From the Guardian we have a panoply of cats in classical music (click on screenshot). The article is by Oliver Soden, who published a recent book, Jeoffry: The Poet’s Cat, in which, he says, “I wanted to capture how a cat could be both solace and muse to the creative artist.” Soden introduces his piece like this:
And so here are 10 of my favourite examples of music’s ability to harness and celebrate felineness. I have brazenly omitted Rossini’s Cat Duet, which isn’t by Rossini anyway.
Benjamin Britten: Rejoice in the Lamb. It was at WH Auden’s suggestion that Britten set Smart’s Jubilate Agno to music in 1943 in the mid-war hush between the blitz and the doodlebugs. The cantata was written for St Matthew’s Church, Northampton, and the commission came from the church’s vicar, Walter Hussey, who raised some objection to Britten including the lines about Jeoffry, around whom organ semiquavers wreathe and frolic in “elegant quickness”. But Britten stood firm. “I am afraid I have gone ahead, and used a bit about the cat Jeffrey [sic],” he told Hussey. “He is such a nice cat.” Britten, by the way, kept dachshunds. But we’ll forgive him.
Here’s another favorite of mine; in fact, one of my own favorite cats was named Pangur. You can see the poem here. I love it because it parallels the scholarly activities of the monk and the feline activities of the cat:
Samuel Barber: The Monk and his Cat. This ninth-century Old Irish poem is a loving tribute from a monk to his white cat, Pangur Bán. Auden’s translation was set to music by Samuel Barber.
Maurice Ravel: L’Enfant et les Sortilèges. Using Colette’s exquisite libretto, Ravel’s magical opera is about a child punished for his tantrums. To music of sheer feline eroticism, a daring parody of Wagner, two cats yowl their love to one another by moonlight. Ravel’s fondness for cats (he favoured Siamese) bordered on passion, and he assured visitors he could speak their language with some fluency, fussing over different kinds of “miaow” in the libretto.
Today we have just one item, but it’s a website that you can peruse for hours. I’ve consulted the wonderful site The Great Cat for a while, mostly to see cats in art, but haven’t called attention to its depth and variety. Click on the screenshots to go to the site.
Note that in this thin strip is a buttload of information:
Here are all the links, and I’ll give one item from each:
This is the last Caturday post in 2020, but of course we will persist, though I depend on readers to send me items with Cats in the News.
When I was in Hong Kong, I noticed that many small shops had a resident cat, which I think is considered lucky by the Chinese. There’s a new book out above them, though the one article about it, from the South China Morning Post, is resolutely paywalled. It’s apparently both a cartoon book about a cat named Spot, but, more important for us, features hidden shop cats:
Meet Spot, the cartoon cat who leaps from page to page as he recounts daily life in a dried goods shop, sharing his intuitive dry humour on life, the superiority of cats throughout the ages, and the failings of humans’ so-called best friends.
This delightful book showcases Stephen Case’s cracking illustrations alongside Marcel Heijnen’s beautifully detailed photographs and quirky rhymes, brilliantly converted into comical Catonese by Aki Leung.
A chuckle for all ages, the book throws up a challenge too. Can you “spot the shop cat” in every photo?
It’s not as easy as you think!
Click on the screen shot to buy it (it’s about $33 US dollars)
Can you spot the shop cats? It’s not that easy!
This is a hard one!
Another hard one!
Good luck. I expect every reader to spot the cat in these photos before going on.
And one of the cartoons:
From Sad and Useless, we have a series of photos of the elaborate cardboard structures that staff have constructed for their moggies during the quarantine. There are a lot more at the site!
Finally, two videos of Taddy the snowboarding cat. The first one shows him in action, while the second is a “behind the scenes” video (there’s a custom rap song accompanying the shots):
“The Making of. . . ” Taddy does seem to like snowboarding! (Or maybe he just doesn’t like to get his paws cold. . . )
We have a lot of videos today, so you can do more watching and less reading. The first shows the laziest cat in the world. Unless he’s paralyzed, which I seriously doubt, he’s just too indolent to get up on his hind legs, and so slithers down the stairs like a Slinky.
And this useful instructional video returns every Christmas—but with a different cat. Not surprisingly, they use very chill cats. It sounds like an Aussie woman is about to give someone a beautiful British Shorthair for the holidays. I have to say that I’ve never seen a more patient cat, and how did this woman know that the cat would take it so well? She must have practiced!
The Daily Fail and News18 Australia have a story about a cat in China adopted by firefighters. Now it mans (or cats?) the fire station 24/7. Click on the screenshot to read the Fail, and here for the Aussie take:
A stray cat that was adopted by Chinese firefighters is now accompanying them to stand guard every day at their fire station braving the vagaries of weather.
According to reports, the former stray cat would curl up near the feet of the officer on duty or lie in front of the post from where it keeps a close watch over the fire station’s barracks in Guiyang City of southwest China’s Guizhou Province.
The cat was looked after by the fire station personnel for three years after it accidentally walked into the station. At that time it was a malnourished, homeless kitten. The firefighters stationed there befriended the kitten and took turns to feed it. It is now in good health and has become close to the firemen in the station. The cat often lies next to any firefighter on guard duty.
Nicknamed Lan Mao or ‘blue cat’, it has now become an integral part of the Guizhou Provincial Fire Brigade station. According to Sun Hoaxing, one of the firefighters at Guizhou, Lan Mao stands guard with any firefighter who is on guard duty and it is around to accompany the fireman. Lan Mao stands put even if the weather conditions are not suitable. As and when it gets cold it will jump on the stand and lie down next to the feet of the fireman.
I’m not sure why firefighters are standing guard outside. Why can’t they wait for a call?
Hoaxing also mentioned that the cat was initially timid and scared of humans when they took it in.
Under the officers’ care it soon started liking and mingling with them. The video footage shared by the fire brigade shows Lan Mao sitting in front of a blue-uniformed guard and looks ready for a nap. It then moves on the sentry stand to snuggle up to the guard.
The officers arranged a bed for it and the cat seems rather intelligent as over a three-year period it became attached with people sporting blue uniforms, Hoaxing added.
The emotional story has touched the hearts of many people and netizens have expressed their love for the pet and the fire brigade personnel.
Click below to see the video, and I’d appreciate a translation from any Chinese-speaking readers:
Lagniappe: A fat cat enjoys being bipedal. The Cat of Size, from Luxemburg, Wisconsin, is described by YouTube this way:
“Riggs is 5 1/2 years old. He’s a domestic cat that we rescued when he was a baby. He’s a very happy loving cat that loves playing with his other cat friend and our two German Shepherds. He’s been sitting up like that for as long as I can remember, and when his daddy comes to pet him, he stands up.”
Of course it’s not at all healthy to let your cat get this fat, but some of my friends have struggled with trying to get moggies to lose weight, and it’s damn hard.
From Lancaster Online we have a heartwarming story about how cats (who are of course furry psychiatrists) helped a psychiatrist find himself. Click on the screenshot to read:
For nearly 30 years, the right words — lyrical words, words arranged just-so to capture a moment in time — escaped Dr. Nhien D. Nguyen. A poet in his native Vietnam, Nguyen could no longer write after he fled to the U.S. in the waning days of the Vietnam War, separating temporarily from his infant son and giving up a burgeoning career as a pediatrician. Even as he embraced the English language, sat for medical equivalency exams and became a psychiatrist in his new home of Pennsylvania, Nguyen never found the inspiration to write again.
Then a stray cat showed up, then another, and then another, until the Nguyens had nine cats. And then the poetry began flowing!
Ashes, a gray cat with the bushy mane and tail of a Maine coon, was followed by seven other felines, including five kittens who refused to be rehomed. Each new cat sparked its own tales of woe, resourcefulness, bonding, fear and, ultimately, love. Nguyen’s observations of the mini colony form the basis of his self-published poetry collection, “Cat Paradise.”
Growing up in rural Vietnam, Nhien Nguyen had no pets, just a cat that wandered around his home and chased rats. Now the Nguyens’ backyard, complete with tennis court and koi ponds, also features elaborate outdoor cat housing that stretches the length of their deck.
When a cat is sick (or when the kittens needed neutering), the Nguyens wrangle them into a carrier and get them to a veterinarian. When the cat parents leave town, their human son steps in to care for the felines.
The cats’ foibles have inspired family fun and fun tales, many of which are available on PoemHunter.com. Nguyen has posted about 750 limerick-style poems there, many of them about noncat topics.
Here’s one I’ll put up:
Two cats look at each other
They see each other through a glass door
The gray cat is inside looking out
The white cat is outside looking in.
One cat starts meowing
The other cat meows in replying.
Both cats are meowing
Who understands what they’re saying?
One cat meows again
While rubbing its snout on the glass.
The other cat does the same.
Both cats simultaneously meow.
These two cats rest happily.
They blink their eyes at each other.
They wag their tails like a feather.
Then they stop meowing.
From Korea we hear of a giant Norwegian Forest cat, “Gwangbok”, who’s too big to fit on most commercial cat beds and trees. Like most cats, GB seems to prefer the cardboard boxes than the cat items within them, but finally takes to his new present—an extra large cat bed. The d*g also gets a hammock.
Look at all those toys! These people obviously dote on their animals
How appropriate: a cat on the catwalk! Clearly the animal distracts from the fashion, as who wants to see a bunch of dresses when you can watch a moggy lick his genitals onstage?
Here’s one of those old American “got milk?” ads, this one with cats. They don’t appreciate the substitute, and, as one commenter said, “Last I heard, the old lady’s body was found stuffed in a litter box and there were no leads.”
Apparently this is a “thing” on YouTube as there are several videos in the genre.
I find this first one mezmerizing as two athletic moggies compete to hurdle ever-higher obstacles of toilet paper. All I know, since the video has no notes, is that the cats are called Blaze and Willow.
A similar competition, but the cats aren’t nearly as agile:
Finally, a Japanese video pits and cat versus a d*g. You know who wins this one.
The YouTube notes:
My Dog and Cat tried the popular Toilet Paper Wall Challenge! And you won’t believe what went on between the toilet paper and my dog Milk (pekingese dog) and cat Coco (Scottish Fold kitten)~! ♡
Here’s a Facebook post of “Cats being cats“. This is not the only case of Feline Apnea I’ve seen: Hili does the same thing to Malgorzata.
A story from the Daily Star (click on screenshot) tells the story of a stray orange tabby, now named Bruce Willis, who was rescued and now is a happy cat.
Here’s the poor moggy right when he was taken in:
A stray cat that sported a permanently sad look has been transformed a year after he was adopted.
Bruce Willis, the orange tabby, had scars from fights with other cats and problems with his immune system when he was taken into Animal Humane Society in Minnesota, US.
His healed eye was a little droopy, his one ear was a little cockeyed, and his scars left his fur looking a little bedraggled.
But luckily he was rescued by cat lover Sandra, who persuaded her landlord to make an exemption for the apartment’s no-pet policy.
The six-year-old cat was taken to Sandra’s home last August and started a new life as a loving pet.
And. . . here he is now, completely transformed!
Bruce Willis has his own Tik Tok page, which the article explains:
Video shared by Sandra on her TikTok @mrwillisthecat documents Bruce’s changes in the past year after she explained he was the “saddest cat” she had ever seen.
In the montage clip, the moggie enjoys a little rub on his belly and likes to sleep by Sandra’s feet.
As Bruce slowly adapts to the new place, he becomes more active.
In one clip, he is seen dragging a catnip toy across the room and going out for a walk in the snow in his military green vest.
Here’s another good one (warning: there are a gazillion videos of the cat on that page, but that just shows that his staff loves him).
And from Jezebel, we have an article about a diffident cat named Prince. He’s a lovely gray English shorthair, and his staff dotes on him, but the cat, well, he’s a cat. . .
Click on screenshot:
Prince (photo by staff Rich Juzwiak):
Reciprocated unconditional love is cool, but have you ever devoted your life to pleasing an animal that would step on your dead face, if not consume it? Prince wouldn’t piss on me if I were on fire or puke a hairball at me if I were bald, and yet this little cat has me wrapped around his furry cankle. At a certain point during the raising of anything—from children to chickens—many wonder, “Am I creating a monster?” I don’t really have to ask.
Luckily the monster I’ve been creating since his late-January adoption is clumsy on his feet, prone to distraction, rarely inclined to bare his claws, and unable to follow through with the tasks he assigns himself. (I’ve seen him kill bugs, but he seems to get bored when they stop moving and so he doesn’t eat them). He’s a harmless monster, really, and more importantly, he’s my monster to deal with.
I’m sure it’s just that apathy is his guiding principle, but Prince has an uncanny way of giving just enough to leave me wanting more. It’s in the bites that I wish were kisses, the glares that I generously interpret as interest, the tricks he performs to get me off his back and food in his belly. While out walking the other day, I saw a woman in a blue denim baseball hat and neon green shirt with the name of a timeshare agency printed on its back, scoop up a sand-colored dog (maybe a Pekingese), hold the pup to her chest and kiss the side of its head. The dog accepted affection without a shred of resistance and I was jealous. When I got home, Prince was staring into space and I asked him if he wanted to hang out. As if on cue, as soon as I stopped talking, he winced a slow wince that started with his left eye and spread to his right. I laughed and wanted to hug him, but out of respect for his space and individuality, I declined.
And here’s an Instagram video of Prince being diffident (and walking sideways like a kitten):
And from Bored Panda we have a series of photos of cats who, like Hili, love to act like birds. Click on screenshot, and I’ll put a few pictures below:
There’s also some explanation from an expert (more below):
Bored Panda wanted to learn more about why cats enjoy climbing trees so much and why they tend to get stuck in treetops, so we reached out to cat behaviorist Ingrid Johnson.
From Nadine Bamberger:
According to cat behaviorist Ingrid, cats seek height for a lot of different reasons. What’s more, for an outdoor cat or an indoor-outdoor cat, those reasons could even save their life. “Height provides comfort and security and the ability to survey a lot of territory from a single vantage point. Climbing a tree or a cat condo for our indoor only friends provides a sense of safety,” she explained.
“Height also creates more usable territory and allows cats to avoid conflict with other cats. So an outdoor cat may climb a tree to escape an attacker (a rival neighborhood cat or a dog!), the same reason an indoor cat might bolt up a cat
Cats are built for climbing. Lots of climbing. They have powerful hind legs and strong backs, so it’s no surprise that when they see a tree, they’ll instinctively want to go as high up as they can.
What’s more, there are certain advantages to perching in a tree. When you’re higher up, you can spot your dinner from much further away while they remain unaware. (Let’s keep that in mind the next time we want to ambush an ice cream truck.)
However, climbing up trees isn’t just an offensive move; it can be a defensive tactic, too! Cats aren’t at the top of the food chain, so they can fall victim to other wild animals or the neighborhood doggos. Being up high means cats feel safer, more relaxed, and can taunt their would-be predators as much as they like. Unless their pursuers can climb trees, too!
Also from Raine Soo: a cat family tree:
Ah, but here’s the rub: there’s an ad for Johnson’s climbing pole:
Cats can also chase their prey, like a squirrel, chipmunk, or a bird, up a tree. But cats also climb to hang out, to take a nap, and for fun! “They condition their claws and muscles by scratching and climbing. We call these ‘feel good’ behaviors. In fact, many indoor cats never get a chance to condition/hone their back claws because few cat condo companies provide a straight vertical pole to climb.”
She continued: “Which is exactly why my husband, Jake and I provide the market with a six foot, wall mounted scratch pole. There are virtually none on the market, we have multiples of these in our home and our cats climb them regularly. It is a great way to mimic a tree for an indoor cat. Just always be sure to provide a way for them to get down.”
Ingrid confirmed to Bored Panda that cats have a lot more trouble climbing out of trees than up them.
Today’s trifecta includes an item we’ve encountered before, but not in this form: felted cat replicas. “Wakuneco’s” notes on YouTube concern replicating in felt the face of a deceased cat, a companion to another cat recently reproduced in felt:
I found “Cha-kun” the red tabby which I created in 2018 in my hands again. The owner who asked me to create “Cha-kun” had another cat called “Koh-chan” who recently went to heaven.
I decided to create Koh-chan for my new project. I wanted to see them side by side and make small adjustments so I asked the owner to send me Cha-kun. They were both stray cats. Both cats were taken in at different times but were both suffering severely from starvation when they were found. With the much love and care from the owner, both cats found themselves very happy together as a family till their very last day. Cha-kun and Koh-chan were very fortunate to have such a kind-hearted and loving owner take them in.
I had the opportunity to create such cats. I don’t really know what role my cat portraits have but I hope that they somehow help these cat owners who have lost their beloved pets.
This artist does a fantastic job of recreating the cats in felt, though some think the result is so realistic as to be ghoulish (I don’t agree!). Even the eyes are painstakingly created with paint and pigment from glass spheres. The amazing thing is that getting this done for your cat appears to cost only $230 at Wakuneco’s etsy store (there are other gifts as well, like portraits).
The holidays are coming: Hanukkah, Christmas, and Koynezaa, and My Modern Met has a list of the gifts your ailurophilic friends would love to get (click on the screenshot). I’ll show a few of the goodies, with a link to where you can buy them:
Bored Panda reproduces some lovely cat landscapes by the author of the article. The details:
My name is Lim Heng Swee, and I’m a self-taught illustrator from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Cats, for me, are very mysterious animals. I like their personalities, which are always curious, calm, and relaxed. I always feel soothed when observing their postures, and I found that the curves of cats can perfectly blend into natural landscape scenes. Therefore, I decided to create a series of cat landscape artworks in which the cats play hide and seek with you inside these minimal landscape artworks.
Hope these simple, playful, colorful artworks with a touch of a sense of humor will ease the stressfulness we are facing in 2020.
This 33 year old talent from Marseille, France transforms the ordinary into the extraordinary with his 3D art. You’ll likely stop and stare in awe, should you come across one of his artworks, and his most recent work of a giant Sphynx cat crouching in the middle of a field will blow you away!
The hairless Sphynx cat, in spite of its name, is not from Egypt but was developed in Canada from a hairless male kitten born in 1966 through selective breeding. Blanco’s Sphynx cat however, was created through a very different process.
Blanco chose an old gas tank as the canvas to create his giant 3D optical illusion of the Sphynx, crouching in the foliage, ready to pounce on some unseen prey in the field. The green gas tank completely disappeared, blending in with the surroundings.
I like the way the mural blends into the landscape.
The Dodo has a story of a cat in Thailand that went on a walkabout (click on screenshot):
The unnamed cat went missing for three days, but then returned with a note around his neck:
According to the article, here’s some of what it said (from from News18):
The cat was photographed sitting at a distance from the owner’s home after returning from its three-day sojourn. When the owner went near the cat, he noticed a new collar and the hanging “debt” note.
It was written in the Thai language which when translated, read, “Your cat kept eyeing the mackerels at my stall, so I gave him three.” The kind shop owner who treated the animal identified herself as “Aunty May at alley no. 2.”
Pictures of the cat were shared on Facebook and they went viral. The caption of the post read, “Lost 3 days, returned with debt. Pretty face, right?”
Now, one might assume the mackerel handoff was some act of charity. But apparently not.
The fish vendor went on to write their contact info down, too — presumably so that the cat’s owner could pay off the debt.
There’s no telling if the fact that the cat has been running up a tab while out and about has caused his owner to clamp down on his freedom to roam, but one thing is clear: Adventures, especially of the culinary sort, are always easier when someone else is footing the bill.
Here’s the note and “contract”. I’m sure we have at least one reader who can read Thai, and if that’s you, please put the translation in the comments. I’m curious about the “contract”.
And here’s a 4-minute video of parrots tormenting cats (no cat was injured in the making of this video). The birds love those tails! My favorites are the brazen bastard in the first clip and the kitten/parrot encounters at 1:21 NS 2:42. I have to say that these cats are pretty chill; they’ll take a lot of torment before reacting.
I’m running low on good cat-related items for the Caturday felid posts, so if you have a good one, send it along. This feature, like many others depends on the good will of readers!
Fortunately, we have enough for today and next week, and the first item instantiates the Japanese love of cats—and rice. Cat-shaped rice balls! Click on the screenshot to read from Kotaku East:
YouTuber Onigiri Gekijou (Rice Ball Theater) specializes in making rice balls that are unlike anything I’ve ever seen. And I’ve seen lots of rice balls!
Onigiri Gekijou calls this “onigiri art,” and is uploading how-tos on YouTube. That’s very nice! Many of the techniques, such as mixing ketchup and mayo to make a pinkish color for the cat’s house, aren’t that complicated. Some of the rice-shaping, though, looks relatively involved.
Some of the things needed are iwa nori, which is spread over the cat’s forehead and ears, and then covered withkatsuobushiand kurosurigoma (black ground seasame) giving the appearance of fur.
Check out other rice balls below [click on screenshot to see riceballs of other creatures, not of the same interest] and follow Onigiri Gekijou on Twitter right here.
From Bored Panda we have thirty—count them, thirty—Instagram pictures of Gary, the Hiking Adventure Cat. Click on the screenshot to see them all; I’ll show just a few:
Excerpts are indented:
Meet Gary, a 5-year-old rescue kitty that has one of the best social media accounts out there. He’s not just any floof-ball posing for cutesy photos, this cat is a true adventurer who loves hiking, paddling and meowntaineering. And after taking a peek at his gallery, you might feel a tingling sense of envy, as this feline has better vacations than most of us.
Bored Panda has reached out to Gary’s owner for an interview and he shared some exciting details about the kitty. “Gary really likes our adventures, and I work really hard to make sure he’s always happy and comfortable,” said James, Gary’s owner and social media manager. He revealed that Gary’s introduced to new activities slowly, so the cat has time to adjust to them on his own terms. “I’ve created a bit of a monster though because if I don’t take him out enough, he sits at the door and meows,” James explained.
“We only started adventuring with Gary recently,” James explained. “He showed a keen interest in going outside and even escaped once so we decided to harness train him after we moved,” he added. The choice was obvious, as not only could traffic outside be dangerous, but there are other hazards lurking outside. “There’s a lot of predators like bears, wolves, coyotes and birds of prey in our area and it’s unsafe to have free roaming cats,” the owner elaborated. He also said that getting Gary in a harness also protected small mammals and songbirds from ending up being the cat’s prey.