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Infinite Cat Project Archives for November 16-20, 2015.

Mewsings: November 16, 2015 - "I have noticed that what cats most appreciate in a human being is not the ability to produce food which they take for granted--but his or her entertainment value." - Geoffrey Household

two cat on heat registers

Gratuitous Kute Kittiness: "Winter, do your worst."

Cat Mewvie: Cats apparantly hate cucumbers.

missing kitty comic

Today's Kitty Komic

Simon the cat's fuel art.

Feline Art: Simon's fuel.

metal gear cat hat

Feline friends come to aid of Calgary cat house.

As business owners decide their next steps following a massive fire that destroyed several shops in a northwest strip mall last week, funds are pouring in for a cherished cat store that burned to the ground in the blaze.

More than $15,000 has already been raised for The Cat House, a longtime staple in Calgary’s cat community, in the Stadium Shopping Centre.

Fire ripped through the northwest strip mall in the 1900 block of Uxbridge Drive on Thursday morning, destroying four businesses including The Cat House, damaging two others, and sending two firefighters and a child from an area school to hospital.

An online fundraising page has been set up to help the store dedicated to felines recover from the blaze and reopen before the busy Christmas season.

The money raised will cover “employee wages that are not covered by insurance” and help the store get new products, according to an online fundraising page.

“To its employees and customers, this unique little shop meant so much more than a place to buy your cat food and cat toys. It was a place to meet new friends and form relationships to last years to come,” the fundraising page (found at states.
The Cat House operated in Calgary for 25 years, and was located at the northwest shopping centre since 2000.

The strip mall was expected to be torn down next year for a major new development and other business owners affected by the fire have told the Herald they’re unsure if they will rebuild in the wake of the fire.

Fire investigators have not yet released any details on what caused the massive blaze..

Mewsings: November 17, 2015 - "A cat's got her own opinion of human beings. She don't say much, but you can tell enough to make you anxious not to hear the whole of it." - Jerome K. Jerome

rainy day cat

Gratuitous Kittiness: "Good job, human."

Cat Mewvie: Everyone likes cats.

cat sled

Today's Kitty Komic

cat lint roler

Feline Art: The danger of excess static electricity.

Mewsings: November 18, 2015 - "Cats do not have to be shown how to have a good time, for they are unfailing ingenious in that respect." - James Mason

cat and parrots

Gratuitous Kittiness: "I approve of your choice of friends, human."

Cat Mewvie: Even professional cats have bad days.

types of cats

Today's Kitty Komic

cat butts by gabby darienzo

Surprise Kitty Art: Cat Butts by Gabby Darienzo.

Hermitage cats

The famous cats of Russia's Hermitage Museum.

The State Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg is home to some of the world’s most valued treasures—as well as about 70 cats.

While the museum’s feline residents are not permitted inside the galleries, they actively patrol behind the scenes and keep the institution rodent-free.

The cats first took up residence inside the Hermitage well before it was a museum, in 1745, when Empress Elisabeth put out a call for the “finest cats of Kazan,” to help catch mice in what was then a palace, according to an article by AFP.

Later, under the rule of Catherine the Great, the cats earned the nickname the “Winter Palace cats.”

Through war and famine, the cats’ population has ebbed and flowed, and today there are enough that the museum has recruited help. Staffer Irina Popovets is dedicated to taking care of the animals.

Cats are often brought to the museum by owners who can no longer care for them, Ms. Popovets said. And since they’ve gained a cult celebrity status with visiting tourists, a website has been set up by the museum for people who may be interested in adoption—of whom there are plenty.

“It is an honor to adopt a Hermitage cat,” Ms. Popovets told one potential cat owner.

The next step for the cats, museum director Mikhail Piotrovsky told the AFP: “Given the Hermitage cats’ popularity, we have decided to kickstart a process to copyright their name.”

Mewsings: November 19, 2015 - "Cats are intended to teach us that not everything in nature has a purpose." - Garrison Keillor

cat misusing cat bed

Gratuitous Kittiness: "This is how this works, right?"

Cat Mewvie: Feel the beat.

eaten by cats

Today's Kitty Komic

cat underpants

The Feline Arts: Yes, this is a thing. Yes, I approve.

Mewsings: November 20, 2015 - "Since each of us is blessed with only one life, why not live it with a cat?- Robert Stearns

car overlord cat

Gratuitous Kittiness: "Meow, purr, beep."

Cat Mewvie: Rastus the motorcycle cat. (See story below)

bitch cat comic

Today's Kitty Komic

bushman cat painting

Surprise Kat Art: South African bushman painting of lion or cheetah.

Rastus the motorcycle cat

The story of Max Corkill and Rastus, the motorcycle cat.

(See video above)

Rastus was a jet-black, Bombay-cross cat (although one source described him as Burmese), born in Canada. Max Corkill, a panel-beater by trade and a keen car and bike restorer and bike customiser, had worked in the Vancouver, BC area of Canada for many years; he and Rastus met each other in 1989 at a swap meet. A young girl asked him to look after the kitten while she went to look at something, but she never returned. Corkill took him home, advertised in the local paper and on radio stations, but when there were no replies he decided to keep the cat. The two were soon to become inseparable. On finding Rastus one day a few weeks later asleep on one of the bikes in his workshop, he started it up to see whether the cat would take fright and jump off — but he didn't. So Max took the bike, with cat, out for a slow ride around, and Rastus loved it, leaning forward with his forepaws on the handlebars and back paws on the petrol tank.

The biking begins

From then on, whenever Max rode, so did Rastus. A leather cover was made to fit over the tank of whichever bike they were using — Rastus wasn't fussy — for comfort and to give a better grip, and before long he also had a specially made little helmet and pair of goggles. He sported a red-spotted bandana round his neck in authentic biker fashion. In North America alone he was said to have covered some 75,000 miles in all (120,000 km) cruising around with Max. For longer journeys, instead of his customary position leaning into the wind on the petrol tank, Rastus would ride in a specially-made zipped pouch mounted on the tank in front of Max, with just his head peeping out. The BMW's tank sometimes became very hot, but with Rastus' comfort always a priority Max's design incorporated venting which allowed air to flow over the tank in space beneath the bag.

A change of scene — and charity work

In 1994, after his long stay in Canada, Corkill returned to New Plymouth in his native New Zealand to be near his elderly mother. Of course Rastus went too, although first he had to spend six months in quarantine in Hawaii, which he didn't enjoy and Max said seemed 'very long'. Once he was cleared, the pair devoted time to raising money for animal charities. Max formed a company to market souvenirs such as T-shirts, posters and badges (the latter sold out). They even had a joint cheque account, with Rastus' signature being his pawprint, also used on some of the merchandise.

The duo visited schools to tell children about the importance of caring for pets; they attended various functions; they starred in a prize-winning television advert for the Bell Tea Company. 'The cat was just like a person,' said Bell CEO John Mahoney. 'He used to come into the offices here and make himself at home. He would drink milky tea out of a cup (no sugar), and would get quite testy if it was taken away before he had finished.' There was a thriving Rastus fan club, and the pair became a familiar sight on the roads around Taranaki and New Plymouth, often on Max's classic 1952 Sunbeam.

At Christmastime each year Max would put on a Santa outfit and disguise a bike as a sleigh, while Rastus sported a special helmet with little imitation reindeer antlers attached . They would take part in a Toy Run, organised by a local bikers' group who collected toys along the way for disadvantaged children. In some ways the cat was said to behave more like a dog, obeying Max's commands and 'growling' replies, rather than meowing.

Tragedy and tributes

About a thousand bikers took part in the funeral procession for Max and Rastus, New Zealand, Jan 1998 Two helmets on the coffin and Rastus' bandana; also an image of Max and Rastus at Mount Egmont where their ashes were scattered Tragedy struck on the morning of 20 January 1998, when they were riding Max's customised black BMW, in company with his partner Gaynor Martin. Their bike collided head on with a car coming round a bend on the wrong side of the road; all three died instantly. Rastus had been in his pouch on the tank. The 31-year-old car driver turned out to be drunk, and was charged by police with two counts of manslaughter as well as driving offences.

Their friend Pastor Wally Aish took the funeral service for Max and Rastus on 23 January in New Plymouth. An amazing crowd of over a thousand fellow bikers came to pay their respects and take part in the funeral procession. The two pals' helmets were placed side by side on the coffin they shared, and they were cremated together, as Max had wished. Their ashes were scattered by Max's eldest son at a ceremony on Mount Egmont, a mountain they both loved and that Rastus had been the only cat to climb. There's a tribute site for Max, Gaynor and Rastus; and at the scene of the accident three white crosses were erected at the roadside, the centre and smallest one for Rastus having a black wooden cat attached to it, with a red bandana.


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