TIME viral

Here is a Cat Playing Whac-A-Mole with Its Owner’s Fingers

They don’t allow cats in Chuck E. Cheese’s, after all

Today in pet owners who love their animals enough to risk losing digits, a cat plays Whac-A-Mole with its owner’s fingers as she pokes them through holes in a cardboard box. The cat seems to be having fun at first, but when the owner begins to increase the challenge, the cat gets a look on its face that we can only assume to mean, “why would you do this to me?”

It’s not clear whether this is a creative, homemade scheme for cat entertainment or a form of very benign torture. Either way, the cat’s going to have to try again for a better score.

TIME viral

This Cat’s Laser Focus and Determination as He Flicks a Piece a Paper Is Commendable

After a full minute he finally takes a break and just cuddles up with it

This is Paper Cat. All we really know about him is that he’s really into paper — or at least, he’s really into this one specific piece of paper. He flicks at it with the type of curiosity and determination that teachers dream of. His human tries a few times to get him to stop, but he’s all, I have a mission and I will not rest until it is completed.

After about a minute, though, he does rest, cuddling up with the paper and making sure to protect it – probably because he plans to continue his mission in a few minutes.

TIME animals

You Always Knew Your Cat Was Half Wild But Now There’s Genetic Proof

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Paula Daniëlse—Getty Images/Flickr RM

That kitty curled up on your lap is only one genetic step away from jungle killer

A new study on house cats has found that our feline companions are actually only semi-domesticated.

People began domesticating cats around 9,000 years ago but DNA researchers from Washington University in St. Louis found that house cats still have many of the same traits as their wild cousins. The fact that cats have retained the ability to hunt and survive effortlessly in the wild just underscores how little impact we humans have had on them.

Wes Warren, an associate professor of genomics at the university, told the Los Angeles Times, “We believe we have created the first preliminary evidence that depicts domestic cats as not that far removed from wildcat populations.”

That’s not to say humans haven’t had any influence on cats. We originally took them into our homes to hunt rodents and rewarded that behavior with food. According to researchers, this lead to eventual changes in a group of stem cells that resulted in more docile (but not fully domesticated) felines and produced colors and fur patterns that humans liked.

“Our results suggest that selection for docility, as a result of becoming accustomed to humans for food rewards, was most likely the major force that altered the first domesticated cat genomes,” researchers wrote.

Read more at the Los Angeles Times.

Read next: Celebrate National Cat Day With the Most Ridiculous Cover in TIME History

TIME celebrity

Jon Hamm Is Incredibly Well-Versed in the World of Internet Cats

Watch him declare his extreme love for felines while wearing a sweatshirt that says "LIVE IN THE MEOW"

Last night, Jon Hamm made an appearance on Comedy Central’s @Midnight to give a rousing speech about something we now know he’s very passionate about: cats. Specifically, cats on the Internet.

He comes dressed for the occasion, sporting a sweatshirt with a cat and the slogan “LIVE IN THE MEOW.” He then quizzes three contestants (comedians Nikki Glaser, John Mulaney and Judah Friedlander) about the Bodega Cats Tumblr.

The main takeaway here, though, is that Jon Hamm is just really really enthusiastic about cats. Also, if anyone knows where we can get one of those sweatshirts, let us know.

TIME movies

Watch Cats Treat Each Other Badly in Gone Girl — with Cats

"Amy lost a lot of cat nip in there." Uh oh

Did you think Gone Girl was weird? Well, you know what’s totally weirder? Gone Girl, with cats.

The Pet Collective has released its own version of the trailer for the suspenseful blockbuster Gone Girl, with cats playing the lead roles of Amy and Nick, the troubled (ok, an underestimate) newlyweds.

Despite the weirdness of a cat buying a gun, plus a cameo by a peculiarly outfitted Barbie, “Gone Puurl” is cuter than its sinister original — “furriage” bliss is described as “eating wet food together and sniff[ing] the floor.” Puuurfect.

Meanwhile, the cats are also nice-looking … even if, as one character in the video puts it, “cats aren’t nice. They don’t smile like dogs.”

TIME Bizarre

The 32 Most Surprising Photos of the Month

From the return of Kim Jong Un to spooky Halloween traditions, TIME shares the most outrageous and intriguing images from October 2014

TIME animals

Celebrate National Cat Day With the Most Ridiculous Cover in TIME History

Dec. 7, 1981, cover of TIME
The Dec. 7, 1981, cover of TIME Neil Leifer

Yes, a sassy feline once sat inside the magazine's red border

Today is National Cat Day — even though it kind of feels like every day is National Cat Day on the Internet. To celebrate this momentous occasion, we decided to take a look back at a key moment in TIME’s history: that time in 1981 when cats were the most important news of the week.

It’s true. On Dec. 7, 1981, TIME’s cover featured a green-eyed feline model paired with the cover line “CATS: Love ‘em! Hate ‘em!” The corresponding story, called “Crazy Over Cats,” declared the animals a “national mania.” Fun fact: Maureen Dowd, then a young TIME correspondent, was a reporter and researcher on the story, which outlined humans’ complex relationship with felines. As J.D. Reed wrote:

From deification to demonization, and every stage in between, attitudes toward cats have been confused, variable, peculiar, consuming, jittery and, ultimately, baffling. Those sinuous forms represented in Egyptian art, valued as rodent-chasers by farmers, or draped luxuriously over an apartment radiator have elicited the best and worst from mankind in the 5,000 years since their domestication. The dog may be man’s best friend, but the cat is his most perplexing one, if, indeed, he is one at all.

Though this cover was obviously a very silly one, it should be noted that plenty of other TIME covers have been just as ridiculous — especially in 1981, for some reason. (See: this one about ice cream, and this one about fitness.) Few, however, have been quite so prescient. More than three decades ago, TIME knew that cats were nothing to LOL about.

The Dec. 7, 1981, cover story is now available free of charge in TIME’s archives. Click here to read it in its entirety: Crazy Over Cats

TIME viral

Watch a Cat Ruin a Game of Mini Golf for Everyone

Seriously. What is it even doing there?

In case you were considering taking your cat for a few holes of mini golf this weekend: Don’t.

In this video making the rounds, a cat actively works to ruin the game for some people just trying to have a good time.

It’s all the proof you need that even if you name your cat Bagger Vance, you still shouldn’t take him to the local putting green. While cats may love the sound of birdies and bogeys, as it turns out, our feline friends struggle to master their golf swing, occasionally mistake the sand trap for a litter box, or use a nine-iron when a wood club is called for. They are also really bad sports. If they can’t play the back nine, no one can.

TIME celebrity

For $40,000 Run The Jewels 2 Will Be Remixed With Cat Sounds

"Meow the Jewels"

Run The Jewels—the rap duo made up of Killer Mike and El-P—really wants people to pre-order their second album, Run The Jewels 2 (or RTJ2), so they made some very enticing packages on Kickstarter to encourage it.

Their pre-order packages include basic t-shirt and record bundles and deluxe vinyl editions. Or, for $40,000, Run the Jewels will remix their entire album with nothing but cat sounds.

The band was probably just joking around when they devised that option and weren’t expecting anyone to pony up $40,000 to hear cats “sing” RTJ’s “All Due Respect” with added vocals from a cat version of Travis Barker, but they underestimated their fan base.

Now, one ingenious fan has started a Kickstarter campaign to make so-called “Meow the Jewels” a reality. The goal is to raise $45,100 (the cost plus Kickstarter and Amazon fees, plus rewards and shipping) so that Run the Jewels can re-record RTJ2 using all cat sounds instead of music. The band is on board with the plan, too. El-P took to Twitter to confirm that he would remix the album with cat sounds if the money came through.

The Kickstarter still has a long way to go (as of this writing, it only has $5,210 of their $45,100 goals). Run the Jewels 2 comes out October 28.

TIME Appreciation

Hero Starts a Petition to Get His Cat Into the High School Yearbook

Seems like a totally reasonable and attainable dream

Draven Rodriguez is just a normal high school kid in upstate New York hoping to make his dreams come true. In this case, those dreams involve getting the administration at Schenectady High School to agree to use the following photo as his senior portrait:

Vincent Giordano / Trinacria Photography

The school has said the photo can be included in the yearbook somewhere, but not as Rodriguez’s official senior portrait, a local CBS affiliate reports. So Rodriguez has started a petition as a “pre-emptive strike.” He hopes to gain enough backers so that the school simply can’t deny this request.

His goal was to reach 500 signatures by Sept. 15, and by the morning of Sep. 11, he’d already hit 721.

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