Friday, August 31, 2012

"Fun Finds" Friday

This is a random gathering of pet-related things we thought you might find interesting. 
(Okay, and a lot of it is from Mommy's snoop time on Pinterest!)

If you have a fun find you'd like us to feature, send us a shout-out by clicking on the Contact Us tab above.


Another one for you pups out there. Saw it on Pinterest, made me wonder how hard something like this would be to make.

Or, if you have the money but not the time, you could buy it at Opulent Items for a cool $300 (ouch!).

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Infographic: Woof vs. Meow

This cool infographic was created for to visually describe the data they have gathered on the differences between cat owners and dog owners. 

By their own admission, correlation does not imply causation. But they found it interesting. And so do we. Especially after the study released by Bristol University that cat owners are smarter than dog owners

Just meowin'. 

Click on the image to be directed to's site and to see an enlarged view of the infographic.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Wordless Wednesday

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

'Toon Tuesdays

Kitteh Dreams Unveiled. Don't tell the Humans!


Toon Tuesdays feature cat & dog cartoons made by the peeps over at Shoebox Greetings (a tiny little division of Hallmark) - where our mom works, too!

Monday, August 27, 2012

White cats, Star Trek, and deafness

We've fallen into the habit of using Monday's posts to talk about health, medical and safety issues - and even interesting science topics. Lately, we've been looking into the genetics of cat coloring.

You can read about why a Siamese is pointed...

What causes the striking look of a tuxedo kitty...
Even why some cats have blue eyes!

Today is a continuation of the topic from three weeks ago: White Cats


A truly solid white cat has the White Masking, or "W" gene to thank for its striking coat.  But that's not all a kitty gets from that "W" gene.

photo: Wikimedia Commons
Because that gene is responsible for masking all color everywhere, that means pigment is masked or blocked in the eyes as well.

If you read our post in July about what happens when pigment is blocked in the eye, then you won't be surprised to hear that these "W" kitties have gorgeous blue eyes.

(If you'd like to read a bit more on the science behind why this takes place, click here .)

Interestingly enough, this phenomenon causes white cats who have this "W" gene to be deaf.

But not all blue-eyed white cats are deaf, you say. Most are, but not all. 


For those white cats that are not deaf, there is a different gene at play - the Spotting gene. You can read all about the difference between a White Masking gene and a Spotting gene in the post on Monday, August 6.

So, what makes a white cat with the "W" gene deaf?  Star Trek.
Um. Come again?

Star Trek: the reason
white cats are deaf

Okay, well, maybe we're stretching the truth a little bit. Here's what's going on:

There is a spiral-shaped cavity in the inner ear called the cochlea. This is where sound waves are converted to electrical signals and sent to the brain for processing. In order for those electrical signals to be transmitted upstream to the brain, ion balance needs to be maintained.

(Sounds like some kind of warp drive, doesn't it? Like I said, Star Trek. I rest my case. ;-)

odd-eyed cats are often deaf in only one ear
We have no idea what ion balance is, and if you figure it out please let us know, because we're weird like that and love to get our geek on.

Bottom line here is, the thing responsible for maintaining this mysterious ion balance is a thin layer of pigment called melanin that coats the inside of the cochlea.

Can you see where we're going with this?

If the White Masking gene blocks the production of all pigment in a cat's body...then that melanin isn't going to be there.

No melanin means no ion balance. No ion balance means no sound transmission. No sound transmission means complete deafness.

Oh by the way, our Maxwell’s deafness isn’t caused by that. He’s got plenty of melanin in his ears!  His blue eyes are caused by the albino gene, and while that does turn off pigment in select areas of the coat and eyes, it leaves the melanin in the ears untouched.

(If you’d like to find out what caused Maxie’s deafness, you can read about it in last year’s Less Adoptable series post on deaf cats here.)

So there you have it: Star Trek - the reason white cats are deaf.

We sincerely apologize for our Mommy. She is SUCH a geek.

Washington State University Animal Sciences' paper on melanin and ion balance

Pleiotropy: University of Richmond

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Cat Diabetes Mini Infographic... & Smokey The Cat

We thought Purina's mini infographic on cat diabetes was interesting.
On their Facebook page last month they wrote:

"In the last four years, diabetes rates have increased by nearly 16 percent among cats, while the national average for the price of gas has increased by only 11 percent and the price of stamps by only 7 percent."

Not a good trend! It's our understanding that obesity and diet are the two biggest contributors to feline diabetes.

We're grain-free over here. I know this is a sensitive topic for some, but I found it interesting that some studies show  a low carbohydrate diet can significantly reduce - and sometimes even eliminate - insulin dependence in cats.

This shouldn't be a surprise, since I'm told the same is true for many humans suffering from Type II Diabetes.

We also practice portion control (no free feeding!). And we attempt to work in a daily play time with Da Bird or the Neko Flier (not always successful with that, based on our schedules).

Whew. We sincerely hope that's one less thing we'll have to worry about as the fur-kids get older!


We wanted to let you know about a Major Travesty being visited upon us over here:
We're being abandoned. Again.

Yes, and Mother's been working such late hours this past week that I'm sure she forgot to schedule my mani/pedi... *sigh*

Papa says Momma's running around like her hair's on fire or something.
But don't worry. I'm on it.

Please forgive us - we haven't been visiting as much lately as we'd like. 

Mom's production team had 8 business days to create 47 videos ("all hands on deck!")...and she's just a bit wild-eyed right now.

She'll be back next Friday and promises to help us catch up with you! 
In the meantime...we'd love it if you kept us company while she's gone!

Saturday, August 25, 2012

The Very Best Chocolate...EVER

My most favorite memory of chocolate will forever and always be...

Ryker, our chocolate point boy.

We miss you so.

Chocolate is this week's Photo Hunt theme, hosted by Sandi at the Whistlestop Cafe.

Friday, August 24, 2012

"Fun Finds" Friday

This is a random gathering of pet-related things we thought you might find interesting. 
(Okay, and a lot of it is from Mommy's snoop time on Pinterest!)

If you have a fun find you'd like us to feature, send us a shout-out by clicking on the Contact Us tab above.


This was my very first Pinterest purchase! Dr. Eve Riser-Roberts is a microbiologist and artist. She's also a very cool person we've had the pleasure of conversing with and getting to know! Eve's original series, "Famous Artists' Cats," is filled with both beauty and fun. She has 'envisioned' the cats of such artists as Gauguin, Monet, Van Gogh, Picasso and many more.

I loved the Jackson Pollock painting (below) and bought the fine art print (20x27 with white borders, $35).

If you visit the link for this painting, you'll be treated to a fun and whimsical story of how Jackson's cat came to have such a glorious coat.

You can view all Dr. Riser-Roberts' cat parody paintings - and their accompanying tales - as well as purchase fine art prints of them at The Cat Gallery.

Jackson Pollock's cat (frame not included in print) copyright © 2012, Eve Riser-Roberts

My other two faves are Magritte's cats - the story is hysterical! - and Beethoven's cat. I love the visual double entendre in Beethoven's cat and the wit of the story, too.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Thankful Thursday: Therapy Dogs

A few months ago, I got a call from a close friend of ours. He was at the hospital with their 8 year old son who had just broken his leg. X-rays had revealed something unexpected: cancer.

I won't go into the details, but as you can imagine, these recent weeks have been both heart-wrenching and grueling. Hospital stays for energetic 8 year old boys are trying under the best of circumstances, but weeks' long chemo treatments are No Fun.

So you can imagine what a treat it is to see a friendly, furry face walk through the door for a special visit. 

photo: Wikimedia Commons

To everyone who volunteers their time training these amazing dogs - and then sharing their beloved pets with others in this generous and thoughtful way...

Thank you.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Wordless Wednesday

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

'Toon Tuesdays

Is that a Furminator? We shoulda saved this for Hairball Awareness Week!


Toon Tuesdays feature cat & dog cartoons made by the peeps over at Shoebox Greetings (a tiny little division of Hallmark) - where our mom works, too!

Monday, August 20, 2012

Kitty Cams and Bad Journalism

We interrupt our weekly Medical Mondays for a wee rant... (we'll be back next week, we promise!)

One of the study's cats (via Univ of Georgia)
You may have heard something about the "kittycam" stir  that swept the news last week. I won't make this a terribly long rant, mainly because others have also rebutted the "kittyCam" issue.

But I did want to point out that four mainstream news outlets picked this story up - and they apparently didn't invest much thought into their reporting.

I don't know about you, but I consider USA Today, Yahoo News, Discovery News, and American Public Media to be sources that I should be able to reasonably rely upon to report factual information.

You probably recognize APM. They're heard daily on NPR, the radio entity considered by many to be the most objective and responsible reporting source in the U.S.

Let me first show you the facts I discovered within 30 seconds of googling "Univ Georgia KittyCam".
  1. The study was done by a graduate student for her dissertation. Didn't know that, did you? Now, granted, universities do use students in their research studies, and the study was funded by U of Georgia. But it's not yet been peer reviewed. And it's for a graduate student's dissertation. No huge government grant, no teams of researchers.
  2. Kerrie Ann Loyd, the graduate student responsible for the study, conducted her research in only one city in the U.S. and included only 55 cats. Since the APPA estimates that there are over 85 million pet cats in the U.S., that's a representation of  - ready for this? - 0.00000006% of that cat population. 
(Time investment: it took me 25 minutes to watch the video presentation by Ms. Loyd, and 30 seconds to do the math on the numbers she presented.)

Um, yeah.

Would you believe a straw poll represented the opinions of the entire U.S. population if conducted on that small a cross-section of people?

Yet none of the news outlets who reported this provided you with this information.

news outlets that "reported" the kittycam story

Here’s the Yahoo news headline: “‘Kittycam’ study finds cats are virtual killing machines” - and it comes complete with a photo caption reads: “A "kittycam" is seen attached to the ruthless killer.”
(full disclosure: this is on a Yahoo news blog, but accreditation is as a Yahoo News reporter, and the blog uses the Yahoo News headline - opinion here can easily be mistaken for factual reporting.)

And from American Public Media: “Kitty surveillance cams reveal that cats are total murderers”

Elizabeth Weise, USA TODAY, begins her ‘cutting edge investigative reporting’ with this inflammatory statement: “That mouse carcass Kitty presents you with is just the tip of a very bloody iceberg. When researchers attached kittycams to house cats, they found a secret world of slaughter.”

Another of the study's cats (via Univ of Georgia)
She goes on to quote George Fenwick, president of American Bird Conservancy, without even challenging his statement as a good reporter must. Here’s what he said: "cat predation is one of the reasons why one in three American birds species are in decline." That in itself is bad, but she does it within the context of (incorrectly citing) the entire U.S. cat population.

Discovery News led with this headline: "KittyCam Catches Cats' Killer Side" and includes an extended quote from George Fenwick, stating, "“If we extrapolate the results of this study across the country and include feral cats, we find that cats are likely killing more than four billion animals per year, including at least 500 million birds."

Is it just me, or do I sense some negligence on the part of these reporters?

Judge for yourselves based on the facts presented by Ms. Loyd as she presents her dissertation on the U of Georgia website. If you don't have a half hour to watch the QuickTime video, there are still a number of facts presented on the site. Here are some of them:

“Results indicate that a minority of roaming cats in Athens (44%) hunt wildlife and that reptiles, mammals and invertebrates constitute the majority of suburban prey.”(emphasis mine) When you do the math, that's only 17 cats. They're basing this entire brouhaha on seventeen cats?!?

More info from the U of Georgia site: a slide showing the types of animals cats hunt. Note avians (birds) are the lowest.
Yet the American Bird Conservatory is taking this study and using it to cry fowl - err, I mean foul.

Why is no one calling them on this - with the exception of cat advocates?

Katie Lisnik, director of cat protection and policy for The Humane Society of the United States, issued the following statement in response to the study:

outdoor cat, Wikimedia Commons
“A recent study on cat predation, while well intentioned, does not greatly expand our overall understanding of the dynamics of the issue. Some outdoor cats do prey on wildlife, but their contribution to reductions in wildlife populations is hotly debated and not fully understood.

“The study tracks only 55 pet cats – of whom only 17 pursued prey, with birds constituting only 12 percent of the prey. We urge caution in the extrapolation of this study’s results to policy responses based on the limited findings, which have not been peer reviewed.”

Had any of these news reporters invested a mere hour of their day to watch this report, they would have noticed Ms. Loyd mention that at the end of the study they offered the participating cats free medical exams.

She followed that statement with a sarcastic comment, "that was fun...!"  I propose that Ms. Loyd might not be as objective as one might wish a researcher to be.

One other observation was just a fun bit of trivia - Ms. Loyd showed a photo of the Save Loews Cats protesters in her presentation (was that Dorian Wagner of Your Daily Cute I saw in there?).

Cat On Patrol, Wikimedia Commons
And lest you think I'm using these facts to support my own personal agenda, let me tell you Ms. Loyd's limited research also claimed a few facts about the dangers to outdoor roaming cats that I'd love to quote.

But since her research represents one in five million pet cats in the U.S., I can't in good conscience use it!

I'm going to quote it anyway, but realize, this is not a statistic you can hang your hat on:

Here's what Ms. Loyd said they discovered:

"The most common risk factors experienced by suburban free-roaming cats include: crossing roads (45% of our sample), encountering strange cats (25%), eating and drinking substances away from home (25%), exploring storm drain systems (20%) and entering crawlspaces where they could become trapped (20%). Eighty-five percent of project cats were witnessed exhibiting at least 1 risk behavior."

So now you have the data - and the links at your fingertips - should you decide to investigate for yourself and form your own conclusions...uninfluenced by anyone's bias. Including mine.

(one last wee rant: This took me a mere hour and a half to research and write. And I'm not paid to report.
What are these so-called national news reporters who are paid to provide us with supposedly unimpeachable content doing with their time?!?!  :::end rant::: )


Next Week on Medical Monday: Star Trek & Deaf Cats!

Sunday, August 19, 2012

One Very Special Black Cat

Since last Friday was Black Cat Appreciation Day, we thought featuring Mommy's shelter love for today's Extreme Pet Blog Hop would be appropriate.

Meet Juno, a five year old Bombay girl. (Can a cat really be that incredibly soft and silky?)
She's not terribly fond of other cats, but desperately wants to bond with "her" human.

She has a funny little non-meow..actually it's more of a "RAWWWWK!"

...and of course, that classic shortened Bombay nose. (Can you believe people actually pass by her kennel and have the temerity to laugh at her?!? Oh that's just not right...)

We think this Bombay girl has the kind of looks that only a connoisseur has the taste to appreciate.
An Audrey Hepburn refined air with a Katherine Hepburn voice.
Oh sure, anyone can fall in love with your basic tabby. To fall in love with Juno requires a special person, someone with an appreciation for subtlety.

Juno's "sultry" look

How can anyone not appreciate such soulful eyes...especially when they come with a Faraday-esque personality? We're not kidding - this gal is his female doppelganger!

And like Faraday, she's talkative and confident with those she knows and loves - and skittish around strangers. That may be why she's still not yet found her forever home.

Besides the fact that she's black.

And the fact that some people can't appreciate the elegance of her Bombay profile.

Juno, chatting Mommy up about the kind of home she's looking for

Mommy's screening applicants VERY carefully, and there's even talk about "background checks" to make sure a potential adopter's really worthy of her (MOL!).

Seriously, she's stolen Mommy's heart...and she prays someone very special will come along who will appreciate the fabulous kitty that is Juno.

Juno is available for adoption at Wayside Waifs, Missouri's largest no-kill animal shelter and rescue resource.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Poor Pitiful Faraday, Instagram Style

"Mommy, seriously. What's the use of a Kitty Superhighway if there's no one to PLAY with?"

Thanks to Life With Dogs, Confessions of the Plume and Two Little Cavaliers for hosting the Saturday Blog Hop. And this is Day TWO of:

This week's Weekend Cat Blogging is hosted by imeowzaa.

Friday, August 17, 2012

"Fun Finds" Friday

This is a random gathering of pet-related things we thought you might find interesting. 
(Okay, and a lot of it is from Mommy's snoop time on Pinterest!)

If you have a fun find you'd like us to feature, send us a shout-out by clicking on the Contact Us tab above.


We love it when we find something that isn't just cool but it also helps save the lives of animals in the process. And there's nothing cooler than Sarah's Cat Tee Mission project! (click the logo to go to Sarah's site and read more about the cat tee mission.)

Get this - one hundred percent of the profit from these tees goes straight to helping homeless kitties!

You just can't get any better than that. And look at how cool these t-shirts are. Reasonably priced at $24-27, too. Click on a shirt design below to go to Sarah's shop.



We thought this was the perfect "Fun Find" to kick off the Extreme Pet Blog Hop. It starts today and its goal is to increase awareness for animal shelters worldwide. Click the badge below to go to the host site and join in!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Book review: "Julia's Cats"

When someone mentions Julia Child’s name, I’m more likely to think of Boeuf Bourguignon or Lobster Thermidor than I am Torties, Tonkinese or Tabbies. Imagine my surprise when I discovered Julia was a bona-fide member of the Crazy Cat Lady Club!

It turns out Julia’s passion for French cuisine was equaled only by her love of cats. “A house without a cat,” Julia is quoted as saying, “is like life without sunshine.” Now that’s our kinda gal.

So it’s fitting that, on the 100th anniversary of her birth, there is a book that celebrates her other passion.

Julia’s Cats is a charming weekend read. It begins when Julia first steps foot on French soil and catalogues her life by the many “pouissequettes” (Julia’s franglicizing of the English word) that she owned.

You’re introduced to a post-war Paris where in the winter one might or might not have heat or refrigeration, but the mice were plentiful. Enter Minette, a discriminating tortie who was recruited for mouse patrol but ended up as a beloved fur-child.

Minette religiously policed the kitchen floor for fallen morsels, held court over Julia’s very first students in the Childs’ kitchen, and proudly paraded through the apartment with her prized toy – a worn Brussels sprout tied to a string.

In very short order, she had captivated the hearts of “JuPaul” (as Julia and Paul called themselves). Minette became their entre´ into the world of French felines. Wherever they went, Julia sought out a French cat to greet while Paul found them to be his new favorite subject to photograph.

“A cat – any cat – “ Paul once said, “is necessary to Julia’s satisfaction.”

Little gems are buried in this book, such as the origin of the word restaurant (no spoilers here, sorry :-) and a peek inside the inner workings of the world famous Cordon Bleu.

But every bit of this is couched within the framework of the felines who purred, pounced and playfully wound their way into the Childs’ hearts and home.

We highly recommend this book. It’s a must-read for anyone who loves both cats and cuisine.  
If this sounds like a book you might enjoy, click on the Our Store tab at the top of our blog to purchase this book through!

Julia Child: born August 15, 1912. She would have been 100 yesterday.

Disclaimer: We were given a copy of Julia's Cats to review, but were not compensated in any other way. All opinions are our own.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Wordless Wednesday

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

'Toon Tuesdays


Toon Tuesdays feature cat & dog cartoons made by the peeps over at Shoebox Greetings (a tiny little division of Hallmark) - where our mom works, too!

Monday, August 13, 2012

Are Fragrances Dangerous to your Pet?

Vintage atomizer, Creative Commons
When Clean + Green first contacted me about promoting their Fragrance Free Day last Friday and offered their products as a giveaway – I wanted to do my due diligence.

I wasn’t going to publish anything on my blog without looking into it, and I wasn’t going to promote something if I hadn’t researched it and didn’t believe in it.

So I asked a few questions: “Is going fragrance free really necessary? What’s the big deal?’

The press release that Clean + Green’s company SeaYu Enterprises sent me claimed that:

“the Environmental Protection Association (EPA) states that fragranced products like air fresheners, fabric refreshers and traditional cleaning products contribute to poor indoors air quality, which can lead to health issues, especially for pets with their faster metabolisms and respiratory systems, and close proximity to the ground.”

Fragonard perfume lab, Eze, France
That got my attention. Was it true? Here’s what I found out.

According to the EPA, "The EPA Indoor Environments Division (IED) understands that exposure to fragrances can cause some sensitive individuals to experience asthma episodes and other adverse health impacts and therefore notes this potential in several of their indoor air quality publications."

The Journal of Environmental Research International (as published by the US’s National Institute of Health) has studied synthetic musks in the environment, finding they persist and bioaccumulate, and do not degrade in wastewater treatment systems.

If they don’t degrade in wastewater treatment systems, then chances are they stick around in the home environment for a while, too.

We’re exposed to these musks when they are absorbed in the skin as we use soap, cosmetics, deodorants or cleaning products- or when we wear clothes washed with scented detergents.

Handmade soap, Wikimedia Commons
Musks can also be inhaled through cologne or cleaning sprays.

Around 8,000 metric tons of synthetic fragrances are made and distributed worldwide each year.

(To give you a sense of perspective, that’s enough to fill more than 44,000 bathtubs. If you were to take a bath a day in that stuff, it’d take you over 120 years to see the end of it!)

The important thing to know about these synthetic fragrances is what they’re made of.  It’s a two-part deal. There’s the scent or musk itself, and then there’s the carrier that allows the scent to retain its pungency.
These fragrance carriers are known as phthalates. And that’s important for you to know, because studies have revealed some pretty interesting things about phthalates.

Phthalates are endocrine disruptors. (The endocrine system is made up of glands and organs that regulate the body, such as thyroid, pituitary and adrenal glands.)

When dogs and cats lick their fur - cats especially, since they meticulously groom themselves - they are ingesting phthalates. These phthalates accumulate on their fur through airborne exposure in the home.

A 2010 article published by Environmental Health Sciences explains that “exposure to these chemicals is ubiquitous as demonstrated by the large percentage of the U.S. population found to have detectable levels of phthalate residues.”  (By the way, that article was entitled Phthalates May Double Breast Cancer Risk.)

Cat and dog by Penarc, Creative Commons
And when compared to a study by the CDC of over 5,500 humans, cats were polluted by phthalate residue at a consistently higher level.

In 2008, the Environmental Working Group did a study on how household chemicals impact our pets.

Here's what this study said:
“Endocrine (hormone) system toxins raise particular concerns for cats, since they include the thyroid toxins and fire retardants called PBDEs. 

"Thyroid disease (hyperthyroidism) is a leading cause of illness in older cats (Gunn-Moore 2005). 

"The growing use of PBDEs in consumer products over the past 30 years has paralleled the rising incidence of feline hyperthyroidism, and a preliminary study suggests that PBDEs are found at higher levels in cats stricken with this disease (Dye 2007).” 

And dogs don’t get a pass either. The study noted that blood and urine samples from dogs were contaminated with “11 carcinogens, 31 chemicals toxic to the reproductive system, and 24 neurotoxins." 

“The carcinogens are of particular concern, since dogs have much higher rates of many kinds of cancer than do people, including 35 times more skin cancer, 4 times more breast tumors, 8 times more bone cancer, and twice the incidence of leukemia, according to the Texas A&M Veterinary Medical Center (2008).”

So, should you go fragrance free? I think these studies convinced me there's room for concern. When I go buy my laundy detergent tonight, I'm going to reach for the fragrance-free stuff.

Laundry waves in Scotland breeze, Wikimedia Commons

Next week: Our look at the KittyCam Study



Environmental Working Group report on contaminants in pets
A Whiff of Danger: Synthetic Musks May Encourage Toxic Bioaccumulation
Phthalates May Double Breast Cancer Risk 
WebMD: Does Perfume Have Hidden Health Risks?

"Does_Perfume_Have_Hidden_Health_Risks?" EPA study, via National Toxic Encephalopathy Foundation Report
EPA and fragrance
National Institute of Health’s Environmental Health Perspectives, Jan, 2005 
National Institute of Health study on bioaccumulation of phthalates (one of several)

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Clean + Green Giveaway...we have a WINNAH!

who won our Clean + Green giveaway!

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Our Five Fave Tweets: August 2012

Our monthly series continues...

oooh LOOK! A CHEW toy! *ang*ang*ang* mmfff-- *GAAACK*PATOOIE!* OK note to self: kleenex box NOT a chew toy *dirty look*

Oh Moootherrrrrr...! *smiles sweetly* Look at what *I* found while you were away from the keyboard...

FaRADaY: Aw, Mom *we* don't know where Allie is.  Maxwell: yeah and if she says anything, it wasn't a real snake we were chasing her with.

The feline version of teens texting: 3 cats, each playing with a toy mousie in the same room while ignoring each other.



We're participating in Weekend Cat Blogging, hosted this week by Amar & Luna.

This is a BLOG HOP! Click on the badge below to be directed to the host page and to read about the Extreme Blog Hop starting August 17th!