A Tale of Two Famous Kitties ...and The Librarian Who Loved Them

Neatorama is proud to bring you an excerpt from the new book The True Tails of Baker and Taylor by Jan Louch and Lisa Rogak (previously at Neatorama). It's the true story of two library cats who brought an entire community together beginning in 1983. 

It all started with mice in the library.

Assistant librarian Jan Louch and a coworker decided that what the library needed was a cat. Or, even better, two cats. Soon, they found a pair of Scottish Folds who were perfect for the job. Jan named them Baker and Taylor, and they took up residence in the library.

But these cats were much more than mousers. Visitors to the library fell in love with Baker and Taylor and their antics just as Jan had. And then, after Jan let the cats be photographed for a poster, they became feline celebrities. Children from across the country wrote them letters, fans traveled from far and wide to meet them, and they became the most famous library cats in the world.

In The True Tails of Baker and Taylor, Jan Louch looks back and tells the remarkable story of these two marvelous cats and the people―readers, librarians, and cat lovers of all ages―who came together around them.


The patrons who loved Baker and Taylor were a diverse lot. From the young mothers and toddlers who came in for story time to the retired business executives who came in each morning as soon as the doors opened and headed straight for the reading room where they could read the newspaper for an hour or two, a cross-section of the community walked through the door every day, and I loved that about the library.

(Image courtesy of Jan Louch)

In the early afternoon, there was usually a bit of a lull at the library; the patrons who came in the morning and others who returned a few books on their lunch hour were gone. The next rush consisted of the high school kids who would come in to do their homework.

Baker was a people cat – the staff’s nickname for him was “Library Slut.”

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Honest Dog Breed Slogans

There are all sorts of myths and misconceptions associated with popular dog breeds, and even though these stereotypes are largely untrue they just can't seem to beat the bad rap.

Dog lovers have been working to change the negative perceptions by spreading knowledge so people will stop seeing the bad in these breeds and accept them as they truly are.

These fun minimalist illustrations by Laura Palumbo poke fun at dog breed myths with a lighthearted sense of humor that's suitable for all but appreciated most by fans of the featured breeds.

See 12 Honest Dog Breed Slogans That Make Fun Of Stereotypes here


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Dog: "Are We There Yet? Are We There Yet? Are We There Yet?"


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This black Labrador is on his way to the park. He's in a hurry and acts like a backseat barker in response to his human's slow driving. He's just like a kid.

-via Nothing to Do with Aborath


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Puppy Joins Litter of Kittens

A Chihuahua puppy named Bobby was only two days old when his mother was hit by a car and killed. The Michigan Humane Society took him in, but he was so young, what to do? They had a cat in residence with a litter of young kittens, and they just gave Bobby to her. Gwen the mother cat took to him like he was just another kitten.  

(YouTube link)

Six weeks later, Bobby has settled into his new family just fine. The cats and puppy are all living with a foster family until they are old enough to leave Gwen and find forever homes. -via Buzzfeed


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Kitten Rescued from Tree by Crowdfunding

(YouTube link)

A 6-month-old cat named Boots became stuck high in a tree in Melbourne, Australia, early on Wednesday morning. The RSPCA and the local fire brigade declined to help. The cat’s owner couldn’t afford to hire a professional animal rescue service, and the tree branches were too spindly for anyone to climb.   

To raise the money needed, neighbor Susie Butler  started a Go Fund Me account. The required $205 was raised within a day, and Thursday morning Nigel's Animal Rescue managed to get Boots out of the tree. He had been there over 24 hours by then. You can see video of the rescue operation here. -via Arbroath


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Heroic Dog Rescues 2 Children from House Fire

The home of police officer Margo Feaser of Longwood, Florida caught on fire on Monday night. Neighbors smashed in windows to give Feaser an escape route from the home, which was rapidly filling with smoke.

Feaser got out, as did her dog and her husband, who promptly collapsed on the front lawn. But their 4 and 2-year old children were still inside.

Maxx, the family's German Shepherd mix, led firefighters back inside to the location of the kids. The entire family, including the dog, suffered severe smoke inhalation. But they're all alive, thanks to Maxx the dog. The Orlando Sentinel quotes Deputy Sheriff Dennis Lemma:

"The family canine was just absolutely remarkable leading firefighters inside," Lemma said. "It absolutely saved their lives."

Lemma said the Sheriff's Office is grateful for the quick-actions of neighbors and fire crews, but also called the deputy a hero.

"She came out and her No.1 concern was to get back in there and save those kids," Lemma said. "She's a hero and acted as such."

-via Ace of Spades HQ


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Bald Lamb Given Fluffy Sweater

A lamb born without fleece at a farm in Chilton Foliat in Wiltshire, UK, was rejected by his mother. It was just too odd. Farmhand Sally-Ann Fisher says they named the lamb Skippy because he looks like a kangaroo. He’s now being hand-raised by humans.

Ms Fisher, who farms with her partner near Ramsbury, said the lamb had been born 10 days ago but they were "not aware" that its lack of wool was a condition or a "health problem".

"He's just unlucky, but he's doing great," she said.

They don’t yet know whether Skippy will be hairless for life, but he’s already got the next best thing -a coat made out of a fluffy old white sweater. It will not only keep him warm, but may make him look more like the other sheep on the farm. -via Arbroath


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Cat Escapes from Polygon

We know how to trap a cat. But have you ever thought about the anxiety you cause for a cat trapped in such an awful way?

(YouTube link)

This dramatic video shows the angst and desperation of a helpless cat trapped in a hexagon taped to the floor. He cannot escape on his own, but needs a little help from a friend. Together, they create an opening in the infernal trap and allow escape. Yay! -via Boing Boing


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Unflattering Cat Selfies Are The Future Of Feline Social Media

It's pretty easy for house pets to take flattering selfies considering they're so darn cute, but the internet is already full of cute animal pics and the virtual world is becoming bored with beauty.

So what does the future of pet social media posts look like? Probably something like this:

The selfies cats are posting to the Unflattering Cat Selfies Tumblr are so much better than those posed and filtered pics you see on everybody's Instagram pages these days.

And if cats, the vainest and most superficial of all pets, can laugh at themselves by posting unflattering pics online can the rest of the selfie kings and queens be very far behind?

-Via Cheezburger


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This Cobra Just Wants a Little Tender Loving Care

This is a Western Barred Spitting Cobra (Naja nigricincta). During molting, our little friend needs to drink water. So YouTube user Частный экзотариум feeds him water from a glass. Then, after he's back in his tank, he gives him pats on the back. So apparently cobras are like dogs in that they liked to be petted.


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Despite the similarity, I think that I'll stick to dogs.

-via Gifsboom


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Vineyard Ducks March to Work

Twice a day, you can see a parade of ducks in Stellenbosch, South Africa, when hundreds of ducks go to work at 9:45 AM, and when they come home at 3:45 PM. The Vergenoegd Wine Estate keeps 700-800 ducks as pest control specialists for the vines.

(YouTube link)

The ducks eat slugs, bugs, and other pests that threaten the vineyards. They have been employed since 1984 (not the same ducks), and have proven invaluable. Since no chemical pesticides are needed, the vineyard has a WWF biodiversity certificate. -via the Presurfer


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Meet Finley, The Most Helpful Dog in the World

A video posted by Greg Baskwell (@gregbaskwell) on Apr 23, 2016 at 10:06am PDT

Whenever Greg Baskwell needs a helping paw, he can count on Finley. Finley will do anything to contribute. Need to wash the car? Finley is there. Need a helicopter landing pad? Count on Finley. Need bail money? You're on your own. Sorry, but there are limits.

-via Tastefully Offensive


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Meet PuiPui, The Most Fashionable Rabbit in the World

This is PuiPui, a Holland Lop and celebrity in the rabbit world. He's a fashion model without equal, dressing in only the most perfecty designed and crafted outfits. Whatever PuiPui wears is guaranteed to be the new look, so pay close attention.

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Pet 'Possum

That is one fat ‘possum. Redditor P_bryant562 has a friend who works at a pet store and had to snap this customer. If it wasn’t a marsupial, you’d call this a Rodent Of Unusual Size. She’s obviously raised this opossum from a very young age, or else it would be skinny, bitey, and would not be wearing a tutu. In the discussion under this picture, there are many tales of more common, yet funny, encounters with yard vermin.


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Kittens vs. Thugs


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Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele of the famous comedy duo Key & Peele bring us this promotional video for their new movie Keanu. The roughest, toughest, most muscle-bound and tatted thugs face off against the cutest kittens in a staring contest. Who will prevail?

-via Tastefully Offensive


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Little Owl Uses Mushroom as Umbrella

This is Poldi, a pet owl. He's just one and a half years old.

Poldi lives with Tanya Brandt, a photographer. Recently, when Poldi and Brandt went out together, it started to train. Poldi sought shelter under a mushroom. The resulting photo is like something out of a fantasy movie!

You can see more photos of Poldi at play at Bored Panda.

-via My Modern Met


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Baby Tortoise Uses Its Egg as a Shell


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The little fella still hasn't left his egg shell. Instead, he's carrying it around as extra armor around his own shell. It's sturdy and fashionable.

-via Nothing to Do with Aborath


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Cat at a Dog Show

Robert Dollwet took his Bengal cat Boomer (previously at Neatorama) to a dog show. Boomer is on a leash, and all those dogs acted like that was a cue that he’s just another dog, although at least one seems to have caught on. 

(YouTube link)

It ended up as an adorable encounter. Remember, this is a well-trained cat and the dogs are show dogs, so you can bet they are well-disciplined, too.  -via reddit


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This Is Why You Should Let Sleeping Tigers Sleep

Tigers are like all cats in that they need to squeeze in eighteen plus hours a day of beauty sleep, and they really don't like to be disturbed while they're catching some z's.

But unlike most other cats a tiger will launch a furious attack at anyone who dares disturb their sleep, even if that attack leads to an awkward tension between bros in a shared enclosure.

(YouTube Link)

Is that the tiger from The Hangover? Looks like Mike Tyson has taught him some moves!

-Via FAILBlog


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Toddler Blames Batman for the Mess He Made


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Laura Hopkins of Inverness, Scotland found lipstick drawings on a mirror in her home. She confronted her 2-year old son Noel.

Noel knew the truth: his favorite superhero, Batman, had gone bad, broken into their home, and drawn the doodles!

Oh, for shame, Batman!

-via Tastefully Offensive


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Italian Grocery Store Introduces Dog Friendly Shopping Carts

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It's a bummer dogs can't go grocery shopping with us because they'd be great at picking out snacks, although they'd probably force us to buy a cartload of both real and squeaky steaks so maybe we're better off.

But if and/or when grocery stores allow dogs to come along they'll ride comfortably in a cool dog friendly shopping cart, like this one introduced by Gianfranco Galantini in his grocery store Unes.

 

Now Gianfranco should consider dedicating one entire aisle to Snausages and other dog treats, so his new fleet of furry shoppers can spend their human's hard earned cash.

-Via PureWow


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Think Your Cat Is Lazy? Look At All The Jobs They Do For You!

The feline pet population has it way too easy- they're asked to do nothing more than catch mice, eat on the floor, poop in a box and allow humans to dote on them, which is why all the working dogs are so jealous.

But this video by Sho Ko seems to indicate that our cats are actually overworked, and with all they do in a day it's a wonder they have time to squeeze in sixteen hours of sleep!

(YouTube Link)

-Via Cheezburger


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10 Disgusting Animal Defense Mechanisms

You always hear about the beauty and majesty of nature, but it's not always pretty. Sometimes nature is just plain icky. Here are some of the grossest ways animals protect themselves from predators.

1. Turkey Vultures

Image: Kevin Cole [Wikipedia]

Generally speaking, vomit may be gross, but it's not much of a defensive mechanism. That is, unless we're talking about the turkey vulture. These birds gorge themselves so much that if they have just eaten, they can no longer fly. That's why vomiting is one of their best lines of defense -it not only disgusts a potential predator with the foul-smelling, acidic substance but it also allows the vulture the chance to move way faster and possibly even fly. In fact, the regurgitation is so gross that the vulture will sometimes vomit right in the eyes of its enemies, which causes a horrible stinging sensation. Oddly, bald eagles will happily eat the regurgitated mess because apparently they would rather eat rotting meat covered in stinky stomach acid than hunt for themselves.

Sources: Wikipedia, Nature Mapping Foundation, How Stuff Works and Beauty of Birds

2. Fulmars

Image: Siman Wagen [Wikipedia]

Another bird that has mastered the art of defensive vomiting is the fulmar. The innocent-looking birds have a nasty talent -the ability to projectile vomit a foul-smelling, oily secretion on anyone that threatens them. They can even spray the junk up to ten feet. The orange oil not only smells like rotten fish, but also will not come off and even sticks to the feathers of other birds, making them unable to fly or swim so they either end up falling to their death or diving into the water only to drown. As you might imagine, the fulmar itself is immune to the sticky oil globbing up its feathers and in fact, it actually uses the secretion as a high-energy food source for both the young and adults.

Sources: Wikipedia and FMSA

3. Hagfishes

Image: kinskarije [Flickr]

Hagfish aren't just ugly fish with an appropriately ugly name, they also have one of the most unique defense abilities in the world -the ability to ooze massive amounts of slime. This might not seem like a super helpful defense, but the goo makes it difficult for predators to grip the hagfish and it can also smother their gills, suffocating underwater predators. The slime is so thick that the hagfish themselves sometimes die if they cannot squeeze off the excess slop fast enough -which they do by tying themselves in knots. A typical fish can emit up to 5.25 gallons of the sticky glop.

Sources: Wired, Wikipedia and Sea and Sky

4. Hairy Frogs

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Cats Who Collect Things

Some cats love bottle caps, while other concentrate on milk rings or q-tips or ink pens or rubber bands. This is redditor jasonripp’s cat Cersei, after he found out where she hid her collection of bottle caps. She looks like she’s terrified he might take them away. My cat Marshmallow collects chopsticks, but when she can’t find any more, she’ll gather hair ties. She puts the hair ties in the cat food bowls, or even the water container, which all the cats share, and it aggravates the rest of them to no end. Continue reading to see more cats who collect things. 

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Surprise Wallaby Joey Shows Up a Year After Mating

Mica is a brush-tailed rock wallaby at the Taronga Zoo in Sydney. She’s been doing her job for the endangered species by giving birth. However, the only male wallaby in the zoo was moved away in March of 2015. Mica’s joey emerged from the pouch about six months later. But zookeepers were surprised to find that there’s another baby in there! The new joey recently peeked out from Mica’s pouch, and appears to be about six months old. How did that happen? Wallaby keeper Tony-Britt Lewis explained

The birth is the result of a phenomenon known as embryonic diapause, which enables certain mammals to extend their gestation period and time the birth of their young.

The reproductive strategy, which is used by a number of marsupial species including kangaroos, wallabies and wombats, usually occurs when adverse environmental conditions threaten the survival of the mother and her newborn.

“It’s an interesting survival mechanism that allows the mother to delay the development of the embryo in drought conditions or if she already has a joey in the pouch,” said Tony.

Read more about embryonic diapause at Wikipedia. -via Arbroath

(Image credit: Paul Fahy/Taronga Zoo)


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Hippo Gets Its Teeth Cleaned

I'm filing this post under "Lifestyles of the Cute and Cuddly" even though, Smithsonian magazine informs us:

[...] lore has it that hippos kill more people each year than lions, elephants, leopards, buffaloes and rhinos combined.

Hippopotami can and have swallowed people whole. But that does not deter this worker at the Tennoji Zoo in Osaka from cleaning a hippo's mouth and teeth with his hands and a brush. 


(Video Link)

-via Gifsboom


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When Dogs Can Fly...Oh Wait, They Already Can

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Remember that time when the New Zealand SPCA taught dogs to drive to show how smart pooches are and that yes, you can teach an older dog new tricks? Well those crazy kiwis are at it again and this time they're teaching dogs to fly the friendly skies. 

The pups spent four months in a flight simulator before trying the real thing and were, of course, always under the protection and supervision of trainer Mark Vette.


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Will Corgis Make Good Police Dogs?

In an experimental program, the Moscow Police canine unit will train a group of Welsh corgi puppies to do police work. According to state news agency RIA Novosti, two puppies are in training already, a two-month-old and a six-month-old. Elena Haikova, head of the canine unit, said there is no guarantee the experiment will yield Corgi police dogs.

She explained that the relatively low height of the corgi means they may prove effective in sniffing out objects close to the ground, and move in tight spaces, searching for bombs or contraband goods.

“They still need to grow, be trained and undergo every test,” Haikova said. “The dogs may buckle under the workload.”

We should know within a year whether corgis turn out to be effective for the tasks they are training for. -via HuffPo

(Image credit: Flickr user mr_wahlee)


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Swarming Crabs Look Like An Oceanic Alien Invasion

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Swarms of pretty much anything are scary to see swarming, terrifying when the swarm is coming towards you and totally panic inducing when the swarm actually makes contact with your body.

But thanks to this amazing(ly unsettling) footage shot by Jesús Pineda of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) you can just watch the massive swarm of red crabs scuttle along the Hannibal Bank Seamount off the coast of Panama.

(Vimeo Link)

This video documents a few significant discoveries- the red crabs had never been seen so far south (they typically hang out around Baja California), and nobody had ever documented red crabs swarming before.

It's almost like the crabs knew Jesús Pineda and his team were coming...

Read about Thousands Of Swarming Crabs Look Like A Horrifying Alien Invasion here


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Snapchat Filters on a Hamster

Snapchat is a social media app that lets people share photos. It includes fun filters that let users edit the images, such as giving people animal ears.

Twitter user @twentyonedorks applied them to her hamster, Murphy. Now he's even cuter than before!

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