Caturday felid trifecta: Tweets of cats doing cat stuff, Russian appointed an official town stray-tender; cat ate species new to science

First, a BuzzFeed collection “of cats just being cats”. I’ve chosen five tweets for your delectation:

I’m sure I’ve posted this before, but it’s worth seeing again. I don’t think the photographer had a choice:

 

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This story (taken from Reuters) is the only thing that HuffPo is good at. Click on screenshot to read:

Living the dream, but I think the budget should be higher:

It was an unusual job advert. Wanted: Cat chief. Location: Zelenogradsk, Russia: Duties: Tending to the town’s approximately 70 stray cats.

Some 80 applicants applied for the new role with the municipality in the small town in the Kaliningrad region, which has also erected a cat statue and added a feline to its emblem in a bid to rebrand itself as Russia’s foremost cat-loving community.

In the end, local resident Svetlana Logunova was appointed guardian of the town’s felines. To help her with the task, she was given a bicycle and uniform, including a bright green jacket, black bow tie and hat.

She has been given a budget of 5,700 roubles ($85) a month to ensure all the seaside community’s cats are happy, dishing out food, strokes and free rides in the basket on her bike.

“I alone cannot care for every single one and a helping hand would go a long way,” Logunova said.

And, of course, I found a video of Svetlana, nattily attired, going about Ceiling Cat’s work:

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Finally, I put up a tweet about this today, but thought I’d expand a bit more on it. It’s a post from the site Mallomaroking (click on screenshot):

Part of the report:

The cod icefish re-discovered and published in 1904 by Louis Dollo. The original caption says “Mangé par le chat de l’équipage de la Terror” or “Eaten by the Terror’s cat”!

The famous polar ships HMS Erebus and HMS terror had been in the ice long before Franklin took them to their doom in the Northwest PassageJames Clark Ross took them to the Antarctic from 1839-43 on a hugely successful voyage to find the South Magnetic Pole. Ross filled in many blanks on the map and discovered and named many places including Ross Island and Mount Erebus – one of the most spectacular volcanoes yet discovered.

Ross also took civilian experts to describe and write about their discoveries. These civilians produced vast scientific volumes to record their results.

Unfortunately the official reports show that the pathway to knowledge is sometimes more complicated than originally envisaged.

“When the ships were in the high latitude of 77°10’S., and long. 178½°, a fish was thrown up by the spray in a gale of wind, against the bows of the Terror, and frozen there. It was carefully removed … and a rough sketch was made of it by the surgeon, John Robertson, Esq., but before it could be put into spirits, a cat carried it away from his cabin, and ate it. The sketch is not sufficiently detailed [so] … we have introduced a copy of the design merely to preserve a memorial of what appears to be a novel form.”

Richardson, 1844, The zoology of the voyage of the H.M.S. Erebus & Terror

This was a tragedy as it was clearly a species new to science and it had some very unusual features including long fins and very pale flesh. Sixty years were to pass before a scientist on the expedition led by Adrien de Gerlache on the Belgica re-discovered the named the fish Robertson had drawn. Louis Dollo wrote to Joseph Dalton Hooker and received this reply

Cod icefish, found in Antarctic waters, are remarkable animals, as they are always in danger of having their blood and tissues freeze. They have a spleen that removes ice crystals from the blood, and antifreeze proteins that bind to small ice crystals to prevent them from growing.

And here’s another species taken down by cats: the flightless Stephens Island Wren (Traversia lyalli), once numerous in New Zealand but forced by predation to the small Stephens Island in the Cook Strait. While legend has it that the entire species was destroyed by Tibbles, a cat owned by the island’s lighthouse keeper, in fact the species was probably extirpated by the island’s numerous feral cats at the end of the 19th century. They were all destroyed by 1925, but by then the wren was extinct. Here’s a picture (1895 illustration by John Keulemans).


Harvard’s Museum of Comparative Zoology has a specimen of the Stephens Island Wren, and I once asked famed evolutionist/ornithologist Ernst Mayr to show it to me. He did.

h/t: Tom, Matthew

11 Comments

  1. Michael Fisher
    Posted October 27, 2018 at 9:45 am | Permalink

    Svetlana’s uniform: Needs whiskers & a swishy tail

  2. Ken Kukec
    Posted October 27, 2018 at 10:25 am | Permalink

    OT, but there are reports of an active shooter at a synagogue in Pittsburgh. Sounds really bad.

  3. Hempenstein
    Posted October 27, 2018 at 5:13 pm | Permalink

    Title should be felid quadrifecta (tetrafecta?), with addition of “; cat(s) extirpate an entire species.”

  4. Heather Hastie
    Posted October 27, 2018 at 9:14 pm | Permalink

    Am I the only NZer who hears the phrase, “Orchestrated Litany of Lies,” every time Mt Erebus is mentioned?

    • infiniteimprobabilit
      Posted October 28, 2018 at 12:35 am | Permalink

      I certainly do. 🙂

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Air_New_Zealand_Flight_901

      I’ve still got my copy of the Royal Commission of Enquiry’s report. It is very readable. Nothing pisses off a judge so much as the suspicion that he’s being led up the garden path.

      cr

      • infiniteimprobabilit
        Posted October 28, 2018 at 12:39 am | Permalink

        Incidentally, Mt Erebus’s lower neighbour on Ross Island is named Mt Terror. After, obviously, Erebus’s companion ship.

        cr

      • infiniteimprobabilit
        Posted October 28, 2018 at 12:55 am | Permalink

        In fact, Mr Trump’s recent comments about the Khashoggi cover-up could almost be applied to the Air New Zealand management’s efforts after Erebus. It seems to be almost the rule that attempts to cover up ineluctably end up making things far, far worse.

        cr

      • Heather Hastie
        Posted October 29, 2018 at 7:43 pm | Permalink

        I was in the fifth form when it happened, so I never read much about it, but I did watch the news, and that phrase was broadcast over and over!

  5. Posted November 8, 2018 at 4:32 pm | Permalink

    Poor wren! Very sad story.


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