A few animal-related quick takes today in honor of Earth Day.
- I see there’s another cat in the news for suddenly assaulting its humans. Unlike in the case of poor Lux, Kaht doesn’t seem to have been abused, nor do the humans in the case seem to be making any attempt at self-promotion. Kaht is at the SPCA and is, I hope, receiving a medical checkup for any conditions that might have caused his sudden aggression.
The media is, of course, linking the two cases. I’d like to remind them of an old maxim: “Once is chance, twice is coincidence.” As far as anyone can tell at this point, there’s no connection between the two cases; linking them as “berserk cats attack owners” is premature at best.
Of course, that maxim does continue “Three times is conspiracy” (or in some formulations, “enemy action”. If another attack occurs in the next few weeks and receives similar media attention, we may want to start asking just who would benefit from a decline in the popularity of cats as pets… Could it be… the American Kennel Club, promoter of the popular Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show?
- Meanwhile, Caltrans is having problems with the demolition of the old Bay Bridge. Double-crested cormorants have been nesting in the old bridge for years. The new bridge includes nesting platforms designed specifically for the cormorants. Unfortunately for Caltrans, the birds prefer to continue squatting in their traditional nesting sites. Since they’re protected in California, the cormorants can’t be forcibly displaced. The original plan was to put up netting to prevent them from nesting in the old bridge, but with the demolition six month behind schedule, the sequencing of events doesn’t match up well with the cormorant nesting season (roughly April to August). So the new plan is to spend almost $13 million to get the demolition back on schedule and get the nets up before Bridge Nest ’15. Good luck, guys.
On a presumably unrelated note, the latest problems with the new bridge are improperly welded sections of the road deck. Apparently, some sections of the deck are as much as a quarter of an inch out of spec, twice the permissible deviation under Caltrans’ own rules. The risk of welding sections that far out of alignment are a high risk of damage in a major quake, and premature cracking under normal traffic. The sections were accepted under national standards, which permit a greater deviation than Caltrans. However, some of the welds are even out of spec for the national standards. Joy. I’m starting to think Oakland and San Francisco should start researching whether they can return the new bridge to Caltrans under the “lemon” laws governing the sale of cars…
- Finally, Sprudge is reporting that the race to open the first American cat cafe is heating up. The major contestants, one in San Francisco and one in Oakland, are still working towards possible openings this summer. However, they’re being partially scooped by Purina with an assist from an unnamed coffee roaster based in Brooklyn. According to the report, the “Purina ONE Cat Cafe” will open as a pop-up in Manhattan this weekend.
Sorry, but a pop-up doesn’t count. As far as I’m concerned, this three-day effort would be better characterized as a “cat adoption event with coffee”. A worthy venture, yes, but not a true cat cafe.