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13 Vintage Photos of Big Cats for International Cat Day

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Happy International Cat Day! Get your feline fix with these vintage photos of big cats in action.

1. BIG CAT STARE DOWN

June 1928: In the same cage, a lion and a tiger are outstaring each other.

2. JUST A DOG AND HIS BOXER PALS

1950: A lion shares a cage with some boxers.

3. LION VS. LEOPARD

A woman circus performer, dressed in a leopard skin gladiator costume, places her head in a lion's mouth. (Date unknown.)

4. A VERY TIRED LEOPARD CUB

1935: A Leopard cub in a cage at the zoo.

5. PUMA BINGE-WATCH

1955: Kiba, a South American puma sleeping in the front room of her master's home, while the family watches television.

6. LOUNGING LION

1930: A lion lies on a couch while his trainer kneels beside him.

7. GIVE A CAT A BONE

June 1956: A three-month-old tiger cub abandoned by her mother at birth tackles a bone at the London Zoo.

8. A LITTLE R&R

1939: Habiba, a 10-year-old lion at Chessington Zoo in Surrey, relaxes while keeper Hans Brick manipulates its hind legs.

9. GAME ON

February 1937: The game hunter, Mr Gandar-Dower, and one of the cheetahs which he brought back to Hackbridge Kennels, Surrey, from Kenya.

10. BATH TIME

1940: Melvin Koaants cleaning the African Lion at Los Angeles Zoo.

11. BE TRUE TO YOUR TEETH

December 1936: George 'Tornado' Smith cleaning the teeth of his pet lioness, Briton, at the Kursaal amusement park in Southend, Essex. Smith is a stunt motorcycle rider on the wall of death sideshow at the park and Briton features in his act, riding in a sidecar.

12. WINSTON CHURCHILL'S MEETING WITH A LION CUB

July 1943: British wartime prime minister Winston Churchill with his wife Clementine holding a lion cub during a trip to London Zoo.

13. TIGER WEIGH-IN

July 1960: Frank Meakins weighs Doreen and Julie, twin tiger cubs, born at the Whipsnade Zoo, in May.

All photos and captions courtesy of Getty Images.

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Animals
Owning a Dog May Add Years to Your Life, Study Shows
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We've said that having a furry friend can reduce depression, promote better sleep, and encourage more exercise. Now, research has indicated that caring for a canine might actually extend your lifespan.

Previous studies have shown that dog owners have an innate sense of comfort and increased well-being. A new paper published in Scientific Reports and conducted by Uppsala University in Sweden looked at the health records of 3.4 million of the country's residents. These records typically include personal data like marital status and whether the individual owns a pet. Researchers got additional insight from a national dog registry providing ownership information. According to the study, those with a dog for a housemate were less likely to die from cardiovascular disease or any other cause during the study's 12-year duration.

The study included adults 40 to 80 years old, with a mean age of 57. Researchers found that dogs were a positive predictor in health, particularly among singles. Those who had one were 33 percent less likely to die early than those who did not. Authors didn't conclude the exact reason behind the correlation: It could be active people are more likely to own dogs, that dogs promoted more activity, or that psychological factors like lowered incidences of depression might bolster overall well-being. Either way, having a pooch in your life could mean living a longer one.

[h/t Bloomberg]

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Big Questions
Why Don't We Eat Turkey Tails?
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Turkey sandwiches. Turkey soup. Roasted turkey. This year, Americans will consume roughly 245 million birds, with 46 million being prepared and presented on Thanksgiving. What we don’t eat will be repurposed into leftovers.

But there’s one part of the turkey that virtually no family will have on their table: the tail.

Despite our country’s obsession with fattening, dissecting, and searing turkeys, we almost inevitably pass up the fat-infused rear portion. According to Michael Carolan, professor of sociology and associate dean for research at the College for Liberal Arts at Colorado State University, that may have something to do with how Americans have traditionally perceived turkeys. Consumption was rare prior to World War II. When the birds were readily available, there was no demand for the tail because it had never been offered in the first place.

"Tails did and do not fit into what has become our culinary fascination with white meat," Carolan tells Mental Floss. "But also from a marketing [and] processor standpoint, if the consumer was just going to throw the tail away, or will not miss it if it was omitted, [suppliers] saw an opportunity to make additional money."

Indeed, the fact that Americans didn't have a taste for tail didn't prevent the poultry industry from moving on. Tails were being routed to Pacific Island consumers in the 1950s. Rich in protein and fat—a turkey tail is really a gland that produces oil used for grooming—suppliers were able to make use of the unwanted portion. And once consumers were exposed to it, they couldn't get enough.

“By 2007,” according to Carolan, “the average Samoan was consuming more than 44 pounds of turkey tails every year.” Perhaps not coincidentally, Samoans also have alarmingly high obesity rates of 75 percent. In an effort to stave off contributing factors, importing tails to the Islands was banned from 2007 until 2013, when it was argued that doing so violated World Trade Organization rules.

With tradition going hand-in-hand with commerce, poultry suppliers don’t really have a reason to try and change domestic consumer appetites for the tails. In preparing his research into the missing treat, Carolan says he had to search high and low before finally finding a source of tails at a Whole Foods that was about to discard them. "[You] can't expect the food to be accepted if people can't even find the piece!"

Unless the meat industry mounts a major campaign to shift American tastes, Thanksgiving will once again be filled with turkeys missing one of their juicier body parts.

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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