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Jeff de Boer

Protect Your Cat With a Suit of Armor

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Jeff de Boer

In case you haven't seen it yet: suits of armor for your pets. Artist Jeff de Boer has meticulously crafted protective ensembles for cats, and—to even the playing field—mice. He draws his ideas from different time periods and countries, including Edo period Japan and Medieval England. He's even made a futuristic rocket mouse. These marvelous suits are substantial works of art; the cat armor can take up to 200 hours to create.

Boer first started making the suits while attending Alberta College of Art and Design. The artist had an extensive knowledge of armor, so he created a cat suit in his sculpture class. Feeling he could do better, Boer sought to make real armor. Thanks to his major in jewelry design, he had access to all the necessary tools.

If you're looking to purchase one of these works, you will need a big wallet and a lot of patience. Boer does not frequently sell his work but when he does, it costs as much as $25,000.

Jeff de Boer

Boer has never put a mouse in the armor, but he has put one of his cats inside and has "the scars to prove it." 

Jeff de Boer

You can buy a book filled with his art here, or like his Facebook here.

Jeff de Boer

Jeff de Boer

[h/t: BoredPanda.com]

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Big Questions
Do Cats Fart?
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Certain philosophical questions can invade even the most disciplined of minds. Do aliens exist? Can a soul ever be measured? Do cats fart?

While the latter may not have weighed heavily on some of history’s great brains, it’s certainly no less deserving of an answer. And in contrast to existential queries, there’s a pretty definitive response: Yes, they do. We just don’t really hear it.

According to veterinarians who have realized their job sometimes involves answering inane questions about animals passing gas, cats have all the biological hardware necessary for a fart: a gastrointestinal system and an anus. When excess air builds up as a result of gulping breaths or gut bacteria, a pungent cloud will be released from their rear ends. Smell a kitten’s butt sometime and you’ll walk away convinced that cats fart.

The discretion, or lack of audible farts, is probably due to the fact that cats don’t gulp their food like dogs do, leading to less air accumulating in their digestive tract.

So, yes, cats do fart. But they do it with the same grace and stealth they use to approach everything else. Think about that the next time you blame the dog.

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

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environment
How Japan's 'Dancing' Cats Predicted a Deadly Environmental Disaster
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In the 1950s, residents of Minamata, Japan, noticed that something was wrong with the city's cats. As the SciShow's Hank Green recounts in the video below, the cats would convulse, make strange noises and jerking "dancing" motions—and eventually die. Soon, these symptoms spread to the local townspeople, and scientists began searching for the cause of the terrifying sickness.

The culprit was soon revealed to be the Chisso Corporation, a Japanese chemical company with a factory in Minamata. About 30 years earlier, the company had begun making an organic chemical called acetaldehyde, using mercury as a catalyst to trigger the needed reactions. Afterwards, the company dumped the leftover chemicals into Minamata Bay, where the mercury came into contact with bacteria that transformed it into the most noxious form of the metal: methylmercury. This toxic substance was absorbed by plants, which were in turn eaten by fish. Eventually, the methylmercury made its way up the food chain and poisoned both felines and humans. Birth defects became rampant, and more than 900 people died. Thousands of victims have since been identified. The neurological syndrome caused by extreme mercury poisoning is now known as Minamata disease.

You can learn more about the worst mercury poisoning disaster the world has ever seen by watching the video below.

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