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LET’S LEARN ABOUT CATS
August 10, 2013 2:04 PM   Subscribe


 
I don't like cats. Can you find me one with weasels?
posted by pipeski at 2:07 PM on August 10, 2013 [2 favorites]


"(she was mad at our new washing machine in the second picture btw)"

TYPICAL CATTA
posted by potsmokinghippieoverlord at 2:18 PM on August 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


ALSO MANY CAT GIFS ARE HERE CATS ARE WEIRD
posted by lalochezia at 2:21 PM on August 10, 2013 [9 favorites]


But juvenile traits aren’t the only ones cats will adapt for social purposes. Ever been rubbed on by a cat? Ever seen a cat be pleased enough to flop down and roll over? Guess where these traits come from? SEX.

OH HAI awkward human cat interaction now we know that.
posted by MartinWisse at 2:22 PM on August 10, 2013 [3 favorites]


Current view.

(not actual current view - actual current view is about 80% cat face.)
posted by Artw at 2:25 PM on August 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


CAT DURID IS 4 FITE
posted by snuffleupagus at 2:31 PM on August 10, 2013 [3 favorites]


@pipeski, yes, another mustelid fancier on the blue!
posted by zscore at 2:39 PM on August 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


And great article The Whelk! Smart and funny and accessible!
posted by zscore at 2:43 PM on August 10, 2013


Cool subject, cool story, learned a few things, but found the author's tone/style insufferable and quit about halfway through. Just couldn't take it. But it's Tumblr, so whatever. Maybe I'm just not the intended audience.
posted by Scientist at 2:46 PM on August 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


You should see DOG CRIT HULK.
posted by Artw at 2:54 PM on August 10, 2013


Cool subject, cool story, learned a few things, but found the author's tone/style insufferable and quit about halfway through. Just couldn't take it. But it's Tumblr, so whatever. Maybe I'm just not the intended audience.

dog owner
posted by whyareyouatriangle at 3:01 PM on August 10, 2013 [19 favorites]


Some of the writing sounded a little (too?) familiar.

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/06/29/science/29cat.html?_r=0

The article notes: The wildcat DNA closest to that of house cats came from 15 individuals collected in the deserts of Israel, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Saudi Arabia, the researchers say.

I've had a Saudi cat, was just messing around with an Emirati feline. Cats in the region, complete with long legs, sleek physiques and large ears, are tremendous.

The Saudi gal rarely drank water and never very much of it, to a point that I was worried and took her to a vet there. He said it's normal for those cats (and she lived a long time).

She could jump like she was on cat PEDs.
posted by ambient2 at 3:09 PM on August 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


This was awesome. I clicked in expecting it to be one of those Powerpoint Parody things (like "What I know about [show X] without having actually watched [Show X]").... which I do enjoy too, but this was way cooler.
posted by Rev. Syung Myung Me at 3:15 PM on August 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


Interesting and informative article, but lions and house cats showing the same behavior likely isn't convergent evolution. Since they have relatively recent ancestors, isn't it more likely a case of ancestral behaviors reasserting themselves? Convergent evolution is when distantly related species ('cause we're all related somewhere along the line) have evolved similar traits independently, like whales and sharks having fin-like appendages.
posted by mollweide at 3:19 PM on August 10, 2013 [2 favorites]


One of the best blog reads in quite a while. Funny, informative, and a generally awesome tone.
posted by nickrussell at 3:21 PM on August 10, 2013 [3 favorites]


I always love it when people suggest that *we* domesticated *cats*.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 3:37 PM on August 10, 2013 [3 favorites]


More Tumblr pages should have bibliographies.
posted by The River Ivel at 3:43 PM on August 10, 2013 [16 favorites]




THE FLOOR IS MICE.
posted by JHarris at 4:33 PM on August 10, 2013 [12 favorites]


The first symptom of toxoplasmosis is a reluctance to talk about toxoplasmosis.
posted by fredludd at 4:39 PM on August 10, 2013 [22 favorites]


Andean cat looks adorable in a total cut your face way.
posted by wotsac at 4:42 PM on August 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


WE HAVE BASICALLY CREATED TINY LION PRIDES. IN OUR LIVING ROOMS. WOW GUYS.
posted by sbutler at 5:05 PM on August 10, 2013 [10 favorites]


Oh man, I clicked that mouse plague link. Shudder. I don't have the stones to google any further...how did they end the plague? (Or was everyone in that Australian town date by mice !?!)
posted by maryrussell at 8:29 PM on August 10, 2013


My favorire thing about metafilter is the massive felinomania here. I am very new to this site but I feel so at home here. Thank you all for being so awesome!
posted by janey47 at 8:40 PM on August 10, 2013 [8 favorites]


COME TO MEETUP WE GUVE YOU AMOEBAS HUGS
posted by Artw at 8:44 PM on August 10, 2013 [2 favorites]


That was outstanding.

I thought it struck an unprecedented balance between goofy and thought provoking, and somehow managed to not be cutesy. I would actually read an entire book about cat evolution by this person, or possibly any other subject. This could actually be an amazing new genre of science writing.

Finally: this is on tumblr? Whoa.
posted by latkes at 8:46 PM on August 10, 2013 [2 favorites]


Also: Even if you have no fucking idea what a spectrogram is you can tell that there’s a big difference and that the wildcat meows look a lot denser.
posted by latkes at 8:47 PM on August 10, 2013


The 'position of the tail' thing struck me as curious. The only time you see it outside of "happy cat" mode is "alarmed cat" mode. Odd juxtaposition (although there are obviously other signifiers.)
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 8:53 PM on August 10, 2013


Another great post by the same author: THE BIG GAY ANIMAL SEX POST.
posted by Georgina at 8:54 PM on August 10, 2013 [2 favorites]


latkes: "... and somehow managed to not be cutesy."

Let's disagree. Terribly interesting post, but the style was annoying.
posted by barnacles at 10:23 PM on August 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


I don't so much have a living room lion pride as a brain damaged cat who believes he is people, and a second cat who believes the brain-damaged cat is God, and the brain-damaged cat is always like, "This stalker cat, AMIRITE?" and looking for sympathy about the fact that the second cat is stalking him so they can be BFFs forever.

Second cat will only eat kibble that falls from brain-damaged cat's mouth, so I guess it's good that brain-damaged cat drops a lot.

Also these two geniuses caught a bat and released it to me with great pride when I came to see what all the noise was about. TWICE.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 11:11 PM on August 10, 2013 [16 favorites]


I agree with Janey. It kinda makes me laugh how you can't see a cat question on Ask without: "Well you should do this and this. Also: Where are the pics? Why did I even click on this? PICS! WE DEMANDS THEMS."

I think 'cat pictures' is Mefi's secret currency. It works, because of the scarcity principle-- we're given just enough to keep us wanting more. And without them, we'd all kinda enter a weird existential crisis. (Why did I spend 4 hours a day on Mefi? Aww, that's right-- that was all worth it thanks to Mr. Bumbles*)


*Someobody should name their cat Mr. Bumbles.

posted by Dimes at 12:44 AM on August 11, 2013 [2 favorites]


I really enjoyed this. For those who didn't appreciate the tone, the poster has this link: "a paper written by some pretentious tumblr user, if you want the longer, more professional version of this post." (This is apparently their work.)

One thing I'd like to mention, though, is the oft-quoted thing about cats being more popular than dogs, and I think it may be a little more nuanced than that. I haven't been able to quickly find the worldwide numbers, but in the US, for example, there are more households with dogs than with cats, but those with cats are more likely to have more cats, so the overall number of cats is greater.

I've seen this with different numbers in different surveys, but the basic info (more US dog households but more overall cats) has been consistent. In the "Pets" entry for Wikipedia, for example, the current info is: 38.2 million US households with cats, with a total of 93.6 million cats, and 45.6 million households with dogs, with a total of 77.5 million dogs.

This is true for me personally. I've had up to three cats at once (actually, six, briefly; it was an adopt-pregnant-stray-end-up-with-kittens thing ), and now I have one dog (I'd like to also have a cat, but territorial, fighting strays and usually open windows and doors make this unfeasible; slight-to-pretty-bad cat allergy, depending on the cat, is also a complication).

Having two cats was not really different than having one. Having three cats was more troublesome, but not significantly so. However, having another dog would be a real problem with space in our smallish flat, and present a number of complications for much of what we do with our dog. Many places are happy to turn a blind eye (At the pub: "I don't see a dog, what dog? Go ahead and sit down, I'll bring a bowl of water along with your order") to one well-behaved dog, but two is pushing it. We can pretty much always get a cab with one dog, but I think the numbers would diminish strikingly with two; we can get on some public transit with one dog, but probably not two. Our landlady doesn't mind our dog, but she might have second thoughts about two, etc.

Dogs typically take up more time (training, walking, face time) and space than cats, and are usually also more outward-facing which means more responsibility and more constrictions, so it's much harder to have a multi-dog household, especially in urban settings, than a multi-cat household.

So, in raw numbers, yes, cats are more popular, but I suspect this shouldn't necessarily be translated as "people love cats more than dogs." I'm not personally fond of the whole cats vs. dogs thing anyway, or cat people vs. dog people. I consider myself both, and it's just a different sort of love relationship and experience, but both are awesome and amazing and make life better to me.
posted by taz at 1:44 AM on August 11, 2013 [5 favorites]


Lion, check.

Panther, check.

“dude i don’t want to get mauled you are so sexy also can i get your scent on me yeah boi now we friends.”

Pretty much, yep.

Cute about the tail in the air. My meowy panther ALWAYS has her tail in the air. It's like her default setting. It's to the point that if she's upright, awake, and her tail isn't flying its "weehee I'm happy friendly meowy cat!!" flag, I know she's going to pounce.
posted by fraula at 2:23 AM on August 11, 2013 [2 favorites]


They didn't mention the slow blink. All cat owners should know about the slow blink. That's the other "I'm friendly, I don't want to fight" social signal that cats use (in addition to tail position). That lazy blink isn't just a side-effect of being relaxed and mellow, it's showing you that it's relaxed and mellow.

The best part is that that it's a signal that humans can use. Try it, it works! (Sorry — the author's style is contagious.) You'll find that often your cat will slow blink in response to your slow blink, and you'll possibly habituate yourself to responding to theirs.

It's a good thing to know and utilize because it's especially meaningful in that direct eye contact is, by default, a challenge. That's why during a play period, or with an actual angry cat, your direct eye-contact staring will often instigate an aggressive response, probably a charge. It's a challenge. So when you and your cat make eye-contact during your normal interaction, the cat will slow blink to let you know that it's friendly. You can do the same thing — this is particularly useful with cats that aren't familiar with you.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 5:11 AM on August 11, 2013 [15 favorites]


Metafilter: THE MIRACLE HAPPEN
posted by Going To Maine at 8:38 AM on August 11, 2013


That sort of fake bad writing is damned hard to pull off and still be funny and engaging. This person pulled it off in spades.

It is true that they also use rubbing to scent mark- but when they use it as a social behavior, it is to scent mark that they are going to put their penis in that. Or vice versa.
So at some point submissive domestic cats that did not want to fight started doin this to each other. Like “dude i don’t want to get mauled you are so sexy also can i get your scent on me yeah boi now we friends.”


I literally LOL-ed.
posted by Decani at 10:47 AM on August 11, 2013 [2 favorites]


the slow blink

My cats socialized me so well I found myself slow blinking at strange humans in the subway, to signal friendliness.

In fact, after I gave birth to my baby, I...slow blinked at it.

It was a revelation to discover to which delightful extent this little creature of my own species instinctively understands my simian signals!
posted by Omnomnom at 12:46 PM on August 11, 2013 [6 favorites]


Btw isn't this tails up thing also neoteny? As in, wild kittens do it but drop the behaviour with adulthood?
posted by Omnomnom at 12:48 PM on August 11, 2013


"Also, some cats have separation anxiety. Owners sometimes alleviate this anxiety by getting another cat to be the first cat’s companion. But this does not alleviate the symptoms of separation anxiety. Why? Because the cat doesn’t want companionship- it wants your companionship and no one else’s."

Now you tell me.
posted by ogooglebar at 6:36 PM on August 11, 2013


If kitten meows are evolved to sound like baby cries, no wonder my cats were so freaked out when my son was a newborn and crying all the time.
posted by HMSSM at 8:15 PM on August 11, 2013


There is seriously nothing that wigs cats out more than human infants crying. Mine were like, "ABANDON THE FOOD, WE'LL HAVE TO LIVE UNDER THE COUCH FOREVER!" Every now and then they'd come to try to fix him, realize he was human, and be like, "Fuck this, I'm going back under the couch "
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 9:50 PM on August 11, 2013 [8 favorites]


I do the slow blink with the cats that come around our house! It definitely works, and they slow blink back. Between yawning at my dog and slow blinking the cats, I'm pretty sure I must seem like the victim of some rare, fur-triggered neuropsychiatric disorder.
posted by taz at 11:11 PM on August 11, 2013 [4 favorites]


I always love it when people suggest that *we* domesticated *cats*.

In cat school, I'm sure they say things like "we got the monkeys to start building us mouse farms 15,000 years ago, but it took them 5000 years to figure out they could eat that stuff too. If we can teach dogs to farm, we will have no more use for the monkeys."

The slow blink works on birds, too.
posted by gjc at 5:00 AM on August 12, 2013 [3 favorites]


"Also, some cats have separation anxiety. Owners sometimes alleviate this anxiety by getting another cat to be the first cat’s companion. But this does not alleviate the symptoms of separation anxiety. Why? Because the cat doesn’t want companionship- it wants your companionship and no one else’s."

Now you tell me.


When extroverts try to understand cats.
posted by gjc at 5:01 AM on August 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


This morning my girlfriend's cat delivered a slightly chewed bag of bonito flakes to me in bed. She had gotten it off the counter, across the kitchen and living room, up the stairs, into the bedroom, and up onto the bed.

I'm not sure how this relates to the article, but whoa, cats!
posted by latkes at 10:31 AM on August 12, 2013


She's trying to teach you how to hunt bonito flakes.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 11:01 AM on August 12, 2013 [4 favorites]


My own cats are mostly so adapted to people that the slow blink isn't needed. But when I was volunteering at a shelter, I definitely found myself slow-blinking at strangers Taz.
posted by wotsac at 11:09 AM on August 12, 2013


Excellent, if a little sweary.
posted by Gadgetenvy at 11:10 AM on August 12, 2013


I don't have the stones to google any further...how did they end the plague?

Clog dances. Honestly, that was my first thought, said the catamoebas.
posted by jamaro at 2:03 PM on August 12, 2013


A Street Cat Named Bob
posted by homunculus at 4:13 PM on August 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


fraula, just wanted to say how the adjective "meowy" is entering into my personal language working set.
posted by JHarris at 4:49 PM on August 12, 2013


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