Russian president's cat runs away

This July 2009 file photo shows President and Mrs. Obama giving Dorofei the furry eyeball.Russian president Dmitry Medvedev, in response to rumors that his cat, Dorofei, had run away, tweeted on Wednesday that Russia's First Feline was perfectly safe.

"About the cat. A source lose to #Dorofei says he has not got lost anywhere," Medvedev tweeted while on a trip to Asia. "Thank you for all your concern!"

But by the time Medvedev got around to setting the record straight, the internet had already jumped on the meme with all four paws. A newly-minted Twitter account in Dorofei's name had already racked up almost 400 followers as of when Medvedev made his statement – and was at the center of a swirl of wisecracks about Medvedev's relationship to president-elect Vladimir Putin, in whose interests Medvedev is often said to be acting. "It's simple," read one tweet from the @KotDorofey account. "I ran away from Medvedev because he promised to hand me over to Vladimir Putin. Help me hide!" The tweet played on Medvedev's assertion this week that he would pass a message along from President Barack Obama to Putin after they met in Seoul, Korea. (In Russian, the expression "pass on" or "pass along" can also mean "hand over to.")

Yahoo! Screen: The secrets of pet communication

The rumor of Dorofei's voluntary disappearance began when a Russian tabloid, Sobesednik, claimed the cat had gone missing, and that lost-cat signs had appeared on telephone poles near Medvedev's official residence in a posh Moscow suburb. It seems pretty clearly to be a joke, but some readers believed the tab's claim that "Police are already nervous and searching for the cat under every shrub."

Some fellow tweeters were sympathetic to the plight of Dorofei, described as a rare Nevsky Masquerade cat Medvedev's wife bought for roughly $1000 back in 2003 – but others snarked that the cat was wise to beat feet when he did. Anatolly Srakarny joked that the cat thought, "'It's now or never,'" and "Run, #Dorofei, Run" became a popular hashtag.

Again, Dorofei appears to be accounted for – but the "political pets take to Twitter" trend is one we're really enjoying, starting with the Irish Setter Mitt Romney notoriously strapped to his car's roof for a 12-hour ride. And don't forget the U.S. First Dog's numerous Twitter accounts; Bo even has one in Arabic! (If anyone can track down the "official" Bo account, let us know.)

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