Friday, October 28, 2005
Why cats are much better than dogs, part 2
Amanuensis and I watched Cesar Millan, a.k.a. The Dog Whisperer, on the National Geographic Channel this morning. For a dog person, Cesar is remarkably intelligent. In dealing with a dog who was aggressive toward his family's perfectly charming Himalyan, Cesar remarked that for a dog and a cat to get along, the dog must submit to the cat.
Confused? Learn Why Cats are Much Better than Dogs.
Tags: catymology cats dogs
Thursday, October 27, 2005
Great Feline Authors Series: Kliban's Cat
Self portrait with cattitude
Who is B. Kliban and why are his drawings so, well—catlike? Big cats, little humans. Cat as airplane. Helicat. I purred with pleasure at each and every one.
At least two of Kliban’s witty drawings depict the cat as artist. Can there be any doubt that B. Kliban is a pseudonym for Burton Rustle, one of the felines to whom this best-selling collection is dedicated?
Great Feline Authors Series: Millions of Cats
A sad tale of mass catticideIn this sad tale of mass catticide, attributed to the Minnesota author Wanda Gag, a poor peasant brings home
Millions of Cats
Hundreds of cats
Thousands of cats
Millions and billions and trillions of cats . . . .
Naturally, mayhem ensues. I could have told Gag what would happen. Cats generally subscribe to the Highlander principal: when it comes to cats, there can be only one. That’s why I am certain that the real author of the story was the poor, bedraggled kitten, unnamed here, who survives the carnage by hiding in a bush.
Some critics have interpreted Gag’s story as a parable about the dangers of overpopulation. Hadn’t she heard about birth control?
The illustrations are charming, but there’s not a laugh in the whole book.
Although my amanuensis claims that this book was one of her childhood favorites, I suspect that she is lying. If amanuensis had her way, she would collect cats like other women collect shoes. In fact, from what I’ve overheard, her whole family is not only catted, but multiply so.
Tags: cats book reviews
Great Feline Authors Series: A Cat’s Little Instruction Book
Just like mama used to tell meLeigh Rutledge claims to have lived with 28 cats when he published this book in 1993. Who knows how many he lives with now? One of them authored this entertaining and informative how-to book for young felines. I only wish that Rutledge had had the good sense to admit that he was only the amanuensis. Too many great feline authors—much like the great women poets of the past—remain anonymous!
A Cat’s Little Instruction Book
Leigh W. Rutledge
“Never go to a veterinarian who doesn’t have cats himself,” writes the unnamed author of this guide to becoming the perfect feline. Having just been to the vet yesterday, myself, I can certainly confirm that’s good advice. My vet, Sally Dale of East Lake Animal Clinic, has a couple of cats at home and clearly loves them. She pronounced me fit, although she had the bad taste to say that at seven years old, I have reached middle age. I growled, but had to submit to her poking, prodding, and sticking with sharp needles.
While the exam proceeded, my amanuensis related how I’d learned to kill mice, despite the fact that my previous host had my front claws removed. (More about this anon.) My amanuensis stated she would never have done so herself; that was some comfort to me. “Own nothing, and be owned by no one,” says the author of this book. How poignant! But, I would say, to the contrary: if you sit on it, you own it.
And finally, here’s a piece of advice that echoes what my mother always said: “Learn to appreciate fine books, especially when someone else is reading them.”
By the same author: If People Were Cats, Diary of a Cat, Cat Love Letters.
Tags: cats book reviews
Wednesday, October 12, 2005
God is a big black cat
Tuesday, October 11, 2005
Do cats snore?
Apparently others have noticed cats snoring. Unfortunately, that article, apparently by a veterinarian, has been sent to the litter box. The vet opined that cats might have respiratory issues that caused snoring. I think they just have issues. Some of them sound like snores.
Monday, October 10, 2005
The Body of the Great Cat
All praise to thee, O Ra!
Lord Ra, exalted Sekhem!
Thou art the Great Cat:
Avenger of the gods;
And judge the rightness of words;
And overlord of magistrates.
You preside over the Holy Circle:
Truly the embodiment of the Great Cat.
after the "Seventy-Five Praises of Ra"
inscribed on the Royal Tombs at Thebes (c. 1200-1100 BCE)
Friday, October 07, 2005
After some difficulty, Aloysius has found out how to post to his blog
Thursday, October 06, 2005
Into the litter box
There was considerable interest in putting together an anthology of works around the theme "Into the Bullshit." I talked with two potential contributors who found it amusing, at least over drinks. What stops me from doing this is the fact that of course a very popular book called "On Bullshit" has been recently published. Or, is that an advantage?Watch for "Into the Litter Box," appearing irregularly on Catymology.
Why cats are much better than dogs
We are told it's a dog-eat-dog world, and I for one am prepared to believe it. That is the trouble with the world: it is just too doggone doggy. A bad play is a dog. A slow horse is a dog. An ugly woman is a dog. (Paradoxically, as well as parenthetically, a sharp-tongued woman may be either a bitch or a cat, which in my opinion is a perfect example of catachresis.)
A dog's life is short and insipid, but everyone knows that a cat has nine lives. Indeed, there is something positively redemptive about cats. For example: a dog town is a place to try out a play that might be a dog, but even a dog of a play could be improved by the addition of a suitable catastrophe.
Dogs know their catechisms and are easy to categorize, but cats sit cater-wumpus to the world, defying dogma.
No one in his right mind wants to go to the dogs. The dog house is a place where naughty boys are sent--the same naughty boys who go willingly to a cat house.
A cat may be a prostitute, but all dogs, with regard to their masters, are sycophants.
For a dog-like devotion is blind, but the cat-eyed lover sees in the dark.
Catymology: An Introduction
I and Pangur Ban my cat,
'Tis a like task we are at:
Hunting mice is his delight,
Hunting words I sit all night.
Better far than praise of men
'Tis to sit with book and pen;
Pangur bears me no ill-will,
He too plies his simple skill.
'Tis a merry task to see
At our tasks how glad are we,
When at home we sit and find
Entertainment to our mind.
Oftentimes a mouse will stray
In the hero Pangur's way;
Oftentimes my keen thought set
Takes a meaning in its net.
'Gainst the wall he sets his eye
Full and fierce and sharp and sly;
'Gainst the wall of knowledge I
All my little wisdom try.
When a mouse darts from its den,
O how glad is Pangur then!
O what gladness do I prove
When I solve the doubts I love!
So in peace our task we ply,
Pangur Ban, my cat, and I;
In our arts we find our bliss,
I have mine and he has his.
Practice every day has made
Pangur perfect in his trade;
I get wisdom day and night
Turning darkness into light.
To view this poem in Gaelic, go to
Pangur Ban-Old Irish Text