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 Fluffy’s Year In Review
January 1, 2024

Happy New Year! And, to our feline friends, Happy Mew Year! (Cats celebrate the new year on the 2nd.) As we leave 2023 behind and sail on into 2024, news, entertainment, and social media sites are all looking back on the last 12 months, offering various best of lists and takes, and discussing the year’s high and low moments. Cats may be more inclined to napping on a magazine or newspaper than taking in those opinion pieces, but that doesn’t mean we have to leave them out of these discussions. As it turns out, Fluffy had quite a few big moments last year! A local Bellaire, TX vet goes over some of them in this article.

Back From The Brink

Our feline friends made headlines over in Scotland last year. One kitty victory from 2023 is the success of a program focusing on reintroducing Scottish Wildcats. The program, Saving Wildcats, oversaw the successful release of 19 wildcats, who are being tracked by GPS collars. Another thirteen kittens are being raised in conditions that mimic the wild conditions in the Cairngorms, where the cats will be released. While scientists don’t expect all of the cats to survive, it’s a great start to re-establishing a species that was declared functionally extinct. (It’s probably safe to say that Scotland’s birds and mice are not as elated about this as we are.)

A Purrfect Celebration

Are you planning on popping the question soon? Do you have a friend or family member that’s about to propose? A cat insurance brand set up the website at FelixPurrfectProposal.com, as a place where people could share how their feline friends would be involved in the special occasion. A winner will be chosen, with the prize of $4,750 for an engagement ring … plus something extra for Fluffy, of course. The jury is still choosing a winner. We can’t wait to see the pictures!

The Cat That Stole Christmas

Cats somehow manage to be extra adorable when they’re being mischievous. One frisky feline made Santa Claws’ naughty list this year for a rather unique brand of misbehavior.

Walter, the furball in question, was caught on camera stealing his owners’ holiday decorations while they slept. The kitty may not have been planning to go viral when he took off with a Christmas stocking, but that’s what ended up happening. 

Purrfect Kitty Homage Happens Overseas

Our feline friends are beloved worldwide. There may be no bigger example of that than that of photos of a sleeping cat in a Thailand rice paddy. This may not sound particularly noteworthy, especially considering that cats spend a rather ridiculous amount of time snoozing. However, this kitty is not a real furball, but a design that was actually planted into the rice paddy. 

Inspired by a traditional quote about abundance, farmer Tanyapong Jaikham carefully designed the piece. He used GPS to precisely coordinate seed plantings, ensuring that the various colors would grow in at just the right spots to create his masterpiece. His goal was for tens of thousands of people to come and see the kitty. 

Adorable Serial Killers

A paper published in Nature Communications compiled information from scientists after reviewing over a century’s worth of data. The research revealed that our feline pals have preyed on more than 347 different threatened species, including Newell’s shearwater, green sea turtles, the northern bobwhite quail, and the little brown bat. Fluffy is also linked to over 60 extinctions! (This is yet one more reason to keep your cat inside.) 

Joyous Mews

CNN recently reported that a Pennsylvania shelter was purrfectly thrilled to announce that they had full vacancy. For the first time in over 47 years, every cage in the shelter was empty!

New Digs

A pair of Indianapolis shelter kitties melted hearts all over the internet in December. The cats, Ruby and Opal, were filmed moving into a new cage. The two cats were so obviously thrilled at the upgrade that they literally jumped for joy.  The clip, which was posted by the rescue on their account, Pepperspalrescue, and went viral on Tiktok. (We’re not sure, but it’s probably safe to say that Ruby and Opal are now happily wreaking havoc on their forever homes.)

Water

Ruby and Opal weren’t the only kitties to melt hearts on TikTok this year. Another frisky feline, Booboo, also got his fifteen minutes of fame … for making a mess. Booboo’s owner was confused as to why the kitty’s water dish was always empty, no matter how often she filled it. The solution? A hidden camera. 

Booboo was caught red-pawed in the act of tipping his bowl over to deliberately spill water into the rug. Cats will be cats! 

A Dog’s Game? Not So Much

It doesn’t look like we’ll completely figure our feline pals out anytime soon. However, we are making progress. 

Another study, this one in Scientific Reports, focused on one of Fluffy’s lesser-known traits: her love of playing Fetch. This study compiled information from more than people owned by cats, and delved into kitties play habits. Turns out that our furry little friends often compulsively teach themselves to Fetch. In fact, about 94 percent of those who responded said that this behavior appeared out of the blue.

Fetch, of course, is more commonly associated with dogs. However, we noticed a while ago that some of our feline pals also enjoy this game. Certain breeds, such as the Siamese and Bengal, are more prone to playing this pet sport, but any cat may partake. (No word yet on Fido’s opinion on the matter.) 

A Loving Pet

In 2024, we also learned a bit about Fluffy’s emotions, and, in particular, her attachment to her humans. A study that was published in Behavioural Processes looked at 53 adult kitties that lived in a cat café in Los Angeles. The study delved into the way that our feline pals display their emotions. It turns out that Fluffy has more than 276 distinct facial expressions. (No word on how many of them would qualify as smug or disdainful.)

Of course, anyone with a kitty of their own could tell you that these furry little creatures are extremely emotional and opinionated, and can get very, very attached to their humans.

Fluffy may be an adorable serial killer, but she is capable of very powerful emotions, and is smarter than many people realize. Ask your Bellaire, TX vet for more insight into cats’ behavior.

Cat Distribution System

It’s probably safe to say that, for the most part, like other social media sites,TikTok is a double-edged sword, providing both entertainment and controversy. However, occasionally the site really does uncover something important. That’s certainly our take on one of the biggest cat-related topics this year: the Cat Distribution System. In a nutshell, this is the term for the universe’s process of distributing cats to the right people at the right time. The concept has gone viral, with many users uploading videos of themselves finding their assigned pets. 

Our Advice on Fluffy’s Year in 2024

What significant achievements were made in the conservation of Scottish Wildcats in 2023?

In 2023, a significant achievement in the conservation of Scottish Wildcats was the success of the Saving Wildcats program in Scotland. This initiative saw the successful release of 19 wildcats into the wild, each tracked with GPS collars for monitoring. Additionally, another 13 kittens were raised in conditions mimicking their natural habitat in the Cairngorms, preparing them for future release. This effort marked a crucial step in re-establishing a previously declared functionally extinct species. While complete success isn’t guaranteed, this represents a significant stride in conserving and reviving the Scottish Wildcat population.

What impact do domestic cats have on wildlife?

Domestic cats can significantly impact wildlife, particularly in their role as predators. Studies have shown that cats prey on various wildlife species, including birds, small mammals, reptiles, and amphibians. This predatory behavior can reduce local wildlife populations, especially in areas where native species are already vulnerable or endangered. Additionally, cats can contribute to the spread of diseases to wild animal populations. Cat owners must be aware of these impacts and consider measures like keeping cats indoors to help protect local wildlife ecosystems.

What does recent research say about cats and their ability to play fetch?

Recent research has shed light on the intriguing ability of some cats to play fetch, a behavior traditionally associated with dogs. A study published in Scientific Reports revealed that many cats, including breeds like Siamese and Bengal, often spontaneously learn to fetch. This behavior is more common than previously thought, with approximately 94% of surveyed cat owners reporting that their cats exhibited it. The study suggests that cats may develop the skill to play fetch on their own, indicating a level of cognitive ability and playfulness not consistently recognized in felines.

How has TikTok contributed to the concept of the “Cat Distribution System,” and what does it involve?

TikTok has significantly popularized the concept of the “Cat Distribution System,” a whimsical idea that the universe has a way of ‘distributing’ cats to the right people at the right time. Users on the platform have embraced this concept, sharing heartwarming stories and videos of how cats unexpectedly came into their lives, often at moments of need or uncertainty. These anecdotes, going viral on TikTok, have fostered a sense of community and connection among cat lovers, reinforcing the belief that cats often find their way to the perfect home, as if by fate.

What are the various ways in which cats were spotlighted in the news and social media in 2023?

In 2023, cats were spotlighted in various ways in the news and social media. Key highlights included conservation successes like the reintroduction of Scottish Wildcats in Scotland. Cats are also featured in unique human-interest stories, such as their involvement in marriage proposals through a particular insurance brand campaign and viral moments included mischievous antics, like a cat named Walter stealing holiday decorations, and creative endeavors, exemplified by a Thai farmer’s rice paddy art of a sleeping cat. Additionally, research studies gained attention, shedding light on cats’ predatory impact on wildlife and their unexpected ability to play fetch, alongside exploring their emotional expressions and attachment behaviors. These diverse stories illustrate people’s enduring fascination and affection for these enigmatic and beloved pets.

All of us here at The Corner Vet – Bellaire, your local Bellaire, TX animal hospital, wish you a wonderful new year. Please reach out to us anytime. We look forward to providing you with the best service