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Primped felines invade Texas fairgrounds for cat show

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Saturday morning found a dozen judges beginning to give close examination to 175 carefully groomed cats at the annual regional show of the International Cat Association Inc., at the Extraco Events Center.

The show is hosted by the Heart of Texas Cat Club of Waco and the Mission City Cat Club of San Antonio for the association's South Central Region, which includes Texas, Arkansas, Colorado, Kansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, and Oklahoma, said Toni Jones of San Antonio, co-manager of the show.

It also includes Mexico, which didn't send many cats and owners but provided a judge, Anna Maria Sosa of Monterey. She said she was impressed by the number and quality of cats entered this year.

"We look at the cat's head, body and personality and temper as well as how well-groomed it is and how well the owner presents it," she said. "I have an image in my mind of perfection and judge the cat on how it measures up." Read More

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Let Cats Guide You Through Art History With This New Chrome Extension

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It is a tired maxim that the Internet basically exists to help us find pictures of cats. That particular search just got a lot easier—and a lot classier—thanks to Meow Met, a new Chrome extension. Designed by Emily McAllister for the Metropolitan Museum of Art's Media Lab, Meow Met shows you a cat-related picture from the museum's collection every time you open up a new tab. As Hyperallergic's Claire Voon writes, the extension makes ordinary browser usage "into an enjoyable learning experience."

Among other things, Meow Met offers an important reminder that our contemporary passion for depictions of our feline friends has deep historical origins. Most of the pictures it presents derive from the 19th century, but a few are much, much older. Those of more recent provenance vary delightfully in style and approach, from a charming Qing dynasty scroll of a cat pawing at butterflies to a more sinister oil painting by Gwen John. Read More

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Felines check in at Visalia hotel for cat show

You know what Visalia needs? More cats.

Sure, we may have as many as 45 known feral cat colonies in Visalia with as many as 40 cats roaming freely throughout neighborhoods in Visalia and Tulare.

But all those mangy tails scurrying along our neighbors yards, roofs, and cars, really only serve to further emphasize the beauty of the feline form.

Ready your allergy meds Visalia, because more than 200 cats are on route to town for the TICA All Breed Championship and Household Pet Cat Show taking place over two days starting at 10 a.m. Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 1 and 2, at the Holiday Inn Visalia Hotel and Conference Center. Read More

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New trend among retirees: Including pets in their will

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When it comes to planning your will, most people make sure their families and loved ones are taken care of. Now there is a growing number of people who are also taking steps to make sure their four-legged friends aren't forgotten by creating "pet trusts" to help care for pets after their owners pass away. Read More

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Science finally tells us how cats want to be petted

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How should you pet your cat? It's a question that's stumped pet owners for centuries, but science now has an answer. Here's what a team of researchers from the University of Lincoln in the UK found, in graphical form:

Yes, that's right. Cats do not like being stroked at the base of their tail -- at least, that was the case for most of the 54 cats in this study, and another, smaller study on the topic. That's sort of a cat erogenous zone, and petting may overstimulate it, the researchers posit.

The cats' favorite place to be pet: Their faces, especially around their lips, chins and cheeks, where they have scent glands. (The researchers did not attempt to pet the cats on their bellies, presumably because they didn't want to be maimed.)

Interestingly, it doesn't seem to matter what order you pet the parts of your cat. That suggests that cats see petting as akin to grooming, which happens haphazardly between two friendly cats, rather than allo-rubbing, which always goes from tip to tail. Read More

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Cats rescued from shelters are hired for rodent patrol

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Like the characters played by the actor who inspired his name, Pacino was no scaredy cat. The brown tabby had prowled the streets of Los Angeles, a drifter scraping for his next meal..

After the cat was turned in at an L.A. County animal services shelter, there was little hope that Pacino would be adopted. He was too distrustful, too fierce, too mean.

Then Melya Kaplan came along, looking for a cat with grit, street smarts and attitude.

The 10-pound, 6-ounce cat would become the nighttime warden at the Original L.A. Flower Market, making sure rodents and other vermin didn't get out of hand. He's part of a group of tough cats recruited by an animal rights nonprofit to find homes in places that could use their hard-scrabble qualities. Along with another cat named DeNiro, Pacino would prowl the Italian side of the flower market. Of course.

"Mother Nature doesn't make mistakes," said Kaplan, executive director of Voice for the Animals. "We probably just haven't found a purpose for it yet."

As part of the Working Cats program, street cats like Pacino are rescued from animal shelters and sent to locations ranging from police stations, like the LAPD's Wilshire and Foothill divisions, to private homes, businesses and schools. Over the years, the program has placed about 500 cats in nearly 50 locations.

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Cat videos are good for you, study says

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Cat videos — opiate of the masses, or useful emotional crutch?

A study by researchers at Indiana University has come down in support of the latter in this key debate of the digital age.

Watching cat videos online boosts energy levels, and reduces anxiety and sadness, according to the study of nearly 7,000 cat video watchers by assistant professor Jessica Gall Myrick.

While some cat video watchers feel guilty at indulging their inner cat lady in the workplace, the benefits outweigh the costs, found Myrick, who has no need to feel guilty when she watches cat videos, because it is her job. Read More

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Felines as loving as dogs studies find

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If you're a "dog person" you may have made your allegiance to that special species because you think of cats as aloof and incapable of expressing affection like dogs.

However, a growing body of scientific research suggests felines are just as expressive as canine companions. It's just that we humans often misunderstand what our cats are trying to communicate.

Sharon Crowell-Davis, a professor of veterinary behavior at the University of Georgia, says in New York Magazine's blog "Science of Us" that there are many cat behaviors that even cat lovers misinterpret.

"The problem arises when people take their knowledge of dogs and apply it to cats", says Karen Sueda, Diplomat of the American College of Veterinary Behaviorists, not understanding "feline body language is more nuanced than that of dogs." Read More

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