Caturday felid trifecta: Bringing back the Iberian lynx, rescuing cats from trees, and a Japanese cat-cafe train,

There is no doubt about it: the Iberian lynx (Lynx pardinus), is, as the World Wildlife Fund notes, “the world’s most endangered cat species.” A native of the Iberian peninsula, it was severely reduced in size by habitat destruction, death of rabbit prey by myxomatosis (rabbits constitute 90% of the cat’s diet), and overhunting. At one point the population was down to 100 or so; but due to intensive conservation efforts it’s now up to 404, but that’s still pathetically small.  It’s listed as “endangered.” Here’s what it looks like:

M0m with kitten:

The first link above gives a brief description of the efforts by the WWF and other NGOs to rescue the cat, including introducing lynxes, restoring territories, and so on. Every known lynx has a name, and many are radio-collared.  Here’s a camera trap showing 30 seconds of rare footage: Iberian lynx cubs. (This species is, by the way, only half the size of the more common Eurasian lynx (Lynx lynx).

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Many cats that get stuck in trees can’t get down. Here’s a short video about two brothers who, as arborists, have a sideline in rescuing cats, which they do for free. What nice men! Here are the YouTube notes:

As professional arborists, brothers-in-law Tom Otto and Shaun Sears are quite adept at climbing trees. The cats that they rescue are not. And with a plethora of trees—and cats—around Seattle, they decided to put their off hours to good use and return scared, stuck kitties to their worried owners. Working completely off donations, these two cat lovers are helping keep Seattle’s free-climbing felines grounded.

It’s a complicated operation, but the results, as you’ll see, are heartwarming:

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Condé Nast Traveler reports that Japan, perhaps the world’s most ailurophilic nation, is running a Cat Cafe Train, in which riders can enjoy coffee, kitties, and scenery on a long ride. The bad news is that it appears to be only a temporary offer; as the site notes:

According to Japanese news site SoraNews24, Sanctuary, a chain of cafés located in the Gifu Prefecture that are usually filled with rescue cats, is taking its kitty population on the road. On Monday, Sanctuary announced that it had teamed up with Yoro Railway to create the world’s first cat-themed train café. Riders on the Cat Café Train’s two September 10 journeys will spend the 2.5-hour ride between either Yoro and Ikeno stations or Ikeno and Ogaki stations surrounded by rescue cats.

The 3,000 yen (about $27) ticket comes with a bento box lunch, sweet treats, unlimited travel on Yoro Railways all day, and, of course, unlimited cuddles [JAC: How can you beat that?]. Additionally, some of the proceeds from ticket sales will go to the care and keeping of Sanctuary’s animal rescue operations. Only 40 tickets were available for each of the two train rides and, unfortunately, all 80 tickets sold out almost immediately after going on sale. Although Sanctuary and Yoro Railways have yet to announce plans for future Cat Café Train rides, they’ll hopefully decide to take advantage of the huge success of this trial run and start filling Japanese train cars with felines on a more permanent basis.

In fact, the tickets are already sold out, and I’m sad that I wasn’t on this epochal journey. Sadly, I have no photos of the train or its contents as it hasn’t yet been on the rails, but perhaps readers can remember and ask me later.

h/t: Rolando, William

5 Comments

  1. BJ
    Posted September 2, 2017 at 9:54 am | Permalink

    Here’s an evolutionary question for everybody: why would the Iberian Lynx evolve to have ears with such thick, long tufts of hair at the end of the tips? What benefit does this trait confer, thus promoting selection?

    • Posted September 2, 2017 at 11:22 am | Permalink

      It looks fabulous, thus attracting mates.

      • BJ
        Posted September 2, 2017 at 11:40 am | Permalink

        Well, I can’t disagree with that.

        But why, then, do they not visit tailors to purchase single-breasted suits and waistcoats? And cordwainers for fine leather shoes? And haberdashers for elegant hats?

        See, these are the questions, Matt, these are the questions that keep me up at night.

      • Jenny Haniver
        Posted September 2, 2017 at 11:51 am | Permalink

        Eartha Kitt and I would agree. Here she is expressing herself on that matter in cat language: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iVzp5JpwYHk They’re sure handsome creatures.

  2. Ken Phelps
    Posted September 2, 2017 at 11:45 am | Permalink

    Found a couple entertaining things in the suggestions that popped up after the arborist video.

    Cat rescue

    Portlandia


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