Though there is no equal comparison and none could take the place of beloved Internet cat leader Colonel Meow, who departed this world a little more than a year ago, the latest Internet cat king bears a striking resemblance to the stern Colonel.
Meet Atchoum, a Quebec native whose piercing orange eyes and majestic fluff are a sight to behold.
Earlier this month, the French-speaking cat broke through several viral sharing sites, and has since shot to the online stardom that only cats can achieve these days. Atchoum's likeness has appropriately been said to resemble to Ewoks, David Bowie in Labyrinth, Elvis, Batman, the Lorax, a Gremlin and a devil. With a little button-black nose and such full face fur, the handsome cat often also resembles a toy dog breed, perhaps a shih-tzu.
The Montreal-based Persian's looks are surely unique, but there's a medical explanation for the floof overload. Atchoum has a rare condition called hypertrichosis, which causes excessive fur growth and also makes his fur much longer and fuller than other members of the feline species and his Persian breed. Knowing this, the translation of his name makes even more sense: Atchoum is French for the onomatopoeia sneeze sound "achoo."
In the past several weeks, the nine-month-old kitten has racked up more than 22,500 followers on his Instagram account, and is set to soon surpass 30,000 Facebook followers. Get with the program and start following him right meow, because Atchoum's star is obviously rising, and you don't want to be late to this party.
With the motto "I'm hairy, not scary!!" who couldn't adore this fancy, fluffy-faced feline?
The Kendall Yards development perched on the north bank of the Spokane River is growing so fast even we sometimes feel like we can't keep up, and the Inlander sees these almost daily changes right outside its front door. Another new venture is moving in just across the street from Inlander HQ in May, when creative arts education nonprofit INK Art Space is set to relocate.
Since it was founded last March, INK has been headquartered in a second floor space above the Bartlett (228 W. Sprague), thanks to a subsidized lease agreement with the building's owner, Dan Spalding. There, the nonprofit has hosted a slew of mostly free arts, music and technology workshops and programs for local, school-age kids.
The all-volunteer nonprofit, co-founded by Spalding and Spokane literary icon Jess Walter, has held classes in spoken word poetry, street art, music writing, digital arts and filmmaking, all thanks to local artists and creatives who've donated their time to teach at INK. Many of the free workshops, however, have been taught outside of INK's downtown space at Spokane Public Library branches to better reach underserved communities.
Yet the new Kendall Yards space — INK is actually set to move into a combination of two currently empty street-level spaces (1218 and 1214 W. Summit Parkway) between Mom's Custom Tattoo and MonkeyBoy Bicycles — should help with that aspect, says INK Board President Mischa Jakupcak.
"It's a great neighborhood for foot traffic and kids," Jakupcak says. "Where we’re at right now, around us there isn’t a ton of parking, and it’s not close to neighborhoods where we serve youth. We do a lot of programming with kids from West Central, so we’re nearer to where the kids are."
Kendall Yards developer Greenstone Communities is donating the space to INK through its charitable Greenstone Foundation. The new spot should allow INK to eventually offer a consistent, open-door schedule, whereas now it's typically only open during scheduled events, Jakupcak says. Once the creative space is up and running, she hopes to offer regular after-school programs and tutoring through partnerships with local universities like Gonzaga and Whitworth.
INK plans to continue partnering with the public library system to host off-site classes, too, among other public venues the nonprofit has worked with in the past year.
"We're really excited," she says. "We're going to have some tech aspects open to the public and it's really going to be a community center for people of all ages."
Two Spokane developers are asking for public support via Kickstarter of a mobile game they designed as a fun, interactive way to raise awareness and financial support for one of last year's biggest world issues — Ebola.
Ebola Attack is a mobile (to be launched on both iOS and Android platforms) arcade-style game, by Anna Czoski and Lance Hughes, in which players take on the role of "hero" white blood cells, rushing to defend against the Ebola virus and immunize red blood cells. The game uses tilt mechanics, with the option of an on-screen joystick, to control the playable character.
Ebola Attack's developer duo each have impressive backgrounds writing games and applications — Hughes worked on the popular Adult Swim game Robot Unicorn Attack, and locals walking down west Main Avenue have likely seen Czoski's latest project, a digital installation at Laboratory. Both attended SpoCode's 24-hour Game Hackathon last October, where the idea for Ebola Attack was generated. During that short time, the two were able to produce a working prototype of the game.
Now that its development is mostly complete, the team is looking for public support in the amount of $5,500 to cover various development and marketing costs. The recently launched Kickstarter campaign runs through March 6, and as of this posting a total of $435 had been pledged.
When Ebola Attacks is available to download, plans are for all profits from a paid version to be donated to organizations working on the ground in Africa to fight the virus, like Doctors Without Borders, UNICEF and the International Medical Corps.
Even though national concern over Ebola's spread has largely diminished — with the U.S. measles outbreak taking its place in the media spotlight — the disease is still prevalent in West Africa. Support to treat and prevent its spread is still needed, the developer team says.
The ballots are live — let the voting begin!
But before you start, know this important fact — for its 22nd year, the Inlander's annual Best Of the Northwest readers poll has a single important question: Best Local Cat. Yes, this is real, and we are serious, however, the story of how this question came to be included on the ballot this year is a little... less serious. In fact, after a brief lapse in memory this writer (aka the only one on staff who writes the Cat Friday blog) realized she is responsible for the existence of the "best local cat" category on the 2015 poll's ballot. What goes around comes around, it seems. (Disclaimer, it was not known during ballot creation that I was the one who jokingly (sort of) nominated "best local cat" as the "best question not asked" on the 2014 Best Of ballot.)
Before you bust out that pen (paper ballots are included in the current issue of the Inlander, Jan. 29-Feb. 4) or log on to vote online for your own feline friends, hear me out. There are lots of publicly known cats around town, so perhaps choose from the following pool of nominees instead to give a local "celbri-cat" some deserved recognition!
Bento the Keyboard Cat is the reincarnation of Spokane's most famous cat, Fatso the Keyboard Cat. Fatso is also the "original" internet cat meme, and should go down in history as one of the Lilac City's most famous residents of all time. Bento may already be an obvious choice for locals who know of his important role in pop culture, but in case you didn't know, we wrote about him last year. His owner is local artist Charlie Schmidt.
A somewhat dormant Cat Friday series profiling local business's resident cats highlights a few other felines in the public eye, like the two cats of Interiors By Robin, in the Garland Business District. Dolly and KeeKee often captivate passersby by laying in the business's storefront, adjacent to the Blue Door Theatre.
While they don't actually interact with the public, the three cats of Spokane Vintage Warehouse (Zoey, Aiden and Zelda) were our first "business cat" profilees, having gained a following by photobombing pictures of the business's inventory, often shared on its Facebook page.
A very special cat often makes the rounds of downtown Spokane web/graphic design firm Design Spike. Maddie was the second profile in the business cat series, and continues to make appearances now and then (when she isn't too cozy to leave the house) at the second floor office in the Liberty Building, above Auntie's.
While we've not profiled (yet) the following kitties, patrons of their business homes should recognize these friendly felines.
Alfred, a three-legged, jet black cat, is the official mascot of Cat's Meow Feline Veterinary Clinic in the South Perry neighborhood.
In the North Monroe Business District, Laney the calico has been greeting patrons of Dan's Barber Shop for nearly the past decade.
Although Northwest Christian Thrift Store sadly lost its well-known store cat, Mouse, in recent years, Kiera the tortie has been keeping the facility under her careful watch in her stead.
Both locations of local business Northwest Seed & Pet have beloved resident kitties. Gertrude, a black, former shelter cat from SCRAPS keeps an eye on things at the East Sprague store, while Wallace and Django keep the store's animals in line on North Division.
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