April Fools Day Evening Thread

Originally published in the April 1st, 1995 issue of Discover magazine. The Hotheaded Naked Ice Borer is a fictional animal invented by Discover magazine as an April Fool’s Day joke. A short article on the Hotheaded Naked Ice Borer first appeared in the April, 1995 issue of Discover magazine. The article was written by Tim Folger, then an editor at the magazine.

Good Evening

Today is one of the most annoying days on the internets…of course, I am talking about the April Fool “pranks” played on the “unsuspecting” public on the world wide web. It used to be fun, way back in the day of print magazines. National Geographic and Discovery Magazine had some spectacular ones.

<———You may remember this gorgeous fellow in the picture from Discovery Magazine.

Here is a link to NatGeo’s history of April Fool’s Day: April Fools’ Day Mystery: How Did It Originate?

For the eager prankster, nothing beats the centuries-old tradition of April Fools’ Day.

“A lot of people think [April Fools’ Day] is just obnoxious, and just wish it would stop,” said Alex Boese, curator of the Museum of Hoaxes in San Diego, California. (Read an April Fools’ Day Q&A with the Museum of Hoaxes curator.)

“But people who love pranks really love the day and refuse to give up the tradition. They’re the ones who keep it alive.”

Boese notes, however, that the number of pranks in the home and at the office has decreased in recent years in the United States, and has been replaced by large institutionalized media hoaxes, he said.

(Related: “April Fools’ Day Special: History’s Hoaxes” [April 1, 2003].)

April Fools’ Day Origins a Mystery

The origins of April Fools’ Day are shrouded in mystery, experts say.

The most popular theory is that France changed its calendar in the 1500s so that the New Year would begin in January to match the Roman calendar instead of beginning at the start of spring, in late March or early April.

However word of the change traveled slowly, and many people in rural areas continued to celebrate the New Year in the spring. These country dwellers became known as “April fools,” the story goes.

Mr. Boese does not think this is the case, but you can read the rest of the history of April Fools Day at the link.

I do have two places you can go to check out what internet pranks were pulled today:

Internet April Fools Jokes – Google Search

April Fools’ Day On The Web : 2013

The “perfect pet” became the perfect April Fools’ Day prank in 1984, when the Orlando Sentinel ran a story extolling the merits of the “Tasmanian mock walrus”—including a picture that actually featured a naked mole rat (pictured). According to the paper, the four-inch-long (ten-centimeter-long) creature resembled a walrus, purred like a cat, and was as tractable as a hamster, the Museum of Hoaxes website said. This ideal pet—which had supposedly been smuggled in from Tasmania, an island state of Australia—also never needed to be bathed, used a litter box, and munched on cockroaches. Dozens of people called the Sentinel seeking to get their own Tasmanian companion, according to the museum’s website. Unfortunately, real-life naked mole rats don’t live up to the newspaper’s hype.

(BTW, I remember that 1984 prank distinctly. A hairless hamster who eats roaches? Cool! But I didn’t remember that it used a litter box.)

With all that being said…I have a couple of cat stories for you.

Boston Boomer sent this to me last night. I don’t think it is a joke, because it seems fair to me that back in the middle ages, a monk who spent his days as a scribe, had a pet cat that wanted a little attention….Curious Cat Walks Over Medieval Manuscript.

This article was published on March 26th, so if it is a joke…its a damn good one.

A medieval manuscript showing cat paw tracks across the pages.

Inky paw prints presumably left by a curious kitty on a 15th century manuscript.

While thumbing through the medieval manuscript in July 2011, Emir O. Filipović, a teaching and research assistant at the University of Sarajevo, discovered pages of the book stained with the inky paw prints of a cat and snapped a picture—something he planned on sharing with colleagues and students for a laugh.

“I never could have imagined the attention that those prints would subsequently receive,” Filipović wrote in an email.

Filipović sent the photo to fellow historian Erik Kwakkel via Twitter in September 2012, but it wasn’t until earlier this year that the paw prints saw a flurry of reblogging, retweeting, and sharing.

“It’s not very often that a researcher can come across curious things while sifting through monotonous and dull archival registers,” Filipović said. But the more time spent scouring manuscripts, the better the chances of stumbling across oddities.

One of my favorite history blogs is called Got Medieval, which takes a look at the Marginalia that is found in medieval manuscripts. Here is a little cat found in the margins that you tickle you…If You Give a Cat a Necklace (Mmm… Marginalia #30) — Got Medieval

I’m not 100% sure on this one, but I believe this is an illustration of an old medieval folk-tale. It goes thus:

If you give a cat a necklace, he’ll want to throw a party.If the cat throws a party, he’ll want to invite over all the dogs who used to chase him to lord it over them.

If he wants to lord his necklace and party-throwing panache over those dogs, he’ll have to hire some entertainment to play music to set the mood.

If he hires entertainment to play mood-setting music, he’ll have to go with the bagpipe playing fox, who is the only one available on such short notice.

If he goes with the bagpipe playing fox, his groupies the geese will come too. They go everywhere with him.

If the geese come, the owl will follow behind, but he’ll mostly keep to himself at a table alone.If the owl stays at a table by himself, they’ll probably call up the flute-playing monkey in hopes of cheering him up.

If they tell the monkey who plays the flute, he’ll come, but he’ll be totally disinterested in the cat’s party and only make things more awkward–for the owl and for everyone else.

If the monkey acts like he’s above the party, the cat will be filled with an impotent self-loathing.

If the cat is filled with an impotent self-loathing, he will forget he is anthropomorphic, throw his necklace away, and feast on the tender flesh of a mouse who just came to the party to get a cookie…

Why, heartless, foolish world, why did you give the cat a necklace? Now a poor defenseless mouse is dead and the king of the cats has forgotten how to sit at the table and use a knife and fork. And all because you gave a cat a necklace.

It’s either that, or we’ve got a medieval-version of the Goofy/Pluto problem on our hands here. While all the other characters are anthropomorphized animals, the King of Cats’ pet cat is still a non-anthropomorphic cat. Perhaps this is why the monkey looks so pensive. If there are non-anthropomorphic cats in his marginal world, is it possible that he is just a normal monkey, and not an anthropomorphic one?

Well, who would have thought the best damn party in the world would come from giving a cat a necklace….

I had to go to my neurologist in Atlanta today, so I won’t be around the internet much. Please be sure to share some pranks you may come across during the day…

This is an open thread.

Another One Bites the Dust

NOTE: The post below was posted yesterday morning on my personal blog, ecocatwoman.  After sharing it with the other Front Pagers, bb, jj & Mona suggested I repost it here.  It isn’t the usual sort of post you see on Sky Dancing, so I’ll understand if it isn’t your cup of tea.  And, HT, I really did pick this title before your comment on Kat’s post last night – really!


In 1999, when I was relatively new to the feral cat “community” and Trap/Neuter/Return I answered a call from a very nice woman who needed help trapping a litter of 8 – 10 week old feral kittens.  She had managed to trap the mother cat and her semi-grown kittens from a previous litter and get them all fixed through Orange County’s CARE program.  In 1999 I had recently become the president of CARE and we did not normally go out and do the trapping.  She was a very sweet woman and desperately worried that the homeowner’s association would call either animal control or critter control and the kittens along with the ones she had already fixed (and bonded with) would be trapped and killed.  I talked at a meeting of the homeowner’s association and convinced them to hold off on trapping, explaining that CARE worked in partnership with Orange County Animal Services to trap, alter and vaccinate cats.  My intention was to trap the kittens and return them “to the wild.”

I only managed to catch one kitten on my first attempt. She was absolutely beautiful, but completely wild. Being a novice I felt she was too old to try to tame/socialize her. So, once she was spayed and recovered, I returned her. She died within 2 days, which devastated me. I decided once I trapped the rest (actually 4 remaining littermates and 2 from the litter of another female), I would make every effort to socialize them and find homes for them, although CARE did not do adoptions. I felt I had enough contacts in the rescue community that I could easily find a group who would handle the adoptions. I was ridiculously lucky, trapping all 6 kittens at once, something I never managed to do again in the following 8 years of trapping expeditions.

After dropping the little ones off at the clinic in the morning, I saw a kitten blithely walking across a normally very busy road as I was driving home. Of course, I stopped and picked him up and took him home. He was about the same age as the kittens, but he was the friendliest kitten I had ever seen. He cuddled on my chest and purred all the way home.

Within two days of bringing the 6 kittens home, I noticed one of them (Chaz) had a beard of bubbles on his chin. I called my veterinarian and she told me to come in the next morning with all of the kittens because, at least, Chaz had calicivirus, which was/is highly contagious. No doubt they had contracted it at the animal services clinic and that is probably what caused their sister’s death. To make matters worse, while I was researching home remedies for cats with colds, Charlise, Chaz’ sister was the only one in the 2 litters who got sick, seriously sick. However, Clark, the sweet boy I picked up off the street, got deathly ill as well, along with one of my adult cats, Catherine. All were bundled off to the veterinary clinic, where both Charlise and Catherine spent 2 weeks for treatment and force-feeding. Clark was the sickest and spent a month at the vet’s office before he began eating on his own. Whew – we had dodged a bullet. It is always dreadful to lose one of my animals, but losing kittens is the worst by far for me. As of tonight, Charlise is the last of this little family of kittens/cats.



I lost Cisco suddenly on February 16, 2008. I had taken him to my vet because the nictitating membranes (third eyelid) in both of his eyes were partially up. He had no other signs of illness. He hadn’t lost weight, he was eating, so I didn’t suspect there was anything seriously wrong. Within 2 or 3 days, he had died. The vet suspected either liver or pancreatic cancer.

Darling Clark, the kitten rescued from the 6 lane highway died, after a long wasting, undiagnosed illness, on February 25, 2010. He had grown into a Velcro cat. He would leap through the air, almost like a bird, to be in my arms. He would leap from the floor, from a countertop, the bed or the arm of a chair, flying into my arms without scratching me or digging in with his claws. Turning my back did not do any good in dissuading him from his goal, so there were many times he would end up on my back, much like a living backpack.



Chaz first developed plasma cell stomatitis, a common result of having had calicivirus in early 2008. I had most of his teeth removed in April, 2008. He was fine for awhile. By the end of 2010 it was obvious he had a problem with one of his ears. Cordelia, one of my dogs, would continuously clean Chaz’ ear, while Chaz would lie there seeming to enjoy the cleaning, grooming process. I took Chaz to my vet and she found that he had a cancerous, inoperable tumor in his ear. His health deteriorated and I had to have him euthanized on February 12, 2011.



As Chaz was going through his illness, his brother Charlie, another sweet, extremely affectionate boy began losing weight much like Clark He would lose weight, and then seem to recover and start putting some of the weight back on he had lost for a period, and then start losing weight again. I took him to the vet on numerous occasions, had tests run again and again to no avail.  X-rays, blood tests, nothing revealed what was causing the weight loss. I had to force feed him from time to time, as well as give him sub-cutaneous fluids to keep him hydrated. Finally, it became obvious that he wasn’t going to recover and his weight loss was decimating him. I had often brought him to work with me, and everyone on staff fell in love with him. He was happiest in someone’s arms. I let him go and had him put down on June 14th, 2011.

At that point, I had only 3 cats of the original 6 remaining. Of those one had never become tame, Chandler. Over the years, I had only managed to get a quick “pet” of him while he was eating. Generally, if I got within about 3 feet of him, he would hiss and take off. Courtney, one of Chaz’ and Charlie’s sisters who was among the three, had remained feral for the first year after joining my herd of cats. Then, surprisingly, she lay on the edge of the bed, rolled onto her back and looked up at me, as if she was asking for a belly rub. At the top of my “can’t resist list” is a kitty tummy. Regardless of the potential danger, the soft fur of a kitty tummy is totally irresistible to me. From that moment on, I could pet her and love on her and she never failed to offer me her tummy for a rub.



Courtney developed a snuffing noise during the time I was dealing with other seriously ill cats. I assumed it was an upper respiratory problem, so I used a vaporizer to try to clear it up I also tried a dry herb vape pen and a nebulizer, but neither did any good. I took her to the vet, who insisted it was, in fact, an upper respiratory illness despite my insistence that wasn’t the problem. In late 2011 she spent a week at the vet’s office, but she was still  snuffling when I took her home. I did some research on the internet, the vet did x-rays because I was certain she had a nasal tumor. I ended up taking her to the area veterinary specialists, where they did a CAT scan. Unfortunately, I was right. She had nasopharyngeal carcinoma. It was an inoperable, fatal condition. She was fine for a while, but one morning she started having seizures. I rushed her to the vet and had her euthanized. That was on January 12, 2012.

About a month or two after losing Courtney, Chandler began losing weight, much like Clark and Charlie had done. After visiting two different vets, both of whom failed to diagnose either Clark’s or Charlie’s conditions, I saw no need to go through the frustration and enormous costs just to be told either “don’t know” or “can’t treat”. Chandler continued to eat, quite a bit, being the first cat with his head in a bowl of food every night. As he continued to lose weight, I called my vet’s office to alert them that I would be dropping him off, explaining he was feral and would have to be sedated to be examined. The problem? I couldn’t catch him. After making several attempts, I gave up. Then one day, to my great surprise, he allowed me to pet him. Within a week or two, he allowed me to pick him up, and even carry him around. I took him into the vet and she postulated, due to feeling a mass in his abdominal region that he either had a kidney tumor or one in his spleen. By this time he had lost a considerable amount of weight he certainly could not withstand a major surgery.



I refuse to sanction surgeries to remove tumors, especially internal ones. Every time I’ve had that done to other dogs or cats, the cancer spread like wild fire throughout their bodies. I had put Cricket through 5 surgeries for mammary cancer, many years before. After the 5th surgery, the tumors returned within 2 days.

The vet suggested subcutaneous fluids daily for Chandler after giving him an antibiotic injection. I tried the vaporizer again with some medicinal vape juice to calm the nerves. He lasted 2 weeks. Although he ate a small amount yesterday (Thursday) morning before I left for work, and the fact that I knew his remaining time was very limited, I chose not to take him to the vet on Thursday to have him euthanized. I wasn’t ready to give up and he didn’t seem to be ready either. However, when I got home from work, it was obvious that it was time. He had chosen to spend the day in a carrier. When I first looked at him, lying with his head in a awkward, unnatural position, I feared he had died while I was at work. He was alive but terribly weak, so I arranged to bring him to the vet in the morning. It became obvious within the hour that he probably wouldn’t last the night. He was uncomfortable and probably in pain. I took him to the nearest emergency clinic and had him euthanized. At least, after 13 years of longing to touch him, pet him and hold him, I had the opportunity to do that for the final weeks of his life. It was a special gift he gave me in the end that I will always treasure. To hear him purr for me when I petted him and hold him was a reward that I shall always cherish.

Little, petite Charlise, stunted by her early illness, remains the last of the group of kittens saved from a shorter, more difficult life on their own. May she live many, many more years.