Question: What can sprint at speeds of up to 30 MPH, jump up to six times their height in a single jump and tackle the balance beam with grace and beauty?
Nope, I’m not talking about Usain Bolt, Michael Jordan or Simone Biles …
I’m describing a creature that can do all the above and more!
Answer: The domestic cat
Cats are supreme athletes and acrobats due to their muscles, bone structure and brains – their bodies are built for speed, jumping and flexibly.
It’s amazing to think that your healthy house cat that sleeps 15-18 hours a day and with no training or conditioning can run as fast as an olympic athlete, jump (proportionally) higher than basketball players and contort their bodies in ways gymnasts would envy. All that rest and sleep is to conserve energy for short, very active periods.
Let's meet some of the cats that are part of the Strava workforce....
First up: Ramona (she/her):
Ramona is a bite-sized 4 year old shelter adoptee living in Brooklyn. According to Calvin, one of our Senior Server Engineer, she's a sweet-but-moody girl who'll come cuddle next to you and then hiss at you for being so close.
When she's not staring down the neighborhood cats through the window, she'll stare you down while sitting in front of your keyboard (or, if it's the morning: on top of you, right in your face, occasionally introducing a sandpapery lick).
Next up: Hugo (he/him) & Nibs (she/her):
Hugo is a beautiful 2 year old ragdoll that was adopted during the Covid years by our Senior Copy Manager, Genevieve. Hugo has questionable intelligence and terrible manners. He jumps on tables, bites for attention, and tries to eat all the plants. He also enjoys walking across computer keyboards, especially during meetings - He once interrupted Michael Horvath (our CEO) during a company meeting, much to his human's embarrassment. Despite all this, he really is the best; a lovable oaf with the highest-pitched meow and fluffiest fur.
Hugo will snuggle for hours, gives kisses (nose licks) and waits by the door for his people to come home. He's the kind of cat you love so much, but also wish would be just a little more civilized.
"Nibs" Hermione Ygritte joined the family last year. She was found in a dumpster and taken to a local animal shelter. Thanks to some extra time before a meeting, Genevieve popped into the shelter with ZERO intention of adopting any pets. However, Nibs' chocolate brown fur and tiny mousy face just captivated Genevieve. It took 15 minutes for Nibs to warm up and come over for some scratches. Genevieve spent another 5 minutes with Nibs and she could see that this little kitten was scared and shy and would do much better in a home rather than a cage.
The next day, Nibs was brought home as a foster until she could find her forever home. But as Genevieve noted, 'Who was I kidding? Lil garbage kitten stole my heart and is the sweetest, funniest, most loving cat ever and I can't imagine life without her. To this day she will eat ANYTHING. Steal the pizza right off your plate and the olives off your salad.'
Here's Samwise Gamgee, or Sammy (he/him):
This is Samwise Gamgee, or Sammy. He’s around 7 years old. His human, Adiel, one of our Software Engineers, adopted him when she moved to SF a couple years ago.
He claimed his human's desk chair, forcing her to work from the SF office most days, but on the rare day that she does work from home, he makes it clear that she's inconveniencing him. His hobbies include stealing the desk chair, sitting on the computer keyboard, and demanding to be held during zoom meetings. He has a very loud meow and loves voicing his displeasure with his human when she gets home from the office.
Fun fact about Sammy: he is very bad at catching spiders.
His human would like to note that even though he steals the chair and has strong feelings, he is also a total sweetheart who loves attention.
Introducing Merlin (he/him) & Fraidy (she/her):
Merlin (grey) and Fraidy (black & white) were adopted about 10 years ago by Kurt, one of our Android Engineers. Merlin was adopted first and Fraidy showed up at the house soon after. With a lot of persistence from Merlin, they eventually became close friends and Fraidy went from living in the backyard to being welcomed into the house. And Merlin went from being a strictly indoor cat to exploring the outside world.
Merlin is a people's cat and loves to be the center of attention. If you're on the couch and not petting him, he'll let you know by forcing himself onto your lap or between you and whatever you're doing (i.e. when his human is trying to write some code for work). He also loves bananas and will come running from well out of earshot, somehow, if he hears you tear the peel of a banana.
Fraidy is much more shy, but she goes where Merlin goes and sometimes, if you're lucky, you can coax her into some belly rubs which she absolutely goes crazy for.
Closing it out with Smudge (she/her):
Smudge lives in Denver, CO with Mona from our Community Management team. She loves going for walks around the trails behind the house. Due to her small size she has her very own jean punk vest to keep her from slipping out of the harness. Smudge got her name because her tortoiseshell color makes it hard to take a clear picture of her but here is one of those rare non-smudge-y pics.
We hope you enjoyed this edition of Cats of Strava. If you missed our introductory cat post, you can click here to see what you missed. We will have more cats to introduce you to so be sure to subscribe to Tuesday Chat with Team Strava so you don't miss meeting any of our feline companions.
Do you have a cat, or other nonhuman companion in your life that you'd like us to meet? If so, hit reply to this post and introduce them! Photos 📸 of your animal 🐈 🐕 🐓 🐎 🦎 friend(s) are highly encouraged.
Disclaimer: While we all enjoy having our pets tag along on our Strava activities, please note that only humans are permitted to open Strava accounts.
I've never noticed the "sound" a banana being peeled makes, will need to pay more attention to that (and, I only just finished having a banana)... none of our current cats have interest in bananas, but a prior cat loved to use them as a toy!
Ramona sounds like a sweet terror of a cat - we also have a cat who will hold us 'hostage' in cuddle situations, where they are happy to cuddle, but one false move (twitch), and prepare to be scratched!
My wife has to forcibly prevent me from going near any cat adoption areas - otherwise, we'll keep bringing more cats home.