Cat Forced Into Sky-Diving Stunt

March 26, 2008

By Yul

An anonymous gray and white cat was forced to jump out of a plane, and some of it was caught on video.

UPDATE 3/27/08: The cat is called “The Kid” and lives in Russia with his owner, a 60-year-old retiree named Vladimir Kulikov who’s apparently going senile, and they jumped together from a height of 3,960 feet.

What we’re missing is a shot on the ground afterward. For the cat’s sake, I hope the man didn’t splatter like a bug. And I hope that cat showed proper gratitude for his adventure when he got home – by peeing all over his owner’s bed.

The cat was in a harness, strapped face-forward to the front of a man. He could see everything that was about to happen and seemed calm until the man stood at the open door. But when the cat found his legs in mid-air, he started kicking up a storm.

The man jumped anyway.

It’s unfortunate they didn’t strap the cat face-to-face against the man, or even on his back. Then the guy would have been a pile of bloody shreds by the time he reached the ground. He had it coming.

Why do humans keep pitting small animals against the vast forces of Mother Nature? This stupid stunt ranks up there with that surfer dude in Peru who got the bright idea to see if his kitten Nicolosa would sink or swim in the ocean. You never saw a cat learn to dog-paddle so fast.


Kit the Cat Jumps Through Hoops for Troops

March 4, 2008

By Adele

A 2-year-old feline in Texas named Kit Casanova is making the rest of us look bad. His owner has trained him to use the toilet, walk on a leash, wear clothes, sit and stay like a dog, ride in the kid’s seat of a shopping cart (hope he doesn’t lick his paws after those trips) – and perform daredevil leaps through hoops.

Kit’s owner, Trisha Yeager Menke, started training Kit with the hoop when he was a kitten, holding it higher and higher until she could suspend it from the ceiling. Now the cat is making 9-foot leaps, and Trisha thinks he would go even farther with encouragement.

Mind you, Kit doesn’t leap from the ground, but starts from a parallel object some distance from the hoop. But once through, he descends to the ground. See it for yourself.

That move’s called the Super Kitty Leap around here, and it’s not for amateurs.

Trisha photographed Kit doing his stunt work and printed 5,000 stamped postcards that she’s donating to troops in Iraq so they can send short messages to loved ones.

Kit’s patriotic postcards are undoubtedly better received by the soldiers than the “Wish you were here” type.

Kit’s reward is plenty of homemade jerky treats. He also has a new blog.

Trisha’s an interesting human who has trained many cats (or thinks she has). She co-authored with her late cat, Toast, a book called Potty Talk. The book’s site has video of Kit doing his business on a toilet – in an endless loop so Kit appears to have a urinary tract infection. Ouch! But it is impressive.

Like lots of women, Trisha really seems to “get” cats – but we’d appreciate it if she’d just lay off the dog tricks.


Kittens Love a Good Fire

February 26, 2008

By Yul

Firefighters can be cats’ best friends when we get into a jam, but one automotive-loving kitten in Weston, Florida, put really put them to the test – twice.

On February 12, 2008, a stray kitten decided to chill near Walgreen’s in the undercarriage of someone’s Volvo, and firefighters were called.

In pouring rain, they spent an hour jacking the car up and removing a wheel, but the cat kept ducking out of reach and eventually scampered off. They spent another hour scouring the parking lot looking for it.

Then some real work blazed up, and they had to leave to fight several fires.

Five hours later when they returned to the station, guess who they found in the fire truck’s rear wheel well?

But the kitten still wouldn’t come out, even for meatloaf. It had obviously seen too much.

Now here’s the riddle: How many firefighters does it take to nab a kitten?

Three – one to prod it with a Slim Jim, one to gently squirt it into the open, and one to catch it.

The unnamed kitty was dirty, hungry, scared – and now wet – but otherwise eager to get on with its remaining 8 lives.


Nicolasa, the Peruvian Surfer Cat

February 6, 2008

By Yul

We cats have a reputation for being aloof and finicky, but here’s a heartbreaking example of the lengths some cats will go to just to have a home and please their owner. It won’t surprise me if this cat eventually decides to split and take her chances as a stray. It would sure beat drowning.

Nicolasa is a 4-month-old tortoiseshell kitten in Lima, Peru. Her owner is a surfer dude named Domingo Pianezzi who got the bright idea one day to take Nicolasa to San Bartolo beach. He claims she jumped onto his surf board like she was raring to hang ten – and he was only obliging her.

I’m not buying it.

Anyway, it was no time before Nicolasa found herself riding a wave back into shore. Pianezzi swears she loved it, but it looks to me like that cat was hanging on for dear life while she watched one of her nine lives wash out with the tide.

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Pianezzi also had Nicolasa swimming in surf well over her head, something no cat should ever be forced to do, even in smooth water.

Next he’ll probably be throwing sticks into the water for her to fetch so she can end up as shark chow, like that black Lab in Jaws.

Instead of a cat, this guy should have gotten himself a catfish.


Black Cats are Never Dull

January 28, 2008

By Adele

We’re not superstitious, but Yul demonstrates daily how exciting life with a black cat can be. He’s always in touch with his “dark side” and pushing his limits.

But if the chips were ever down, we know Yul would be the one with the brains, guts, and strength to save us.

Like a plucky black “moggy” named Salem in Rochester, England, who recently saved his careless owner, Lucy Thompson. She started a fire in her apartment at 4 a.m. by leaving a candle burning in the living room that ignited the furniture.

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The place was filled with smoke when Salem started biting Lucy’s hand and scratching her face to wake her. The cat’s cool head and quick thinking saved not only one of his lives and Lucy’s, but allowed her to rouse the neighbors and grab her other cat, Syrius.

Eat your heart out, Lassie.

And in California, an anonymous black cat got himself rescued on January 17 from the top of a power pole, where he’d been precariously standing for as long as four days. Electricity was briefly cut off to 1,700 customers of Pacific Gas & Electric in the Martell/Jackson area so rescuers could reach the cat safely in a cherry-picker. He knew he was getting a life back and didn’t resist.

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No one knows what sent him up the pole in the first place, but he had the sense not to try tightrope-walking on the live wires.

He was wearing a collar (but no tags) and is very friendly, so the people keeping him at the Martell animal shelter hope his owners come to claim him.


Gracie Mae, the Amazing Flying Cat

January 24, 2008

By Adele

Even when a kitten’s surrounded by clueless humans, her story can still have a happy ending.

Gracie Mae is a 10-month-old tabby who lives in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., with Seth and Kelly Levy. She’d just been spayed a few days before Seth took a trip to Texas, but Gracie didn’t let a stitched tummy and convalescence stop her from doing what cats do best.

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Gracie Mae reunited with the silly humans who love her.

While Seth was packing, Gracie playfully jumped into his suitcase as if to tag along. The joke was on Gracie when the guy slammed the case shut with her inside and left for the Ft. Lauderdale airport.

Gracie went through checked luggage screening, and American Airlines apparently didn’t blink twice when a cat skeleton passed through their x-ray.

Somehow Gracie managed not to suffocate or freeze to death in the cargo hold and arrived safely at Dallas/Ft. Worth, when Rob Carter mistakenly claimed the luggage and took it home to Ft. Worth. He realized his mistake only when he didn’t recognize the clothes inside, but it was too late. The cat was out of the bag – and under the bed.

Carter said he “screamed like a little girl,” but noticed Gracie’s ID tag. He called Kelly Levy, who was distraught, and they arranged for Gracie to fly home with Seth for $80 the next day, presumably in a proper carrier.

The Levys are happy Gracie’s back. This incident aside, they’re obviously responsible owners, having Gracie spayed and tagged. If they weren’t, she’d be living in Texas now with Rob Carter and named “Suitcase.”

This story evokes memories of another adventurous tabby named Emily who, in 2005, traveled from Wisconsin in a cargo container, via Chicago and Belgium, to France.

Gracie Mae and Emily offer these lessons to all cats: 1) When given an ID tag, wear it graciously, and 2) Always keep your pussport up-to-date.


Vindication for Tatiana the Tiger

January 18, 2008

By Fred

Now that the two surviving brothers have sobered up and attended their friend’s funeral, the truth is finally emerging about how they got mauled by Tatiana the tiger at the San Francisco zoo in December. Their attorney, Mark Geragos, who’s been a staunch defender of their innocence, isn’t returning phone calls.

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The younger brother, Paul Dhaliwal, has had the decency to admit that he, his brother, and their friend provoked the tiger – all in fun, I’m sure.

High on vodka and marijuana, they stupidly stood on top of a 3-foot-high metal railing to yell and wave at the big cats. The footprint found on the railing matched Paul’s, whose blood alcohol level was twice the legal limit for driving and highest of the three.

Tatiana was likely just sitting there minding her own business, probably bored from being cooped up. She couldn’t believe her good fortune when three large, noisy, live-action cat toys appeared, and she found a way to reach them, probably by leaping and climbing out of her prison.

Everyone knows cats play rough, but maybe some people forget when they’re stoned. One of our favorite games is “Hunting,” where we stalk and pretend to kill our prey – usually a harmless catnip mouse. In Tatiana’s case, her toys were alive and she was playing with a tiger-sized jaw and paws.

They didn’t have a chance, and neither did she, as it turned out.

I hope Paul’s confession means the Dhaliwal brothers feel rich just being alive and are turning down Geragos’ offer to make them millionaires for having a hand in killing their friend and an innocent cat who just did what comes naturally.


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