Half Cat, Half Hoax?

By Michael Gakuran | | Japan | 12 Comments |

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.

half-cat-book

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.

Makoto_SATSUKAWA_2012_submission2

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.

7313842106_36e4867482_o

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.

Makoto_SATSUKAWA_2012_submission

And the original:

8149772533_ffb180f569_o

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:

google-streetview-half-cat

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!

12 comments on “Half Cat, Half Hoax?
  1. Gabriela says:

    Another enthusiast for the obscure here. I landed on this page while looking for more information about the Japanese half-cat photos (a single photographer managing to capture more than one half-cat seemed just too lucky to be true).
    I would like to point out that the alleged «Australian Native Half-Cat» skeleton in the Smithsonian doesn’t seem to be that of a cat. The skull looks wrong for a meow-meow.

  2. Don’t be fooled. Those images have been double-catted. The government is adding legs onto bipedal cats to ease the public eye.* http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7TJSm7hk7W4

    *lies, this book is a work of fiction.

  3. Bob says:

    How do you know the “whole” cat photos are not the manipulated ones?

    • Indeed, we cannot rule out this possibility. But Occam’s razor teaches us that, when evaluating multiple hypotheses without a definitive way of deciding between them, we should go with the hypothesis with the fewest assumptions.

      In this case we must assume more through the double-cat conspiracy theory than with the theory that the owner manipulated images of a regular cat. If we proceed down the double-cat road, what is to stop us formulating ideas of triple cats, quadruple cats and so on? :p

  4. Now I wonder if they will actually remove those images or if they don’t care they’ve been faked.

  5. Biggi Bell says:

    a half cat would be really sad. How would it be able to walk or- purr? My late cat Max once had a shot through scapula and had to wear a cast, first on both front legs, after two weeks only on the injured one, for over a month. It was so sad to see him not beeing able to to anything. He was exausted all the time and did not purr once. Fun fact though, my cat was able to escape the house with the cast on and jumped over a 2,5 m brick wall wich I, at age 9 and feverish could not climb at all. We got him back a week later but I am still getting laughed at about this… (-_-)’
    My final opnion in this matter, such cats can exist but they might not be able to live or walk.

  6. Durf says:

    My grandmother once had a three-legged cat. It was named Tripod, as all three-legged cats are. I always thought that Google street view one was caused by fused video frames taken of a cat in motion . . .

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