Caturday felids: Two cat animations, cat duet, and a new book on cats from Princeton (plus lagniappe)

April 11, 2020 • 9:15 am

We begin with some old and unusual cat-themed videos. Reader Ihsan, who comments under the name “revelator60”, sent two “incredible feline shorts”. I’ll let him do the narration; his words are indented:

Here are two incredible feline film shorts for a possible Caturday post. Once seen, never forgotten!

The first is an excerpt from the 1926 Charley Bowers silent comedy “Now You Tell One” (inter-titles are in French because the only surviving copy was found there).

The action starts 22 seconds in, after Charley has devised a formula to make grafted plants grow any object. He grows a cat’s tail by grafting a cattail to a pussy willow and attaches it to tail-less cat. He makes the mistake of leaving the room returns to find…well, I won’t spoil anything! Let’s just say the climax is truly cataclysmic.

Bowers started out as an animator and as you can see his skills extended to stop-motion animation.

The second video is from the same year but more charming than disturbing. It’s the Fleischer Brothers cartoon “It’s the Cats”.

Ko-Ko the Clown (the Fleischers’ biggest star before Betty Boop) and his dog put on a vaudeville show for an audience of live-action kittens. The calling card of the Fleischers’ “Out of the Inkwell” shorts was mixing animation with live action, hence the dozens of real kitties (though several doll moggies are also visible).


Here, with Dame Kiri and Norma Burrowes, is the famous “Comic duet of two cats” (“Duetto Buffo di Due Gatti“), consisting solely of lyrical meows. It’s often attributed to Rossini but wasn’t written by him.

(There’s another good one with Felicity Lott and Ann Murray).

Finally, there’s a new book from Princeton University Press which is the book I always wanted to write, but never had the time. It’s Sarah Brown’s The Cat: A Natural and Cultural History (the Amazon link is here; the book is $27.95 at both sites). I’ll put Princeton’s summary below, and then show you the cover and whimsically-decorated table of contents.

Of all the domesticated species, cats have enjoyed the most complex relationship with people—one that still leads to arguments about whether you can truly call the cat asleep by your fire “tame.” The Cat is a comprehensive, richly illustrated exploration of the natural and cultural history of this much-loved pet. Chapters on Evolution & Development, Anatomy & Biology, Society & Behavior, and Cats & Humans take different angles on matters feline, offering rich information and insights about kitten development, the hierarchy of cats, how cats think, communication between cats and people, historic and extinct breeds, the challenges facing cats today and how we can help, and much, much more. The book also features a visually stunning photographic directory of more than forty popular breeds, with essential information about each. Filled with surprising facts, The Cat will enchant anyone with an interest in, or a love for, these animals.

  • Provides a comprehensive, richly illustrated introduction to the natural and cultural history of the cat

  • Offers an in-depth discussion of behavior, including social organization, communication, courtship, and learning

  • Covers anatomy and physiology, including mobility, predation skills, and the genetics of coat colors

  • Features clear and accessible text plus infographics, diagrams, and some 250 stunning color photographs

  • Includes a beautiful photographic directory to more than forty breeds

If you’re an ailurophile, you’ll surely want this book, or it will make a nice Christmas present for those who have plenty of reading time when we’re still locked down in December.

And lagniappe from reader William Savage: a netsuke from the British Museum’s Instagram site:
h/t: Ihsan, Laurie, Enrico

8 thoughts on “Caturday felids: Two cat animations, cat duet, and a new book on cats from Princeton (plus lagniappe)

  1. I don’t own cats…thanks always for the cat posts on Saturday, ’cause I love felids, especially cats.

  2. Here is my comment about the Caturday felids posts. Pleease pleeeease don’t discontinue them.

    I didn’t mention this earlier, but I added The Cat to my Amazon wish list… to be purchased whenever this Coronavirus lockdown eases up.

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