Caturday felid trifecta: recapturing California’s “fire cats”, cats made up to look like Trump, cheetah mom gives birth to EIGHT cubs in a zoo

The New York Times has a piece (click on screenshot) about finding the cats who went missing in the October wildfires in California. While fire-panicked dogs tended to run to their “masters” (cats don’t have masters; they have staff), cats simply took off, and the story tells about the dedicated volunteers trying to find people’s pets:

“If you want to catch a cat you have to stay up all night — that’s just the name of the game,” Ms. Petruska said as she prepared for another dark and cold round of cat stalking. “I’ve been a horrible insomniac my whole life, so it suits me.”

Coffey Park, the neighborhood where Ms. Petruska is focusing her efforts, may as well have been struck by a bomb. Well over 1,000 homes were leveled. Ms. Petruska and her team say they realize that with nearly 5,000 homes destroyed in the Santa Rosa area alone their effort is ancillary to the grieving and massive effort of reconstruction that is only just beginning.

Volunteers posted flyers of cats found in the Coffey Park neighborhood of Santa Rosa. Credit Jim Wilson/The New York Times

The bleak landscape of charred lots is still teeming with creatures stealthily crawling throughout the night, mostly unseen.

Ms. Petruska says she knows there are still many cats on the loose because her motion-activated cameras capture them nearly every night, along with a parade of other nocturnal animals such as skunks, opossums and raccoons.

Barbara Gray, right, and her daughter Kelly searched through a burned property where cat traps had been set out earlier. Credit Jim Wilson/The New York Times

To the families who lost everything, recounting how Ms. Petruska helped recover their cats often brings tears.

“I just wanted my cat — that was the only thing I wanted back,” said Kelly Stinson, whose home in Coffey Park was destroyed. “I spent hours every single day looking for her.“

Ms. Petruska located Evy and after an evening of coaxing returned a day later and grabbed the cat by the scruff of the neck.

A cat that was found at the Journeys End Mobile Park in Santa Rosa.

. . . To lure Santa Rosa’s fire cats back into domestic life, Ms. Petruska assembles personality profiles of each cat she stalks. One cat likes the sound of whipped cream fizzing from a can. She carries a can in her car. Another cat answers to the sound of the crinkling of a bag of a specific brand of cat treats. She carries the treats.

Unsurprisingly the most effective lure appears to be fish. Ms. Petruska soaks socks in the juices from cans of mackerel and hangs them from trees.


Yes, reddit has a sub-reddit with cats made up to look like Trump. The Internet has everything—especially related to cats.  Here are a few: (they’re usually orange cats because their wigs are made from their own fur):


In November a female cheetah at the St. Louis Zoo gave birth to eight—yes, eight!—cubs. This is a first for a zoo: the average litter size is 3-4 cubs.

Four-year-old Bingwa (pronounced BING-wah), which means “champion” in Swahili, continues to be an exemplary mother, according to the cheetah care team. She has quickly become adept at caring for her very large litter of cubs — grooming, nursing and caring for them attentively.

Here are three videos at different ages.

Three weeks:

At seven weeks:

Here they are at ten weeks:

h/t: Ed Suominen, Jim E., Julius aka Moto


  1. Posted March 24, 2018 at 9:16 am | Permalink

    Marvelous! Beautiful! When we saw a cheetah cub with its mother in Tarangire Park in Tanzania some years ago, we were fascinated by the feathery look of the fur on the cub’s head. But these did not have that yet at 3 weeks.

    Delightful! Thanks for posting.

  2. Randall Schenck
    Posted March 24, 2018 at 9:20 am | Permalink

    Some great Caturday. Finding those cats is a very tough job.

  3. Michael Fisher
    Posted March 24, 2018 at 9:30 am | Permalink

    Four-year-old Bingwa [Swahili for “champion”] & the dad, nine-year-old Jason, were brought in from other U.S. zoos as a loan for breeding purposes. The cub names according to the MEET OUR NEW CHEETAH CUBS page are:

    Moja (MOH-jah), female — means one
    Mbili (BEE-lee**), male — means two
    Tatu (TAH-too), male — means three
    Nne (NNN-eh), female — means four
    Tano (TAH-noh), male — means five
    Sita (SEE-tah), female — means six
    Saba (SAH-bah), female — means seven
    Nane (NAH-neh), female — means eight

    ** Not right, it’s closer to mmm-BEE-lee

    Can the keepers distinguish them by sight?

    • Michael Fisher
      Posted March 24, 2018 at 9:36 am | Permalink

      Spoken Swahili numbers lesson from Mr. Samir:

    • nicky
      Posted March 24, 2018 at 1:04 pm | Permalink

      I guess the keepers can, since familiar with them.
      Note the white hair on the back of cheetah cubs? it is thought to be a kind of mimicry.
      From far they are difficult to distinguish from ratels (honey-badgers). The latter are really badass characters, that most animals, including leopards and lions, will give a wide berth.

  4. David Coxill
    Posted March 24, 2018 at 9:59 am | Permalink

    Making cats look like the snatch snatcher is the worst type of Feline abuse .
    It must be stopped t once .

    • W.T. Effingham
      Posted March 24, 2018 at 12:50 pm | Permalink

      My (semi – educated) guess is that many felines put up with “dress-up” shenanigans in order to speed access to treats and/or freedom from photo-ops. Obviously more intelligent than the egomaniacal P.O.S.POTUS their staff’s intended target.

    • nicky
      Posted March 24, 2018 at 12:58 pm | Permalink

      Should be a criminal offense. It is an insult to cat’s intelligence (which is, I’m sad to admit, not very high compared to cockatoos!)

  5. glen1davidson
    Posted March 24, 2018 at 10:06 am | Permalink

    I’d lick those little cheetahs too. Cute!

    Glen Davidson

  6. BJ
    Posted March 24, 2018 at 10:18 am | Permalink

    Those people are heroes. Jerry, they should be given “Honorary Cat” status.

    The second Trump cat’s servant got the hair right, as it sits just atop the head, but doesn’t appear to be attached.

  7. Posted March 24, 2018 at 11:13 am | Permalink

    My friend lost her house and everything in one of the fires. The safe return of the one cat she hadn’t been able to find when she fled brought her immense joy.

  8. Posted March 24, 2018 at 11:36 am | Permalink

    They are the color of dirt making them hard to spot in their native habitat no doubt.

    • nicky
      Posted March 24, 2018 at 1:07 pm | Permalink

      I don’t thinkso: white hair on their backs. See my reply at 4 about honey-badger mimicry.

  9. nicky
    Posted March 24, 2018 at 1:08 pm | Permalink

    Sorry, at 3.

    • nicky
      Posted March 24, 2018 at 1:13 pm | Permalink

      I mean, these videos are kinda close up, but just look through your eyelashes, apart from the longer legs and different face it screams “ratel!” to me.

  10. Ruthann
    Posted March 24, 2018 at 3:06 pm | Permalink

    A thousand thanks to the women searching for fire cats in CA. I hope they are able to find many more and reunite them with their staff.

  11. ijohnnyice
    Posted March 25, 2018 at 7:06 am | Permalink

    And of course these cheetah kittens will be reintroduced into the wild. They’ll so miss that concrete floor and the comfy and spacious wooden box.

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