Future Cats

Reconstructing what prehistoric big cats looked like, and to some extent how they lived, often relies on fossils finds that researchers and scientists use to piece together the past, but what if we wanted a glimpse into the distant future of big cats instead?

Cats, Future Cats, Nat Geo Wild, Tigers, Lions, Leopards, Jaguars, Cheetahs, Big Cat Evolution, the future of big cats, predidicting the future of big cats, will big cats survive, save big cats, save lions, extinction of big cats

From the past –  CGI recreates the famous Sabertooth cat confronted by the first humans. Image – Nat Geo WILD/National Geographic Channels

Future Cat by Nat Geo WILD has given us that glimpse by taking a different approach, using cutting-edge special effects, and creating new worlds with ‘evolved’ big cats to go along with them. The show examines how today’s Lions, Tigers, Jaguars and Leopards would live in drastically changed environments complete with ice, desserts, floods and shifting continents that could possibly have African, Asian and North America cats fighting for survival.

Cats, Future Cats, Nat Geo Wild, Tigers, Lions, Leopards, Jaguars, Cheetahs, Big Cat Evolution, the future of big cats, predidicting the future of big cats, will big cats survive, save big cats, save lions, extinction of big cats

CGI: The four big cats, Lions, Tigers, Jaguars, Leopards perched high above on a mountain. Image – Nat Geo Wild/National Geographic Channel

Although the show is pure fantasy with the help of CGI and imagination it manages to address some real questions of how big cats will adapt to a future earth with extreme climate changes.

Future Cat also touches on the present and how the perfect predator has inspired researchers in the lab to create a ‘robotic cat’ like the one at MIT which mimics the running of the cheetah.

Cats, Future Cats, Nat Geo Wild, Tigers, Lions, Leopards, Jaguars, Cheetahs, Big Cat Evolution, the future of big cats, predidicting the future of big cats, will big cats survive, save big cats, save lions, extinction of big cats

CGI: A futuristic robot cat stands in the rubble of Fukushima waiting to begin a search and rescue mission – Image Nat Geo Wild/National Geographic Channels

Big cats have been around for millions of years, they are highly adaptable and have survived some of the earth’s most extreme challenges. Researchers acknowledge that there is really nothing quit like them and that they will never be able to be completely replicated. Once big cats are gone, they are gone for good.

What does the future hold for the big cats? At present that is something only humans can answer, their future remains in our hands. Big cats have survived almost everything nature has thrown at them up until this point, however the greatest threat they face is still from us.

Future Cat has aired on Nat Geo WILD, however you can watch the show in it’s entirety here on dailymotion

Cats, Future Cats, Nat Geo Wild, Tigers, Lions, Leopards, Jaguars, Cheetahs, Big Cat Evolution, the future of big cats, predidicting the future of big cats, will big cats survive, save big cats, save lions, extinction of big cats

A future cat watches as comets streak through the night sky. What does Mother Nature have in store? Image – Nat Geo WILD/National Geographic Channels

Wildlife Photographer Of The Year

The Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibit, co-owned by BBC Worldwide and the Natural History Museum, is a competition that showcases the best of the best when it comes to nature and wildlife photography. For a second year, the exhibit is being shown at the ROM in Toronto and I made sure to stop by this past weekend before it closes on March 22.

Last years exhibit was pretty spectacular and this years did not disappoint with photographers of all ages and skill levels from around the world showcasing their talents.

Some photos make an impact simply because they are visually stunning and others because they also relay a message, reflect the times we live in or show us where we may be headed. There are too many to mention here, but I will narrow down a few of my favorites starting with the Grand title winner Michael ‘Nick’ Nichols and his ethereal black and white piece The Last Great Picture.

Michael 'Nick' Nichols, USA, Wildlife Photographer of the Year, Natural History Museum, BBC Worldwide, Lions, The Vumbi pride , Tanzania, Serengeti National Park , Lioness, Lion Cubs, Kopje, Rocky Outcrop, Wildlife Photography, Africa, Save Lions, Ban Canned Hunting, Ban Trophy Hunting, Lions are not trophies, Ethical Tourism, Voice for the pride, Big Cats Forever, National Geographic, Save Habitat, Stop Poaching of Lions, Learn to Live with Wildlife, Apex predators,

Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2014, Grand title winner, Black and White, Michael ‘Nick’ Nichols, USA The last great pictureImage © Michael ‘Nick’ Nichols

Taken in Tanzania’s Serengeti National Park, 5 Lionesses part of the Vumbi pride are captured as they lay on a rocky outcrop called a Kopje resting with their cubs, exhausted after having driven off the prides two males.”  What makes this image even more poignant is that it would be the last time he would photograph them all together. A few months later he learned that they had ventured outside the park and that three of the five females had been killed.

Next is Finalist David Lloyd with his photo The enchanted woodland and I have to say the combination of Leopard and Yellow fever tree is captivating. Taken in Kenya’s Lake Nukuru National Park this is a perfectly timed photo of a Leopard looking as if he was just waiting to be photographed.

Among the finalists in the youth category I picked The watchful cheetah by Leon Petrinos ‘You can tell the animal’s feelings from the look in the eye, the way the fur lies and how the ears move,’ says Leon. He particularly likes portraits, he says, because ‘the animal’s feelings talk to you’.

Leon Petrinos, Wildlife Photographer of the Year, Natural History Museum, BBC Worldwide, Maasai Mara National Reserve, Kenya, Wildlife Photography, Africa, Save Cheetahs, Ban Canned Hunting, Ban Trophy Hunting, Cheetahs are not trophies, Ethical Tourism, Cheetahs are not pets, Illegal Wildlife trade, Illegal Pet Trade, Big Cats Forever, National Geographic, Save Habitat, Stop Poaching of Lions, Learn to Live with Wildlife, Apex predators,

Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2014, Finalist, The Watchful Cheetah – Image © Leon Petrinos, Greece

Vanishing lions taken in Kenya’s Maasai Mara National Reserve by Skye Meaker another finalist in the youth category, gives us a picture with a strong message behind it. ‘I want the picture to raise awareness that lions are a vulnerable species,’ he says. ‘To me, this picture conveys the feeling that lions are fading from Africa.’  With fewer than 25,000 Lions estimated to be left across the continent, this young photography doesn’t realize how accurate his statement is.

Special Award: Wildlife Photojournalist of the year went to Brent Stirton from South Africa for his portfolio on how the lives of Lions are linked to humans in Bred to be killed which also highlights the practice of canned hunting. Hopefully having this appalling industry exposed through a mainstream exhibit will show thousands of people why the world has rallied to fight against it.

From the World in Our Hands category one of my all time favorites and finalist, Hollywood Cougar by photographer Steve Winter.

Steve Winter, Cougars, Mountain Lions, Hollywood Hills cougar, North America's Big Cat, National Geographic photographer, Wildlife Photography, LA's elusive wildlife, Urban Wildlife,Wildlife Photographer of the Year, Natural History Museum, BBC Worldwide, Big Cats Forever, National Geographic, Save Habitat, Stop Poaching of Lions, Learn to Live with Wildlife, Apex predators

Finalist 2014, World in our Hands, Steve Winter, USA,  Hollywood Cougar – Image © Steve Winter

For more award-winning images check out the Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibit online or in person when it comes to your city.

Looking Purr Love

Valentines Day for humans means chocolates, flowers and dinner, but how about cats? The famous cartoon feline, Simon’s Cat shows us that he might be looking purr love in all the wrong places.

Maybe Simon should take a cue from some big cats and use a box in a slightly different way.

Jade and Armani, two rescued leopards from Big Cat Rescue check out a Valentine’s Day themed kissing booth for the first time.

Simon's Cat, Happy Valentines Day, Cats, Valentines Day, Looking Purr Love, Cat Cartoons, Famous Cat Cartoons, Feline love, How do cats celebrate valentines day,

Big Cats on Holiday

Being able to take a break from things is a wonderful feeling, as is going on holiday, so for Feline Friday I though what better than to dedicate a post to some big cat themed fashion that is perfect to wear on vacation or to the beach. I have to say without a doubt these designers do the big cats like nobodies business.

We are Handsome (WAH), an Australian design team of husband and wife Jeremy and Katinka Somers, caught my eye a few years ago for the images of big cats used in their swimwear line, and since then I have been hooked or more like obsessed with their designs.

Besides swimwear they have a range of items, like leggings and dresses, all with bold digital prints – think of it like wearing a very beautiful photograph. I am always on the look out for fashion representing cats done well and it here it was, original and like nothing I had seen before… Hello WAH, yes I am shamelessly in love with your work.

They are best known for creating swimsuits that look good in the water, poolside or paired with a pair of jeans. The range includes a classic string bikini, one piece and  recently more sporty and modern looks. WAH breaks the various themes into collections each season and for me the animal prints are simply irresistible, I can’t seem to get enough.

Sadly living in the northern hemisphere dictates a short summer, but this didn’t discourage me envisioning wearing their suits on vacation – good mental motivation for planning some holiday time.

We Are Handsome, swimwear, fashion, big cats, tigers, photography, digital images, cats, Australian designgers, fun in the sun, bikini

My first The Stalker string bikini, this would not be my last.

Now realizing that my warm weather days were limited living in Toronto, I tried a pair of their leggings which I could wear pretty much all year round. Giddy with excitement I opened up the package to reveal a fun, bold statement piece to warm up any cold Canadian winter day.

We Are Handsome, swimwear, fashion, big cats, tigers, photography, digital images, cats, Australian designgers, fun in the sun, bikini, leggings, Lynx, northern cats

The Traveler – Northern Cats

From the leggings it was only a  matter of time until I thought about giving their dresses a try, I am wearing The King on my about page which is one of my favorite prints a majestic Lion covering the front and on the back, a woodland savannah with mountains and trees off in the horizon.

Once I had amassed a pretty nice collection, I admit to owning several images in various styles, I figured I should try their one piece 70’s style swimsuit. I have to say my aversion to wearing a one piece melted away when I tried it on. For my first foray into this style I choose The Fighter an image of a snow leopard with a fierce growl on it’s face. Go big or go home.

We Are Handsome, swimwear, fashion, big cats, tigers, photography, digital images, cats, Australian designgers, fun in the sun, bikini, one piece swimsuit, snow leopar, The Fighter

The FIghter made me appreciate the one piece

A few of my other favorites pieces include

We Are Handsome, swimwear, fashion, big cats, tigers, photography, digital images, cats, Australian designgers, fun in the sun, bikini, one piece swimsuit, Leopard, The Victory

The Victory

We Are Handsome, swimwear, fashion, big cats, tigers, photography, digital images, cats, Australian designgers, fun in the sun, bikini, one piece swimsuit, The Impressor, Lions

The Impressor

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What I would love to get my hands on is The Africa, unfortunately this piece is from a past collection, and as all their designs are limited, I may have to enjoy it only in my dreams.

We Are Handsome, swimwear, fashion, big cats, tigers, photography, digital images, cats, Australian designgers, fun in the sun, bikini, one piece swimsuit, The Africa, Lions

The Africa

What I am coveting from their upcoming collection is the 3 D layering image of a Cheetah that was seen at their recent Sydney fashion show. This is definitely a new take on prints and a really unique departure from their previous work. Some of the styles are out, but at time of writing, and my vacation, the Cheetah had not been released.

We Are Handsome, swimwear, fashion, big cats, tigers, photography, digital images, cats, Australian designgers, fun in the sun, bikini, one piece swimsuit, Cheetah, Syndney Fashion Show, 3D prints, new design

Upcoming collection – 3D Cheetah

All of the WAH prints are equally as beautiful and there is definitively something for everyone. I find their pieces are like little pick me ups and one can’t help but have a good day or sport a smile when wearing them.

For your little piece of what I’d like to call big cat heaven, check them out online and be sure to follow my Cat-stagram where I often post my personal WAH pieces.

Caturday Travel Picks!

It’s been a very busy week but relief is insight as I get ready to take a short holiday. In preparation I was out picking up last-minute items and discovered some cat themed finds that would be perfect for vacation…well that’s my excuse, as these fun accessories would be good anytime!

Fall is in the air and that means sock season is back. Now I am not usually a fan of wearing socks but I would give some serious thought to wearing any of these to keep my feet snug and warm on a plane ride. What better reason to take your shoes off? They are just too perfect and thinking about them brings a smile to my face.

All socks by Living Royal $8.00 – $15.00

cats, kittens, socks, travel, ankle socksl, for the feet, photo real prints, photographic images, fashion, feline themed socks, Living Royal Socks, orange tabby, domestic cats

Cats on a plane! Kitten and Mixed cats socks

cats, kittens, socks, travel, ankle socks, for the feet, photo real prints, photographic images, fashion, feline themed socks, Living Royal Socks, Leopards, Tigers, big cats, roar,

Tigers and Leopards -oh my!

ankle socks, knee socks, cats, kittens, socks, travel, for the feet, photo real prints, photographic images, fashion, feline themed socks, Living Royal Socks, Leopards, Tigers, big cats, roar,Lions

King of the Jungle and of your feet.

Another important necessity on holiday is sunglasses, and this means you need a cool case to put them in. These cases by CatsEye London provide the perfect protection for your shades or your reading glasses and come in three different images.

cats, sunglasses, eye glasses, glasses case, Cats Eye London, Roof Top kitty, accessories, fashion, Persian Cat, cat themed fashion, travel,

Midnight: not a sound from the pavement…

cats, sunglasses, eye glasses, glasses case, Cats Eye London, Roof Top kitty, accessories, fashion, Persian Cat, cat themed fashion, travel,

Look your best with this keen little kitty.

Also from CatsEye, makeup bags, just right for putting your travel size items in and passing the security check. I picked up the Silver Kitty pattern for myself.

cats, Cats Eye London, tabby cat make up bag, accessories, fashion, tabby Cat, cat themed fashion, travel, make up bag, travel bag

Tabby cat keeps your essential under you paw

Leopard make up bag catseye london

Big Cats guard your make up

Finally, ensuring your iPhone is ensconced in cats is that much easier with the Cat Riot, love the name, case by Zero Gravity. You will be sure not to misplace it when you have all these cat faces staring at you. Sorry iPhone 6 people, looks like for now you will have to wait for your case.

cats, kittens, IPhone, iPhone cases, travel, cat themed, accessories, domestic cats, Cat Riot iPhone Case, iPhone 4, iPhone 5

Calling all Cat Ladies – $23.95 for iPhone 4 and 5

Be sure to follow my Cat-stagram feed for more feline fashion finds

Book Review: My Life With Leopards Graham Cooke’s Story

First published by Penguin Books South Africa in 2012, My Life With Leopards – Graham Cooke’s Story, by Fransje van Riel was a much anticipated read for me, and as soon as it became available online I ordered it, I must admit it sat on my shelf for a while before I could get to it…practically screaming at me to pick it up. What drew me to this book initially, other than the obvious, is that other than Joy Adamson’s Queen of Shaba – The Story of an African Leopard, I am not aware of many other instances where a wild Leopard cub has been raised and released successfully back into the wild.

My Life With Leopards Graham Cooke's Story, Africa, Leopards, Big Cats, South Africa, Zambia, Fransje van Riel, South Luangwa Valley

The story begins in the private Game Reserve of Londolozi, South Africa May 1993 where 22 year old game ranger Graham Cooke is assigned to take care of two 6 week old leopard cubs who had been born into captivity in Zimbabwe.

While the means by which the cubs were secured may not be ideal, this soon becomes unimportant as you read this very personal, passionate and beautiful story. The cubs, one male (Boycat) and one female (Poepface) are entrusted to Graham to be rehabilitated back to the wild once old enough to fend for themselves. Together they embark on a unique and very special journey and for Graham it would be one that changes him forever.

My Life With Leopards Graham Cooke's Story, Africa, Leopards, Big Cats, South Africa, Zambia, South Luangwa

Graham with the cubs after a morning walk –  Image My Life with Leopards Book by Fransje van Riel

Graham took his responsibility of caring for the two cubs very seriously, and without a doubt loved and cherished their lives and the time they had together. He demonstrates an extreme amount of patience, understanding, respect and kindness towards these amazing and would be potentially dangerous predators never forgetting that his ultimate goal is to ensure they stay wild enough to one day return to the wild.

Grahams work with the cubs is not easy at first but his perseverance and gentleness allows him entry into their world and slowly he learns to communicate with them understanding their needs and behaviors. Along the way he learns the cubs unique personalities, Boycat the more relaxed outgoing of the two and Poepface the more reserved, and you see the cubs trust in Graham develop in wonderful ways, in turn this bond opens up a world of experiences and insights on leopards for Graham.

Finally the cubs are moved to Zambia’s South Luangwa Valley, the place where Graham makes final preparations to let his cubs go forever.

My Life With Leopards Graham Cooke's Story, Africa, Leopards, Big Cats, South Africa, Zambia, South Luangwa

Poepface – Image from My Life with Leopards book by Fransje van Riel

My Life With Leopards is a great read, it is powerful story of a bond between human and animal and the trust they share. The story is filled with highs, lows, humor and “wow” moments, it will leave you with a unique perspective on an experience that only a few individuals have been blessed with. It is also a reminder that nature is amazing and at times very unforgiving, it truly chooses no favorites.

I found myself turning the pages wanting to know what was coming next, and I admit at times getting choked up and teary eyed. Having been fortunate enough to have visited the South Luangwa Valley, many years after this story takes place, I wondered if any of the Leopards I saw there were the descendents of Grahams Poepface.

My Life With Leopards Graham Cooke’s Story is on my Favorite Cat Themed books  list and is available online from Amazon.com in traditional Paperback or for Kindle. If you love the big cats, Leopards and wildlife be sure to pick this book up.

Throwback Thursday – My First Leopard

I have been fortunate to visit Kenya a few times over the years and have been thinking of going back again. All this thinking brought back memories of all the amazing wildlife I have been privileged to see there, especially the Big Cats. Lions, Serval…and the elusive Leopard. It was on my second trip to Kenya that I was blessed with seeing this beautiful cat for the first time.

Leopards, Kenya, big cats, travel, tourism, conservation, wildlife

My first Leopard – Masai Mara

She was a well known female who had been raising her one male cub, who was quit large and gorgeous himself. We were lucky enough to spot her out and about, while her cub stayed safely among the bushes.

Masi Mara - Kenya - Supu's cub 1Curious but lacking the confidence of his mom, he stayed safely inside his den of trees watching us until she returned. Once the female disappeared behind the canopy of green we left, Leopards to their solitude and me with an amazing memory…one of the many reasons Why I Love Kenya.