created after siblings Kathe and Keller came to the Cats Protection’s Forth Valley Adoption Centre, in Ochilvale Terrace, Fishcross,. These kitties needed someone to see past their disabilities and fall in love with them..

Both kitties have mild cerebellar hypoplasia, a condition in which the brain does not develop properly, affecting balance and co-ordination and making them wobble when they walk. Keller is also deaf, but this does not hold him back, and he loves to play with his sister.

Thankfully, these challenges didn’t stop Elaine Baxter from adopting them. Elaine was looking to fill the gap left by the death of her beloved 16-year-old cat Vinnie. Elaine was already used to dealing with cats with special needs, as Vinnie had diabetes for eight years.

Roslyn McKay, the shelter director said “We are delighted Kathe and Keller have settled in so well to their new home. They are real characters and firm favorites with the staff. “Disabled cats really shouldn’t put off experienced owners. They may require a little extra care or consideration but they have plenty of love to give.’

And now, disabled cats have their own category for this year’s virtual Alternative Cat Awards. All humans of disabled cats are invited to share videos of their #PurrfectlyImperfect cats, enjoying happy, healthy lives with a disability, health issue or superficial aesthetic deformity. Videos need to be shared on Twitter and Instagram using #AlternativeCatAwards before August 21.

Bravo to all you humans who give love and homes to these special cats!

‘He’s an artist’: Philly cat captivates social media with piano prowess

Winslow’s new single, “Bean Gotta Scream”

Okay, this story and the next one are targeted toward our very own Oliver. I’m not saying he’s fat but the Tribe has wellness exams next week and Oliver has “blossomed” quite a bit since his last visit!

This story is about a Philadelphia kitty who plays the piano for his food.  Why is this  you may ask?

Well it seems that Winslow, a former stray, needed to shed a few pounds but the famished feline would scream between his morning and evening feedings. And then one day, one of Winslow’s humans decided to use his fascination with a toy piano they had to attempt to help Winslow deal with his diet (and help the humans with his screaming)..

The human started splitting his snacks into smaller portions and began to teach him how to play  for his snacks.  Once she decided to video one of Winslows “concerts” he became a sensation. Now Winslow has been on the radio and even has a single on Spotify.

Winslow also has his own music video and song called “Bean Gotta Scream”.

And the best news is that Winslow has lost weight too! Oliver, I think you need to get a piano!

Automatic cat weighing machine knows which cat it is feeding

“I am NOT fat, I’m fluffy!” -Oliver

The Human is always meowing about the difficulties of a multi-cat household when it comes to putting cats on special diets. Neither Lily nor I have an eating problem but there is another feline (who shall remain nameless) who never met a food he didn’t like.

Well this new gadget in the making just might solve these problems. Psy0rz has joined with Meowton to create a weighing machine/feeder combo designed to regulate feline diets.

The system has a scale to weight the cat, a food area with dispenser and a scale for the food bowl. The cat has to stand on the scale to have the food dispensed. The feeder identifies each cat by weight and controls the quantity of food dispensed.

There is a live stream where you can see the device in action.

Oliver, your free feeding days may be coming to an end!

Walk Through The Web Wednesday 6/12

siamese cat on a leash walking through a garden

Hello Furiends,
It finally warmed up at bit here. Tucker , Oliver and the rest of the Tribe have been waiting for some warmth and sun puddles. I’m more of a “go with the flow” kinda’ guy and I’ve just been hanging out on the cat tree, waiting for summer.

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“Just me hanging out and waiting for some warm summer weather.” Alberto

I hope you enjoy this week’s web stories.
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This Cat is Chonky: The fat-cat Facebook group lifting humans from despair

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“I’m not chonky, I have big bones.” Oliver

Chonky is a fantastic Facebook Group and  founder Tori Diaz says she receives messages from group members who want her to know how Chonky has cheered them up during their most stressful moments. “What hit me the hardest,” Diaz says, “were the people responding saying the group has helped them through suicidal thoughts, depression and severe medical problems.”

What I like about Chonky is that rudeness and judgment are not allowed, in other words, no chonk shaming.

I sent the Female Human over to the page to see if she can join. I think this would be a purrfect place for Oliver to hang out.

Cat Goes to Groomer for a Haircut, Leaves Looking Like the Feline Version of a Slinky

SlinkyCat

I often hear The Female Human meowing about her latest haircut but this is ridiculous. This cat (named Oliver) was taken to the groomers by his human grandfather and evidently the human thought this cut was a great idea. His human was not happy and posted about Oliver’s debacle on Twitter. Oh the humiliation, the shame. Poor Oliver! Good thing Oliver is a handsome fellow despite his ridiculous hairdo!

Vancouver Luxury Catios

Catio

Summer is coming and it’s catio time. A catio is a cat patio and the purrfect place for a feline to safely enjoy the great outdoors. The Vancouver SPCA ran a contest and lucky Canadian felines were the recipients of 6 catios.

There are all kinds of cations, some are fancier than some human’s outside space. The Tribe of Five has a pop up cation what we enjoy very much. We wrote about it in a two part blog post.

A chic Houston house where all the residents are cats

HoustonCatShelter

An amazing human named Patti Thomas turned her home over to felines needing their furever home. Her premise was that cats needed a comfortable environment to make them more house friendly and calm. This project was so successful she has donated another home as a cat shelter.

The home is decorated beautifully in ’50s-style teal and brown, complete with matching throw rugs. A leather couch faces a fireplace; a basket of cat magazines stands nearby. In the kitchen, a turquoise coffee machine shares counter space resident felines. The air is fresh and redolent of lavender thanks to constant cleaning by volunteers.

We give this idea our “Paws Up” award.

Whiskas Pet Food’s Interactive Voice Assistant Encourages Kids’ Curiosity

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I have to admit, I’m still trying to understand why a cat food company created a purrsonal assistant but still, the thing sounds cool. Since cats are curious, Whiskas decided to create a purrsonal assistant that’s curious too. It’s called Mia and Mia asks questions rather than answers them.

Mia works using a motion sensor. When she senses that humans are nearby, the kitty assistant will start a conversation, asking questions about a whole variety of topics that kids will find interesting and offering multiple-choice answers. Mia is 3D-printed and comes in Whiskas’ signature colors of white and purple.

We told our staff to try and find out how much this little item costs but so far, no luck.