Friday Catblogging: Google Photos Makes Movies from People’s Cat Photos

Hilary Hanson writes that Google Is Surreptitiously Making Amazing Movies From People’s Cat Photos:

If you use Google Photos, you’ve probably experienced the app’s “assistant” feature taking the liberty of creating suggested collages, stories or mini-movies out of your pictures.

If you’re like most people, you usually ignore these suggestions.

If you’re a cat lover, however, you may be getting a suggestion soon that you definitely won’t want to ignore. That’s because Google may be making you a “Meow Movie.”

“I got a notification on my phone last night,” writer Courtney Gillette told HuffPost in an email. “It was from my Google Photos app, and it said, ‘Your Meow Movie is ready.’” The notification included a happy cat face emoji, she said.

Friday Catblogging: Shop Cats of New York

If you’ve not yet done so, I’d recommend picking up Tamar Arslanian’s Shop Cats of New York (with Andrew Marttila, photographer). Hilary Hanson’s post Adorable Portraits Explore The Lives Of Big-City Shop Cats describes the book and the felines it features. (The video above is from the Facebook page for the book.)

If there’s ever been a town that could use lots of shop cats, it’s Whitewater.

(In my own case, there’s almost always a feline nearby when I’m writing, often at the very edge of my notebook or keyboard. I’m a member of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, and one of their banners – the one that I use – sensibly includes a cat in the illustration promoting bloggers’ legal rights.)

Needless to say, I’ve no personal or financial connection to Arslanian; hers is simply a fine book, to read or to give as a gift.

Friday Catblogging: Snow Leopard Triple Sighting

Three snow leopards surprised wildlife researchers in China by snuggling in front of a monitoring camera – a rare sighting they say will help us better understand and protect the big cats. And they hope it’ll help scientists estimate just how many of these elusive animals are left in the wild.

The big cat conservation group Panthera released a stop-motion video of the felines last week, captured in the highlands of China’s Qinghai province, near a monastery where the agency is working alongside the Snow Leopard Trust and a local nonprofit named Shan Shui. In the minute-long clip, a snow leopard lopes in front of the camera. Another soon joins it for a nap and a third big cat crawls on top of them before settling in the back of the frame.

Via Snow Leopard Triple Sighting A Treat For Viewers, And Even Better For Science.

Friday Catblogging: Cat Yoga

For cat lovers and exercise enthusiasts, free yoga classes filled with feline friends sounds like a pretty good deal. But these classes are offered with a larger purpose in mind: The cats need homes.

The P.A.W.S. Animal Adoption Center in Camden, Maine, offers free monthly cat yoga classes as a way to introduce potential new pet owners to some kitties in need. P.A.W.S. executive director Shelly Butler told the Bangor Daily News Monday that the classes were a “win-win” because yoga has therapeutic benefits cats bring joy to many people.

Butler got the idea for the monthly classes after reading about other animal shelters in the U.S. with similar offers.

The trend started when yoga practitioner Jeanette Skaluba, a volunteer at the now-closed Homeward Bound Pet Shelter, in Decatur, Illinois, posted a video of her performing the practice with kitties to YouTube, according to Yoga Journal.

Skaluba started a website devoted to the concept called Yoga For Cats, though the trend has also been dubbed Meowga.

At New York City’s Meow Parlour, the Big Apple’s first cat cafe, Yoga and Kitty classes are offered five times a month in partnership with the nonprofit organization KittyKind. The parlour’s teacher Amy Apgar leads groups in 30 minutes of cat playtime and 45 minutes of yoga. “These cats are all up for adoption. Some of them are special needs,” she told CNN. “Some of them have been through a lot.”

Via This Cat Yoga Trend Serves A Much Bigger Purpose @ Huffington Post.

Heroic Cat Saves Wisconsin Family from Poisoning

A fluffy brown tabby cat is being hailed as a hero after she alerted her human family to dangerously high levels of carbon monoxide in their home last month.

Annette Shanahan of Reedsburg, Wisconsin, told this week that around 1 a.m. on Feb. 4, she felt weak, ill and disoriented and wandered out of bed, collapsing into a chair in the bedroom.

Her husband, Kevin, said he would have slept through it if it weren’t for the family cat, Gracie.

American heroine. Via CBS.

”All of the sudden Gracie, I heard she was pounding, knocking, knocking, knocking at the door,” he told local news channel WREG. “And so I got out of bed and to stop her from pounding at the door, and I looked to my left and Annette was there in the chair.”

Gracie doesn’t usually try to get into the bedroom, so the pounding was out of the ordinary for her, the couple said.

They were barely able to call 911 to tell them they couldn’t breathe. When help arrived, firefighters discovered deadly carbon monoxide levels in their home, which was later attributed to a hot water heater malfunction.

Via Huffington Post.

Friday Catblogging: Cats Make Appearance at Westminster Dog Show

Cats are not about to tread on show dogs’ sovereign terrain or usurp their hold on prime-time television pageantry (kitties already rule the Internet, after all). Westminster is still a dog-only show — for now.

What is true: Cats will, for the first time in several years, be on display at a joint Westminster-American Kennel Club event on Feb. 11, two days before the actual canine competition begins. It’s called “Meet the breeds,”  an occasion where members of the public can ogle and learn about many dozens of dog breeds, each with its own booth.

This year, out of the kindness of their canine-loving hearts, and because of a bit of public pressure, the American Kennel Club (AKC) decided to bring back cats, giving forty breeds of felines their own booths.

“We have heard people’s demands for the cats. And they returned,” said Brandi Hunter, an AKC spokeswoman who, without a hint of resentment in her voice, added, “Cats are pets, too.”

Via The truth about cats at the Westminster dog show @ Washington Post.

Friday Catblogging: Missing Bobcat Found on National Zoo Property

The bobcat missing from the National Zoo since Monday morning has been found safe on zoo grounds, the zoo said Wednesday.

Shortly before 5 p.m., the Zoo issued a press release about their find, including a photo of Ollie the bobcat in a cage.

A visitor spotted the bobcat near the zoo’s birdhouse and tipped off zoo keepers, zoo staff said at a news conference Wednesday evening. Zoo curator Craig Saffoe said the zoo then set traps in the area.

“[We] crossed our fingers, walked away and literally within 15 minutes the birdhouse keepers called us back and told us, ‘we have a bobcat in the trap up here,'” Saffoe said.

Via ‘She Was Ready to Come Home’: Missing Bobcat Found on National Zoo Property @ NBC4 Washington.