Caturday felid trifecta: Cat doesn’t want to relinquish pizza; soccer goalie cat; analysis of an ancient cat sculpture

May 23, 2020 • 9:00 am

Here’s today’s trifecta, starting with very short video of a Sphynx cat who is loud and tenacious. I suppose it’s the cheese on the pizza that attracts this moggy:


This video, which is truly viral, was sent by readers BJ, Gregory, and many others whose names I’ve forgotten (thanks to all!) The goalie cat is amazing, and were there a feline FIFA, this cat would be playing for Real Madrid. What reflexes it has! The YouTube notes:

A video of a cat showcasing its incredible goalkeeping skills is going viral on the internet. The clip shows Dixon’s cat saving the ball from entering the goalpost, every time the YouTuber tries to shoot it. He also shared that he had named his cat Meownuel Neuer, as a tribute to famous German goalkeeper Manuel Neuer.


Finally, a more substantive piece from My Modern Met (click on screenshot):

This Egyptian-style cat sculpture was at the Getty Villa for many years, and was thought by Getty to be genuine (he paid £600 for it in 1955) but was later thought to be a fake, one of the many imitations made during the Egyptian craze of around 1900:

“Imitation” of a Statue of Bast in the form of a cat; Unknown; Europe (?); 19th century; Bronze; 32.3 cm (12 11/16 in.); 55.AK.9


The site recounts the detective story:

Discoveries like this often start as clues on the objects themselves. In this case, we found an inscription on the underside of the wooden base that reads:

“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.”

The sculpture was suspiciously shiny for an ancient sculpture, so they did an X-ray, a metal analysis, and removed the head. The metal composition, highly leaded bronze, was consistent with true ancient cat sculptures.   They then removed the head (!):

What we saw on the interior was a completely different surface of varied topography with corrosion formed over a very long time.  In the head, a dark mass was tucked into the cavity, which also pointed to ancient molding and casting.

The “dark material” was clay, and that allowed dating of the statue. It turned out to be ancient Egyptian after all:

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.

The site explains why the identity was mistaken (a worthwhile read) and the next steps in its restoration:

Coating removal in the conservation laboratory will continue to reveal the underlying aged surface. Further analysis will focus on the metal and its corrosion products, and the study of characteristic lead isotopes may help locate a production site more precisely (or at least the source of the lead). Additional provenance research may also clarify whether this cat came from Bubastis, and how it traveled to London by 1892.

Perhaps the bronze cat is reclaiming its 2300-year-old identity, moving from one stage of life into the next. A cat may have nine lives—even an ancient one.

To see what 600 pounds is worth today, I used a pound calculator and got these results:

If you want to compare the value of a £600 0s 0d Commodityin 1955 there are four choices. In 2018 the relative:
real price of that commodity is £15,460.00
labour value of that commodity is £37,350.00
income valueof that commodity is £50,160.00
economic share of that commodity is £65,440.00

Clearly, Getty got a bargain, at least in today’s terms.

15 thoughts on “Caturday felid trifecta: Cat doesn’t want to relinquish pizza; soccer goalie cat; analysis of an ancient cat sculpture

  1. The Egyptian cat image showing the interior of a cat head looks like an artifact different from the item featured. It must be a mold used to cast a cat. Note the structure use to invest the mold around the object. It’s likely a mold for a different, similar cat sculpture.

    1. I realized by looking and comparing to the full view that the image is actually the underside of the whole sculpture, not the head.

        1. The third image was the one I was referring to. It’s not the inside of the head. It’s the cat taken OFF the base, looking up inside. You can see the two front paws with a peg holding them to the base, the tail next to it, and the two rear legs. There is no picture of the inside of the head.

  2. Although the goalie cat has impressive skills, I am sure it occurred to many of you that only the successful defenses of the goal made it into the final cut. Too cynical?

      1. Yes, the missing information is the goals/shots ratio. We want to know if the cat is better than a human goalie. My guess would be, yes the cat is significantly superior athlete.

    1. Wull, geez! I figured the guy omitted the cat’s missed, as one does for public video. So what? Human still managed to get the clips and splice them together nicely. And gave all credit to the cat, as he should.

  3. Enjoyed the cat soccer goalie video. Amazing reaction time and coordination. I look at our two cats and just wonder if they could/would …

  4. Appreciated the story of the Egyptian-style cat sculpture. Such a remarkable likeness of the average cat – with the regal bearing very noticeable of course. The story behind the history and research of its creation was interesting.

  5. The narration doesn’t say when the examination of the cat sculpture was done. Recently? I can’t believe anyone would be allowed, thesse days, to destroy it by removing its head!

  6. Thank you for Felid Caturday. It always makes my Sunday morning! Love the cat with the pizza, but I do wonder why anyone would want a cat with not fur!

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