L.A. Unleashed

All things animal in Southern
California and beyond

Category: Cats

Public's help sought in case of cat bound in duct tape and placed in clothes dryer in Riverside

DUCTtapedCAT Animal Services officials in Riverside County are asking for the public's help in finding the person or persons responsible for binding a cat in duct tape and placing her in an apartment building's communal clothes dryer.

A resident of the building, in the 3000 block of Watkins Drive near UC Riverside, called police upon discovering the cat, whose face and upper body had been wrapped in duct tape. Police contacted the animal services department, which brought the cat to the Western Riverside County/City animal shelter for care.

The cat, a gray tabby believed to be about four years old, survived but suffered a broken tooth and internal bleeding in one of her eyes. The eye injury is expected to heal. Because of the injuries, animal services officials suspect the dryer was turned on by the person who bound the cat and placed her inside it, although it wasn't running at the time she was discovered.

Worse still, it has been determined that she recently gave birth to a litter of kittens, which haven't been located despite attempts by animal services officers. They had planned to return to the apartment building Friday afternoon or evening to try to access a locked garage, where someone reported possibly hearing a kitten's meow, when a tenant with access to the garage returned home for the day.

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Your morning adorable: Siamese kitten and Slovakian rough-haired pointer take a nap together

It does the heart good to see an inter-species animal friendship as strong as the one between Mischka, a Slovakian rough-haired pointer, and her Siamese kitten pal, Mia -- doesn't it? The differences between the two, though obvious to the observer, seem to be lost on this sweet dog-and-cat pair.

YouTube user eskababe's channel is full of Mischka-and-Mia videos, including one in which Mischka decides it's a good idea to use little Mia as a pillow. We're not sure how comfortable the result is for Mia, but she puts up with it like a champ. (Mischka, for her part, looks extremely comfortable.) You can also view a slideshow of photos documenting the pair's relationship. 

Looks like we'll have to add these two to our ever-expanding list of favorite animal odd couples, which also includes Polly the Boston terrier and Hermione the cat, Theen the deer and Buddy the dog and Ava the cat and Nibbles the rabbit.


-- Lindsay Barnett

Video: eskababe via YouTube

Pennsylvania pet groomer convicted of animal cruelty for marketing 'Gothic kittens' asks to reopen business

GothicKitten WILKES-BARRE, Pa. — A northeastern Pennsylvania woman who tried to sell "gothic kittens" with ear, neck and tail piercings online wants to reopen her pet-grooming business.

Animal welfare workers seized three kittens and a cat from Holly Crawford's Ross Township home in 2008 after she posted the online ads.

Crawford was sentenced to six months of house arrest earlier this year on animal cruelty charges. On Wednesday she asked a county judge to relax her probation conditions so she can reopen her grooming shop, Pawside Parlor.

Prosecutors did not oppose Crawford's request, saying she has met the requirements of her probation thus far.

Judge Tina Polachek Gartley did not immediately rule on the request.


-- Associated Press

Photo: Screen grab showing a kitten whose tail had been banded in an effort to stop blood flow from a video by the Associated Press

University of Nebraska study on feral cats stirs controversy

Feral Cats

LINCOLN, Neb. — A report that recommends killing feral cats as a way to control the animals, including a primer on how to shoot a cat, is stirring emotions among bird and cat lovers.

The University of Nebraska at Lincoln's study (PDF) found that neutering or spaying is ineffective at eliminating feral-cat colonies, though useful in reducing colonies' expansion.

One official from the American Bird Conservancy calls the report "a must read" for communities with a feral-cat problem.

But critics note that the wild cats help control rodent populations, and say habitat destruction, herbicides and other issues are a bigger threat to birds.

They also question the report's finding that feral cats' killing of birds costs the U.S. $17 billion, when accounting for how much bird watchers, hunters and others spend on the hobbies.

Pennsylvania airport with feral-cat problem announces plans to trap, neuter and release cats
A catfight over neutering program (January story by Times reporter Kimi Yoshino)

-- Margery A. Beck, Associated Press

Photo: Feral cats eat in a Torrance parking lot in 2008. Credit: Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times

Your morning adorable: Kitten rides tortoise

We can't help but wonder if this kitten is a regular YouTube viewer.

Is it possible she saw another video that went viral a while back in which Hope, perhaps the world's laziest dog, rides a large tortoise named Carl? Did that inspire her actions in the video above? Or could she have come to her tiny-tortoise-riding conclusion all on her own?

It'll have to remain a mystery, we suppose. And whatever this cute kitty's motivations may be -- to say nothing of the motivations of the patient tortoise that puts up with this whole silly business -- we get a deep enjoyment out of watching the resulting video.

And, of course, a little Henry Mancini never hurt anything.

Your morning adorable: What happens when you remove one kitten from a sleepy-kitten pile?
Your morning adorable: Himalayan kittens take a nap

-- Lindsay Barnett

Your morning adorable: What happens when you remove one kitten from a sleepy-kitten pile?

To answer the question posed by our headline: Something astoundingly cute happens when you remove one kitten from a sleepy-kitten pile. (You can take that answer to the bank, should it ever come up on "Jeopardy!")

We're not sure of the circumstances behind this video -- but what we do know is that a visit to YouTube user chibiumeharu's channel yields a wide variety of cat-and-kitten videos, including this very adorable one.

Who knew kittens could sleep so soundly? When we think of a "cat nap," this -- a deep sleep from which this kitten doesn't wake, even to move its paws -- is decidedly not what springs to mind.

Your morning adorable: Ragdoll kitten plays Duck Hunt video game (sort of)
Your morning adorable: Kitten hasn't quite gotten the hang of playing

-- Lindsay Barnett

Video: chibiumeharu via YouTube

Tech company makes it possible to play with shelter kittens via webcam

KittenPlay SEATTLE — A company that has developed technology for controlling remote robotic arms over the Internet has adapted the system so that people around the world can play remotely with kittens.

The company first tested its system by building a paintball shooting gallery. But while Apriori Control, a tiny Boise, Idaho-based company, waits for paying customers, it's putting its systems through their paces at animal shelters in the West.

Scott Harris, head of Apriori, thought the systems would be used to meld real-world and online gaming, or as part of military training. A "beta" test drew more than 2,300 people to a website to shoot a paintball gun by pressing computer keys and watch their results splatter in real time.

Afterward, Apriori went to work on software improvements. It also decided to donate time and spare equipment to a good -- and very cute -- cause.

The Idaho Humane Society and the Oregon Humane Society now have kitten play rooms equipped with cat toys attached to robotic arms. Web surfers can visit the animal adoption groups' websites, download a browser plug-in and get in line for a turn at moving the toys. While they wait, they can watch over a live webcam as others try to catch the kitties' attention with a flick or bounce of the toy.

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Your morning adorable: Cat gives guinea pig a bath

We love any friendship between members of different animal species, but we think bonus points should be awarded to friendships between animals that would traditionally be considered predator and prey.

Like a cat and a guinea pig, for example.

Now, don't get us wrong -- we've known and loved our fair share of cats in our time. But we wouldn't have trusted any of them very far with a guinea pig.

So Louie, a tomcat with a nurturing streak, has earned our admiration. Louie "has adopted Butterball the guinea pig for his baby," YouTube user Firefly80 explains. "Louie finally has the baby he has always wanted, and Butterball has a mommy."

It's sweet enough to make your teeth hurt, eh?

Your morning adorable: Dog and chicken play together
Your morning adorable: Cat grooms friendly rabbit

-- Lindsay Barnett

Video: Firefly80 via YouTube

Your morning adorable: Himalayan kittens take a nap

When you're in the mood for an adorable video, it's always a safe bet to seek out one that combines baby animals and sleepiness. (Exhibit A is above; if you require further proof, might we suggest viewings of other videos in which, respectively, a tiny gray kitten stretches in its sleep and a Shiba Inu puppy barks, howls and waves its paws around while dreaming?)

YouTube user ShallAdoreCats' channel is a good one to bookmark if you find yourself regularly in need of a kitten-related pick-me-up. It is, after all, the channel that yielded another of our favorite kitten videos, in which a very young Himalayan fellow tries to play with a cat toy, but hasn't quite mastered the art of playing yet.

Oh, kittens -- sometimes your cuteness makes it difficult to get things done.

Your morning adorable: Orange tabby kitten does his best 'Surprised Kitty' impression
Your morning adorable: Kitten finds his own paws terribly, terribly delicious

-- Lindsay Barnett

Video: ShallAdoreCats via YouTube

Pennsylvania airport with feral-cat problem announces plans to trap, neuter and release cats

Feral Cats

ALLENTOWN, Pa. — An airport in eastern Pennsylvania that is dealing with a feral cat problem has announced plans to trap the felines and send them to a farm -- not euthanize them.

Lehigh Valley International Airport has reached an agreement with the Allentown group No Nonsense Neutering.

The Morning Call of Allentown reports the airport plans to have the cats trapped, spayed or neutered and then sent to a farm.

Animal lovers were upset last month when the airport said it would consider killing the cats.

Martha Kahan, president of No Nonsense Neutering, says the new agreement is a "win-win."

On Saturday, she trapped three of the cats and she says she plans to keep trapping them until she gets them all.

A catfight over neutering program (January 2010 story by Times reporter Kimi Yoshino)
Feral cats to be evicted from future site of George W. Bush's presidential library

-- Associated Press

Photo: Feral cats eat at a Stockton, Calif., park in 2008. Credit: Marcio Jose Sanchez / Associated Press


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