The animal world is always full of interesting and bizarre stories. Cats are no exception. There are stories of cats crossing state borders to find their owners, cat survival tales and claims of talking cats. Today, I will list ten weird and fascinating tales I have heard/read/watched recently that has something to do with our feline friends.
WARNING: The clip above shows a cat using the toilet. Cleaning kitty litter is no walk in the park. According to statistics, it represents half of the expenses of keeping a cat. An interesting solution would be to train your cat to use the toilet. But how do you train your cat to do this? Enter the Litter Kwitter, a cat-friendly training system that teaches cats how to use a human toilet. The system consists of a special universal toilet seat (meaning it fits all toilets) and three toilet rings. The training is done in three stages. The first is the red stage, where your cat is trained to associate the toilet with the litter box using a red ring fitted above the toilet, filled with kitty litter. The amber stage follows, where your cat is trained to balance him/herself on the toilet seat while using it, using this time an amber ring with a small hole, surrounded with a little kitty litter. The final stage is the green stage, where your cat learns to use the toilet by balancing him/herself on the green ring, which has a larger hole this time. Voila! A potty-trained cat! For more information about this, uh, fantastic product, go here.
Radio Station for Felines
Nohl Rosen of Scottsdale, Arizona, is the proud owner of Cat Galaxy, an Internet radio and TV station catered specially for cats (and their owners too). Running for a strong nine years, the station has radio shows like Morning Meows, Meow Mixing Monday and Friday Night Feline Frenzy. Most of the music from this station is ‘feline-approved’, ranging from Jazz to R’n’B .Plus, the station features interviews with various veterinarians and pet-owners as well. Oh, and the station’s manager is none other than Rosen’s own pet cat, Isis. Even the assistant manager and the program director are cats. For more info, go here.
Brumas, a 9-yr. old cat from Devon, England, was taking her usual stroll on Sept. 3, 2005, but when he returned later, his owners were surprised to see their pet’s usual snow-white coat has turned a bright pink. “He was pink – Barbie pink. His head, ears and right down his body, although not underneath, had gone a quite brilliant pink,” said Joan Worth, the cat’s owner. Worried, Joan and her husband Philip immediately went to the vet to examine Brumas. The vet said that Brumas is in good health, but they couldn’t find an explanation for the cat’s strange color. “They couldn’t find any reason for it, although they decided it wasn’t toxic, which was what I was worried about,” said Mrs. Worth. Mr Worth added, “We have thought about everything as to how this happened, from him being covered in some form of cow treatment to children’s poster paints. We have no clue where he was that could have caused this to happen.” However, paint is not believed to be the reason because Brumas’ fur was not matted. As for Brumas, he seemed to be unaffected by the color change.
Meow Mix, a popular cat food brand, launched the Meow Mix House, a reality TV series that followed a ‘Survivor’ format. Ten cats chosen from various animal shelters across the country were pitted against each other in a battle of wits, brawn and brain in a luxurious mansion on Madison Avenue in New York City. What’s the first prize? A job as the feline Vice president of Research and Development in the Meow Mix Company. The reality series were shown on Animal Planet for ten straight weeks beginning June 16, 2006. Aside from the top prize, a second position in the company was awarded to the cat voted most popular by the viewers. The losers, however, gets a year’s supply of cat food, plus a new home and family, just like the two top winners. Oh, the top prize was given to Cisco from Miami, while Ellis from Portland won the popular vote
Acoustic Kitty was a CIA project initiated by the Directorate of Science & Technology in the 1960’s. It attempted to use cats in spy missions, particularly to bug secret conversations. It involved inserting a microphone and transmitter with battery to the body of the cat, and wiring an antenna to its tail. The expenses used for the surgery and training were said to amount to 20 million dollars. However, when the project went on a trial run (a trial mission where the cat was assigned to listen on two men in a park in Washington, D.C.), the project came to a halt when the test cat was ran over by a taxi and killed. Due to the incident, not mentioning the various cons of the project, Acoustic Kitty was declared a failure.
In 2007, scientists at Gyeongsang National University in South Korea have successfully created cloned cats that glow in the dark. The three white Turkish Angora cats, weighing around 7 pounds each, were capable of glowing red under UV light. Here is a quotation from a report written by Alan Boyle, the science editor at msnbc.com explaining the procedure: ‘They took skin cells from Turkish Angora female cats and used a virus to insert the genetic instructions for making red fluorescent protein. Then they put the gene-altered nuclei into eggs for cloning. The cloned embryos were implanted back into the donor cats, which effectively became the surrogate mothers for their own clones. Four kittens were born by Caesarian section, but one of them died during the procedure, according to the Korea Times. The fact that the kittens’ skin cells glowed under ultraviolet light served as evidence that they were really gene-altered clones.’
Feline Cutaneous Asthenia
Feline Cutaneous Asthenia (FCA)is a rare hereditary disease found in cats. The disorder (which is like a feline equivalent to the human disease Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome) affects the way an afflicted cat’s body produces collagen, an important component in skin tissue and tendons. The disorder has two forms: one caused by a dominant gene and another one caused by a recessive gene. Both produce similar symptoms: abnormally soft and velvety skin that can easily tear. One common result of this is the formation of wing-like folds or flaps on a cat’s shoulders or back. FCA is said to be the cause of ‘winged’ cats, like a cat owned by Granny Feng of Xianyang City, China, who has 4-inch long wing-like appendages sprouting in its back. For more information about FCA, go here.
The Moscow Cats Theater
Yuri Kuklachev, a former member of the Moscow State Circus, is the founder of the Moscow Cats Theater, a performing troupe that has 120 feline members. The idea for the troupe came to Kuklachev in 1971, when he saw a stray cat that begs for food by standing on her hind legs. Realizing the potential of the cat, he adopted it and soon incorporated it in his act at the State Circus. 17 years later Kuklachev left the State Circus and started the Moscow Cats Theater 2 years after. The various acts that the troupe performs include tightrope walking, ball balancing and riding a rocking horse. Maruska, one of the troupe’s stars, can even do a handstand on Kuklachev’s palm.
When Faye Murrell’s children left home, dining time became a lonely affair. So to have company at the table, she began giving her cat Tessa some table manners. The cat, a very quick learner, soon learned how to use a fork in no time flat. Not only that, but when noodles are served, Tessa can eat them with chopsticks, and when ice cream’s on the table, she uses a spoon.
Nora, a gray tabby, who was adopted from an animal shelter by music teacher Betsy Alexander, became a media sensation after a video of her playing the piano went on to YouTube. Named after painter Leonora Carrington, she learned how to play by watching her owner’s students practice while she sits under the piano. Then one night, she went up the bench herself and started pawing the keys. With the encouragement of the owner, Nora’s playing became a daily routine, and her performances were soon posted on YouTube, and found its way to the media, where it called the attention of animal behaviorists, who find Nora an incredible case of animal intelligence. Her popularity made her an instant sensation, and she now has her own CD, DVD and website.