Cat Project Archives for October 8-12,
8, 2018: "You’re not crazy for talking to your
cats; You’re crazy if they talk back."
Gratuitous Kute Kittiness: There was a sale on gremlins today.
Cat Mewvie: Clever kitty. Verrrrrrrrr-y
Feline Art: "Cat Blob"
are surprisngly bad at killing rats
by Meilan Solly
Cats are contradictory creatures. A 2017 study found that domestic felines—deemed
one of “the most ubiquitous and environmentally damaging invasive
predators on Earth”—have contributed to the extinction of
at least 63 global vertebrate species, but new research published in
Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution suggests feral cats are embarrassingly
ineffective when it comes to catching the prey most commonly associated
with their urban jaunts: rats.
Researchers led by Fordham University’s Michael Parsons spent five
months observing a rat colony housed at a Brooklyn waste management facility,
Matthew Taub reports for Atlas Obscura. Although the team initially set
out to study pheromones, or airborne chemicals that can influence animal
behavior, they soon shifted focus to rat-cat interactions. The results
were surprising, to say the least: Over the course of the 79-day testing
period, local cats ambushed just three of the facility’s roughly
150 rat—killing only two.
According to Science News’ Susan Milius, the researchers tracked
kills with the help of motion-triggered cameras that recorded 306 “active-animal” videos.
Based on these clips, the scientists recorded 20 stalking events and
three kill attempts (only two of which were successful). The kills occurred
under ambush-like conditions, while the unsuccessful attempt was an open-floor
“ [It was a] very hesitant chase, like a stop-and-go dance they do,” Parsons
tells Milius. “When the rat stops, the cat stops, too.”
A potential explanation for the felines’ unexpectedly low kill
rate is the size and ferocity of city rats, Tanya Loos writes for Cosmos.
New York’s infamous brown rats generally weigh around 330 grams,
or roughly 10 times the weight of the average mouse. Given the choice
between attacking a monstrous rat, a 15-gram bird and a 30-gram mouse,
cats tend to opt for the less challenging prey.
Atlas Obscura’s Taub notes that rats sensing an increasing feline
presence also change their behavior, scurrying inside and largely keeping
out of sight. As the researchers report in their study, a one percent
increase in the number of cats on a given day made it 100 times less
likely that a rat would trigger the team’s motion-sensitive cameras.
The new findings contradict popular conceptions of feline predation.
As Angus Chen notes for Scientific American, cats have such a widespread
reputation as rodent killers that organizations ranging from Washington,
D.C.’s Blue Collar Cats to Chicago’s Cats at Work regularly
release feral felines in hopes of fighting urban rodent infestations.
But cats and rats are more likely to ignore or avoid each other than
engage in outright conflict, University of Florida disease ecologist
Gregory Glass, who was not involved in the study, tells Chen.
“Once that rat hits puberty, [it’s] way too big and nasty for the
cat to deal with,” he says. “You can watch a lot of cats and rats
accommodating one another, easing by one another, eating out of the same trash
As Sarah Zhang writes for The Atlantic, introducing feral cats into urban
environments can raise a bevy of unintended side effects. Feline feces
spreads a disease known as toxoplasmosis, which can cause severe brain
damage or even death when transmitted from a pregnant mother to a fetus.
Cats are also notorious bird killers—a 2013 study suggested the
animals are responsible for the deaths of 2.4 billion birds per year,
and that’s just in the United States.
Parsons tells Taub that the key to managing urban rodent populations
is waste management, not feral felines. Trash attracts rats, so if less
garbage littered the streets of New York and other cities, the rats would
essentially moderate themselves.
“ People see fewer rats and assume it’s because the cats have killed
them—whereas it’s actually due to the rats changing their behavior,” Parsons
said in a statement. “The results of our study suggest the benefits of
releasing cats are far outweighed by the risks to wildlife.”
9, 2018: "Cats would be very satisfied to know that
people take pictures of them to be shared with people who
do not have the privilege of having a cat of their own." -
Gratuitous Kittiness: "Ew! Where have you been putting that
Cat Mewvie: The cat with no natural
Feline Art: "Misty" by
10, 2018: "Cats meow to communicate with humans. Humans
meow to communicate with cats. We share a mutual language
that neither of us understand." - cstrife16
Gratuitous Kittiness: Baby's first bath.
Cat Mewvie: Never try to do something
nice for your cat.
Komic: Catfish cannibalism
Art: "Bread Cat meets Cyberman" by Nina Levy.
11, 2018: "Cats are fed, sheltered, and protected
by humans, while being able to sleep whenever they want
and having no need for hunting for food or pleasing humans.
Cats are the masterpiece of evolution." - vmehmeri
Gratuitous Kittiness: "Everything the light touches is my
Cat Mewvie: Traveling with cats...
the wrong way.
Feline Art: "The
by Danial Ryan.
12, 2018: "The naming of cats is a difficult matter.
It isn't just one of your holiday games. You may think
at first I'm mad as a hatter. When I tell you a cat must
have three different names." - T.S. Eliot
Gratuitous Kittiness: "Mmmmm, donut."
Cat Mewvie: The amazing Mr. Cat
Feline Art: "Familiars
your mousekeeping Pal?
Tabby cat Pál Dáníelsdóttir lives in Fosshótel
Hellnar in Snæfellsnes, West Iceland and works as a Mousekeeper.
A photo of her staff pass has already received nine thousand likes on
Owners of Pál, Dániel Púskas and Zsuzsi Szabó are
from Hungary and started working in Fosshótel Núpar in
2016. From there they transferred to the Fosshótel Hellnar in
2018. They were accompanied by their cat Pál, born in Selfoss
"She's so good at catching mice that it seemed only fair that she would
also receive a staff pass," explains Szabó
Management of Fosshótel say that all staff receive a warm welcome
at the hotel chain. "We try to create a positive and fun environment
for our staff and guests. Her position is an experimental one for the
time being but if it goes well we will be adding to our Mousekeeping