Feral Cats In Washington Heights Have Better Digs Than You

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New life goal: be an old lady who organizes elaborate outdoor feral cat colonies. 

Meet Sheila Massey, proprietor (or shall I saw paw-prietor, har har) of a "kitty high rise" in Washington Heights’ Morris-Jumel Community Garden. The  cats have been sleeping in Styrofoam boxes and underneath a tarp, which is sad. But the new insulated five-story cat shelter which is larger than my bathroom will keep those kittehs warm and dry … and easier to locate for Trap Neuter Return programs.

The cat shelters is all part of a three-year-old program called the NYC Feral Cat Initiative. These new digs in Washington Heights are one of eight locations (another park, a church, etc.) to get new outdoor feral cat shelters created by city architects. The New York Daily News declined to print the locations of the new shelters to discourage douchenozzles from dumping their cats off there.

You can learn more about how to provide safe winter housing/food/water for feral cats in your ‘hood on FeralCatCaretakers.org. Not all kitties are as fancypants as NYC cats and their kitty high rises, but all cats do deserve food and shelter. 

Contact the author of this post at Jessica.Wakeman@Gmail.com. Follow me on Twitter.

Hemingway’s Cat Utopia Under Siege

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Ernest Hemingway, as anyone who has spent several minutes on the Internet will know, left behind a dynasty of cats—the offspring of offspring of etc. of the many cats he kept around his house in Key West in the 1930s. That house, since turned into a museum, has some forty-odd felines roaming over the grounds at any moment. But that unchecked freedom may not last.

You see, some concerned museum visitor took it upon his or herself to alert the US Department of Agriculture that the cats might not be receiving proper care. Federal inspectors arrived and slapped the museum operators with all sorts of regulations: cages, tagging, a zoo permit, plus maybe an electric fence and night watchman. Essentially, the new rules (which the museum has protested to no avail) turn Hemingway’s house from cat heaven to cat prison.

I think the last chance the house has to keep its cats under the current conditions might be to point out that most of the animals are of the rare six-toed variety, long considered lucky by sailors—and the U.S. government wouldn’t want to discriminate against such a minority, would it? It’s not like there aren’t more important changes to be made down there. Hell, the body of water just north of Key West is still called “Jewfish Basin.”

Follow Miles Klee on Twitter

Kim Kardashian’s Prop Kitten Mercy Dies

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Kim Kardashian’s prop kitten Mercy, which she carried around in public on New York City streets, has suddenly died. It’s an ignomious end to the feline whose only reason for being was to detract attention away from Karl Lagerfeld’s kitten, Choupette.

Mercy was a gift from Kim’s boyfriend Kanye West and naturally these two named the kitten after one of his songs. After a few paparazzi shots with the kitteh (in front of a taxi cab! leaving Starbucks with Khloe!), Kim "realized she was allergic" and gave the kitten to her sister’s assistant. 

But the fluffly white prop was not long for this world. According to US Weekly, Mercy was euthanized after she was found to have a "cancer-like virus often associated with breeding." 

We can take two lessons away from this sale tale:

One, this is why we don’t adopt purebreds, Kanye.

And two, this is why we don’t fuck with Choupette.

Contact the author of this post at Jessica@TheFrisky.com. Follow me on Twitter.

A Tale Of Two Kitties: Lil Bub and Tard

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I’ve made a lot of bad decisions this year, but by far one of the worst was flying back to my parents’ house for Thanksgiving today instead of tomorrow, which is preventing me from meeting Lil Bub in Brooklyn. (And going to BlackBook‘s Stoli event tonight; I have other priorities, too.) In case you don’t know, Lil Bub is a cat that’s risen to internet prominence over the past year or so. She lives in Indiana, she’s permanently kitten-sized, and her little tongue is always sticking out. Precious! She’s also lucky enough to have an owner who’s savvy enough to maintain a strong online identity for her.

By making blog posts in Bub’s voice, Mike Bridavsky has created a personality for her outside of what we see in pictures and videos, therefore making his adorable cat even more likeable. He’s also enlisted graphic designer friends to make some cool merch for him, and he’s aligned himself with stylish publications like Vice and Bullett to present videos and photoshoots. (Cute animals are pretty no-brow, but Bridavsky’s starting at Buzzfeed and Good Morning America and aiming higher.) Overall, he has a good grasp of what kind of voice he wants to maintain for himself and Bub, and it’s all positivity and fishes from here on out.

More recently, another cat’s trying to get a piece of the internet pie. With her perma-frowning mug, Tard the Grumpy Cat quickly became a meme on Reddit, and her owners then launched a daily photo blog and merchandising. However, regardless of the thousands of Tumblr notes each post gets, they haven’t created the kind of sustainable business model that Bridavsky has with Bub. First of all, it’s indisputably unpleasant that the cat is named "Tard," so let’s call her Lady Edith instead. Her image was established with just a couple of pictures, and while we were desperate for more in the early days of her meme-hood, it’s ultimately diluting the brand to have more pictures posted every day. Lady Edith could have stayed iconic and mysterious like the success baby, but instead there’s a constant flood of new material. If her owners are going to continue blogging this way, they need to inject more character into their posts. So Lady Edith always looks pissed off—why? Come up with some creative reasons for her ennui or pair the posts with quotes from existential philosophers. I didn’t think it was possible for a cat blog to be this boring. Also, their merch is not that cute. It’s 2012, get some better fonts.

Meanwhile, I know Lil Bub is out there somewhere, a tiny furball of delight. She and her dude are playing the internet game the way it’s meant to be played. Bridavsky has managed to distinguish himself in a world dominated by cats, and he’s done it so well that I am going to admit it’s disappointing that none of the guys I’ve seen wearing Lil Bub t-shirts were otherwise attractive.

Follow Katie Chow on Twitter.

The Internet Cat Video Festival Is A Thing That Actually Happened

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Thirty years from now when we’re all speaking Chinese, anthropologists will look back to find the turning point when it all went wrong. I humbly suggest Thursday, August 30, the date of the very first Internet Cat Video Festival.

The Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota, played host to the festival, attended by hipsters, cat cosplayers and presumably some normal people as well. Curator Katie Hill watched 10,000 submissions and narrowed them down to 76 finalists, including Internet celebrity Maru, Henri the existential French cat, kittens riding a vacuum, and kittens with lightsabers.

But could even 76 cat videos really be so different? Curator Hill assured Slate.com, "If you watch enough shaky camera phone videos of cats, you start to see the distinctions." Not surprisingly the lifetime achievement award went to "Keyboard Cat." Sorry, but MARU WUZ ROBBED.

Those of us who weren’t able to be there in person to watch 65 minutes straight of cat videos can relive the experience on YouTube here.

Or, you know, go read a book.

Contact the author of this post at Jessica.Wakeman@gmail.com. Follow me on Twitter and Tumblr.

Cats Rule Everything Around Me, Including Art Exhibitions and Film Fests, Apparently

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Memes come and go, but the supremacy of Internet cats appears to be here to stay. Sorry, corgis, today is not your day. Apparently, we have moved on from mere LOLcats and into a whole range of multimedia riffs upon the feline domination of the web. We saw evidence of this back in April, when we wrote about Robin Pecknold of Fleet Foxes scoring his brother’s film project, an existential meditation involving one man’s quest for meaning through LOLCats. Last week, the feline frenzy hit another peak when the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis announced the first ever Cat Video Film Festival as part of the center’s "Open Field" summer programming. The festival, which takes place on August 30th at Open Field, is still accepting submissions for the feline filmographer-to-be through the end of July, and encourages would-be participants to "experience the joy of a surprised kitten or keyboard cat together."

But this is going beyond video too, folks. Internet-themed art collective Forced Meme Productions (dang, that’s some self-aware branding going on) and the feline meme curators of Tumblr are joining forces for ca$hcats.biz, an art exhibition at the DUMBO Loft in Brooklyn on September 6th. The theme of the exhibition, whose poster features a brightly-colored cat lounging on a pile of cash, is "how the one purr-cent live." Inspired by Tumblr cashcats.biz, a blog which sports 27 pages’ worth of images of cats, stacks and occasionally, gats, Portland-based artist Lisa Hildebrant began painting cats in response to the site’s themes and images, and the gallery show is accepting new submissions. Although CashCats the blog is mostly photography-based, organizers of the show encourage "C$C$-themed ink/watercolor, neon, stained glass, interactive, taxidermy, maybe some limited edish jean jackets." 

Guess the mere diversion of labeling images with pidgin English and Impact font wasn’t enough.

Man Turns His Dead Cat Into a Helicopter

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When my beloved cat, Tex, died after I had left home and moved to a city several hundred miles away, my parents buried him in the backyard. I was very sad to be away from home during his final days—he’d lived a long thirteen years and, shockingly, weighed close to twenty pounds—and returning home for Christmas that year was strange, as I expected him to waddle around the corner of the kitchen counter as I lugged my suitcase in the front door. But I’m glad that my parents didn’t stuff him and turn him into a helicopter, because that is straight-up batshit crazy. 

As you can see, the grieving process is a very personal, specific thing, which is why some dude attached propellors to his dead cat’s paws and made him fly. 

Here’s to hoping that a reanimated Tex doesn’t soar through the kitchen in my dreams tonight. 

(Via Buzzfeed)