Four Legs Good
Cuteness can be dangerous. A little of it will flick the needle of your inner cuteness meter and give you a moment of generalised wellbeing. But too much of it can put you at risk in numerous ways, from decreased workplace productivity through to catastrophic loss of worry and an inability to operate complex machinery without weeping from joy.
Please prepare yourself and your cuteness meter for a testing few minutes. What follows is a collection of photos that aims to illustrate pet-cuteness in a highly controlled and rigorous way. However, some seepage is inevitable, so protective eyewear and a lead-lined apron are recommended. Proceed at your own risk.
Albie will take your cuteness meter immediately into the yellow zone.
More kitteny trouble: Felix.
They tell you that cats sleep 15 hours a day. But what they don't tell you is how many hours a day the average cat lies down, doing nothing. I mean, fully awake but reclining; the technical term for it (which I just invented) is conscious recumbency.
Hours and hours, I'll bet. Certainly long enough for someone to approach and take a photo. Hence today's collection of kittens and cats in the restful but alert state that's so common in their lives.
But before the picture show starts, a quick echoey shout-out to yesterday's Four Legs Good post about Lil Bub - there's a prize competition attached. And last week's competition is still alive, so be in - I'll make a draw for winners this weekend.
Time for pictures. Starting with the liquidly restful Molly.
In the world of celebrity cats - and yes, there is such a world - Lil Bub is near the top. She's not as grumpy as that superstar Grumpy Cat, and perhaps not as rich, but this little special-needs cat touches people's hearts in a different way. (So, apparently, does her owner - but more of that later.)
It's not that Lil Bub is a great beauty, with her too-short legs, too-numerous toes and always-hanging-out tongue. It's not that she does tricks, either; in fact, she suffers a rare bone disease and for much of her life she was incontinent and barely able to move. But with her sweetness and her story, she brings a message of acceptance and kindness.
"She's an inspiration to people," says her owner, or "dude", Mike Bridavsky. "She teaches that being different is good - not just good, but better. She teaches acceptance. She has a message of kindness and generosity and also spreads awareness of animal care."
After adopting Lil Bub as a kitten with little hope of her living more than a few months, Mike now spends 80 to 100 hours a week caring for the two-and-a-half-year-old cat and protecting her interests during her appearances, television interviews and photo calls.
"She's changed my life so completely, it's hard to quantify," says Mike on the phone from the United States. "I'm writing and creating TV shows, I wrote a book, I travel round the country with her... But she's changed my life in many ways beyond that. I've learnt a lot about animal care with her, and patience - let's say it's the biggest life-changing event of my life, my adopting her and rescuing her."
GUEST POST BY EVA PETRO
Guest blog: Simba was a supersized, creamy ginger kiss, and about as calorific. He had the finest, softest pale-ginger-and-white fur, which regularly shed over the carpets and furniture all year round.
Simba - with the most insistent and relentless meow when food was at stake, or when he thought it was time for me to go to bed so he could have a human on whom to dribble, purr into at jet-level decibels and generally crush the breath out of.
Simba - not well endowed in the brains department but what was lacking there was more than compensated for by his sweet, generous, loving nature.
He came to us in a roundabout way. He was about 3 years old when he and his late sister, Neela, were adopted by my daughter about eight years ago. When my daughter went overseas, Simba lived with us for a short time, but as we had several other cats and my mother, unusually, had none, he became the perfect companion for an elderly lady.
When my mother went into care two years ago, Simba came to us permanently. Being an uncomplicated boy, he fitted in well with the two other cats and life settled into a pleasant routine. Simba was always the first to meet me when I got home and in a frenzy of feeding anticipation he would always shove the others out of the way to get to his bowl first. Our catfood bills grew, and so did Simba.
We have reached it again: the dawn of that weekend when we change our clocks in the unfashionable direction of backwards. Summer is spreading sheets over the furniture, pulling across the curtains, and putting up a sign that says "Closed till October".
But on Sunday, in a lame one-off bonus like a chocolate fish tucked into the envelope that carries your power bill, there is an extra hour.
The question is, what will you do with it?
The answer I suggest is give it to your dog, if you have one. Take your dog outside for those 60 minutes. And if it's raining too hard, well, that's where the phrase "rain check" comes from; save that hour till the weather is fit for purpose.
(If you don't have a dog, give the hour to yourself, and go walking on a beach or in a park. Make sure you meet at least one dog; I guarantee it'll make your hour better.)
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