Those are some stunning acrobatics from an African Caracal. (BBC's "Life in the Air")
Cool Tools reader Joe Stirt recommended the Durascoop cat litter scoop. I bought one, because the little plastic scoop I’d been using for a couple of years had gotten flimsy from use and would often buckle at the handle. This one is made from cast aluminum and will never bend. It easily shaves hardened clumps of litter from that litter box that would cause a plastic scoop to fold in half. It’s actually a beautiful looking tool, too. If Raymond Loewy designed a scoop, it would look like this (maybe the handle wouldn’t be covered with textured plastic). Cleaning cat litter is an unpleasant daily chore for me, but the DuraScoop makes it much less unpleasant. I’m surprised it is only $13. It’s easily worth three times the price. Read the rest
Step 1: Buy a catnip banana for $3 on Amazon.
Step 2: Give the catnip banana to your cat.
Step 3. Record a video of the cat playing with it.
Step 4: Edit the video, using the song "Whats It To Ya Punk" by Audionautix (licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution license)
Step 5. Upload the video to YouTube.
Step 6. Enjoy the mean-spirited YouTube comments, many of which will begin with "Step 7...." Read the rest
In this episode we also run through a couple of possible ways we might wind up in a pet-free world. Which, to me, sound really sad. Thankfully (spoiler alert) it’s probably never going to happen.
Illustration by Matt Lubchansky
Mr. Homegrown shows how to make a cat scratching post from some rope and lumber. He writes, 'I’m so satisfied with the results that I’m thinking about creating a integrated cat scratcher/USB charging station/cat perch using a twisty tree branch. I know, that sounds like a bad idea, but as Marshall McLuhan once said, “If you don’t like that idea I’ve got others.'" Read the rest
Cool Tools reader Joe Stirt recommended this large cat litter scoop. I bought one, because the little plastic scoop I’d been using for a couple of years had gotten flimsy from use and would often buckle at the handle. This one is made from cast aluminum and will never bend. It easily shaves hardened clumps of litter from that litter box that would cause a plastic scoop to fold in half. It’s actually a beautiful looking tool, too. If Raymond Loewy designed a scoop, it would look like this (maybe the handle wouldn’t be covered with textured plastic). Cleaning cat litter is an unpleasant daily chore for me, but the DuraScoop makes it much less unpleasant. I’m surprised it is only $13. It’s easily worth three times the price. Read the rest
The Cat Dancer is a 30-inch piece of wire with some little cardboard cylinders on the end. My cats go crazy for it. I stuck it on the wall with the adhesive mount, but I ended up taking it off so I could hold it and play directly with my cats. That way they won't get bored as quickly. Now they start meowing when they see me take it out of the drawer. It's $2 on Amazon. Read the rest
My dog is a 10-year-old whose history includes time in animal shelters, and in various homes. He has arthritis, a progressive condition that will cause him more pain as he grows older. Direct heat through my electric blanket or heating pad is clearly very comforting for him--if there's a heated throw of some kind around, he'll find it and snuggle up. But the best solution I've found for both of us is this gently heated dog bed, which warms up to your dog's body temperature when they sit down on it.
You don't have to worry about it heating up too hot, or about remembering to switch it on or off. When your pup needs it, they get warmth. When they step away, the device shifts to "off." I bought mine a few months ago, and it is the center of his world. The color is attractive, and works with the neutral tones in my modest, minimalist living space. Strongly recommended if you have a smaller, older dog, or a cat who likes extra body warmth.
From the manufacturer's specs:
• Heater uses only 6 watts and is MET Listed • Removable cushion and removable heater make washing a breeze • Thermostatically controlled to warm to your pet's normal body temperature when in use • 5-inch thick bedding keeps pet comfortable • Removable, machine washable cover for easy maintenance • Safe plush heated pillow insert for winter warmth • Available in 2 sizes and 2 colors; 1-year warranty
“Elliot likes to tear up cardboard boxes.”
Illustrator Doogie Horner has a new book out called Some Very Interesting Cats Perhaps You Weren’t Aware Of. He says its a c"ollection of illustrated short stories about 100 impossible cat characters. Like the Alien cat, Xort, who reports back to his planet: 'Have trained my humans to feed and pet me. They suspect nothing.' Or the Mountain Climber cat, Snowball, who is planning a perilous route up the North Curtain to Mt. Bookcase. Or Mystico, the Magician cat—no one could figure out how he sawed a dog in half. (The answer was simple: He didn’t like dogs.)"
Doogie asked me if I'd like him to draw some special cats for Boing Boing, and I told him I'd like some cats as Walking Dead characters. And he drew them! Can you tell who the cats represent? Read the rest
Austrian artist Carl Kahler's 1893 cat painting "My Wife's Lovers," thought to be the world's largest painting of cats, sold at a Sotheby's auction for $826,000. The cats in the painting belonged to San Francisco art collector Kate Johnson. Read the rest
Dogs get all the credit when it comes to training. Yes, they can fetch bones, sit on command, bark for food, play ball, walk on two legs, roll over, play dead, pull sleds, and probably perform about one hundred other chores and fun tricks. But can they sit on the loo while doing their business? I think not. Cats, however, can be trained to do this in as little as two weeks, as instructed in Perre DiCarlo’s nine-step Kick Litter manual.
I first met DiCarlo two months ago at Boing Boing’s Weekend of Wonder. He gave a Powerpoint talk on how to train your cat to use the toilet. Who knew such a peculiar topic could be absolutely mesmerizing? Perre masterfully blended loads of humor with practical how-to steps that kept even cat-haters completely engaged.
He ended up sending me a signed copy of his pamphlet-sized book, and I love it on many levels. The design is wonderfully whimsical, the toilet-training steps are clear with nice illustrations, and each page is adorably funny. As an added layer to the book, we also get a short story told in the first person, er, I mean first kitty, by Di Carlo’s cats Moxie and Cooper. We get to hear a charming account of the cats' training experiences, including the time Cooper fell into the bowl, and how Moxie, the female, was able to kick her litter addiction in only two weeks, while Cooper had a harder 2-month recovery time. Read the rest