Cat and Ram are pals (photo)

A reader photography contest at National Geographic yields this photograph by Sarah Deutsch, of "a magical moment of love between a cat and a ram." If interspecies love is not your thing, try this trio of dancing ostriches.

(thanks, Marilyn Terrell)



  1. Is it calico cats that are especially  friendly to other animals such as dogs? 

    1.  Calicos are like a whole separate species.  I’ve had a couple hundred cats, and calicos are not for everyone.  I like ’em though.  Ours hangs out with a groundhog sometimes.

      The first time I took our calico to the vet for a shot, the vet tech put on shoulder-length metal-studded horsehide gloves.  I said “Is that really necessary?” and she looked at me like I was crazy and said “She’s a calico.”  I had no idea they were legendarily eccentric till then.

      The same cat runs to the nearest window if fireworks or guns go off outside and growls.

        1.  Calico and tortoise-shell cats are usually female, and orange tabbies are usually male.    Calicoes are piebald tortoiseshells, and both calicoes and torties are chimera, genetic mosaics with different DNA in different parts of their bodies.

          The rare male calico is usually a double-X chromosome; I don’t know what the deal is with the rare orange tabby female.

          Anecdotally, there are personality/behaviour trends that go along with the fur color.  Orange tabbies (or marmalade cats if you prefer) are supposed to be outgoing, friendly, and smarter than you think.  Calico cats are supposed to be flighty and highly eccentric.  Mine loves water and will lay in the sink purring with water dripping on her.

          1. Orange female tabbies aren’t all that rare (I’m currently on my second), although it’s a common misconception that they are due to the toroiseshell/calico genetics. For a male cat to be tortoiseshell/calico, he would have to be XXY which is a fairly significant chromosomal abnormality (equivalent to Klinefelter’s Syndrome in humans). An orange female just has to have an orange allele on each of her two X chromosomes, which she could pick up from having an orange father and an orange or tortoiseshell/calico mother

          2.  As a resident crazy cat guy, I’d have to agree.  Orange tabbies (5 of whom I’ve had the pleasure to share my life with, all male) seem to be more mellow and quite a bit more intelligent than the average cat.  They’ve always been the ones who figured out things like doorknobs, cabinet doors, and light switches, and consequently get into everything.  They also all seem to love belly rubs and will fall over at the slightest chance of getting one.  And they tend to be the ones who run to the windows and growl when the UPS truck or the garbage truck pulls into the driveway.   Calico cats (4 of those, all females) seem to be very particular about when and how you pay attention to them, and will mess with you by doing things like really, REALLY wanting you to open a door for them and then looking at you like you’re a moron and walking away.  Grey tabbies (two of those, both female) in my experience are quite a bit more jumpy and tend to hide whenever anything scary happens.  Then there was “Psycho” the male grey tabby who was very friendly and would roll over and squirm around for a belly rub, and then dig all his claws into your hand and start gnawing on it – hence the name.  But in general, I’ve never met a cat I didn’t like.  (And the picture with the cat and whatever that other critter turns out to be is really cute… :-)

        1.  Not necessarily mean, but very unpredictable, according to the vets.  Ours is quite a character.

  2. I hate to be pedantic, but… that’s not a ram.  A ram is a male sheep.  That’s a goat.  Could be a billy (or buck) but from the smaller horns I suspect it might be a nanny (or doe).  You could stretch a point and title it Kid and Kitty, maybe.

    ETA: according to the amazingly high number of goat farmers online at BoingBoing, it’s actually a sheep – a horned, hairy, lop-eared sheep, but a sheep. You and NatGeo were right the first time!

      1.  You were right the first is a sheep. I raise both sheep and goats and this is a sheep. Not sure if it’s a ram, but it’s definitely a sheep.

        1.  How can you tell?  I was going by the hair-not-wool appearance of its coat.  With some more Googling, I’m did indeed get pictures of Senegalese sheep that are the goatiest-looking-sheep I’ve ever seen, so you may well be right.  But I have no idea how you can tell the difference without looking at the tails.

          1. Well mostly because I raise sheep and goats I know what they look like.
            But if it helps, their horns are different, their noses are different, their eyes are different, they just have a really different look that I can see even if you can’t.

          2.  @boingboing-6195d11132f279cc38f44534a277b3ea:disqus Huh.  Learn something new every day!  I stand corrected.  Where else would two different goat farmers be commenting on a cute kitty photo? :)

  3. Sorry, but that is indeed a ram, or at least a sheep. Certainly not a goat. I should know – I’m a goat farmer!

    1. My favorite off-color joke (told to me by a female bartender with great effect):

      Q: What’s the difference between a goat and a ram?
      A: Well, I can’t GOAT my d*ck in your a$$!

    2. I say change it to “animal and animal.” Or maybe “creature and creature.” Should cover all bases. Who knows if the cat really is a cat anyway?

  4. Matthew says that when Jesus comes he’ll separate the sheep from the goats.  This is obviously a rarer talent than I’d previously supposed. 

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