Mews and Nips

Mews and Nips: “Talking” Cat Gives Scientists Insight Into How Cats Think

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A 13-year-old cat in Florida has a vocabulary of about 50 words, using an augmentative alternative communication (ACC) device. These devices have previously been used by dogs, but Billi appears to be the first cat using an ACC device. The creator of the device was skeptical about cats using the buttons, but is now intrigued by the way cats are using the device differently from dogs. For more about Billi and her skills, visit Salon.com.

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Mews and Nips: The Inner Lives of Cats

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A Guardian journalist and mom of three-year-old Larry and six-month old Kedi set out to gain a deeper understanding of what makes her cats happy. She consulted with various experts, and wrote an article titled The inner lives of cats: what our feline friends really think about hugs, happiness and humans. “Over the course of the week it takes me to research and write this article, I become obsessed – even more than before – with the happiness and wellbeing of my charges,” she wrote. I encourage you to visit the Guardian to read the entire, beautifully written article.

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Mews and Nips: More Than 30 People Helped Rescue a Cat Stuck in a Tree for Five Days

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If ever there was a story that restores your faith in humanity, it was the story of Hank, a 1-year-old cat in Washington, DC, who got stuck on top of a 60 foot tree. More than 30 people came together to get him down, including the Humane Rescue Alliance, fire fighters, a tree service, and countless neighbors. In the end, ropes and a contraption that shot a bean bag into the tree and looped some string around a branch and maneuvered a small crate with some special items inside in place did the trick: Hank took the bait and jumped into the crate. ““I can’t believe how many people went out of their way to help me with this cat,” said his human. “No one ever said, ‘You’re being ridiculous.’ ” Visit the Washington Post for the full story and photos of Hank’s amazing rescue.

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Mews and Nips: The Electrical Life of Louis Wain

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If you’re looking for a movie to watch this weekend, I highly recommend The Electrical Life of Louis Wain. The movie is based on the true story of the eccentric British artist whose playful pictures transformed the public’s perception of cats forever. Set in the early 1900s, the movie follows Wain as he seeks to unlock the “electrical” mysteries of the world and, in so doing, to better understand his own life and the profound love he shared with his wife Emily Richardson. The movie is available on Amazon Prime (free for Prime members.)

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Mews and Nips: Your Cat May Be Tracking Your Every Move

cat-ear-tracking

Researchers at Kyoto University in Japan found that cats are mentally mapping their humans’ location based on audio clues in the environment, including the sound of the human’s voice. This is known as socio-spatial cognition, in which animals keep mental tabs on the inferred locations of other group members, even if they’re not visibly present. The researchers conducted the study with both house cats and cats in cat cafés and found that yes, cats are definitely tracking us! For more about this fascinating study, visit ScienceAlert.com.

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Mews and Nips: What a Cat Can Teach Us About Cybersecurity

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In a recent Op Ed piece in The LA Times, cybersecurity expert Herbert Lin shared how trying to confine his daughter’s cat to a limited area of his home (Lin is allergic) taught him valuable lessons about why cybersecurity is so hard to obtain. “Everything that I tried to confine Pounce worked for a little while but eventually failed as he found a way past my newest security barrier — just as hackers eventually find their way through the cybersecurity barriers erected to stop them.” Visit the LA Times for the full, utterly delightful column.

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Mews and Nips: Do Cats Prefer Warm Food?

cat-eating

When a cat refuses to eat, one suggestion is to slightly warm their food. It’s never a good idea to offer food straight from the refrigerator, and gently warming food not only  makes it easier on a cat’s tummy, but can also enhance the food’s smell. Another hypothesis is that warming makes the food resemble “prey temperature.” Dr. Mikel Delgado takes a look at a recent study that explored whether warming a cat’s food increases its appeal. Visit What Your Cat Wants to read more about the study.

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Mews and Nips: Keep Your Cats Safe on Halloween

cat-pumpkin-halloween

I’m pretty sure that if cats had anything to say about it, they’d get rid of Halloween. From a cat’s perspective, there’s not much to love about a holiday when strangers come knocking at your door, your humans dress up in weird outfits and scary looking masks, and some  humans even try to put you in costumes. It’s up to us humans to reduce the stress of this holiday for feline family members and keep them safe so everyone can have a happy Halloween. Read our tips to keep your cats safe this weekend.

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Mews and Nips: Can Cats See Ghosts?

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If you’ve ever watched your cat starting at something that doesn’t seem to be there, you might have wondered whether cats see things that we can’t. We know cats’ senses are more developed than humans’, so perhaps it’s not such a stretch to ask this question. Just in time for Halloween, Jackson Galaxy talked to Yahoo!Life about this topic. “”If you believe in the spirit world, as I do, then it’s much easier to take the leap that your cats are experiencing something in a realm that’s beyond the physical, rather than just staring at a blank spot on a wall,” he says. For more about what Jackson had to say, visit Yahoo.com.

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Mews and Nips: 101-year-old Woman Adopts Oldest Shelter Cat

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In Monday’s post about how cats enrich the lives of older adults, we referred to the adoption of a 19-year-old cat by a 101-year-old woman. I applaud the Catawba County  Humane Society to make this adoption possible. Talk about a match made in heaven! In my opinion, far too many rescue groups and shelters won’t adopt to senior citizens, and while I understand that the concern of what happens to the cat if the person becomes ill or dies is valid, I see no reason not to adopt to a senior citizen as long as they have a plan for continued care in place. Visit My Modern Met for more about Penny and Gus.

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Mews and Nips: Why Can’t House Cats Roar?

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Have you ever wondered why your house cats can’t roar like some wild cats? It turns out that it has to do with the physiology of a cat’s voice box: cats can either purr or roar, but they can’t do both. In addition to our house cats, bobcats, ocelots, lynx, cougars and cheetahs can purr, but they don’t roar. Roaring is much rarer in cats and evolved in a particular lineage of large cats. For more about this fascinating topic, visit LiveScience.

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