Just when you think you've seen it all comes a story from the "Felines: Out Of Love" society -- a cat-loving genetic research group based out of The University of Wisconsin at Sheboygan. The scientists there have designed what they're calling the "Permanent Kitten." Yes, this is exactly what you think it is -- felines that remain in a permanent state of arrested "kittenness."
These little fuzzballs are genetically modified to say the least, which as we all know is a highly debated topic. The details are a little vague at this point, but this is what we know from a single bizarre statement released by Dr. Tensing Funkhouser at the university on March 21. "Once born, the kitten grows normally up to a designated point picked out by the buyer from a range of two weeks to three months old. If an eight week old kitten is ideal for you, you can do that. If you want a 3 week old kitten that you have to feed from a bottle its entire life, you can do that too." Dr. Funkhouser closed the statement with a cryptic line -- "It is the dawn of a new age. With our fairly successful trials thus far, we believe this will only be the beginning of what lies ahead in terms of purposefully arresting external physical development."
I did some more digging and found this out -- they claim to have singled out a gene they believe is responsible solely for the physical characteristics associated with age, without affecting the internal aging process. Mutating the gene allows the kitten to grow old and die like a normal cat, while staying at the set age. The folks in Sheboygan are saying it will cost in the neighborhood of $10,000.
So wow, just wow. No word yet on what this Funkhouser character meant by "fairly successful trials" either. I picture a cyclops tabby with a lion's tail and no teeth. Also, since the kittens do age and die, it's not really so permanent now, is it? They may want to work on the branding some. Perhaps -- "The Cat that Doesn't Show the Effects of Aging, But Will Still Die On You After You've Dropped Ten Grand." A little wordy, but spot on. That's all we have on this for meow, but stay tuned.
We'd also like to wish you a happy Aprils Fool's Day from HowStuffWorks.com -- there is no permanent kitten, no Tensing Funkhouser and no University of Wisconsin at Sheboygan. No wait, that part is true.
Please feel free to head back to the home page where you can really learn something! Or for some more April Foolishness: