So Long, Frank & Louie, a Cat
With a Heart in the Right Place
For all public appreciation of felines as the very embodiment of beauty, independence, and physical perfection, here’s one who was none of the above. No matter: Frank & Louie, the two-faced cat who died Thursday, beat all odds as the longest surviving Janus cat.
Through 15 years, he was never beautiful, only made it through his kittenhood with a lot of help from humans, and his physical disabilities forced him to adapt the best he could. But while most with his condition die young, he went on to the Guinness Book of Records.
Janus, the two-faced Roman god who lends his name to the congenital cephalic disorder, may or may not have anything to do with it, but instead of dying, this Animal Planet cat thrived and became a minor celebrity in his hometown, North Grafton, Mass.
Apparently, this two-named cat never let fame go to either one of his heads, and as far as everybody knows, he was a pretty loving pet. Thankfully, instead of becoming a sideshow as it’d have happened a century ago, with both animals and humans, Frank & Louie lived a normal life. R.I.P. kiddo.
* Suddenly Last Caturday
* Got Milk?
Edmund, Ernest & Cecilia, being immortalized
by one of the greatest photographers of the day.
Holly, Pereque & Orlando,
Who Walked, Fell & Picked
How could a cat walk 200 miles and find her way back home? How many lives are left, after surviving a five-store fall? How much of picking stocks can be assigned to chance? Such were the questions we’ve asked last week, through the tales of three cats.
We’ll never know what drove Holly to spend two months walking back or how she knew what direction to take. Neither can we explain how Pereque fell onto a spiked fence but didn’t have any organ pierced. But if Orlando can beat professional investment wizards, what’s left to us?
Just an excuse to talk about cats, you may say, and who are we to begin arguing to the contrary. Except that it may give us pause to appreciate the mystery of these creatures, going to astonishing lengths to remain loyal to us. As to whether we even deserve such attention, we leave it to you to decide.
THE WALKING HOLLY
What made a four-year-old tortoiseshell, who disappeared in Daytona Beach, last November, to walk to the point of rendering her back paws to a nail-less, raw-flesh pulp, all the way to West Palm Beach, some 200 miles away? As an indoor cat, probabilities can’t even begin to explain it, and yet she made it.
The proof that Holly’s the same cat was an implanted chip, which has been useful for identifying lost pets. (Never mind that, at this point, Continue reading
An Unknown Cat &
A Roman Catacomb
Want proof that the majority of Italians not just couldn’t care less about Silvio Berlusconi’s diatribes, but are actually capable of making us all very proud indeed? Take this stray cat who was being chased the other day by two obviously deeply misguided Rome residents.
Perhaps attempting to show how futile this business of running after animals can be, while at the same time, being utterly gracious about the whole affair, the cat led them to the most important discovery of theirs, and most people’s, entire lives: a 2,000-year-old tomb.
That it happened at the heart of the Eternal City, which has been dug up all over for hundreds of years, only adds to the specialness of such a finding. In fact, one has to go back 40 years to find another discovery as stunning as this one. Fortunately, that one was caught on film.
In 1972, while shooting Roma, Federico Fellini (no pun intended) came across a construction site and the amazing discovery of a first century apartment, with walls full of frescos that were immediately destroyed by air exposure. It was a classic case of happenstance making for a great piece of filmmaking.
This time, the cat played the role of a rabbit and by disappearing through a hole, led the men to Continue reading
With due respect to Barbra Streisand, the real zen master is the feline, as research upon research piles up to prove it. This time, it took scientists from MIT, Princeton, and Virginia Polytech, to show the world what it already knew: when cats drink, they’re actually solving fundamental hydrodynamic problems you didn’t even know existed.
For starters, they lap their drinks four times a second, way too fast for your inferior human eyes to see anything but a blur. And unlike dogs, for example, they hardly make any noise doing it. Oh, and the toothbrush-like raspy hairs on their tongue have nothing to do with it.
In lay terms, the four engineers reported that the cat’s lapping method depends on its “instinctive ability to calculate the balance between opposing gravitational and inertial forces.” Come again?
Elementary, dear reader. The cat darts its tongue, curving the upper side downward so that the tip lightly touches the surface of the water. The tongue pulls a column of liquid upwards, and quickly traps it inside his month, before it has a chance to give in to gravity and spill. Did we mention that the cat’s chin remains dry during the process?
How did they measure all this? With high tech machines, silly, one of which had been designed for some way less important experiment at the $100 billion International Space Station, before being found in Continue reading