ancient history, books, cats, general wackiness, Hiccups in History, literature, nonfiction, research, review, Uncategorized, US history, writing

Cats in History

Hiccups in HistoryAlthough Reddit can be, in the immortal words of Obi Wan Kenobi “a wretched hive of scum and villainy,” it is also the source of historical amusement, if you are selective about the subreddits you follow. One of my favorite is Old News, which shares interesting old newspaper articles on various and sundry subjects. A couple cat-related ones I discovered lately earn the Hiccups in History designation.

Forgive the yellow highlights, which I can’t seem to get rid of. These items are from the California Digital Newspaper collection, which lists sources from 1846 to the present.

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Since I have a currently untitled Icebound tale in the works that is set in 1910’s Alaska, this one caught my eye. I wonder about how H.J. Coleman’s cat scheme turned out. It is rather ingenious, though how in the world did warmth-loving cats fare in Alaska?

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And then there is this one, in which cats are meant to combat “great armies of gophers.” Did they put on armor and sally forth with tiny little swords, guns, and tanks? I’m reminded of this infamous gif:

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Currently, I’m almost finished reading a wonderful nonfiction history of cats. I haven’t been able to find much in the way of real history about animals so I was thrilled to find Revered and Reviled: A Complete History of the Domestic Cat by L.A. Vocelle of http://www.thegreatcat.org. The book relies on artwork and literature primarily to fill in the historical gaps, primarily in the ancient time periods, and even through the Middle Ages. Artwork and literature are useful in that they demonstrate the presence of cats and how they were conceived of, at least by the social class that is depicted, and they are particularly pleasant to examine–not always the case with books, unfortunately!

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The author also makes use of some older histories of domestic animals published in the late 1800s and early 1900s. It’s always a bit perilous to write a complete history of anything because an author opens herself up to claims of “but you forgot this and that” which I suppose I am super sensitive to, but this book seems to carry it off with confidence.

It is written in engaging language and focuses on particularly interesting–and sometimes tragic–instances and individuals important to feline history. It proceeds chronologically and while it is well-written, it is also largely unbiased, another important feature of historical writing. Relevant photos and pictures are provided, a timeline, lists of tombs and cemeteries in Egypt to do with cats, and a voluminous references section. In short, this book is a giant YES and will be included in my future historical writings.

If you have any other references for me to check out please feel free to leave them in the comments.

 

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cats, general wackiness, humor, writing

Cats on the Move — Another Edition of Fantastic Gifs!

I’m hard at work recording an audiobook of my humorous title The Cat’s Guide to Human Behavior and it occurs to me that I haven’t posted any crazy cat gifs in a while. I maintain a Cat’s Guide page on Facebook where I post funny cat pictures and links on a regular basis, but Facebook is not a fan of gifs. Therefore …

1. Tuesday is HOW far from Friday?

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2. “Oh, hi there, dog.”

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3.

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4.

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5.

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Like these? Check out my other gif posts: here, here, here, here, and here!

 

cats, humor, writing

That Time My Cat Taught Me a Lesson After Trying for Only Six Years

Black and white kittenI’ve had Charley the Kitty since she was about four weeks old (her lopsided mustache reminded me of Charlie Chaplin, and so inspired her name). For school community service credit, my daughter decided to foster a litter of motherless kittens. What could be better and more fun than raising a bunch of cute kittens? Well, turns out that’s a lot harder than it sounds. I really gained an appreciation for a mother cat, after having to bottle feed five kitties several times a day. The Kittens all over mankittens were quite accomplished at crying for food as well as getting milk all over themselves as they frantically sucked down the contents of their bottles. The mess they inevitable created caused us to bathe them every day. Drying off after the baths, they would climb up on my husband, since he was warm and cuddly, apparently.

When the kittens were old enough to adopt out, I chose Charley to keep for myself. We just had a special bond from the beginning. She wasn’t the cutest or sweetest of the cats, I have to say, because she’s a little grumpy and rather demanding. However we just clicked. Perhaps because I’m a little grumpy and demanding as well? Who can say? Certainly not my husband! Anyhow, Charley has always communicated when she feels Nov2013 049strongly about something. This could result in a hiss or a growl or a loud, demanding meow when she’s hungry or cold.

When I started to work from home as a freelance writer one of the perks was more time spent with my animals, including Charley. However, Charley had a habit of meowing in the loud and fierce way around noon every day. I did the obvious – made sure her litter box was clean and her food dish was full — but that didn’t satisfy her. My plaintive question of “What do you want?” went unanswered. Eventually, though, I figured out what she wanted me to do – namely, snuggle with her in bed at the beginning of her afternoon nap. So now, almost every day, she meows at lunchtime and I go and lay down with her as one with would with a child, and put her to sleep. I’m quite proud of myself for figuring out her message after only a few years of trying. Who says old humans never learn new tricks?Cover art for The Cat's Guide to Human Behavior

This was one of the experiences, coupled with my rather fertile imagination, that led me to write The Cat’s Guide to Human Behavior. This humorous look at living with humans from the cat’s point of view has been recently released and is looking for a home on your ebook reader or bookshelf.

You know, just in case you want to do a little fostering of your own.

~

If you enjoyed this little story, check out the Nature’s Recipe blog hop for other participants’ stories.

cats, writing

An Interview with Moi

I had an exciting weekend at the Food and WaterBowl XX-something Cat Show in Del Mar, California. I may post about it sometime soon … ish. In the meantime, perhaps you would be interested in reading an interview with me posted by the instigator creator of WIPpet Wednesday, author K.L. Schwengel. During WIPpet Wednesday, you post a snippet of your work in progress (WIP) … thus, a WIPpet. Which makes the participants the WIPpeteers. Consider joining us, if the idea appeals to you.

The interview is HERE.