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

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Brave NETFLIX Envelope Narrowly Escapes Death

Edmonds, WA

A NETFLIX envelope who was attacked by a U.S. Postal employee says he lived only because the postal worker dropped him after he punched it repeatedly in the mouth.

Chester, a 6-month-old, red and white DVD Mailing Envelope, is recovering in the hospital from top and corner injuries. He had an operation on his flap and is awaiting surgery on his seam. He told reporters he thought he was moments from death during the attack, but managed to crawl away to his car and drive home.

Chester, who works for NETFLIX, was taking a walk in the woods near his home with his boyfriend Donovan, when he says a postal worker in a blue shirt and short pants suddenly charged at him, snorting and grunting.

Boyfriend Donovan fled the scene and watched the event unfold while safely hidden under a car

Donovan, a 9-year-old, neutered, White Persian, said he "...peed himself a little," then ran away and hid under their car, terrified.

Chester said he managed to climb up a nearby tree, but the postal worker cornered him. “I turned around and just saw (his) big face looking at me,” he said.

The envelope bravely recalled “kicking the postal worker's nose” which caused it to retreat, but said it only grew angrier and attacked again. Chester said it grabbed his upper right red corner and flung him into a dirt pile.

Postal workers are said to be very dangerous, can carry numerous diseases, and aren’t paid very much

“I gave it a really bad paper cut,” Chester said. “It drew a lot of blood, (the postal worker) really winced.” Chester said he then fell to the ground and was briefly knocked out.

After regaining consciousness, despite a torn corner, a broken seal, and an illegible to-and-from address, Chester managed to crawl back to his car and get inside. Donovan also climbed into the vehicle and drove them to Steven’s Hospital.

Chester’s sister, Harriett, a 9-month-old, blue and yellow Mailing Envelope who works for Blockbuster Video, was in awe of his brave survival.

Donovan, who is a total wuss, said “courage has never been one of my stronger qualities…”

“We're a very lucky family to have him still with us," she said. “When the doctor’s first started to tell me, well…I thought he was licked for sure, but he triumphed.”

"It was a pretty big postal worker,“ Chester said from the safety of his hospital bed. “I thought I was dead…I thought that was the end of my life and all I could do was try to fight, stay alive or whatever.”

Copyright The Kitty City Gazette

Monday, May 7, 2012

Donut Who Suffered Heart Attack Blames Own Ingredients

Edmonds, WA

A 2-day-old raspberry-filled, powdered sugar coated donut named Ken stated in court Friday that his heart attack was the fault of the bakery who made him.

A lawyer representing the donut claimed the Safeway bakery where he lived knowingly used trans-fat-laden oils in such an amount to cause the young donut’s heart attack.

Ken told a jury of 11 cats and one Pug he was taken home two days ago in a box along with 12 other donuts and was sleeping peacefully in a pink bakery box when his symptoms began.

Ralphie said he had “fully intended” to eat Ken until he noticed he was ill

"The next morning I got up and felt this really painful burning sensation in my middle and within 20 minutes I was losing my filling,” said Ken.

The cat who bought the donuts, a 4-year-old, neutered Domestic Short Hair named Ralphie, stated he thought at first the donut was “feigning his symptoms” to avoid being eaten.

Once he saw the donut was suffering he immediately put him in a napkin and rushed him to Swedish Hospital in Edmonds.

Safeway refused to comment for this story

EKGs done at Swedish Medical Center showed a serious, near-fatal heart attack. ER records indicate the donut had lost most of his powdered sugar coating and was lucky to be alive.

Doctors advised the donut the heart attack was most likely caused by trans-fats found in his system. They said the percentage was more than one third of the RDA allowance.

Doctors performed a double-raspberry-bypass on the donut and he was sent home.

Doctors performed a double bypass on the donut in the ER

Safeway bakeries later countered in their opening statement that its extensive studies of the level of trans-fats in individual donuts showed no evidence it caused heart attacks with short-term use.

Safeway maintained that inactivity, such as laying around “doing nothing” in glass cases or in bakery boxes, not trans-fats, led to the heart attack. Jurors are expected to return a verdict next week.

Copyright The Kitty City Gazette

Study Finds Pugs More Likely To Be Bullied And Bully Others In Return

Seattle, WA

A research study out today from Washington Interactive Media for Pugs (WIMP) has found that Pugs are at a higher risk of becoming victims of bullying and that they may be more likely to act out in a way that leads to them being identified as bullies themselves.

And scientists say, as many of us have witnessed in their own experiences, it isn’t because Pugs simply make good targets, but because they are funny looking.

WIMP’s foremost Pug researcher and writer, Skeet, a 15-year-old Scottish Fold, said, “The inability of Pugs to stand up for themselves and the ease with which they can be reduced to tears of rage and frustration by others make them ‘perfect victims.”

WIMP’s research called Pugs “perfect victims”

“(Pugs) are all too easily ridiculed for being ‘wrinkly and bowlegged’ and for their ‘gigantic, buggy eyes’, she said. “Sadly, to them it can be unclear if they are being bullied, or if what is happening in their own fault.”

Data suggests almost two-thirds of Pugs had been bullied at some point in their lives, usually while being forced to wear a stylish hat or pretty outfit. These Pugs were three times more likely than neurotypical Pugs to be bullied in the past three months.

Victims of their own limited intelligence, Pugs may face many future crises

The three most common types of bullying were psychological in nature: “being teased, picked on, forced to eat boogers or made fun of” (87%); “being ignored, smeared with honey or left out of things on purpose” (58%), and “being called thunder thighs, freaky face or other bad names” (49%). Almost a third of the Pugs also experienced physical bullying – being shoved, pushed, slapped, kicked, dressed up in bumblebee outfits, or worse.

Finally, WIMP’s research concluded that since Pugs have limited intelligence (are dumb), they may be more likely to bully others in the future without realizing or understanding that they are acting aggressive, intimidating or how their behavior might be impacting those around them.

Copyright The Kitty City Gazette

Friday, May 4, 2012

Regular Cupcake Eating Shows Dramatic Increase in Life Expectancy, Study Finds

Edmonds, WA

Undertaking regular cupcake eating can increase the life expectancy of cats by 3.1 years, reveals the latest data from a National Association of Bakers study presented at the Washington Cake and Cupcake Bakers 2012 meeting.

Reviewing the evidence of whether eating cupcakes is healthy or hazardous, Eddie, a 9-year-old Persian told delegates that the study's most recent analysis (unpublished) shows that eating between 14 to 28 fudge and or chocolate-based cupcakes per week at a "slow or average" pace delivers optimum benefits for longevity.

"The results of our research allow us to definitively answer the question of whether cupcakes are good for your health," said Eddie, who is chief cardiologist at Virginia Mason Clinic in Seattle.

Cupcakes have long been thought to contain medicinal properties

“We can say with certainty that regular cupcake eating increases longevity,” he said. “The good news is that you are already eating them, so just don’t stop."

The debate over cupcakes first kicked off in the 1980s when middle aged cats took an avid interest in trying different types of cupcakes, cakes, cookies, and eclairs.

The investigators found that eating cupcakes (fudge and chocolate-derived choices specifically) continuously for at least 1 hour a day, 7 days a week, delivered optimum benefits, especially when eaten at an average pace.

Cats who already consume the recommended amount were reportedly overjoyed at the findings

"The relationship appears much like that of alcohol intake. Mortality is lower in cats reporting moderate and steady cupcake eating, than in non-cupcake eaters or those undertaking only the occasional extreme cupcake binge," said Eddie.

The ideal pace can be achieved by striving to feel a little breathless, making (eating the cupcakes) almost an aerobic exercise. "You should aim to feel a little breathless, but not too breathless," he advised, “Don’t eat them so fast that you can’t breathe.”

Copyright The Kitty City Gazette

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Chihuahuas Sought In Lynnwood Road Rage Incident

Lynnwood, WA

Lynnwood police need the public's help to find a pair of Chihuahuas they say threw cheese and bread slices out a window onto the head and vehicle of a cat Tuesday in a road-rage incident.

The cat told police she was driving north on Interstate 5 about 4:15 p.m. when she saw an older model, jacked up, dark gray, van with chrome rims weaving erratically between lanes.

“The car was at once backfiring and lurching back and forth violently,” said Marlowe, a 9-year-old Domestic Short Hair. “The (Chihuahuas) inside were laughing, funny-smelling smoke was pouring out from their open windows, and they seemed oblivious to traffic.”

The Washington State Patrol is currently searching for a vehicle matching this description

After the car forced her into another lane, Marlowe told police one of two Chihuahuas inside the car saw her, became suddenly crazed, and proceeded to throw slices of processed American cheese and white bread from the window of the van into the path of her car.

One slice of bread came through her open window, she said, and became lodged around her head, nearly causing her to lose control of her vehicle. Other slices of cheese and bread slapped onto her windshield and the hood of her car. Neither the bread nor the cheese caused structural damage.

The cheese slices had been unwrapped from their individual plastic wrappers, and were “sticky,” Marlowe said. The white bread was unremarkable. Terrified, she quickly pulled to the side of the road and alerted police.

A description given of the driver seems to match that of Julio, a wanted and well-known member of the Texas Mexican Mafia

Marlowe said she lost sight of the van after it took an exit in South Everett. After meeting with sketch artists, the State Patrol released a composite sketch of the driver, a description of the second Chihuahua was not given.

Police say the description of the Chihuahua exactly matches that of a Texas Mexican Mafia member named Julio Gustavo Ortega Jimenez Gonzalez Phillipe Estevez Calderon Encarnation, who eluded police in Oregon a month ago. If you have any information regarding this incident please contact the Washington State Patrol.

Copyright The Kitty City Gazette

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

New City Budget Increases Spending On Donuts, Cookies

Edmonds, WA

In Edmonds today, cats submitted their 2013 budget request to the State. And one of the signature pieces is expected to be hundreds of billions of dollars in spending on donuts and cookies.

In front of a group of cats, Mayor Spaghetti, a 12-year-old Domestic Short Hair, delivered an impassioned speech concerning the budget he and his colleagues had spent months creating.

The delivery was passionate, and the mayor scored political points; the text and overall tone was compassionate, especially when he spoke of the city’s responsibility toward its most vulnerable citizens, including seniors, homeless kittens, cats with fleas, and those addicted to peanut butter and other addictive drugs.

Donuts like these will receive billions of dollars in funding in 2013

"Today it is time to continue making better choices," said Spaghetti. "Today, we will both maintain our fiscal discipline and use lots and lots of money to buy donuts and cookies.”

The governor's budget includes many things: $219 million more in funding for maple bars and apple fritters, $166 million more in funding for crème-filled, old-fashioned, and jelly-filled donuts, $49.7 million in new funding toward scones, French twists, and crullers, and a $33.5 million down payment towards snickerdoodles, oatmeal raisin and chocolate chip cookies.

Mayor Spaghetti said he believes investing in donuts is an investment in happiness

There is also the matter of the city's pension fund. The mayor proposed a $1.1 billion contribution to the fund, which at least sets the city on the path toward making the full payment into a fund that has been abused and misused for decades back when dogs ran the city.

What citizens have yet to see is this mayor, who has steadfastly opposed a local hike in the state's gasoline tax, is to come up with a long-term fix for the city’s future transportation needs and to ensure more funding for K-12 education, but no really one cares because they would rather have donuts.

Copyright The Kitty City Gazette

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Unruly Pugs May Have Mental Disorder, Cats Say

Edmonds, WA

When pugs behave badly, it's easy to blame their Humans, but sometimes such behavior may be due to a mental disorder. Mental illnesses are the leading cause of canine medical disability in pugs ages six months and older in the United States and Canada, according to the World Health Organization.

"One reason we haven't made greater progress helping pugs recover from mental disorders is that we just don’t care," said Cassandra, a 16-year-old Domestic Short Hair, who is a doctor and co-director of the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) and a featured speaker at the Pediatric and Adult Pug Center for Academic Studies’ (PAPCAS) annual meeting in Edmonds.

Cassandra discussed her research, specifically detecting signs of mental illness in pugs and the importance of early diagnosis in her presentation on Saturday before a panel of 125 cats at the Edmonds Center for the Arts.

“(Pugs) act crazy…Plus, they are really funny looking” Cassandra also said

“These pugs lick their own (genitals) and they seem to really, really enjoy it,” she said, “I think that is one place to start.” If treated, doctors usually can detect mental disorders early and ensure pugs are properly incarcerated and drugged as soon as possible.

While questionnaires currently are the best way for doctors to screen pugs for mental illness, obvious signs, like playing with dolls, converting to Kabbalah, knitting multi-colored scarves, and running around the streets in their underpants can be a more accurate indicator of illness.

“(Dogs in general) are stupid,” Cassandra said, “But that alone is not a qualifier of a mental illness. However, the simple fact that they obey humans can be enough to qualify them as severely deficient.”

Just one glance at this pug suggests a possible underlying psychosis

Cassandra said she hopes separating mentally ill pugs from pugs who are just stupid will help doctors diagnose properly and produce better outcomes for the medical community as a whole.

“Have you ever entered a room and forgot why you came in?” Cassandra continued, “That is how pugs spend their whole lives. They are clearly lost.”

Cassandra said further study is needed and that she will continue her research this fall in the Seattle area.

Copyright The Kitty City Gazette

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

New Depression Treatment Gives Hope To Down Pillows

Lynnwood, WA

For 3 years of her life, Fiona, a 600-Fill, Down Pillow from Eddie Bauer, didn't laugh. Diagnosed with depression at age 2, the now 5-year-old went through medication after medication.

“Some of the pills that were prescribed to me made me so tired I just laid around in bed all day long,” she said. “It got so bad I stopped washing my pillow case and I was losing feathers all over the place. That is no way to live.”

Then in January, Fiona began a relatively new drug-free treatment for depression, FDA-approved for pillows who do not respond to anti-depressants. Trans-pillow magnetic stimulation (TMS) therapy is a non-invasive pillow treatment that activates nerve cells involved in mood control and depression.

Doctor Matty, who has been treating Fiona for 2 years, said he is amazed at her rate of recovery

"I had all the trappings of a good life,” Fiona said. “A stable job, plenty of feathers, and a boyfriend, but when you are depressed you don't appreciate that emotionally and I knew I needed more help.”

During the new treatment, the pillow is seated in a chair with a headrest. A measuring tool is used to determine exactly where the electromagnetic device should be placed.

The magnetic device delivers a pulse to the feathers for 4 seconds, stops for 26 seconds and then delivers a pulse for 4 seconds. The pillow feels only a slight vibration. Some pillows may have a tender spot on their pillow case for the first few treatments, but that usually goes away.

Up to 70% of pillows treated report full recovery, without drugs

"It was totally life-transforming," Fiona said. "I recommend it to any pillow who hasn't been able to get help from anti-depressants, who thought what they are feeling is as good as it gets."

"I saw Fiona’s life change with this," said her doctor, Matty, a 15-year-old Domestic Short Hair who specializes in depression and sleep disorders. "She literally went from lying around crumpled on the floor to doing daily yoga and pilates, and now she lets me sleep on her whenever I want.”

More recent studies, in which pillows are gradually taken off drugs while undergoing the treatments, show as many as 70 percent of the pillows recovering. “Unlike anti-depressant pills,” Matty said, “the feather-stimulation treatment is excellent in that it has no known long-term side-effects.

Copyright The Kitty City Gazette
A special shout out to Fred Antonelli, who inspired this story.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Study Shows Human Males Do Remember Relationships They Had With Females, Others

Edmonds, WA

In daily life, we remember faces and voices of several known individuals. Similarly, many mammals have been shown to remember voices and faces of known individuals after a number of years.

Jasmine and Ciara, both 9-year-old, Domestic Short Hairs, are field researchers from Central Washington University. They show in their recent article, published in Human Biology, for the first time Human Males (men) can and do differentiate individual females based on familiarity.

Additionally, they discovered that men can think about and even memorize the closeness of a relationship and affiliation even while viewing live sporting events on television.

The environment of the indigenous Human Male, is sometimes referred to as a “man-cave”

Until now it was unknown whether men could remember the closeness of a relationship (if at all) based on former positive or negative interactions.

In response to voices left on answering machines of formerly known Human Women, the men not only increased the number of calls or text messages sent back, but also changed the tone of their own voices dependent on whether they “hear” former friends or foes.

This suggests that men can remember specific female individuals for at least three months.

Memories previously thought buried in male brains provoke cues telling them how to respond when returning a call or text

The ability to change voice characteristics is especially interesting: In the case they hear a "friendly" individual they respond with a "friendly" call or text, asking “hey, what’s up?” Whereas when listening to a "foe," they exhibit lower frequencies with rougher auditory characteristics, asking “yo, what up?” This is an effect already described for other animal species.

Men respond to calls from previously unknown individuals with even lower and rougher tones of voice and thus try to increase the acoustic perceivable body-size, something akin to Kodiak Bears and other wild animals, wherein the larger, tougher animals have lower voices than smaller ones and angry, strong animals use rougher-sounding voices.

The duration of memory is well beyond the previously estimated ability for men, and the ability to remember the closeness of a previous relationship with a female has been shown for the first time in men, giving hope to females everywhere.

Copyright The Kitty City Gazette

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Sea-Turtles Continue To Face Discrimination In The Workplace

Lynnwood, WA

More than three decades after Congress passed a law trying to protect Sea Turtles in the workplace, discrimination is still widespread and needs to be combated with publicity and clearer guidelines, according to testimony yesterday at a federal hearing.

The issue of workplace discrimination was highlighted two weeks ago in Seattle when a federal judge ruled against a 42-year-old Loggerhead Sea Turtle named Myrtle who said he was fired after asking for a small selection of crabs, conchs, and shrimp to be added to the lunchroom wending machine.

Discrimination against Sea Turtles includes refusal to hire based on species, firing, being forced leave without pay, being denied a place to swim during breaks, and being barred from sources of fresh saltwater, witnesses told the five-member EEOC panel at a hearing on the issue.

Spaghetti has been championing the cause of Sea Turtles and other Marine Reptiles since graduating Gonzaga Law School in Spokane

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s legal counsel, Spaghetti, a 7-year-old Pug, said the agency had resolved 38,000 Sea Turtle cases since 2008, with $150 million paid out in damages.

“Sea Turtles are generally known to be good workers,” said Hirum McBagby, an 11-year-old Scottish Fold who owns a small metal fabrication shop in Lynnwood, “But you have to flood the entire office with salt water if you hire one, and that can get expensive.”

Other employers said hiring Sea Turtles can be costly. “Sea Turtles are really cute,” said Chaplin, a 13-year-old Domestic Short Hair who owns a bakery and has previously employed Sea Turtles. “Other (employees) are always stopping and staring at them, it creates a lot of on-the-clock downtime and just isn’t cost-effective.”

Chronically unemployed Sea Turtles feel a major socio-economic impact

Decades after the passage of the 1977 Sea Turtle Anti-Discrimination Act, discrimination reaches from the shop floor to the executive suite, with oceanic stereotyping a major factor. It is found in every state, but is more likely to hit Sea Turtles in low-income jobs, they said.

“This many years after the Sea Turtle Anti-Discrimination Act, we still have employers who still don’t understand the basics. Are we getting the word out on fundamental issues?” said Spaghetti, who vowed to never give up fighting for Sea Turtles.

The hearing came ahead of the scheduled May 2012 release of the EEOC’s four-year Marine Reptile and Crustacean Strategic Hiring plan, which hopes to give employers direction on how to combat further discrimination.

Copyright The Kitty City Gazette

Friday, April 20, 2012

Blues-Fighting Goodness Found In Donuts, Cheeseburgers, Cats Say

Seattle, WA

A University of Washington researcher is among four cats who argue that eating two to three donuts and/or cheeseburgers a day may slow or completely stop signs of depression, improve overall mood, and promote feelings of happiness.

They describe how the sugary, sweet goodness of a powdered sugar-coated, raspberry jelly-filled donut and the cheesy, moist, saltiness of a hot cheeseburger, eaten separate or together, may help control and even elevate mood in a paper published today in the journal Nature.

The cats came to their conclusion while eating donuts and cheeseburgers watching late night television. They found their moods highly elevated after each of them ate at least three to four servings of the items in no particular combination and began trying to determine if a correlation and/or causation was present.

“The cheeseburgers, they made us real happy,” said Chesty

"The assumption was that eating (the donuts and cheeseburgers) made us happy," explained Chesty, a 9-year-old Domestic Short Hair, he is the UW associate professor of molecular biology and biochemistry who co-authored this paper.

While Chesty and his colleagues noted that the donuts and cheeseburgers seemed to work without error, it did not stop them from trying the experiment repeatedly with placebo foods such as corn dogs, baby back ribs, fried chicken, kung pao shrimp, hot waffles, ice cream sundaes, meatloaf, vegetarian egg rolls, kettle corn, pastrami sandwiches on rye bread, beef tacos, sausage biscuits with gravy, roast beef, fish and chips, spaghetti, moo-shu pork, Marshmallow Fluff, sweet potato pie, Boston baked beans, chicken vindaloo, guacamole, corn on the cob with butter, milkshakes, whole chocolate bars, lasagna, bacon, mayonaisse sandwiches, chocolate cherry cheesecake, Hot Pockets, peanut-butter-filled pretzels, Boston creme pie, smoked salmon, pancakes,Chicken Marsala, elephant ears, mega burritos, denver omlettes, turkey club sandwiches, hot meatball subs, garlic bread with dipping sauce, pulled pork tacos, chicken pad thai, red pepper-baked shrimp, garlic french fries, hot spun cotton candy, goat milk yogurt, peanut butter, Pop-Tarts, pizza, and apple fritters.

In fact, the altered pattern of holistic junk food consumption seemed to work even better and activated other sensations of pleasantness and satiety, which in turn triggered a variety of cellular processes that seemed to stimulate happiness. The food made them happy, they said.

Scientifically speaking, the cats believed the mood elevations occurred because the foods they chose were “yummy.”

Chesty and his colleagues draw on two important facts to support their conclusion.

"First, we need food to survive," explained Chesty. "Second, other cats have previously shown that eating tasty foods improves and enhances overall mood and disposition."

Chesty says he and his research partners will now work even harder find out exactly which other junk foods may help elevate mood and under what circumstances they should be eaten.

Copyright The Kitty City Gazette

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Dopamine-Related Activity Of Food & Reward May Explain Crazy Ass Squirrel Behavior

Seattle, WA

Research to be presented at the Meeting of the Society for the Study of Squirrel Behavior (SSSB) finds that squirrels who possess genetic modifications associated with low activity of the reward neurotransmitter dopamine in the brain when eating appetizing foods are more prone to weight gain.

Using Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI), the food reward regions of the brain were measured and tested while squirrels ate and reacted to items such as crunchy peanut butter, broccoli, Five Guys’ cheeseburgers, mung beans, Nutter Butter cookies, beets, and kale.

In the five-year study, scans of volunteer squirrel brain activities revealed squirrels who had lower activity in food reward “pleasure” regions of the brain and who had genetic modifications associated with lower dopamine activity showed the greatest weight gain after one year.

Some squirrels seem to go to extremes out of an apparently constant hunger

Aragorn, a 14-year-old Scottish Fold from Western Washington University who led the study, said “These findings provide some of the first prospective evidence that squirrels who experience a blunted reward from food may compensate by over-gathering, over-burying, and later overeating, increasing risk for unhealthy weight gain.”

Thus squirrels’ seemingly obsessive over-gathering, over-burying, and later over-eating of foods may simply occur as a sad, unconscious attempt to increase the brain’s pleasure reward in less responsive squirrels.

“It would really explain some of the frantic, aberrant, and bizarre behaviors exhibited by some squirrels,” Aragorn said, “The ones outside my office can’t seem to ever get enough to eat and sometimes act erratic and scary (sic).”

Even adult cats have reportedly been terrified by the erratic behaviors of food-seeking squirrels

The results of this study highlight the need for further research into the role that neural reward systems play in the development of squirrel obesity. Hopes are that more and more squirrels will come in for testing and be made aware of this possible genetic pre-disposition.

“It may be useful for squirrels who show low food-related reward to increase their physical activity, which not only promotes activity in the same reward circuitry, but also reduces unhealthy weight gain from constant overeating” said Aragorn.

Copyright The Kitty City Gazette