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Category: Cats

Starving Malaysian cats spark call for animal-cruelty crackdown

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia — Malaysian pet owners and activists who found nearly 300 starving cats caged and soaked in excrement at pet-care centers demanded sterner laws Tuesday against cruelty to animals.

The felines had been left with a company in Malaysia's central Selangor state that was supposed to take care of them while their owners returned to their hometowns for a week to celebrate the Muslim festival of Eid al-Fitr.

Many owners became worried when they were later unable to contact company representatives. Rescue volunteers broke into the company's two facilities Sunday and discovered the emaciated cats lying in their own feces and urine in cages stacked atop each other.

Activists estimated that at least 12 cats were dead and that dozens more were missing. Police have questioned the company owner and an employee, but no arrests have been made.

The case has energized activists to push for stronger prosecution against people who mistreat animals, said Christine Chin, who heads the Malaysian Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

"There is no deterrent in this country for animal cruelty, so the problem just spreads," Chin said.

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Fat cats up for adoption -- at a discount -- at Ohio shelter

A central Ohio animal shelter with an abundance of chubby cats is having a sale on its fattest felines, hoping a discount entices potential owners to take one home.

The Capital Area Humane Society says the fat cats are on sale this summer for $15 each or two for $20, instead of the usual $70 adoption price.

Development manager Mary Hiser says the cats packed on the pounds before arriving at the shelter, and the extra weight can cause them health problems.

The Columbus Dispatch reports that nine of the shelter's 55 cats are overweight. Volunteers keep them in an area that offers extra room to run and burn off calories.

The largest cat is a 6-year-old black-and-brown shorthair named Zebe, who weighs 23 pounds.

RELATED PET RESCUE NEWS:
Animal lovers clamor to adopt Oklahoma puppy that survived euthanasia attempt
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-- Associated Press

Video goodness: Polydactyl cat gives the thumbs-up

What's not to love about a cat who can give you the thumbs-up?

The unusual skill of this cat, a polydactyl named Jimmy who hails from the U.K., is certainly entertaining and must be good for cheering up his owner after a bad day. How could you not smile upon seeing a cat making a thumbs-up gesture?

"He's probably the laziest cat in the world, but he's also super clever and has thumbs," owner tfg69 says of Jimmy, whose video, posted on YouTube just last month, has already been featured on Urlesque and racked up nearly 2 million views.

Polydactyl cats -- often associated with Ernest Hemingway and still in residence at the author's former home, now a museum in Key West, Fla. -- are common in parts of the East Coast of the U.S. as well as parts of England.

There are conflicting reports about which polydactyl cat should hold the world record for most toes, but the owner of a Hoboken, N.J., cat named Bandit says her pet has a staggering 29 toes.

RELATED FUNNY CAT VIDEOS:
Video goodness: Cat plays hide-and-seek in a paper bag
Video goodness: NIMBY cat opposes the construction of bottle-cap tower

-- Lindsay Barnett

Video: tfg68 via YouTube

Video goodness: YouTube star Maru the cat models new hairstyles

In his latest video, YouTube star Maru -- a Scottish fold cat who hails from Japan and has a devoted following of cat lovers all over the world -- models a series of hairstyles you wouldn't normally see on a non-human animal.

YouTube user mugumogu used Maru's well-established love of boxes to create the hairstyle video, utilizing the same concept -- a head-sized hole cutout in a larger picture -- that has made for many fun family-vacation photos at roadside attractions.

All Maru has to do is stick his head into a picture of a hairstyle with a cat-head-sized cutout to demonstrate how he would look with a bob, a side part and several other styles. Though we're partial to Maru's appearance as it is, we have to admit he looks pretty darn cute with red, wavy hair!

RELATED FUNNY CAT VIDEOS:
Your morning adorable: YouTube star Maru the cat plays the tambourine with his tail
Video goodness: Scottish fold cat sits up straight to investigate a potential snack

-- Lindsay Barnett

Video: mugumogu via YouTube

Video goodness: Scottish fold cat sits up straight to investigate a potential snack

There's something about a Scottish fold cat that's downright irresistible, isn't there?

We haven't quite put our finger on just what appeals to us about a cat with folded-down ears; perhaps our admiration for them is based, at least in part, on our affection for Maru, another Scottish fold whose well-documented love of boxes has made him an international phenomenon.

This particular Scottish fold has just discovered a plate of meat on the table and is willing to go to great lengths to investigate. Apparently sitting like a human is nothing new for him, either; owner tansokunyan's YouTube channel is full of videos of him sitting upright.

An interesting side note: Scottish fold kittens are born with straight (not "folded") ears, and some Scottish folds' ears never fold over at all.

RELATED FUNNY CAT VIDEOS:
Video goodness: Cat plays hide-and-seek in a paper bag
Video goodness: NIMBY cat opposes the construction of bottle-cap tower

-- Lindsay Barnett

Video: tansokunyan via YouTube

Larry the cat takes up residence at London's famous 10 Downing Street

LarryTheCat

Larry the cat -- a rescue from a London shelter, we're pleased to point out -- has joined the staff at 10 Downing Street, the official residence of the British prime minister, in response to concerns about the rodent population there. Prime Minister David Cameron's office is now home to the tabby-and-white domestic shorthair, who was adopted from the U.K.'s well-known Battersea Dogs & Cats Home.

A rat scurrying around Number 10 was caught on video by the BBC last month, and speculation quickly began swirling that the prime minister would get a cat to take care of any rodent problems. Apparently Cameron's children were hot on the idea, so after some weeks of hesitation, Larry finally arrived at Downing Street this week.

Prior to striking it rich, Larry was a stray found wandering the streets of London. He's believed to be about 3 to 5 years old and appears to have been on the streets for some time, according to Battersea. He had no identification and was not microchipped.

"Larry is a great match, because he is a very sociable cat who enjoys attention and loves human contact," Kirsty Walker, head of Battersea's cat department, said. "I've cared for thousands of cats during my time at Battersea and I can definitely see Larry holding his own at Downing Street."

Asked why Larry was chosen over other cats at Battersea, Cameron spokesman Steve Field told Bloomberg News that the cat "showed a very strong predatory drive and enjoyed playing with toy mice," important qualities for a cat in Larry's new line of work.

MORE POSTS ABOUT CATS:
University of Nebraska study on feral cats stirs controversy
Viral cat videos and more vie for Urlesque's Urly award for Animal of the Year

-- Lindsay Barnett

Photo: Larry looks out a window at Number 10 on Feb. 15. Credit: Mark Large / Reuters

Happy Valentine's Day! Is your pet neutered?

Since it's Valentine's Day, we couldn't resist sharing the latest video from the Best Friends Animal Society's strangely hypnotic series featuring dogs with human hands. Is it funny? Is it creepy? It's a little of both, and we're trying our best to be OK with that.

The previous pet-adoption-themed installment featured dogs wrapping holiday gifts, decorating Christmas cookies and hanging ornaments on a tiny tree to illustrate the point that all pets deserve a home for the holidays. This Valentine's Day-themed edition points out the importance of spaying and neutering companion animals in order to reduce the pet overpopulation problem.

For help finding low-cost options to have your pet spayed or neutered here in Southern California, Clinico, the Amanda Foundation, the Sam Simon Foundation and Actors and Others for Animals are all good places to start. Like noted animal advocate Bob Barker says, "Help control the pet population: Have your pet spayed or neutered!"

You wouldn't want to let Bob Barker down, would you? We thought not.

RELATED PET-THEMED PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENTS:
New ad campaign aims to dispel myths about shelter pets
'Twilight' actress Rachelle Lefevre films PSA for Best Friends Animal Society

-- Lindsay Barnett

Video: Best Friends Animal Society

Your morning adorable: Deer and cat are best friends

How many cats do you know who have their own personal hairstylist?

We don't mean a groomer who attends to their fur every now and again in between appointments with shih-tzus and poodles. We mean a single-minded stylist with only one client and ample time to attend to that client's every follicle and cowlick.

We can count only one cat with such a devoted groomer: Tiptree, the orange-and-white kitty above. It just so happens that Tiptree's stylist is a deer named Hoppy.

Hoppy was found alone and ailing when he was just a tiny fawn. He was raised by a Canadian couple -- with the assistance of Tiptree, of course -- and is even the subject of a documentary.

RELATED UNUSUAL ANIMAL FRIENDSHIPS:
Your morning adorable: Cat licks friendly rat
Your morning adorable: Deer and dog at play

-- Lindsay Barnett

Video credit: hoppythedeer via YouTube

Video goodness: Cat's staccato meows sound like ... well, not much like meows

We couldn't help chuckling at the above video, which purports to show a cat barking like a dog, but in our humble opinion is a lot closer to a cat chirping like a bird.

In fact, if we may share our hunch, we suspect that this kitty may actually be watching a bird through the window and chirping like one out of frustration at being inside when the bird is outside. (It's just a guess, but we've seen something very similar happen before in an alarmingly cute video.)

Whatever this cat's reasons might be for making staccato noises that sound decidedly uncatlike, we admire his enthusiasm, and we're very thankful that someone had a video camera handy!

RELATED FUNNY CAT VIDEOS:

-- Lindsay Barnett

Video: YuriPrim via YouTube

Researchers find that stress can make healthy cats seem sick, reduced stress can make sick cats healthier

Cat Stress

LOS ANGELES — It's not just people who get sick from stress.

A recent Ohio State University study found that healthy cats show signs of illness when stressed.

At the same time, cats diagnosed with feline interstitial cystitis became healthier when stress levels were reduced, the study showed.

Twelve of 32 cats in the three-year study were healthy and 20 had FIC, a chronic pain syndrome that affects the cat's bladder.

Lower urinary tract diseases occur in about 1.5% of house cats, the researchers said, and a lot of pet owners can't stand the messes that come with it, so millions of sick cats are euthanized or turned over to shelters every year.

The owners of the sick cats had all decided to have their pets euthanized, but agreed to let them take part in the study at Ohio State first.

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