The 7000th post: A cat named Jerry Coyne

February 4, 2014 • 12:30 pm

This is our 7000th post—can there really have been that many?—and of course it must feature felids. What better subject than a report that one of my readers has named a kitten after me?

Reader Gayle Ferguson (that’s Dr. Ferguson) is a biologist who was Matthew Cobb’s postdoc, then a lecturer at Manchester, and now is is senior tutor at Massey University, in Auckland, New Zealand, where she teaches Evolutionary Biology and several other courses.

Gayle also has two cats, Millie and Lucy, who have been featured here before, but she recently decided to hand raise five tiny (3-week-old) kittens who had been abandoned by some cruel soul at a petrol station. Raising them involves feeding them every few hours with an eyedropper, a daunting task. But she reports on her Facebook page that they’re all thriving and gaining weight. Here’s Gayle feeding one:


And one of her Facebook entries—there were four females and one male—describes a ginger tom, and he’s named after me!:

Picture 1

Here’s the batch; I believe the orange guy in front is Jerry Coyne, though he could be the similar one in the rear.


It’s not all beer and skittles for their namesake, though:

Picture 2

I fervently hope that whoever adopts Jerry will retain both his first and last names.

Well, the count is correct, but WordPress can’t get one other issue straight. . . Picture 1

33 thoughts on “The 7000th post: A cat named Jerry Coyne

  1. Congrats Jerry – not only did you write your 7000th post but you get to be a ginger! Even The Doctor has never gotten to be a ginger! 🙂

    1. … while thinking outside it.
      Which could be taken as encouragement for Jerry Coyne (Ginger) to become more of a handful than Jerry Coyne (going silver) ever was.

  2. I have never had this situation, but I wonder if Gayle could develop a kind of ‘rotation’ system with the feeding and the pooing. Have a few extra small tubs or baskets on hand that are sparsely appointed. Take a kitten from the basket ‘o kittens, feed it, then put it by itself into a tub while feeding the next one, and so on. The first kittens will poo or whatever into the tub which will be relatively easy to clean up. After they are done they can be washed up and put back into the main basket with their litter mates.

    1. Yip. This system was put in place very quickly. But some kittens now wait until feeding is done and they’re all safely back in the box….. and only THEN will s/he poop! Every day demands a new regime!

  3. I’m still trying to figure out how one poos on a wall. Must either involve leaning on the wall or some very vigorous intestinal muscles. Either way, as usual, it’s clear that Jerry Coyne leaves quite the impression!


    1. Indeed, because many of the posts aren’t mine. Let me thanks the two main collaborators, Drs. Greg Mayer and Matthew Cobb, for their MANY posts on this site, as well as the occasional guest posters—including ex-religionists, reader Sigmund, and others whom I’ve forgotten for the moment—for their stimulating contributions.

  4. BTW, Jerry Coyne is the obscured kitten at the back rather than the ginger in the front. Will post new pics of Jerry Coyne soon.

            1. Oh, thank you so much for making those accessible! They are so precious–with your camera angles and close-ups you’ve really managed to convey some of what it must be like to raise & live with these cuties.

              And it must be an absolute tyranny as well! But I do realize they grow up so fast, so it won’t last forever.

              Love the way Jerry Coyne feeds himself. 🙂

  5. Congratulations! Are you handing out cigars?
    I have raised to kittens I found abandoned when they were just days old. They both grew up (way up; both were bigger than any other cat I’ve ever known)healthy, active and intelligent. When I became ill 8 years ago, my doctor told my husband to get rid of the cats, so he did (while I was still in a coma) and it broke my heart. It took about 3 years to successfully insist on getting a new one, but because of my health, none of the shelters would give me a kitten; it had to be a full grown cat. I am much better now and I want to adopt or foster an abandoned kitten again. Does anyone know how I go about finding one so young? I found it incredibly fulfilling and want to take in another baby, but the two I raised were ones my family found. (one in a field and one in a wall.

    1. Lisa, FWIW, my adult daughter is a long-time volunteer at a busy animal shelter, and they do receive the occasional litter of very young kittens, sometimes dropped off in a box anonymously. As you know it takes around-the-clock effort to get them through the first few weeks successfully, and the shelter relies on volunteers or known capable fosterers to take the litters home for the duration. It is not always easy to find someone who has the time and knowledge to undertake such a project when the need suddenly arises.

      Perhaps if you contact local shelters and let them know of your previous experience & present availability they might put you on a list of people to call when necessary. In a few months it will be “kitten season” and the demand could easily swell.

  6. Thought you might like to know that my Wiccan friends posted some things about you and New Atheists, lauding your stand and insisting that any intolerance of your views was in every way against what America is supposed to stand for. Don’t know if the support of weird naked people dancing in the woods will make you happy, but they did say very nice things about you.

    1. Under our clothes, we’re all weird naked people, and not enough of us dance naked in the woods. This group sounds lovely.

  7. Congratulations, Dr. Coyne, on 7,000 posts, of which a goodly fraction have been devoted to dispelling some of the overwhelming ignorance built into our culture.

    Here’s to 7,000 more!

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