Dressed up pet cats?

Why do people put photos of their cats in various poses (and sometimes dressed up!), on iNat? Seems strange when you can put them on Facebook and Instagram to your heart’s content. Am I missing something? Do these observations have scientific value, even if the photos don’t. There seem to be over 27,000 observations of domestic cats, I guess that includes feral cats, which must be of conservation interest, but how many of the obs are pet cats? A large portion of the obvious pet cat observations that I’ve seen have not been labelled captive, so I guess that makes more work for those studying feral populations?

Any homeless cats are wildl on iNat, not just feral. I doubt you really saw many unmarked pets, cat observations have too many people checking them.
Pet observations have value the same way any other captive/cultivated observation has, people post much stranger things than own cats.

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those are easy to mark as captive, and forget.


A cat is often the trojan horse that will get people to use and contribute to Inaturalist!


Huh, I hadn’t noticed this yet. There used to be a social media site called Catster (and an equivalent site for dog lovers called Dogster), which was the perfect place to post such pictures and share your cats/dogs daily adventures and silly pictures. Apparently these were changed into magazines a while ago and are no longer sites where you can post profiles and pictures of your pets. It might be that people who used to post on there are looking for another outlet for this type of activity.


A cat being observed is at least a cat being watched not to go hunt birds.

I wouldn’t mind if they made a rule so pet cats should obligatory have belts with bells (or something close). I’d happily ID cats posted here with fashion and noisy outfits.


Sometimes new users who don’t fully understand what iNaturalist is for will post any animal/plant picture at hand just to test the AI.


Which won’t help anything, cats learn easily how not to trigger those.


IIRC it’s also been shown that just the presence of a cat affects the ecosystem- it unsettles all the prey animals, causing them to change their behavior. Plus, no bell in the world stops the spread of toxoplasmosis. Cats really just need to stay inside unless supervised, like any other pet.

As for cats in costumes: if it gets folks using the site, folks who eventually start using it for its intended purpose, that’s a good thing. Otherwise, oh well- at least it’s cute.


I suspected: Cat bias on iNat?

However, I didn’t realize there were so many brave pet owners who dared to dress their cats. I assume they’re all wearing raptor handling gloves, are mortally wounded, or have the rare photogenic cat that doesn’t mind the costuming (e.g ragdoll).

In all seriousness, I think part of it is new users who aren’t sure about what iNat is for and seasoned users who aren’t as rigid about the scientific purity of iNat data. Sometimes they are simply amazing observations like #18418933 (not mine).


There are pictures of dressed up cats on iNaturalist? I wish I had known that sooner, I’ve been using this site wrong for years!


Have you directly asked anyone their motivations for doing this? Unless someone here does that, all we can do is speculate.


Oh man, what an observation! (Typical cat)


How do you feel about zoos?

Let’s stay on topic here, folks.


I post what I presume to be domestic cats sometimes when I see them outside. I usually post when they look as if they are strays or when they are close to birds or nesting grounds. I just see them as another part of the ecosystem, domestic or not.


No, not as yet but I’ll do that politely next time I see a relevant post.


Interesting. The funniest inat posts I see are the human observations and the ones where someone is holding nettles or poison ivy in their hands.

That probably does mess stuff up for those trying to study the feral cat populations, and must be irratating.

People may be trying to get the species on their lifelist, that’s the only reason I’d put a domestic animal on inat, anyway.

Maybe they don’t choose to use social media platforms like twitter, facebook, etc, so they put their funny cat pics on inat instead? inat isn’t meant to be for posting things like that though.

A few ppl mentioned that it could just be new users who don’t know much about inat yet, and I am guessing that’s what it mostly is.

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Dressed up pets should definitely not be uploaded here. Also this is the wrong place for Zoo animals (seen an Okapi uploaded for Ireland…)

On the other side - I am regularly in Romania which has a lot of feral cats and dogs (and horses in the Danube Delta) and plenty of times these observations were wrongly marked up as casual which I find equally annoying.

Would suggest though that an AI/filter here should prevent the uploading of dressed up pets.

Nothing wrong in uploading pets or zoo animals!