The Reason Some Cats Look Like They're Wearing Socks

iStock.com/TheKoRp
iStock.com/TheKoRp

As anyone who has tried to dress a cat in a fashionable outfit knows, animals aren’t really fond of clothing. Especially boots. That’s probably why some pet owners delight in pointing out that white cat feet sometimes look as though the animal is wearing socks. Nature can do what a human cannot—give some cat breeds the appearance of wearing apparel.

But why do some cats look like they’re wearing socks? Why aren’t their feet the same color as the rest of their bodies?

Science has an answer. Specifically, piebaldism. That’s the name for a condition caused by a mutation in the KIT gene responsible for distributing melanocytes, the cells that “program” pigment throughout a cat’s body.

In the absence of piebaldism, the melanocytes are evenly distributed, giving a cat a coat of fur that’s uniform in color. But if the KIT gene is mutated, cats won't have enough of the cells to cover the entire body and the cells they do have won't be evenly spread. As a result, portions of the coat will be white.

Genetics always play a role in a cat’s coat color. In the case of Siamese cats, it’s also partially temperature-dependent. In that breed, an enzyme can suppress melanin production, and the abdomen will appear sandy in color because it’s warm. Relatively cooler extremities, like the ears, will be darker.

Remember that it's always best to enjoy your cat's natural coat. Dying it can be harmful to the cat, and trying to put actual socks on them can be harmful to you.

[h/t Popular Science]

This Smart Accessory Converts Your Instant Pot Into an Air Fryer

Amazon
Amazon

If you can make a recipe in a slow cooker, Dutch oven, or rice cooker, you can likely adapt it for an Instant Pot. Now, this all-in-one cooker can be converted into an air fryer with one handy accessory.

This Instant Pot air fryer lid—currently available on Amazon for $80—adds six new cooking functions to your 6-quart Instant Pot. You can select the air fry setting to get food hot and crispy fast, using as little as 2 tablespoons of oil. Other options include roast, bake, broil, dehydrate, and reheat.

Many dishes you would prepare in the oven or on the stovetop can be made in your Instant Pot when you switch out the lids. Chicken wings, French fries, and onion rings are just a few of the possibilities mentioned in the product description. And if you're used to frying being a hot, arduous process, this lid works without consuming a ton of energy or heating up your kitchen.

The lid comes with a multi-level air fry basket, a broiling and dehydrating tray, and a protective pad and storage cover. Check it out on Amazon.

For more clever ways to use your Instant Pot, take a look at these recipes.

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Researchers Just Unearthed ‘Lost’ Footage of the Extinct Tasmanian Tiger—Watch It Here

A Tasmanian tiger, or thylacine, in captivity circa 1930.
A Tasmanian tiger, or thylacine, in captivity circa 1930.
Topical Press Agency/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

For 85 years, the last known footage of the now-extinct Tasmanian tiger sat forgotten in the National Film and Sound Archive of Australia (NFSA), until it was recently unearthed by researchers from a Facebook group called the Tasmanian Tiger Archive.

The NFSA’s newly digitized 21-second clip is part of a nine-minute travelogue called Tasmania the Wonderland from 1935, presumed to be the work of Brisbane filmmaker Sydney Cook (though the film is missing its credits, so that remains unconfirmed). It shows a striped, dog-like creature named Benjamin—the last of his kind ever in captivity—pacing his cage at Tasmania’s Beaumaris Zoo, which shut down in 1937.

Tasmanian tigers aren’t actually tigers—they’re carnivorous marsupials called thylacines. TreeHugger reports that the species died out in mainland Australia about 2000 years ago, but they managed to survive in Tasmania until the 20th century. Though thylacines were officially declared extinct after Benjamin died from suspected neglect in September 1936, the status has been highly contested to this day.

“Do I think the animal is extinct?” Neil Waters of the Thylacine Awareness Group of Australia told HowStuffWorks. “No, because I have seen two and been coughed/barked at by one in South Australia in 2018. There have been more than 7000 documented sightings of thylacines (or animals that appear to be thylacines), with the majority of those sightings on mainland Australia.”

Considering that fewer than a dozen known clips—a total of just over three minutes—of film footage showing thylacines exist today, Benjamin’s 21 seconds of fame in Tasmania the Wonderland is a monumental rediscovery. And, since thylacines were exhibited in zoos in Washington, New York, Sydney, Berlin, and other cities after the advent of film, the NFSA is optimistic that more footage could turn up in time.

[h/t TreeHugger]