Hello There Furiends,
We’ve managed to get ourselves organized and ready to present this week’s web’s wanderings. The Human has been subjecting us to hard labor. Every time she changes the bedding we have to be there to snoopervise and when she turns the mattress, well that makes the work twice as hard! And there were other menial tasks we were forced to do. Now I ask you, should famous internet feines like us be subjected to such lowly labor??
Yes, it’s been a busy week and now it’s time for some good kitty stories.
Well who knew that there was so much scientific information on orange cats? As our Tribe has no orange kitties we’ve never been exposed to any of this info but we do have many orange furiends out there in cyberspace.
Science has determined that orange cats are more affectionate. Some say this is because the orange color is sex linked and there are more male orangies than female and current research states that males are slightly more friendly than females.
In a 1995 study,Pontier et al. that studied the frequency of the orange gene variant among cat populations indicated that there are numerous traits that separate orange felines from their other colored compadres.
Here are a few of the conclusions from this study:
1. Orange cats are more common in rural (less dense) as opposed to urban environments. This finding suggests that orange cats may enjoy greater reproductive success in particular social conditions.
2. Orange cats are less common in areas with greater mortality risk. This finding indicates that orange cats may be more likely to engage in risky behaviors that result in death.
3. Orange males weigh more than cats of other colors, and orange females weigh less than cats of other colors.
The study indicates that male orange city kitties who are very competitive may heighten their risk of death (e.g., through fights with cats or other animals), thus driving down the proportions of orange cats..
Personality traits attributed to color is not a new idea and students have shown differences between rodents and birds based on their colors.
What do my orange furiends think about all this sciency stuff?
A few Wednesdays ago I did a feature on cats in Japanese history and this week I’m bringing you some history of the majestic Viking cat. Yes, the Vikings kept pet cats!
Norse mythology has many tales of cats, the Norse god Freyja drove a chariot pulled by two cats. Those cats are called ‘gib-cats’ and are depicted as grey or blue in color. The cats were a gift from Thor, and she used them to travel to the funeral of Baldur, her lover.
There’s also the Scandinavian folk tale of a cat that helps a poor man. First the cat wins a castle of silver and gold by tricking a troll – keeping it talking until sunrise when it turned to stone. Then, the cat asks the poor man to cut off its head. Hey, I wouldn’t mind tricking troll to get a castle for The Tribe and our Human to live in!
The ferocious wolf Fenrir is restrained by a chain called Gleipnir, made from six magical ingredients including ‘the sound of a cat walking’. And finally, once of the Frost Giants tricked Thor into trying to lift up a huge cat. When Thor could only lift one paw, the cat was revealed to be the Jormungandr – the mighty serpent that encircles Midgard.
It’s likely that the Vikings played a part in spreading felines around the globe. A study concluded in 2016 analyzed the remains of over 200 cats from 30 different archaeological sites throughout Africa and Eurasia to find out about the history of the domestic cat.
As early humans spread across the globe and started planting crops, these crops would attract vermin such as mice and rats. These vermin then attracted cats, protecting precious crops from being eaten. And, since cats are so loveable and fluffy it didn’t take them long to weasel their way into the hearts and hearths of the humans.
There is no firm data that tells us when cats reached Scandinavia but scientists believe thy were there during the Iron Age. Remains found in a Viking trading port in the Baltic Sea in Northern Germany indicate that cats were providing their valuable services to humans by the Middle Ages.
Cats were welcome on Viking ships as their presence there would ensure that the food supply would be intact and unspoiled by disease bearing vermin.
Another phenomenon of the ancestors of the Viking felines is their size…they are large! Today’s descendants of the Viking Cats are called the Norwegian Forest Cat and they are quite handsome!
I do not get into purrlitical stories unless they feature felines and this one does! Collar, a feline who resides at the home of a Member of Parliament, is the running for the award of Purr Minister.
MPs and peers will also be putting forward their cats to a public vote for Purr Minister 2020 – the title of the nation’s favorite feline in Westminster.
Collar’s human said, “I think that being a stray, Collar represents exactly what they are all about and I hope that when voting opens to the public people will be able to support Collar to become Purr Minister.”
Each cat-idate in the runninbg has a “manifursto” explaining why they should land the role.
Collar’s “manifursto” says: “Being a stray and someone who didn’t have a home, I searched high and low to find someone to love me, look after me and be my servants. I was lucky as I found a loving home which already had cats so I have allowed them to look after me.”
A feline named Ebisu may be the world’s first literal copycat. Researchers have revealed that the Japanese cat can imitate the actions of her owner under controlled scientific conditions.
The discovery came about unexpectedly. Claudia Fugazza, an ethologist at Eötvös Loránd University, had been studying dog cognition for nearly 10 years using “Do as I do” training. In this method, a researcher first trains a dog or other animal to copy a behavior it already knows—such as rolling over—by saying “Do as I do,” demonstrating the behavior, and then saying “Do it!” The dog is then rewarded for its success. Over time, the animal learns that “Do it!” means “copy me.” The approach can be used to test whether animals can truly imitate—that is, copy actions they have never done before, such as ringing a bell.
Fugazza, met Fumi Higaki, a dog trainer in Ichinomiya, Japan, who told her that she had trained one of her cats with the “Do as I do” method. Her cat, an 11-year-old female named Ebisu (after the Japanese god of prosperity) was highly food motivated, making her easy to train. Her owner said“She often snuck into my dog training classes because she knew the people there had good treats,”
Well, if that’s the case, our Oliver should be brilliant at this training!
Higaki showed that Ebisu could copy familiar actions, like opening a plastic drawer and biting a rubber string. Then she asked the cat to imitate two new behaviors. While standing before Ebisu, who sat on a countertop next to a cardboard box, Higaki raised her right hand and touched the box. At other times, she bent down and rubbed her face against the box.
In 16 subsequent trials, Ebisu accurately copied her owner more than 81% of the time.
So there you have it, we felines are capable of waaaay more than some of you humans give us credit for!
Sansa the Polydactyl Cat — named after the Game of Thrones character Sansa Stark — was adopted by her current owner in 2016 after being abandoned by her previous owner.
This beautiful white kitty with one blue and one green eye has now become an Instagram star with over 23,500 followers. Clearly The Tribe needs to up our game in the Instagram department!
Here eye color condition is called heterochromia and Sansa has other challenges, was also born with a seizure disorder called feline hyperesthesia and a congenital physical anomaly called polydactyl that makes her have more toes on her paws.
When her current owners found her in a New York City Petco, Sansa was “dealing with anxiety and heartbreak” from being abandoned. Thank goodness Sansa found a wonderful furever home and she’s now settled in.
Sansa is a loving cat to her humans and has become very social as well. “She sits on our lap on the couch every day and sleeps on the bed with us every night. She seems to know whenever Jack or I aren’t feeling well and will stay right by our sides.”