Combs Spouts Off

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Posts Tagged ‘cats’

Cats may make you schizophrenic?

Posted by Richard on January 30, 2019

Eek!

In what researchers describe as the largest study of its kind, scientists have found new evidence of a link between infection with the protozoan parasite, Toxoplasma gondii, and schizophrenia.

Causation remains very much disputable, but the brain-dwelling parasite – commonly carried by cats and present in their faeces – has been linked to a huge host of behaviour-altering effects.

Virtually all warm-blooded animals are capable of being infected, and when T. gondii gets inside them, unusual things happen.

What kind of unusual things? Well, infected rodents lose their inhibitions and their aversion to the odor of cats.

Mmm, cat odors.

In humans, T. gondii infections seem to be associated with risk-taking, suicide, and various neurological disorders like Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, and epilepsy. Of course, correlation is not causation. Maybe people who are prone to these effects for other reasons are also for some reason more inclined to have cats.

Still, there’s this new study by Danish researchers analyzing the blood of 80,000 Danes that suggests further research might be a good idea:

To ascertain links between mental disorders and infections with T. gondii and another common pathogen, the herpes virus cytomegalovirus (CMV), the researchers identified 2,591 individuals in the blood study who were registered with psychiatric conditions, and analysed their samples to look for traces of immunoglobulin antibodies indicative of the two infections.

In terms of T. gondii, compared to a control group, the blood work revealed individuals with the infection were almost 50 percent more likely (odds ratio 1.47) to be diagnosed with schizophrenia disorders compared to those without an infection.

As the researchers explain, the link became even more evident when they filtered the data to account for ‘temporality’ – which meant only looking at participants who hadn’t yet been diagnosed with schizophrenia when T. gondii was found in their blood.

According to the researchers, this “corroborates that Toxoplasma has a positive effect on the rate of schizophrenia and that T. gondii infection might be a contributing causal factor for schizophrenia.”

I know the voices aren’t real, but they have some really good ideas.

(HT: /.)

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Merry Christmas!

Posted by Richard on December 25, 2018

Have you watched Die Hard yet? It’s 30 years old now, and still the best ever Christmas movie.

I’m feeling festive, so here are some Christmas cats.


[YouTube link]

UPDATE: I’m looking at Dish Network’s on-demand menu, and Die Hard is one of the Trending Now entries. Woohoo!

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Happy National Cat Day!

Posted by Richard on October 29, 2018

Yes, today is National Cat Day. And I’m feline fine. The weather is purrfect. But before I go out for a walk, I think I’ll take a catnap. With one or more cats. I think that’s fur the best.

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Don’t donate to HSUS

Posted by Richard on December 29, 2016

If you’re considering some last-minute charitable donations this year, your local animal shelter or humane society might be a good candidate. But don’t be fooled and think that a donation to the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) will benefit shelter dogs and cats. It doesn’t.

2010-08-18_cat_surprised

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Skiing Red Rocks Amphitheater

Posted by Richard on March 25, 2016

We had snow in Denver Wednesday. More accurately, we had a blizzard with 30-50+ mph winds for about 12 hours. It dumped 12-18″ in Denver and 20-30″ or more in the foothills. The airport closed, highways closed in every direction, the National Guard was called out to rescue stranded motorists, and it made the national news.

But the good news is it gave Nick Gianoutsos a chance to check something off on his bucket list: skiing Red Rocks. 7NEWS Denver has the video. Check it out:

They also have a charming video of how a cat named Boots enjoyed the snowstorm. Boots’ owners opened the sliding glass door with snow piled up against it, and … well, just watch:

 

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Happy National Cat Day!

Posted by Richard on October 29, 2014

Yes, there is indeed a National Cat Day, and rightly so. There are countless ways to celebrate this auspicious occasion. Many involve wasting time on the Internet.

A lot of people, guys in particular, prefer dogs. They consider cats aloof, standoffish, too independent, and not loving and affectionate. They’re wrong. But here’s the thing: it takes more effort to bond with and gain the affection of a cat than a dog.

Dogs are easy. They’re the pet equivalent of the woman who’ll sleep with anybody (except you won’t need shots after being licked by a dog).

You have to earn the affection of a cat. You have to work at the relationship. They play hard to get (except they’re not playing). Once you’ve built that bond, though, you can expect the cat to curl up in your lap, follow you around, cuddle next to you in bed, groom you (my Coco likes to lick my beard), etc. And you’ll feel good about yourself for being worthy of that trust and affection. Isn’t that better than the cheap encounter with that tramp cockapoo from down the street?

Well, enough praise of cats. Coco and I are going to go take a nap together.

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A cat’s brain is more complex than a dog’s…

Posted by Richard on March 26, 2014

…and 19 other fun facts about cats from Mental Floss. My Coco assures me most of these are true, although she’s not at all sure about number 17.

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Punkin Limbaugh, RIP

Posted by Richard on August 19, 2013

From the transcript of Friday’s Rush Limbaugh show:

RUSH: I’ve got people e-mailing me about Punkin, my cat, and I would not have been able to describe this or tell you about this any earlier than today literally without losing it, but we had to put Punkin to sleep a week ago.  She was 16 years old, and the first cat that I’d ever had, and ended up being the best pet that I’ve ever had.  I’d always thought that cats were these aloof creatures that couldn’t care less if you were around or not.

And to strangers and so forth, they might be.  But when a cat attaches to you, some might say when a cat loves you, it’s entirely different.  This cat attached to me years ago and was everywhere I was.  This cat followed me around and just had just a robust personality with me, but she had kidney failure.  She’s actually had it for 10 years, and she had built up an immunity to every antibiotic. It had stopped working. (sigh)

I guess two weeks ago, whatever you call it, dramatic acute kidney failure set in and she stopped eating. Because when the kidneys fail, somehow the vet said the body tells them that food is poison because it can’t be dealt with by the kidney. They stop eating, and she was literally withering away before my eyes.  But she was… I mean, these animals, you know, they never give up.  Suicide is not in their makeup.

It was one of the hardest things that I’ve had to do. Last weekend was really sad and lonely, and I wouldn’t have been able to tell you about this on Monday without breaking up.  But a lot of people have been asking because I had mentioned that she was not well, so I wanted to mention it to you and thank all of you for asking.  I appreciate it.  You all know. Those of you who have animals and lose them, you know what it’s like.

I understand completely how he feels and share his sadness. I’ve heard him talk about Punkin often over the years. She sounded like a wonderful cat, and his deep affection for her was always evident.

I’ve always said that I prefer cats to dogs because a dog will love anyone, but a cat’s love must be earned. Rush is a good man, and Punkin proved it.

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Heroic feline

Posted by Richard on January 13, 2011

I'm back! Did you miss me? (Did you even notice I was gone?) Sorry for the long absence, and a belated Happy New Year. It was a combination of way too much work, too little motivation, and a major computer meltdown that took forever to resolve.

In the last couple of weeks, there have been a bazillion things about which I should spout off. But for now, I'll just give you a little feel-good story you probably missed (unless you're in Chattanooga, TN). At least, it's a feel-good story for those of us who are cat lovers: 

At 4 a.m., Cornett was awakened by the loud and repeated meows of the family's cat. Bustopher Jones, named after a character in the musical "Cats," wouldn't shut up — meow, meow, meow, meow.

"I was a little annoyed, and I raised up and thought, 'What is that cat doing?'" she said.

What he was doing was saving the lives of the entire family.

Awake on the sofa, she smelled the smoke. The smoke alarm hadn't even gone off, and Talullah, Lexiss and Seamus, the Cornetts' three dogs, were asleep, not making a sound. 

Bustopher, a shelter cat, saved the lives of Angi Cornett, her husband, three children, and three dogs. And instead of thanking Bustopher, one of the dogs viciously attacked him, causing nearly-fatal injuries. 

Fortunately, the Cornetts got him to a veterinary hospital, and he survived: 

Jones came home Friday from an animal hospital in Cleveland. The bill was $241 and left the family with about $30 in their checking account.

But Cornett said she doesn't regret anything.

"He fought back from the brink of death," she said. "I just want Jones to be recognized."

He was. The McKamey Animal Care and Adoption Center, from which Bustopher Jones was adopted, has awarded him the "McKamey Purple Paw certificate of meritorious conduct." 

Good for you, Bustopher Jones! And I think you should lord it over those useless dogs from here on out. 🙂 

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A couple of great cat videos

Posted by Richard on November 24, 2010

A friend sent me these two videos recently, and since they're on YouTube, I thought I'd share them. The first one is of a cat with some really big cojones. "You don't scare me, gator!"


[YouTube link]

The second one just makes you go "awwww, that's so cute!" Nice production values and choice of music, too. Enjoy!


[YouTube link]

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Marines saving kittens

Posted by Richard on July 17, 2010

If you like cats and admire soldiers and Marines, have I got a story for you! Usually, I Can Has Cheezburger is where you go for a dose of "lolcats" — pictures of cats with amusing captions. It's for laughs. But this post isn't about laughs, although it should put a smile on your face:

Kittehs Kiki and Keykey have found a home in the midst of war. And it’s all thanks to three US Marines, Brian Chambers, Chris Berry and Aaron Shaw. They started a mission to help find homes for stray cats that they found while serving in Afghanistan. After finding Keykey injured by a c-wire, Berry took care of his wounds and nursed him back to health and the two of them have been best friends every since.

And now Keykey is living with Berry’s parents in Michigan while Kiki is living with Chambers’ parents in Texas and both are enjoying their new loving homes! Those Marines are definitely heroes in our book as is also the group of Royal Marines that started the organization called Nowzad in 2007. This organization rescues stray and abandoned animals in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Kiki and US Marine Brian Chambers
Kiki and US Marine Brian Chambers

Ooh-rah!

I Can Has Cheezburger got the story from Unique Scoop, which has additional information, along with lots and lots more adorable pictures. You've got to check it out.

After what seems like endless weeks of reading disappointing, depressing, frustrating, and angering news on the web, this was most welcome. Best story I've seen in forever. Made my week. Thank you, Jan!

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The cutest amputee cat you’ll see all day

Posted by Richard on June 25, 2010

How can I not post something about a double-amputee cat with groundbreaking prosthetic paws? Meet Oscar, the bionic cat:

When Oscar the cat lost both his hind paws in a farming accident, it was feared he'd have to trundle around in one of those wheeled-cat apparatuses. But Noel Fitzpatrick, a neuro-orthopedic veterinary surgeon in Surrey, pioneered a groundbreaking technique instead, installing weight-bearing bone implants to create a bionic kitty. 

Oscar gets around just fine, as you can see in this video. 


[YouTube link]

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Larry the Lynx lives!

Posted by Richard on August 14, 2009

Good news! Frontier Airlines is not going away:

DENVER – Frontier Airlines announced on Thursday evening that Republic Airways Holdings won the auction for the Denver-based airline and not rival Southwest Airlines.

Frontier went up for auction on Thursday as part of its Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings.

"Republic submitted the highest and best bid," according to a release from Frontier. "This plan provides for Frontier and Lynx to maintain normal operations as a subsidiary of Republic."

"It's business as usual at Frontier, go ahead and book your travel for fall, winter, into next summer, we're going to be here," Frontier spokesman Steve Snyder said.

A lot of people are focusing on what the Republic victory means for Denver, the employees, customers, etc. But I'm delighted because Southwest was going to absorb Frontier. Republic will treat Frontier as a wholly-owned subsidiary. That means that Larry, Jack, Griz, Flip, Sal, Foxy, Hector, and all the other Frontier animals will remain on the tails of those planes, and the delightful and award-winning animal ads will continue. I think it's one of the best ad campaigns ever.

I just love that lynx. 

Larry the Lynx, Frontier spokescat

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A little-known advantage of Linux

Posted by Richard on April 11, 2009

From I Can Has Cheezburger?® comes this helpful suggestion for cat owners with computers:

funny pictures of cats with captions
see more Lolcats and funny pictures

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Seeing eye cat

Posted by Richard on May 23, 2008

A friend forwarded to me an email the other day about Cashew, the blind and deaf Labrador retriever, and Libby, the seeing eye cat. I tracked it down on the web. It's a rather old story, but if you haven't seen it and you like animals — especially cats — check it out at Libby's web page. Amazing!

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