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Sotheby's Is Auctioning Off What Might Be the World's Largest Cat Painting

Like art, love cats, and have $200,000 to $300,000 lying around? On November 3, as part of its 19th Century European Art sale, Sotheby’s is selling what some art aficionados say might be the world’s largest feline painting—a 6-by-8.5-foot oil portrait of 42 life-size Angoras and Persians pawing, prancing, and playing around in a palatial boudoir.

Dating back to the late 19th century, the work was originally owned by a San Francisco philanthropist and art collector named Kate Birdsall Johnson. She loved cats, and filled her Gothic Victorian mansion near Sonoma with luxuriously furred felines. By some accounts, Johnson owned more than 350 kitties; others say she owned under 50. In any case, the wealthy woman loved her animal companions so much that she commissioned Austrian immigrant Carl Kahler to paint them in 1891.

The timeline is sketchy, but according to Sotheby's, it took Kahler years to complete the painting, which was apparently titled My Wife’s Lovers after a nickname given to the feline hoard by Johnson’s husband. The oil portrait, which was sold after Johnson's December 1893 death, survived the 1906 earthquake and fire in San Francisco and was showcased in a Madison Square Garden cat show. In 1949, Cat Magazine reportedly called it “the world’s greatest painting of cats.”

In 2002, the painting was up for sale at Boston's Skinner Auctioneers during the country’s first all-cat art auction. However, it didn’t meet its asking price of between $450,000 and $750,000, and the auction house considered lending the work to a museum for public viewing.

If you’re interested in becoming its lucky owner, or simply appreciate quality art and equally quality cat breeds, check out Sotheby’s online listing or watch the video above.

[h/t BLOUIN ARTINFO]

All images courtesy of YouTube.

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Animals
The Simple Way to Protect Your Dog From Dangerous Rock Salt
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Winter can be a tough time for dogs. The cold weather usually means there are fewer opportunities for walks and more embarrassing accessories for them to wear. But the biggest threat to canines this time of year is one pet owners may not notice: the dangerous rock salt coating the streets and sidewalks. If you live someplace where this is a problem, here are the steps you need to take to keep your pooch safe until the weather warms up, according to Life Hacker.

Rock salt poses two major hazards to pets: damage to their feet and poisoning from ingestion. The first is the one most pet owners are aware of. Not only do large grains of salt hurt when they get stuck in a dog’s paws, but they can also lead to frostbite and chemical burns due to the de-icing process at work. The easiest way to prevent this is by covering your dog’s paws before taking them outside. Dog booties get the job done, as do protective balms and waxes that can be applied directly to their pads.

The second danger is a little harder to anticipate. The only way you can stop your dog from eating rock salt from the ground is to keep a close eye on them. Does your dog seem a little too interested in a puddle or a mound of snow? Encourage them to move on before they have a chance to take a lick.

If, for some reason, you forget to follow the steps above and your pet has a bad encounter with some winter salt, don’t panic. For salty feet, soak your dog's paws in warm water once you get inside to wash away any remaining grit. If your dog exhibits symptoms like vomiting, diarrhea, and disorientation and you suspect they’ve ingested rock salt, contact your vet right away.

Even with the proper protection, winter can still create an unsafe environment for dogs. Check out this handy chart to determine when it’s too cold to take them for a walk.

[h/t Life Hacker]

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Animals
Boston's Museum of Fine Arts Hires Puppy to Sniff Out Art-Munching Bugs
© Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
© Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

Some dogs are qualified to work at hospitals, fire departments, and airports, but one place you don’t normally see a pooch is in the halls of a fine art museum. The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston is changing that: As The Boston Globe reports, a young Weimaraner named Riley is the institution’s newest volunteer.

Even without a background in art restoration, Riley will be essential in maintaining the quality of the museum's masterpieces. His job is to sniff out the wood- and canvas-munching pests lurking in the museum’s collection. During the next few months, Riley will be trained to identify the scents of bugs that pose the biggest threat to the museum’s paintings and other artifacts. (Moths, termites, and beetles are some of the worst offenders.)

Some infestations can be spotted with the naked eye, but when that's impossible, the museum staff will rely on Riley to draw attention to the problem after inspecting an object. From there, staff members can examine the piece more closely and pinpoint the source before it spreads.

Riley is just one additional resource for the MFA’s existing pest control program. As far as the museum knows, it's rare for institutions facing similar problems to hire canine help. If the experiment is successful, bug-sniffing dogs may become a common sight in art museums around the world.

[h/t The Boston Globe]

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