Friday 19 August 2016

Why Do Cats Rule the Internet?

Why do cats rule the Internet? It is a peculiar phenomenon. However, it is not that peculiar when you analyse it. The short answer as to why cat videos and funny cat pictures have been so popular on the Internet is because they make people feel happier, less anxious and less sad.

It is about as simple as that as far as I can tell. The result of a study at Indiana University lead by Asst Prof Jessica Myrick came to the above conclusion. There asked 7000 people how they felt before and after watching cat videos.

I suppose when you think about it the fact that cat videos make is happy has to be the right answer. Perhaps it could be said that cat videos make us the happiest amongst all the videos which are intended to make us happy.

The cat video which has been viewed the most is called “Nyan Cat". It's a rather peculiar video in my opinion - designed to be viewed by younger people who are the most likely to visit YouTube.

It is short and you can see it below. It has being viewed 137,492,886 times at the time of dictating this post. Extraordinary. The name Nyan originates from the Japanese sound "nya" which is their version of the meow in English. It is considered cute. I think the Japanese like cuteness as far as I remember.

In addition to videos there are funny cat pictures. These are also enormously popular. In 2007 a couple of people, Eric Nakagawa and Kari Unebasami (Japanese I presume) started a website on which people could share their funny cat pictures. The site became very popular very quickly and people started to add words to the pictures (LOL cats). Currently it has over 100,000,000 views per month and it created a new sort of Internet language.

Funny cat pictures and funny cat videos spawned the celebrity cat which we now know very well. Top celebrity cats make a lot of money for their owners. It has been reported that Grumpy Cat has made over $100,000,000 for her owner. Lil Bub has earned, we are told, around £130,000 for charity (pets with special needs).

You Tube videos of cats had been viewed around 26,000,000,000 times making them the most popular single category on that website.

Monday 15 August 2016

Cat Trivia: Domestic Cat Milk Contains Eight Times More Protein Than Human Milk

Domestic cat milk contains eight times more protein than human milk and three times as much fat. Did you know that? I think is an interesting bit of domestic cat trivia as I've called it. I also think it's pretty impressive.

Kittens grow rapidly (hardly surprising feeding on that kind of milk) as their mother uses her body reserves to produce milk. In one study it was found that mothers lost about 5.7 g per day when lactating. Kittens from larger litters are smaller and put on weight more slowly than kittens from smaller litters.

Female cat can give birth to between one and ten kittens. The average litter is about four or five kittens.

The largest litter ever recorded was 13 kittens. Each kitten weighs about 3% of their mother's body weight at birth or around 90 to 110 grams.

Source: Wild Cats of the World pages 108 and 109. Get this book.

Friday 12 August 2016

Are cats more intelligent than dogs?

I would like to take a different angle on the question in the title. I think it's a silly debate. I think it's pointless to ask this sort of question for various reasons. Firstly it is very difficult to measure intelligence of humans because there are various types of intelligence and therefore it is next to impossible to reliably measure the intelligence of companion animals. The test that have been devised generally, as I recall, favoured dogs as being slightly more intelligent than cats but as mentioned there are different types of intelligence and how good are these tests? How reliable are these tests? I suspect they're not very reliable.

I don't think we need to know whether a cat or a dog is more intelligent than the other. We know they are of similar intelligence; let's just say that and focus on more important things which are to do with us not cats and dogs. We should ask questions as to how we can improve animal welfare. We should ask questions as to how we can improve the attitude of a minority of cat owners who are irresponsible. These are far more important question. They are questions which are not being asked sufficiently often.

I don't really wish to say much more than that.....perhaps one or two things...Dogs have bigger brains than cats but that doesn't mean that they're more intelligent. You see what I mean? It's all a little bit silly. I don't think I've read any study about cat and dog intelligence which really stacks up and is rigorously scientific. They are more about entertaining humans than pure science.

In any event it doesn't make any difference how intelligent a cat or dog is really. The most important thing is how good a companion they are and how good we are at bringing the best out of dog and cat companions.

Saturday 30 July 2016

Why Are Cats...?

 If you search in Google for “why are cats" every result on page one completes the sentence like this:

"Why are cats frightened of cucumbers...!?

I find that surprising in many ways, but unsurprising in one way.  This is because there are a lot of videos on the Internet of cats being terrified at the sight of a cucumber.  There's been a lot of debate about why cats are terrified of cucumbers.

The answer must be the logical one and the straightforward one which is that the cucumber is a foreign and strange looking object to the domestic cat and when it is placed on the floor behind a domestic cat without the cat's knowledge then the cat will be frightened when he suddenly sees it.

This is because in that instant the cat does not know whether the object is alive or dead, inanimate or living, and therefore the cat's immediate reaction is defensive and to get out of the way as quickly as possible.

That is it and it's rather bizarre in some ways that a very general part-question such as “why are cats..."  is completed with a question about cucumbers!  There are so many other ways to complete this sentence and all the other ways will be far more profound and important than the ones provided by Google in their search results.  It's a reflection on how people use the Internet and what interests people about cats.

Sunday 24 July 2016

How do margays get their food?

The question in the title asks how do margays hunt prey and then catch prey. This is my interpretation of the question in the title. It needs to be said right away that the margay is an incredibly agile small wild cat species which has physical adaptations allowing the cat to climb trees with great agility. You can read more about that on this page.

There's not been much research and very few observations of the hunting behaviour of wild margays. The limited research and information indicates that this cat species does much of its hunting above the ground.

In Guyana it was reported that the margay feeds on large arboreal mammals such as porcupines and capuchin monkeys. Although this report is unreliable. Recent analysis of the stomach contents and faeces of the margay indicates that they feed mainly on small rodents, insects, fruit and birds.

Most of the margay's prey are arboreal (living in trees) and nocturnal (active by night). However, this cat species also hunts on the ground.

One scientist radio collared a margay travelling from one hunting area to another on the ground. They probably kill whatever suitable terrestrial prey they encounter while moving between hunting areas.

In Brazil another scientists watched the margay spent 20 minutes trying to catch a bird. The bird was 6 meters up in a bamboo club. The cat was in the bamboo clump himself and when the bird flew off the cat came to the ground. The same scientists recorded a margay eating an amphibian beneath the tree.

In Venezuelan, the stomach contents of 2 margays contained the remains of three spiny pocket mice, a cane rat and a squirrel. Of these three items of prey, the squirrel was the only one which is arboreal.

In Chiapas, Mexico it has been reported that the margay preyed on field mice, rabbits and young pacas and agoutis. These are all ground dwelling animals.

In Panama, a margay's stomach contents contained the remains of a common opossum.

In Brazil the stomach contents of another margay contained the remains of a guinea pig, the fur and bones of a water rat and the feathers of a tinamou.

In Belize it was found that the climbing rat was the most common element of the margay's diet. It occurred in almost half of the 27 faeces collected.

Fruit occurred in 14% of the samples of faeces taken from margays in Belize. Insects were found in the third of the faeces (scats).

As to the actual method of hunting and killing prey this would be very similar to the domestic cat's methods which means stalking, pouncing and then killing often by a bite to the nape of the neck to sever the spinal cord.

I hope that answers the question in the title.

Source: Myself and Wild Cats Of The World by the Sunquists.

What wild cats live in Georgia?

In my honest opinion, only one wild cat species lives in Georgia, officially, and that is the American bobcat. You may see the odd Puma but they are not meant to be there. That is what the experts say. Perhaps a Florida panther might wander into Georgia but I would doubt it. If someone knows better they can leave a comment, please. If you want to know what wild cats live in America, please click on this link, which tells you which wildcat species live in which country across the planet.

What wild cats live in England?

The short answer is that no wild cats live in England. Just north of the border in Scotland there are some Scottish wild cats. They are part of the wildcat species. At one time it was thought there were about 400 of them. Now people believe there may not even be any genuine, purebred Scottish wildcats in Scotland. This is because they have crossbred with domestic cats to become hybrids.

This cat used to live in England but was extirpated and became extinct in England, as I recall, in 1835. This was because it was sport hunted to extinction. That's it. There is nothing more to say to answer the question in the title. It's a sad answer.

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