Original image

20 Purrfect Products for Cats and Their Humans

Original image

Here are a few things that you can buy to show your feline pride—and spoil that special kitten in your life.

1. Cat Wheel, $249

Sure, a wheel for cats might seem ridiculous—what are they, hamsters?!—but indoor kitties need exercise, too. The wheel comes in four colors, so you can pick which one works best with your decor. We also suggest buying a GoPro to capture video of your cat on the wheel.

Buy on Amazon

2. Crafting with Cat Hair, $9

These adorable projects require just two things: A little time, and a lot of cat fur. Better it be a cute finger puppet than gathering in the corners of your apartment!

Buy on Amazon

3. Catnip Bubbles, $10

These bubbles are made from catnip oil and are sure to drive your kitten crazy.

Buy on Amazon

4. Purr Our Conversation Sweatshirt, $50

You don’t need anyone to ask for you to launch into a monologue about your cat (that happens regularly!), but this sweatshirt is great anyway.

Buy on Modcloth

5. Da Bird, $10

This toy is just a rod, a long string, and feathers, but cats go nuts for it—those feathers are configured in a way that mimics the flight of real birds. 

Buy on Amazon

6. Keyboard Cat Moon T-shirt, $17

Guys love cats, too—and they can show it by wearing this t-shirt featuring one of the very first Internet Famous felines.

Buy on Amazon

7. Feline Tree House, $800

It looks like an actual tree! And, yes, is totally sold in a Skymall catalogue.

Buy on SkyMall

8. How to Make Your Cat an Internet Celebrity, $9

If you’re going to be buying $800 furniture for your feline, he’s going to have to start earning his keep. This book will show you how to make him the next big thing on the ‘net.

Buy on Amazon

9. Crazy Pants Cat Tunnel, $14

There are weird cat products, and then there are cat tunnels that look like pants. This one is for the cat who has everything.

Buy on Amazon

10. Cat Oven Mitt, $10

When dish towels with kitties on them just isn't enough cat in your kitchen, get this feline-shaped oven mitt.

Buy on Amazon

11. Catty Stacks $20/two pack

If your cat is like any other cat, he loves boxes. And sure, you could just save all your old shipping boxes but these colorful, modular options make that pile of cardboard a little more structured and a little more stylish.

Buy on Amazon

12. Crazy Cat Lady Board Game, $20

There's a board game for almost everything, so why shouldn't crazy cat ladies get one?

Buy on Amazon

13. Cat Cave $45

There's something very funny about your cat's hiding place looking like a mouse.

Buy on Amazon

14. Crossbody Cat Bag, $39

You can either buy a pre-made cat bag from this Etsy seller, or you can ask him to make a bag featuring your cat's face!

Buy on Etsy

15. Silhouette Cat Shelves, $335

So meta!

Buy on Amazon

16. Cats Art Print, $18

Cats, like the moon, are mysterious, aloof and—even when you can't see them—probably orbiting around you somewhere.

Buy on Society6

17. Cat Hat, $15

Fashion: not just for people!

Buy on Etsy

18. Cat Smartphone Stand, $14

For the tech-savvy feline aficionado in your life.

Buy on Amazon

19. Sushi Cat Toys, $25

This catnip-seasoned faux sushi looks good enough to eat, and your cat will be chewing on it for sure.

Buy on Etsy

20. Up Your Alley Cat Flat, $59.99

These flats add just the right hint of quirk to your outfit. For a cat lady with style.

Buy on ModCloth

Original image
25 Benefits of Adopting a Rescue Dog
Original image

According to the ASPCA, 3.3 million dogs enter shelters each year in the United States. Although that number has gone down since 2011 (from 3.9 million) there are still millions of dogs waiting in shelters for a forever home. October is Adopt a Shelter Dog Month; here are 25 benefits of adopting a shelter dog.

Original image
Brooklyn Museum, Charles Edwin Wilbour Fund, 37.406E
New Smithsonian Exhibit Explains Why Felines Were the Cat's Meow in Ancient Egypt
Original image
Brooklyn Museum, Charles Edwin Wilbour Fund, 37.406E

From bi-coastal cat cafes to celebrity pets like Lil Bub, felines are currently enjoying a peak moment in popular culture. That’s part of the reason why curators at the Smithsonian’s Arthur M. Sackler Gallery—which will re-open to visitors on Saturday, October 14, following a 3-month closure—decided to dedicate a new exhibition to ancient Egypt’s relationship with the animals.

Divine Felines: Cats of Ancient Egypt” looks at the cultural and religious importance of cats, which the Egyptians appreciated long before YouTube was a thing and #caturday was a hashtag. It's based on a traveling exhibition that began at the Brooklyn Museum in New York City. On view until January 15, 2018, it's one of several exhibits that will kick off the grand reopening of the Smithsonian’s Freer and Sackler galleries, the conjoined national museums of Asian and Middle Eastern Art.

The Freer has been closed since January 2016 for major renovations, and the Sackler since July 2016 for minor ones. The upgraded institutions will make their public debut on October 14, and be feted by a free two-day festival on the National Mall.

Featuring 80 artworks and relics, ranging from figurines of leonine deities to the tiny coffins of beloved pets, "Divine Felines" even has a cat mummy on loan from the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History. These objects span from the Middle Kingdom (2008 to 1630 BCE) to the Byzantine period (395 to 642 CE).

An ancient Egyptian metal weight shaped like a cat, dating back to 305 to 30 BCE, on view at the Smithsonian’s Arthur M. Sackler Gallery
Weight in Form of a Cat, 305 to 30 BCE, Bronze, silver, lead
Brooklyn Museum, Charles Edwin Wilbour Fund, 36.114

The term “cat” is used loosely, as the Egyptians celebrated domestic mousers and fearsome predators alike.

“The Egyptians were close observers of nature, so they were observing cat behaviors,” Antonietta Catanzariti, the exhibition's in-house curator, tells Mental Floss. “They noticed that cats and lions— in general, felines—have aggressive and protective aspects, so they associated those attributes to deities.”

The ancient Egyptians viewed their gods as humans, animals, or mixed forms. Several of these pantheon members were both associated with and depicted as cats, including Bastet, the goddess of motherhood, fertility, and protection; and Sakhmet, the goddess of war and—when appeased—healing. She typically has a lion head, but in some myths she appears as a pacified cat.

A limestone sculptor's model of a walking lion, on display at the Smithsonian's Arthur M. Sackler Gallery.
Sculptor's Model of a Walking Lion, ca. 664 to 630 BCE, limestone
Brooklyn Museum, Charles Edwin Wilbour Fund, 33.190

While Bastet was a nurturer, Sakhmet—whose name means “The Powerful One”—could use her mighty force to either slay or safeguard humanity. These characterizations are typical of the ancient Egyptian worldview, which perceived the universe in dualistic terms. “There’s always a positive and a negative,” Catanzariti explains.

Contrary to popular belief, however, ancient Egyptians did not view cats themselves as gods. “The goddess Sakhmet does have the features as a lion, or in some cases as a cat, but that doesn’t mean that the Egyptians were worshipping cats or lions,” Catanzariti says. Instead, they were simply noting and admiring her feline traits. This practice, to an extent, also extended to royalty. Kings were associated with lions and other large cats, as they were the powerful protectors of ancient Egypt’s borders.

These myriad associations prompted Egyptians to adorn palaces, temples, protective amulets, ceremonial vessels, and accessories with cat images. Depending on their context, these renderings symbolized everything from protection and power to beauty and sexuality. A king’s throne might have a lion-shaped support, for example, whereas a woman’s cosmetics case might be emblazoned with a cat-headed female goddess of motherhood and fertility.

An ancient Egyptian figurine of a standing lion-headed goddess, on display at the Smithsonian's Arthur M. Sackler Gallery.
Figurine of a Standing Lion-Headed Goddess, 664 to 630 BCE, Faience
Brooklyn Museum, Charles Edwin Wilbour Fund, 37.943E

While cats were linked with heavenly figures and kings, they were also popular domestic pets. Their ability to catch vermin made them an important addition to households, and owners loved and anthropomorphized their pets just like we do today.

Egyptians often named, or nicknamed, their children after animals; Miit (cat) was a popular moniker for girls. It's said that entire households shaved their eyebrows in mourning if a house cat died a natural death. Some also believe that cats received special legal protection. (Not all cats were this lucky, however, as some temples bred kittens specifically to offer their mummified forms to the gods.) If a favorite cat died, the Egyptians would bury them in special decorated coffins, containers, and boxes. King Tutankhamen, for example, had a stone sarcophagus constructed just for his pet feline.

An ancient Egyptian bronze cat head adorned with gold jewelry, on display at the Smithsonian's Arthur M. Sackler Gallery.
Cat's Head, 30 BCE. to third century CE, bronze, gold
Brooklyn Museum, Charles Edwin Wilbour Fund, 36.114

“Divine Felines” breaks down these facts, and more, into five thematic sections, including “Cats and Kings"; “Cats and Gods”; “Cats and Death”; “Cats and Protection”; and “Dogs as Guardians and Hunters.” Yes, there’s also an exhibition section for dog lovers—“a small one,” Catanzariti laughs, that explains why canines were associated with figures like Anubis, the jackal-headed god of mummification and the afterlife.

Did the ancient Egyptians prefer cats to dogs? “I would say that both of them had different roles,” Catanzariti says, as dogs were valued as hunters, scavengers, and guards. “They were appreciated in different ways for their ability to protect or be useful for the Egyptian culture.” In this way, "Divine Felines" is targeted to ailurophiles and canophiliacs alike, even if it's packaged with pointed ears and whiskers.

An ancient Egyptian cat coffin, on display at the Smithsonian's Arthur M. Sackler Gallery.
Coffin for a Cat, 664 to 332 BCE, or later, Wood, gesso, paint, animal remains
Brooklyn Museum, Charles Edwin Wilbour Fund, 37.1944Ea-b


More from mental floss studios