May 31, 2005

Amira and Gertie, BM!!!

No kidding, another rhino and goat.

Confused? See here.

Posted by ause0007 at 5:06 PM

Genetic Savings and Clone

Cloning. I'm surprised I haven't touched on this earlier. The cloning-your-pets thing puts dumb people at their finest.

Why clone? I love my animals. I will be devastated when they die. But it's a pet's personality that makes them great, and that doesn't come packaged in DNA. Personality is a result of life-experiences. Just like with us humans, our lives are what shape us into what we are.

Take two cats, genetically identical. Drop one off in Gary, Indiana. Drop the other off in Evanston, Illinois. Wait a few years. Take both cats from the environment in which they grew up. Study them. There's no question that those genetically identical animals will be nothing alike. If your precious Evanston kitty dies, a clone won't replace her. This is kind of an extreme example, because your clone kitty probably wouldn't be a Gary cat, but the point is that even your kitty and a cloned counterpart will have different life experiences and will therefore not be the same at all.

You can clone your cat and she'll look just like your Schnookums, but she won't be Schnookums. When Schnookums dies, Schnookums dies. Cloning won't bring that cat back. So why spend a fortune for a cat you know nothing about (other than their appearance) when you can pick up a cat that actually needs you, and will appreciate you?

If you ask me, cloning is for people that can't accept that death is a part of life. People die, pets die, it hurts, you move on, you meet new people, new animals, and although there'll never be another Schnookums, there will be a Snowball. So deal with it. Snowball will be great. Geez, just give Snowball a chance!

Posted by ause0007 at 5:00 PM

for a change of pace...

I'm not trying to make people come across as idiots with this blog, they just do that themselves. But so I will also include stories of awesome people, because I know they do exist. It's too bad, but they just don't get as much recognition in the news.

This man is awesome. I have two cats, one of whom has a story much like the one in that link.

Sophie Jack was found in the wheel-well of a city truck. It was parked at a food store and when the workers got back to the truck, they heard her mewing. If they hadn't heard her, had they just gotten back into the truck, my little baby would have been munched up in two seconds flat. She was only three or four weeks old and her mother was nowhere to be found. She got passed around, and ended up in my hands a few days later. Now she's huge and wonderful and amazing.

My other cat and my life's greatest joy, Stella, has quite the story too. She was a wild cat out in the Black Hills who lived at a horse camp. All her brothers and sisters are probably dead now, or running around with diseases and missing limbs. They never came near people. They lived outside and did their own thing. They were wild. But Stella was not like her brothers and sisters. She was friendly. So friendly that she would always hang out in the driveway of this horse camp. Huge trailers were constantly coming in and out and everyone feared she would be run over. My mom's best friend, Sue, decided that Stella was too wonderful to leave out in the driveway to die. Knowing that I was ready to take in a needy cat whenever I came upon one, Sue snatched Stella up and brought her to my mom's. I drove out a few days later and took her home with me.

I knew when I took her that she was a very sick cat and that I would probably have some very large vet bills coming up, but I also knew that she was worth it. She had had chlamydia (which is respiratory in cats, not sexual) pretty badly, which led to a nasty bout of pneumonia, which damaged her lungs, stunted her growth, and led to rhinoinfluenza. She got on several medications once we got back to my apartment (I think she's been on about six or seven), and everything cleared up except she kept snotting. The vets told me that her lungs were now healthy, so the snotting must be in the sinuses. They said it is not totally uncommon for a cat to snot for several years with no explanation. They are healthy cats that just snot constantly.

So Stella was fatter, healthier, and happier. It was during this time that I got Sophie Jack, and they had instantly become the best of friends. Everything was going well, until a few months later, when for seemingly no reason at all, Stella started becoming covered in scabs. The scabs grew plentiful and some quite large. They would eventually take all her surrounding hair with them when they left. Her face started to peel off and she wasn't looking good. She was happy, playful, and wasn't irritated when you touched the skin, but she just looked bad. Sophie Jack never had any of the symptoms Stella did. None of my vets (I have about five that I go to for different reasons) had ever seen anything like these problems. On one's advice, I switched Stella to a sensitive skin food, and we started her on steroids for a few weeks. The scabs went away and didn't come back. But now she's left with dark spots where her hair has grown back. So everything is good with Stella these days, except she still snots, although not as often. They say it's nothing to worry about, so I don't. She's happy and spunky.

Stella's full-grown now, but she only weighs seven pounds. She's a very little cat. Sophie Jack was already surpassing Stella in size by the time she was five months old. Sophie's still not full-grown, so whenever I see a "normal-sized" cat, I think they look like Maine Coons, even though they are just regular sized cats.

Stella and Sophie Jack are basically the best cats in the history of the world.

Posted by ause0007 at 3:22 PM

smart moves

Without animals, people would be dead. Why? Because people are dumb.

A Maryland couple's house burned down on Sunday. They had no electricity since a few days before the fire and their smoke detectors didn't work... so they were lighting the joint with candles. Smart move! Then they decided that they could go to sleep and leave the candles lit. Smart move number two! Just before six in the morning, the house was blazing, and they were still sleeping. They would be dead, except then their pet cats came and saved them.

Posted by ause0007 at 3:03 PM

turtle derby

The leatherback turtle is the largest of living turtles. It is also an endangered species, and has been since 1970. So what did a selfish Albanian fisherman do when he found one trapped in his fishing net? He swapped it for a Mercedes... only slightly used, of course. I think my faith in humans just got lost at sea.

Posted by ause0007 at 12:42 PM

May 26, 2005

bipedal panda

This is a few days old, but I still feel I have to post it. It's too awesome.

Posted by ause0007 at 5:17 PM

Huggy loves cheese

Lots of people spoil their pets. It's natural to want to do so. However, most just spoil them with attention. You often see the over-doer though, the one who bought their cat a 12-level jungle gym, or perhaps sprays their pup with Evian Mist. And there's always a few that insist their cat loves caviar, even though they probably like a cheap can of tuna more. But a mystery eBay shopper just bought a nearly $300 chunk of cheese... for his cat.

The chunk of cheese in question, weighing in at only 10.6 ounces, is an ultra-strong cheddar based on a hundred-year-old recipe. And it's called "TNT." Is it just me, or is this all becoming semi-reminscent of an old Tom and Jerry episode?

Posted by ause0007 at 2:51 PM

May 25, 2005

fatty fatty three-by catty

A few weeks ago, a really fat cat was dropped off at an animal shelter in Sacramento. And when I say really fat, I mean REALLY fat. Weighing in at 33 pounds, Fat Cat is three times the size of the average cat, and eight times the size of a chihuahua. Fat Cat has recently been adopted, and is making headlines.

KCRA-Sacramento provides the best television stills I think I've ever seen.

For the past several years, it has been my goal in life to own a 28+ lb. cat. However, I don't want a fat cat, I just want a big cat, a Maine Coon. Unfortunately for my dream, cats that size only come in the form of purebred males, and I'm a die-hard follower of the unwritten rule to never buy a cat. So with the chances of a malnourished, stray, purebred, male Maine Coon cat showing up on my doorstep being so slight, it is likely that I will never own one. Oh well.

Leo, the 2004 Guinness World Record holder for Longest Cat in the World, is a Maine Coon. And he is 6 inches longer than the last record holder. At 35 pounds, his vet doesn't consider him overweight... because he's not. He's a big cat, not a fat cat.

For your viewing pleasure, here are some pictures of other big cats: here (which looks suspicious with the background blotted out, but I assure you it is real ---> proof), and here... and yet another here. And oh, what the hell, one more.

Posted by ause0007 at 5:05 PM

May 24, 2005

Dolittles do little

Pet psychics: Are they just like those late-night television ads of the late 90s urging you to call the Psychic Hotline for $1.99 per minute? Or can they really talk to your animals?

A North Carolina woman is claiming she can talk to animals telepathically, and she doesn't even need to be there. Yes, she can even do it over the telephone. Starting to sound a bit more like the Psychic Hotline, eh?

For the kind of money she's pulling down, I would probably claim I could talk to animals too. Like the people who call up psychic hotlines, the people who want to talk to pet psychics are pretty desperate. And desperation is the platform on which psychics want you to stand. You'll believe anything. And you'll pay anything to hear it.

An awesome article (which I recommend reading in its entirety) from Skeptical Inquirer magazine notes five techniques of pet psychics:
1. Noting the obvious
2. Making safe statements
3. Asking questions (aka fishing for info)
4. Offering vague statements that most people can apply specifically to themselves
5. Returning "messages" to animals (aka pausing for a moment)

According to the article, pet psychics use the same technique fortune tellers use for humans, called "cold-reading." In English: "psychics, the manipulative bastards, don't know jack-squat... except what you tell them, idiot."

Animal Planet has a show called The Pet Psychic. When visiting the show's website, you can find "simple steps to making a psychic connection with your pet" from The Pet Psychic herself, Sonya Fitzpatrick. Tip no. 5 of hers states: "Ask if there is anything your pet would like you to do for him. Imagine your animal is sending an answer back to you and accept whatever you receive in your imagination." Am I simply imagining the word "imagination," or is that really there? Is it just me, or is she actually admitting that psychic ability is really up to one's imagination?

I would like to state for the record that Dr. Dolittle is one of my favorite movies. But it also goes without saying that I don't believe one word of it.

Posted by ause0007 at 4:34 PM

five grand

Q: How do you know you're a bad pet owner?
A: An animal rescue group gives you $5,000 to take custody of your dog away from you.

Posted by ause0007 at 4:19 PM

May 23, 2005

rhinocerogoat

In the history of strange animal friendships, never have I seen such an unlikely pair. Yeah, I was suprised with Koko and her kittens. Yeah, Griz and Cat made my heart melt. Last week on MSNBC.com there was a photo of a dog and a deer that snuggled, this week a dog breastfeeding two tigers. I think I about died when I saw that. Even I have two cats that snuggle and lick my pet rats. But a rhinoceros and a goat? This takes the cake.

Meet Clover and Bok-Bok, BFF. When Clover is full-grown, she may weigh as much as 4,400 lbs. That's over a thousand pounds more than my '95 Ford Taurus.

Posted by ause0007 at 8:44 PM

poo police

Every now and again, some butthead politician comes up with some ridiculous idea for a law that just makes you go "HUH?"

That butthead politician is currently Manfred Juraczka, a local Vienna politician who wants to perform DNA tests on the steaming brown left by dogs on the sidewalk. Why? To punish owners who don't baggie up the doody, of course. Fines could cost as much as US $284, not counting the cost of the DNA testing, which would also need to be paid by the offending owners.

So what does this whole thing require? Shat samples of all of the 50,000+ dogs in Vienna? Will there be a storage facility somewhere to hold all this poo? What kind of DNA testing specialist is going to want to spend their lives poking sidewalk leftovers?

And I thought the cat leash law was a pile of crap.

Posted by ause0007 at 7:35 PM

California dreamin'

So a Wyoming housecat just turned up 1,000 miles from his home after only two days. And where did he go? Los Angeles, of course. Perhaps he was attempting to make it big in Hollywood. It's a classic case, small-town kid from Wyoming or North Dakota or some other boring state, wants to try his hand at acting, blah blah, so he ventures off to the City of Angels.

His owners suspect that he hopped a train or hitch-hiked his way there. You always hear stories about animals traveling long distances to get back to their families or what not. Well, this cat was apparently trying to get as far away from his owners as possible. It's like the opposite of psi trailing, which is a very cool phenomena might I add.

My old dog traveled 150 miles from suburban Columbus, Ohio on her way back to Minneapolis. She'd escaped during a holiday party, got lost, then decided to go home.

---> link to the story

Posted by ause0007 at 6:24 PM