The Infinite Cats cat comics cat tales cat games cat health menu Infinite Cat Project RSS feed Infinite Contact

Infinite Cat Project Archives for May 22-26, 2017.

Mewsings: May 22, 2017 - "I am as vigilant as a cat to steal cream." - William Shakespeare, Henry IV

cat in cardboard tank

Gratuitous Kute Kittiness: "Which function key is for kitty treats?"

Cat Mewvie: Kitty serves himself.

cats are cool comic

Today's Kitty Komic

cat painting by suzanne lamb

Feline Art: Cat painting by Suzanne Lamb.

washing the cat

Grooming the cat
by Maggie Paley

Cats aren’t easy to groom. They have sharp teeth and claws, and an outsize estimation of their own dignity. Nevertheless, if they’re longhaired, and the hair gets matted, something must be done.

The first time Felix, my black longhaired cat, got groomed, Howard Bedor, a premier cat groomer, came to the apartment. Mr. Bedor, who died in 2014, was the official groomer for five Madison Square Garden cat shows. When he wasn’t working with shows, he made house calls. He specialized in uncooperative clients.

He brought a small suitcase on wheels to my apartment, unwrapped his equipment and dressed himself: three sets of sleeves for his forearms, two pairs of gloves and a pair of scratched-up yellow mitts, along with a white plastic apron covered with cat drawings. “My hands are extremely quick from the wrist down, almost as fast as a martial artist,” he said of the protective gear in a video about him called “Pure Fluff.” “But I’m still not quicker than a cat.”

Then he went after Felix, who was hiding in the closet. Felix screamed all the way to the kitchen table, where Mr. Bedor fitted him with an “Elizabethan collar” — a clear plastic funnel enclosing his head — and went to work combing and cutting. Felix continued to yell, until he saw his opening and leapt off the table. Mr. Bedor caught him midair, plopping him back down.

One of the buzzer attachments sitting on top of cat hair. Credit Vincent Tullo for The New York Times

If Mr. Bedor enjoyed the man-on-cat combat during his grooming sessions, Elly Wong — Felix’s current stylist, and the proprietor of Towne House Grooming and Pet Supplies in Chelsea — takes a gentler, more stoic approach. She specializes in the stylish lion cut: Their bodies are shaved; their heads, the tips of their tails and the bootees on the bottoms of their legs remain furry. The scratches on her arms and hands, she said, are “all from cats.”

Ms. Wong doesn’t wear gloves but keeps her distance when possible. And if the cat gets too ornery, she will stop. This barehanded approach has its costs: One cat gave her a bite that got infected, putting her in the hospital.

All five tables in the Towne House grooming room are fitted with L-shape poles. Each has a colorful, adjustable cotton grooming loop dangling from it. Ms. Wong chose a table and put Felix’s head in the loop. “If they have something around their necks they feel safer,” she said. “Also, they can’t jump off the table.”

She clipped his nails, then began shaving him. He was fine until she approached his sensitive areas. When he complained, she fitted him with an Elizabethan collar and continued shaving.
Felix yelled, hissed, wailed and showed his fangs. Ms. Wong kept telling him she was sorry. He seemed unimpressed.

Biggie getting a lion cut, in which a cat’s body is shaved but its head, the tip of its tail and the bootees on the bottoms of the legs stay furry. Credit Vincent Tullo for The New York Times
Ms. Wong showed me two muzzles — one of hard plastic, one of mesh — that can be placed over a cat’s mouth and eyes. “When they can’t see, it calms them down,” she said. “But some cats are so afraid, they’re desperate, and they really need to go to the vet. The one cat we couldn’t groom recently left two groomers bleeding. One of them had to get stitches. We took the cat to the vet, and I shaved it down after it was sedated.”

On another afternoon at Towne House, Mibo, a ginger tabby, was well behaved while Wanda Malloy clipped his nails and combed out piles of hair. Then she carried him to a huge industrial sink, putting his head into one grooming loop and his front paws into another. As soon as she turned on the water, he tried to jump out of the sink. She caught him. He leapt again, mewing pitifully. Ms. Wong took over, grasping him firmly by the neck to finish his bath.

Not all cats are temperamental. The same day, Biggie, who lives at Towne House, willingly submitted to a lion cut shaving, even around his belly and genitals.

Each morning, get the latest on New York businesses, arts, sports, dining, style and more.
Receive occasional updates and special offers for The New York Times's products and services.

Jemina Garay, who grooms and cares for cats in their homes, worked for years as a technician in a veterinary clinic, where aggressive cats were sedated before shaving. It doesn’t seem weird, she said, to give a lion cut to an unconscious animal. “Once you’re trained for it, you just do it,” she explained.

When she makes house calls, she uses a towel and not a muzzle, as some groomers do, relying on her medical handling techniques to subdue the animal. “If the cat is rambunctious, I swaddle it,” she said, “although that slows down the procedure.”

Most cats fight back. Dogs look to their masters for approval. Cats prefer to disobey.
In the “Pure Fluff” video, Mr. Bedor visits two cat-centric households. In one of them, there is a plaque on the wall that reads, “The cat from hell lives here.”

Mewsings: May 23, 2017 - "Who needs television when you have cats?" - Lori Spigelmyer

pretty tabby

Gratuitous Kittiness: "Say cheese? How about I say 'mousies'"?

Cat Mewvie: Blind cat is a genius.

two kinds of cat comic

Today's Kitty Komic

cat sculpture by oscar vautherin

Feline Art: "Angry Cat" by Oscar Vautherin.

Mewsings: May 24, 2017 - "People who love cats have some of the biggest hearts around."
- Susan Easterly

ginger gilr and cat

Gratuitous Kittiness: Gingers are beautiful people, too.

Cat Mewvie: All you need is kittens.

my favorite kittens comic

Today's Kitty Komic: 9 Chickweed Lane

cat painting by Rachel Schlueter

Feline Art: "Siddie" by Rachel Schlueter.

declawed cat paw

Declawing linked to aggression and other abnormal behaviors in cats

Declaw surgery (onychectomy) is illegal in many countries but is still a surprisingly common practice in some. It is performed electively to stop cats from damaging furniture, or as a means of avoiding scratches. Previous research has focused on short-term issues following surgery, such as lameness, chewing of toes and infection, but the long-term health effects of this procedure have not to date been investigated.

According to research published today in the Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery*, declawing increases the risk of long-term or persistent pain, manifesting as unwanted behaviors such as inappropriate elimination (soiling/urinating outside of the litter box) and aggression/biting. This is not only detrimental to the cat (pain is a major welfare issue and these behaviors are common reasons for relinquishment of cats to shelters), but also has health implications for their human companions, as cat bites can be serious.

For the study, the author group, based in North America, investigated a total of 137 non-declawed cats and 137 declawed cats, of which 33 were declawed on all four feet. All 274 cats were physically examined for signs of pain and barbering (excessive licking or chewing of fur) and their medical history was reviewed for unwanted behaviors. They found that inappropriate toileting, biting, aggression and overgrooming occurred significantly more often in the declawed cats than the non-declawed cats (roughly 7, 4, 3 and 3 times more often, respectively, based on the calculated odds ratio). A declawed cat was also almost 3 times more likely to be diagnosed with back pain than a non-declawed cat (potentially due to shortening of the declawed limb and altered gait, and/or chronic pain at the site of the surgery causing compensatory weight shift to the pelvic limbs).

The surgical guideline for performing declawing, as recommended by Diplomates of the American College of Veterinary Surgeons, is to remove the entire third phalanx (P3), which is the most distal bone of the toe. Despite this, P3 fragments were found in 63% of the declawed cats in this study, reflecting poor or inappropriate surgical technique. While the occurrence of back pain and abnormal behaviors was increased in these cats, the authors emphasize that even optimal surgical technique does not eliminate the risks. They explain that removal of the distal phalanges forces the cat to bear weight on the soft cartilaginous ends of the middle phalanges (P2) that were previously shielded within joint spaces. Pain in these declawed phalanges prompts cats to choose a soft surface, such as carpet, in preference to the gravel-type substrate in the litter box; additionally, a painful declawed cat may react to being touched by resorting to biting as it has few or no claws left to defend itself with.

Lead author of the paper Nicole Martell-Moran, a veterinary practitioner in a cat-only clinic in Houston, Texas, USA, comments: 'The result of this research reinforces my opinion that declawed cats with unwanted behaviors may not be "bad cats", they may simply need pain management. We now have scientific evidence that declawing is more detrimental to our feline patients than we originally thought and I hope this study becomes one of many that will lead veterinarians to reconsider declawing cats.'

Mewsings: May 25, 2017 - "The key to a successful new relationship between a cat and human is patience."
- Susan Easterly

cat with tongue out

Gratuitous Kittiness: "Derp-derp-de-derple."

Cat Mewvie: Cats rule in Istanbul.

cat versus door comic

Today's Kitty Komic

hell cat by alex garnett

Feline Art: "Cat Doodles" by Matt Hawkis

Mewsings: May 26, 2017 - "It is impossible for a lover of cats to banich these alert , gentle, and discriminating little friends, who give us just enough of their regard and complaisance to make us hunger for more."
- Agnes Repplier

cat over woolworth's sign

Gratuitous Kittiness: "Soon."

Cat Mewvie: Do cats miss us when we leave?

taping the cat comic

Today's Kitty Komic

cat painting by rachel schlueter

Feline Art: "Mosey" by Rachel Schlueter.

kitten in belly pouch

Custom pouches to socialize feral kittens.
by Caitlin Jill Anders

When a kitten is feral and is rescued young enough, it’s totally possible to get him used to people and turn him into an amazing family pet. It can take a little time, though, and so one shelter came up with a way to make the process way faster and a lot more fun.

Ten years ago, staffers at the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) were having a conversation about feral cats with a volunteer who was a professional seamstress. Feral kittens 4 months and younger can be socialized into friendly, loving family members, but they need a lot of exposure to people, which can take up a lot of time that shelter staffers simply might not have. They needed a way to multi-task — and that’s how the idea for the “Kitten Bjorn” was born.

Animal Rescue League of Boston
A Babybjörn is a type of baby carrier where a parent can carry her baby around, strapped to her body, and a Kitten Bjorn works exactly the same way. It’s essentially a vest that staff and volunteers can wear that has a little mesh pouch on the front for kittens to sit in, so that they can experience the world around them while whoever is carrying them goes about their daily duties.

“The idea was to have something that allow the kittens to socialize, and be hands-free, thus allowing staff and volunteers to multi-task (answering phones, talking with clients etc.),” Michael DeFina, communications and media relations officer at ARL Boston, told The Dodo. “The design allows the kitten to be flooded with stimuli in a safe way while being constantly monitored by whoever is wearing the vest. Three were made and we are looking to make more.”
Your browser does not support the video tag.

ARL has been using the vests for the past seven years, and it’s hoping to make more vests so it can continue using them for years to come. Since ARL started using the vests, the process of socializing feral kittens has gotten so much faster — so fast, in fact, that now feral kittens are ready for adoption in just 48 hours, and sometimes even sooner.
Your browser does not support the video tag.

“Turnaround for socialization can be fairly quick, with the sign of success being when the kitten begins to purr,” DeFina said. “Sometimes a kitten will begin purring after just an hour, sometimes it takes a couple of days, but during the seven years of their use, they have shown to be effective in trying to quickly socialize kittens.”
kitten bjorns

The vests are not only a fantastic way to socialize the kittens and get them ready for adoption, but they also help to save lives. The faster a feral kitten is socialized, the faster she can be adopted out, which frees up space for another animal to be rescued and adopted.

The vests are also, of course, insanely adorable, which is a major perk.


The Infinite Cat Project
Presented by Mike Stanfill, Private Hand
Illustration, Flash Animation, Web Design

©Mike Stanfill