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.

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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.

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JEKCA via Facebook

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JEKCA via Facebook

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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.

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JEKCA via Facebook

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

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JEKCA via Facebook

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JEKCA via Facebook

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

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?

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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.

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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.

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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

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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.

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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.

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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).

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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.

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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.

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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.

Buy It, Give It – Holiday Edition

The holiday season is well underway, and this means it’s time for a few of my favorite cat-themed gift ideas for Christmas, or anytime of the year. Some of them will even give you reason to shop for a cause. Simply click on the links or image to visit their sites. Enjoy!

I love t-shirts and they make great gifts for both men and women, here are a few that are cool, fun and give back with purchase. Squirrel Den Studio – sells mostly cat-themed tees and every month 15% of the purchase price of online sales go to a different Shelter-of-the-Month nominated by Facebook followers.

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Buy it, Give it, Christmas, Christmas gift list, Cat themed gifts, unique gifts for cat lovers, Cat themed Christmas gifts, holiday gift ideas for cat lover, t shirts for a cause, Arm the Animlas, Cat themed t shirts, gives that give back, shopping for a cause, fun ideas for cat loversP-22 Citizen For Los Angeles Wildlife (CLAW) –  P-22 everyone’s favorite Mountain Lion and spokes cat for the Save LA Cougars campaign, is the focus of this t-shirt by Runyon Canyon apparel. 50% of the proceeds from the sale goes to CLAW who work to protect and restore environments of wildlife of Los Angeles and California from dwindling open spaces.

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Buy it, Give it, Christmas, Christmas gift list, Cat themed gifts, unique gifts for cat lovers, Cat themed Christmas gifts, holiday gift ideas for cat lover, Apron, Cat Apron, Etsy, gifts for the home, shopping for a cause, fun ideas for cat loversThe Cat Tea Shop makes catnip cookie toys for cats that are handmade and Eco-friendly. 10% of their proceeds go to volunteer run cat rescues here in Ontario Canada. Their catnip is organically grown and they ship world-wide.

Buy it, Give it, Christmas, Christmas gift list, Cat themed gifts, unique gifts for cat lovers, Cat themed Christmas gifts, holiday gift ideas for cat lover, Cat toys, The Cat Tea Shop, Catnip toys, Toronto, shopping for a cause, fun ideas for cat loversCustom Pet Portrait Pillows by Sarah Clark Art – I came across this vendor while at CatCon this year and I really loved the idea of personalizing a pillow with your cats image. This come with a bigger price tag but they are made to order and are custom illustrated based on your cats personality.

Buy it, Give it, Christmas, Christmas gift list, Cat themed gifts, unique gifts for cat lovers, Cat themed Christmas gifts, holiday gift ideas for cat lover, Sarah Clark Art, Custom Pet Portrait Pillow, gifts for the home,, Cat themed t shirts, gives that give back, shopping for a cause, fun ideas for cat loversPet Interiors – They have lots of great products for cats but these two caught my eye in particular. All items are a handmade in Germany and they ship to Europe, Canada and the USA (for free).

Divan Due cat pillow

Buy it, Give it, Christmas, Christmas gift list, Cat themed gifts, unique gifts for cat lovers, Cat themed Christmas gifts, holiday gift ideas for cat lover, Pet Interiors, cat beds, cat litter box, gifts for the home,, Cat themed t shirts, gives that give back, shopping for a cause, fun ideas for cat loversPoopoopeedo cat toilet

Buy it, Give it, Christmas, Christmas gift list, Cat themed gifts, unique gifts for cat lovers, Cat themed Christmas gifts, holiday gift ideas for cat lover, Pet Interiors, cat beds, cat litter box, gifts for the home, shopping for a cause, fun ideas for cat loversTo go along with the Poopoopedo – a set of all natural cat litter box cleaner and deodorizer by HouseOfCat. The products are natural, Eco-friendly and hand-made.

Buy it, Give it, Christmas, Christmas gift list, Cat themed gifts, unique gifts for cat lovers, Cat themed Christmas gifts, holiday gift ideas for cat lover, House of Cat, Cat litter box deoderizer and Cleaner, gifts for the home, shopping for a cause, fun ideas for cat loversKitty block cardboard houses (US only) Kitty climbing and scratching blocks that will go with any decor.  Made from corrugated fiberboard, bonded by non-toxic starch-based adhesive, cut by hand.

Buy it, Give it, Christmas, Christmas gift list, Cat themed gifts, unique gifts for cat lovers, Cat themed Christmas gifts, holiday gift ideas for cat lover, Pet Interiors, Kitty blocks, cat tower, cat scratcher, gifts for the home, shopping for a cause, fun ideas for cat loversCat Scratch book ends at Uncommon Goods

Buy it, Give it, Christmas, Christmas gift list, Cat themed gifts, unique gifts for cat lovers, Cat themed Christmas gifts, holiday gift ideas for cat lover, Cat book ends, Uncommon goods, gifts for the home, shopping for a cause, fun ideas for cat loversPyroPet Candle – the melting wax reveals a grinning metallic inner skeleton. Comes in grey, black and pink.

Buy it, Give it, Christmas, Christmas gift list, Cat themed gifts, unique gifts for cat lovers, Cat themed Christmas gifts, holiday gift ideas for cat lover, PyroPet Candle, Cat Candle, candles, gifts for the home, shopping for a cause, fun ideas for cat loversCat Head Planters – handmade and offered in multiple colors

Buy it, Give it, Christmas, Christmas gift list, Cat themed gifts, unique gifts for cat lovers, Cat themed Christmas gifts, holiday gift ideas for cat lover, Planters, Cat head planters, Etsy, gifts for the home, shopping for a cause, fun ideas for cat loversGeek Kitty cat-shaped snack boxes for lunch or snacks

Buy it, Give it, Christmas, Christmas gift list, Cat themed gifts, unique gifts for cat lovers, Cat themed Christmas gifts, holiday gift ideas for cat lover, Cat lunch box set, gifts for the home, shopping for a cause, fun ideas for cat loversKitty gram by lilyandpeabody 100% of the profit from the purchase of these plush toys goes directly towards helping animals. They are also raising funds to open a non-profit no kill animal rescue. Each kitty gram is named or you can personalize your own.

Buy it, Give it, Christmas, Christmas gift list, Cat themed gifts, unique gifts for cat lovers, Cat themed Christmas gifts, holiday gift ideas for cat lover, Kitty Gram, cat tower, cat scratcher, gifts for the home, shopping for a cause, fun ideas for cat loversFor the big cat lover – film and book by Dereck and Beverly Joubert, award-winning filmmakers from Botswana who are Explorers-in-Residence for National Geographic. Educational and beautiful The Last Lions DVD and companion book are a great gift set.

Buy it, Give it, Christmas, Christmas gift list, Cat themed gifts, unique gifts for cat lovers, Cat themed Christmas gifts, holiday gift ideas for cat lover, The Last Lions, Lions, Dereck and Beverly Joubert, shopping for a cause, fun ideas for cat loversA stunning and informative photographic book – Tigers Forever by award-winning wildlife photographer Steve Winter.

Buy it, Give it, Christmas, Christmas gift list, Cat themed gifts, unique gifts for cat lovers, Cat themed Christmas gifts, holiday gift ideas for cat lover, Big Cats Forever, TIgers Forever, Steve Winter, save big cats, shopping for a cause, fun ideas for cat loversFinally making a donation to an organization that helps big cats, or domestic cats is a great way to give back, or donate in someones name. In lieu of money you can also opt to donate cat food, toys, cat beds and cat towers to your local shelter or group. Many local rescues that are volunteer run are always in need help and, be sure to check with your Veterinarian as they often run pet food drives during this time of year.

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If you are not familiar with an organization contact them directly to find out how their donations are used, or search for them on sites like Animal Charities Evaluators and Charity Navigator.

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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).

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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.

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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.”

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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.

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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.

Draw My Life – Tiger Edition

Tony the Tiger explains to viewers what life is like for captive bred tigers and other big cats in this informative and creative video by Big Cat Rescue

Big Cat Rescueis the largest accredited sanctuary in the world dedicated entirely to abused and abandoned big cats. They are home to about 100 lions, tigers, bobcats, cougars and other species most of whom have been abandoned, abused, orphaned, saved from being turned into fur coats, or retired from performing acts. The sanctuary is working to END the trade in wild cats.”

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A truck stop is no place for a tiger – Tony the Tigerphoto source Animal Legal Defense Fund

Tony’s Story – “Tony is a 14-year old Siberian/Bengal tiger used as a roadside attraction at Tiger Truck Stop in Grosse Tete Louisiana. Tony is an example of the serious problem of privately owned tigers in the United States whose numbers exceed tigers left in the wild. Tony’s owner, Michael Sandlin, has bought, sold, bred, and exhibited tigers for over 20 years.” – Free Tony the Tiger

The Animal Legal Defense Fund continues to work on having Tony freed and sent to a reputable sanctuary like Big Cat Rescue where he can live out his remaining days with the proper care he needs in a peaceful and natural environment away from noise, fumes, concrete and exploitation for profit. To date Tony still resides at the truck stop.

There are only about 3,000 wild tigers left and according to Big Cat Rescue there  are between 5,000 to 10,000 tigers, lions, leopards and more in US cages. The majority of these cats live in miserable roadside zoos, backyard breeder facilities, circus wagons and pet homes. Some will even be sold into the canned hunting industry where wealthy hunters pay to shoot them in a confined space.

What does the US and Global laws on private ownership of big cats look like?

Stop the cycle

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You have the choice NOT to participate in this abusive cycle

  • Never pay to touch or have your photo taken with a tiger or lion cub
  • Don’t attend circuses, fairs, or attractions that feature wild animal shows
  • Don’t purchase items made from wild animals, such as furs and rugs
  • Don’t partake in local “delicacies” made from wild animals, such as tiger bone wine
  • Only visit sanctuaries that are accredited by the Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries

A crucial step in preventing wild animals like Tony from being exploited is getting laws enacted to ban private ownership of exotic cats.