TIME animals

This Website Knows Where Your Cat Lives

I Know Where Your Cat Lives
Getty Images

Purrfect for the Internet's cat lovers

Attention all 4.9 million users of the #Catstagram hashtag: You’re being watched. Same for the #RichCatsOfInstagram pictures and the 16 million photos tagged simply #Cats on Instagram.

Mashable points out that a new data visualization project called “I Know Where Your Cat Lives” is trolling the internet and collecting metadata in your #adorable #cat #picture. Using the geotags embedded in the metadata in public photos, the project collects the information and puts the cat’s location on a map perfect for cyberstalking your fuzzy feline friend. Thank goodness cats don’t read Orwell.

The site features cats from everywhere around the globe — a giant red tom in Chiba, Japan to a grey fuzzball kitten in Apulia, Italy to a kitten cuddled with his mom in Queensland, Australia — all available for gawking at and cooing over at the click of a button.

The project was created by Florida State University art professor Owen Mundy, who views “I Know Where Your Cat Lives” as both a thought-provoking experiment into how we view online privacy, as well as a sort of Tinder for cat fans filled with a seemingly endless stream of kitten pics for the millions of cat fans who populate the Internet.

The site is currently running a Kickstarter campaign to help fund web hosting and continuing the project.

MORE: The Hottest New Exercise Equipment Is a Giant Hamster Wheel…for Cats

MORE: There’s Now Facial Recognition Software for Cats

TIME Internet

The Hottest New Exercise Equipment Is a Giant Hamster Wheel…for Cats

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Getty Images

A Kickstarter for this project has already raised more than $120,000

If you’re hoping to help your fat cat slim down, consider getting him this feline hamster wheel. It’s still in its funding stages, but a Kickstarter campaign has already vastly exceeded its goal of $10,000.

In just a few weeks, supporters of this exercise wheel — called One Fast Cat — have pledged well over $120,000. But why a hamster wheel?

“It’s good for cats to get some sort of workout and changing it up to keep them interested is important,” creator Sean Farley wrote on the Kickstarter page. “There are many ways to keep your cat lively, giving them access to energetic companions, making a play session part of their day, and/or offering them tempting exercise equipment for use when you’re not at home…that’s why we came up with “One Fast Cat” cat wheel.”

Okay then! Here’s a look at how the contraption works:

After giving this some thought, we’re not really surprised that the campaign surpassed its funding goal. It’s 2014. If there’s wine for cats, why can’t there be a hamster wheel for cats too?

TIME

There’s Now Facial Recognition Software for Cats

Bistro

FINALLY

For too long, humans have been reaping all the rewards of facial recognition software. But no longer. Entrepreneur Mu-Chi Sung is bringing the advanced technology to cats — and while it might not help them find love online due to “facial compatibility,” or be better targeted in malls, it will help them maintain their goal weight.

Sung is the co-founder of Bistro, a smart cat feeder that has the power to recognize your feline’s face in order to distribute and then track its food intake. It can also tell your cats’ faces apart to prevent jerky tendencies of stealing the food that is rightly their brethren’s.

But the endeavor, by Sung’s Taiwanese company 42ARK, isn’t for cat vanity’s sake.

“I have three cats, and how I fed them was I put the food in the bowl and had no idea what they’re eating,” says Sung, who didn’t realize his cat Momo stopped eating food due to illness until he found her dehydrated and paralyzed on the floor of his house. The jaundiced cat was suffering from pancreatitis, and while things were looking dire for Momo, the amputation of her two rear legs saved her life.

Momo the cat Bistro

While Sung assured us that Momo is now fine and back to playing with laser pointer, an early indication of eating abnormalities would have inspired him to seek medical help faster. This uses a similar ideology as Whistle, a Fitbit of sorts for dogs, that tracks their daily activity and sleep patterns.

“A cat doesn’t speak for themselves, that’s why we need Bistro to speak for them,” Sung says. “With Bistro you get notified [via the app] if a change in feeding occurs.”

A scale eating platform tracks cats’ weight and owners can also watch live streams of their cats eating. You know, if they’re into that kind of thing. “Not many people will do that,” Sung says, greatly underestimating obsessive cat owners everywhere.

Bistro

Bistro launched an Indiegogo campaign Tuesday to bring the product to market. Indiegogo users can buy it for a special price of $179, although Sung thinks it will cost $249 in stores.

This isn’t the first attempt to incorporate cat facial recognition in every day life. The image recognition company Quantum Picture found a way to use image recognition to let the company cat inside through the pet door only if she wasn’t carrying an animal in her mouth. And in 2010, Panasonic System Networks updated FaceU so it could recognize pets’ individual faces to tag in group photos.

Last year, a company called PiP launched an Indiegogo campaign to use facial recognition to reunite lost cats (and dogs) with their owners, although it only made $2,746 of its $20,000 goal. Bistro hopes to raise $100,000 to bring the product to market, and it raised almost half its goal in half a day.

Sung has worked in image recognition for years and thinks that applying it to cats is the next step in the technology. He says that 42ARK is even thinking of using facial recognition on cats’ litter box habits, although he admits that it’s “a little bit creepy.”

TIME animals

This Stray Cat Broke Into a Zoo and Became Best Friends With a Lynx

A very important new animal friendship

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A few months ago, we got really excited when an amicable meerkat befriended a husky, because unlikely animal friendships are what we live for. Today, we’d like to highlight a new animal friendship. It’s not quite as surprising as a husky and a meerkat, but we promise it’s just as adorable and heartwarming.

It all began when a homeless calico cat made her way into the Leningrad (St. Petersburg) Zoo, according to KFOR. The stray found food in a lynx’s enclosure, and the lynx accepted the cat into her life. Soon enough, they became besties. Watch the video above to see this dynamic duo in action.

And here’s a gallery of adorable pictures:

TIME animals

Animals Dancing to ‘Push It’ Is the Cutest Video You’ll See Today

A tribute to the '80s classic

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The Internet is filled with videos with misleading titles. YouTube offers everything from the “Funniest Video Everrrrr” that turns out to be merely tweens throwing Pepsi cans at each other while playing video games to “Most Dramatic Save in the History of the World,” which is just some dude almost dropping a cantaloupe.

This video, though, is exactly what it claims to be: animals dancing to Salt-N-Pepa’s “Push It.” The carefully curated collection of clips were edited together by the folks at Tastefully Offensive. The video shows animals ranging from a walrus to a parrot to a variety of cats and dogs all busting a move to the ’80s classic. Crank up the volume, and get ready to do your best running man in your cubicle or, at least, crack a smile.

MORE: There’s a New ‘How Animals Eat Their Food’ Video

MORE: Meet the Adorable Husky Who Thinks She’s a Cat

TIME animals

Off to the Big Kitty Castle in the Sky: World’s Oldest Cat Dies at Age 24

Rest in peace, Poppy

A feline named Poppy has died at the respectable age of 24 — just a few weeks after clinching the title of world’s oldest cat.

Poppy, who was born in February 1990, died Friday following a complication from a water infection.

“We knew she was old but it’s still very upsetting,” the cat’s owner, Jacqui West, told the Daily Mail. “She had a bad week last week. She was on antibiotics on the Wednesday because of a water infection and her back legs just seemed to let her down. She wasn’t herself at all.”

Poppy leaves behind four humans, four cats, two rabbits and a hamster.

TIME Pets

Poll: 18% of Americans Have Skyped Their Pets

Even though 1 in 10 pet owners have had their technology destroyed by their animals

It seems like pet owners didn’t get the memo that you can’t teach old dogs new tricks. Because even though one in 10 pet owners have had their technology destroyed by pets, they still keep trying to teach animals how to Skype.

A new survey from electronics warranty company SquareTrade has found that 10% of pet owners have had their devices destroyed by pets, mostly by knocking them down and breaking them, but also by peeing and vomiting, and that about a third of the destroyed devices were smartphones. Male dogs are 86% more likely to destroy technology than female dogs, and 19% of owners believe their pets destroyed their devices because they were angry at them for something.

But even though most pet owners have found it difficult to train their non-human companions to use technology, they’re not giving up. 17% of pet owners have made a social media account for their pet, 25% have “friended” or “followed” a pet on social media, and 18% have attempted to use Skype or FaceTime with the animal that lives in their home.

Moral of the story: you can give a dog a smartphone but you cannot make it Skype. He’ll pee on it because he hates you.

TIME viral

Turn Down for What? Kittens.

Admit it, they've got better dance moves than you

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Think your cat’s pretty fly? Chances are it’s got nothing on Daisy and Tulip, the head-bobbing duo that’s mesmerizing YouTubers with their amazing rhythm. In the video gone viral, the two cats sit calmly on a blanket while their heads bop in perfect unison to DJ Snake and Lil Jon’s funky club hit “Turn Down for What?“.

Captivated audiences are guessing that the kitties are simply following the movements of some kind of laser pointer outside the frame. Whatever the trick, it’s awesome. We’re willing to go out on a limb here and bet their performance will usher in a wave of copy cats.

If you want to keep the original duo for yourself, Daisy and Tulip are currently up for adoption at the Animal Welfare League of Arlington, Virginia. Turns out the cats learned their tricks while being fostered by Hayley Markham and Andrew Kerr, who have since returned them to the shelter.

TIME movies

PHOTOS: Bonkers Victorian Taxidermy, Now Getting the Documentary Treatment

Proof that meme-worthy animals pre-date the Internet: a classroom full of taxidermic bunnies

The human drive to anthropomorphize animals is alive and well in today’s Doge and Grumpy Cat memes — but at least one earlier expression of that urge was a lot more extreme.

Walter Potter was a taxidermist working in Victorian England who took a unique (to say the least) approach to the art. His pieces positioned animals in human scenes, with results that are half-cute, half-macabre. As a result, though few would argue that his works were the highest quality specimens, he was able to gain fame during his lifetime with a small museum that held his work. When his museum closed, his collection was dispersed; that diaspora made it hard for the collection to be studied, but perhaps easier for it to become popular all over the world. His fame has persisted, with fans including David Sedaris and Damien Hirst.

Now, he’s getting the documentary treatment: the short doc by filmmaker Ronni Thomas, Walter Potter: The Man Who Married Kittens, will premiere at New York’s Morbid Anatomy Museum on June 6. (And yes, as you can see in the photo here, he did make a taxidermy tableau of a kitten wedding.) The movie looks at the Victorian context that gave rise to the oddness of his work, and at the collectors who desire his pieces today. Thomas first started the project as a book trailer for the book Walter Potter’s Curious World of Taxidermy, by Pat Morris and Joanna Ebenstein; Ebenstein ended up producing the film — and taking the photos in the gallery below — when it turned out there was more than a trailer’s worth of material. As Thomas says in his director’s statement, “a mythical figure began to emerge from a simple man with questionable talents.”

Take a look at the photos and it will be easy to see why he felt that way.

TIME animals

Here’s How a Two-Legged Cat Gets Down the Stairs

With a flying handstand!

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This is Boots, a double amputee cat who lives in Colorado. She gets around with the help of prosthetic “house slippers” and has re-learned to walk. She has also learned how to descend a staircase, as seen in this video uploaded by her human.

Good job, Boots. Keep on fighting the good fight.

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