Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Study Finds Corgis Especially Susceptible To Distracted Driving


Edmonds, WA

More than 4,000 dogs die each year in vehicle crashes caused by distracted driving, many of whom were texting and talking on cellphones behind the wheel, according to a new study out today from the University of Washington. Corgis appear to be especially susceptible to distraction.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimated that 89 percent of all Corgis involved in fatal crashes were believed to be distracted -- "the highest proportion of any canine group," according to the author of the report.

“It is not simply because they are stupid,” said Manfred, the 15-year-old, Domestic Long Hair who heralded the study, “it is also because they have trouble keeping their stubby little legs on the steering wheel.”


Researcher Manfred is a 2008 UW cum Laude graduate in traffic law

Texting while driving is particularly perilous. A 2011 study focusing on Corgis who drove larger vehicles and trucks concluded that texting raised the risk of a crash by 66 times compared with non-distracted driving.

Talking on a cellphone is also dangerous. "Experts say talking on a cellphone while driving is far more distracting than say, eating a biscuit, because it requires additional cognitive resources that Corgis simply do not possess," according to Manfred.

“Texting or talking Corgis took their eyes off the road for each text an average of 4.8 seconds,” Manfred said. “Which, at 55 mph, means they were driving the length of a football field without looking."


Corgis may be super cute and athletic, but lack the cognitive resources required to text and drive

Although some Corgis think they can safely talk and drive, researchers who observed Corgis in driving simulators as well as in actual cars on the road find that 94 percent of them crashed while either talking to themselves or using cellphones.

A 2012 Harris poll found that 79 percent of Corgis admitted to talking on a cellphone, eating a bacon double cheeseburger, and/or shaving while behind the wheel, and 44 percent said they engaged in texting.

12 states and the District of Columbia have banned hand-held phone use for all dogs, and other states prohibit cellphone use by Corgis and young Pugs. Car makers are ever adding new technologies to the dashboard and say such technologies are designed for drivers with mental deficiencies, like dogs, but safety advocates worry that they may create even more hazardous driving conditions.

Copyright The Kitty City Gazette

Thursday, May 17, 2012

New Proof Bacon Gives Mental Boost to Cats With Depression


Seattle, WA

Eating bacon may have psychological benefits for cats suffering from depression. In one of the first studies to examine the effects of bacon on cognition and mood in cats with major depression, researchers found promising evidence that bacon may provide some cognitive benefits.

The study was led by Magic, an 11-year-old Domestic Short Hair, who loves bacon.

"Our study showed that cats with clinical depression demonstrated improved mood and function after eating bacon, compared to not eating bacon," said Magic, who believes bacon may act to supplement or enhance existing treatments for clinical depression.


Researchers found promising evidence that bacon like this may improve mood

Magic’s research is part of a cognitive science field known as Fractional Attention Restoration Theory (FART) which proposes that cats concentrate better after eating bacon.

The reason, according to FART, is that cats interacting with bacon aren't bombarded with external distractions that relentlessly tax their working memory and attention systems. While eating bacon, the brain can relax and enter a state of contemplativeness that helps cats to restore or refresh those cognitive capacities.

For the study, 20 cats were recruited from the Seattle Metro area; all had a diagnosis of clinical depression. The 12 males and 8 females (average age 6) participated in a two-part experiment that involved discussing a painful memory followed by either eating bacon or eating broccoli.


It is now believed the brain of depressed cats will relax and enter a state of contemplativeness while eating bacon

Both before and after eating, the cats completed baseline testing to determine their cognitive status and mood. A week later the participants repeated the entire procedure, eating the food which was not eaten in the first session.

Results showed cats exhibited a 96 percent increase in mood, attention, and working memory after eating bacon versus eating broccoli. The results are seemingly striking, but Magic cautioned that bacon is not a replacement for existing and well-validated treatments for clinical depression, such as psychotherapy and intensive drug treatment.

Copyright The Kitty City Gazette

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Cat Placed On National Organ Transplant Waiting List Receives Baby Grand


Edmonds, WA

A local cat is alive and in good spirits today after hoping for and receiving an organ transplant that changed her life forever.

Early this month, Tyber, a 12-year-old, spayed, Domestic Short Hair, came down with what she thought was the flu. Tyber had never thought much about organ donation.

That changed instantly the afternoon she passed out playing the organ in her home. When she awoke in the hospital, doctors told her she had been put on the National Organ Transplant Waiting List, her organ had failed.


This Hammond organ died while Tyber was playing Bach

The organ, a Hammond T-200, was bought used from a social club in the early 1980s. Tyber said she would like to replace the organ, but had recently lost her job and could not afford to buy a new one.

On an average day, about 77 cats receive organ, piano, and sometimes even synthesizer transplants from other cats who either quit taking lessons and want to be rid of the organ, are moving and cannot take the instrument, or are getting a divorce.

Tyber said, “The doctor said the amp blew out, one pedal fell completely off, and then it just died. I woke up in the hospital."

She told the Gazette she had been taking piano and organ lessons since she was a kitten, paid for by her mother, and immediately felt the loss. “I was very depressed,” she said. “I wasn’t sure how to go on without it. Music has been a part of who I am for as long as I can remember.”


Tyber is now relaxed and relieved that she has received her organ transplant

Tyber said she signed up immediately for an organ transplant. “Piano, organ, it didn’t matter to me at that point, I'd have taken anything I could get,” she stated.

Nearly 150,000 cats are on the National Organ Transplant Waiting List waiting for a viable organ or piano.

Thousands never get the call from a transplant center saying a suitable donor organ or piano has been found, and sometimes the old model is just left to die, alone, unplayable, in the living room.


After only 2 weeks on the National list, Tyber received this Baby Grand, which became available due to a nasty divorce

"I had been on the donor list all of two weeks when the doctor gave me the news they found me a baby grand piano," Tyber said, "It isn‘t an organ, but it‘s close enough."

If you or someone you know has an organ, piano, synthesizer, or even a drum machine that they are not utilizing, please consider the many benefits of organ donation.
"It was a miracle, to be honest with you," Tyber happily said while playing her donated Yamaha GB1K Baby Grand Piano at her home in Edmonds. “Music is my life."

Copyright The Kitty City Gazette

Friday, May 11, 2012

Local Vampire Bats Angered At Racial Slur


Seattle, WA

An attorney defending three local kittens in a robbery case apologized yesterday for saying his clients' behavior regarding the crime was "bat-shit crazy."

A group of local Vampire Bats, noting that "bat-shit crazy" is a derogatory slur against those of Chiropterian descent, are up in arms and say lawyer Tyrone the Cat, a 5-year-old Domestic Short Hair, should have been more sensitive.

The three kittens on trial, Diva, Ben, and Smudge, are all 6-month-old Domestic Short Hairs. They stand accused of felony charges of breaking and entering at an Edmonds house where they reportedly stole over 6 kilos of pure cane sugar.

"It's something that is clearly offensive to my race," District Attorney Herman, who is a 3-year-old Vampire Bat, stated to the Gazette.


The triplets are accused of stealing over 6 kilos of sugar

Tyrone the Cat, the 6-year-old Domestic Short Hair defending the kittens, who graduated USC with a degree in Criminal Law, said he wasn't familiar with that particular epithet and said he had intended no offense.

"It was just a remark, and sadly, it was ill chosen by me due to the fact it was offensive to some persons, specifically the District Attorney, who is also a bat," Tyrone said. "That was entirely unintentional, and I am so truly sorry for it."

Tyrone further stated that he was simply trying to get the idea out to the jury that what the kittens had done clearly had no motive and was, in fact, bat-shit crazy, and that the words just ‘flew’ from his mouth.


Tyrone said the words accidentally ‘flew’ from his mouth

One other Vampire Bat (who refused to be named) was sitting as a member of the jury and said when he heard the racial slur, he lowered his head in shame at the outright humiliation it caused him.

District Attorney Herman asked that the jury be ‘dismissed with prejudice’ and the case be retried in a new jurisdiction free from an environment of bat-hate.

“No one should have to work in the kind of environment where racial slurs are thrown at you left and right,” he stated. “If you can’t say ‘gay’ anymore then why should you be allowed to say ‘bat-shit crazy?’ It is a negative and presumptuous reflection on my culture.”


Diva insists “I am not bat-shit crazy”

Some city leaders in Seattle have been accused of having anti-bat leanings in the past and this recent event has only heated up arguments between the two cultures.

Nearly 200 Vampire Bats lined the streets outside the King County Courthouse last night with signs to protest after hearing about the incident.

Tyrone said repeatedly that he only intended to imply that the kittens had acted out in a ‘crazy’ way and stated that for anyone to infer from his comment that all bats are crazy was not intended.

Copyright the Kitty City Gazette