What then shall we do with internet cats?

It has been brought to my attention that last week I posted a video that portrayed cats as cute and lovable. All I can say is that it was a very rough week, coming down off of CONvergence and having to catch up on a lot of work, so I was probably in an incoherent and fatigued state of mind. My apologies.

Here’s an antidote.

There. I feel better. I hope you feel better too.


  1. Acolyte of Sagan says

    Yeah, that’s right PZ, use cats as an excuse for Americans to own more guns. Way to go!

    Written with tongue firmly in cheek.

  2. eyeoffaith says

    Reminds me a bit of the anime Geobreeders where the enemy was interdimensional cats or something like that.

  3. Lofty says

    Cardboard cut-out cats are scarier than the family Tiddles? Who’d a thunk it.

  4. hypatiasdaughter says

    FAIL, PZ!!
    Note how the enemies of feline cuteness and lovablity had to resort to PHOTO-SHOPPING in order to make cats look BAD!
    I’ll bet this nefarious piece of propaganda was financed by DOG-LOVERS!
    You have bought THE BIG LIE!

  5. Nick Gotts says

    Bloody cats. Literally: we had a pair of blackbirds nesting in our garden, but despite our efforts, a cat got in and slaughtered all the chicks. Cute? Try imagining yourself the size of a blackbird chick.

  6. hypatiasdaughter says

    #7 Nick Gotts
    Do you think dogs are any better?
    I once lived in the country and our dog, a friendly family pet, was accused of running with a pack of dogs that killed a farmer’s sheep – for sport, because they were all well fed. My dad had to pay compensation to the farmer.
    I once had a long haired cat that got cornered and mauled by some dogs in the winter. He couldn’t move through the snow as easily as the dogs to escape them.
    Some dogs are hunters who will chase down rabbits, squirrels and other small game; others don’t. Dogs don’t usually bring home their kill and lay it at your feet, like cats do, so their depredations are not as obvious.
    And, no, I am not a dog hater. I like both cats & dogs and have had both as pets. I just accept that, while they tolerate human companionship, they both still have the hunting instincts of their ancestors. They act the same as other wild animals. We seem to be able to accept that, for example, foxes will take down small prey and think “O.K. That’s nature.” For some reason, we regard this same behavior in our pets as horrific.

  7. Trebuchet says

    Did he say he’s a “bum” or a “bomb”?

    I took it to be “Pom”, which Wikipedia indicates is a slang term for a British Person. Or a Pomeranian.

  8. dukeofomnium says

    Reminds me of the film Birdemic: Shock and Terror, only with higher production values

  9. Furr-a-Bruin says

    Cats are cute, lovable, furry little death machines.

    Of course, so are grizzly bears … the scale is just a bit different.

    And yes – in an ideal world, I’d have both cats and grizzly bears as pets. And I’m sure there would be adorable photos of them napping together.

  10. viggen111 says

    Hi PZ,

    I’m not completely sure of a good email address to reach you at and I’m sure you get a ton anyway, but I think writing in the comments might be a good way to bring up a recent issue I’ve noticed with FTB.

    My McAfee web browser assistant has start calling Free Thoughts Blogs a “known attack site.” I like FTB and I like reading pharyngula… I wanted to let you know that this flag has come up and that either somebody is using FTB to attack computers or somebody has spoofed McAfee into thinking that FTB is a known attack site in order to try to reduce traffic to it. I hope you guys are aware that this has happened and I don’t know what your sysadmin can do about it.

  11. Onamission5 says

    I had similar issues with my own anti-virus program on this site a couple weeks ago but it seems to have resolved.

    As a long time cat appreciator, I have still had my moments where I observed the way my tiger striped kitty was behaving and said to myself, damn, self but am I ever glad right now that he’s not a real tiger. “It’s a trap!” has different connotations when a felid is flexing its 11 lbs of lean, focused, wild-eyed death than it does when a felid is, say, fifty times that.

  12. Rich Woods says

    @viggen111 #16:

    It’s not quite as simple as that. The flag doesn’t imply agency; the McAfee heuristics could just be wrong. For example, Kaspersky is perfectly happy with the site.

  13. Nick Gotts says


    The difference between cats and dogs is that the former are routinely allowed to roam free (I know not all cat-owners do this – good for those who don’t), while dogs are not (and it is generally illegal to allow them to do so). The differences between cats and foxes are that (a) foxes don’t have owners that should take responsibility for them and (b) sheer numbers: in the UK there are estimated to be around 250,000 adult foxes, most of them rural, while there are around 10,000,000 cats, most of them urban.

  14. says

    Traditionally, people had cats mainly for one reason–to eat small animals, especially mice. If you had grain, that they eat birds–English sparrows, notably–was also a plus. People may well have liked their cats, but that wasn’t really why they had them around.

    There was a time when, it seemed, every damned person in our neighborhood had a cat. I couldn’t run over enough of them (kidding, you know). There were no small animals here. Oh, maybe a magpie now and then, that’s about it. No mice, no songbirds, no squirrels.

    I don’t know what happened to all of the cats, but it’s way down now, with a few more yappy dogs (yeesh). It’s not a wildlife sanctuary, but now there are some songbirds, too many English sparrows (well, any is too many, but quite a few), squirrels, and a couple of years back I seemingly couldn’t put out enough mouse poison, although finally it quit disappearing.

    Oh, I like the cats, but it’s more than obvious that they sure do clear out the bird life in an area when they’re very abundant.

    Killing machines, the traditional role that made cats indispensable to agricultural humans.

    Glen Davidson

  15. Anthony K says

    I don’t get this video. Is this supposed to be funny somehow? I mean, the action movie references were kind of cute, but otherwise it’s just a mundane if accurate depiction of kitty mealtime around our house.

    I know not all cat-owners do this – good for those who don’t

    I don’t think most cat owners realise just how destructive unsupervised cats are to birds and rodents, amphibians, and of course, spider plants. Ours are only allowed outside when they’re with us, and on a harness, and I have to do a lot of explaining why to other cat owners.

  16. DLC says

    Nah, cats don’t have lasers in their eyes. They just have mind control devices. The mewing and purring is just a trick to get you to make eye contact. Whatever you do, never look a cat in the eye! or else they’ll take over your mind! My cat’s been sitting there mewing the whole time I’ve been writing this, trying to get me to look at her, but I won’t ! word must get out! The cat conspiracy is out to take over the wor

  17. thecalmone says

    So what do you do if you’re quite keen on someone, you find her attractive, enjoy her company, you’ve been out with her a couple of times, but then she starts sending you photos of her with her cat? A cat that obviously has her in its evil thrall and manipulates her to fulfill its every feline whim? What is going on here? Are the photos a cry for help?

  18. hypatiasdaughter says

    #21 Glen Davidson
    Sigh. You kind of made my point for me. Glen. You were poisoning MICE! I mean, it’s o.k. if cats take out mice, rats, shrews, etc but not those pretty little sparrows and ever so cute blackbird chicks?
    I am not defending killer cats, per se, it’s just that our anger at their predations seems to be based on what prey they take down.
    I don’t find the fact that predatory animals tend to kill the youngest and most vulnerable very pleasant – they are the ones we humans tend to have the most sympathy for. But that is the nature of predatory animals and if a life is important, than that of a baby mouse is a valuable as a baby bird’s.
    (However, I may be biased, because I am not overly fond of birds, at least close-up. I don’t mind them flying or flitting through trees, but they have this cold inhuman stare. It made perfect sense when I found out they were descended from dinosaurs. I see birds as tiny feathered Jurassic Park raptors.)
    But, Nick Gotts, you do have a very valid point that the NUMBER of cats could pose a threat to a population of local fauna. And cat owners should be educated on that point.

  19. says

    But that is the nature of predatory animals and if a life is important, than that of a baby mouse is a valuable as a baby bird’s.

    Ecologically and environmentally, most definitely not.

    Mice are not endangered, while many songbirds have declined a great deal.

    I am not concerned about cats’ predatory instincts, per se, in fact I made it clear that these were quite valuable to humans practicing (especially past methods of) agriculture.

    Are you really as unaware of the ecological issues posed by feral and uncontrolled pet cats as you seem to be?

    Glen Davidson

  20. says

    Mice are not endangered

    Lest anyone attempts a cheap shot, yes, I know that there are threatened and/or endangered mice. Indeed, it is claimed that the Alabama beach mouse is threatened, partly by cats.

    House mice and mice that typically are agricultural pests most certainly are not.

    Glen Davidson

  21. randay says

    I live in the city and there are tons of dirty disgusting pigeons you can’t get rid of. If would even be worse if the city didn’t have a program of spreading pigeon contraception feed around.

    There are a lot of cats, both pets and feral, so what are they doing? Why aren’t they helping out by decimating the pigeon population? I think they are making fun of us and laughing the whole time.

  22. says

    Birds are assholes. Song birds are assholes too. Little chirpy assholes that wake me up on weekends.
    Also as a cat owner I’ve never caught Bubonic Plague.

  23. prae says

    That’s quite unrealistic.
    Cats hide and ambush. Of course they would just laser-snipe those two naked monkeys from across the street instead of behaving like generic horror film monsters.