Sky News: Coronavirus: Pet cat becomes first animal to test positive for COVID-19 in UK. Please read the article before you flip out. It doesn’t appear to be a big deal. “Evidence suggests it contracted the virus from its owners, who had previously tested positive for COVID-19 – but both the animal and family have since made a ‘full recovery’, the government said.”
Reuters: Feline good: French cat survives coronavirus infection. “Papille purrs contentedly as her owner rubs the back of her head, her coat glossy and her eyes a piercing green – back to her old affection-seeking self after recovering from COVID-19.”
New York Times: Commissioner Resigns After He Threw a Cat During Zoom Meeting. “The city Planning Commission meeting in Vallejo, Calif., last week followed the same humdrum pattern of so many municipal meetings: There was the Pledge of Allegiance and a roll call, followed by various reports…. But things took an unexpected turn about two hours and 24 minutes into the session after one of the commissioners, Chris Platzer, was asked if he had any comments after reviewing a project application. ‘Yes, if I’m allowed to make them,’ he said, just after a cat could be heard loudly meowing offscreen, according to a video of the meeting.”
BBC: Coronavirus: ‘Pets no risk to owners’ vets stress. “Veterinary scientists have recommended cat owners keep their pets indoors to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus among animals. But the British Veterinary Association stressed ‘owners should not worry’ about risk of infection from pets.” Also, birds everywhere will thank you.
WPVI: Nora the Piano Cat still on key after 13 years of internet fame. “A musical couple lives in perfect harmony with their cat, Nora. Born in 2004, the gray tabby was rescued off the streets of Camden, New Jersey. Burnell Yow! and Betsy Alexander, two musicians and artists, adopted her. Betsy is an avid pianist who provides lessons to locals. With music constantly ringing throughout the house, it’s no wonder why Nora, the cat, picked up an ear for it. One day, she hopped up on the bench and began to play the piano herself.” I love everything about this story. I love the cat, I love the people, I love their house…
The Verge: The Snapchat cat filter shows how little we know about cat cognition. “Apologies to Taylor Swift and Andrew Lloyd Webber, but the most interesting cat content online right now is a Snapchat filter that lets humans try on a feline face. The resulting clips are adorable, confounding, and a great example of just how little we know about cat cognition.”
For a given value of useful, from Mashable: Wonder what your dog would look like as a cat? There’s a new AI tool for you. . “NVIDIA has leveraged big gains in AI technology to develop a fun tool called the GANimal App, which allows users to upload a photo of their pet and generate pictures of what it would look like as either different breeds of the same animal — or a different animal altogether.” I tried this with a cat and a dog and wasn’t super impressed.
CNET: This Cat is Chonky: The fat-cat online shrine lifting humans from despair. “I’m standing at my desk working. Archer, a 10-pound bundle of sass and midnight fur, sits behind me on a stool, a single claw plunging repeatedly into the elbow of my sweater: ‘Pay attention to me!’ Archer knows I’m looking at other cats. He just knows.”
CNET: Whiskeridoo! AI named these adorable, adoptable kittens. “Sparky Buttons has eye damage from a infection he caught when he was a stray baby, but he’s still a powerhouse when it comes to cuddling and playing. And don’t be fooled by Mr. Sinister’s name. He’s a cuddler, too. These adoptable kittens, along with their friends Tom Glitter, Pompompur and Whiskeridoo, were all named by an artificial intelligence neural network.” I officially feel 100% less bad for naming my cat Eggo.
Okay, I promise I will calm down about these. But this one uses AI to generate CAT PICTURES. Seriously, how can I not? Futurism: A New AI Draws Cats, and They’re Utterly Grotesque. “GANs have been used for much more ambitious projects in the past. Researchers at NVIDIA harnessed the power of the technology to create uncanny faces that are almost completely indistinguishable from the real thing. But that doesn’t mean bored people on the internet shouldn’t be able to take advantage of the open-source technology for a bit of fun — that is, as long as real-world cats stay out of harm’s way.” I tested this. A fraction of the cats look something like real cats. The other ones look like the dreams you have after a meal of spicy meatballs and eggnog.
CNET: Facebook is still a dog’s best friend. “2018 was a horrible year for Facebook. Beset by an endless stream of scandals involving user privacy, data breaches, hate speech and fake news, the shine has come off a company that once seemed unstoppable. Governments in the United States and the European Union have questioned its executives in public hearings and the campaign to “Delete Facebook” has moved from the call of a few to a full-grown movement. But not everyone is joining the cause. For animal shelters and rescue organizations in particular, Facebook is an invaluable tool. The social network’s vast reach (2 billion users), versatility and affordability (it’s free to use) lets them help more animals than before it existed.”
The Verge: Snapchat’s Cat Lenses let you take even more ridiculous pictures of your pet. “If you’ve ever wanted to take a really goofy picture with your cat, Snapchat has rolled out a new update that will help you with that. The company has released a new feature called Cat Lenses, which lets you add filters to your favorite feline’s face.” Pretty sure my cat would punch me.
Mental Floss: Animal Welfare Groups Are Building a Database of Every Cat in Washington, D.C.. “There are a lot of cats in Washington, D.C. They live in parks, backyards, side streets, and people’s homes. Exactly how many there are is the question a new conservation project wants to answer. DC Cat Count, a collaboration between Humane Rescue Alliance, the Humane Society, PetSmart Charities, and the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute, aims to tally every cat in the city—even house pets, The New York Times reports.”
Wired: At MOMA, Cat Instagram Has Finally Clawed Its Way Into The Art World . “Stephen Shore was an Instagram artist way before there was Instagram. He shot to prominence in the ’70s with carefully composed snapshots of parking lots, pancake breakfasts, and camping trips, beautiful banalities that future Instagrammers would try to emulate. Now that Shore is actually on the platform, he averages a post a day—and a retrospective of his work, opening at New York’s Museum of Modern Art in November, shows off three years’ worth of his ’grams. Including (obviously) a portrait of his beloved Himalayan cat, Oscar.”
CNET: Yes, Google Photos can tell your pets apart. “Last week, Google Photos gave me a ‘Meow Movie,’ a video slideshow stuffed with pictures of my two sibling black cats. What it didn’t include were photos of other people’s cats, of which I have many. On Monday, Google confirmed it can not only identify cats and dogs in your photo archive, it can also tell the difference between individual animals.”