Caturday felid trifecta: Climbing cat on the baseball field, cheetah cubs, mysterious cat behavior with squares made of tape

Several readers sent me this video of a cat loose on a major league ballpark–and on National Pet Day to boot! Its athleticism in climbing is amazing.

But no ailurophile can help being upset at the plight of this undoubtedly scared animal, though I’m told the cat eventually left the park. It would have been great had somebody adopted it, naming it either “Hillary” or “Edmund” (depending on its sex) because of its climbing abilities. UPDATE from reader Jon: The stadium cat story has a happy ending. A Miami Marlins’ employee adopted it.

Business Insider (?) reports:

The Miami Marlins’ 8-4 win over the Atlanta Braves on Tuesday [April 11] was temporarily delayed because of a loose cat.

During the sixth inning, a grey cat ran onto the field and was crawling along the centerfield wall, causing a delay.

As Giancarlo Stanton and a groundskeeper attempted to approach the cat, it fled, running along the wall before climbing a chain link fence.

While the spectacle was cute and amusing enough, the announcers’ play-by-play of the incident was just as great.

“The only thing that can stop the Marlins right now is a cat in centerfield, desperately looking for a way out of here,” one announcer said. As Stanton and the groundskeeper approached the cat, both announcers warned, “Easy there, G,” then “Don’t pick that up!” as the groundskeeper reached down.

As the cat ran along the wall and toward a sign, it climbed a chain link fence into the Marlins’ home-run sculpture, which activates when the Marlins hit a home run. The announcers were baffled by the cat’s athleticism.

And the adoption news:


The National Zoo, part of the Smithonian Institution, announced the recent birth of cheetah cubs, accompanied by an adorable video:

April 5, 2017—The start of spring brought a cheetah cub boom to the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute (SCBI) in Front Royal, Va., where two large litters were born over the course of a single week. Three-year-old Happy gave birth to five healthy cubs March 23. Seven-year-old Miti gave birth to seven cubs March 28—two were visibly smaller and less active at the time of birth and died, which is common in litters this large. Both mothers are reportedly doing well and proving to be attentive to the 10 surviving healthy cubs, which have all been successfully nursing. Each litter includes two male and three female cubs.

“The average litter size is three, so this time we’ve got an incredible pile of cubs,” said Adrienne Crosier, SCBI cheetah biologist and manager of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ Cheetah Species Survival Plan (SSP). . .


Finally, the Mother Nature Network reports that if you make a square on the floor with masking tape, many cats cannot help but enter. I urge readers to try it with their cat and send me photos of the result, which I’ll publish. Here are some successes:

An explanation:

So what makes cats so interested in a square on the floor? We checked in with a couple of animal behaviorists for their theories.

“We know that cats like safe spaces. It’s possible that the marking on the floor creates some illusion on the floor that doesn’t actually exist,” says certified cat behavior consultant Mikel Delgado, who’s based in the Berkeley, California area. “It might have enough similarity to a low-sided box that a lot of cats are attracted to it for safety.”

Atlanta-based certified cat behavior consultant Ingrid Johnson agrees.

“I would imagine they probably feel as if they are ‘in’ something … like laying in a cardboard canned food tray. Though shallow, still comforting, offers parameters or at least the perception of sides,” she says.

Johnson points out that cats have poor close-up vision, so they may have the perception that the tape is actually the sides of a confined area.

“Their vision is built for distance and speed, watching a mouse run across the field,” she says. “Close up they’re virtually blind 8 to 12 inches off their muzzle.”

They don’t have to be squares, either!

h/t: Keith, j.j.


  1. Randy schenck
    Posted April 22, 2017 at 7:52 am | Permalink

    Our cat Emma, always gets in her box to let everyone know it’s time to eat. Will have to try the tape.

    All the cheetahs were on the news yesterday.

  2. Posted April 22, 2017 at 8:53 am | Permalink

    I think it’s just about territory. If it’s delineated and rather small, it’s easier to defend.

    Speaking of which, I bunny-sat over Passover, and the bright little fur-ball immediately taught herself to use my cats’ toileting facilities: first the litter box, then the square plastic lattice grid I put in the shower for my one cat who likes to have a wall to pee on. The bunny saw how my cat stood on the grid to pee against the shower wall and decided that was good enough for her, too.

    Imagine how pleased I was, coming home, opening her cage, and seeing her hop straight to the bathroom to do her business, so I only had to sweep up pellets for deposit into the toilet and then flush the rest down the shower drain!

    My cat was less pleased, though. That was HIS potty, and not only that, the bunny was living in a cage suspiciously like his airline travel carrier (which it was)! He got her back, though: He went in “her house” and peed!

    Of course, I had to clean it up. I wasn’t so happy, then. Still, I couldn’t help laughing!

  3. Draken
    Posted April 22, 2017 at 9:01 am | Permalink

    But what happens if you place a cucumber in the middle of the square?

    • Posted April 22, 2017 at 9:30 am | Permalink

      Hmm… I don’t know. I don’t even know whether my cats would be disturbed by a cucumber to begin with. It would seem to be an experiment worth trying. So would outlining a circle or oval, something without corners.

      • Posted April 22, 2017 at 4:25 pm | Permalink

        My cat doesn’t fear cucumbers, or at least I haven’t found a way to make them scary.

        • Posted April 22, 2017 at 5:22 pm | Permalink

          My cats have been through so much, I think only strange people scare some of them and nothing scares the others. We made aliyah almost 5 months ago. If you happen this way, please come visit. JAC can give you my contact info.

  4. Posted April 22, 2017 at 10:04 am | Permalink

    I suspect the tape-on-the-floor thing is similar to the getting-on-the-reading-material thing, or the lying-on-the-tools-in-use-no-matter-how-uncomfortable response to a human’s art project. Cats are hams, and know how to get attention.

    Significantly, our cats leave the taped polygon as soon as human attention is directed elsewhere; we must tape in an entirely new figure with the cats watching to elicit this response again, and the cats will center themselves on an x as well as within any enclosed figure – as long as the human with the tape is watching. I do rather doubt that a well-encephalized and observant predator like a cat would mistake a taped X for a “safe” enclosure, despite the acrobatic struggles of Cartesian dualists to “mechanize” said cat’s behavior.

    As for their supposed poor short-range vision, I have watched cats chase flea-beetles the size of 12-point periods across a floor with great precision (and enthusiasm) despite the erratic defensive leaping of these tiny insects. Someone’s vision-testing models may be blurry, or perhaps their experimental cat needed spectacles.

    • nicky
      Posted April 22, 2017 at 12:43 pm | Permalink

      Yes, I doubt too that cats are hypermetropic, and unable to accommodate to close distances. Is there any serious reference?
      The ‘X-tape experiment’ disproves the ‘flat box -safety zone’ hypothesis. I’m not really convinced about the ‘human attention’ hypothesis, but at least it sounds more plausible.

  5. infiniteimprobabilit
    Posted April 23, 2017 at 6:14 am | Permalink

    That baseball cat – yes cats can do overhangs! Requires incredible balance, timing and athletic ability, not to mention nerves. But cats know they’re divinely infallible.


  6. Terry Sheldon
    Posted April 24, 2017 at 8:12 am | Permalink

    When I put the tape square on the floor, my cat, Oliver, decided that it would be much more interesting to peel the tape off the floor and play with it than to sit in the square.

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