Friday, August 19, 2011

Space-The Final Frontier......For Dogs and Cats

When I was a kid I loved to watch re-runs of the Muppet Show and my favorite skit was Pigs in Space 

Who am I kidding, I still like it.

Anyway, plenty of animals have gone to space (mice, monkeys, a cat from France, rabbits, rats, fish, frogs, tortoises, insects, and several dogs...but seemingly no pigs) I just thought it was decent segue way to this post.
Today, August 19th, marks the 51st  anniversary of Soviet Space Dogs Belka and Strelka day long orbital space flight.   They went into space aboard Korabi-Sputnik 2  and where accompanied by mice, rats, plants, and a camera that recorded the flight.   Belka and Strelka and their co-passengers have the distinction of being the first living creatures to go into orbit and survive.  Previous, soviet space dogs such as Laika, the first living creature to enter orbit, died during flight.   Here is a video clip of Belka and Strelka:

After, Belka and Strelka returned to earth they were national heroes.   Belka went on to have puppies with a dog named Pushok and one of the puppies, Pushinka, was given to President Kennedy's daughter Caroline.  Here is a picture of Pushinka on the white house lawn.

Pushinka went on to have puppies of her own and it is possible that her descendants are still living today.

In a weird coincidence today also marks the anniversary of the birth of Gene Rodenberry, creator of Star Trek.   Like all good science fiction/fantasy fans I LOVE Star Trek, even if it is kind of hokey.  Dogs, however, are pretty much totally absent from Star Trek--what kind of idealized future is that, I ask!  

However, Star Trek does have a cat connecton.  While I was at the Meet The Breeds event last year I noticed a sign at the Devon Rex table claiming that the breed was the inspiration for the Klingons on the show.   According to the story one of the writers for the show had a Devon Rex that liked to cling-on his shoulder, hence the name.  I have not been able to find any other evidence supporting this story though-so I am not sure if authenticity.  The breed does look pretty alien though-in a cute way
image from link

On Star Trek The Next Generation  a cat appears as a fairly regular character.   Data, the android science officer on the show, owns a cat named Spot.   Here is a picture of Spot from the show

 I always thought Spot was neat and when my husband and I got our cat Baby 

we almost named her Spot.

In one episode of Star Trek data reads a poem he wrote about Spot that Ive always thought is a pretty good description of cats in general here is the youtube clip and and text of the poem:

Ode to Spot

Felis catus is your taxonomic nomenclature,
An endothermic quadruped, carnivorous by nature;
Your visual, olfactory, and auditory senses
Contribute to your hunting skills and natural defenses.
I find myself intrigued by your subvocal oscillations,
A singular development of cat communications
That obviates your basic hedonistic predilection
For a rhythmic stroking of your fur to demonstrate affection.
A tail is quite essential for your acrobatic talents;
You would not be so agile if you lacked its counterbalance.
And when not being utilized to aid in locomotion,
It often serves to illustrate the state of your emotion.
O Spot, the complex levels of behavior you display
Connote a fairly well-developed cognitive array.
And though you are not sentient, Spot, and do not comprehend,
I nonetheless consider you a true and valued friend. 
I certainly consider my three cats true and valued friends.  
In conclusion keep watching the stars--with your pets at your side.



  1. I have quite a bit of the Muppet Show on DVD I was always a huge fan. I also remember being excited by the concept of dogs traveling in space. I am not sure Bailey and Katy would be up to the task. They find car rides challenging.

  2. One thing I love about the Belka and Strelka clip is they seem to bounce out of that rocket ship like it is a car! My dogs love the car (with the exception of Zira) but Im pretty sure they would not be fond of space travel

  3. Belka and Strelka just look so happy and non plussed, as if they're saying "well I don't really know what all the fuss is about... we only went into space!" I love the poem too... if you hadn't said it was Data, I would have thought it was something from Sheldon in the Big Bang Theory =^..^=

  4. I had forgotten about Spot! He was great with Data.

    Nubbin wiggles,

  5. Laughing at Kitcaboodles comment about Sheldon. I watch the Big Bang Theory at night with my folks too!! (they think I'm dozing but I'm watching really.

    The LOTH says she loved the way the guy on the Muppet Show used to shout PIGS IN SPAAACE!!!

    Love and licks, Winnie

  6. We've never seen the Big Bang Theory-I guess we have to check it out

  7. The Big Bang Theory is worth checking out if you like your sci fi (but have a sense of humour about it all!).

  8. I DEFINITELY have a sense of humor about sci-fi I love it, but know its silly. One of my favorite shows is MST3K (mystery science theatre 3000) Once I finish watching the Wire I will have to request it from Net Flix

  9. Love the Star Trek date connection and that poem is wonderful :-)