TIME animals

This Man Turned His Home Into a Purr-fect Playground for Cats

He calls it the House of Nekko, meaning cat in Japanese

A builder from Goleta, Calif., has spent the past two decades converting his house into a kitty playground.

Peter Cohen spent tens of thousands of dollars building an elaborate home filled with colorful catwalks, hideouts, ramps and tunnels for his 15 rescue cats, the Huffington Post reports.

“I never intended to have so many,” he told the website Catster in an interview last year. “It is way too expensive and a tad too much work.”

Despite the expense, Cohen and his roommate are happy that they’ve built a safe and fun, and also very bright, feline haven.

“They give us unconditional love, and building the catwalks is one way of expressing my gratitude for that,” he said.

[Huffington Post]

TIME Pets

Petco Won’t Sell Chinese Dog and Cat Treats Any More

FDA is investigating whether treats led to canine deaths

Petco has announced it will remove dog and cat treats made in China from its stores, amid a U.S. investigation of the safety of animal snacks created in the country.

The Food and Drug Administration has received 4,800 complaints about pet illnesses related to jerky treats, including 1,000 complaints involving canine deaths, since 2007. Most of the complaints involve snacks made in China. The investigation is ongoing.

Petco becomes the first pet speciality retailer in the U.S. to pull the Chinese treats from its shelves. Its competitor PetSmart has said it will remove such treats from its stores by March, according to the Associated Press.

In lieu of China-made treats, Petco will continue to source treats from the U.S. and begin including new items from New Zealand, Australia and South America.

TIME Theater

Andrew Lloyd Webber Says Cats Will Return to Broadway

bows at the curtain call during the press night performance of "Cats" as Nicole Scherzinger joins the cast at the London Palladium on December 11, 2014 in London, England.
Nicole Scherzinger bows at the curtain call during the press night performance of "Cats" at the London Palladium on Dec. 11, 2014 in London. David M. Benett—Getty Images

And he wants to cast a Pussycat Dolls singer in the production's lead role

Andrew Lloyd Webber wasn’t pussyfooting around when he announced Monday that his hit musical Cats will return to Broadway.

Webber did not specify run dates or divulge further details about a New York production, though he did say he hopes to replicate the success of a recent revival of the musical in London’s West End, after a 10 year hiatus, the Guardian reports.

Webber added that he “greatly hoped” to introduce U.S. audiences to the newest performer in star role of Grizabellar, Nicole Scherzinger, a former singer for the Pussycat Dolls.

“She is what you might call an American theater babe,” Webber said of Scherzinger. “I do believe she is the most exciting musical theater artist I have found – well, that I have worked with – in very, very many years. I really do.”

Let the memory live again.

[Guardian]

 

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

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