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9 Internet-Famous Cats Who Were Adopted

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In case you’re in need of another reason to bring a brand new fluffy new feline into your life, June is Adopt-A-cat Month. Just think—a whole month dedicated to finding forever homes for the most regal of household pets. If that’s not enough to push you into bringing a new little one into your heart and home, how about the possibility that the Internet’s newest superstar is waiting for you at your local shelter? After all, some of the web’s most beloved viral sensations were adopted, too.

1. Hana

Being the little sister of the web’s arguably most famous cat—Maru, best known for his love of bags and boxes—can’t be an easy job, but baby Hana manages to do it with some style, grace, flair, and plenty of charm. Maru’s human parents adopted Hana the Chiba cat back in 2013, and since her introduction into the world of viral cats, she’s added some noticeable sweetness and kitten-sized wit to Maru’s ever-popular videos.

2. Nora The Piano-Playing Cat

The Internet’s favorite “musical edu-cat” was a shelter kitten in Cherry Hill, New Jersey before she was adopted in 2006. Her owners, Betsy Alexander and Burnell Yow, already had five cats and weren’t in the market for a new one—but Nora charmed piano instructor Betsy so thoroughly that they couldn’t resist the little gray tabby. Nora’s love of “playing” the piano was soon unleashed, thanks to a home that features two giant grand pianos and Betsy’s many piano students. It was only a matter of time before Nora tried her paw at the keys.

3. Keyboard Cat

Although the original Keyboard Cat—Washington state-born Fatso—is currently playing on the big scratchpad in the sky (she passed away back in 1987, long before the very idea of “viral videos” hit the mainstream), she was a shelter cat back in her kitten days. In fact, Fatso was sick when her family first adopted her from a local shelter in Spokane, but they were dedicated to getting her happy and healthy. It was only after Fatso healed up that they realized her unique “talents” for clomping the keys.

4. Lil Bub

Lil Bub’s unique look—several genetic mutations, including dwarfism, give her that cute “perma-kitten” appearance—is adorable now, but it almost worked against her when she was first put up for adoption in 2011. Born to a feral mom, Bub was the runt of an otherwise normal litter, and while she was lucky enough to be fostered by a loving family, they had some serious trouble finding her a forever home. Of course, that all changed when her human dad, Mike Bridavsky, met her. He eventually took her home and turned her into a star—and Bub is using all of her starpower for good. The cat and her owner frequently give to animal-related charities and shelters, but right now they're doing something special: June is Bub's birthday month, and instead of toys, the cat is raising money for the ASPCA.

5. Colonel Meow

Although Colonel Meow is no longer ruling this fair Earth (he passed away earlier this year), the Himalayan-Persian crossbreed left a big mark on both the planet and the Internet during his life. He also probably left a lot of hair—Meow holds the 2014 Guinness world record for “longest fur on a cat,” a staggering nine inches. The angry-faced cat dictator (dictcator?) was first rescued by the Seattle Himalayan and Persian Society before his loving human family (aka his “slave beasts”) adopted him at a local Petco. Meow soon became an Internet star, thanks to both his luxurious fur and his impudent mug. We miss you, great leader!

6. Nala

Nala Cat is web-famous for a very special reason: she’s just really, really cute. The wide-eyed Siamese-Tabby mix lights up the Internet with her permanently surprised expression and panache for wearing absurdly cute outfits. Nala was born into an overly-cat-populated home, and when she was taken away to a local shelter, she was separated from the rest of her cat family. When Nala was about six months old (her real birthday is unknown), her future owner just happened to visit the shelter, and while she knew she wanted to adopt a cat, she wasn’t planning on taking one home that day. Nala, of course, won her over with a big face kiss, and the duo has been inseparable ever since.

7. Hamilton the Hipster Cat

California’s own hipster cat with a built-in moustache, Hamilton was born into a feral cat colony in San Jose. Young Hammy was picked up by the Humane Society of Silicon Valley (along with his sister, Flower), who set about readying the two skittish ferals for adoption. It took a lot of work, trust, and patience, but by the time Hamilton’s human dad adopted him in September of 2012, some major milestones had already been reached—and Hammy’s instant attachment to his new dude sure didn’t hurt.

8. Sockington

One of Twitter’s first true superstars—of any species, really—Sockington didn’t have such an auspicious start. Before he became a viral sensation, young Socks was spotted at a Boston subway station in 2004. Hungry and alone, the gray and white shorthair caught the attention of a commuter on his way to work, who couldn’t help but notice that the handsome fellow was still there when he returned later in the day. Socks was soon taken in, passed through a few fosters in order to find a forever home, and eventually made his way to Jason Scott, who has provided him with a “life of luxury” and instant Internet fame. Socks is still popular on Twitter, where he proudly leads the “Socks Army.”

9. Penny

Socks isn’t the only famous kitty in his home—and he’s also not the only one to come from a scrappy background. Sockington’s own sister (and semi-nemesis) Pennycat also got started out in the wild. Penny’s original owners dropped her off on the front porch of a local animal shelter after they decided they didn’t want her, but the wily Penny didn’t have much interest in shelter life and soon ran away to a Hudson, New York farm, where she just kind of hung out for a few months. Eventually adopted by Jones, Penny is now just as spoiled as Socks—and 10 times more sassy. While Socks stays busy on Twitter, Pennycat runs their website. What a pair!

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Martin Wittfooth
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Art
The Cat Art Show Is Coming Back to Los Angeles in June
Martin Wittfooth
Martin Wittfooth

After dazzling cat and art lovers alike in 2014 and again in 2016, the Cat Art Show is ready to land in Los Angeles for a third time. The June exhibition, dubbed Cat Art Show 3: The Sequel Returns Again, will feature feline-centric works from such artists as Mark Ryden, Ellen von Unwerth, and Marion Peck.

Like past shows, this one will explore cats through a variety of themes and media. “The enigmatic feline has been a source of artistic inspiration for thousands of years,” the show's creator and curator Susan Michals said in a press release. “One moment they can be a best friend, the next, an antagonist. They are the perfect subject matter, and works of art, all by themselves.”

While some artists have chosen straightforward interpretations of the starring subject, others are using cats as a springboard into topics like gender, politics, and social media. The sculpture, paintings, and photographs on display will be available to purchase, with prices ranging from $300 to $150,000.

Over 9000 visitors are expected to stop into the Think Tank Gallery in Los Angeles during the show's run from June 14 to June 24. Tickets to the show normally cost $5, with a portion of the proceeds benefiting a cat charity, and admission will be free for everyone on Wednesday, June 20. Check out a few of the works below.

Man in Garfield mask holding cat.
Tiffany Sage

Painting of kitten.
Brandi Milne

Art work of cat in tree.
Kathy Taselitz

Painting of white cat.
Rose Freymuth-Frazier

A cat with no eyes.
Rich Hardcastle

Painting of a cat on a stool.
Vanessa Stockard

Sculpture of pink cat.
Scott Hove

Painting of cat.
Yael Hoenig
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Tony Karumba, AFP/Getty Images
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Animals
How a Pregnant Rhino Named Victoria Could Save an Entire Subspecies
Sudan, the last male member of the northern white rhino subspecies, while being shipped to Kenya in 2009
Sudan, the last male member of the northern white rhino subspecies, while being shipped to Kenya in 2009
Tony Karumba, AFP/Getty Images

The last male northern white rhino died at a conservancy in Kenya earlier this year, prompting fears that the subspecies was finally done for after decades of heavy poaching. Scientists say there's still hope, though, and they're banking on a pregnant rhino named Victoria at the San Diego Zoo, according to the Associated Press.

Victoria is actually a southern white rhino, but the two subspecies are related. Only two northern white rhinos survive, but neither of the females in Kenya are able to reproduce. Victoria was successfully impregnated through artificial insemination, and if she successfully carries her calf to term in 16 to 18 months, scientists say she might be able to serve as a surrogate mother and propagate the northern white rhino species.

But how would that work if no male northern rhinos survive? As the AP explains, scientists are working to recreate northern white rhino embryos using genetic technology. The San Diego Zoo Institute for Conservation Research has the frozen cell lines of 12 different northern white rhinos, which can be transformed into stem cells—and ultimately, sperm and eggs. The sperm of the last northern white male rhino, Sudan, was also saved before he died.

Scientists have been monitoring six female southern white rhinos at the San Diego Zoo to see if any emerge as likely candidates for surrogacy. However, it's not easy to artificially inseminate a rhino, and there have been few successful births in the past. There's still a fighting chance, though, and scientists ultimately hope they'll be able to build up a herd of five to 15 northern white rhinos over the next few decades.

[h/t Time Magazine]

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