Posts Tagged ‘Friday’

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What am I sappy cat blogging?

July 21, 2017

“Priest Solodkov, the ship’s doctor and the ship’s cat on the deck of Kagul, Bizerta, 1921. Kagul (renamed Ochakov, later General Kornilov) was built by Sevastopol dockyard. Laid down 1900, launched October 1902, completed 1905, seized by the White forces in the Russian Civil War and interned in Bizerta in 1920 as part of Wrangel’s fleet, sold for scrap in 1933.

Reblogged from Daily Timewaster
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What am I sappy cat blogging?

July 14, 2017

Do Cats Purr When Humans are not Around?

Why do cats purr? Humans tend to think that purring is a sign of happiness in a cat – and indeed it can be – but there are other reasons why our feline friends produce this particular vocalisation.

Purring is a habit that develops very early in a cat’s life, while suckling from its mother, so clearly it is not a sound that is directed solely at humans.

Cat owners will be well aware that a cat can produce more than one kind of purr, just as they have a whole repertoire of meows, chirps, growls, spits and other sounds.

The purr that is produced during suckling, is quite different in quality to the purr that you will hear when your cat is sprawling across your lap being stroked.

Analysis of the sound has shown when a cat is asking for food, whether from its mother or a human – the purr contains a high-pitched note that is similar in frequency to a cry (though not as loud). It may have something of the effect of the cry of a newborn, which affects the hormonal state of female mammals and elicits a care-giving response.

When a cat is being petted or is snuggled up to its owner on the sofa, the purr it produces is much more soporific and generally soothing, and acoustic analysis shows that the “cry” component is missing.

Adult cats will often purr when they are close to or in physical contact with another cat, engaging in grooming for example. They will also do it when they play with an inanimate object, or while eating, which can be at a time when they are alone.

However, the most usual time for purring is in company, and it can be the care soliciting sound, asking to be fed or stroked, or an indication of social pleasure.

The darker side

Strangely, vets also report that cats will purr when they are in great pain or just before death. This seems to be illogical if it is a sound relating to pleasure, but in fact, it could be that the cat is asking for help.

It could also be a way of masking the fact that the cat is injured and vulnerable. If you are a small animal, even a carnivore, it is not good to show weakness as this could encourage larger predators to come along and eat you.

The purr may be the cat equivalent of “everything’s fine, I’m on top of the world. Nothing to see here, move along please”.

Can big cats purr too?

There has long been a debate about whether the “big cats” can purr – and the belief has been that cats that roar, such as lions and tigers, cannot purr. Although there is no conclusive evidence on this subject, it seems that even cats that roar purr as cubs while suckling.

All mammals have a bone or series of bones in the throat called the hyoid apparatus, which supports the larynx and tongue. In cat species that roar the hyoid apparatus is not entirely made of bone but retains some parts as cartilage, while cat species that purr have a hyoid that is completely bony.

This modification may permit roaring, but does not necessarily mean that purring is impossible. It is believed that cheetah, ocelot, margay, serval, and lynx, among other species, can purr, and it is suggested that jaguar, leopard, lion and tiger cannot – or if they can they’ve kept it secret all these years.

Process behind the purr

The actual process of producing the purring sound is complicated, and is still not completely understood, but it involves the muscles of the larynx and the diaphragm being activated by bursts of nerve activity that originate in the brain and occur 20 to 30 times every second.

This happens on both in and out breaths, which accounts for the continuous sound of the purr.

The fact that a cat can do all this and simultaneously eat, knead the cushions, rip the chair leg to pieces or weave complicated patterns through your legs without getting stepped on makes one wonder what they would have achieved with opposable thumbs.

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What am I sappy pet blogging?

July 7, 2017

A suited-up Shiba Inu in custom-made armor | all photos courtesy of SAMURAI AGE

While it’s been over 150 years since the heyday of the samurai class, the fascination with them lives on. The talented craftsmen at SAMURAI AGE are doing their part to honor samurai tradition with handmade, high-quality samurai armor for you and your pets.

The handmade armor is made with polystyrene, polyurethane, metal fastenings, fusahimo cord, and metal snaps.

One of the selling points of this Fukuoka-based brand’s armor is how lightweight it is. Unlike traditional samurai armor, which could sometimes weigh over 60 pounds, SAMURAI AGE’s pet armor is constructed from light plastic that they claim can be worn for long stretches of time without tiring out its wearer. So although your pet will probably not be protected from any katana strikes, they will at the very least feel both badass and comfortable.

Also available in black, silver, and gold.

When not in use by your dog or cat, the armor can be repurposed in other creative ways.

As a bottle cover for a large bottle of sake…

…or hung up on your wall for decoration.

Human-sized armor for adults and children is also available for purchase, as well as helmets and bottle covers. All items are made of the same materials as the pet armor. The website suggests wearing the armor for birthdays or special occasions, but given the stylish, lightweight material there’s no reason not to wear it on a regular basis, too.

For those interested in a more “casual” look, SAMURAI AGE offers samurai helmets fashioned from polyester baseball caps. Customers can choose helmet designs based on those worn by famous Japanese historical figures such as Tokugawa Ieyasu, Oda Nobunaga, and Toyotomi Hideyoshi.

A cap based on Fukuoka daimyo Kuroda Nagamasa’s helmet. Mustache included.

Reblogged from Spoon and Tomago

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What am I sappy cat blogging?

June 30, 2017
Cat leaves purr-fect paw print in 2,000-year-old tile unearthed in Lincoln

“Don’t you just hate it when you work hard for something and someone just walks over your work — literally? Well, we don’t really know how any Romans would feel after a cat walked over their roof tiles, but now, after almost two millennia, it’s nothing but cute.

The tile dates from 100 AD, from a Roman site in Lincolnshire, UK. Archaeologists found it along with over one thousand other pieces, by the Washingborough Road site, excavated due to railway works in the area. Scientists believe that the site was a complex of buildings, perhaps a town or a smaller settlement, which included some pretty wealthy people. Most houses during that time would have been built of timber and thatch. This is also likely because many of the buildings excavated there were made of stone and bricks and had tiled roofs — indicating some pretty wealthy Romans lived in the area. This was likely part of a big villa, as archaeologists even found a fish pound around.

The tiles were made through a relatively common technique. Most craftsmen would have made the tiles close to the settlement. The wet clay was molded into the desired shape and then left out to dry — it’s then that our cat would have stepped on it, sinking ever so slightly into the drying clay and leaving a print that would live on for posterity.

It’s known that Romans kept cats as pets, mostly to keep the mice and rats away.

Aside from Roman artifacts, the site has revealed a trove of other findings. Flints from hunter-gatherers, arrows and other weapons from Neolithic hunters, Bronze-Age burial urns, even human ashes were all retrieved from the area, which seems to have been continuously inhabited for a very long time. Moving on closer to the present date, archaeologists have also discovered a Medieval malthouse and pre-modern farmhouse. Still, if you ask me, nothing quite compares to the charm of this small paw print.”
From the Lincolnshire News:  Read more here.

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What am I sappy goat blogging?

June 23, 2017

Goats are crazy!

You’ve seen goats climb rocks, houses, cliffs or even this dam in Italy.

goat-dam-2

But have you ever seen goats climb trees? In Morrocco, this is a very common occurrence. You see, in most parts of the world where you’ll find goats, their food is usually right under their hoofs. In and around the Atlas Mountains, though, grazing pastures are patchy – here and there. So, goats have learned to make the best of anything they could get their adorable hoofs and snouts on, even if that means being perched high up in the trees.

A lovely goat enjoying some argan seeds. Credit: Pixabay.

A lovely goat enjoying some argan seeds. Credit: Pixabay.

This is not only nice for goats but for the trees themselves too. According to a recent study in the journal Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment by Spanish researchers who wanted to learn whether domesticated goats benefit argan trees (Argania spinosa). 

Goats in Southern Morrocco will often climb 30-foot-trees in search for food, in this case, acorn-sized argan seeds. Even as much as three-quarters of their time is spent in the argan trees during the autumn days when vegetation is scarce. The team wanted to know if the goats help in any way with seed dispersal.

Goats are excellent climbers and rarely if ever fall down from a tree. Credit: Wikimedia Commons.

Goats are excellent climbers and rarely if ever fall down from a tree. Credit: Wikimedia Commons.

It’s well established that many animals spread the seed of various trees and plants by excreting seeds. This is how all sorts of plant species end up on islands, for instance, after some bird pooped them out even after hundreds of miles. The argan seed, however, is way too big and shouldn’t make it intact out of a goat’s digestive tract.

Argan seeds can grow to be quite large. Credit: Max Pexels.

Argan seeds can grow to be quite large. Credit: Max Pexels.

But precisely because the seeds are so large, they can be a nuisance for the goat.  Instead, the researchers chronicled the goats as they spit the seeds out. Like cows and other ruminants, a goat has multiple stomachs. So, what a Moroccan goat does is it will regurgitate the argan seeds from the first stomach and chew on it some more. During this process, the goats will often spit out some of the argan seeds, sometimes days after first ingesting them. Some seeds are spit very far from the parent tree too, the team found.

Argan farming is the main source of revenue for many rural Moroccans. Some successful farmers will use some of their profits to buy more goats as is the custom, which is aptly given part of that success is predicated on the goats’ ability to disperse the argan seeds and help more trees grow. Ironically, though, if there are too many goats, no new argan forests will appear since the animals eat all the baby trees. This is something many farmers should be more mindful of. And they’re not the only ones either. The main takeaway, not just for you the reader but for many working scientists too, is to look beyond the dung.

“In conclusion, many previous studies that investigated the role of ruminants as seed dispersers were based exclusively on dung analyses and may have underestimated an important fraction of the total number of dispersed seeds. Moreover, this fraction of seeds should correspond to plant species with particular fruit and seed traits (eg large linear dimensions) differing from those of plant species dispersed exclusively or mostly through defecation,” the team wrote in their paper.

“Importantly, the seeds of some species are unlikely to survive passage through the ruminant lower digestive tract so that spitting from the cud may represent their only, or at least their main, dispersal mechanism. It is therefore essential to investigate the effectiveness of this overlooked mechanism of seed dispersal in various habitats and systems,” the Spanish scientists concluded.

Credit:  Tibi Puiu

Displayed with permission from ZME Science

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What am I sappy cat blogging?

June 9, 2017

The sand cat (Felis margarita), also known as the sand dune cat, is the only cat living foremost in true deserts. This small cat is widely distributed in the deserts of North Africa, the Middle East and Central Asia. It was listed as Near Threatened on the IUCN Red List since 2002 because the population was considered fragmented and small with a declining trend. It was downlisted to Least Concern in 2016.

The sand cat inhabits both sandy and stony desert, in areas far from water. Having thickly furred feet, it is well adapted to the extremes of a desert environment and tolerant of extremely hot and cold temperatures. – Wikipedia

Sand Cat Range

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What am I sappy squid blogging?

May 26, 2017

The piglet squid measures only a few centimeters across, and it’s one of the cutest animals out there! It can be found in virtually all oceans in the deep water, over 100 meters deep. Due to its tiny size and deep water habitat, the piglet squid is actually not that well studied and understood.

 

They are known to be sluggish swimmers, mostly because they often fill up with water, which is then released through the funny looking siphone you see above. Indeed, it does look like a piglet squid. It maintains itself buoyant with ammonium ions in its body fluid. It also has a large light producing organ (photophore) is located beneath each of its large eyes.

The body is almost entirely clear, and if you look at it, you can barely see the semi-transparent internal organs, which provide a smile-like look. Interestingly enough, the piglet squid has most often been observed from submersibles with its head upside down. However, it is entirely unclear why they do this.

Actually, now that I’ve seen it like a piglet in the upside down position, it’s hard for me to see it the other way.

 

Reblogged from ZME Science