TIME animals

See What JFK Airport’s Extravagant New ‘Pet Terminal’ Will Look Like

Warning: may cause feelings of envy in two-legged commuters

New York officials announced plans to develop a new $32 million terminal on Monday, specially designed to handle roughly 70,000 airborne animals a year.

The 172,165 square-foot facility, dubbed the ARK, will include “a state-of-the-art veterinary hospital, animal daycare services and more efficient ways to transport animals worldwide, including exotic species,” the Port Authority said in a public statement. Artists’ renderings suggest that animal passengers may enjoy more amenities than their human counterparts, including a lap pool and private rooms. The cattle gates, on the other hand, may look familiar.

“While most of our airport passengers walk on two legs, this new center will serve the important travel needs of our four-legged and winged friends,” said Port Authority executive director Pat Foye.

TIME animals

Watch What Happens When Cats and Dogs Interrupt Yoga Routines

Downward dog gets literal

As yoga becomes more and more popular, enthusiasts have made sure to extend their practice from the yoga studio to the studio apartment. But at-home yoga practice means an audience, especially of the feline and canine varieties.

The compilation above shows many a yoga routine getting interrupted. And it really never gets old watching a dog rush to the aid of his owner trapped in a headstand or for a a pet to think pigeon pose is an invitation for kisses. There’s also the cat that thinks the tree position is something to climb on. Namaste.

TIME Australia

War Has Been Declared on Australia’s Feral Cats

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Getty Images

The creatures have been implicated in almost all of Australia's mammal extinctions

Australia has started an aggressive five-year crusade against feral cats, which are wreaking havoc on endangered species across the landmass.

The Washington Post reports that the federal government is hoping to get rid of up to 2 million of the creatures by 2020. Feral cats are domestic cats, and their descendants, that have returned to a wild state, living in Australia’s expansive bushland.

“Of the 29 mammals that we’ve lost to extinction, feral cats are implicated in 28 out of those 29 extinctions,” Australia’s threatened-species commissioner Gregory Andrews told the Australian Broadcasting Corp.

The mass-scale elimination will be carried out through poisoning, baiting and shooting, the government says.

The cull is not unprecedented for the country — the government has tried to eliminate other invasive species, such as cane toads and European wild rabbits.

Andrews does insist that they’re not after all Australian cats, though. “It’s very important to emphasize too that we don’t hate cats,” Andrews said. “We just can’t tolerate the damage that they’re doing anymore to our wildlife.”

[ABC]

TIME Mental Health/Psychology

The Best Pets For Your Health

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Getty Images

Animal friends can reduce stress, protect your heart and even help you lose weight

Our pets aren’t just our best friends; they’re members of the family. While their companionship can bring us so much joy, pets are also good for our health, according to a wealth of studies—sometimes in unexpected ways. And the more attached you are to your critter, the stronger the protective benefits may be. Check out the top animals that can lend a helping paw, hoof or wing to your health.

#1 Pet with benefits: Dogs
“The breadth and depth of what dogs do for our happiness and longevity is pretty remarkable,” says Marty Becker, DVM, author of Chicken Soup for the Pet Lover’s Soul. Studies link dog ownership to lower blood pressure, cholesterol and triglyceride levels, plus a reduced risk of heart disease. A 2011 review in the Journal of Physical Activity and Health found that dog owners are 34 percent more likely to meet their exercise requirements (based on the federal guidelines) than nonowners.

There are also the mood-enhancing perks. “Simply petting a dog is like a spa treatment,” Dr. Becker says. “after just a minute or two, you have this massive release of positive neurochemicals like dopamine and serotonin.” extra bonus: kids who grow up in homes with dogs are less likely to have allergies.

#2 Pet with benefits: Cats
No need to hiss at this second-place finish, cat lovers. You’re probably getting the same stress relief as dog owners; there are just fewer studies to prove it. In one, when stockbrokers with high blood pressure were given the choice of adopting a cat or a dog, both animals significantly lowered their owners’ stress responses. And cats earned a few more points toward a healthy-pet pedigree when researchers at the University of Minnesota found that people who had never owned a cat had a 40 percent higher risk of death from heart attack than cat owners.

#3 Pet with benefits: Fish
Want a little dose of calm? “Watching fish, like listening to music, can distract you in a good way,” Dr. Becker says. Numerous studies show that spending time in nature improves well-being, and an aquarium lets you bring that healing action indoors. In fact, one study revealed that for patients about to undergo dental surgery, gazing at a fish tank for 20 minutes was as effective at lowering stress levels as being hypnotized.

#4 Pet with benefits: Birds
Human companions for ages, birds have only recently been recognized for their healing properties, says Gregg Takashima, DVM, president of the American Association of Human-Animal Bond Veterinarians. Like fish, these small space friendly creatures offer “nature on demand”—a relaxing or even energizing touch of wild beauty in your home. And they provide the same interactive pleasures that make cats and dogs so popular.

#5 Pet with benefits: Horses
A list of healthy pets wouldn’t be complete without horses. Sure, their size and strength can make them a bit intimidating—but therein lies their healing power. “By gaining control of a creature so much larger than you, you can gain control of a larger problem in life,” Dr. Becker explains. That’s why you’ll find horses used in hundreds of animal-assisted therapy programs. Working with horses can even reduce kids’ stress hormones, according to a 2014 study. And the muscle control horseback riding requires makes it an excellent toner and balance builder for just about anyone.

This article originally appeared on Health.com

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MONEY Pets

At This New Airport Terminal, Dogs Are Treated Better Than Humans

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Joe McBride/Getty Images

Yet another reason pets have it better than their owners.

New York’s John F. Kennedy international airport will soon be adding pools, massages, and spa treatments. But before any humans readers get too excited, there’s a catch: those amenities are exclusively for pets.

The New York Post reports that JFK’s new $48 million Ark terminal will be used exclusively for shipping animals and include many of the amenities of a five-star hotel. Dogs will be free to frolic in a 20,000-square-foot “resort” that will include bone-shaped pools, massage therapy, and “pawdicures,” while cats can spend their pre-boarding hours lounging in a specially made jungle featuring bespoke climbing trees.

Canines who won’t be joining their owners on a flight can stay over at the $100-per-night pet hotel, complete full-sized beds and flat-screen TVs. The Ark will also have designated spaces for horses, cows, and other animals. Horses will have special pens with soft, hoof-friendly flooring, for instance.

If much of this sounds better than what humans generally get to experience at airports, the Ark’s designers agree. “It will be a place for people who love their pets like they love their kids,” Cliff Bollmann, an architect on the project, told Crain’s New York Business. “Maybe more.”

With the new terminal, expected to open in 2016, John F. Kennedy is rapidly becoming one of the most pet-friendly airports in the world. Earlier this month, JetBlue announced it was opening a new park lounge in JFK’s terminal 5 that includes a fenced-in dog run with synthetic grass.

Unlike the Ark, the park also includes more people-centric attractions like wifi and food trucks. Sometimes you have to throw the humans a bone, too.

 

TIME

Beloved Japanese Cat ‘Elevated to Status of Goddess’ at Lavish Funeral

Cat stationmaster Tama, superstar in western Japan, dies
Kyodo/AP Tama, a cat stationmaster of a railway station in western Japan, attends an event at her Kishi Station in Wakayama Prefecture, Japan in Jan., 2013.

Tama wasn't just any old cat to this community

The beloved rail station cat who died in Japan last week had a funeral fit for a goddess.

Rail officials and thousands of fans attended the funeral for Tama, who died last week after years of attracting tourists to a rail station in Western Japan. According to BBC, she was “elevated to the status of a goddess” at her Shinto-style funeral and titled an “honorary permanent stationmaster.”

The feline was more than just a cute addition to the station, BBC reports, she was also a cash cow. By having her as stationmaster, the railway was able to help turn around from near bankruptcy. Her presence helped generate about 1.1 billion yen.

As a thank you, well-wishers are leaving flowers and cans of tuna outside of the station.

[BBC]

TIME animals

Japan’s Cutest (Feline) Stationmaster Has Died at 16

School girls admire "Tama", a nine-year-
Toru Yamanaka—AFP/Getty Images Schoolgirls admire Tama as the feline sits on a ticket gate at Kishi Station in the city of Kinokawa, in Wakayama prefecture, Japan, on May 22, 2008

Tama is credited with stimulating the local economy and saving both her station and its train line

Like many of our most famous and beloved celebrities, she had only one name: Tama, a tortoiseshell renowned for her jaunty hat and cool smirk, was Japan’s most famous (and only) feline train stationmaster. She died Monday at an animal hospital in Wakayama prefecture aged 16, having worked at her post in a converted ticket booth in Kishi Station for almost eight years.

Tama first rose to fame when she was appointed stationmaster at Kishi, a secluded hamlet of at the end of a rail line that had changed hands after closing from disuse, CNN reports. She was whisked away from a simple life at the village grocery store and given a new perch at the station entrance, soon to find herself on posters, T-shirts, stickers and even the center of a themed café.

It didn’t take long for stardom to come knocking. The number of passengers on the train line jumped from 1.92 million in 2005 to 2.27 million in 2014, according to the Japan Times. In fact, the new stationmaster had so many visitors that an Osaka University study estimates that Tama’s popularity added $10 million into the local economy. Many credit her for single-handedly saving both the station and its train line.

Wakayama Governor Yoshinobu Nisaka paid tribute to Tama in a statement to the Japan Times, saying the late stationmaster “contributed greatly to promoting tourism in our prefecture. I am filled with deep sorrow and appreciation.”

Tama is survived by her apprentice, Nitama, who takes her workload of eating, sleeping and upholding the local economy as seriously as her illustrious predecessor. Tama’s funeral will be held at Kishi Station on June 28.

[CNN]

TIME animals

Top School to End Dissection Class After Students Make Dead Cats ‘Dance’ in Video

Warning: Some viewers may find the content of the video disturbing

An Oklahoma school has found itself in hot water after a video surfaced online featuring several of its students performing a choreographed “dance” with dead cats to a popular jingle.

The cats were the subjects of a biology class on feline dissection at the prestigious Harding Charter Preparatory High School, reports CBS News.

After drawing criticism from animal-rights group People for Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), the school said Thursday that it would end that particular class.

In the video, nine students can be seen using the dead cats as grisly puppets while making them dance to the Meow Mix cat-food commercial jingle. According to CBS, the video was made in 2013 and the teacher responsible for the students has been disciplined.

The school’s assistant principal Mylo Miller said teachers were trying to find a replacement anatomy class and said they hadn’t ruled out dissecting a different animal.

“I think it was students who made a mistake and hopefully they’ll learn from it,” Harding Charter’s principal Justin Hunt told KWTV when the incident first came to light last month.

[CBS News]

TIME animals

Let’s All Stare at These Adorable Purritos

purritos-kittens
Lori Fusaro—Best Friends Animal Society

It's for a good cause

There aren’t many things on this planet we value more than a really, really good burrito.

In fact, there might be only one thing better than cheese/carbs, and that is the fluffier, inedible feline cousin of the burrito: the purrito. No cheese, no carbs – just bundled-up kittens who want to cuddle with you and love you forever and ever.

And this is an especially delightful purrito: Best Friends Animal Society snapped these babies to raise awareness for all the kittens who need homes. “Sometimes you have to go cute to get serious information out there,” says Holly Sizemore, director of national programs, community programs and services.

This article originally appeared on People.com.

TIME animals

This Rescue Cat Officially Has the Loudest Purr In the World

Merlin the cat can out-purr a dishwasher

Can you speak up? I can’t hear you – the cat is purring.

This is a common predicament for Tracy Westwood, the owner of Merlin the cat, who has just been awarded the title of World’s Loudest Purr, reports Guinness World Records.

“Occasionally when he’s really loud I have to repeat myself. When you’re watching films you have to turn the telly up or put him out of the room, if he’s eating he’ll purr loudly. I can hear him when I’m drying my hair,” Westwood told Guinness.

The thirteen-year-old rescue kitty from Devon, England, has a purr that measures 67.8 decibels. This impressive number beats out the previous record of 67.68 decibels set by Smokey the cat in 2011.

With these numbers, Merlin is as loud as an air conditioner and can almost out-purr a dishwasher.

Westwood always knew her pet was louder than others, but didn’t know Merlin was capable of breaking records until learning about Smokey several years ago.

While Merlin’s purr is always loud, it gets even more boisterous when food is placed in front of him, so when Guinness came to record Merlin’s sounds, Westwood made sure to have a bowl of tuna nearby.

This article originally appeared on People.com.

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