CLOSE
Original image
YouTube

There Once Was a Game Show Called Think Like a Cat

Original image
YouTube

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.

Original image
iStock
arrow
Big Questions
Why Do Cats Freak Out After Pooping?
Original image
iStock

Cats often exhibit some very peculiar behavior, from getting into deadly combat situations with their own tail to pouncing on unsuspecting humans. Among their most curious habits: running from their litter box like a greyhound after moving their bowels. Are they running from their own fecal matter? Has waste elimination prompted a sense of euphoria?

Experts—if anyone is said to qualify as an expert in post-poop moods—aren’t exactly sure, but they’ve presented a number of entertaining theories. From a biological standpoint, some animal behaviorists suspect that a cat bolting after a deposit might stem from fears that a predator could track them based on the smell of their waste. But researchers are quick to note that they haven’t observed cats run from their BMs in the wild.

Biology also has a little bit to do with another theory, which postulates that cats used to getting their rear ends licked by their mother after defecating as kittens are showing off their independence by sprinting away, their butts having taken on self-cleaning properties in adulthood.

Not convinced? You might find another idea more plausible: Both humans and cats have a vagus nerve running from their brain stem. In both species, the nerve can be stimulated by defecation, leading to a pleasurable sensation and what some have labeled “poo-phoria,” or post-poop elation. In running, the cat may simply be working off excess energy brought on by stimulation of the nerve.

Less interesting is the notion that notoriously hygienic cats may simply want to shake off excess litter or fecal matter by running a 100-meter dash, or that a digestive problem has led to some discomfort they’re attempting to flee from. The fact is, so little research has been done in the field of pooping cat mania that there’s no universally accepted answer. Like so much of what makes cats tick, a definitive motivation will have to remain a mystery.

Have you got a Big Question you'd like us to answer? If so, let us know by emailing us at bigquestions@mentalfloss.com.

Original image
RODRIGO ARANGUA/AFP/GettyImages
arrow
Animals
Listen to the Impossibly Adorable Sounds of a Baby Sloth
Original image
RODRIGO ARANGUA/AFP/GettyImages

Sometimes baby sloths seem almost too adorable to be real. But the little muppet-faced treasures don't just look cute—turns out they sound cute, too. We know what you're thinking: How could you have gone your whole life without knowing what these precious creatures sound like? Well, fear not: Just in time for International Sloth Day (today), we have some footage of how the tiny mammals express themselves—and it's a lot of squeaking. (Or maybe that's you squealing?)

The sloths featured in the heart-obliterating video below come from the Sloth Sanctuary of Costa Rica. The institution rescues orphaned sloths, rehabilitates them, and gets them ready to be released back into the wild.

[h/t The Kid Should See This]

SECTIONS

arrow
LIVE SMARTER
More from mental floss studios