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10 International Cat Celebrities

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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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Animals
Owning a Dog May Add Years to Your Life, Study Shows
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We've said that having a furry friend can reduce depression, promote better sleep, and encourage more exercise. Now, research has indicated that caring for a canine might actually extend your lifespan.

Previous studies have shown that dog owners have an innate sense of comfort and increased well-being. A new paper published in Scientific Reports and conducted by Uppsala University in Sweden looked at the health records of 3.4 million of the country's residents. These records typically include personal data like marital status and whether the individual owns a pet. Researchers got additional insight from a national dog registry providing ownership information. According to the study, those with a dog for a housemate were less likely to die from cardiovascular disease or any other cause during the study's 12-year duration.

The study included adults 40 to 80 years old, with a mean age of 57. Researchers found that dogs were a positive predictor in health, particularly among singles. Those who had one were 33 percent less likely to die early than those who did not. Authors didn't conclude the exact reason behind the correlation: It could be active people are more likely to own dogs, that dogs promoted more activity, or that psychological factors like lowered incidences of depression might bolster overall well-being. Either way, having a pooch in your life could mean living a longer one.

[h/t Bloomberg]

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Big Questions
Why Don't We Eat Turkey Tails?
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Turkey sandwiches. Turkey soup. Roasted turkey. This year, Americans will consume roughly 245 million birds, with 46 million being prepared and presented on Thanksgiving. What we don’t eat will be repurposed into leftovers.

But there’s one part of the turkey that virtually no family will have on their table: the tail.

Despite our country’s obsession with fattening, dissecting, and searing turkeys, we almost inevitably pass up the fat-infused rear portion. According to Michael Carolan, professor of sociology and associate dean for research at the College for Liberal Arts at Colorado State University, that may have something to do with how Americans have traditionally perceived turkeys. Consumption was rare prior to World War II. When the birds were readily available, there was no demand for the tail because it had never been offered in the first place.

"Tails did and do not fit into what has become our culinary fascination with white meat," Carolan tells Mental Floss. "But also from a marketing [and] processor standpoint, if the consumer was just going to throw the tail away, or will not miss it if it was omitted, [suppliers] saw an opportunity to make additional money."

Indeed, the fact that Americans didn't have a taste for tail didn't prevent the poultry industry from moving on. Tails were being routed to Pacific Island consumers in the 1950s. Rich in protein and fat—a turkey tail is really a gland that produces oil used for grooming—suppliers were able to make use of the unwanted portion. And once consumers were exposed to it, they couldn't get enough.

“By 2007,” according to Carolan, “the average Samoan was consuming more than 44 pounds of turkey tails every year.” Perhaps not coincidentally, Samoans also have alarmingly high obesity rates of 75 percent. In an effort to stave off contributing factors, importing tails to the Islands was banned from 2007 until 2013, when it was argued that doing so violated World Trade Organization rules.

With tradition going hand-in-hand with commerce, poultry suppliers don’t really have a reason to try and change domestic consumer appetites for the tails. In preparing his research into the missing treat, Carolan says he had to search high and low before finally finding a source of tails at a Whole Foods that was about to discard them. "[You] can't expect the food to be accepted if people can't even find the piece!"

Unless the meat industry mounts a major campaign to shift American tastes, Thanksgiving will once again be filled with turkeys missing one of their juicier body parts.

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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