Sunday, October 14, 2012

Cat facts & fancies

...to this?
How did we get from this....
Among a half dozen tomes we currently have celebrating our furry, slinky, capricious companions is Cats Miscellany: Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Our Feline Friends. "The smallest feline is a masterpiece" said Leonardo da Vinci, and he should know.
Detail of a mosaic from the House of the Faun, Pompeii
Detail of a medieval illumination, from the British Library
Here, from the book, are a few cool cat facts and quotes:
  • In ancient Egypt, cats were worshipped as gods, and the crime of killing one was punishable by death.
  • "Smilodon" is the name of the now-extinct (thankfully) sabre-toothed tiger.
  • The ancestor of all domestic cats is the African wild cat, which still exists today.
  • Persians, Siamese, and Maine coons are the most popular breeds in the U.S.
  • Alexandre Dumas' cat was called Mysouff; named William, Charles Dickens' cat became Williamina after bearing a litter of kittens. [Please spill the names of your cats, if any!]
  • "Cats are smarter than dogs. You can't get eight cats to pull a sled through snow."–Jeff Valdez
  • Cats have the largest eyes of any mammal. (awwwww!)
by Shen Chou, Ming Dynasty
  • Edward Lear's tabby cat, Foss, was the inspiration for his poem "The Owl and the Pussycat."
  • "The playful kitten, with its pretty little tigerish gambols, is infinitely more amusing than half the people one is obliged to live with in the world."—Lady Sydney Morgan
  • Anecdotal evidence indicates that cats may have been brought to North America on the Mayflower.
  • The loftily named Tarawood Antigone, a female Burmese, may hold the record for the largest litter ever: 19 kittens, 15 of which survived.
Cats are purportedly good for your blood pressure and overall health. The subject of "Young Girl With a Cat" by Berthe Morisot (1892) looks like she'd agree.

15 comments:

  1. To see the pampered poodle dog with his fur trimmed down to little puffs around his paws, is to see the ridiculous result of permitting a decadent civilization to have its way with you.
    Such can never be our policy.

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    Replies
    1. So true! Poodles should be au natural, as are cats!

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  2. He's at it again...
    You should see his translation of Wordsworth's "Daffodils".
    "So many flowers,
    Unmanageable hordes!
    What to do with them?
    I sit and ponder the problem."

    They told me he would be better after spaying.

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    1. Does this philosopher have a name?

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    2. Felixity thinks you're the coolest human online.

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    3. He is also blessed with his human ... thank him for the compliment!

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  3. Speaking of felines,
    This site is the Cat's Meow

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  4. The Morisot portrait is beautiful--such lovely colors!

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  5. That Morisot painting reminds me that cats can represent sexualtiy in art. Like in Manet's Olypmia. Sexy cat.

    I have two cats. Hermione and Felix. I accidentally dropped a bed on Hermione when I was moving and she hasn't been the same since. She is a little addled.

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    Replies
    1. I like those names. I'm thinking Smilodon would be a good name for a cat :) As we know from T.S. Eliot, the naming of cats is very serious business. I wanted to get a pair of females at the spca and name them Charlotte and Emily, but someone snatched them up first.

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    2. It would be a blast to have famous sister writer cats. Or maybe a Rum Tum Tugger. No jellicle cats though...they are...not my favorite.

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    3. You dropped a bed on Hermione?!?!?!

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  6. Cats have the largest eyes of any mammal.

    I found this hard to believe, so I went looking online — turns out a horse has an amazing eye (or two); apparently this really is the largest. The cat’s is largest relative to its body size... although again, some say that honor goes to the tarsier.

    I like cats well enough but would not own one; if I ever did I probably would call her mehitabel after archy the cockroach’s fabled companion.

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    1. poor archy kicked the wastebasket after someone replaced his favorite paste with super glue.
      he is survived by his 3,467 offspring.

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    2. I loved those Archy & Mehitabel stories ... a blast from the past!

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