Category Archives: Julia Williams

3 Real-Life Cats with Important Jobs

By Julia Williams

A while back, a certain feline wrote about 10 Purrfect Jobs for Cats. Rocky’s position, I believe, was that there are plenty of jobs cats could do admirably well but that most felines think work is beneath them and looking cute is all they need to do to have us humans wrapped around their paw. I would agree with that last part; Rocky doesn’t lift a claw to help me around the house and yet…I am definitely smitten with the furry boy.

That being said, there actually are some cats with jobs, and mighty important ones at that. Cats have, in fact, been working for us for a very long time. Their skill at keeping the mice and insects away from the granaries in ancient Egypt likely contributed to their high place of honor in that society. Many farmers employ barn cats even today, but rodent control isn’t the only job felines can do. Here are three working cats with very interesting jobs.

Station Master Tama

A calico cat named Tama is the first feline to become an official railroad executive. Tama is the station master and Operating Officer of the Kishi Station in Wakayama, Japan. Moreover, this hardworking feline has been on the job for eight years! In 2006, the Wakayama Electric Railway Company converted all stations on the Kishigawa Line to unmanned posts to cut costs. Station masters were chosen from local businesses, and grocer Toshiko Koyama was selected for Kishi. Koyama adopted the stray kitty and fed her at the station.

In 2007, railway officials seeking ways to boost ridership decided to officially name Tama the station master. It worked brilliantly! Ridership increased dramatically as tourists flocked to see the cute cat. It’s a cushy job, apparently, as Station Master Tama’s primary duties consist of lounging in her office, greeting passengers and posing for photos. Although she doesn’t collect a paycheck, the railway does supply Tama with free cat food.

Tama became the symbol of the railway and still attracts scores of tourists today. In 2008, Tama was given an award for providing an estimated 1.1 billion yen ($10.8 million) economic boost to the region. Now a spry senior at 16, Tama has earned the right to work less and relax more, logging just four days a week and getting help from two “junior station masters” who are, of course, also cats.

Mayor Stubbs

An orange Manx cat named Stubbs has served as honorary mayor of a small town in Alaska for 16 years. Talkeetna, a hub for bush pilots to ferry climbers onto Mount McKinley, was reportedly the inspiration for the quirky town of Cicely, Alaska in the 1990s TV show Northern Exposure. So naturally, having a cat for mayor wasn’t a stretch for a town that embraced its reputation for eccentricity.

The roughly 900 residents elected Stubbs as a write-in candidate since he seemed better suited for the job than the human contenders. They say Stubbs is the best mayor the town has ever had, and he’s frequently spotted making the rounds around town.

Unfortunately for Stubbs, his political career hasn’t been all sunshine and roses – over the years he has been shot with a BB gun, mauled by a dog, and fallen into a restaurant’s fryer. Word on the street is that these unfortunate incidents were all assassination attempts by a political opponent. Nevertheless, Stubbs is still on the job, and unlike some human politicians, still maintains a high approval rating after many years of service.

Police Officer Lemon

When an itty bitty stray kitten wandered into the Yoro police station in Kyota, Japan, he was warmly received by the officers, who immediately made him an honorary member of the force. Now a fully grown mancat, Lemon wears a custom-stitched uniform and mostly works a desk job at the station (rather, he keeps the other cops company and chills out on any desk he pleases).

Sometimes he gets to go out on ride-alongs with the officers to help calm people in distress and offer a little feline comfort to victims of a crime. “Purr Therapy” is what every cat does best, so even though Police Officer Lemon is just doing what comes naturally, I think he’s a shining example of a working cat!

Do you know of any other cats with jobs we should feature here?

Top photo by Melanie_Ko/Flickr
Middle photo by Meredith P./Flickr
Bottom photo by Jenni Konrad/Flickr

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Spring Has Sprung! Let’s Celebrate with a Photo Contest!

By Julia Williams

In my neck of the woods, spring can be a tad fickle. In other words, even though the calendar says it’s officially springtime, the weather may or may not follow suit. In fact, sometimes winter drags on here for what seems like forever.

Thankfully, this year looks pretty good so far (knock on wood) and I am celebrating the arrival of warm(er) weather. CANIDAE is celebrating the season too, with a spring-themed photo contest for all of their customers and fans!

How to Enter

Just grab your camera and be ready to capture your cat or dog doing whatever you think best embodies the spring season. Whether that’s wearing bunny ears, sniffing daffodils, visiting the Easter Bunny, or just exuberantly enjoying the nice spring weather…snap away!

Then share your best spring-themed photo of your cat or dog on the CANIDAE Facebook photo contest page, and you might win 6 months of free CANIDAE natural pet food!

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Overcoming Ailurophobia (Fear of Cats)

By Julia Williams

Your first thought when reading that title might well have been “A fear of WHAT?” After all, cats are cute, cuddly, and basically harmless, right? How could anyone be afraid of a small furry creature like a cat?

Now…Arachnophobia (fear of spiders) – oh heck yes! Just this morning, a spider-like ball of fuzz leapt out of my kitchen cupboard and I just about had a heart attack. Ophidiophobia (fear of snakes), Acrophobia (fear of heights) and even Coulrophobia (fear of clowns) also make perfect sense to me.

Ailurophobia (fear of cats), however, is another story. Yet for those who suffer from it, the fear of cats is every bit as intense and real as any other phobia. Ailurophobia may not make a Top Ten Phobias list, but it’s actually fairly common.

Phobias are defined as a persistent, extreme and irrational fear of something. Phobias are considered a type of anxiety disorder; exposure to a feared object, activity or situation can cause sweating, shaking, heart palpitations, loss of breath, dry mouth, incoherence and panic attacks.

Ailurophobia then, is an intense feeling of fear at the sight of a cat, whether that’s in person, on TV or in a photo. In extreme cases, just thinking about a cat – or even a kitten – can cause a reaction. A person with Feline Phobia might understand intellectually that the tiny, purring ball of fur poses no real danger, but they react to the stimuli nonetheless.

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5 Reasons Why Cats Rule the Internet

By Julia Williams

“The internet is cat obsessed.” That’s what I’ve been reading, anyway. Is it true? Does cyberspace belong to cats? I have no idea, but forced to answer I’d say yes. Now, I’ll admit that as a “cat person” I might be biased. Nonetheless, many other people seem to believe that cats are more popular on the internet than dogs. It’s even been suggested that there are more cat pictures on the internet than there are selfies (but who actually suggested that remains a mystery).

Another unsubstantiated statistic is that 15% of the internet is cat-related content – pictures, videos, blogs, comments, memes, Facebook pages, etc. Having prowled my fair share of the internet, I’ve seen plenty of evidence that cat fever runs rampant on the web. I can think of dozens of Celebrity Kitties off the top of my head: Grumpy Cat, Henri le Chat Noir, Lil’ Bub, Cole & Marmalade, Klepto Kitty, Venus, Hamilton the Hipster Cat, Cooper the Photographer Cat, Nala, Streetcat Bob, Colonel Meow and Maru, to name a few. On the other hand, only a handful of famous internet dogs come to mind.

So for the sake of argument, let’s assume that cats do indeed rule the internet. The question then becomes, “But why?” I have done copious research on the topic (ahem…that’s a lie) and have come up with 5 theories on why cats are so popular on the internet. Just for fun, here they are:

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Why Do Cats Love Boxes?

By Julia Williams

Ask any cat lover to show you a photo of their feline friend in a box, and they can probably produce dozens (hundreds even!) of cute shots they have taken over the years. Big boxes, little boxes, long skinny boxes, empty boxes and boxes with stuff in them; it doesn’t matter – they’re all going to be irresistible to your cat. I’ve never known a cat who didn’t love sitting, sleeping  and playing in boxes. Same goes for other things that have box-like qualities, such as baskets, buckets, bags, laundry baskets and suitcases.

I am reminded of a hilarious cartoon that had about a half dozen boxes lying in the middle of a deserted country lane. Each one had a cat in it, and the caption was “The cat traps are working.” Hilarious…but so on point.

So we all know that cats love boxes. But what you might not know is that there is supposedly some “science” behind the reason why felines have such an infatuation with the almighty box. Now, I’m a bit skeptical of any scientist that attempts to get into the mind of a cat. After all, felines do tend to defy being typecast. They’re not called independent creatures for no good reason. Nevertheless, I decided I should at least see what the science experts say about why cats love boxes.

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How a Pet’s Behavior Changes with Age

By Linda Cole

Aging is an inevitable fact of life that can sometimes cause us to long for the days of our youth. But with age comes – hopefully – wisdom and an appreciation for what’s good in our lives. Our pets don’t have our level of knowledge about what lies ahead, and they can’t tell us what they are going through as they grow older. Some changes can indicate a medical issue, and some are just normal changes that can alter your pet’s behavior.

The average lifespan of dogs is around 7 to 14 years, but many canines live well past the average. Cats have a lifespan around 14 to 16 years, with many felines living into their 20s. Proper vet care, a premium quality diet like CANIDAE natural pet food, daily exercise, and mental stimulation can add years to a dog and cat’s life.

As responsible pet owners, we need to recognize when our four legged friends have reached their twilight years and understand that there will be changes which can affect their behavior.

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