The Reason Some Cats Look Like They're Wearing Socks

iStock.com/TheKoRp
iStock.com/TheKoRp

As anyone who has tried to dress a cat in a fashionable outfit knows, animals aren’t really fond of clothing. Especially boots. That’s probably why some pet owners delight in pointing out that white cat feet sometimes look as though the animal is wearing socks. Nature can do what a human cannot—give some cat breeds the appearance of wearing apparel.

But why do some cats look like they’re wearing socks? Why aren’t their feet the same color as the rest of their bodies?

Science has an answer. Specifically, piebaldism. That’s the name for a condition caused by a mutation in the KIT gene responsible for distributing melanocytes, the cells that “program” pigment throughout a cat’s body.

In the absence of piebaldism, the melanocytes are evenly distributed, giving a cat a coat of fur that’s uniform in color. But if the KIT gene is mutated, cats won't have enough of the cells to cover the entire body and the cells they do have won't be evenly spread. As a result, portions of the coat will be white.

Genetics always play a role in a cat’s coat color. In the case of Siamese cats, it’s also partially temperature-dependent. In that breed, an enzyme can suppress melanin production, and the abdomen will appear sandy in color because it’s warm. Relatively cooler extremities, like the ears, will be darker.

Remember that it's always best to enjoy your cat's natural coat. Dying it can be harmful to the cat, and trying to put actual socks on them can be harmful to you.

[h/t Popular Science]

A Stranger Things Fan Is Selling Epic Demogorgon Dog Costumes on Etsy

Joe Keery, Maya Hawke, Priah Ferguson, and Gaten Matarazzo in Stranger Things.
Joe Keery, Maya Hawke, Priah Ferguson, and Gaten Matarazzo in Stranger Things.
Netflix

Stranger Things is great at placing the truly terrifying alongside the absolutely adorable. One minute we are gushing over Eleven and Mike’s teen romance, and the next we’re jumping off the couch at the sight of those possessed by the Mind Flayer.

No matter how seamless the Duffer Brothers' Netflix series is in weaving together these moments, it seems like it would be impossible to make the Demogorgon cute. But somehow, one crafty fan has done just that.

Etsy shop ThatCraftyFriendShop has created Demogorgon headpieces that fit perfectly on your dog’s head.

People reports that the headpieces range in size from extra small (for 5- to 10-pound dogs) all the way to extra large (for dogs over 75 pounds). Prices range from $25 to $75, depending on the size of your four-legged friend.

These wool and felt doggy costumes are perfect for Halloween, or even a Stranger Things watch party while you continue to binge and re-binge the third seasonwith a decked-out doggy by your side.

[h/t People]

Georgia Beachgoers Saved a Pod of Pilot Whales That Washed Ashore

Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images
Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images

A day at the shore quickly turned into a rescue situation for beachgoers on St. Simons Island, Georgia this week when a pod of pilot whales washed ashore. Beaching can be disastrous for whales, but thanks to a group of first responders and volunteers, most of the stranded marine mammals were returned to safety, USA Today reports.

Spotting whales off the coast of Georgia isn't unusual, but what occurred at St. Simons Island the afternoon of Tuesday, July 16 was out of the ordinary. The pilot whales had swum so close to the shore that they had become stuck on the sand—and there were dozens of them. The animals could have died from dehydration at low tide or possibly drowned if the tide covered their blowholes.

Fortunately, the beachgoers watching the situation unfold acted fast. They waded into the sea and manually pushed the small whales back into deeper waters where they could swim freely. First responders from the Georgia Department of Natural Resources (DNR) also aided in the rescue effort.

The heroic volunteers weren't able to save every whale. Two of the mammals became incapacitated and had to be euthanized. But according to the Glynn County Emergency Management and Homeland Security Agency, the majority of the whales swam away unharmed. "This has been an unusual occurrence, but events like these can really show the level of care and support from our community," the agency wrote on its Facebook page. "Thank you to everyone that helped those that couldn’t help themselves today."

Beaching is a rare event that still isn't fully understood by scientists. In the case of these pilot whales, which travel in pods, one sick whale may have swum too close to land and led the rest of the whales to danger. The DNR plans to conduct autopsies on the two whales who perished.

[h/t USA Today]

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