Caturday felid trifecta: Quarantine tips from cats; analysis of an ancient cat sculpture; and life with a lion pride (and lagniappe)

April 4, 2020 • 9:15 am

The New Yorker has a short piece about how to quarantine safely and effectively—supposedly written by the author’s cat. Click on the screenshot to see them.

Of course, the “tips” are all things that cats normally do, like these:

Communicate with friends and family.

Start screaming at 6 a.m., for no reason, at anyone within hearing distance. Yowl at the birds. Walk across (or lie down on) a computer keyboard. Cry in front of the closed door to a room you’re not supposed to be in anyway. Bite a phone. Yell into your full bowl of food.

Maintain a balanced diet.

Eat small meals, three to fourteen times a day. Dump food onto the floor for variety. Put your entire hand in a bowl of popcorn but then decide it’s not what you want. Steal a piece of turkey from an unattended sandwich.

Stay hydrated.

Drink plenty of water, ideally directly from a running faucet.

At least the cat didn’t recommend drinking from the toilet. . . .


From the iris, the site of the Getty Museum, we get an intriguing investigation of a bronze cat statue found in the Getty villa. What was it? Was it from ancient Egypt?

Here’s the statue and what was written on its base:


“Mounted By W.T. Ready, Nov 1892, 55 Rathbone Pl(ace), London W.” A 19th century business directory listed Ready as “a dealer in antiquities, coins, metals and gems.”

J. Paul Getty bought the statue for £600 pounds in 1955, acquiring it for his envisioned museum. At that price, it better have been genuine! But curators decided initially it was a modern imitation. Then SCIENCE stepped in: X-rays,

Read the article to see the scientific methods used to date it, including X-rays, fluorescence spectroscopy (pXRF), and thermoluminescence. The final result was dispositive:

One of the most advanced technical processes from antiquity, lost wax casting, used a clay core over which the wax model was built up and modeled. The thin layer of wax was then reproduced by the bronze cast. We suspected that this dark material might be a clay containing core material.  If so, could it be dated by a process called thermoluminescence?  To find out, we sent a sample to a dating laboratory in Oxford England. The material indeed contained clay and could be dated to between 1700 and 2700 years ago. Taken together, the alloy and clay core date point to the cat being an ancient Egyptian work after all.

It’s a beautiful work, and must now be worth considerably more than the 600 pounds Getty paid for it


Finally, we have a 10-minute video of one Dean Schneider interacting with a lion pride at Kruger National Park. It’s an amazing disquisition about how one has to interact with lions to gain their respect and their acceptance. Now clearly many if not all of these cats were raised by humans, but that doesn’t mean they can’t turn on Schneider and dispatch him in a few seconds. He has his own ways of disciplining the lions as well, including rapping them hard on the nose and paws.

It’s fascinating, and I would love to sleep and play with the lions like he does, but I’m under no illusion that I could do these things.

But baby lions, on the other hand. . . .


For lagniappe, we have a photo from reader Divy Figueroa, who was featured previously with a Galápagos tortoise she was treating (she does veterinary work). This time it’s a different tortoise, but also a d*g and her cat Jango. Divy’s caption:

This tortoise is an African Spur-Thigh tortoise (Centrochelys sulcata), known commonly as a Sulcata. It was a rescue who came home with us overnight. Jango and Rigby were glad to welcome him home.

h/t: Merilee, Ken

9 thoughts on “Caturday felid trifecta: Quarantine tips from cats; analysis of an ancient cat sculpture; and life with a lion pride (and lagniappe)

  1. Given PCC’s love of cats in general I’m wondering if he’s watched, or is going to watch, Tiger King, the Netflix documentary about the various fruitcakes and loons that run big cat parks in America and buy them privately as pets.

    Everyone I know is yammering about it but so far I’ve only managed two episodes.

    1. I have watched the whole thing. It’s like Making a Murderer meets Trailer Park Boys, with a dash of Sister Wives and Zigfried & Roy. With baby tigers. Like a car crash at the side of the road: It’s terrible, but you can’t help but look…

  2. PCC(E), hope you are holding up in all of this? I’ve got a most important question today: Have you succumbed to Netflix advertising and general internet popularity and watched Tiger King?

  3. He is not in the Kruger Park – he is explicitly saying Don’t do this with wild lions. His YouTube channel says that he is in a private sanctuary.

  4. The Egyptian cat was produced by the lost wax method of casting. I used to work for a company, Howmet Corporation, that made turbine blades using this ancient method. Lost wax means that an inner and outer mold are built up with a wax model as layer between them. The wax is then melted out and the molten metal is poured into the remaining space.

    Here’s a video that illustrates how this is done in a modern setting. It’s an ad for the 3D printer used, but effectively illustrates the whole process:–fiBGMIpc

    1. I am a former bicycle frame builder. Steel bicycle frames were often built by brazing lugs to the frames tubes. The best of these lugs are made by investment casting, made today with high quality carbon steel (cheap lugs are made by stamping and rolling). In the US one of the premier investment cast lug makers is Henry James.

  5. I see other commenters have mentioned the new Netflix series Tiger King. I just started watching it, and Dean Schneider’s relationship with the lions is similar to what I’m hearing from the eclectic personalities in the docu-series. I’m skeptical of Schneider’s claim that the lions see him as one of their own. They are socialized to accept him into the group, at least for now, but I strongly suspect the relationship will break down as the pride matures.

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