Caturday felid quadrafecta: reading cats, cat essay, dog-walking cat, phallus-marked cat

August 2, 2014 • 8:00 am

You’re lucky again: four items today! The bad news is that I forgot to post this first thing. But better late then never, and, after all, it’s early in the US.

The first is a bit of reading first from the “opinion” section of the New York Times:A man and his cat” by Tim Kreider. Kreider notes that he had his cat for 19 years, which constitutes a civil union. And, in one section,  he tries to pretend he’s not fixated on his moggie (do read the whole short essay is worth reading):

Although I can clearly see this syndrome as pathological in others, I was its medical textbook illustration, the Elephant Man of the condition. I did not post photographs of my cat online or talk about her to people who couldn’t be expected to care, but at home, alone with the cat, I behaved like some sort of deranged arch-fop. I made up dozens of nonsensical names for the cat over the years — The Quetzal, Quetzal Marie, Mrs. Quetzal Marie the Cat, The Inquetzulous Q’ang Marie. There was a litany I recited aloud to her every morning, a sort of daily exhortation that began, “Who knows, Miss Cat, what fantastical adventures the two of us will have today?” I had a song I sang to her when I was about to vacuum, a brassy Vegas showstopper called “That Thing You Hate (Is Happening Again).” We collaborated on my foot-pedal pump organ to produce The Hideous Cat Music, in which she walked back and forth at her discretion on the keyboard while I worked the pedals. The Hideous Cat Music resembled the work of the Hungarian composer Gyorgy Ligeti, with aleatory passages and unnervingly sustained tone clusters.

Speaking of reading, I call your attention to the “Book Buddies” program of the Animal Rescue League of Berks Count [Pennsylvania], Inc.–a program in which kids read to animals, which apparently helps the kids learn (and soothes the animals, as well as possibly getting them adopted):

Program Overview Children in grades 1-8 who are able to read at any level are invited to the shelter to read to the cats in our adoption room. The program will help children improve their reading skills while also helping the shelter animals by providing socialization and human interaction. Cats find the rhythmic sound of a voice very comforting and soothing.

The Book Buddies Program was implemented by ARL Program Coordinator, Kristi Rodriguez.  Her son, Sean, who’s a 10 year old 5th grader, served as an inspiration for the program.  He struggled with reading at school and so she brought him in to read to the cats and he loved it so much, he asked to come back.  She knew if her son liked reading to the cats, then other children would as well.  The program officially began in August 2013 and since then  Sean has shown remarkable improvement in his reading and now often reads to their d*gs at home.¹

Sean’s story is similar to those of many other children who have participated in Book Buddies.  The program has grown within our community and is taken advantage of by home-schooled children, Brownie Troops, parents who want to expose their children to animals, parents of autistic children and many more.

¹The d*gs don’t understand, though. . .

A few photos. Now don’t you want to read to your cat, or give a few bucks to this deserving organization?




Third: a video of a cat walking a dog home; the way it should be:

Finally, a tw**t by George Takei:

Screen shot 2014-07-29 at 2.04.11 AM

Would anybody really notice that unless their mind was already in the gutter? Looks like a normal cat to me.

h/t: Matt, Grania, Lana, Greg Mayer

13 thoughts on “Caturday felid quadrafecta: reading cats, cat essay, dog-walking cat, phallus-marked cat

  1. I had a song I sang to her…

    I do it when I prepare its food and when it’s being annoying.

    Dunno why…

      1. “Is my face dirty, or is it my imagination?”
        “Your face is clean, I don’t know about your imagination.”
        –Benny Hill

      1. A penis – no: to quote Philip Larkin larking,it’s ‘a monstrous prick and balls’. But, yes, only filthy-minded humans would notice, and other cats don’t,or if they do, they are too polite to mention it.

  2. Book Buddies is a fabulous program. They use cats and d*gs here. Instead of reading to an adult who might correct the child, reading to animals means acceptance. For a kid who has trouble reading, this is a big boost.

  3. But Dr Coyne you know that the human brain is built around pattern recognition. It’s just that some of us make more out of the patterns than others.

  4. Being enamoured of a reading specialist, I am familiar with the idea that reading to animals has value to children. Around here, people in the community bring pets to the schools. Cats are popular but, curiously, the most popular seems to have been a very well-behaved chicken! And, when you think about it, chickens do have a posture of seeming interested.

  5. better a phallus on a cat’s face rather than jesus on a piece of toast–or anywhere else for that matter.

  6. Interesting story “A Man and His Cat”, and very well written.

    Unlike my piece, but hey..

    We have two cats in our household. They were originally bought in by my daughter as kittens when she was a teenager. When boys came along they were promptly cast aside. Gradually and imperceptively they became my responsibility. I always knew I didn’t like dogs (loud, smelly, boisterous), but I never knew I liked cats until one day my wife identified me as a “cat person”. Despite my heart felt instant denial and my efforts to then distance myself from our cats, I finally had to agree (only to myself of course) that it was true.

    To be honest, I connect with only one of our two cats. The other one only ever shows up at dinner time. I call it “Freeloader” (for some as yet unknown reason, my son calls it “Kitler”). The one I connect with I simply refer to as “pussy cat”, though her offical name is “Tinker”. She follows me wherever I go. Right now, she is at my feet while I’m typing away at the keyboard. If I sit down to watch the football, she is on my lap. When I am gone I will find her on my return either sitting on my side of the bed or one of my chairs in the bedroom, kitchen, computer recess, or lounge.

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