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Instructables user hatstand4510

15 Pieces of Seriously Geeky Cat Gear

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Instructables user hatstand4510

If you’re like 99 percent of other people surfing online right now, you love geeky stuff and cats. So what better way to enjoy both at the same time than with some geeky cat toys like these?

1. Time and Relative Dimension in Cat Nip

Tardis Builders user astromark’s cat loves boxes, so he built a half-scale replica for his kitty, Kaylee. He even incorporated her name into the lock design.

2. Doctor Mew, I Presume

This TARDIS cat house by Etsy seller The Cat Ball might not be as big as the first, but on the plus side, it doesn’t take up that much space. Also, just as some cats prefer bags over boxes, some felines enjoy a small, crushable space more than a massive, sturdy cat condo.

3. Go Ahead, Attack The TARDIS

Is your kitty a bigger fan of Daleks than of The Doctor? Is he bent on world domination? Then don’t give him a TARDIS to hang out in—give him one to beat up, like this toy by Etsy seller Kanga23, so he can pretend like he’s putting The Doctor in danger every time he pounces.

4. Boldly Going Where No Cat Has Gone Before

Is your cat a total Trekkie? Make his playtime out of this world with this U.S.S. Enterprise amazing cat tree! Best of all, thanks to Instructables user hatstand4510, you can even follow the instructions to make your own.

5. The Trouble With Kitty Tribbles

Etsy seller Kitty of Mine offers another great surprise for any Trekkie kitties out there—Tribble cat toys. While they don’t repopulate like the ones in the show, they are made from recycled fur coats, so your cat is certain to love them.

6. CAT-AT

It might not actually walk, but this cat condo by Redditor BillyAppletini is a pretty spot-on replica of an AT-AT Walker—at least on the outside. The inside actually looks more like a little kitty mancave with tiny bird head trophies on the wall and a full bar with airplane-sized booze bottles on the wall.

7. Use the Force, Fluffy

What kitty doesn’t want to be a Jedi master? Thanks to Etsy seller GEEKitty, every cat has the chance to learn the way of the Force. Just remember not to give these to skittish kitties as fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate, and hate leads to suffering.

8. Is Your Fluff Ball A Rebel or A Loyalist to the Empire?

Head to your local Petco any time after mid-September to get your hands on their new line of Star Wars toys. While most of the products are for pups, they do have a Princess Leia headband for cats; mice toys that look like Yoda, Darth, Chewie and a Stormtrooper; cat teasers with Yoda, Darth, a TIE fighter, and the Millennium Falcon on a string; and feathered ball toys that look like Darth, the Death Star, C-3PO, and R2-D2.

9. Angry Cats With Angry Birds

Another of the handful of commercially-available geek toys for cats are those featuring the characters from Angry Birds. Hartz partnered up with the gaming company to release vibrating plush toys, plastic balls, and a wand toy all featuring your favorite angry avians.

10. Level Up, Kitty

With a piranha plant and a question box, this cat tree by Instructables user Geckoo_Designs is perfect for any cat fascinated by the Mario Bros. series. Unfortunately, while it is posted on Instructables, only the materials, tools and a few tips have been included, so you’ll have to use your imagination if you want to create your own.

11. So Many Questions to Bash Open

If you don’t have the skills or space for a Mario cat tree, you can always get a question box cat toy for your kitty instead, courtesy of Etsy seller GEEKitty.

12. The Dungeon Kitty Master

If your little bundle of fluff prefers old-school games to video games, this D20, also from GEEKitty, is just what she’ll need to host an all-feline D&D session.

13. Gotta Catch ‘Em All?

If your cat seems to kill mice and lizards just so she can build a collection of all the dead animal species in your area, then perhaps she secretly wishes they were Pokemon. If that’s the case, these Pokeball cat toys by Etsy seller ShyLemon might curb her killing spree—at least, until she figures out how to trap the creatures inside the balls.

14. Night of the Living Cat Toys

Speaking of dead things, maybe your little fluff ball just wants to kill something in the hopes that it will come back to life. If she’s obsessed with the living dead, then she’ll certainly love this zombie cat toy by Etsy seller misohandmade.

15. Technological Kitties Only

Looking for something free for your cat to play with that won’t clutter your home? Then download some of these great Games For Cats on your tablet and let your kitty go wild thanks to Friskies.

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Big Questions
Why Do Small Dogs Live Longer Than Large Dogs?
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Why do small dogs live longer than large dogs?

Adriana Heguy:

The issue of body size and lifespan is a fascinating topic in biology. It’s strange that across species, at least in mammals, large-bodied animals live longer than small-sized animals. For example, elephants live a lot longer than mice. The theory is that
bigger animals have slower metabolisms than small animals, and that faster metabolisms result in more accumulation of free radicals that damage tissue and DNA. But this doesn't always hold for all animals and the “rate of living” theory is not widely accepted. What we cannot clearly understand remains fascinating.

But now if we look at within a given species, lifespan and body size are inversely correlated. This is definitively the case for dogs and mice, and it has been proposed that this is the case for humans, too. Why would this be? A possible explanation is that larger dogs (or mice, or people) grow faster than their smaller counterparts because they reach a larger size in more or less the same time, and that faster growth could be correlated with higher cancer rates.

We do not have a clear understanding of why growing faster leads to accelerated aging. But it seems that it is an accelerated rate of aging, or senescence, that causes larger dogs to have shorter lifespans than little dogs.

The figure above is from Ageing: It’s a Dog’s Life. The data is from 32 breeds. Note that the inverse correlation is pretty good, however some large dog breeds, at around 40 to 50 kg (or about 88 to 110 pounds), live 12 or 13 years in average while some other dog breeds of equal body size live only eight or nine years on average. This is due to dogs being a special case, as they were artificially bred by humans to select for looks or behavior and not necessarily health, and that considerable inbreeding was necessary to produce “purebred” dogs. For example, boxers are big dogs, but their higher cancer rates may result in a shorter lifespan. However, the really giant breeds all consistently live eight to nine years on average. So there is something going on besides simple breeding quirks that led to bad genetics and ill health. Something more general.

A few years ago, a large study [PDF] was published using mortality data from thousands of dogs across 74 breeds, testing three hypotheses: Large dogs may die younger than small dogs because of (1) an earlier onset of senescence, (2) a higher minimum mortality hazard, or (3) an increased rate of aging. The conclusion from their study is that aging starts more or less at the same age in small and large breeds, but large breeds age faster. We do not have a clear understanding of the underlying mechanism for faster aging in dogs. It seems that when we selected for large body size, we selected for faster aging as well. But we do not know all the genetic components of this. We know that there are at least three genes that determine large body size in dogs: IRS4 and IGSF1, involved in thyroid hormone pathways which affect growth, and ACSL4, involved in muscle growth, and back fat thickness.

But how this accelerates aging is still speculation. More studies are needed, but dogs seem to be a great model to study the evolution of body size and its relationship to aging.

This post originally appeared on Quora. Click here to view.

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Big Questions
Should You Keep Your Pets Indoors During the Solar Eclipse?
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By now, you probably know what you’ll be doing on August 21, when a total solar eclipse makes its way across the continental United States. You’ve had your safety glasses ready since January (and have confirmed that they’ll actually protect your retinas), you’ve picked out the perfect vantage point in your area for the best view, and you’ve memorized Nikon’s tips for how to take pictures of this rare celestial phenomenon. Still, it feels like you’re forgetting something … and it’s probably the thing that's been right under your nose, and sitting on your lap, the whole time: your pets.

Even if you’ve never witnessed a solar eclipse, you undoubtedly know that you’re never supposed to look directly at the sun during one. But what about your four-legged family members? Shouldn’t Fido be fitted with a pair of eclipse glasses before he heads out for his daily walk? Could Princess Kitty be in danger of having her peepers singed if she’s lounging on her favorite windowsill? While, like humans, looking directly at the sun during a solar eclipse does pose the potential of doing harm to a pet’s eyes, it’s unlikely that the thought would even occur to the little ball of fluff.

“It’s no different than any other day,” Angela Speck, co-chair of the AAS National Solar Eclipse Task Force, explained during a NASA briefing in June. “On a normal day, your pets don’t try to look at the sun and therefore don’t damage their eyes, so on this day they’re not going to do it either. It is not a concern, letting them outside. All that’s happened is we’ve blocked out the sun, it’s not more dangerous. So I think that people who have pets want to think about that. I’m not going to worry about my cat.”

Dr. Jessica Vogelsang, a veterinarian, author, and founder of pawcurious, echoed Speck’s statement, but allowed that there’s no such thing as being too cautious. “It’s hard for me to criticize such a well-meaning warning, because there’s really no harm in following the advice to keep pets inside during the eclipse,” Vogelsang told Snopes. “It’s better to be too cautious than not cautious enough. But in the interest of offering a realistic risk assessment, the likelihood of a pet ruining their eyes the same way a human would during an eclipse is much lower—not because the damage would be any less were they to stare at the sun, but because, from a behavior standpoint, dogs and cats just don’t have any interest in doing so. We tend to extrapolate a lot of things from people to pets that just doesn’t bear out, and this is one of them.

“I’ve seen lots of warnings from the astronomy community and the human medical community about the theoretical dangers of pets and eclipses, but I’m not sure if any of them really know animal behavior all that well," Vogelsang continued. "It’s not like there’s a big outcry from the wildlife community to go chase down coyotes and hawks and bears and give them goggles either. While we in the veterinary community absolutely appreciate people being concerned about their pets’ wellbeing, this is a non-issue for us.”

The bigger issue, according to several experts, would be with pets who are already sensitive to Mother Nature. "If you have the sort of pet that's normally sensitive to shifts in the weather, they might be disturbed by just the whole vibe because the temperature will drop and the sky will get dark,” Melanie Monteiro, a pet safety expert and author of The Safe-Dog Handbook: A Complete Guide to Protecting Your Pooch, Indoors and Out, told TODAY.

“If [your pets] have learned some association with it getting darker, they will show that behavior or at a minimum they get confused because the timeframe does not correspond,” Dr. Carlo Siracusa of Penn Vet Hospital told CBS Philly. “You might put the blinds down, but not exactly when the dark is coming but when it is still light.” 

While Monteiro again reasserts that, "Dogs and cats don't normally look up into the sun, so you don't need to get any special eye protection for your pets,” she says that it’s never a bad idea to take some extra precautions. So if you’re headed out to an eclipse viewing party, why not do your pets a favor and leave them at home. They won’t even know what they’re missing.

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