Captain's Cabin

Pirate Lord of the Platinum Coast
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Dogs have owners, Cats have staff.
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Wednesday, July 22, 2009

"Gidget" the Taco Bell woofie goes to bridge

From OMG! news on Yahoo!:

Gidget, the famed Chihuahua who appeared in Taco Bell ads, died Tuesday at the age of 15.

Karen McElhatton, Gidget's owner, tells Usmagazine.com the dog was with her trainer, Sue Chipperton, watching television when she began making "strange noises" and suffered a stroke.

Before the dog's death, "She had a good day and was running around as normal," McElhatton tells Usmagazine.com. "We're happy that she was very well off right until the end."

Gidget -- whose "Yo Quiero Taco Bell" spots debuted in September 1997 -- also had a cameo in Legally Blonde 2, in addition to appearing in other TV spots.

We enjoyed working with Gidget, and she will be missed by many," a Taco Bell spokesperson tells Us in a statement. "Our deepest sympathies go out to her owners and fans."

The dog had an exceptionally happy life, her owner says.

"She lived like a queen," McElhatton tells Us. "She had a great life. We're very sad. She's a wonderful little dog."

McElhatton tells Us the dog will likely be cremated.

Adds McElhatton: "She was old. Of course, we were hoping she'd be around for a few more years, but if you have a dog that lives that long, you can't really complain."


This has not been a good month to be a celebrity - either human or canine!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

NYC teen admits to leaving kitten in oven to die

From the Assoicated Press:

NEW YORK – A New York City teenager has admitted that she failed to let a kitten out of an oven after a friend put the animal inside and left it to roast to death.

After pleading guilty to charges of animal cruelty and attempted burglary on Wednesday, 17-year-old Cheyenne Cherry confronted a row of animal activists outside the courtroom. Cherry stuck out her tongue and told the activists that the kitten named Tiger Lily was "dead."

Authorities say Cherry and a 14-year-old friend ransacked a Bronx apartment before putting the cat in the oven, where it cried and scratched before dying.

The 14-year-old was charged with aggravated animal cruelty and burglary in the May 6 incident.

Cherry will serve a year in jail under a plea bargain.


A year? A year? This girl should be put in oven and roasted to death as well. She obviously has no remorse.

People are very sick and this is just one example of it. Pook kitten. Stay well over the bridge. We will think of you often. You are a martyr to our cause!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Pet Airways takes off!

Next time I wish to go visit my furriends, I do not have to take road trip. Now I can fly first class!

The Associated Press reports that Pet Airways has left the runway!

Pet Airways will fly a pet between five major cities — New York, Washington, Chicago, Denver, and Los Angeles. The $250 one-way fare is comparable to pet fees at the largest U.S. airlines.

For owners the big difference is service. Dogs and cats will fly in the main cabin of a Suburban Air Freight plane, retooled and lined with carriers in place of seats. Pets (about 50 on each flight) will be escorted to the plane by attendants that will check on the animals every 15 minutes during flight. The pets are also given pre-boarding walks and bathroom breaks. And at each of the five airports it serves, the company has created a "Pet Lounge" for future fliers to wait and sniff before flights.

The company will operate out of smaller, regional airports in the five launch cities, which will mean an extra trip for most owners dropping off their pets if they are flying too. Stops in cities along the way means the pets will take longer to reach a destination than their owners.

A trip from New York to Los Angeles, for example, will take about 24 hours. On that route, pets will stop in Chicago, have a bathroom break, play time, dinner, and bunk for the night before finishing the trip the next day.

Amanda Hickey of Portland, Ore. is one of the new airline's first customers. Her seven-year-old terrier-pinscher mix Mardi and 2-year-old puggle Penny are taking their first flight soon.

Hickey said the service was a welcome alternative to flying her dogs in cargo when she transplants them from her soon-to-be Denver home to Chicago to stay while she and her fiance travel to Aruba to get married.

"For a little bit more money, I have peace of mind," she said.

It was a stressful experience in a cargo hold that spurred Alysa Binder and Dan Wiesel to start their airline. Their Jack Russell terrier, Zoe, flew once in cargo and Binder said they worried about how the dog was doing, but were unable to check on her or get information. The couple soon started looking for a better solution.

"One time in cargo was enough for us," Binder said, walking through an airplane hangar as Zoe trotted in front of her. "We wanted to do something better."

The company, which will begin with one flight in each of its five cities, is looking to add more flights and cities soon. In the next three years, Binder hopes to fly to 25 locations.

The two say they're overwhelmed with the response. Flights on Pet Airways are already booked up for the next two months.

But today, the first flight for the husband-and-wife team's Pet Airways, the first-ever all-pet airline, took off from Republic Airport in Farmingdale, N.Y.

Betsy Saul, co-founder of Petfinder.com, which has ranked the pet-friendliness of airlines for three years, said she's excited about the expected impact Pet Airways will have on pet travel across major airlines.

"The entire industry will stretch because of Pet Airways," she said. "It's a challenge that says 'let's make this (experience) better for pets.'"

Among the big U.S. carriers that offer pet services, AirTran, Spirit, Southwest and JetBlue only allow pets to fly in the cabin. Most U.S. airlines charge between $100 and $125, but Delta and Northwest charge $150 for cabin trips. AirTran is the cheapest among big carriers at $69.

Now, all I have to do is decide where I want to go!

PeeEss: For those that have suggested Google Chrome, we are running a Win2000 system and they do not make Google Chrome for that version. That also why we can't upgrade MSIE. We kind of stuck. I do not know Firefox's problem. I work fine and now suddenly it do not.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Cats Do Control Humans, Study Finds

From LiveScience.com:

If you've ever wondered who's in control, you or your cat, a new study points to the obvious. It's your cat.

Household cats exercise this control with a certain type of urgent-sounding, high-pitched meow, according to the findings.

This meow is actually a purr mixed with a high-pitched cry. While people usually think of cat purring as a sign of happiness, some cats make this purr-cry sound when they want to be fed. The study showed that humans find these mixed calls annoying and difficult to ignore.

"The embedding of a cry within a call that we normally associate with contentment is quite a subtle means of eliciting a response," said Karen McComb of the University of Sussex. "Solicitation purring is probably more acceptable to humans than overt meowing, which is likely to get cats ejected from the bedroom."

They know us

Previous research has shown similarities between cat cries and human infant cries.

McComb suggests that the purr-cry may subtly take advantage of humans' sensitivity to cries they associate with nurturing offspring. Also, including the cry within the purr could make the sound "less harmonic and thus more difficult to habituate to," she said.

McComb got the idea for the study from her experience with her own cat, who would consistently wake her up in the mornings with a very insistent purr. After speaking with other cat owners, she learned that some of their cats also made the same type of call. As a scientist who studies vocal communication in mammals, she decided to investigate the manipulative meow.

Tough to test

Setting up the experiments wasn't easy. While the felines used purr-cries around their familiar owners, they were not eager to make the same cries in front of strangers. So McComb and her team trained cat owners to record their pets' cries - capturing the sounds made by cats when they were seeking food and when they were not. In all, the team collected recordings from 10 different cats.

The researchers then played the cries back for 50 human participants, not all of whom owned cats. They found that humans, even if they had never had a cat themselves, judged the purrs recorded while cats were actively seeking food - the purrs with an embedded, high-pitched cry - as more urgent and less pleasant than those made in other contexts.

When the team re-synthesised the recorded purrs to remove the embedded cry, leaving all else unchanged, the human subjects' urgency ratings for those calls decreased significantly.

McComb said she thinks this cry occurs at a low level in cats' normal purring, "but we think that cats learn to dramatically exaggerate it when it proves effective in generating a response from humans." In fact, not all cats use this form of purring at all, she said, noting that it seems to most often develop in cats that have a one-on-one relationship with their owners rather than those living in large households, where their purrs might be overlooked.

The results were published in the July 14 issue of the journal Current Biology.

(Note: we are sorry we have not been online much, be we still cannot surf blogs because Firefox crash every time we go near Blogger. We needs help!)