Tag Archives: cats

Cats love sitting in boxes so much they’ll even sit in fake ones

Not all scientific research can be serious, impactful work. Some of it is just for the sake of knowledge. And it was in the pursuit of knowledge that a cat named Stinky Valium was presented with three potential spots to sit.

His options: a square outline, an illusory “square” made of four Pac-Man-like shapes, and the same Pac-Man shapes that didn’t form a square illusion. The test: Would Stinky Valium prefer to sit inside one of the squares?

He and eight other cats with less interesting names were part of a citizen science study designed to test to what degree cats prefer to sit inside boxes, no matter how illusory. The inspiration for the study came from an online phenomenon: people putting tape down on their floor in the shape of a square and recording their cats sitting inside the squares. See, if the internet knows one thing about cats, it’s that if they fits, they sits. That is to say, cats love to squeeze into boxes—generally speaking, the smaller, the better. The behavioral pattern is borne out of an instinct for tight, enclosed spaces, which are often safe spots for a small feline. A hidey hole is their preference, but a cardboard box will suffice, even if the sides are low, and in lieu of a box they’ll accept a version made of tape or paper.

This new research, published in Applied Animal Behaviour Science, shows that they’ll even go for a square that’s not really there: a Kanizsa square illusion. Humans and some other animals, including cats, will impose an imaginary square that exists inside the four Pac-Man-like shapes that form the “corners” of the “square.” This ability isn’t universal—it required a study to prove that cats could see the illusion in the first place, and babies younger than about four months don’t seem to see it.

The cats went for the Kanizsa square just as often as the full square outline, and more than the control (the Pac-Man shapes reversed).

[Related: Despite appearances, your cat does love you]

Normally, this kind of experiment would be conducted in a laboratory setting. But the pandemic offered a unique opportunity to have volunteers do the activity in their own homes. Though that makes for a less controlled experiment (which the researchers note will need to be done at some point), this citizen science approach did allow for the cats to behave as normally as possible. Cats, much more so than dogs, dislike unfamiliar settings and tend to behave differently in the lab than they do on their home turf.

But there was one major challenge to going the citizen science route: More than 500 people volunteered for the study, but only 30 completed all of the trials required. And of those, only nine cats actually selected any of the stimuli, whether because there was something more interesting going on or because the squares just weren’t intriguing enough. A lab setting might have mitigated some of those issues.

Research like this might seem silly—and to some degree it is—but it’s also an important part of studying cat cognition. On its own, this study might not contribute a huge amount to our understanding. Over time, though, it will become part of the body of knowledge on cat behavior.

Sara Chodosh

Author: Sara Chodosh
This post originally appeared on Science – Popular Science

Freddie Mercury incredible tribute to his cats

This post originally appeared on Daily Express :: Entertainment Feed

Freddie Mercury sings Love of My Life at Wembley in 1986

Freddie released his solo album Mr Bad Guy on April 29, 1985 and instantly made his cats world famous. The front cover showed the Queen star looking moodily magnificent in mirrored sunglasses. He had famously been living and recording in Munich, throwing himself into the hardcore gay leather and party scene. And yet, in typical Freddie fashion, the back cover credits are dedicated to his beloved cats.

Freddie Mercury incredible tribute to his cats

On the album sleevenotes Freddie first mentions his Queen bandmates Brian May, John Deacon and Roger Taylor. He thanks Mary Austin and his then boyfriend Winnie Kirchberger, as well as German actress and friend Barbara Valentin.

But the final lines have gone down in rock history: “This album is dedicated to my cat Jerry – also Tom, Oscar and Tiffany, and all the cat lovers across the universe – screw everybody else!”

Just as famous is one of Freddie’snotoriously outrageous commenst about who he would leave his vast fortune to – said at a time when he couldn’t know that he would die tragically young.

READ MORE: Brian May crowns the greatest guitar solo ever and it’s not his

He said: “There have only been two individuals who have given back as much love to me as I gave to them: Mary, with whom I had a long affair, and our cat, Jerry. My bond with Mary seems to grow and grow.”

“If I go first, I’m going to leave everything to her. Nobody else gets a penny, except my cats.”

Jerry along with (naturally) Tom were the first two cats that Freddie and Mary shared when they were together from 1970 to 1976.

During that time Freddie started the lifelong habit of calling home when he was on tour just to speak to his cats. Whoever was home had to hold the cats up to the speakers and would often squeeze them so they made a sound the Queen star could hear.

After they split up, Mary gave Freddie Tiffany, a beautiful blue thoroughbred, the only pedigree he would own.

Freddie himself preferred to rescue cats and kittens from animal shelters like the Blue Cross.

Freddie eventually owned ten cats and six of them were with him at home at One Garden Lodge in his final days – Delilah, Goliath, Lily, Miko, Oscar and Romeo.

The cats lived a pampered life, fed freshly prepared fish and chicken every days, and each had their own Christmas stocking every year filled with treats and toys.

The last-ever pictures of Freddie in his garden, taken by his partner Jim Huttton three months before his death, shows ginger tom Oscar by his side. It was a beautiful August day and Jim was photographing flowers when Freddie surprised him. The star’s health had been fading but he had dressed himself in a smart outfit and tidied his hair.

Jim later said: “He posed while I took four pictures, and he managed a smile for each. He was so pale and drawn that he knew he didn’t look his best, but it didn’t matter a bit; of all the pictures I have of Freddie, those are the ones I love most.”

The final picture of the star, taken by friend and PA Peter Freestone just weeks before the end, show him in bed with dark Miko and tabby Delilah.

Peter said: Delilah was the one, you actually see him looking at her. She was his favourite, She was the queen. It’s sad because where you see him sitting, that’s where he died. So it was the beginning of the end.”

Peter revealed Delilah was the notorious diva of the house: “She was a..hmmm.. I think the word is spoiled. She got everything she wanted. It wasn’t in fact a Chippendale suite she peed on. In the dining room, one wall was windows, floor to ceiling, and he had these amazing racing green satin curtains that wood cover the whole wall and a series of golden arches along the bottom where Delilah had been. She was allowed.. He would do anything for all of his cats.”

Freddie also wrote the song Delilah for her, althought it was those curtains and not the Chippendale furniture mentioned in the lyrics that she had peed on.

Peter Freestone said of Delilah: “He wouldn’t do anything without her.”

The star spent hours painting her and, in his final days when he couldn’t leave his bed and drifted in and out of consciousness, “one of his final actions was stroking her fur.”

Freddie died on Novermber 24, 1991. There were some major surprises in his will, with Jim in particular, unhappy and writing later in his autobiography Mercury and Me that he had been promised the house.

In the end, Freddie did not leave any of his fortune directly to cats.

In the final will and testament dated September 17, 1991, Mary received One Garden Lodge and the adjoining property, plus the star’s current fortune and half of his future earnings from Queen. The other half was split between Freddie’s parents and sister. Jim, Peter and Joe Fanelli (the star’s former boyfriend and live-in chef) each received £500,000 (£1.1million in today’s money).

Since Freddie entrusted his most personal wishes to Mary, including the secret burial of his ashes, it is safe to assue he asked her to look after the six cats when she moved into One Garden Lodge. Although, in the end, there were only five.

Peter later said of Oscar: “He ruled the roost. Until when Fred died, he just left. He left the house. He didn’t want to stay there anymore.”

GMB guest wants dogs and cats 'banned' to stop climate change

Author: [email protected] (Lucy Marshall)
This post originally appeared on Hull Live – Celebs & TV

Susanna Reid got into a heated discussion on Tuesday morning’s Good Morning Britain after a guest’s suggestion that pets should be banned.

Environmental artist Donnachadgh McCarthy compared the carbon footprint of dogs and cats to owning a car or motor vehicle. McCarthy said they need to “be banned” in order to save the planet.

He said: “We do have an issue. Pets are nice to have but we have to think of the consequences behind them.”

Presenter Susanna argued that many people think of their pets as family.

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Susanna Reid stood up for pet lovers during a heated debate on Tuesday's Good Morning Britain
Susanna Reid stood up for pet lovers during a heated debate on Tuesday’s Good Morning Britain

Co-host Adil Ray kicked off the debate by asking the environmental artist: “You can’t seriously be saying pets are comparable to SUVs, it that absolutely true and we should give them up?”

“Well there is a study in the journal of biosciences last year that the state of the carbon emissions of a dog is the same as running two households for a year.

“So we do have an issue. Pets are nice to have but we have to think of the consequences behind them.”

Susanna followed up: “But what are the consequences of what you’re saying? We are a drain on resources as well.

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“My point is you could be talking about human beings as well.”

But Donnachadgh pushed back: “Well if we love our members of our family like we love our kids do you not accept that we have to look after our family?”

Susanna snapped: “Firstly I want to look after my kids and my pets.”

The artist called her comments “quite shocking” and pointed out the government has accepted there is “a climate crisis”.

The guest didn’t go down well with some viewers with some viewers taking straight to social media to share their view on the debate.

One viewer said: “I drive an eletric vehicle. I recycle. I continually look for new ways to be kind to the environment, including sourcing eco friendly dog toys and food.

“This berk can kiss my recycle bin if he thinks I’m giving up my dogs. #GMB”

Whilst another added: “No way on this earth would I give up any of my pets, I have two dogs, three chinchillas, two snakes, a frog, a bearded dragon, and a lizard… I love them more than people.”

A third agreed: “I couldn’t imagine being without my dog! Definitely part of my family #GMB.”

Another added: “Agree with saving the planet but giving up pets is not the way to do it! #GMB”

‘How about the Washington WhoGivesASh*ts?’: NFL fans react as ‘Demon Cats’ floated as new name for Washington Football Team

‘How about the Washington WhoGivesASh*ts?’: NFL fans react as ‘Demon Cats’ floated as new name for Washington Football Team

The team formerly known as the Washington Redskins have provoked howls of derision from NFL fans after they released a shortlist of potential new names which include ‘Icons’, ‘Renegades’ and more bizarrely, the ‘Demon Cats’.

The Washington franchise has been operating under the magnificently uninventive ‘Washington Football Team’ moniker since dropping their decades-old Redskins name after it was deemed racially insensitive before the start of last season, as the NFL seemingly embraced cancel culture with open arms.
Also on rt.com ‘Washington Football Team’: Twitter has a field day with Redskins’ new blank space of a name
The term ‘Redskin’ was considered as a derogatory term towards Native Americans but the franchise had long resisted any calls for a more ‘woke’ nickname until the wave of ‘Black Lives Matter’ protests last term prompted one of the team’s primary sponsors, FedEx Corp, to pile pressure on team ownership to make a change.

The team soon announced that they would compete under the vanilla ‘Football Team’ name for at least one season, but it seems that the winds of change are in the air in Washington after they distributed a list of potential new team names to season-ticket holders in a bid to generate feedback – and one of those in particular has caused quite a kerfuffle amongst the fanbase.

Yes, the Demon Cats. What exactly is a Demon Cat? Frankly, we have no idea other than to say that it is certainly not a wild animal native to the rolling hills of Washington DC. 

But while some of the other suggestions have an air of respectability about them – ‘Aces’, ‘Guardians’ and ‘Royals’ among them – the potential of a their being a professional team of Demon Cats out on the gridiron next season has set some fans’ pulses racing.

If I’m not rooting for the Washington Demon Cats by this time next year something has gone terribly wrong,” argued one commenter, while another summed up the entire name change drama as such: “How about Washington WhoGivesASh*ts?

Please be the Demon Cats because it’s so stupid,” said another, giving their blessing to the unconventional nickname. 

As for how ‘Demon Cats’ even became a possibility, it is almost certainly down to someone in the Washington team’s marketing department trying to come up with the most impressive sounding words to tie in with the ‘DC’ in Washington DC, but if they wanted to maintain the link with the city after which they are named there might be a few more possibiliities.

The Washington Presidents, perhaps? Or maybe even the Washington Bureaucrats?

But if they really wanted to embrace the controversial, there is really one one option: The Washington Capitol Rioters.
Also on rt.com ‘STOP THE COUNT!’ NFL’s Washington Football Team MOCKS outgoing President Donald Trump with victorious social media tweet


This article originally appeared on RT Sport News

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Freddie Mercury cats: Early days with Mary to incredible last pictures in bed with Delilah

Queen perform Bohemian Rhapsody at Live Aid in 1985

A new documentary tonight on BBC2 shows ten iconic pictures of Freddie, from his birth to his final days and includes new interviews, including with his “first-ever” girlfriend Rose. It is fitting that the last image shows him in bed with the tortoiseshell mistress of his house, Delilah. Although there were six cats living at One Garden Lodge in Freddie’s final days, Delilah had always been the most pampered and indulged because she brought the singer so much joy throughout his life and comfort at the end. Stroking her was one of the very last things he was still able to do. 
Freddie’s partner Jim Hutton described in the memoir Freddie And Me the special place the cats had in the star’s heart.

He wrote: “Freddie treated the cats like his own children. He would constantly fuss over them, and if any of them came to any harm when Freddie was away, heaven help us.

“During the day, the cats had the run of the house and grounds, and at night, one of us would round them up and bring them inside.”

Jim took the last known photographs of Freddie, days before his death, in his garden – with one of the cats, of course, by his side.

READ MORE: The Beatles song that secretly featured Rolling Stones member on sax

Freddie Mercury loved his cats deeply

Freddie Mercury loved his cats deeply (Image: GETTY)

Freddie Mercury last ever picture in his garden with cat Oscar

Freddie Mercury last ever picture in his garden with cat Oscar (Image: INSTA )

Freddie Mercury with his cat Oscar

Freddie Mercury with his cat Oscar (Image: FREDDIE MERCURY CLUB)

The ginger Tom prowling next to Freddie was Oscar.

The star’s live-in PA and friend Peter Freestone said: “Oscar was the first cat at Garden Lodge. He was a big ginger Tom. He ruled the roost.

“Until when Fred died, he just left. He left the house. He didn’t want to stay there anymore. He found another owner.

“Freddie used to say, ‘You own dogs, cats own you.’ I think that was one of the reasons he loved cats. Freddie liked their temperament.”

Inside the house, however, Delilah was “the princess” who Freddie always turned to, right up to the very end.

Jim said: “One of his final actions was stroking her fur.”

Freddie Mercury with Jim Hutton and one of his cats

Freddie Mercury with Jim Hutton and one of his cats (Image: PH)

Peter Freestone said of Delilah, who arrived at the house with black cat Goliath: “Freddie wouldn’t do anything without her.

Peter added: “She was a..hmmm.. I think the word is spoiled. She got everything she wanted. On the last tour, I was at home. Every two or three days he would ring and he would want to talk to a cat. You pick her up, put her under your arm, put the speaker down by her mouth and squeeze (to make her miaow). And then he could say he had spoken to Delilah and he was really happy.”

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Jacky Smith of the Queen fan club said Delilah “was just kind of funny. She was a bit of a bully to the others, but was always first on his lap, first for food.”

Over the years Freddie had ten cats: Dorothy, Tiffany, Tom, Jerry, Delilah, Goliath, Lily, Miko, Oscar and Romeo, the last six of whom outlived their owner.

He shared Tom and Jerry with Mary, who also later gave him Tiffany, the only thoroughbred cat he ever had. The others were rescued from shelters “To save their lives.”

Freddie commissioned artist Ann Ortman to paint all his cats over the years, but only one famously had a song named after and written for her.

Freddie Mercury cat waistcoat: These Are The Days of our Lives video

Freddie Mercury cat waistcoat: These Are The Days of our Lives video (Image: PH )

The song Delilah starts off sounding like it is for a lover until the infamous lines: “You make me so very happy, When you cuddle up and go to sleep beside me.

“And then you make me slightly mad, When you pee all over my Chippendale suite.”

Peter put the record straight about the song: “In the dining room, one wall was windows, floor to ceiling, and he had these amazing racing green satin curtains that would cover the whole wall and (there was) a series of golden arches along the bottom where Delilah had peed.

“She was allowed. He would do anything for all of his cats. He just loved cats.” 

Queen Innuendo album; Freddie with cats

Queen Innuendo album; Freddie with cats (Image: PH )

In fact, Freddie dedicated his solo album, Mr Bad Guy, as follows: “To my cat Jerry — also Tom, Oscar and Tiffany, and all the cat lovers across the universe—screw everybody else.”

In the artwork for the album Innuendo, the Queen frontman is depicted with three cats wrapped around his head and neck.

And for his final video shoot for the These Are the Days of Our Lives, he wore his favourite waistcoat, a 1990 Christmas gift which was screen-printed with his cats.

Freddie Mercury life and death

Freddie Mercury life and death (Image: GETTY )

Freddie once said: “There have only been two individuals who have given back as much love to me as I gave to them: Mary, with whom I had a long affair, and our cat, Jerry.”

Eventually, in later years, Freddie also had a loving relationship with Joe Fanelli (who also lived at Garden Lodge until the end) and then Jim Hutton.

The Queen singer also provocatively proclaimed: “If I go first, I’m going to leave everything to her (Mary). Nobody else gets a penny, except my cats.”

In the end he left Mary his house, fortune and half his future Queen earnings. The other half went to his parents and sister, with £500,000 bequeathed to Jim, Joe and Peter. 

The cats remained at Garden Lodge (except Oscar) and Delilah was often spotted up on the garden wall.