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 Madison.com 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.

Friday Catblogging: ‘Semi-Domesticated’

 Unlike dogs, domestic cats exhibit traits expected of wild animals, raising a question about what their level of domestication:

Dog lovers will find it baffling that cats are the world’s most popular pet. After all, they’re passive-aggressive, emotionally unavailable, and known for their chilly independence—traits that at most qualify felines for the role of “man’s best frenemy.”

It turns out, though, there’s an evolutionary reason for this tense relationship. That is, cats are in many ways still wild.

“Cats, unlike dogs, are really only semi-domesticated,” says Wes Warren, professor of genetics Washington University and co-author of the first complete mapping (paywall) of the house cat genome—specifically, that of an Abyssinian named Cinnamon….

So why have kitties stayed wilder? The genome-mappers theorize it’s because house cat populations have continued to interbreed with wild cats. Also, humans’ “cat fancy”—meaning, our fanaticism about creating weird cat breeds—only began in the last 200 or so years.

Via Why You Shouldn’t Trust Your Cat @ The Atlantic.