Tag Archives: cats

I think my cat stole my Fitbit…

…And it's driven me crazy. There aren't any links in this post, but after several years of faithful link blogging, I've earned the right to talk about myself once in a while, haven't I? On to the Fitbit. Because of our 5 month old, I operate at about 40-70% capacity depending on the day and how the night before went. This morning, I took the baby when she woke up early so my wife could sleep in. The baby is sleeping in our room at the moment, so when it was time for a morning nap, I got her ready and we took a nap on the couch. I checked my Fitbit before falling asleep to see how much walking and rocking the baby had taken to get sleepy, and while sleeping I have a vague memory of hearing the Fitbit falling on the ground.

When the fellas testing the fire alarm woke us up by testing the fire alarm, I reached my hand to the ground looking for the Fitbit. When I didn't find it, I got on my hands and knees, and looked under the couch and the coffee table. Then looked in the cushions. Then looked in my clothes to make sure it wasn't there. Then I got on my hands and knees, and looked under the couch and the coffee table. Then looked in the cushions. Then looked in my clothes to make sure it wasn't there. Rinse. Repeat.

It's gone. The only thing I can think happened is the Fitbit somehow fell off and became a cat toy. It's not in any of the places the cat toys end up, though. I looked in each of those places about 6 times, and there are plenty of toys, but there are no Fitbits. I don't think the cats ate it because A) They seem fine and B) The steps haven't increased at all since it disappeared. I understand the inside of a cat is probably hostile territory to a Fitbit, but I'd expect it to register at least a few steps before it stopped working.

So that was this morning, and I haven't been able to do anything all day. This is ridiculous. I'm trying to figure out how to put it to words, but basically, the missing Fitbit is occupying just enough of my brain I can't focus on anything. There's two parts to this. First, where the hell did it go? Imagine falling asleep with your keys, or your phone, or a quarter, or an orange, and then waking up and it's gone. You looked everywhere, and it's just completely gone. Second, after wearing a Fitbit for over a year, I'm used to tracking my steps. Pretty much any time I moved today, I had the nagging feeling of, "Hey, these steps aren't being recorded. Do they event matter? They don't matter. Just stop walking and take a seat." Again, this is ridiculous, but that's where my head has been all day. Thank you for letting me share.

The cat came back

Holly, a four-year old tortoiseshell, escaped from her owners RV in early November about 200 miles from home. About 2 months later, Holly was returned to the owners when she was brought to a vet near their home and identified by microchip. Scientists don't really have many explanations for how this type of travel is possible. Making the story more remarkable, Holly is mostly an indoor cat (when not traversing half of Florida).

“I really believe these stories, but they’re just hard to explain,” said Marc Bekoff, a behavioral ecologist at the University of Colorado. “Maybe being street-smart, maybe reading animal cues, maybe being able to read cars, maybe being a good hunter. I have no data for this.”
[…]
There is, in fact, little scientific dogma on cat navigation. Migratory animals like birds, turtles and insects have been studied more closely, and use magnetic fields, olfactory cues, or orientation by the sun.
[…]
Peter Borchelt, a New York animal behaviorist, wondered if Holly followed the Florida coast by sight or sound, tracking Interstate 95 and deciding to “keep that to the right and keep the ocean to the left.”

But, he said, “nobody’s going to do an experiment and take a bunch of cats in different directions and see which ones get home.”

The closest, said Roger Tabor, a British cat biologist, may have been a 1954 study in Germany in which cats placed in a covered circular maze with exits every 15 degrees most often exited in the direction of their homes, but more reliably if their homes were less than five kilometers away.

Zombie flies killing honeybees

DAMN IT. Come on, zombies, leave the bees alone.

The parasitic fly lays eggs in a bee’s abdomen. Several days later, the parasitized bee bumbles out of the hives—often at night—on a solo mission to nowhere. These bees often fly toward light and wind up unable to control their own bodies. After a bee dies, as many as 13 fly larvae crawl out from the bee’s neck. The bees’ behavior seems similar to that of ants that are parasitized—and then decapitated from within—by other fly larvae from the Apocephalus genus.


Zombie bees via ebertchicago.

The Atlantic has an article about a parasite found in cat poop that might be doing something along the same lines to humans, and then a good rundown of other similar parasites.
What’s more, many experts think T. gondii may be far from the only microscopic puppeteer capable of pulling our strings. “My guess is that there are scads more examples of this going on in mammals, with parasites we’ve never even heard of,” says Sapolsky.