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There Once Was a Game Show Called Think Like a Cat

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Cats are cute and sometimes cuddly, but no one would ever accuse them of being cooperative—which probably makes them less than ideal game show contestants. But that didn't deter Meow Mix and the Game Show Network from airing the first—and probably only—cat game show, Think Like a Cat, in November 2008. The contest was hosted by Chuck Woolery (the original host of Wheel of Fortune, among other game shows) and pitted eight feline–human pairs against each other in the quest to win $1 million. "In my game show career I've worked with TV stars, film stars, sports figures, legendary musicians, and many other contestants,” Woolery said in a press release. “Now I'm thrilled to be working with my furry friends, cats. It's a first for me and I'm delighted to be partnering with Meow Mix and GSN."

Think Like a Cat aired just a single episode. Here's what went down.

ROUND ONE: THE FAST AND THE FURRIEST

The contestants—Judi Basolo and Guido from San Francisco; Alma Coronado and Tabby from Dallas; Hartford Hough and Mr. Guffington from Los Angeles; Mirka Luoto and Phoebe from Denver; Simone Mickelberry and Spooky D. Cat from Portland, Oregon; Stephanie Park and Wolfie from New York City; Ian Stitch and Quinn from Tampa, Florida; and Saunjae Taylor and Charlie from Chicago—were chosen from auditions held by Meow Mix and GSN. The eight humans and their cats were flown to

The lightning round, "The Fast and the Furriest," saw each cat placed in front of a bowl of food. The first three to finish their bowls (or the three to eat the most when time was up) would move on to the second round. The winners of this round were Tabby, Spooky D. Cat, and Quinn; they advanced, while the other contestants were awarded consolation prizes of $1000 and bags of cat food.

ROUND TWO: ARE YOU SMARTER THAN A CAT?

In this Jeopardy!-style round, the humans took over, answering questions worth between 10 and 50 in six categories: Famous Felines; Cat-tistics; Just Kitten Around; Maw & Paw; Hisstory; and Let's Get Fuzzical. If they got the answer right, and the humans earned points; if their answer was wrong, however, the humans lost points. The questions ranged from total softballs ("Morning, noon or night: At what point in the day are cats more active?") to real stumpers ("About how many vocalization sounds does a cat make: less than 10, exactly 35 or over 60?")

The lowest scoring human was Simone; she was eliminated, and went home with $10,000 and some cat food, and $1000 was donated to the feline charity of her choice.

ROUND THREE: THINK LIKE A CAT

Before this round, the cats had been recorded in different situations; the owners had to wager points on what their felines would do before the clip was played. For the first question, the owners could not wager more than half their points, but after that, they could wager any or all of their points. The highest scoring pair was Ian and Quinn, won $25,000 and moved on to the bonus round; Alma and Tabby left with $15,000 and the cat food, and $1500 was donated to their favorite kitty charity.

BONUS ROUND: THE MEOW MIX MILLION DOLLAR CHALLENGE

This round required cat and human to work together. Ten bags of Meow Mix containing various food symbols were placed around the studio—but only two bags contained the same symbol. Ian and Quinn each chose a bag; if the bags had matching symbols, they would win $1 million, plus $100,000 to donate to the shelter of their choice.

Quinn chose bag #7, which contained a red snapper, and Ian chose bag #2, which contained ... a salmon. The correct bags were #4 and #6, which contained chickens. They didn't win $1 million, but did go home with $25,000 and the cat food, and $2500 was donated to their favorite cat charity.

Sadly, no other episodes of Think Like a Cat were produced, so any felines craving fame will have to get it the old fashioned way: by becoming an Internet meme.

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Animals
The Simple Way to Protect Your Dog From Dangerous Rock Salt
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Winter can be a tough time for dogs. The cold weather usually means there are fewer opportunities for walks and more embarrassing accessories for them to wear. But the biggest threat to canines this time of year is one pet owners may not notice: the dangerous rock salt coating the streets and sidewalks. If you live someplace where this is a problem, here are the steps you need to take to keep your pooch safe until the weather warms up, according to Life Hacker.

Rock salt poses two major hazards to pets: damage to their feet and poisoning from ingestion. The first is the one most pet owners are aware of. Not only do large grains of salt hurt when they get stuck in a dog’s paws, but they can also lead to frostbite and chemical burns due to the de-icing process at work. The easiest way to prevent this is by covering your dog’s paws before taking them outside. Dog booties get the job done, as do protective balms and waxes that can be applied directly to their pads.

The second danger is a little harder to anticipate. The only way you can stop your dog from eating rock salt from the ground is to keep a close eye on them. Does your dog seem a little too interested in a puddle or a mound of snow? Encourage them to move on before they have a chance to take a lick.

If, for some reason, you forget to follow the steps above and your pet has a bad encounter with some winter salt, don’t panic. For salty feet, soak your dog's paws in warm water once you get inside to wash away any remaining grit. If your dog exhibits symptoms like vomiting, diarrhea, and disorientation and you suspect they’ve ingested rock salt, contact your vet right away.

Even with the proper protection, winter can still create an unsafe environment for dogs. Check out this handy chart to determine when it’s too cold to take them for a walk.

[h/t Life Hacker]

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© Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
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Animals
Boston's Museum of Fine Arts Hires Puppy to Sniff Out Art-Munching Bugs
© Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
© Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

Some dogs are qualified to work at hospitals, fire departments, and airports, but one place you don’t normally see a pooch is in the halls of a fine art museum. The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston is changing that: As The Boston Globe reports, a young Weimaraner named Riley is the institution’s newest volunteer.

Even without a background in art restoration, Riley will be essential in maintaining the quality of the museum's masterpieces. His job is to sniff out the wood- and canvas-munching pests lurking in the museum’s collection. During the next few months, Riley will be trained to identify the scents of bugs that pose the biggest threat to the museum’s paintings and other artifacts. (Moths, termites, and beetles are some of the worst offenders.)

Some infestations can be spotted with the naked eye, but when that's impossible, the museum staff will rely on Riley to draw attention to the problem after inspecting an object. From there, staff members can examine the piece more closely and pinpoint the source before it spreads.

Riley is just one additional resource for the MFA’s existing pest control program. As far as the museum knows, it's rare for institutions facing similar problems to hire canine help. If the experiment is successful, bug-sniffing dogs may become a common sight in art museums around the world.

[h/t The Boston Globe]

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