17

2018 Animal Olympics – Week 1

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Riki T. Tavi here. Welcome to our summary of the first week of the 2018 Animal Olympics. It’s been an exciting week here. We’ve had thrills and a few surprises. It’s been truly heartwarming to see the carnivores and non-carnivores competing against each other in peaceful surroundings. Now I’ll turn you over to our commentators.

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Margaret Malamute – Freestyle Skiing

Since no equipment is allowed in competition, this event has always been dominated by animals who could run down the hill the fastest. The last three winners were the Dall sheep team. However, this year the seals challenged the definition of “upright”. They argued that upright for them was on their bellies. After much consideration, the Olympic Committee agreed with their argument.

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So the finalists were the Dall Sheep, the reindeer and the seals. The favored sheep ran into a problem almost immediately when one of their runners hit a patch of ice and skidded off the trail. The seals were next. Being their first Olympics, the form was not great. But their speed made up for it. The reindeer were last. They were under pressure to beat the seals using traditional methods. It came down to the last runner, but in the end the reindeer triumphed.

Gold: Reindeer; Silver: Seals; Bronze: Sheep. The sheep plan a challenge based on the conditions of the slope.

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Edie Ermine – Freestyle Sledding

In a somewhat surprising turn of events, the seals did not qualify for the finals. The likely explanation is that they spent extra time working on the skiing skills and not enough on the sledding. Regardless, the finalists were the ermine, the penguins, and (surprisingly) the polar bears. The polar bears entered the competition on a dare and were expected to finish at the bottom of the pack.

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The ermine went first, displaying their flawless beauty in the event. The scores were good, but not great. Definitely room for the other teams to score higher. The penguins, apparently sensing victory, were a little careless in their takeoffs and barely edged the ermine. The polar bears went last. Their form was unusual, to say the least. They sat on their butts and held their feet up. Since the only requirement is that competitors maintain the same position from top to bottom, it was an acceptable position. The bears were not attractive going down the hills, but it’s a speed contest.

Gold: Polar Bears; Silver: Penguins; Bronze: Ermine

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Penelope Penguin – Luge

The Luge didn’t really hold many surprises. This fan favorite is a test of speed not form. The sides of the track are expandable so all the animals use the same track.The finalists were the penguins, the polar bears, and the otters. All three teams are experienced, and all performed well. Some minors errors on the track made the difference.

Gold: Otters; Silver: Penguins; Bronze: Polar Bears

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Oscar Otter – Underwater Relay

The otters have been dominant in this event for many years. Swimming quickly around and through posts and rings seems second nature to them. The only real question here was who would get silver and bronze. The finalists were the otters, the penguins, and the seals. The penguins were faster than the seals, but the seals missed fewer obstacles. In a very close finish, the seals beat out the penguins for silver.

Gold: Otters; Silver: Seals; Bronze: Penguins

It’s Riki again. Hopefully, you’ve been watching the actual events online at cheeseland.anm/olympics. Please join us next week for our summary of the remaining events.

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All pictures courtesy of Google Images

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41

Cat Forum: Interview with Kosmo

Snoops and Kommando Kitty here. Welcome to Cat Forum. We have a  very special guest this month: Kosmo, who comes all the way from Finland. We didn’t know where Finland is, so we had to look it up. It is a LONG way from Michigan. And he speaks really good American cat (which is a good thing, since we didn’t even know there was a Finnish cat language.) Kosmo appears in the blog Photofinland with a lot of really cool pictures. In fact, Horatio Hedgehog convinced us to put a second link further down when Kosmo talks about the hedgehogs he knows.

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Tell us a little bit about yourself.

 My name is Kosmo and I live in the western part of Finland. I am about Four years old. I don´t remember much of my childhood, but one day when I was walking around hungry and tired, I heard humans talking in one yard. So I walked there, a woman was sitting on the steps and I walked straight to her lap. She asked me if I am hungry, and then I knew I will live in this house forever.

Kosmo´s mom: We tried to find Kosmo´s home with no result, nobody had seen him earlier. Kosmo had been a home cat, because he was used to living inside.

Kosmo’s Mom is also an extremely talented photographer

Your humans seem to really love the outdoors. Do you get to help them with their projects?

Not much, because at first I was really afraid to go out, because of my past, somebody had left me out. Dad took me out at first in his lap, then in a leash, and now after three years effort I walk well in a leash. I have my own path and I walk it with Dad twice a day.

You may know that we live with Horatio Hedgehog. Have you ever met one?

Oh yes! Hedgehogs are living in my yard. In a most peaceful corner in my yard is a place for hedgehogs to hibernate. Dad has made two small houses for them and then covered the houses with dry leaves and branches. In our blog are photos of one house and hedgehogs.

It looks really snowy and cold there (and dark). Do you get extra snuggles this time of year?

Yes, my humans like to snuggle with me, because I am snoring really loud, and they love it.

Do you live with other creatures (furry or non-furry) aside from your adult humans?

 No, just we three together. One cat girl comes every day to eat here. She is waiting outside the door, then I invite her to come in to eat. We know where her home is, but our food is better, I think. I just watch her eat, maybe some days we are playing together.

What’s your favorite thing to do with your humans?

 Snuggling, of course, daily brushing, playing “running around like crazies”, and my walks outside with Dad.

What’s your favorite way to play?

Pawball is the number one.

Are there special Finnish treats that you get? Maybe something fishy?

This is really embarrassing, but I am afraid of fish. When I was new here, my humans had real, tiny fishes for me, I and ran away under the bed.

Do you have good cat TV (window viewing) there?

I have two great cat TV’s and lots of birds.

Is there anything you would like to add?

 This interview in your blog is a great honour to me , thank you!

Horatio here. Kosmo really is a good guy – for a cat. If you get to Finland, you should definitely look him up.

 

18

The 2018 Supper Bowl

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The resident male human (Cat’s husband) loves to watch American football. He watches it all fall, but at the end of the year there seems to be a lot of “bowls”. Watching with him, we noticed something strange. The winner of the Rose Bowl didn’t get a bowl of roses (or even a bowl), the winner of the Orange Bowl didn’t get oranges, and some of the bowl were for gifts that didn’t even make sense. (Who’d want a weed-eater as a prize?)

It seems that the biggest game of all is this weekend. They call it the Super Bowl. What’s so super about it? Apparently it shows who has the best football team in the country. But they still don’t win a bowl. Instead, they get really big rings. You can’t eat out of a ring.

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So we decided that we needed to sponsor our own bowl, The Supper Bowl. And guess what the winners get? Silver bowls with their names engraved on them and a year’s supply of their favorite food (funded by an anonymous donor.)

We had to make a few adjustments to the game. Since few animals are bipedal, runners can carry the ball in either their hands or their mouths. Unless the game is between two bipedal teams, passing is not allowed. Finally, field goals are not allowed because of the difference in animal heights.

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After an 8-game playoff, the contenders in the inaugural Supper Bowl are the Lions and the Bison. It’s a classic match-up of speed and brawn. We’ll see if the Lions’ stealth is any match for the brute strength of the Bison.

Now, on to the game with our commentators, Biff and Zoomer:

Zoomer: Well, here we go. The Lions are kicking off to the Bison. That was some kick. The Bison ball carrier starts slowly, but now he picks up speed.

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Biff: Oh my goodness. That Lion defense is pretty impressive. Two go for the legs and one jumps up in front of him. There’s no gain.

(Two more attempts and the Bisons turn the ball over to the Lions.)

Biff: Now we’ll see how good that Bison defense really is. The Lion runner takes off but has no where to go. No gain.  Running through the Bison line is not going to work for the Lions.

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Zoomer: There he goes again. He sees a little daylight around the end and runs for it. The Bison line is slow to react. Touchdown! The Lions lead 6-0.

Biff: OK, now the Bison need to make sure that they come back strong.

Zoomer: Oh no! two of the Bison players have collided. This is not good. They need to be helped off the field.

Biff: The offense is already down players from previous injuries. They’re going to have to put in rookies.

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(seesaw)

(As expected, the series doesn’t go well for the Bison and they don’t score. Things go back and forth for most of the game. The defenses manage to keep either team from scoring until late in the game.)

Biff: Well, this is it for the Bison. If they don’t score here, they’re out of time.

Zoomer: Right you are. Here we go. The Bison form a group around their runner. They move as one. The Lions have no choice but to move out of their way. It looks like we’re headed to overtime.

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(The teams take a break to discuss their strategy. Whoever scores first wins the game.)

Zoomer: Since the Bison had the ball first in the game, the Lions will get it first in overtime.

Biff: Rumor has it that the Lions have been practicing a trick play. If it’s true, now’s the time to use it.

Zoomer: We’re back on the field. The Lions have the ball. The carrier goes to the left instead of straight ahead and runs into his own player.

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Biff: No! He didn’t run into him. He gave him the ball. The Bison look confused. The new runner passes the ball to a third Lion. He takes advantage of the confusion in the Bison defensive line. He leaps over two Bison who are wandering around and heads for the end zone.

Zoomer: And the Lions win the Supper Bowl!

Biff: Let’s go down to the field to talk to the victors.

(Fortunately for fans everywhere, the teams have disappeared into their respective locker rooms and are not available for interviews. The Supper Bowl will be presented the next day at a banquet.)

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Alert readers should have guessed the outcome. We are based in Michigan, home of the Detroit Lions.

All pictures courtesy of Google Images

 

18

Animal Playground Forced to Close

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“It seemed like such a good idea at the time, said Marcus Fox. “After all, animal playgrounds have worked in other cities. Why wouldn’t it work here?” Mr. Fox is part owner of the Templeton Animal Park and Fun Fair. He and his partners are shuttering the park at the end of the month due to skyrocketing maintenance and insurance costs.

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We decided to walk around the park ourselves to see if things were really as bad as they sounded. They were. And the cause was easy to understand. Most animal parks are built in developed areas for domesticated animals; usually smaller species. Templeton, to put it politely, is in the middle of nowhere.

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Because of it’s location, the park attracted all types of wildlife. Once the bears took over the swimming pool, the only animals who weren’t afraid to use it were the otters. Apparently pool filters aren’t equipped for bear fur, because they clogged every few days and needed to be replaced. And bears do not like chlorine, so keeping the pool clean required a full-time attendant.

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The moose wanted to try out the skating pond. The problem was that moose are heavy and are known for either breaking through the ice or slipping and not being able to get off by themselves. Either way, they have to be rescued, and that is really expensive.

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Cats are usually a good source of income for the parks. It allows them to go outside and play in a safe environment. But they left once they saw the bears. Apparently bears don’t use parks as much as cats, so it was a significant drop in revenue.

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The beavers were absolutely adorable and loved the park. Until someone realized they were chewing down all the young trees. They were using the wood to create a dam which ended up flooding the meadow. The rabbits and deer didn’t want to visit a park that didn’t have a meadow.

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The small dogs went wild over the merry-go-round running track. But then some of the bigger dogs wanted to try it. One of them got stuck and had to be rescued. The owners wanted to put a size restriction up. But the insurance increase was too much, and they had to close down the ride. The dogs started boycotting the park.

The loss of the dogs was the end of the park. Without the large number of cat and dog memberships found at other parks, there wasn’t enough money to keep things running. Word is that the closure is good news for the wild animals. They thought there were too many restrictions at the park.

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Pictures courtesy of Google Images

14

2018 Animal Olympics Coverage Team

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It’s almost time for the Winter Animal Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea. We noticed that the humans put out an announcement introducing their coverage team. We decided that would be a good idea, so here they are:

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General Coordination and Coverage – Riki T. Tavi (mongoose) – our Asian Correspondent

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Interpreters  – Lexi (German Shepard) and Yuma Cho (Raccoon Dog) – you may remember Lexi as the ace translator we discovered during the cat food crisis a couple of months ago.

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Cross-Country Tracking – Harold Hare – member of the gold medal-winning 2014 Snowshoe Hare team.

What it is: Teams compete to see who can locate the most food on a prepared track. There are separate events for carnivores and non-carnivores.

Favorites: badgers, hares, wolverines

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Freestyle Skiing – Margaret Malamute – member of the 2014 Olympic Mixed Sled-Dog Team

What it is: Teams compete for a combined score based on how quickly its members get down the mountain. The skier must remain upright and no equipment is allowed.

Favorites: Dall sheep, reindeer

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Freestyle Sledding – Edie Ermine – gold medalist, 2014

What it is: Teams are scored on how quickly its members are able to get down the mountain in the same position (back, front, sitting).

Favorites: ermine, seals, penguins

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Ice Hockey – Bruno Brown Bear – member of the 2014 Brown/Grizzly Team

What it is: Teams compete to see how many chunks of ice they can get into their opponents goal. Players will be ejected for drawing blood on an opposing team member.

Favorites: polar bears, black bears

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Luge – Penelope Penguin – silver medalist, 2014

What it is: Teams are scored on how quickly its members can get down an iced track on their backs

Favorites:  penguins, polar bears

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Raptor Grab – Arnie, member of the 2014 American Kestrel team

What it is: Teams compete to collect the largest number of fish in the shortest period of time. Points are deducted for bringing back game not marked with the Olympic. Participants are disqualified for bringing back prey that is not a fish.

Favorites: Red-Tailed Hawks, Golden Eagles

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Sleigh Pull – Rodney Reindeer, gold medalist in 2014

What it is: Teams of four animals compete to pull a sleigh of two (friendly) adult black bears. Participants are disqualified for tipping the sleigh over. Note: bears may not be as friendly at this point.

Favorites: caribou/reindeer, moose

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Underwater Relay – Oscar Otter, bronze medalist 2014

What it is: Teams of four animals compete to finish a circular obstacle course underwater with each member completing one quarter of the circuit. The winner is the fastest team with the fewest missed obstacles.

Favorites: otters, seals

We animals don’t tell time like the humans do. So just remember that all of the competitions will be during the day. But when it’s daytime in South Korea. So you might just want to set some kind of recording device or leave the channel on all the time.

See you in February!

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22

Cat Forum: Mid-Winter Get-Away

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Snoops and Kommando Kitty here. Are you a freezing feline? A shivering Siamese? A chilly callie? If so, you’ve come to the right place. This winter has already been brutal, and it’s not even half over. Our special guest today is Trixie Tuxedo, who owns Trixie’s Terrific Travel. She specializes in cruises and tropical vacations for the discerning cat. Thank you for joining us Trixie. Why don’t you show us the recommendations you have brought for our followers?

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Hi everyone! I’m so happy to be here. I’ve got a lot of great ideas for the perfect mid-winter vacation. As cats, we all love the sun don’t we? And you won’t find better sun this time of year than on a tropical beach.

You need to decide what type of trip you want to take. Your first option is a cruise. Cruises are exciting adventures for many:

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but also offer opportunities to relax:

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We offer cruises to the Caribbean and Mexico. The advantage to a cruise is that you don’t have to get off the ship at all until the end of the trip if you don’t want to. You can visit the sites if you’d like, but be sure to get back in time for departure. We had one poor kitty who had to stay at Customs for several days after missing a ship.

A significant disadvantage for many cats is that cruise ships are full of humans.The humans are not checked for cat-compatibility which has caused some stress in the past. Although it was the humans who complained, not the cats.

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Some cats prefer to relax in one spot for the entire time. We offer 4-day, 7-day, and 14-day packages to a variety of locations. Some of our more popular destinations are Aruba, the Virgin Islands, and Key West. Are you looking for a romantic getaway? We can find you the perfect place.

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More of the outgoing type? We have something for you as well:

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Regardless of what type of trip you are taking, remember to protect yourself from overexposure to the sun. There’s nothing worse than coming home from vacation with burnt ears.

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Does all of this sound like a budget-buster for you? I understand that sometimes we just can’t afford to get away no matter how purr-fect it would be. Unlike other travel advisers, I won’t try to tell you that you can afford it. You won’t be happy if you’re worried about money.

Instead, how about a weekend trip to a local bed and breakfast to spend some quality time in front of a nice warm fire?

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The most important part is that you get away from your regular routine and relax. Stretching out in the sun is a cat’s right. Don’t let the winter weather get in the way. Visit my website trixiestrips@cat.cat and we’ll get started today.

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19

Limerick Lunacy

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(Limerick, Ireland)

Ed.Comment: Every once in a while, we like to let Cat write something for the blog. (It lets her feel like she’s part of the team, not just the site owner.) So here’s her contribution. We will be back to regular content next week.

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The young wolves were ready to howl.

They had spent the night on a prowl.

But the moon was not bright,

So they started to fight;

And were left in a mood quite foul.

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The kittens loved to play and romp.

On rubber mousies they would chomp.

They never stopped,

Or exhausted, flopped,

While trying to find things to whomp.

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The laughing bear cubs slid on the ice.

The slick ice on their paws felt quite nice.

Then one started to fall

And his mother did call,

Because he needed her ice advice.

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Sometimes our dear cats become jealous,

And may use many means to tell us

That they want to play

Or in our laps lay.

And on that point become quite zealous.

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Is the panda really a bear?

Or another species quite rare?

He’s adorably cute

In his black-and-white suit.

Relatives? He hasn’t a care.

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(not related, but very cute)

 

Pictures courtesy of Google Images