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Friday, April 28, 2006


National Hairball Awareness Day

Courtesy of Laurence Simon, there comes this notice from the
Philadelphia Inquirer | 04/28/2006 | It's National Hairball Awareness Day.: "'They hunch their shoulders: 'Eck! Eck! Eck!,' ' says Zigon, performing an uncannily accurate impersonation. 'It's nature's way of purging their systems... . To them it's nothing. They walk away, 'I'm cool. No one saw me.' '"

I don't know about you, but I celebrated last weekend. Ack!

Thursday, April 27, 2006


A zebra mussel with name tags

I almost bit my tongue when I heard that domestic cats like me have been charged with being unwanted aliens.
Though not legally classified as such, the domestic free-ranging cat is actually a harmful exotic species, like a zebra mussel with name tags.

That's harsh!

The report, from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, goes on to document that cats kill millions of wild birds every year. We're just following our instincts, but sometimes instincts get you in trouble.

Last week, amanuensis discovered a cardinal's nest in the vines on the side of the house, directly above the back door. This is the same door that I sit longingly in front of 24/7, until someone takes pity on me and lets me out in the garden.

Now I've been informed that as soon as the baby birds hatch, I am going to be grounded--or at least heavily supervised--until they're old enough to fly away. In compensation, I've negotiated a subscription to the online version of Birds of North America and extra brushing. It's not as satisfying as sinking my teeth into a little ball of feathers, but it will have to do.

Consistency is not one of my major virtues. And thinking about the welfare of others is a bit of a stretch. But the fact is, if I were a baby cardinal, I wouldn't put up with me stalking around my playpen. That sounds strange, doesn't it? But you know what I mean.

Fur and feathers fly at Modulator's Friday Ark. On Sunday, see what all the other cats are up to when Furry Paws hosts the Carnival of the Cats.


Wednesday, April 26, 2006


IMAO: Carnival of the Vanities #188

Space Monkey has gracefully put together
Carnival of the Vanities #188, in which he comments on my post about the First Church of Catymology:


Catymology founds a church. Based on cats. Yeah, that really worked for the Egyptians. (And people call ME nuts.)
Actually, feline worship did work for the Egyptions for quite a while. Too bad that so few humans are still with the program.

And, Catymology Central will be hosting the Carnival of the Vanities on May 31. We're honored.

Saturday, April 22, 2006


Carnival ups and downs

After experiencing a volunteer burn-out, Carnival of the Vanities is back at Harshly Mellow: "Aloysius at Catymology advises us to Skip the tiger photo op."

Stay tuned for big announcement about the future of this carnival.

Friday, April 21, 2006


Do not submit!

I've been told that a site called "Stuff on my cat" is really funny, and it is. I was all set to share that picture of me in the bag, but then I read the site's "terms of submission." According to this, if I submit a picture they can take my stuff and do anything with it they want, including making money off it by using the concept in a feature-length film, book, calendar, matchbook cover, pet food ad, or porno video. This is so wrong that I won't even give them a link.

Before you submit any files to stuffonmycat.com please read the following:
You agree that when you send a Submission via email to this Website, you grant Stuffonmycat.com and it's owners a non-exclusive, irrevocable, royalty-free license to use the work. We may use, copy, sublicense, adapt, transmit, distribute, publish, display or otherwise use it as we see fit, in our sole discretion. By making a Submission, you waive the right to make any claim against Stuffonmycat.com, its owners or any of its respective parents, subsidiaries, affiliates, employees, agents, directors, officers and shareholders relating to the Submission, including, but not limited to, unfair competition, invasion of privacy, negligence, breach of implied contract or breach of confidentiality. Without limitation of the foregoing, we shall exclusively own all now-known or hereafter existing rights to the Submissions of every kind and nature throughout the universe and shall be entitled to unrestricted use of the Submission for any purpose whatsoever, commercial or otherwise, without any compensation to the provider of the Submission.

You also agree that we shall be free to use any ideas, concepts or techniques embodied in the Submissions for any purpose whatsoever, including, but not limited to, developing, manufacturing, and marketing products or services incorporating such ideas, concepts, or techniques. In addition, you hereby waive all moral rights you may have in any materials uploaded or sent to us by you.

You understand that all information, data, text, software, music, sound, photographs, graphics, video, messages or other materials ("Content"), whether publicly posted or privately transmitted, are the sole responsibility of the person from which such Content originated. This means that you, and not us, are entirely responsible for all Content that you upload, post, email, transmit or otherwise make available to us. Under no circumstances will we be liable in any way for the Content, including, but not limited to, for any errors or omissions in any Content, or for any loss or damage of any kind incurred as a result of the use of any Content posted, emailed, transmitted or otherwise made available via the Stuffonmycat.com website.


Thursday, April 20, 2006


Pets make you smarter

But no one is smarter than Aloysius Katz.

Redbook Magazine says: "Research shows that kids who grow up with animals have more self-esteem, higher IQs and better emotional health as adults."

Later in the article, though, it's stated that parents should wait till the child is 5 before adopting a pet. That's because a kid might accidentally harm the pet. Amanuensis recalls that her rowdy cousin Brad, who was 2 or 3 at the time, once tried to stuff her cat in a drawer. It wasn't an accident at all. Neither was the scratching that Brad endured.

Amanuensis, who was catted from birth, says cats definitely made her smarter. She learned quite early to respect the claws. In fact, she wishes that I still had my front claws. If I did, I'd probably be able to climb over that darn backyard fence and stroll over to visit the neightborhood calico cutie.

I can vouch for the fact that amanuensis is smart; otherwise, she wouldn't be able to keep up with me. But the verdict on her mental health is not yet in.

Visit the Friday Ark at Modulator for lots more about pets and how they keep their humans sane.
On Sunday, Carnival of the Cats raises its tent at My Animal Family.



the skwib » The Carnival of Satire (#30)

the skwib » The Carnival of Satire (#30): "And to take us out on a puuurfect note of parody, Aloysius Katz presents Religious notes: First Church of Catymology."

I didn't know I was a parodist, but thanks for the "puuurfect."

Wednesday, April 19, 2006


Religious notes: First Church of Catymology

The Reverend Billy Cougar returned on Sunday April 16 to his home church in Minneapolis. Reportedly, he had spent a week on Isla Mujeres at the famed resort Na Balam ("Where Time, Nature, and Human are One"). Reverend Cougar first recognized the newlyweds, Darcy Xenophon, Michele Duncan, and Michael Kern. Darcy, a red-point Siamese, and his human partners sat in the front pew.

Rev. Cougar: "Today we celebrate not just another Sunday, but a momentous event in the brief history of our church: the marriage of Darcy, Michele, and Michael is blessed by the Great Cat."

Congregation: "Mow-er!" and "Amen."
Rev. Cougar:
Dear cats and catted ones,

Today I remind you of the two principals on which our church is founded:

The right of all humans to be catted.

The right of all cats to be sheltered, fed, and worshipped.

There can be no greater sin than the wanton destruction of our precious world. The rampant abuse and killing of cats large and small is but a part of this destruction, but it is symbolic of the ignorance and pride which have afflicted mankind. Frankly, it sickens me to mention this in this blessed house of Catymology, especially with so many children and kittens present,
but I feel I must speak out.

The death of Tango the Tiger
, who was killed recently in Pine County, Minnesota, is a crime against Catymology. As you who've heard the news reports will sadly remember, Tango had been starved by his "keeper," and turned on her in desperation.

In my recent wanderings in Mexico, I communed with the spirit of the Jaguar, the great cat who was worshiped by indigenous humans throughout Central America. At Na Balam, the modern-day House of the Jaguar, I received a vision: Let Tango the Tiger be recognized as a martyr in the Church of Catymology. Let all who recognize Tango respond: "Tango lives."

Congregation: "Tango lives!"

Rev. Cougar:
I speak to you today as a human transformed. Once I was lost, but then I found the way, and that way is the way of the jaguar and the leopard, of the cougar and, yes, of felis catus, the domestic cat. It is the way of Catymology. Tango is risen!

Congregation: "Tango is risen!"

Music: Selections from Music for Cats

Rev. Cougar: The Great Cat be with you!

As the congregation left the church, Darcy Xenophon, never one to keep silent, growled: "Cat murderers! If I weren't married to these humans, I'd declare war on the entire human species."

"Now, Darcy," Michele said, rubbing Darcy between the ears. "We have to believe that our species can change."

"Agreed," Darcy responded. "But show me the tuna!"


Tuesday, April 18, 2006


Far from the Madding Gerund

Aloysius is out in the garden again, doing what he does every Tuesday. Not much! Since this is his day to be simply a cat, I'm filling in. And have I got some exciting news.

Two language mavens from Language Log, Mark Liberman and Geoffrey Pullum, have published a book based on their blog. Why should you care? Because, despite being college professors, these guys are really funny. (Or maybe they're funny because they're professors?)

Want proof? Here's an excerpt from Professor Pullum's post announcing the publication of Far from the Madding Gerund and Other Dispatches from Language Log
Naturally, Mark and I see ourselves as being basically of the post-print era. Cyber-aware, web-initiated, silicon-sinewed, HTML-savvy guys. Books, for us, are those old, musty things bound in calf skin that line the walls of the studies of older scholars. Books are for geezers. We do most of our research through web browsers, like everybody else now. We belong to the 21st century, not the 14th. We are much too modern for books. Oh, sure, we do keep a few books around, but just a few that we care about. Roughly four or five thousand each, I estimate, looking at the bookshelves in his Philadelphia apartment, and recalling the shelves in the Santa Cruz house and office that I will be returning to this July. The Cambridge Grammar; Syntactic Structures; a first edition of Dracula; that sort of thing. But mostly we are postbiblic.
These are the guys who invented the terms "snowclone" and "eggcorn." In addition to being funny, these profs have excellent taste. Last week, their blog quoted Aloysius' post on The Four Subjects of Catblogging.

Officially published on May 1, Far from the Madding Gerund and Other Dispatches from Language Log is already available on Amazon.com. Buy it for your favorite word maven.


Monday, April 17, 2006


Skip the tiger photo op

Amanuensis' friend Ted sent a copy of his heartfelt reminiscence about the late country singer Buck Owens. One of Owens' most famous songs is I've Got a Tiger by the Tail. More appropriate to today's post, though, is probably the flip side of that 1965 record, Cryin' Time.

Oh it's cryin' time again
You're gonna leave me
I can see that far away look in your eyes
I can tell by the way you hold me darlin'
That it won't be before it's cryin' time

I'm learning more than I ever wanted to know about the exploitation of big cats. First there was the grim tale of Tango the Tiger, executed after he killed his keeper. Tango was starving!

In today's follow-up, the Minneapolis Star Tribune's Kevin Giles reports on the Fad of taking photos with tiger cubs. Unscrupulous humans breed tigers so that they can go round to malls and fairs with the cubs, charging money for kids to be photographed with the cubs. But when the cubs grow up, they're discarded; "sometimes sold for as little as $200 at garage sales and truck stops," Giles writes.

"You have this continuing influx of tigers that have no place to go," said Tom Solin, a private investigator of wildcat injuries and deaths, who thinks the popular and lucrative photo fad explains the source of so many tigers.

Sadly, Minnesota has a law that was intended to put the brakes on the sale of big cats and required "owners" to register their big cats, but it's largely ignored. The woman killed by Tango, Cyntha Gamble, was one of those who failed to register her tigers.

Giles also adds some details that contradict what was previously reported about Gamble's operation. Contrary to earlier reports, she'd been responsible for animal abuse back in 2003:
In 2003, answering a complaint of animal neglect, Pine County deputies found a tiger dead in a freezer and starving wildcats on Gamble's property, said Chief Deputy Steve Ovick. She had hired a caretaker to tend to the animals while she was in Oregon, he said. "He left the cats with no food, no nothing," Ovick said.
Furthermore, the USDA, which licenses animal exhibitors like Gamble, had inspected her property just weeks before Gamble's death. We know that the three tigers on Gamble's property were starving, but apparently the USDA did nothing.

Giles persists in calling Gamble a "victim" and also quotes others who are worried about the proliferation of dangerous wild animals and the possibilities of harm. A kid who gets too close to a wild animal and gets bitten--or worse--is a victim. A human who keeps wild cats and deliberately starves them is not a victim. She's a criminal.

If you run across some cute tiger cubs at your local mall or county fair, do not shell out for a photo.

Oh it's cryin' time again
You're gonna leave me
I can see that far away look in your eyes
I can tell by the way you hold me darlin'
That it won't be before it's cryin' time



The Best of Me Symphony lives!

Friday, April 14, 2006


Cat runs for Governor in California

My feline brethren continue to make news. Now Cato, a Siamese with decidedly independent views, has entered the race for California Governor:
Creatures of the Earth: Pants are optional: "After watching commericals for all the candidates for California Governor, Cato has decided to run on a write-in basis. He figures he's more appealing. He's not a developer, actor or entrepreneur. Instead he's a little more relaxed and perhaps more representative of California itself. He's Asian. He's got stripes. He has blue eyes. He speaks Spanish fluently. He's in business school, but he's focusing on not-for-profits. He's got all his bases covered."

More about Cato's campaign in this post.

We could use more candidates like Cato in Minnesota. After all, our voters elected Jesse Ventura, who turned out to be not so bad, overall, despite his weird beard. Now we have Tim Pawlenty as governor, who wants to send immigrants without papers back to wherever they came from. As an undocumented feline, I'm probably on his list.

Good luck, Cato! I'd send a campaign contribution, but I hear you've already raised millions. So far, I've got only about 39 cents in my Google Adsense account, so I'll save it for a can of tuna.

Thursday, April 13, 2006


R.I.P: Tigers Tango and Meme

Since I've been going outside and chasing leaves around the garden, I've been going through a lot of cat food. Fortunately, my humans keep my bowl well filled. But many cats aren't that lucky.

Residents of Catymology Central have been following the sad story of the tiger that killed his keeper. Yesterday, a University of Minnesota veterinarian confirmed that the tiger had been starving.

The male tiger, named Tango, mauled and killed Cynthia Gamble, 52, at her property east of Sandstone on April 6. A friend found her body inside the tiger's cage near her residence.

The report said the tiger was "cachetic," meaning it was emaciated. It weighed about 260 pounds, far less than normal weight for a Bengal tiger, said Dr. Arnold Wuenschmann, the veterinarian who examined the tiger.

"I can say that he didn't eat enough," said Wuenschmann, who estimated that the 10-year-old tiger should have weighed up to 150 pounds more.

Gamble owned the Center for Endangered Cats and was licensed by the USDA to keep and show the tigers. She filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in 2004. Two other tigers on the property were also underweight and have been moved to an animal refuge, the Wildcat Sanctuary. The only possible conclusion is that Tango was abused. Hungry cats, whether big or little, are dangerous. Tango was destroyed.

Keith Streff, an investigator for the Hennepin County Humane Society, said he'd received "calls of concern" about Gamble's operation in the past but said that he couldn't recall any animal welfare problems.

But PETA called for a ban on keeping big cats, except in accredited zoos and sanctuaries. Gamble was licensed as an exhibitor by the USDA, but she was not accredited by the American Zoo and Aquarium Association or the Association of Sanctuaries. The PETA press release goes on:

USDA exhibitor's licenses are easy to obtain, making the current state law, which bars people from owning exotic animals unless they have a USDA license, a "paper tiger."

The Wildcat Sanctuary was in the news last month, when a tiger named Meme succumbed to cancer. Meme, pictured at right, had lived there since 2001, but township officials were threatening to close the sanctuary down because local laws did not allow big cats, like tigers and lions. The Wildcat Sanctuary has since announced plans to expand their operation and move to Sandstone.

If you care about animal welfare, donate to your local no-kill shelter, or to an animal refuge such as The Wildcat Sanctuary. The Wildcat Sanctuary is accredited by both the Amerian Sanctuary Association and The Asssociation of Sanctuaries and does not buy, sell, or breed animals. It is not even open to the public, because its mission is to care for abused and abandoned cats, not to entertain the public. It's all about the cats!

Tigers and other species take refuge on the Friday Ark at Modulator. This Sunday, the Carnival of the Cats features yours truly at Begin Each Day as if it were on purpose.


Wednesday, April 12, 2006


Carnival time

While we don't celebrate Passover or Easter in our house, we do celebrate Carnival. This week's edition of Carnival of the Vanities is up at Free Money Finance.

Monday, April 10, 2006


The four subjects of catblogging

"What are those cute white feet for, if not to scratch myself?"
--Aloysius Katz

The Four Subjects of Catblogging

1. I was feeling rotten today, and then I played with my cat, and it made me feel, you know, less rotten.

2. I may be losing my (a) hair, (b) figure, or (c) mind, but my cat is cuter than your cat.

3. Look at that cute cat (a) in a bag (b) in a sink, or (c) in, on top of, next to, or underneath any inanimate object not usually associated with a cat.

4. The world is going to hell in a handbasket, and it's all the fault of (a) those snarky Republicans (b) those snotty liberals, or (c) reality TV, but I don’t care cause my cat loves me.

With apologies to poet William Matthews, author of “The Four Subjects of Poetry,” as heard on NPR’s Weekend Edition, April 8, 2006.



Best of Me Symphony

Gary Cruse of The Owner's Manual includes my review of Old Possum's Book in the latest edition of the Best of Me Symhony . The BOMS rounds up posts over 60 days old that the authors think worth re-running.

Friday, April 07, 2006


Cat Stars!

I don't know how I missed this item last month. The real stars of The Squid and the Whale (a terrific independent film about a family's troubles) are three professional cats: T.C., Kyle, and Kayla. Check out the handsome T.C. (short for Top Cat) at New York Post Online Edition: living: "March 5, 2006 -- SHELTER CATS TAKE THEIR STAR TURNS IN 'SQUID' "

I'll bet I could be a cat star too if I could ever get off the couch.

Thursday, April 06, 2006


The innate animosity of inanimate objects

In which I indulge in randomness.

I've given in to the overwhelming lure of paper bags. Random fun!

I trace my new hobby to amanuensis' attempt to amuse me while I was on strike a couple of weeks ago.

The bag is a perfect example of "the innate animosity of inanimate objects." That phrase was much heard around our house recently, as several of the major appliances in MY kitchen went randomly kerfuffle.

"The innate animosity of inanimate objects" is a popular phrase with humans who can't get stuff to work right. Seriously. You find humans from all walks of life cursing "the innate animosity of inanimate objects." Computer geeks. Plumbers. Carpenters. Pianists. Even a "consultant in ultrasonic processing." (You could look it up.)

The bag or the mouse? How to choose? Both of them just lie there, tempting me.

It's a fact: many cats engage in creative randomness at the Modulator's Friday Ark. Still more will be acting up at Sunday's Carnival of the Cats, hosted at The Scratching Post.



The Little Professor: L&O: Special Academic Unit

The Little Professor: L&O: Special Academic Unit

Here's a hilarious satirical post from The Little Professor. Now I know why amanuensis dropped out of grad school. Now, if only she could get rid of those pesky piles of paper.

The Carnival of Satire is up at The Squib, which is where I found the prof's entry.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006


Harsh words on Carnival of the Vanities

The Carnival of the Vanities is up at Iowa Voice. Amanuensis' post about the adventures of Darcy Xenophon is in it. But Zeuswood, the big guy behind this particular carnival, has a problem and is threatening to end this carnival.

On Carnival of the Vanities

I hesitate even to acknowledge this week's Carnival of the Vanities obliquely. It's up in rogue form at the scheduled host, and unless you're completely lost, you can easily find the lists of hosts. . . . [Read more at Harshly Mellow.]

For the love of the Great Cat, I was just starting to think that this world of Carnivals was sort of fun. Now I find out that bloggers are willing to fight like--pardon me--cats and dogs over this stuff. I think they all need some catnip and a good long nap.

Update: Thursday, April 6: Laurence Simon has stepped up to the plate and published the Avignon edition of Carnival of the Vanities 185. If you don't know what Avignon means, you could hunt it up. That's what Google is for.

Monday, April 03, 2006


Honeymoon interrupted by summit

The Animal World Newswire columnist catches up with the world's most famous honeymooners near Chichen Itza.

March 30, Chichen Itza, Mexico. [Animal World Newswire]

By Angelique

At the gates of the 1,500-year-old Mayan ruins, a small group of disgruntled craft vendors and anti-globalization partisans brandished signs saying "Bush Go Home." George Bush, President of the USA, was scheduled to tour the ruins that morning with Mexican President Vincente Fox and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

Armed soldiers kept the small crowd at bay. For the craft vendors, it would have been a day like any other: they expected to make a few pesos by selling their wares to tourists. But the tourists--all except the three leaders and a retinue of security people and photographers--were barred from the park.

Among the disappointed were three Americans on their honeymoon, Darcy Xenophon, Michele Duncan, and Michael Kern, who had driven from Cancun to Chichen Itza on a quest for the Balam--Mayan for jaguar. And the three were hissing mad.

Darcy (a red-point Siamese}, Michele (a feline interpreter), and Michael (a computer consultant) had married in Minneapolis on March 18, taking advantage of a new law allowing group interspecies unions.

The trio spent the night of March 29 at the historic Hacienda Chichen, just outside the Chichen Itza grounds. Early the next morning, they strolled over to the ruins, intending to visit the Temple of the Jaguar, among other famous artifacts of Mayan civilization.

"Missing the Temple of the Jaguar would be one of the greatest disappointments of my life," Darcy mourned. "The Mayans worshipped the jaguar and depicted the powerful felines in many places. Some of the most impressive are the relief carvings and statues at Chichen Itza. There's even a Jaguar Throne."

Michael added: "Given our relationship and our belief in the modern religion of Catymology, we wanted to spend our honeymoon communing with some of the ancestral depictions of feline divinity."

Fortunately, a local woman, Estelle Rose, who happened to be passing by, had a suggestion. "If you drive back to Valladolid and then proceed about 20 kilometers north, you'll come to Ek Balam. Ek Balam, she explained, means "black jaguar." Compared to Chichen Itza, this site is relatively unvisited. Rose advised the honeymooners that they could tour Ek Balam, then return to Chichen Itza another day.

Later that evening, after taking in Ek Balam, Darcy, Michael and Michele watched the world news. "I was quite amused to see those three guys--world leaders--give a photo-op at the Temple of the Jaguar," Darcy commented. [for a sample, go to the story in the Miami Herald and watch the slide show. ]

"It's pretty obvious what was going on there--some kind of male bonding ritual," Michael observed.

Michele, who majored in anthropology before becoming a feline interpreter, added some details. "Did you know that in the heyday of the Jaguar Cult, rulers were obsessed with the prowess of the jaguar? The Olmecs, who preceded the Mayans and lived around Veracruz, believed in a primordial woman-jaguar union that resulted in a divine were-jaguar. Some of the greatest Olmec rulers were depicted with jaguar features or wearing jaguar costumes. It's obvious that these people feared and revered the feline."

But it was Darcy who got the last word: "If these guys [Bush, Fox, and Harper] think they can steal some mojo from my jaguar cousins, it's not going to work."



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