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A Maine Coon Cat in Australia May Be the World's Longest Feline

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Meet Omar, a fluffy Maine Coon who lives in Melbourne, Australia. Until recently, Omar was just an ordinary—albeit massive—domestic feline who enjoyed eating raw kangaroo meat, lounging around his house, and cuddling with his owner, Stephanie Hirst. Now, he’s in the running to receive a Guinness World Record for being the world's longest domestic cat.

As The Telegraph reports, Omar weighs nearly 31 pounds, and is nearly 4 feet long. (To put this fact into perspective, most cats weigh anywhere from 8 to 10 pounds, and Maine Coons—known as one of the largest cat breeds—typically tip the scales anywhere from 9 to 18 pounds.) In early May, Hirst created an Instagram account for Omar, and the giant kitty became an overnight social media sensation when the popular Cats of Instagram account shared one of her posts.

Omar quickly racked up thousands of Instagram followers, and Guinness World Records contacted Hirst to inform her that her pet may be the world’s longest cat. Hirst and her partner, Rowan Lawrence, had already suspected that Omar wasn’t your average Maine Coon: "We thought he might be (the longest cat in the world) but we hadn't done anything about it because he might not be fully grown yet," Hirst told The Herald Sun.

Hirst broke out the tape measure, and noted that her pet is about an inch longer than the current record holder, a Maine Coon named Ludo. Ludo lives in the UK, and is about 46 inches long. In comparison, Omar is about 47 inches long.

Hirst plans to submit Omar’s measurements to Guinness for verification, but she’s sure he’s a shoo-in for a world record. Even if the Australian kitty does end up dethroning Ludo, he’s still not the longest domestic cat ever: That honor goes to Mymains Stewart Gilligan, or “Stewie,” a now-deceased Maine Coon who was over 4 feet from nose to tail.

[h/t The Telegraph]

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Big Questions
Why Do Cats Freak Out After Pooping?
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Cats often exhibit some very peculiar behavior, from getting into deadly combat situations with their own tail to pouncing on unsuspecting humans. Among their most curious habits: running from their litter box like a greyhound after moving their bowels. Are they running from their own fecal matter? Has waste elimination prompted a sense of euphoria?

Experts—if anyone is said to qualify as an expert in post-poop moods—aren’t exactly sure, but they’ve presented a number of entertaining theories. From a biological standpoint, some animal behaviorists suspect that a cat bolting after a deposit might stem from fears that a predator could track them based on the smell of their waste. But researchers are quick to note that they haven’t observed cats run from their BMs in the wild.

Biology also has a little bit to do with another theory, which postulates that cats used to getting their rear ends licked by their mother after defecating as kittens are showing off their independence by sprinting away, their butts having taken on self-cleaning properties in adulthood.

Not convinced? You might find another idea more plausible: Both humans and cats have a vagus nerve running from their brain stem. In both species, the nerve can be stimulated by defecation, leading to a pleasurable sensation and what some have labeled “poo-phoria,” or post-poop elation. In running, the cat may simply be working off excess energy brought on by stimulation of the nerve.

Less interesting is the notion that notoriously hygienic cats may simply want to shake off excess litter or fecal matter by running a 100-meter dash, or that a digestive problem has led to some discomfort they’re attempting to flee from. The fact is, so little research has been done in the field of pooping cat mania that there’s no universally accepted answer. Like so much of what makes cats tick, a definitive motivation will have to remain a mystery.

Have you got a Big Question you'd like us to answer? If so, let us know by emailing us at bigquestions@mentalfloss.com.

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Animals
Listen to the Impossibly Adorable Sounds of a Baby Sloth
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Sometimes baby sloths seem almost too adorable to be real. But the little muppet-faced treasures don't just look cute—turns out they sound cute, too. We know what you're thinking: How could you have gone your whole life without knowing what these precious creatures sound like? Well, fear not: Just in time for International Sloth Day (today), we have some footage of how the tiny mammals express themselves—and it's a lot of squeaking. (Or maybe that's you squealing?)

The sloths featured in the heart-obliterating video below come from the Sloth Sanctuary of Costa Rica. The institution rescues orphaned sloths, rehabilitates them, and gets them ready to be released back into the wild.

[h/t The Kid Should See This]

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