Today a Kickstarter email landed in my inbox entitled ‘Projects We Love: Stranger than Fiction’. As an enthusiast for the obscure, I eagerly clicked the link and was greeted with a book proposition concerning the topic of so-called ‘half cats’. Quite literally, half cats are real cats that are missing the rear half of their body and hind legs.
Various apocryphal stories and photographs are presented on the project page, along with a curious video that I sense the narrator of was struggling not to laugh through at times.
Kickstarter, there are about 80,000 books about cats, yet there is only one book about half-cats. We need your help to advance half-cat science and make this book a reality.
Intrigued by this new ‘science’, I browsed through the pictures available on the Kickstarter page. One photograph in particular, which also featured prominently in the video showing the book author Erwin Hobbes, caught my eye.
It was a modern photo of a cat taken in 2012 by a Japanese photographer, Makoto Satsukawa.
Aside from the half-cat skeleton on show in Washington DC, this was the only plausible evidence presented that might take this story beyond its myth status. A well-lit shot, showing the cat’s shadow and unsupported walking.
Being based in Tokyo, Japan myself, I figured it would not be impossible to find the photographer and, possibly, even the half cat specimen itself! Modern video footage of the mutated cat would surely provide conclusive proof that half-cats can exist.
A quick Google search and I discover a Flickr user of the same name as our photographer and, thankfully, thousands of pictures of cats. This must be our guy. It wasn’t long before I unearthed what I was looking for. It is unmistakeable – the full-size original picture of none other than a real-life, plain-as-day ordinary cat.
Damn. Another photo submitted by Makoto that I found on the half-cat blog was also sadly disproven quite easily by a trawl of the owner’s Flickr stream.
And the original:
Oh well. I’ve notified the project owner about this discovery, but there it is. Sadly, this means we’re no closer to pinpointing the next sighting of our half-cat friends than before. But as conclusively damning proof that this is, we must remember that it isn’t ultimate proof that half-cats don’t exist. Like the philosophical black swan argument, it may just be a matter of time before a specimen bipedals its way towards us and, modus tollens, all cats will cease to be full.
Anyway, this post is in no way intended to undermine the fun Kickstarter project that is Half Cats. Indeed, it looks like it will be a very smartly produced book once published and will surely serve coffee-table discussions on the possible existence of lesser-bodied felines for years to come. If you want to support the project, check out the page here.
Bonus image: Google Streetview half-cat proved to be a hoax:
P.S. If you’re the owner of a naturally-born, living and perfectly bipedal half-cat that has not been in an accident removing its hind legs, drop me a line!