Instructables user hatstand4510
Instructables user hatstand4510

15 Pieces of Seriously Geeky Cat Gear

Instructables user hatstand4510
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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iStock
Good News, Dog Parents: You Can Teach Puppies as Well as Their Canine Moms Can
iStock
iStock

If you’ve ever adopted a puppy, you probably know how frustrating it can be to teach your new family member the basic tenets of common decency, like not to pee on the carpet or tear up a whole roll of toilet paper.

In other areas, though, pups are rather impressive learners, capable of mimicking some human behaviors. In fact, for some tasks, they learn just as effectively from watching people as they do from watching other dogs, including their own mothers, a new study in Nature revealed.

Researchers from Hungary and the UK took 48 young puppies of various breeds and studied the conditions under which they can be taught to open a puzzle box containing food. The experiment revealed that the puppies were able to learn how to open the box regardless of whether the task was first demonstrated by a person, their mother, or an unfamiliar dog. In other words, not only are puppies capable of social learning, but they're able to learn tasks from humans they don't know—in this case, the experimenter.

However, researchers were surprised to learn that the puppies were more likely to learn how to open the box by watching an unfamiliar dog than by watching their own mothers. That may be because puppies spend more time looking at—and thus, learning from—an unfamiliar dog that intrigues them. This differs from other species such as kittens, which “learn to press a lever for food more rapidly from their mother than from an unfamiliar adult,” the study notes.

In addition, the puppies were able to perform the task again after a one-hour break, indicating that they had retained some memory of the learning experience.

The ability of dogs to learn from humans has been recorded in previous research. A 2015 study revealed that dogs learn better by demonstration (or the “do as I do” method) than training techniques that involve a system of punishments and rewards. The "do as I do" approach probably isn't the most practical method of teaching your pup to do its business outside, but if you already have an adult dog at home, your new puppy can follow the older dog's lead and learn by example.

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Michael Hutchinson
Spiders Can Fly Through the Air Using the Earth's Electric Field
A spider exhibiting ballooning behavior.
A spider exhibiting ballooning behavior.
Michael Hutchinson

Every so often, otherwise Earth-bound spiders take to the air. Ballooning spiders can travel hundreds of miles through the air (and, horrifyingly, rain down on unsuspecting towns). The common explanation for this phenomenon is that the spiders surf the wind on strands of silk, but there may be other forces at work, according to a new study spotted by The Atlantic.

In the research, published in Current Biology, University of Bristol scientists argue that Earth's atmospheric electricity allows spiders to become airborne even on windless days. To test their hypothesis, the researchers exposed spiders in the lab to electric fields similar to those naturally found in the atmosphere.

When the electric field was turned on, the spiders began to exhibit behavior associated with ballooning—they "tiptoed" on the ends of their legs, raised their abdomens, and released silk. Spiders only exhibit this behavior when ballooning. And when they did become airborne, the spiders’ altitude could be controlled by turning the electric field on and off. When the electric field was on, they rose through the air, but when it was off, they drifted downward.

This provides a potential explanation for why spiders take to the skies on certain days but not others, and how they can fly in calm, windless weather— something scientists have puzzled over since the early 19th century. (Even Darwin was flummoxed, calling it "inexplicable," The Atlantic notes.) However, the researchers note that these electric fields might not be totally necessary for ballooning—wind alone might work perfectly fine on some days, too. But understanding more about when and how spiders become airborne could help us predict when there will be large masses of arachnids flying through the skies (and hide).

[h/t The Atlantic]

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