Sämpy via Facebook
Sämpy via Facebook

10 International Cat Celebrities

Sämpy via Facebook
Sämpy via Facebook

There are few places around the world where people don’t love cats. And what’s not to like? They are cute, cuddly, funny, and they keep vermin away from your home. Some cats even rise above the fray and become famous in places far and wide. Meet some cats who are tops in their native lands and around the globe.

1. GLI // TURKEY

Mike Powell and Juergen Horn via Daily Cat Istanbul

The Hagia Sophia in Istanbul was built as a Greek Orthodox church, then was converted into a mosque, and is now a museum visited by people from all over the world. Several cats live at the museum, but the most famous and friendly is a cross-eyed cat named Gli. Gli is glad to meet and have his picture taken with tourists and diplomats alike. See a gallery of pictures of Gli at the blog Hagia Sophia Cat.

2. FAMOUSNIKI // RUSSIA

It is now easier to write comments!

A photo posted by Famous Niki (@famousniki) on

 
A Russian cat named Niki became famous for his habit of sitting like a human, and after pictures of the cat became so popular online, owner Victoria Virta gave Niki his own Instagram gallery and Facebook page. Now known as FamousNiki, the Scottish fold is also noted for his ability to rise up on his back legs and his amusing facial expressions. He has been featured in ads for several products in Russia, and will soon be the subject of a book.

3. JESPER // NORWAY

 
Jesper is an adventurous cat who enjoys the great outdoors around Hedmark, Norway. He enjoys hiking, fishing, camping, flying, and posing for pictures. But Jesper became famous worldwide for going cross-country skiing with his owner Aina Stormo. Jesper doesn’t wear skis himself, but can keep up with a skier by running alongside them. He also knows that if he ever gets tired, he can always ride on Stormo’s shoulders.

Jesper has his own website and Facebook page, both in Norwegian, and a book coming out this fall.

4. SCARFACE // SINGAPORE

I Am Scarface via Facebook

Scarface was a feral cat living (and fighting) on the streets of Singapore until 2012, when he was trapped by cat behaviorist Rebecca Ho. The Cat Welfare Society tended to Scarface’s wounds and Ho set out to domesticate him. He now lives at the Society’s cattery, where he helps care for the younger kittens, and lends his image to help raise funds for the shelter. Scarface’s Facebook page has amusing captions for his photos and videos, like this:

Scar had one true love affair and that was with the Durian. Nobody will ever know if his nose was broken or his brain's sensory receptors fried, but no one got between Scar and his durian.

Scarface says his goals in life are to eat and to scare the dog.

5. SÄMPY // FINLAND

Sämpy via Facebook

Sämpy lives in Kalime, Finland, where he runs free in the forests and meadows and lives to get a bite of butter from his “secretary,” who follows him around with a camera. Sämpy’s Facebook page is full of pictures showing him having fun with his sisters Nelli and Elmer.

6. BROTHER CREAM // HONG KONG

 
Brother Cream’s full name is Tsim Tung Brother Cream. The British shorthair was a well-known employee at a convenience store in Hong Kong, but achieved stardom after he was catnapped in 2012. Local fans posted notices and searched for the cat, and Brother Cream was found 26 days later and three pounds lighter. Brother Cream rejoined his partner Miu Miu (Sister Cream) at the store and enjoyed his growing celebrity. The cats became so famous that their owner Ko Chee-shing had to enforce rest times for them because they had so many visitors. The cat has “authored” two books, appeared in advertisements, and graces many products sold through his website.

Brother Cream retired to Ko Chee-shing’s home in 2016, when the store closed. You can keep up with his activities through his Facebook page

7. SNOOPY // CHINA

這張萌到麻麻了..cuteness overload #snoopy #neko #kittiesofinstagram #catsofinstagram

A photo posted by SNOOPY·babe (@snoopybabe) on

 
Snoopy is an exotic shorthair cat who lives in Chengdu, Sichuan, China. As a show cat, Snoopy's owner shared numerous pictures of him on Weibo—China’s premiere social media site—in 2012. He was an instant viral sensation! An Instagram gallery and a Tumblr blog introduced the cute cat to the rest of the world. There are also numerous Snoopy sites run by fans.

8. SHIRONEKO // JAPAN

shironeko via Wikimedia Commons // CC BY 2.5

Shironeko is a Turkish van cat who became famous for his laid-back attitude. He’s so chill that you rarely see him with his eyes open, and he gamely sits still for pictures in costumes, with objects piled on his head, while taking abuse from the other cats he lives with. The name Shironeko means simply “white cat.” A blog featuring his photographs gained followers as soon as it was launched in 2006. Within a year, his photos began circulating outside Japan, and he was nicknamed “Basket Cat” since he was often seen sitting in a basket or with a basket perched on his head. His attitude also earned him the nickname “Zen Cat.” Shironeko and his buddies TyaTora, Tibi, Mimi, Kuro, and Nora can also be seen on YouTube, where it is evident that the other cats are learning patience and tolerance from him. However, none of them can sit still through chaos like Shironeko can.

9. 10 CATS // JAPAN

11 cats

A photo posted by 10cats (@10cats_) on

 
The family who posts under the name 10 Cats was once known as 9 Cats, but they tell us they now have 11 cats. However, the logo was already made, so the blog now says 10 Cats +1. They are Lulu, Musashi, μ, Kojiro, Maru, Taro, Michelle, May, Mi-ke,Osamu, and the new kitten Momo. These cats are most famous for their YouTube videos, where you can see how they interact with each other.

10. MARU // JAPAN

 
The world-famous Maru is a Scottish fold cat born in Japan in 2007. Maru means round or circle, and the name fits this calm, round cat well. Although his blog I Am Maru has been around since 2007, Maru’s owner and photographer have managed to remain anonymous. Maru is a staple of YouTube, where he is known for his fascination with boxes of any kind. Videos in which Maru insists on sitting in a box that’s too small for him are particularly popular, but he's also pretty amusing with a large box, too. In 2013, Maru was joined by a new sister named Hana. Maru has published two books so far.

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IKEA
IKEA Is Recalling Its New Dog Water Fountain Due to Suffocation Risk
IKEA
IKEA

In late 2017, IKEA released LURVIG, its first-ever line for pets, a collection that included beds, leashes, food bowls, and other staple products for dogs and cats. Unfortunately, one of those products is now being recalled over safety issues, according to Fast Company. If you own the LURVIG water dispenser, you should take it away from your pet immediately.

The automatic water fountain poses a suffocation hazard, the company announced in a recent statement. The retailer has received two reports of pets dying after getting their head stuck in it.

A water fountain for pets sits next to a bowl full of dog food.
IKEA

The $8 water dispenser debuted in U.S. stores in October 2017 with the rest of its LURVIG line. Awkwardly enough, the product description included assurances of the product’s safety standards. It explained that “the LURVIG range was developed with the assistance of trained veterinarian Dr. Barbara Schäfer, who also works with product risk assessment at IKEA,” and went on to say that “the first thing to consider was safety: ‘Dogs will definitely chew on their toys and bring in dirt from their daily walks. Cats will definitely scratch on most surfaces and are sensitive to smell and texture. So safe, durable materials are very important.’”

It seems that smaller dogs are able to get their faces stuck in the dome-shaped plastic reservoir, which only appears to have one hole in it, at the bottom. As a result, dogs can suffocate if they can’t get out of it.

The product has been removed from IKEA’s website, and the retailer recommends that anyone who bought it stop using it and return it to the nearest IKEA store for a refund.

[h/t Fast Company]

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Alamy
10 Facts About the Portuguese Man O' War
Alamy
Alamy

Something a lot scarier than any Jersey Devil has been washing up on beaches in the Garden State lately: This month, the dangerous Portuguese Man O’ War—which has a potentially deadly sting—has been sighted in Cape May and Wildwood, New Jersey, which could lead to problems for beachgoers. Read on to learn more about these unusual creatures.

1. IT'S NOT A JELLYFISH.

The Portuguese Man o’ War may look like a bloated jellyfish, but it’s actually a siphonophore—a bizarre group of animals that consist of colonies made up of dozens, hundreds, or even thousands of genetically-identical individual creatures. A siphonophore starts out as a fertilized egg. But as it develops, it starts "budding" into distinct structures and organisms. These tiny organisms—called polyps or zooids—can’t survive on their own, so they merge together into a tentacled mass. They must cooperate as one in order to do things like travel and catch food.

Though the zooids within a Man O’ War are basically clones, they come in different shapes and serve different purposes [PDF]. Dactylozooids are long hunting tentacles built to ensnare prey; gastrozooids are smaller tentacles which digest the food; and gonozooids are dangling entities whose job is to facilitate reproduction. Every Man O’ War also has a pneumatophore, or “float”—an overgrown, bag-like polyp which acts as a giant gas bladder and sits at the top of the colony. Capable of expanding or contracting at will, it provides the Man O’ War with some buoyancy control. An expanded float also enables the colony to harness winds to move around.

2. A CLOSE RELATIVE IS THE INDO-PACIFIC “BLUEBOTTLE.”

A view of a bluebottle under water.
iStock

When we say “Portuguese Man O’ War,” we’re talking about Physalia physalis, the bizarre siphonophore that’s scaring New Jerseyans right now. Also known as the Atlantic Portuguese Man O’ War, it can be found in warmer parts of the Pacific, the Caribbean, the Indian Ocean, and of course, the Atlantic.

Another kind of siphonophore which regularly stings beachgoers is the so-called bluebottle, Physalia utriculus. It’s sometimes called the Indo-Pacific “Portuguese” Man O’ War and is restricted to the Pacific and Indian Oceans. It’s smaller than the Atlantic species and unlike its bigger counterpart—which has multiple hunting tentacles—it hunts with a single, elongated tentacle.

3. THE NAME “PORTUGUESE MAN O’ WAR” IS PROBABLY A NAVAL REFERENCE.

In the age of sailing, many European navies used tall warships loaded with cannons and propelled by three masts. British sailors took to calling this kind of vessel a “Man of War.”

What does that have to do with Physalia physalias? These colonies spend a lot of time floating at the water’s surface, and when the gas bladder is expanded, it looks—and acts—a bit like a sailboat, hence the “Man O’ War.” As for the Portuguese part, 19th century scientists proposed that sailors encountered it near the Portuguese island of Madeira, while modern etymologists tend to think that it looked like the Portuguese version of the ship.

Or at least that’s one explanation for the creature’s peculiar name. It’s also been suggested that Renaissance-era sailors thought the pneumatophores resembled the helmets worn by Portugal’s soldiers during the 16th century.

4. MAN O’ WAR TENTACLES CAN BE UP TO 165 FEET LONG.

Two Portuguese Man o' War washed up on the beach with their tentacles stretched out.
iStock

At least, that’s the maximum length for the dactylozooids—which are normally around 30 feet long and use venom-spewing cells to deliver painful, neurotoxic stings. When a tentacle is detached from the rest of the colony, it might wash ashore somewhere or drift around for days on end until it decomposes. Be warned: Even a severed tentacle can sting you.

5. ON RARE OCCASIONS, STINGS CAN BE FATAL TO HUMANS.

The odds of being killed by a Portuguese Man O’ War are slim. But just because deaths are rare doesn't mean you should touch one: On February 11, 2018, 204 people in Hollywood, Florida were treated for stings, which can lead to red welts on the skin, muscle cramps, elevated heart rates, and vomiting.

Still, the creatures can kill: One unlucky victim suffered a full cardiovascular collapse and died after getting too close to a Man O’ War in eastern Florida back in 1987. More recently, a woman swimming off Sardinia was stung by one and died of what was believed to be anaphylactic shock.

6. SOME FISH LIVE IN THEM.

Given that tiny fish make up about 70 to 90 percent of the Man O’ War’s diet (it also eats shrimp and other crustaceans), Nomeus gronovii, a.k.a. the Portuguese Man O’ War Fish, is playing a dangerous game: It lives among the siphonophore's tentacles even though it's not immune to its stings, swimming nimbly between the stingers. Young fish eat planktons which wander under their hosts and, as they get older, will sometimes steal the Man O’ War’s prey—or nibble on its tentacles.

7. SEA SLUGS LIKE TO STEAL THEIR TOXINS.

The Man O’ War has a long list of enemies. Loggerhead sea turtles and the bizarre-looking ocean sunfish are thick-skinned enough to eat them. There are also “blue dragon” sea slugs, which not only devour the Man O’ War but actively harvest and appropriate its toxins. After storing Man O’ War stinging cells in their own skins, the blue dragons can use it as a predator deterrent.

8. MAN O’ WAR COME IN PRETTY COLORS.

A pink-tinted Portuguese Man O' War with blue tentacles in the surf at a beach.
iStock

Although it’s translucent, the float is usually tinted with blue, pink, and/or purple hues. Beaches along the American Gulf Coast raise purple flags in order to let visitors know when groups of Man O’ War (or other potentially deadly sea creatures) are at large.

9. EVERY COLONY HAS A SPECIFIC SEX.

The Man O' War's gonozooids have sacs that house ovaries or testes—so each colony can therefore be considered “male” or “female.” Though marine biologists aren’t completely sure how the Man O’ War procreates, one theory is that the gonozooids release eggs and sperm into the open ocean, which become fertilized when they cross paths with floating eggs or sperm from other Man O’ War colonies. This “broadcast spawning” method of reproduction is also used by many species of coral, fan worms, sea anemone, and jellyfish.

10. LOOK OUT FOR MAN O’ WAR LEGIONS.

The Man O’ War isn't always seen in isolation. Legions consisting of over 1000 colonies have been observed floating around together. Because they drift along on (somewhat) predictable winds and ocean currents, it’s possible to anticipate where and when a lot of the creatures will show up. For example, the Gulf Coast’s Man O’ War season arrives in the winter months.

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