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Infinite Cat Project Archives for October 8-12, 2018.

Mewsings, October 8, 2018: "You’re not crazy for talking to your cats; You’re crazy if they talk back."
- ACE415u

kitten in a yellow bag

Gratuitous Kute Kittiness: There was a sale on gremlins today.

Cat Mewvie: Clever kitty. Verrrrrrrrr-y clever.


tuna flavored manna comic

Today's Kitty Komic

black and white cat art

Feline Art: "Cat Blob" by purr_in_ink.

cat sees rat

Cats 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 chase.
“ [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 bag.”

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.”

Mewsings, October 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." - actually-crazy-irl

hopeful cat

Gratuitous Kittiness: "Ew! Where have you been putting that finger?"

Cat Mewvie: The cat with no natural enemies.


laser watch cat comic

Today's Kitty Komic

blurry cat art

Feline Art: "Misty" by Grigorji Nesterov.

Mewsings, October 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

kitten gets first bath

Gratuitous Kittiness: Baby's first bath.

Cat Mewvie: Never try to do something nice for your cat.


ignored by cat comic

Today's Kitty Komic: Catfish cannibalism

cyberman and bread cat art

Feline Art: "Bread Cat meets Cyberman" by Nina Levy.

Mewsings, October 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

cat sitting on door

Gratuitous Kittiness: "Everything the light touches is my kingdom."

Cat Mewvie: Traveling with cats... the wrong way.


kissing the cat comic

Today's Kitty Komic

ring of cats art

Feline Art: "The Ring" by Danial Ryan.

Mewsings, October 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

gray cat with donut

Gratuitous Kittiness: "Mmmmm, donut."

Cat Mewvie: The amazing Mr. Cat


talking to cat comic

Today's Kitty Komic

girl with kittens art

Feline Art: "Familiars in Training" by ofcabbagesandkings14.

mousekeeping cat

Who's 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 Reddit.

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 in 2016.

"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 team."


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