World’s Crankiest Cat Found On World’s Tallest Mountain
10:18 AM EST on January 31, 2023
Around the world, grumpy people rejoiced upon hearing the news that the Pallas's cat, a species of wild cat famous for its fluffy potato body and constant sneer, has been found living on the tallest mountain in the world. This news arrived in a new paper published in Cat News, a publication that shares news about cats.
In the spring of 2019, a field team of scientists collected poops at two locations on the southern flank of Mount Everest in the Sagarmatha National Park in Nepal, more than three miles above sea level. The subsequent analysis of the poops revealed at least two Pallas's cats live on the famous mountain, feasting on mountain weasels and pika. "The discovery of Pallas's cat on Everest illuminates the rich biodiversity of this remote high-alpine ecosystem and extends the known range of this species to eastern Nepal," Tracie Seimon of Wildlife Conservation Society's Zoological Health Program at the Bronx Zoo, said in a press release.
It may seem surprising that a creature as beguiling as Pallas's cat could go undetected in a geological wonder turned tourist destination, where commercialized expeditions led to more than 50,000 visitors on the mountain in 2019. Although the 2022 season has been one of the safest ever—with only six deaths across all the Himalayan peaks—overcrowding in the 2019 season turned fatal, with people dying because they were stuck in a traffic jam at altitude and unable to replenish their oxygen supply. One-third of the deaths on Everest are Sherpa climbers, many of whom guide tourists to the peak while carrying their food, tents, and oxygen canisters.
Pallas's cats are elusive, and also rather small—as if you blow-dried a 10-pound house cat—but also somehow embody the spirit of Ray Ratto more than any other creature on this green Earth. Fortunately, Defector was able to score an exclusive interview with one of the two Pallas's cats living on Everest to hear their take on their surprise discovery.
Defector: Well, we found you!
Pallas's Cat: Fuck off!
How are you feeling?
I didn't want to be found, and, frankly, I would rather eat a half-rotted gerbil that died by eating a strange, yet-to-be-discovered bacteria than continue this interview.
How do you feel about the recent influx of climbers coming to the Himalayas?
If by climbers, you mean the rich adventure tourists who can afford to pay at least $45,000 and up to $150,000 to make it to the top of the (debatably) highest mountain on Earth, alongside the Sherpas who labor under life-threatening conditions to pave the way to the peak? Can you really conquer a mountain that is 50 to 60 million years old that was forged by the collision of two tectonic plates and will probably outlast everything you hold dear on Earth? They say adventurers, I say feckless weenies. And don't get me started on the trash.
When these tourists come and spend weeks on the mountain acclimating to the altitude—weenies!—they produce heaps and heaps of their horrible, crinkly human trash. Broken tents, old oxygen bottles, ropes, cans, plastic wrappers, all littered around the perfect snow of my mountain. I'm up to my ass in this trash! It's a wonder those biologists—who, by the way, need to pick up a new hobby and leave me alone—were able to isolate any of my poops on this mountain given that it's practically smeared in the frozen shits of climbers who bare their patchy pink asses on the side of my mountain. On my beautiful pristine mountain! It pisses me off.
Earlier this year, National Geographic reported the highest glacier on the highest mountain on Earth has lost 2,000 years of ice in just 30 years. Do you experience climate anxiety?
What the fuck is anxiety?
Well, as long as we have you, would you be able to confirm that you do, in fact, sit on your tails to conserve warmth on your paws, a fact that I've seen throughout the internet yet have not been able to independently confirm?
Where did you get that video of me? Who are you calling small! How dare you come to my home, to my beautiful mountain, and gawk at the adaptations I have learned in order to survive? Get off my mountain!
Would you agree with The Dodo's assessment of your species as "downright adorable" and the discovery of your presence on Everest as "insanely cute"?
Listen very closely, for these words may be the last thing you ever hear. I may weigh less than 11 pounds, but I could crush you in a physical fight or end you in a battle of wits. I have spent my life hunting at dusk and dawn. You spend your days sitting in a chair. I slink around caves and crevices, my coat changing with the seasons so I blend into the landscape. You could not pick me out of the landscape even with snow goggles on. I dare you to underestimate me!
Know this. When my fateful day comes, I will die in one of the most beautiful places on Earth, where snowcapped peaks hold limestone that once coated the seafloor, studded with the fossils of creatures that existed long before me and may outlast my bones. I look into the clouds and know that I have done no harm to this mountain. I have done no harm to this Earth. I will know that I have lived in harmony with those living beside me, even the ones I killed and ate. What have you done with your life? How will you die?