Caturday felids: History and housecats; cats scatter before an earthquake; cat upstages scholar

It’s Caturday, though I don’t know how many people actually look at the cat stuff. Nevertheless, I persist. First, a tweet as lagniappe:


From The History Guy, we have a five-minute history of housecats, which might not have much new for the readers here.


From The Laughing Squid (and many other places), we have a clowder of cats reacting to an earthquake, possibly detecting it before humans. Now there’s no way they can detect an incipient earthquake before there’s motion in the ground, but they may be more sensitive to that than are humans. The notes for the video:

Just ahead of a earthquake that took place on June 18, 2018 in Wakayama, Wakayama in the Kansai region of Japan, a number of the sleeping adopatable cats who live at the CAT Café CATchy suddenly went on full alert, aimlessly scattering their furry selves all over the café in search of another place to be before the ground started shaking. Luckily the quake was short and not intense, measuring a three out of seven on the Shindo seismic scale. All of the resident felines were safe, particularly the ones who never bothered to move in the first place.

They start getting agitated about three seconds in, and the earthquake begins eight seconds later.


Entertainment Weekly has a video of a historian being upstaged by a housecat. He carries on gamely. The notes:

Political scientist Jerzy Targlaski was chatting about Poland’s Supreme Court for a Dutch news program called Nieuwsuur when his attention-seeking cat Lisio crawled up him and began roaming around on his shoulders.

Targlaski gamely carried on during the interview, occasionally removing his cat’s tail from blocking his face.

According to CBS News, the moment was apparently cut from the show’s eventual broadcast but since journalist Rudy Bouma shared the outtake video on Twitter on Saturday and its gone viral, the incident’s been likely viewed by many more people around the world than would have seen the edited program. “Jerzy Targlaski remained completely unruffled during our interview when this happened,” Bouma wrote.

This is hilarious:

As the BBC notes, Targlaski seems to be a cat lover. Here’s another tweet from another time (different tie):

h/t: Tom, Laurie, Moto


  1. Serendipitydawg
    Posted July 21, 2018 at 9:37 am | Permalink

    Bung a fold in so there’s a logged click through!

  2. Janet
    Posted July 21, 2018 at 9:41 am | Permalink

    Might it not be that there are sounds the cats pick up on prior to the motion of an earthquake?

    • infiniteimprobabilit
      Posted July 21, 2018 at 10:07 am | Permalink

      Very possibly. You can actually hear an earthquake coming.

      I was visiting in Christchurch a few months after the big quake, when there was about one aftershock a day, and you could hear the sound (though I can’t describe it – probably a sort of vague humming noise) just before the shaking started, though by the time one had realised what it was, it was too late to react.

      For someone unused to quakes, it was a weird feeling – as if there was something ‘wrong’ happening and, oddly, it aroused a sort of instinctive indignation, as if I wanted to grab somebody and order them to stop it.

      Our three-year-old granddaughter was quite used to it. “Shake, mummy!”


    • Torbjörn Larsson
      Posted July 21, 2018 at 3:58 pm | Permalink

      There is a lot of leeway in earthquake physics [ ].

      The fastest waves are compressive, sound like, P waves, then comes the shearing, “shaking”, S waves. (And then there are possible slower surface waves.) Even assuming equal amplitudes, if the P waves are imperceptible to the camera moving with, the S waves should be harder to hide.

      • infiniteimprobabilit
        Posted July 21, 2018 at 9:30 pm | Permalink

        I had thought that the advance earthquake ‘sound’ I heard might be caused by the ground disturbance shaking things and causing a noise that travelled ahead of it. But it seems that both S and P waves travel much faster than the speed of sound in air, so it can’t be that.

        So I assume the ‘sound’ I heard was the P waves themselves going past, moving things just enough to cause a barely-audible air disturbance but not enough to be physically sensed otherwise; followed almost immediately (in the case of a nearby epicentre) by the S-waves that do the shaking.


  3. Posted July 21, 2018 at 9:42 am | Permalink

    The cats in the earthquake…wow!

  4. Christopher
    Posted July 21, 2018 at 10:21 am | Permalink

    Always enjoy the cat stuff, excepting tw*tter, which for personal reasons I avoid.

  5. Linda Calhoun
    Posted July 21, 2018 at 10:22 am | Permalink

    I ALWAYS read the cat stuff (and the duck stuff, too).


  6. Randall Schenck
    Posted July 21, 2018 at 10:22 am | Permalink

    Loved that history of cats. Also neuter and spay your cats always and consider same for yourself.

    • Posted July 21, 2018 at 4:03 pm | Permalink

      You must be having a gloomy day!

      • Posted July 21, 2018 at 10:04 pm | Permalink

        On the contrary, that’s a happy thought!

  7. Mike McCants
    Posted July 21, 2018 at 10:30 am | Permalink

    It seems that there is an unusual sound just before the cats become alert.

  8. Glenda Palmer
    Posted July 21, 2018 at 10:59 am | Permalink

    Besides WEIT I get daily briefs from Brookings, Reuters, Science, MacLean’s, Canadian Atheist, Global News and a few more. I absolutely NEED a feline fix and ducky updates to lighten the load. Never quit PCC, please.

  9. Derek Freyberg
    Posted July 21, 2018 at 11:02 am | Permalink

    Keep those cats and kittens coming, please!

  10. Posted July 21, 2018 at 11:07 am | Permalink

    I look forward to Caterday each week! This is one post my wife and I watch together. I even like the “honorary cats” thst show up from time to time!

    btw, I also read or skim the science posts, so don’t stop those either!

  11. Posted July 21, 2018 at 11:17 am | Permalink

    I always read the cat posts. In fact (and I apologize for this), I read them more regularly than some of you posts that have more content. Though I read most of those, too.

  12. Taz
    Posted July 21, 2018 at 11:45 am | Permalink

    Loved this:

    “Cats were sent down by the gods to oversee the running of creation, but were too fond of sleeping to do a good job of it.”

  13. Richard Jones
    Posted July 21, 2018 at 11:52 am | Permalink

    Keep the cats coming!

  14. Richard Jones
    Posted July 21, 2018 at 11:53 am | Permalink

    Keep those cats coming!

  15. Posted July 21, 2018 at 12:02 pm | Permalink

    You can tell that cats’ natural reaction to perceived danger is run first and ask questions later. It doesn’t work well in this case as they discover the ground is still moving in the new spot.

  16. JB
    Posted July 21, 2018 at 12:06 pm | Permalink

    I skip the cat stuff, the duck reports, and anything science-related that goes over my head (which is not all of it, but some of it).

    But the political articles are so insightful and articulate that I stop by every day to read them and learn something.

  17. George
    Posted July 21, 2018 at 12:32 pm | Permalink

    Not to start a controversy, but it seems that most of the web refers to this day as “catterday.” Including the Oriental Institute at PCC(e)’s own campus – which had a nice post for today –

  18. Debbie Coplan
    Posted July 21, 2018 at 1:38 pm | Permalink

    I read every post!

  19. David Coxill
    Posted July 21, 2018 at 2:28 pm | Permalink

    I laughed at the bit when the cats were all lined up eating ,don’t think i could get my four to do that .

    As for that Polish guy ,are you sure it wasn’t Stephen Fry having a laugh ?

    • David Coxill
      Posted July 21, 2018 at 2:37 pm | Permalink

      Whoops ,just realised the boss didn’t post the clip of the cats eating ,i must have clicked on it after the Earthquake clip finished .

  20. Ruthann L. Richards
    Posted July 21, 2018 at 2:43 pm | Permalink

    Please, please, please, keep up the good Caturday work! All week I look forward to it, as it is a nice relief from all the idiocy going on in the world. And lots of greetings to Hili, Leon and the rest.

  21. Posted July 21, 2018 at 4:06 pm | Permalink

    I think that seismic researchers must supply their labs with a few cats (can be listed as earthquake bioindicators) and see whether their equipment or the cats detect the quakes earlier.

  22. Patrick Wynne
    Posted July 21, 2018 at 4:14 pm | Permalink

    Here in Los Angeles, I am always awake for nighttime earthquakes because my cats flip out a couple of seconds before one hits and wake me up. Even the little tiny ones that just barely rock the bed.

    I always mean to check the USGS site (but never remember to do so) when they freak in the middle of the night and I don’t feel something. Maybe they are sensing a quake that is below my perception.

  23. Barbara Radcliffe
    Posted July 21, 2018 at 5:50 pm | Permalink

    Please persist with the cats. Here in the land of OZ they are my Sunday morning treat! Even better than the ducks…

  24. Mark R.
    Posted July 21, 2018 at 7:37 pm | Permalink

    Saturday is a slow read day for this reader, but I always get around to the Caturday post because it’s great. 5:35 pm pst…not too late today.

  25. Claudia Baker
    Posted July 22, 2018 at 12:47 pm | Permalink

    I agree with many above. Love Caterday!
    Keep ’em coming.

  26. Posted July 22, 2018 at 8:16 pm | Permalink

    Always look at the cat stuff. 

  27. Andrea Kenner
    Posted July 24, 2018 at 5:45 am | Permalink

    I LOVE the cat stuff. It brightens my day!

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