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Friday, 31 August 2007


SS was telling me about an artist, Louis Wain, famous for his drawings
of cats was schizophrenic and the progress of his illness was reflected in his cat representations. Looking at the paintings I sure don't want to look like one of the later cats.

Thursday, 30 August 2007

Cats in art

While I don't have a single artistic vein in me, I do think cat representation in the visual arts needs to be promoted. To this end, Skuzzy has taken up the challenge and put together a virtual exhibit appropriately named Cats in Art. For all of you who are interested to be educated and entertained please have a look at http://www.delmars.com/kitcats/catsart.htm
It's very well put together. Congratulations to Skuzzy and greetings to all the other members in the house - Bubba, CC and BooBoo.

For those who are interested to carry on a bit further, there is a book by the art historian Stefano Zuffi on this subject. I haven't read it myself and so can't give an expert review, but those in the know seem to give it very good ratings. Perhaps SS would consider buying it when the scholarship cheque comes in next week. A little culture would not go amiss and may even detract her from indulging in junk food.

Wednesday, 29 August 2007

Celestial show

I suppose everyone is blogging about the spectacular lunar eclipse last night. I had a quiet, peaceful 'quality time' lounging on SS's lap in our back garden, snacking on cheese, ham and nuts and watching the full moon turning from silvery white to reddish- orange colour. It was an unusually warm night for August, still and clear, absolutely perfect for watching the celestial show. I hope SS and I will still be around for the next one in December 2011.

Monday, 27 August 2007

Out of sorts

I am feeling a bit sluggish and not eating well, not even ham excites me. I am afraid I might be going to the vet's soon, which I dread. SS is talking about getting the cc (cat carrier-case) and making an appointment if my condition does not improve.

However, I still managed to supervise SS in her tree pruning effort during the weekend and shared her lunch afterwards. She gave me some milk but she drank that dark dry powdery soil mixed with water, milk and sugar which is popularly known as coffee in the human society. Strange taste these humans have. What I don't understand is why spoil a good dash of milk.

Wednesday, 22 August 2007

Bliss on a damp night

SS came home early yesterday. Steamed chicken was on our menu and I had lots. Yummy, yummy, good for my tummy! After that we had a good brush and settled down for a quiet purring time together - she did the brushing and I did the purring on her lap. A wonderful, peaceful evening, snoozzzzzzzzzz!

Monday, 20 August 2007

More on the domestication of cats

It looks like we domestic felines are descended from a group of around five cats in the Middle East around 130,000 years ago as suggested by a DNA study involving over samples from over 900 domestic and wild cats. Researchers have traced the domestic feline family tree back to a small family of wild cats living on the banks of the Tigris and Euphrates in modern-day Iraq.

They also found that the closest living relative of the pet cat is the Near Eastern wildcat - a shy and rare creature which resembles a large tabby (pictured). Aside from accidental cross-breeding, the researchers also found that the domestic cats are not closely related to the wildcats of Europe, Central Asia and Southern Africa.

Dr Andrew Kitchener, a zoologist at the National Museum of Scotland and co-author of the report in the journal Science (July 2007, vol 317:519-523), suggested that the last common ancestor of wildcats and domesticated cats lived more than 100,000 years ago.

Although the first domestic cats appeared in Mesopotamia, it was the Egyptians who turned them from a working animal into a pet, creating a cult which was passed on to the Romans and exported around the world.

Although the domestication of the cat has been pushed back thousands of years, it still took place long after dogs were tamed.

Sunday, 19 August 2007

On weather, food and activity

Dull day Saturday and soggy Sunday. I happen to be the family's official weather forecaster. Whenever they see me curling up on the garden lounge outside the window of SS's study shed they know not to wash clothes as it is going to rain. So, here I am settled on the lounge lapping milk and eating snacks offered by SS, who says that I am getting fat and should consider more exercise and going on a diet. What am I supposed to do when she keeps feeding me all these treats and snacks? She bought some new dry food, in a rather eye-catching electric blue foil self sealing bag - it's for senior cats. I do wish she wouldn't rub it in!

Being senior, I do exercise sometimes but not as much as I used to. These days my favourite exercise is sauntering out to the front garden to watch cars go by or supervise SS trims bushes (which is not often). I don't even bother jumping the fences anymore because sooner or later someone would open the back door to let me in and out. I just have to mieow or knock and wait.

Friday, 17 August 2007


Tasty morsels are getting less frequent at dinner because SS thinks I should stick to healthy cat food/snack for seniors, whatever that means. However, she usually relents during the weekend when we sit sunning ourselves in the back garden and we would have cheese and biscuits. One time she was eating these revolting wasabi peas. I wouldn't touch them in a million years (not that I would be around for that long, even though I have nine lives)! So, Charlie-chien, don't be too mollified by the frozen peas on the kitchen floor.

Thursday, 16 August 2007

My days

Hmmm. I can tell that spring is just arriving with the longer, warmer sunny afternoons and tolerable nights. I do enjoy stretching out in the back garden during the day with the sun on my back and go for my evening jaunts now that the nights are not so cold.

However, I make sure I am there, sitting on the mat, in the mornings before SS leaves for university and at the back door in the evenings when she comes back. She baby-talks to and plays with me but more importantly she feeds me. I usually hang around a little longer after my dinner until she finishes her in the hope that she may have some tasty morsels for me.

Thereafter, I'm away! I am not letting on where I go and what I do. Cats never do!

Tuesday, 14 August 2007


I have come across two gems:

The Tiger in the House by Carl van Vechten. Great little study of the cat in which he discusses some aspects of Colette's Sept Dialogues de Betes which is in itself an interesting book. Both Toby-Chien and KiKi-la-Doucette are such engaging characters! What conversations!

While we are on literary subjects, here is another quiz:
What is the relationship between Chopin and F. Scott Fitzgerald?

Hint: it has to do with cats. This is a cat blog, you know.

Monday, 13 August 2007

The archaeology of cat

Knowing what SS does, all those who know her must be expecting this.

Since at least the time of the ancient Egyptians, cats have been cherished as companions, worshipped as idols, and kept as agents of pest control and good luck. Images of cats began to appear in Egyptian art at about 2600 B.C. and took on a more prominent role after 1600 B.C. But now French archaeologists have found evidence that our close relationship with cats may have begun much earlier.

The carefully interred remains of a human and a cat were found buried with seashells, polished stones, and other decorative artifacts in a 9,500-year-old grave site on the Mediterranean island of Cyprus in 2001. This new find, from the Neolithic village of Shillourokambos, predates early Egyptian art depicting cats by over 4,500 years .

A combination of factors is seen as evidence that the cat and human were intentionally buried together including the good state of preservation of both remains, the burial of an entire cat without any signs of butchering, and the proximity of the skeletons—just 40 centimeters (16 inches) apart. Analysis suggests that the cat was just eight months old at death and was possibly killed in order to be buried alongside the human.

In contrast to cats, intentional burials of dogs and puppies with humans occurred earlier and have been more common in the archaeological record. The earliest are known from the Natufian stage, 12,000 years ago in Israel.

Friday, 10 August 2007

More music and a little quiz

A wonderful little album by Nalini. Piano music with some very soothing cat noises. Have a listen to some of it at www.cdbaby.com/cd/nalini. I love it!

The quiz:
What did Cardinal Richelieu, Louis XV and Winston Churchill have in common?
Hint - it has to do with cats. Well, what else do you expect in a cat blog?

Thursday, 9 August 2007

Irish Drnking Songs for Cats and Cat Lovers

No, I don't like spiking my milk with alcohol but the album put out by Marc Gunn parodying traditional Irish pub songs with lyrics about cats is fun. He also writes songs for and about his tabby cats. If you wish to hear some of them, here is the website:


Wednesday, 8 August 2007

For the ailurophiles

Just a followup on the Meow Museum in Kuching. It is quite an impressive building and contains over 2000 exhibits relating to us Felis. Among these is a mummified cat from ancient Egypt where killing a cat was a crime punishable by death and family members mourned their dead pet cats by shaving their brows. Can't really imagine SS doing that when I die; she is just too vain.

Thursday, 2 August 2007

My double

I just can't resist posting this - an owl my age and we have the same name!!!!! Mirror, mirror on wall, who is the better looking of all. Well I guess since there are only two of us the choice is pretty limited. I think we're both cute.

Owl and the pussycat

Apart from Edward Lear's nonsensical poem, there are other connections between the owl and the cat. One obvious one is the Chinese name for owl is 'cat face eagle'. While there are some very cute owls, I do think I am much better looking overall. Bias? Of course.