Build a Cat

For cat lovers and Lego fans you now have the chance to build your own cat with JEKCA animal sculptures. They come in a variety of ‘kits’ and styles so you can pick your feline color pattern and whether you would like your cat sitting, standing or walking.

Lego, cats, cat sculpture, Lego for adults, JEKA, cats in art, cat lovers, home decor, assembly required,

JEKCA via Facebook

Lego, cats, cat sculpture, Lego for adults, JEKA, cats in art, cat lovers, home decor, assembly required,

JEKCA via Facebook

Lego, cats, cat sculpture, Lego for adults, JEKA, cats in art, cat lovers, home decor, assembly required,

JEKCA via Facebook

Unfortunately, for those hoping to immortalize their own feline there is no customization available at this time, but you will have a number of different cats to pick from.

Lego, cats, cat sculpture, Lego for adults, JEKA, cats in art, cat lovers, home decor, assembly required, buildling blocks

JEKCA via Facebook

Lego, cats, cat sculpture, Lego for adults, JEKA, cats in art, cat lovers, home decor, assembly required, buildling blocks

JEKCA via Facebook

Lego, cats, cat sculpture, Lego for adults, JEKA, cats in art, cat lovers, home decor, assembly required, buildling blocks

JEKCA via Facebook

If you haven’t played with Lego in a while no need to worry, assembly instructions are included with these sturdy and life-size works or art.

Lego, cats, cat sculpture, Lego for adults, JEKA, cats in art, cat lovers, home decor, assembly required, buildling blocks

JEKCA via Facebook

There are a variety of other animals to pick from including the big cats like the lion and tiger.

Lego, cats, cat sculpture, Lego for adults, JEKA, cats in art, cat lovers, home decor, assembly required, buildling blocks

JEKCA via Facebook

Lego, cats, cat sculpture, Lego for adults, JEKA, cats in art, cat lovers, home decor, assembly required, buildling blocks, Tiger

JEKCA via Facebook

JEKCA is based in Hong Kong but ships their affordable and fun “blocks for kidults” worldwide.

Advertisements

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

Hair of The Cat

Studying wildlife is no easy task and ensuring it is done in the most non-invasive way can also be a challenge. When researchers wish to gather certain information about a species without actually capturing, and possibly harming, an animal they will often use camera-traps to take images or video of an animal. The traps are placed in predetermined areas or corridors where the species is known to frequent and are kept well hidden to reduce the impact on wildlife and chances of theft by humans.

Puma, Mountain Lions, Jeff Cremer, Camera traps, Hair traps, wildlife Phototograhy,tracking rare cats,

Puma – taken by camera trap in the Peruvian Amazon – Image Wildlife Photographer Jeff Cremer – Gizmodo

Along with gathering valuable information about use of habitat, social behaviors, and what they eat, camera traps can also help provide a visual health assessment of an animal. In some cases the images caught of rare, elusive, shy, and nocturnal felines can prove to be quit beautiful.

Ocelots, Jeff Cremer, Camera traps, Hair traps, wildlife Phototograhy,tracking rare cats,

Ocelot- take by camera trap in the Peruvian Amazon – Image Jeff Cremer – Gizmodo

While camera trap have proven useful they cannot collect physical samples, which are often required for research, and that is why scientists sometime rely on scented hair-traps to collect DNA, determine what the animals habitat ranges are and learn about genetic diversity. The traps have been in use since the 1990’s, mainly in cooler climates, and have been gaining popularity as a way to sample without stressing wildlife. Peninsular Malaysia is the latest place to employ this non-invasive method which is aimed at gathering population data from some it’s most endangered carnivores including the Malayan Tiger (Panthera tigris jacksoni), Clouded Leopard (Neofelis nebulosa), Leopard (Panthera pardus), Golden Cat (Pardofelis temminckii), Leopard Cat (Prionailurus bengalensis), and the Marbled Cat (Pardofelis marmorata).

Camera traps, Hair traps, wildlife Phototograhy,tracking rare cats, Malyasia, Tigers, Clouded leopards

An example of a scent-baited hair traps created to target Felids. The CD was added to help visually attract the animals. – Image Mongabay

The use of scented hair-traps would allow researchers to obtain hair from a wild animal when they touch, or in the case of felines, rub up against the trap which is on a tree.  To enhance the chance of obtaining samples appealing odors, specially created fatty acids or men’s cologne, were used to entice animals to the traps which were set up in two main wildlife corridors. After 764 nights they discovered (via camera traps that were used to monitor the project) that at least one male Malayan Tiger and one male Clouded Leopard had rubbed against a trap.

Camera traps, Hair traps, wildlife Phototograhy,tracking rare cats, Malyasia, Tigers, Clouded leopards

Male tiger ‘cheek rubbing’ on one of the hair traps in the study. – Image Mongabay

Scientists where later able to collect the hair of the cat, in the case the Tiger. The Clouded Leopard did rub the spot on the tree where the scent had been but elephants, another obstacle to the study, had already removed the trap. It was also discovered that the CD may have been a deterrent to a few of the felines, as one was seen running away from it, proving that not all cats like shiny things.

Camera traps, Hair traps, wildlife Phototograhy,tracking rare cats, Malyasia, Tigers, Clouded leopards, Leopard cat

Leopard Cat one of the 6 species of felids targeted for hair-traps – Image Mongabay

From this study scientists determined that for now at least, scented hair-traps in Peninsular Malaysian need improving, either by making the scents stronger or by moving locations of the traps. More work will be required to determine the potential of this non-invasive method and if it will benefit studying endangered felids in tropical forests.

Circus Tiger

Many countries are finally starting to realize that big cats, and wildlife, do not belong in circuses. The abuse and exploitation that these animals face is not something that should be tolerated and individuals, organizations, cities and governments are thankfully starting to work together on making the archaic form of entertainment a thing of the past.

Once an animal is rescued ensuring they go to a sanctuary that will provide the best possible environment for them to thrive and live out their lives free from stress and abuse is a priority. Looking after an animals physical and mental well-being should be the goal and Rancho dos Gnomos in Brazil, who also rescued the circus Lion Will, has done just that for a former circus Tiger named Paru.

Tigers, Circus Tigers, Tiger rescue, Ban wild animals in circuses, big cats do not belong in the circus, Paru the tiger, Ranchos dos Gnomos, Brazil, Animal Sanctuary,

Paru in September 2015– All Images Ranchos dos Gnomos Facebook

In June of this year Paru, formerly known as Diego, was rescued by the Ranchos dos Gnomos sanctuary and freed from his desolate life in a Zoo in Brazil where he and his former mate had languished for years in small concrete enclosures. Paru a Bengal Tiger, his mate and five Lions were rescued in 2006 after the the Brazilian Institute of Environment and Renewable Natural Resources (IBAMA) investigated and seized the animals from the Transcontinental Circus. Unfortunately Paru lost his partner in 2012 and went into a depression making his stay in the Zoo even more dismal. It wouldn’t be until 2015, when the move was requested by IBAMA, that Paru would be relocated to the Ranchos dos Gnomes sanctuary, a journey of over 1000 km to a new and well deserved beginning.

In this video you can see how Paru has difficulty walking and is looking thin, this is from years of ill treatment in the circus, sitting in a concrete enclosure at the Zoo and not getting proper care or stimulation.

Tigers, Circus Tigers, Tiger rescue, Ban wild animals in circuses, big cats do not belong in the circus, Paru the tiger, Ranchos dos Gnomos, Brazil, Animal Sanctuary,

Paru enjoying his new enclosure in July at Ranchos dos Gnomos.

Once at the sanctuary Paru received all the physical and mental support he needed to recover and, over the summer he started improving and enjoying his freedom as he explored his new surroundings.

Bengal Tigers, Tigers, Circus Tigers, Tiger rescue, Ban wild animals in circuses, big cats do not belong in the circus, Paru the tiger, Ranchos dos Gnomos, Brazil, Animal Sanctuary,

Paru explores his new water hole

Watch the video of Paru enjoying a refreshing dip in his private pool and water fall. As Tigers are one of the few big cats who love water this was a wonderful treat, one that Paru took full advantage of to cool down in during the extremely hot Brazilian summer.

Bengal Tigers, Tigers, Circus Tigers, Tiger rescue, Ban wild animals in circuses, big cats do not belong in the circus, Paru the tiger, Ranchos dos Gnomos, Brazil, Animal Sanctuary,

Paru gets comfortable in his bed of hay

Rancho dos Gnomos is a not for profit sanctuary and has operated since 1991. They take in any animal species who is at risk or victims of crime (circus, rodeo, baiting, deforestation, burning, traffic, ritual, the fur industry, slaughterhouse and abandonment). Their mission is to prioritize the welfare of wildlife, exotic, native, domestic, domesticated or other, through preservation, conservation, restoration and maintenance where necessary and, also by the spread of environmental education.

Bengal Tigers, Tigers, Circus Tigers, Tiger rescue, Ban wild animals in circuses, big cats do not belong in the circus, Paru the tiger, Ranchos dos Gnomos, Brazil, Animal Sanctuary,

Photo taken of Paru in September

The main priority are the animals and the sanctuary works to reduce their stress and or keep it to a minimum as many were rescued from very abusive situations and are fearful of humans. For this reason the sanctuary is not open for public tours however, they do make some exceptions for educational work.

For more on Paru, and the other animals at the sanctuary, be sure to visit them on Facebook.

For more information on Circus Bans worldwide please visit Stop Circus Suffering where you can get updates on bans where you live and learn how to help big cats like Paru. As always please do not patronize any circus that uses big cats or other wildlife.

Japan Before Internet Cats

Whatever did people do for their daily cat fix before the invention of the internet? It’s sometimes hard to imagine there once existed other “mediums” that humans used to express their love for felines that also satisfied the instinctive needs of many to look at cats. The Life of Cats: Selections from the Hiraki Ukiyo-e exhibit, on at the Japan Society, shows us that our cat-obsession is a cross cultural phenomena dating back centuries and that Maru the cat wasn’t the first famous Japanese feline to be immortalized for all the world to see.

There are five sections to the exhibit: Cats and People, Cats as People, Cats versus People, Cats Transformed and Cats and Play. “The collection illustrates the depth of this mutual attraction by mining the wealth of bravura depictions of cats to be found in ukiyo-e woodblock prints of the Edo Period (1615-1868).

 Life of Cats , From the Hiraki Ukiyo E Collection,  Japan Society, Gallery Cats in Japanese Art, Cats in Art, Cat Art, Cats Ukiyo E, Japan, New York, Utagawa Kuniyoshi

Utagawa Kuniyoshi (1797–1861), Cats Suggested by the Fifty-three Stations of the Tōkaidō (detail), 1847. Color woodblock print; each sheet 14 5/8 x 10 inches. Courtesy Private Collection, New York.

 Life of Cats , From the Hiraki Ukiyo E Collection,  Japan Society, Gallery Cats in Japanese Art, Cats in Art, Cat Art, Cats Ukiyo E, Japan, New York, Utagawa Kuniyoshi, famous internet cats, famous cats before the internet

Utagawa Hiroshige (1797-1858), Cat Crossing to Eat, 1830-44. Color woodblock print; 36 7/8 x 22 3/8 inches. Courtesy Hiraki Ukiyo-e Foundation.

Since arriving in Japan aboard Japanese ships transporting sacred Buddhist scriptures from China in the mid-sixth century, cats have proceeded to purr and paw their way into the heart of Japanese life, folklore, and art.”

 Life of Cats , From the Hiraki Ukiyo E Collection,  Japan Society, Gallery Cats in Japanese Art, Cats in Art, Cat Art, Cats Ukiyo E, Japan, New York, Utagawa Kuniyoshi, famous internet cats, famous cats before the internet, tigers, dragons

Yoshimura Kokei (1770-1836), Dragon and Tiger, Hanging scroll, ink, color, and gold on silk; 90 x43 1/2 inches. Courtesy of Joan B. Mirviss, Ltd. New York.

 Life of Cats , From the Hiraki Ukiyo E Collection,  Japan Society, Gallery Cats in Japanese Art, Cats in Art, Cat Art, Cats Ukiyo E, Japan, New York, Utagawa Kuniyoshi, famous internet cats, famous cats before the internet, tigers, dragons

Utagawa Hiroshige (1797–1858), Asakusa Ricefields and Torinomachi Festival from the series One Hundred Famous Views of Edo, 1857. Color woodblock print; 22 ½ x 16 inches. Courtesy Hiraki Ukiyo-e Foundation.

Life with Cats exhibit gets animated in the Popular Hotspring Spa (of Cats)

Various pieces will rotate during the exhibit which runs from Friday, March 13 – Sunday, June 7, 2015 at the Japan Society in New York.

The Catmas Gift List – Giving Tuesday

In honor of Giving Tuesday I wanted to share a few cat themed gift ideas for those on your list who like to wear their heart on their sleeve, or think that giving something back is the cats meow.

Clothing for a cause – Arm The Animals

Funny, unique, and witty” graphic designs in men’s and women’s styles that fans of cats big or small will be proud to wear. Arm The Animals creates killer T-Shirts that make a statement, raise awareness and generate funds for small, struggling animal rescues.’

cats, Arm The Animals, Cat Tshirts, Cat themed fashion, Giving Tuesday, Animal Charities, Helping animals,Gifts that give, Holiday gifts, Christmas gifts, Xmas gifts

Women’s CATIFORNIA REPUBLIC Crew – $25.00

,Jaguars, Men's fashion, t shirts, Charity for animals, cats, Arm The Animals, Cat Tshirts, Cat themed fashion, Giving Tuesday, Animal Charities, Helping animals,Gifts that give, Holiday gifts, Christmas gifts, Xmas gifts

Men’s Grenade Spotted Jagwar Crew – $24.00


Click here for more of their cool cat themed designed

For the little cat lover in your life, a wonderful story based on the real life rescue of a cat named Yoda who goes from being a forgotten shelter cat to a super foster dad to kittens!

When Beth first met Yoda at the animal shelter, he was skinny and his fur was matted. He hid in the back of his cage and wanted nothing to do with anyone. But Beth chose Yoda. She took him home, cleaned him up, and gave him love…Beth fosters kittens, too, and before long Yoda discovered them—and his life purpose. Now he’s happy, and fluffy, and very, very busy.” available on Amazon and at Independent Book Retailers

cats, kittens, Rescue cats, Shelter cats, Cat rescue, Beth Stern, Howard Stern, North Shore Animal League, Bianca's Furry Friends campaign, fostering cats kittens, Animal Shelters, Gifts that give, Holiday gifts, Christmas gifts, Xmas gifts

Yoda The Story of a Cat and his Kittens – Beth Stern

Beside being an awesome story all the proceeds from this book will be donated to the North Shore Animal League America’s Bianca’s Furry Friends campaign, a proposed state-of-the-art Feline Adoption Center 🙂

If hand painted porcelain jewelery is on your list than look no further than this exquisite Tiger ring by Nach Bijoux from France.

Nach Bijoux Jewelry, Rings, Tigers, France, Cat themed fashion, accessories, Giving Tuesday, Holiday gifts, Christmas Gifts, Xmas gifts, handmade jewelry, France, Europe, Planet Tiger, Planete Tigre, Tigers

Hand painted Tiger ring by Nach Bijoux

The designers decided to create “The Ark of Nach” to support organizations that work to save animals. 50% of proceeds from the sale of this ring, or any of the other Tiger themed pieces, will go to Planet Tiger, a European based organization working to help Siberian, Sumatran and Bengal tigers in India and Asia.

On the Trail of Big Cats

I recently had the pleasure of going to see award-winning photographer Steve Winter speak at a National Geographic Live Lecture series here in Toronto. If you are not familiar with his name, it is very likely you have seen his work including the images of Snow Leopards that won him the 2008 BBC Wildlife Photographer of the Year award.

Snow Leopards, Steve Winter, Wildlife Photography, Natinal Geographic, Elusive big cats, cats, endangered snow leopard, Central Asia, mountains

Masters of their environment and one of the most elusive of the big cats and rarest photographed – Photo Steve Winter

Snow Leopards, Steve Winter, Wildlife Photography, Natinal Geographic, Elusive big cats, cats, endangered snow leopard, Central Asia, mountains

The endangered snow leopard (Panthera uncia) is found in the rugged mountains of Central Asia. – Photo Steve Winter

I remember seeing these photos in Nat Geo and being utterly mesmerized by these intriguing cats and, hearing Steve Winter speak about the story behind the photos really brought them to life. Snow Leopards not fond of human company, made them the perfect candidates for use of strategically placed camera traps which helped produce these magical portraits.

Steve Winter’s “mission is to share the beauty of big cats while reinvigorating efforts to save them.” From trekking in India for Snow Leopards to working his way through the jungles of South America in search of Jaguar, he manages to captures the big cats in an unobtrusive way. For me it shows a respect for and love of the subject, as well as a commitment to helping preserve them by encouraging others to see a unique animal and story in each photo.

Steve Winter, Jaguars, Amazon, Brazil, Pantanal, rare big cats of South America, Endangered Jaguars,

The jaguar (Panthera onca) also called el tigre, is the largest cat in the Western Hemisphere and the third largest in the world, after the tiger and lion.  Photo Steve Winter

One of my personal favorite photos is of the famous Hollywood Hills Cougar also know as P-22 that was published in the December 2013 issue of National Geographic.

Steve Winter, Cougars, Mountain Lions, Hollywood Hills cougar, North America's Big Cat, National Geographic photographer, Wildlife Photography, LA's elusive wildlife, Urban Wildlife

Automatic cameras were set up for a year in the hills of Griffith Park to capture images of the elusive P22, the “ghost cat” that is the area’s only known cougar (Puma concolor) – Photo Steve Winter

Think of it: A large carnivore that must kill to eat is meeting its nutritional needs in the heart of greater L.A., all the while avoiding attention better than a camera-shy celebrity. How does he do it? By moving with a whisper-soft tread mostly in the twilight and at night, sticking close to thick cover, zealously guarding his privacy in a metropolis renowned as the gateway to fame.”

P-22’s notoriety did not end there however, in March of this year National Park Services noticed his mangy appearance when they captured him to replace the battery in his GPS collar.

Steve Winter, Cougars, P22, Mountain Lions, Hollywood Hills cougar, Rat Poison, Rodenticides, Poison killig wildlife, Mange, North America's Big Cat, National Geographic photographer, Wildlife Photography, LA's elusive wildlife, Urban Wildlife

P22 was found to be suffering from mange and tested positive to exposure to rodenticides, commonly known as rat poison  – (photo National Park Service)

An update in May later showed the treatments P22 had received seemed to be working, many including myself breathing a sigh of relief. Steve Winter’s Hollywood Hills Cougar captured the attention of people worldwide and in doing so the photo created a deeper connection with this beautiful animal, one that would remain strong long after the cats 15 minutes of fame had ended. It would also be a vehicle to help highlight the cougars plight and just how deadly commonly used rat poison is to wildlife in general.

Finally, If you are a fan of Tigers, I highly recommend picking up yourself a copy of Steve Winter’s Tigers Forever book, his decade-long project to document the world’s shrinking but resilient tiger species. It is full of exquisite photographs and information, some of which you will see and hear about if you attend his lecture.

Steve Winter, Tigers Forever, Books, Amazon, Brazil, Pantanal, rare big cats, India, Endangered, Tigers, National Geographic, Photography, Nat Geo Live, Big Cats Forever

“By saving the world’s top predators, we save huge forests, rivers, wildlife, and ultimately, our planet.” Quote and Photo – Steve Winter

“On the Trail of Big Cats: Tigers, Cougars, and Snow Leopards” with Photographer Steve Winter lecture series continues in 2015 and if you get a chance to see it in your city don’t miss it.