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Animals

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In Germany, rescued cows are finally getting the respect they deserve — and now they’re movie stars, too

Former dairy farmer Jan Gerdes at his sanctuary. Photos provided by Hof Butenland

Jan Gerdes was a third-generation dairy farmer. He took pride in his work, for a while. But then he started to feel torn, about the work that for so long felt perfectly normal, then began to feel the opposite. He was burnt out, and in 2002 Gerdes decided to sell off his herd. But when the day came to send the final twelve cows to slaughter, he just couldn’t do it. Instead, the farmer was compelled to keep the lucky dozen, and offer them refuge at what would become Germany’s first cow retirement home.

“As a dairy farmer I was…


They’re the closest thing to a dog in the cat world

A sleepy brown Maine Coon with a white nose and paws lounging in a cat bed in front of a sliding glass door.
A sleepy brown Maine Coon with a white nose and paws lounging in a cat bed in front of a sliding glass door.
Photo: Zulie Rane via Instagram

Three years ago, I had the difficult task of persuading my now-husband to get a cat. He was adamantly a dog person — he liked cats, but he was convinced they were inferior to dogs as house pets.

Now, he loves both our cats with his whole heart, but when I was trying to convince him, I found the best method was to find a cat that met his needs.

He said cats weren’t loyal? I found a breed that was. He said he wanted to walk a dog? I found a cat breed that loves walks. He said dogs…


Debunking common misunderstandings with actual scientific explanations for feline behavior

A gray striped cat with green eyes looks up from a round cardboard cat nest
A gray striped cat with green eyes looks up from a round cardboard cat nest
Photo: Ethan Brooke via Pexels

Cats are mystical animals. Pop culture would have you believe they’re capricious, confusing, clever, and conniving. Cat people (or the people who belong to cats, in more accurate terms) have struggled for millennia to understand cats and their mysterious appeal to humans.

The problem with mysticism, of course, is that it gives rise to conspiracy theories that somehow end up being treated as fact — or even policy, in certain cases. …


From Tortellini to Strudel, these animals named after food are exactly what you need to cheer up right now

Oliebol the dumpling cat. Photo: Lara Campelo

As the subject line of nearly every recent email has indicated, the last year has truly been “trying” (and all of its synonyms) for us all. Objectively and subjectively, the last 12 months or so have been a horrible, steaming-bag-of-horse-shit time.

Despite this, pets remain good. They’ve been our constant companions and in many cases, our stand-in co-workers. They’ve been there to warm our laps, lick our tears, and sit on our keyboards so that they can send messages like “////// —” and “bbbbbbnjsdkl” to our colleagues on Slack.

While all pets are spectacular, there’s something about pets with food…


Boosting their traffic can help save lives

A cat sitting on top of a pile of newspapers, against a yellow city wall
A cat sitting on top of a pile of newspapers, against a yellow city wall
Photo: Nathan Riley via Unsplash

What could possibly be better than cute cat blogs?

Cute cat blogs that help cats.

With cat videos forever basking near the top of the viral content pyramid, the entire world loves to be entertained by these amazing creatures to no end. But true cat lovers care about more than just entertainment. We want to see every cat in the world looked after and happy. We want a world where no animals are left hungry and alone.

As per the latest estimate, 10 million cats live abandoned or stray in the UK alone. …


Sanctuary Stories

Fur farms are slaughtering mink by the millions, but Olaf found a way out to the good life

A white-furred, pink-nosed mink looks curiously towards the camera lens from a hammock in a cage.
A white-furred, pink-nosed mink looks curiously towards the camera lens from a hammock in a cage.
Olaf at Critter Camp Exotic Pet Sanctuary. Photos provided and taken by Beth Randall, unless otherwise noted

When Beth Randall started feeling sick with Covid-19 symptoms in March, before testing was widely available, she knew right away she needed to stay out of the ferret and mink room at her sanctuary. As much of the world was just learning about the virus, the president and founder of Critter Camp Exotic Pet Sanctuary in Northern Illinois was already aware that ferrets and mink are uniquely susceptible, and started taking precautions.

Today, Randall is recovered and well, but also heartbroken to learn that mink can spread the virus back to humans in mutated forms, leading to the culling of…


Our dog died and nothing else has seemed to matter as much ever since — aka where I’ve been for three months

A black dog reclining in the author’s lap in a hammock above bright green grass
A black dog reclining in the author’s lap in a hammock above bright green grass
Jessie. Photos: Summer Anne Burton

I haven’t been getting anything done since election day. Like, nothing. I’m an extrovert, someone who derives a lot of my energy, creativity, and joy from socializing with others, and the pandemic had already squished my characteristic joie de vivre into a pebble before last November’s election night, triggering anxiety and depression that I was already treating with new medications and mostly-failed attempts to change my less healthy habits. …


Sanctuary Stories

Delilah is a special girl, a beautiful living reminder that turkeys are people too

A person in a blue flannel shirt, mask, and hat holds a cute young white turkey who seems to be looking at the camera
A person in a blue flannel shirt, mask, and hat holds a cute young white turkey who seems to be looking at the camera
Photos courtesy of Zoe Rosenberg

Driving past the slaughterhouse in Moroni, Utah, where countless turkeys are killed each year, Zoe Rosenberg, 18-year-old founder of Happy Hen Animal Sanctuary in California, says all you can see surrounding it are farms. “When you’re standing at the slaughterhouse, you can just look over and see the hills, sheds everywhere, for miles and mile and miles; hundreds of thousands of turkeys.” It’s from these farms, and at this slaughterhouse, where Rosenberg, along with activists from Direct Action Everywhere (DxE), have been rescuing turkeys for the past three years, in cooperation with the new slaughterhouse owner. …


The ultimate tree hugger (Photo: Sergey Gorshkov)

It’s Wednesday, folks!

Hope you’re staying well and enjoying lots of warm and comforting meals at home ❤️ I’m dreaming about/plotting to make butternut squash soup, potato leek soup, and maybe even some vegan broccoli cheddar soup. If you have a soup you’re dreaming about right now, I am definitely not opposed to getting some recipe recommendations in my inbox!

Aside from soup recipes, here are a few things I recommend taking the time to check out this week:


The powerful, expressive photo is truly remarkable, and stands out amongst a field of impressive entries — see them all for yourself

A dramatically-lit photograph of an adult female tiger who seems to be locked in a loving embrace with a tree in the forest
A dramatically-lit photograph of an adult female tiger who seems to be locked in a loving embrace with a tree in the forest
All photos: Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Amidst the magical surroundings of a forest in the Russian far east, an extremely rare Amul tigress ecstatically embraces a Manchurian fir tree, marking it with her scent to communicate with others of her kind. It took photographer Sergey Gershkov 10 months of waiting to catch a glimpse of this solitary creature, but his dedication was rewarded with a once-in-a-lifetime shot. This year’s winner of the prestigious Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition, “The Embrace” is a remarkable portrait of a rare and beautiful animal in her natural environment. …

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