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Russian Museum Commits to April Fool's Joke and Hires a Cat 'Doorman'

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Most cats live a lazy life of naps and ‘nip. Not Maray, a ginger feline in Serpukhov, Russia. Thanks to a playful April Fools' Day joke, the kitty now has a paid 9-to-5 gig as a “doorman” at the Serpukhov Museum of History and Art.

In honor of April 1, the museum staff decided to trick the local media by writing up a fake job application letter from a cat that had been hanging around the building and greeting visitors, according to Metro.co.uk. The application read: “As I am a direct relative of Maraeva [the museum’s ex-owner, who Maray was named after], I ask you to give me a job in your museum. Maray The Cat.” The note was even signed with a scribbled paw print.

The Serpukhov Museum sent that application letter to the Russian media, along with a fake press release announcing that they’d hired the furry visitor, Hyperallergic reports. But the joke was on staffers when the museum ended up receiving so many inquiries about their new hire that they decided to take the prank even further. They “hired” Maray as a permanent employee.

Now, Maray greets visitors from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and he’s allowed a lunch break and the occasional outdoor stroll. He also has his own special spot in the museum to conduct official business. After his shift, Maray is provided with his own tent to sleep in. As for “payment,” Maray is given fish and patties instead of rubles.

So far, the feline is popular among his new co-workers. "All people who work in our museum love Maray,” museum employee Nina Strelkova told Buzzfeed. “Many bring him food from home and take pictures with him. So he gets a little fat now. And visitors love the cat too—lots of them taking selfies with him.”

Maray isn’t the world’s only working feline. In south-central Japan, a fluffy calico kitty named Nitama famously serves as “station master” at a train station near Wakayama City. A library in Novorossiysk, Russia hired a tabby named Kuzya as an “assistant librarian” in 2013, and paid her a salary of 30 packs of cat food a month. And in the 1870s, the Belgian village of Liège trained 37 mail cats to deliver letters. Curious to learn more? Check out our brief history of working cats.

[h/t Metro.co.uk]

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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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