8

Why There is No Animal World Cup

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We have noticed a lot of human interest around something called the World Cup. It is supposed to be the most watched sporting event in the world. We were a little confused at first. We call it soccer over here, but everyone else calls it football. Which kind of makes sense. A bunch of sweaty men play it with their feet.

After watching for a while, we noticed something interesting. The players use their feet and heads to move the ball. The only one who can use his hands is someone called a goal tender.

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This was the perfect game for animals! We have paws or hooves, not hands. So why wasn’t there an Animal World Cup?

We went to the source of all information, Google, and typed in “Animal World Cup.” The only thing there was a bunch of sweaty men playing soccer/football.

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We tried “Animal Soccer/Football” and got local youth leagues. “Professional Animal Soccer” got no results. How very strange.

We sent our reporter Freddie Ferret out to find out what was going on. Here’s what he uncovered:

Animals have always played a game similar to soccer. It was most popular in places with large fruit or vegetables that could be used as a ball. Players were ejected for eating the ball.

Image result for animals playing soccer

The main rules were that players could only use their head and paws to move the ball. The “goalie” was allowed to use his entire body to stop the ball. The games would start at mid-afternoon and end at dusk.

For years, the animals played soccer uneventfully. However, one day the gorilla coach had an idea. His players had only been using their hind legs to play. Why not try using the front ones?

The idea was brilliant. The gorillas were unbeatable. The other animals sued to keep the gorillas from using their front paws.

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“That’s not fair! You’re using your opposable thumbs. You can hold onto the ball.”

“The rules say we can use paws. These are paws.”

The judges weren’t sure what to do. Technically, the gorillas were right; they were using their paws. Realistically, the other animals were right; opposable thumbs made the paws closer to hands.

Image result for animals playing soccer

The judges went with the rules. The gorillas’ paws were allowed. However, they reminded the other animals that there was no rule about only having one species on a team.

Every team tried to get at least one gorilla to join them. Of course, there were not enough gorillas for all of the teams. So the teams tried to lure them with bananas, ants and other treats.

Chimpanzees and other animals with opposable thumbs were also in high demand.  Teams had to hide their prized players or another team would bribe them away.

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Soccer wasn’t fun anymore. All the focus was on the star players. Soon the other animals wanted to ban any player with opposable thumbs or force them to play in their own league.

Simians, pandas, koalas, and possums were outraged. They claimed species-ism. They all went back to court. This time the judges determined that there was no fair way to answer the question and banned all competitive soccer between adult animals.

Image result for animals playing soccer

For a while, the animals grumbled and blamed each other. As time passed, they decided that the judges were right. They shouldn’t fight each other over a game.

It passed down from generation to generation that animals only played soccer for fun. Before long, it wasn’t questioned. It just was.

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All pictures courtesy of Google Images

(For the record, the trophy for the winner of the World Cup looks nothing like a Cup.)

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22

Cat Forum: Summer Safety

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Snoops and Kommando Kitty here. We are taking a break from our interviews to pass along some summer safety tips. We suggest you read them and leave several copies around the house for the humans. In front of the computer screen is usually a good place. In their “bathroom” is another.

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Roads – Hopefully you all remember the rhyme your mother taught you, “Road + Cat = Splat”. You should never play in the street. If you must cross the road, “Listen well, sound will tell.” The things humans drive are noisy. You may hear them before you see them. Be sure your adolescents know that playing “chicken” waiting for the car is a stupid idea. Girls are not impressed by idiocy.

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Machinery – Humans use a lot of things that make noise. They want the grass shorter. They want the tree and bush limbs a certain length. They want to get rid of the high weeds. And they don’t know how to do anything quietly. Or by hand.  The general rule here is, “If it makes your ears sore, head straight for the door.” All of the human machines are dangerous to kitties.

Note – do not let any small human convince you that you will have “fun” riding on one of these loud machines.

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Heat – It seems like we cats should like summer. After all, it’s basically one big sunspot. However, there are a couple of things to keep in mind. First, “Sidewalks are hot. Walk on them not.” If like to take the occasional stroll by yourself or with your human, try to stick to the grass. Our paw pads aren’t covered with fur and are sensitive to heat.

If you do feel your feet burning, find some water to put them in. It will stop the burning. Stay off of them as much as possible until they feel better. Do not let a helpful human try to use one of their remedies. Just because it’s safe for humans, doesn’t mean it’s safe for cats.

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Note – especially stay away from aloe. It’s a plant that humans use on burns and seems to work really well for them. It’s like poison to cats.

Make sure you drink plenty of water. It’s important to keep your body at peak efficiency, How else will you be able to chase after the bugs and moths that are so tasty this time of year?

If you are an indoor/outdoor cat, make sure your human leaves you water both inside and out. The outside water needs to be in a shady spot. That way you can enjoy a drink and nap in the same place.

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Water – Speaking of water, we know that some of you cats like to participate in water sports. Things like sailing, surfing, kayaking, etc. Remember, “Wear a vest for water past your chest.” Most cats are pretty small, so it’s safest to always wear a vest when you go to the beach.

Life vests come in a variety of sizes. Make sure yours is snug but not too tight. The idea is to keep you safe, not turn you into a sausage.

Note – sand is usually hot. Have your human carry you, if possible. If they forget, jump on them. You won’t have fun with sore feet.

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Children – Remember that summer is the time when the human children will be around full-time. They are usually fun and good to sleep with.

Try to avoid being dressed up as a doll. The clothes will be hot and uncomfortable. You will most likely be strapped into a carriage or stroller where you can’t see what is going on. And you won’t be able to get out on your own. Cats hate that.

Note – the older ones will be around more. Be careful. They usually have some sort of gadget in their hands that they are looking at. They will walk around looking at the screen and may trip over you. You should avoid this unless they have irritated you. In that case, get out of the way before they fall.

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Parties – Humans like to get together outside in the summer. Generally speaking, it involves food and some sort of hot surface to cook it.

No matter how good it smells, avoid these parties. There are a lot of noisy humans who may step on you. They may sit without looking and some of them are rather large. Try to snatch your food when no one is looking.

We hope these rules will help you have a safe, healthy summer. We are not responsible for humans who do not cooperate. You may want to find a large spider (or two) to put under the covers of their bed.

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All pictures courtesy of Google Images

8

On Dragons, By Dragons (Part 2)

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So far: Donnie Dragon asked his father why people don’t believe that dragons exist. His father is explaining how they became invisible. Part 1 is here.

The next night, Donnie asked his father to continue his story.

For many years, the dragons thought they had a safe home in Asia. Then they noticed something.

Every time a dragon was sick, a crowd of people appeared. If the dragon recovered, they went home. If the dragon died, a few people would wait for the bones to turn to ash and collect them.

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The humans believed that the bones had special powers they could use. The dragons were offended that they could not mourn in private. The dragons were angry, but the people would not stop.

Things were different in the West. For some reason, those people decided that we were evil from the beginning. It may have been the result of a couple of unfortunate incidents in England.

First, a sick dragon was flying home. He sneezed and accidentally set a village on fire. The humans decided that it was intentional, and dragons could not be trusted.

Then a young male dragon fell in love with a beautiful human girl. He took her to his lair against her will. Her father killed the dragon and took his daughter home.

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It was a huge scandal. The humans used the event as more proof that dragons could not be trusted. The dragons were angry that the humans killed one of them without asking why it happened.

The stories spread from one human village to another. With each telling, the story got worse. Eventually, people believed that the dragon had come down from his lair and set the village on fire. In the confusion, he had kidnapped all the young women and took them home to eat. Only the courage of one man had saved them.

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Donnie interrupted his father.

Donnie: But we don’t eat humans. Mama says they’re too fatty and not good for us.

Dad: I know. But it was too late to reason with them.

He continued the story.Image result for medieval village

Every time someone disappeared from a village, it was blamed on the dragons. We moved further and further away, but it was always the same story.

Some “brave” human would track down a dragon, lure the dragon close, and put a spear through his throat. Then the human would cut off the tail (no bones) and take it home. They never brought back the missing person because they “had arrived just as the dragon finished eating.”

The dragons sent a representative to town. He was trying to straighten out the situation. But as soon as he landed, he was attacked. He barely escaped with his life.

Image result for meddle not in the affairs of dragons for you are crunchy and good with ketchup

A bookseller created a warning sign for the dragons to put at the entrance to their lairs, but it didn’t do any good. It was written in English, but the villagers couldn’t read.

Donnie: What’s ketchup?

Dad: I’m not sure. I think it’s a sauce to make humans taste better.

The dragons left for a place called Wales. Those people were much friendlier to them. But the situation was not good. The dragons were afraid all the time.

The Western dragons and Eastern dragons met high in the mountains of Asia. They decided that there was probably no way to repair the relationship with the humans.

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Because dragons are generally peace-loving creatures, they tried to find a non-violent solution. They looked through the Book of Spells. Finally, they found one that would make them invisible.

Some of the Eastern dragons weren’t happy with the solution. They had human friends they would have to leave. But there was no other answer.

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The dragons decided that they would all live together in those mountains. And here we are.

Donnie:  Do you think the humans will ever be able to see us again?

Dad: I’m afraid not. The spell can’t be reversed.

Donnie: That’s good. I don’t want to set someone on fire just to keep my tail.

Image result for and they lived happily ever after

10

On Dragons, By Dragons (Part 1)

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Donnie Dragon came home from school and found his father working on the garden.

Dad: How was school today?

Donnie: Okay.

Dad: Did you learn anything interesting?

Donnie: Sorta. We learned that humans don’t believe in dragons. Why don’t they believe in us?

Dad: I guess because we’re invisible.

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Donnie: But we weren’t always invisible. Great-grandpa said that he knew a human.

Dad: Dragons live a long time. Much longer than humans. My grandpa’s human friend has been dead for a very, very long time.

Donnie: But people wrote about dragons. Why don’t they believe that?

Dad: Humans are strange creatures. If they can’t find evidence that something existed, they don’t believe it did. They think their ancestors made up the stories to explain something they didn’t understand.

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Donnie: Is that why they believe in dinosaurs?

Dad: Yes; there are many bones left from dinosaurs. But our bones turn to ash when we die. It’s in their dirt, but they don’t know it.

Donnie: So, they don’t know that we were alive then or that we are still around?

Dad: That’s right.

Donnie: Why can’t they see us?

Dad: We had to become invisible, so they didn’t destroy us all.

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He began to tell the story of dragons and the humans to Donnie at bedtime.

A long, long time ago, dragons lived in almost everywhere in Europe and Asia. There were thousands of us. And many varieties. Some even lived on the ground. There were no humans at the beginning.

When the humans arrived, we were afraid that they were going to start bothering us. Sure enough, the ground dragons were hunted as food.

The survivors climbed the mountains where it was safer. They started marrying the flying dragons, and the land dragons disappeared.

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More and more humans appeared. They respected us and left us alone. But they were curious and soon wanted to learn more.

They started to climb the hills and mountains to look in our caves. They even took some of our children to study.

The fire-breathers were safer than the others, so we developed into one fire-breathing species. The humans continued to be interested in us.

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The interest was different in the East than it was in the West. Unfortunately, both ended badly for us.

In China and East Asia, we were highly respected. They understood our control of water and our strength. The Emperors used us as a symbol of power.

Dragons and humans lived peacefully together for a long time.

Dad looked over and saw that Donnie had fallen asleep. The rest of the story was for another night.

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To be continued.

Pictures courtesy of Google Images

22

How to Get Your Human to Buy More Catnip

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Greetings from Snoops and Kommando Kitty. Mom’s not feeling well, so we took over are helping with the post. She didn’t like our first idea, “How to Play Hide-and-Seek with the Annoying Dog Next Door.” She also ruled out, “Games to Play with Potential Prey.”

We are writing about catnip instead. We tried to get Mom to test out the effects of the recipes. She said that she doesn’t like mint tea. We think she’s just being difficult.

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Catnip’s been around for a long time. In fact, the humans used it as medicine until recently. In more enlightened societies they still use it. We were thinking that if we can convince the humans to use it again, there will be a lot more laying around the house.

Try leaving some of these ideas for your humans.

Health Benefits

Humans can eat, drink (juice or tea) or smoke catnip to get results.  Catnip has been used to treat a lot of things. (We don’t know if it works, but don’t tell your humans.)

Stress – If you’ve been telling your human that the best way to de-stress is to cuddle with you, leave this one out.

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Sleep Aid – We recommend highlighting this one. There is nothing more annoying than a restless human sleeper.

Digestive Aid – It’s supposed to help all those tummy things that make your human grumpy and extra smelly. It’s worth a shot.

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Headache Aid – Another thing that makes humans extra grumpy. And they can rub a catnip leaf on their face to help. Unless your human is disgustingly dirty, you can enjoy the leaf when they’re done.

Healing Aid – Helps the body sweat out toxins during a cold or the flu. We recommend staying away from the human at this point. Sick, sweaty humans are a little disgusting and can make your fur damp.

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Anti-Inflammatory Aid – Humans use it for arthritis, gout, sprained muscles and aching joints. It has something to do with chemicals. We don’t understand it and your human probably won’t either. We’d leave it out.

Bug Bite Aid – Humans really don’t like being bitten. It’s a good thing most of them don’t have fleas. But if some bug does get them, catnip can help it hurt less. They’re supposed to use an extract, but nobody explains how to squeeze the plant to get it out.

Nutritional Aid – It’s full of good stuff and not poisonous.

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Catnip Tea

Place 1-2 teaspoons of dried catnip flowers and leaves (2-4 teaspoons fresh catnip) in a teacup.

Pour a cup of hot (not boiling) water into the teacup.

Let sit for 10-15 minutes.

Add honey and lemon (They say this improves the taste. We think they are wrong.)

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Fever Tincture

Fill a glass container 1/3 full with dried catnip

Cover the catnip with gin, vodka, rum or brandy

Secure the lid. Store for 4-6 weeks.

Strain out the herbs (catnip) and bottle it.

Use 1/8 to ¼ teaspoon every half hour for a fever.

(We recommend changing the recipe to fill the container to the top with alcohol so it can be used as a party drink.)

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Calming Herb for Smoking

Dry the leaves and/or flowers of the catnip plant. (It doesn’t say, but we recommend not using your dryer. It seems like that would make a mess.)

Prepare it for smoking. (We have no idea what this means. Hopefully the humans do.)

It will either calm you and make you relaxed or give you a mild sense of giddiness.

(Maybe you want to leave this one out of the project. We think the humans who wrote it might have been taking some other kind of medicine and got confused.)

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We wish you luck in your pursuit of more catnip. Hopefully we have been of some help.

Ed. NoteThis is by cats for cats. Our goal is more catnip, not healthier humans. Therefore, we have not forced any humans to take catnip to see what happens.

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pictures courtesy of Google Images

23

Cat Forum: Interview with Spike

Snoops and Kommando Kitty here. Today we are interviewing Spike from Spike the Scottish Black Cat. He is extremely photogenic (like the vast majority of us) as you will see when you visit his blog. He is also a great ambassador to other cats on WordPress; we have met several new friends through him.

Tell us a little bit about yourself.

Mum brought me home from The Cats Protection when I was 8 weeks old. I was nervous going in the noisy thing humans call a car. Mum cuddled me all the way so I felt safe in mum’s arms.

 

We saw the pictures of you in the snow. Isn’t that awfully cold on your tummy?

I have a skin problem. I have medication for it. When it flares up my body especially my paws can become so hot. That’s why I love the snow it’s purrfect for cooling me down.

Spike is a really tough name. Do you have a cuddly side?

The people at The Cats Protection gave me my name. When I was born the fur on the top of my head stood up like a Spike. I can be cuddly on my terms.

What is your favorite thing to do?

Nowadays I love to sleep, eat and go out in my garden. Not forgetting to sniff my catnip bushes which are getting bigger every day.

The only things we know about Scottish treats are for humans (shortbread and scones). Nothing for cats. Do you have a favorite local treat?

Fish yummy. Fresh from the fishing boats then brought to the fish market. Prawn, tuna, Salmon. My mouth watering thinking about all that lovely fresh fish.

 

Does your human treat you well (respond to your every need in a timely manner)?

My human adores me. I have my meals when I choose and a nice brush once a day. Then play time but usually mum gets tired out before me. I have 4 beds so I can choose whatever one I want and she makes me catnip toys.

What do you like to do with your human?

I love to be out in the garden with mum. I have fun playing hide and seek and playing with my wand toys. I sometimes sit on mum’s bed and she will put on relaxing music for me it makes me so relaxed.

Horatio Hedgehog always wants us to ask European cats if they know any hedgehogs. Have you ever met one?

Yes I met a hedgehog, only the one but he was gone the next day. I was very curious about this strange looking creature. I tried to paw him but it didn’t feel nice a bit prickly.

Do you have friends in the neighborhood or are they pretty much all snobs?

There is wee ginger Craig next door he had a brother who got killed up on the road. Then along came Andy a friend for Graig but he wandered away and the roaring monster got him too. So it’s just Craig who I put up with as he’s just a youngster. Saying that a white kitten appears in my garden I think to steal my catnip. No snobs here.

Is there anything you would like to add?

I’m now 11 and have enjoyed my life with my mum. I hope I have many years left. I like just being on my own as I get 100% attention.

 

We really enjoyed talking with Spike and hope you’ll go see him.

(His mum broke her arm, so we hope she’s better. We know humans can’t properly cuddle with those things on their arms.)

14

Meeting on Meowsrr

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Penelope was a pretty 3-year old calico looking for a new way to meet men. Her friends suggested she try Meowsrr, the new dating site for cats.

Meowsrr was the current hot thing in dating. Since very few cats have phones (no pockets), it was designed to work best on a computer. Cats are not fond of typing (that pesky opposable thumb thing), so almost the entire process was done through a voice application.

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She signed up after reading their legal terms. No responsibility for outcome of first date. No responsibility for lack of honesty by members. No responsibility for ticks, fleas, or lack of personal hygiene. No guarantee that site security would be maintained.

Penelope submitted her form with a greeting to potential suitors. She would see responses within 24 hours.

The next day, Penelope eagerly opened Meowsrr. She found the pictures of three handsome cats. She opened the message from the first one:

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“Hi ladies. My name is Murray and I’m the cat of your dreams. I know all of the hot spots in town and can show you a good time. Love to cuddle. If you’re looking for fun, call me.”

She pressed the “No” button and Murray was gone.

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“This is Pete. I’m the strong, silent type. I don’t always have a lot to say, but I’m there when you need me. I’m not into catnip or the milk bar scene. I’d love to get to know you better.”

“Maybe”

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“Hello. My name is Tony. I’m a large, muscular tortie with his own business. I like to spend evenings curled up in front of a fire. I also like quiet dinners and jaw rubs. If that sounds good, call me.”

Penelope decided to call.

After a couple of awkward minutes, they got along well and decided to meet for a bowl of cream. Tony suggested a place Penelope had never heard of;, but since it was close to where he worked, she agreed to it.

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The next night Penelope bathed and fluffed her fur. Looking in the mirror, she was satisfied that she would make a good impression. Since she wasn’t familiar with where she was going, she took a cab.

Looking out the window, Penelope saw that they were heading for the river. Maybe he worked in one of those fancy offices. But they took a left toward the docks. The cab stopped in front of a restaurant between the two districts.

Penelope looked around the restaurant nervously. An extremely large cat came over and introduced himself as Tony.

Tony: Hi. I’m Tony. You must be Penelope. You’re just as pretty in person as in your picture.

He led her to a table.

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Penelope: Goodness, you weren’t kidding when you said you were large and muscular. You didn’t mention that you were a Maine Coon.

Tony: Is that a problem?

Penelope: No. I just wasn’t expecting it.

Sniffs the air.

Penelope: What type of cologne are you wearing? It smells interesting.

Tony (laughing): I’m not wearing cologne. We call it Eau de Wharf. Do you like it?

Penelope: Well, it certainly is different.

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They ordered dinner. Tony had a surf and turf of beef and salmon. Penelope had salmon pate. Tony ordered two bowls of cream as an appetizer.

Tony: Are you sure that’s all you want? You can get anything on the menu. The food’s great. I know the chef; he’s one of my clients.

Penelope: No, I’m fine. I wasn’t expecting this much. I thought we were going to meet for cream.

Tony: I wanted to make a good first impression.

Penelope: Why don’t you tell me about your business?

Tony (proudly): I run a rodent extermination place down on the wharf. You wouldn’t believe the business we do. Rats and mice everywhere. I have ten guys that work for me Every night we end up with a pile as high as that door over there. (Points to the entrance.)

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The food arrived. A lot of food.

Penelope: That sounds like a very good business.

They both started to eat. Between bites, Tony continued to talk.

Tony: Yeah, it’s a great business. You wouldn’t believe the number of rats around here. And mice. It seems like the more we get rid of, the more we see.

The chef walked up to the table.

Chef: It’s so good to see you. We’re expecting one of your guys after closing tonight. Seems that little problem behind the cooler hasn’t quite gone away. You wouldn’t believe what we saw today!

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He looked at Penelope and noticed that she had pushed her plate away.

Chef: Is there something wrong with the pate?

Penelope: No. I’m just feeling a little ill. I’m sorry but I have to go.

After Penelope left, the men continued their conversation.

Chef: I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to scare your girl off.

Tony: Don’t worry. It wouldn’t have worked out anyway. I could tell she was a snob the moment I saw her.

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Pictures courtesy of Google Images