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Erin McCarthy

20 Adorable Photos from Meet the Breeds 2013

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Erin McCarthy

Every year, the American Kennel Club (AKC) and The International Cat Association (TICA) gather more than 200 breeds of adorable puppies and kittens in New York City's Jacob Javits Center. Here's what we learned at the 2013 show. (And if this isn't enough cute for your Monday, check out last year's post.) 

Photos by the author unless otherwise noted.

1. Napoleon

This gentle, affectionate breed of cats dates back to 1996, when Joe Smith decided to breed doll-faced Persians with Munchkins. He called the new breed—which has a low-slung body and short legs—Napoleons after the famously petit Napoleon Bonaparte. They come in both long- and short-haired (top) varieties.

2. Xoloitzcuintli

These dogs, which hail from Mexico, have been around for over 3000 years. They can be hairless or coated. (It’s pronounced “show-low-eats-queen-tlee,” by the way.)

3. Egyptian Mau

Photo by Sean Hutchinson

You might recognize this spotted breed from Ancient Egyptian heiroglyphics; it’s the oldest domesticated cat, and the only natural spotted breed, according to TICA. Maus have five distinguishing characteristics: Their gooseberry green eyes; the brow line and eye set that gives the breed a naturally worried appearance; a “tiptoe” stance (because the hind legs are longer than the front legs); and a flap of skin extending from the posterior of the ribcage to the hind leg. The cat has three colors: Bronze, silver, and smoke (above).

4. Pomeranian

These pint-sized pups get their name from Pomerania, an area that now lies in northern Germany and Poland. Originally, the dogs weighed between 20 and 30 pounds, but they were miniaturized and popularized by a royal—England's Queen Victoria!

5. Minskin

These playful cats look like a sphynx, but not quite. Minskins—recognized as a “preliminary new breed” by TICA—have short legs and fur points on the face, ears, nose, legs, and tail. The body is sometimes fuzzy, but the belly is always hairless. The breed was created in Boston in 1998 by Paul McSorley, who crossed a Munchkin with short legs and hair with a Sphynx; Devon Rex and Burmese cats were also used in the breeding program. The first Minskin was born in July 2000.

6. Schipperke

Photo by Sean Hutchinson

These cute little dogs come from the Flemish provinces of Belgium; they're a smaller version of black sheepdogs called Leauvenaars. Their name means “little captain” in Flemish and is pronounced “sheep-er-ker.”

7. Burmilla

Photo by Sean Hutchinson

These pretty cats, which are rare in the United States, came about by accident. In 1981, a baroness purchased a Chinchilla Persian named Jemari Sanquist for her husband. Shortly before he was due to be neutered, Sanquist met up with a Lilac Burmese female named Bambino Lilac Faberge (a housekeeper had left Faberge’s door open!). After Faberge had four beautiful female kittens—all short hair, black shaded silver—a breeding program began.

8. Basenji

These short-haired African hunting dogs are one of the oldest breeds; the first specimens were found in ancient Egypt, where they were given as gifts to the Pharaohs. Basenjis don't bark, but that doesn't mean they're silent: In fact, they have vocalizations that sound like yodeling

9. Australian Mist

This breed is new to the United States—there are only about 20 Australian Mist cats in the whole country. They were created in 1976 by crossing Burmese, Abyssinian and Australian Domestic shorthair cats, and come in two patterns (spotted or marbled) and seven colors (brown, blue, chocolate, lilac, caramel, gold or peach). The name changed from Spotted Mist to Australian Mist in 1998, when cats with marbled fur were accepted as part of the breed.

10. Bergamasco Sheepdog

These mop-topped dogs are an ancient breed that hails from the Alps. Their fur is composed of long, cord-like mats called flocks, which don't shed.

11. Snowshoe

Photo by Sean Hutchinson

These cats are named for their white feet. The breed originated in Philadelphia in the 1960s, when Dorothy Hinds Daugherty found three kittens in a litter of Siamese that had white feet. She liked the combination of markings so much that she started a breeding program, crossing the kittens with American shorthair cats that had tuxedo markings.

12. Chow Chow

Photo by Sean Hutchinson

The origin of these fluffy dogs is unknown, but they've been around as far back as China's Han Dynasty (206 B.C. to 22 A.D.)—you can recoginze them in pottery and sculptures from that era. It's one of only two breeds of dog that have a blue-black tongue (the other is the Shar-pei). According to the AKC, the name Chow Chow most likely derived from 18th century pidgin English words for knick-knacks that came from the Orient. 

13. Balinese

Photo by Sean Hutchinson

These guys are basically Siamese cats with long coats—but although they’re vocal cats, they’re quieter than the Siamese.

14. Akita

Photo by Sean Hutchinson

These hunting dogs are a pretty big deal in their native Japan: Not only are they one of seven breeds designated as a national monument, but when a child is born, the family receives a statue of the dog, which signifies health, happiness, and a long life. The first Akita was brought to the U.S. in 1937 by none other than Helen Keller. 

15. Somali

These fox look-a-likes are long-haired versions of Abyssinian cats. The breed was named after Somali, a country that borders Ethiopia (formerly Abyssinia).

16. American Shorthair

The American Shorthair came to this country with early settlers. They were known in early cat exhibitions as Domestic Shorthairs, but the name changed in the early 1960s.

17. Boykin Spaniel

This breed evolved from a small stray discovered wandering in Spartanburg, South Carolina, between 1905 and 1910. The dog, which had a good hunting instinct, was adopted and sent to Whit Boykin to be trained, where it developed into a good turkey dog and eventually a waterfowl retriever. Boykin Spaniels are now the state dog of South Carolina.

18. Munchkin

Photo by Sean Hutchinson

Though short-legged cats have a long, globe-spanning history, the current Munchkin line can be traced back to 1983, when Sandra Hockenedel found a pregnant short-legged female cat that she named Blackberry. Hockenedel gave a male from one of Blackberry's litters to a friend, and it's these two cats, crossed with domestics, that created the Munchkin breed.

19. Berger Picard

These French herding dogs were nearly extinct after World Wars I and II, and they're still very rare—there are only about 4000 of the dogs in the world today, and only 450 in the United States.

20. Cane Corso

Photo by Sean Hutchinson

This breed's name is derived from the Latin Cohors, meaning guardian or protector. Prior to 1988, the dogs were only known to Southern Italy. You can find them in many Italian artworks, including illustrations and engravings by Bartolomeo Pinelli.

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Courtesy of Crumbs & Whiskers
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Animals
Inside Crumbs & Whiskers, the Bicoastal Cat Cafe That's Saving Kitties' Lives
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Courtesy of Crumbs & Whiskers

It took a backpacking trip to Thailand and a bit of serendipity for Kanchan Singh to realize her life goal of saving cats while serving lattes. “I met these two guys on the road [in 2014], and we became friends,” Singh tells Mental Floss about Crumbs & Whiskers, the bicoastal cat cafe she founded in Washington, D.C. in 2015 which, in addition to selling coffee and snacks, fosters adoptable felines from shelters. “They soon noticed that I was feeding every stray dog and cat in sight," and quickly picked up on the fact that their traveling companion was crazy about all things furry and fluffy.

On Singh’s final day in Thailand, which happened to be her birthday, her friends surprised her with a celebratory trip to a cat cafe in the city of Chiang Mai. “I remember walking in there being like, ‘This is the coolest, most amazing, weirdest thing I’ve ever done,'” Singh recalls. “I just connected with it so much on a spiritual level.”

Singh informed her friends that she planned to return to the U.S., quit her corporate consulting job, and open up her own cat cafe in the nation’s capital. They thought she was joking. But three years and two storefronts later, the joke is on everyone except for Singh—and the kitties she and her team have helped to rescue.

A customer pets cats while drinking coffee at the flagship Washington, D.C. location of cat cafe Crumbs & Whiskers.
A customer pets cats while drinking coffee at the flagship Washington, D.C. location of cat cafe Crumbs & Whiskers.
Courtesy of Crumbs & Whiskers

Washington, D.C. customers stroke a furry feline while enjoying coffee at cat cafe Crumbs & Whiskers.
Washington, D.C. customers stroke a furry feline while enjoying coffee at Crumbs & Whiskers.
Courtesy of Crumbs & Whiskers

Crumbs & Whiskers—which, in addition to its flagship D.C. location, also has a Los Angeles outpost—keeps a running count of the cats they've saved from risk of euthanasia and those who have been adopted. At press time, those numbers were 776 and 388, respectively, between the brand’s two locations.

Prices and services vary between establishments, but customers can typically expect to shell out anywhere from $6.50 to $35 to enjoy coffee time with cats (food and drinks are prepared off-site for health and safety reasons), activities like cat yoga sessions, or, in D.C., an entire day of coworking with—you guessed it—cats. Patrons can also participate in the occasional promotion or campaign, ranging from Black Friday fundraisers for shelter kitties to writing an ex-flame's name inside a litter box around Valentine's Day (where the cats will then do their business).

Cat cafes have existed in Asia for nearly 20 years, with the world’s first known one, Cat Flower Garden, opening in Taipei, Taiwan in 1998. The trend gained traction in Japan during the mid 2000s, and quickly spread across Asia. But when Singh visited Chiang Mai, the cat cafe craze—while alive and thriving in Thailand—had not yet hit the U.S. "Why does Thailand get this, but not the U.S.?" Singh remembers thinking.

Once she arrived back home in D.C., Singh set her sights on founding the nation’s first official cat cafe, launching a successful Kickstarter campaign that helped her secure a two-story space in the city’s Georgetown neighborhood. Ultimately, though, she was beat to the punch by the Cat Town Cafe in Oakland, California, which opened to the public in 2014, followed shortly after by establishments like New York City’s Meow Parlour.

LA customers at cat cafe Crumbs & Whiskers
LA customers at cat cafe Crumbs & Whiskers
Courtesy of Crumbs & Whiskers

Still, Crumbs & Whiskers—which officially launched in D.C. in the summer of 2015—was among the nation’s first wave of businesses (and the District's first) to offer customers the chance to enjoy feline companionship with a side of java, along with the opportunity to maybe even save a tiny life. Ultimately, the altruistic concept proved to be so successful that Singh, sensing a market for a similar storefront in Los Angeles, opened up a second location there in the fall of 2016. "I always felt like what L.A. is, culturally, just fits with the type of person that would go to a cat café," she says.

Someday, Singh hopes to bring Crumbs & Whiskers to Chicago and New York, and “for cat cafes as a concept, as an industry, to grow,” she says. “I think that it would be great for this to be the future of adoptions and animal rescues.” Until then, you can learn more about Crumbs & Whiskers (and the animals they rescue) by stopping by if you're in D.C. and LA, or by visiting their website.

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Animals
15 Examples of the Most Epic Metamorphoses from Youth to Adult
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iStock

We’re all familiar with the most dramatic metamorphosizers of the animal kingdom: butterflies. They go from a tiny egg to an awkward wiggling caterpillar to mysterious pupa to a delicate, colorful winged creature. However, there are many other animals besides butterflies that undergo dramatic transformations from youth to adult. Here are 15 of the most epic metamorphoses seen in nature.

1. LADYBUGS (COCCINELLIDAE)

What’s black, white, and red all over? Mandy ladybugs are—but only in their final stage of life. Turns out these little beetles undergo one of the most epic metamorphoses in the animal kingdom: For most species, after adult female ladybugs mate, they lay a clutch of tiny yellow eggs right in the middle an aphid colony, usually on the underside of a leaf. Eggs hatch in a week, revealing spiky black worm-like larvae that readily gobble up the aphids around them. When a larva is fully grown, it changes into a blob-like yellow pupa. Finally, the black, white and red (or sometimes yellow or orange) insect appears.

2. MAYFLY (EPHEMEROPTERA)

Mayflies, the less-elegant cousins of dragonflies and damselflies, have one of the most unique metamorphoses of all insects. Most insects’ life stages move from egg to nymph to pupa to adult, but mayflies do not have a pupa stage. Instead, it is the only type of insect to undergo a subimago stage, meaning it’s almost an adult in the sense it grows wings … but cannot fly long distances and isn’t yet sexually mature. The mayfly’s final life stage, the fully flighted and sexually mature imago or adult, is extremely short, lasting just a few hours to a few days.

3. PEACOCK SPIDER (MARATUS)

Left: Jurgen Otto, Flickr // CC BY-NC-ND 2.0; Right: Jurgen Otto, Flickr // CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Peacock spiders are tiny, venomous, and beautiful (especially the colorfully rumped males) arthopods native to Australia. Male peacock spiders are so beautiful, in fact, it’s hard to believe that, like all spiders, they go through some not-so-glamorous life stages: egg, egg sac, spiderling, adult. When male peacock spiders reach sexual maturity they try to seduce less-colorful female peacock spiders by performing a showy dance.

4. NUDIBRANCH (NUDIBRANCHIA)

While adult nudibranchs are essentially colorful and ornate blobs of the sea, they don’t start out that way. In fact, after hatching, nudibranch larvae are tiny, plain-looking and have small snail-like shells. Over the course of two months they morph from this plain stage into adults, along the way getting larger and more colorful, losing their shells, and growing gills and feelers, called rhinophores.

5. CROWN OF THORNS STARFISH (ACANTHASTER PLANCI)

Another sea creature that looks completely different as an adult than a juvenile is the crown of thorns starfish. When looking at an adult, it’s easy to see where this creature gets its name: It’s completely covered with dangerous-looking sharp spikes. But after hatching, it looks like not much more than a translucent, floating blob. Over time it grows arms, and later, spikes, then fixes itself to rocks where it feeds on coral.

6. IMMORTAL JELLYFISH (TURRITOPSIS DOHRNII)

The secret to a long and prosperous life, it turns out, is to be a jellyfish. The aptly named immortal jellyfish begins life as an egg, like all other jellies. It then enters the free-swimming larva stage, then settles down into a polyp on the ocean floor, and then finally morphs into a sexually mature jellyfish. Unlike most other jellies, an immortal jellyfish is capable of reverting back into the polyp stage at any time it faces environmental stress, attacks by predators, sickness or old age—essentially being reborn as a young jelly.

7. FLATFISH (PLEURONECTIFORMES)

Think of Pablo Picasso’s most asymmetrically painted human face, stick it onto a fish, and there you have a flatfish. These fish, which include flounder and sole among other species, begin life inside tiny eggs that float up to the surface of the sea. For a few weeks, a larval flatfish swims upright and looks just like a typical baby fish. But after a few weeks its skull bones shift and one eye migrates to the opposite side of its face, forcing the now-lopsided fish to swim sideways. Eventually, when its facial features all move to one side of its face, it changes color and moves to live on the bottom of the sea, its blind side facing down.

8. EASTERN HELLBENDER (CRYPTOBRANCHUS ALLEGANIENSIS)

Left: Pete and Noe Woods, Flickr // CC BY 2.0; Right: Projosh More, Flickr // CC BY 2.0

Also called the snot otter and devil dog, the eastern hellbender is a giant type of salamander not exactly known for being beautiful in its adult form. Slippery, wrinkly and the color of mud, they’re right at home at the bottom of rivers, where they can live up to 50 years. Like all salamanders, hellbenders begin as eggs. From their eggs they hatch, coming into the world small and adorable. As time passes, they grow larger and less cute.

9. CHALAZODES BUBBLE NEST FROG (RAORCHESTES CHALAZODES)

Don’t let this lime-green frog’s bright and cheery looks fool you: It lives in only one tiny area in India and is critically endangered, threatened most by an ever-shrinking habitat. These creatures were once believed to lay eggs that developed into tadpoles on pond surfaces like many other frogs. But in 2014, it was discovered that they had a different reproductive strategy: The frogs crawl into a living bamboo shoot that has a hole in it (probably created by insects or rodents) and lay their eggs there. The creatures skip the tadpole stage entirely, hatching as froglets. Because they don't have a tadpole stage, the species doesn't require water to lay its eggs.

10. MIMIC POISON DART FROG (RANITOMEYA IMITATOR)

Mattias Starkenberg, Wikimedia Commons // CC BY-SA 3.0

Covered in bright hues spotted, striped, banded, and blotched with contrasting black, the poison dart frog is one of the most striking-looking of all amphibians. Yet they don’t start out that way. After hatching, young mimic poison dart frogs are looked after by their mother, who lays a clutch of unfertilized feeder eggs to provide them with some nourishment (and, at least for some species of poison frog, toxicity). Tadpoles are brown and black, growing more colorful with age until they reach their fantastic adult form.

11. KEA (NESTOR NOTABILIS)

The kea is a large, vulnerable species of parrot native to New Zealand, with green and blue feathers on its back and brown and orange feathers on its underside. While adult keas appear majestic and beautiful, they don’t start out that way. Baby keas retain an alien-like, sparse white hairdo for several months after hatching. Keas are considered a very intelligent species, observed working together and using tools.

12. LAYSAN ALBATROSS (PHOEBASTRIA IMMUTABILIS)

Laysan albatrosses are another species of bird where the babies are very little like their parents. But unlike baby keas, baby Laysan albatrosses hatch as adorable fuzzy gray blobs. As they grow older, the babies slowly grow adult feathers and lose their baby feathers. This leaves them with unique hairdos that sometimes make them look like human celebrities. Ringo Starr, anyone?

13. FLAMINGO (PHOENICOPTERUS)

Left: Getty Images // Right: iStock

Unlike keas and albatrosses, baby flamingoes look a lot like their parents, except they’re missing something: color. Flamingo chicks hatch with gray and/or white feathers, over time taking on the same pink hue as their parents, which becomes more intense over time. Why? Well, you are what you eat, and flamingoes eat shrimp and algae rich in carotenoids, the same pigments that cause shrimp to turn pink when cooked.

14. VIRGINIA OPOSSUM (DIDELPHIS VIRGINIANA)

Virginia opossums are scavengers, eating carrion and rotting vegetation, and that helps keep the environment clean. Virginia opossums are native to North America, where they’re the continent’s only living marsupials. This opossums have pouches for carrying their babies, just like kangaroos. Also like kangaroos they give birth to large numbers of navy-bean size babies, which grow inside their pouches. When they’re born, they look more like pink jellybeans than animals. Over the course of three to five months, they mature, growing fur, sharp teeth and long tails.

15. GIANT PANDA (AILUROPODA MELANOLEUCA)

Getty Images

Giant pandas are called giant pandas for a reason: They’re enormous in size, weighing up to 250 pounds. But these bamboo-munching bears don’t start out that way. When born, giant panda cubs weigh just 90 to 130 grams (about as much as a small apple). Besides being way smaller in size, baby pandas are also quite sparsely furred—and so they look very different than what they will as fuzzy black-and-white adults.

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