Mewsic Monday – Hot Hot Hot

I thought that I would jump in with all 4 paws and participate in Curious Cathy Mewsic Monday BlogHop. The week the category is “your choice song picks”.  

The ‘rents just returned home after a weekend of dancing. Mom loves to dance the seductive Latin rhythms like mambo, tango, cha cha and rumba. She saw the movie   “Shall We Dance?” and really wished that she could dance with Richard Gere even though he is an amateur. OK, Mom may think she is a great dancer but she would NEVER volunteer to be on Dancing with the Stars unless it is with Louis. Here is a video from the movie  overlaid with the Pussycat Dolls’ version of “Sway”.  Disclaimer: The dance in the video is a Tango and was danced to another song in the movie. Still, it worked out pretty good.

Mom tried to improve her dance moves something akin to taking a shower with a wearing a raincoat. There are jiggles, flops and the house shakes. We run for our safe place and Ken’s spot is behind the bathtub.

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I hope I caught the spirit of this challenge. Thanks to Cathy and the 4M Crew.

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Float Like a Butterfly, Sting Like a Bee aka Fallon the Dog Saves the Day

IMG_0115How many of us try to catch annoying insects? They are just prey to us or amusement, sometimes one in the same. Big lazy flies are my favorite and have caught some in my prime. Has your caretaker ever yelled at you for chasing something called a bee? I have never understood until the dog caught my private flying thing of the moment. It yelped ran around like a lunatic yelping saying something about being stung. Obviously the dog did me a favor and I learned a lesson.decided to investigate to see if Parker could give a bee a swipe or two without being hurt. He can be pretty thick at times.

It is now that time of the year here in the Midwest when ground bees are in abundance. Or, at least that is what we call them. I looked into identifying bees to see exactly what the bees are that appear in the dog days of summer. First thing I learned is that there are bees and there are wasps. Wasps have a pinched abdomen while bees are rounded. This graphic below should make these distinctions more apparent.
difference-bees-hornets-wasps-yellow-jacket-raleigh

So. what are ground bees? They are actual bees that burrow in the ground, are essentially non-aggressive and appear in the spring. So, if they appear in the spring what are we seeing in August?

The species that we see starting in August is the yellowjacket which is a territorial wasp. It can burrow in existing rodent holes. These wasps are very defensive about their home much to the chagrin of the unsuspecting human mowing a yard. They also love sweet things such as the lemon shake ups served at county fairs. And then there was the time Dad dropped the chain saw. When he picked it up there was a yellowjacket on it. The wasp did not appreciate being disturbed so Dad got stung. Mom said he ran around like a little boy screaming and or so Mom exaggerated.

Bottom line:
Ground bees are found mainly in the spring and are not aggressive. Yellowjackets can also live in the ground but are found mainly in the dog days of summer and are aggressive. Parker should leave bees and wasps alone because Bast knows he can be a dunce. All other kitties should do the same.

Addendum
image1The new dog Fallon was snapping at paper wasps flying all over the deck. These wasps collect bits of branches, etc. and turn it into a honeycomb-like nest. Mom always associates paper wasps with outhouses which in general are scary but I digress. Having learned so much from this column, Mom brought Fallon inside. Everyone investigated the matter and it turned out there was an incredible paper nest wasp nest in the table legs, seen above, not it isn’t an ear of corn. So, kudos to Fallon for saving the humans from many stinging episodes. (Please note that I am choking as I admit the dog is worth something.) She is entitled to relax on the chaise lounge.

Cat Supplies For Parking Tickets

I was surfing the web the other day and ran across an incredibly cool idea to support cat shelters: Muncie Police And City Officials Solve Shelter’s Excess Cat Problem. (NPR Morning Edition July 19, 20196:57 AM ET)  My ears perked up because Muncie is better known as Garfield’s hometown! I gave Garfield a quick call to see if it was his idea but his office had no comment. I was referred to @MunciePolice Twitter feed July 15 for information.

As we know most shelters are in crisis due to reductions in funding. Muncie Animal Care & Services and the Muncie Police Department cooperated to find a resourceful way to help the shelter. Citizens were allowed to pay off their parking tickets by donating cat supplies. To call it even the supplies must total the fine.For example, if the fine was $30 the “offender” would have to bring at least $30 of supplies. Shelter supplies included food, litter, beds, and blankets. Although the dates were only July 15 – 19, citizens brought supplies whether or not they had a parking ticket. Just look at all the great stuff those offenders gave the kitties!

The cat supplies for fines campaign was so successful that KWTV – NEWS 9 in Oklahoma posted on fb “AWESOME IDEA 😃🐱! Should Oklahoma police departments consider doing this? What’s the cost of a parking ticket in Muncie, Indiana? A donation of cat food or supplies for a local animal shelter.” 

Garfield didn’t return any subsequent calls but I feel that he is every bit as proud about his town as any cat can be. 

The Science of Cats’ Lapping

As many of you know I have crossed over. Mom promised that she would restart my blog and publish at least once a week. I suggested with some claws that she republish a story of mine. I figured it would get the ball rolling. So, this is mom’s adaptation. Be kind. She talks and thinks like a chemist which is a foreign language although I think she speaks English.

Science of Cat Lapping

The science of how animals drink is intriguing. Some animals like pigs and horses use suction combined with their tongue to pull liquid into their mouths like how we use straws. Animals such as dogs and cats, cannot create suction (after weaning) and must use their tongue to bring liquid to the mouth.

I have always wondered why dogs dribble all over the floor when they drink water. I tell you, I can’t stand that I have to walk around all that dog drool. So far all we know is that dogs don’t drink like horses. I decided to investigate further.

A slow motion shows that dogs curl their tongues backwards forming a cup as the tongue enters the water. The tongue continues to curl, bringing water into the mouth. That tongue can deliver a lot of water. I finally understood why all the water in the dish ended on the floor! Dogs can’t help but be sloppy with that approach.

Unlike dogs, cats do not curl their tongues to form a cup. Cats are elegant lappers. It has long been presumed that the rough surface of our tongues due to filiform papillae is responsible for how we get liquid into our mouth.

However, researchers at MIT, Virginia Polytech and Princeton showed that this is not a likely scenario. High-speed imaging was used to observe what we do. Cats extend their tongue curling slightly toward their chest. Only the smooth surface of the tongue tip touches the liquid, the tongue does not penetrate the surface at all. Instead, the tongue is pulled toward the mouth with a column of liquid following. Since only the curved tongue tip touches the surface, the rough papillae on the tongue are not involved. According to Science Magazine, the mouth is then closed, capturing some of the liquid. What is astounding is that cats’ tongues can perform this feat four times per second, moving at a rate of one meter (39 inches) per second.

The liquid column is quite interesting, and is formed by two competing forces, inertia and gravity. This action creates a surface tension phenomenon such that the liquid follows the lapping motion. The liquid is kept in the mouth until it is swallowed after several lapping cycles. Viscosity (thickness) of the liquid was not a major factor for the lapping process.

These are remarkable discoveries, and it is mind boggling that it has taken all these years to figure out how we cats drink. I will sum up by saying, “Cats rule. Dogs drool,” and I have science to back me up!

Republished posthumously. Originally published:
http://www.animaltimes.com/2011/02/cat-lapping-science; Mon, 07 Feb 2011

NOTE TO MY CAT

8D3066BC-CF43-470B-9EFA-3EC8FD272027When Maggie and I discussed when to end her life, I promised that we would begin blogging again. Today’s blog relates to Maggie.

Her Mom. WandaKat

Adapted from All Things Considered. April 16, 2018

Patrons leave all kinds of messages on the vintage 1930s Smith-Corona typewriter at Literati bookstore in Ann Arbor, Mich. On busy days, there are dozens and dozens of them. Literati’s public typewriter is an experiment that started in 2013, when Michael Gustafson and his wife Hilary d the store. Michael has compiled some of his favorite notes into a book, Notes From a Public Typewriter. This note caught my breath and a lump remains on my chest.

Dear Max,

You were a good old cat. I’m sorry I pushed you off the couch sometimes when you wanted to sit on my lap and I was touched out from the babies and my eyes were itching. I’m sorry for the time I cut your skin by accident trying to cut out the mats and didn’t realize how bad it was at first. I’m sorry I sometimes let your nails get too long or ran out of wet food and that I let you go an extra day without your sub-Q fluids at the end. There were a lot of opportunities to not take perfect care of you as I had intended, but I hope you felt that those were the rare exception in the six years you were with us. I had a great day with you yesterday and hope you enjoyed some of your favorite things on your last day. It will always be a special memory for me. Please know you were loved and I/we will always remember you.

Love,
Your human mama

 

Run free MaggieTKat.

On the occasion of her death 07/17/2019.

Stink Bugs

It is that time of year when creepy bugs just show up, you know, the dreaded Stink Bug. The ‘rents are concerned about us eating those ugly thingSONY DSCs. Mom may be worried but we have a great time messing with them. I guess it is the St. Louis version of lizards. (Armadillos haven’t migrated here yet so that is a topic for another year.)

We have come to a compromise. I won’t eat them if I research the buggers. Finally I get to wax about science!

The brown marmorated stink bug aka stink bug hitchhiked to the US from Asia. (Do they have tiny little thumbs?) There are a lot of trees for their life cycles such as buckeye, horse-chestnut, some maples, pawpaw, especially tree-of-heaven as well as agricultural crops. Stink bug population has increased such that it is considered a major source of crop damage.

We get to mess with stink bugs every autumn when it gets cooler.  Stink bugs creep into every crevice and crack. On warm sunny days the ‘rents play a game called “How Many Stink Bugs Did You Flush?” Embarrassing. You can also vacuum them, spray with soapy water, or capture with tp and flush like mom. Any way you try, they will still release stench mode.

Finally, are stink bugs poisonous? NO! Yes, we can eat them. CAUTION. The stink chemical is an irritant. Those with tender tums may find it better to play and run.

And, they do not bite.

http://stinkbugsguide.net/index.htm

 

 

My Cat Sitter

We have a delightful sitter. Her name is Phoebe and is a cool 10 year old. Her favorite thing to brush us. Oh, can she brush! Mom needs to take lessons! It’s a good thing we like her because the ‘rents travel a lot.

Phoebe brought Mom a picture. Mom loves it.

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The other day Phoebe brought over something really cool. It is a pet bed made from a long sleeved t-shirt! Parker claimed it

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That’s all for now. Mom, it is time for some science!