Posts about Cats

Friday Fun: Monkey and Kitten Playing

If somehow you need more to entice you to watch the webcast, there are even cameos by a dog and people. But if you need to know more than kitten and monkey maybe you need to connect to your inner 5 year old self.

Related: Kittens Reminding You to Thank Your MotherFriday Fun: Cat and Owl PlayingCapuchin Monkeys Using Stone ToolsScuba Cat and Dog

Breakfast with Cheetahs, Lions and Gazelles

Breakfast with cheetahs

For ten days I’ll be touring wildlife camps in Namibia and Botswana, accompanying researchers as they gather data on big cats, black rhinos, and elephants. Ecotourism – trips where travelers help preserve the communities they visit – is the fastest-growing segment of the tourism industry. A growing number of small U.S. travel firms have found their niche creating trips that combine some element of giving back with comfortable accommodations that don’t stress the environment.

One company is Classic Africa, which arranges small group trips to wildlife camps in Botswana, Namibia, South Africa, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. The firm was founded by Margaret and Pierre Faber, who provide custom trips for about 500 clients a year

I have twice gone on safaris in East Africa (photos from my Kenya safari). They have been absolutely wonderful experiences getting to see vast expanses of natural wildlife is like nothing else I have done. They are costly but if you can afford it they really are quite amazing. While the TV shows exploring these location don’t equal a visit they are pretty great also.

Related: Water Buffaloes, Lions and Crocodiles Oh MyPhotos of Rare Saharan Cheetah, Sand Cat and Other WildlifeCheetahs Released into the WildLeopard Bests Crocodile

Friday Fun: Exercise Wheels for Dogs and Cats

This would certainly give dogs that don’t have big enough yards to run in some good exercise.

Cats don’t seem to take to the wheels as naturally as a few dogs do. While the wheel is odd no matter what I would also wager the evolution of the animals is at play. Cats are use to stalking animals. You can see that trait play out in the kitten video above (and lots of other similar videos – so while this one is partially the kittens short attention span it also seems common that cats don’t just run for a long time). While dogs are evolved to wear our their prey in log distance chases. I’m sure getting dogs to use a wheel isn’t likely to be super easy but I think it will be easier than getting cats to do so.

Related: Kittens Reminding You to Thank Your MotherFriday Escape Dog FunFriday Cat Fun: Treadmill CatsDog and Duckling Fun

Kittens Reminding You to Thank Your Mother

Fun cat video and a reminder to thank your mother for all the times she saved you from your version of the slide. Have a happy friday. Maybe you should forward this video to your Mom with a note of thanks and make it a happy one for her too.

Related: Friday Cat Fun #11: Ninja Cat Stair ClimbingNaturally Curious ChildrenTreadmill Cats: Friday Cat Fun #3Friday Cat Fun #13: Kitten in His Box

Friday Fun: Cat Using the Doorbell

Curious cats are the best. This one uses the doorbell to get into the house.

Related: Automatic Cat FeederCurious Cat HatFriday Fun, Cat Parkour

Sphero – the Robotic Ball You Control with Your Smart Phone

A nice, fun gadget for your friday. Sphero is the first ever robotic ball which can be controlled just by using your smart phone.

Developed by the Orbotix Team, you can use sphero in various applications. It is controlled using your smartphone (SDK exist for iOS and Android to let you have some fun hacking new ideas. The size is approximately that of a baseball. It has a customizable LED that allows you to change the glow according to your mood. You can check out more of Sphero features.

Use sphero like an remote controlled car but with a twist of boost mode for a more exciting chase with your pet cat. Yes, Sphero has an application specially designed for cats called the Sphero KittyCam app. Let the cat chase the robot and catch all the cat’s movements in video. You can upload it share the wild reactions of your cat.

Invite a friend over to play with sphero using the mixed reality pong. We all know pong and the developers of sphero found a way to incorporate technology with the classic game. Use your smartphones as your virtual paddle and control the sphero, which acts as your pong ball, to win the game.

Sphero is a fun gadget to have and you do activities like golf, racing and many more. If you want to order you can check out this link and fill up the order form.

Related: Friday Fun: Cats and Kids with iPadsFriday Robot Fun: i-SOBOTAwesome Cat Cam

Cat Goes to the Train Station to Meet Its Owner Each Evening

Graeme, a cat in Melbourne, Australia, walks to the train station with its owner in the morning and then goes off to play (and probably lots of sleep, it is a cat) and then returns in time to meet its owner at the train station after the work day.

The pampered cat cannot get enough of attention, with scores of regulars calling him by name as they stop for a chat and give him a pat on the head. Safety conscious, the sociable moggie is meticulous about using the subway to cross to the city-bound platform, rather than take a dangerous short cut across the tracks.

When the evening peak comes around, Graeme puts on an encore performance, arriving at the opposite platform in time to greet owner Nicole Weinrich as she returns home from work. “He always seems to know which train carriage I am on and will be sitting there behind the yellow line when the doors open, because he is all about safety,” Ms Weinrich said.

But sometimes Graeme can take his desire to be close to his fans a bit too far – he has been known to jump on the train and get off a station or two later. “He doesn’t do it often, but we do worry about that,” Ms Weinrich said.

She said Graeme, believed to be about 12, had roughed it on the street before being saved from the RSPCA’s “death row” six years ago, so his love of people is tempered by his survival instincts.

Related: Cat Rids the Bus (without paying)The Wonderful Life of a CatThe Engineer That Made Your Cat a Photographer

Cat Running in Circles

This is for the cat segment of the blog. There is no real connection to science or engineering. Just a minute of distraction from a busy Monday.

Related: Cat enjoys flushing the toilet, again and again and againRabbit Escapes Cat AttackCat LiftFriday Fun: Cats and Kids with iPads

Friday Fun: Cat and Owl Playing

This black cat and owl make very cute friends. They grew up together, follow their antics on the fum and gebra website. Other examples of interspecies fun: Cat and Crow FriendsBunny and KittensPolar Bears and HuskiesCats Connect with People, and Particularly Women, as Social Partners. Other times the interaction is surprising but not exactly friendly – The Cat and a Black Bear.

Rabbit Escapes Cat Attack

Fun video showing a rabbit doing what comes naturally.

Related: Bunny and Kittens: Friday Cat FunA Cat Adopts a SquirrelFriday Fun: Cat Parkour

Cat Allergy Vaccine Created

McMaster University researchers have developed a vaccine which successfully treats people with an allergy to cats. Traditionally, frequent allergy shots have been considered the most effective way to bring relief — other than getting rid of the family pet — for the 8 to 10% of the population allergic to cats.

Both options, may now be avoided thanks to the work of immunologist Mark Larché, professor at the Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine and Canada Research Chair in Allergy & Immune Tolerance.

Building on research he’s conducted for the past 10 years in Canada and Britain, Larché and his research team have developed a vaccine which is effective and safe with almost no side effects. The research is published in a the January 2011 issue of the Journal of Allergy & Clinical Immunology, a leading journal in the allergy field.

The researchers took one protein (molecule) that cats secrete on their fur which causes the majority of allergic problems. Using blood samples from 100 patient volunteers allergic to cats, they deconstructed the molecule and identified short regions within the protein which activate T-cells (helper cells that fight infection) in the immune system.

Using the amino acid code for the whole protein, researchers made synthetic versions of these regions. For the cat allergy vaccine, they found seven peptides (strings of amino acids). “And those synthetic peptides are what we mix together to make the vaccine,” said Larché. “We picked the peptides that would work in as much of the population as possible.”

Known as “peptide immunotherapy,” a low dose of the vaccine is given into the skin. Initially, four to eight doses a year may be required, but the side effects of the traditional allergy shots do not arise, Larché said. The optimal dose will be determined in phase three clinical trials which are getting underway with a much larger group of cat allergy sufferers.

The development of a vaccine to treat people allergic to cats is the first in a line of vaccines developed with Adiga Life Sciences, a company established at McMaster in 2008. It is a joint venture between McMaster University Circassia Ltd., a UK-based biotech company.

Adiga and McMaster are now collaborating on research into the use of peptide immunotherapy for house dust mite, ragweed, grass, birch tree and moulds

Related: MIT Engineers Design New Type of Nanoparticle for Vacines10 Questions to Ask Your Vet About Cat MedicationsVaccine For Strep Infections

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