Cat Project Archives for November 23-27, 2015.
23, 2015 - "Cats are a mysterious kind of folk. There
is more passing in their minds than we are aware of." -
Sir Walter Scott
Gratuitous Kute Kittiness: "Why? Because they haven't invented laptops
Mewvie: Rastus, the motorcycle cat.
Art: That cat looks bushed.
Town Needs a Huge Cat Directing Traffic
It can be hard to get drivers to slow down on local streets. Some places
install a roundabout. Others go with speed bumps. The town of Sebastopol,
in Northern California, chose to install a 12-foot tall orange tabby
that glows in the dark and instills the fear of death into your pedal-pushing
Slow Down Cat, as it’s affectionately known, stands on an old Caltrans
trailer that’s been painted lime green and fits into a single parking
space. The sculpture, made from recycled material, moves around town
from street to street, generally staying in one spot for three days,
which is how long its solar charge can light it up at night. It holds
a “SLOW” sign in one paw, lack of opposable thumbs notwithstanding,
and extends the other outward as if to say: take it easy, friend, or
I’ll use your trunk as a litter box.
On balance Slow Down Cat seems like a cross between Japan’s adorable
stationmaster cat Nitama and the Democratic Republic of Congo’s
enormous robot traffic overloads. Its playfully extended tongue and capricious
whiskers are cuddly enough to remind speeding drivers about the vulnerability
of life. Meanwhile its gigantic, neon green, feral eyes and huge back
claws have the added bonus of perhaps terrifying drunk drivers into sobriety.
Slow Down Cat is the work of local sculptor Patrick Amiot, who pitched
the idea after a chat with Sebastopol Police Chief Jeff Weaver. “I
asked him, ‘What’s your biggest peeve?’“ he tells
CityLab. “He said, ‘If you can slow down the traffic I’d
be really happy.’” Here’s Weaver’s take, via
the Sonoma West Times and News:
“[I]t takes the edge off of enforcement perception. I was so pleased that
Patrick saw the need to help enhance pedestrian and traffic safety and did so
in a way to enhance the connectivity between the community and the police department.
We’ve already received many, many requests for the Slow Down Sebastopol
The traffic kitty has been “deployed,” in Weaver’s
parlance, all over town since its debut last spring. Amiot says it tends
to stick to residential streets where the speed limit is 25 to 30 miles
per hour. In addition to traffic-calming, it has the benefit of rousing
a neighborhood’s spirits. “When the cat’s out there’s
always people around—there’s interaction,” he says. “My
thought is, I was trying to give the street back to the people. In these
little towns at night, you don’t see anyone on the street.”
Some locals would like to see Slow Down Cat stalk even more of the streets.
Writing at his blog, Small Town Urbanism, Sebastopol architect Paul Fritz
says what the town really needs is “a battalion of Slow Down Cats” placed
smack in the middle of the intersection rather than set off to the side
of the road. To that end he’s even worked out some renderings of
what this purrfect traffic team might look like:
Fritz also wonders if the very need for Slow Down Cat isn’t a (freakishly
large) reminder that Sebastopol streets haven’t been designed with
safety as the first priority:
The straight and wide design of the roads in town encourages people to
drive fast than the posted speed limit. And we need a traffic calming
plan beyond a radar gun, which is the primary means of traffic calming
in Sebastopol today. Slow Down Cat is a nice idea, but he needs to be
a more widespread presence in order to have a lasting impact. Drivers
need constant reminding to keep their speeds down in town. Let’s
employ local artists to make more Slow Down fill in the blank and start
populating our streets with them.
Fritz’s calls for a new litter of giant domesticated traffic animals
may soon be answered. Amiot says the Sebastopol police have asked him
to look into making a dog, too. “The problem with a German Shepherd
is it’s dark, and brown, almost camouflage,” he says. “The
cat’s a no-brainer.”
24, 2015 - "Cats are a tonic, they are a laugh, they
are a cuddle, they are at least pretty just about all of
the time and beautiful some of the time."- Roger Caras
Gratuitous Kittiness: "I'll teach THEM to roll it under."
Mewvie: I think he's trying to tell us something.
Feline Art: "Schuey" by
Louise Marie Stevenson
25, 2015 - "Bless their little pointed faces and their
big, loyal, loving hearts. If a cat did not put a firm
paw down now and then, how could his human remain possessed?" -
Gratuitous Kittiness: "Thanks for the neat toys!"
Mewvie: "If music is the food of love, play on!"
Art: Watching. always watching.
to live as a cat person.
by Andrew Mitchell
I am a dog person. My wife likes cats. Our cat Tiger… (Yes we have
a cat. It was a compromise. She had her cat, I had my man cave.) Anyway,
Tiger is a mild mannered kind of cat. She does the usual kind of cat-type
things, you know, like taking long extended kitty naps, drinking from
the bathtub faucet, jumping on the bed at 6 a.m., swatting us in the
face, reminding us that it’s feeding time, etc. Here are a few
things I’ve learned from living with a cat.
1: Cats are not loyal. Many of you cat owners out there may disagree
with this, but in Tigers case, her loyalty is centered around herself.
I know this may sound confusing, but the only time she shows ANY attention
to my wife and I is if she wants something, mainly to be fed. We tried
the old throw something at Tiger and hope she brings it back trick. She
only gave us a dirty look, walked back to a sunny place on the windowsill
and promptly fell asleep.
2: Cats are a lot cleaner than dogs. Okay, they do hack up the occasional
hairball, or shed, but that is nothing in comparison to giving a dog
a bath, or taking it to have it groomed. Cats do not urinate or defecate
on the floor. That is unless they are elderly, have a medical problem,
or as in Tigers case, upset over not having a clean litter box. She proved
that by walking into the kitchen one day as I was preparing dinner, and
showed me exactly how she felt.
3. I don’t know about other cats, but Tiger is a lot quieter than
any other dog I know of. That is except for my parents' dog, Brandy.
Brandy is a Poodle/Shih Tzu mix. She doesn’t talk much, leaps upon
your lap, and tries to lick your face. My parents other dog Coal, is
an entirely different story. I’ve nicknamed him Fizz Gig. If any
of you have ever seen, or remember the movie “The Dark Crystal”,
you’ll know what I’m talking about. Fizz Gig was a Muppet,
covered in hair, screamed a lot and had lots of teeth. This describes
Coal to a T. The only difference between Coal and Fizz Gig is that Coal
barks instead of screams.
4. You do not give cats a bath. See No. 2. CATS HATE WATER, they bathe
themselves. Tiger is constantly licking herself, picking at the space
between her toes, cleaning her rear, etc. The only time she ever got
close to having a bath was when she fell into a full tub of water after
walking around the edge. You give a dog a bath, and nine times out of
10, it gives you a bath afterward by shaking itself dry.
5. Cats are more flexible than dogs. Pick up a cat, and it’s like
a limp dishrag. You can fold it into a taco shape. The cat may not like
this, but it’s possible. Word to the wise, don’t try doing
this with a dog, it’s not possible.
6. As a rule, cats have cute names. Unless your cat weighs 400 pounds,
has fangs sticking out of the side of its mouth, and slightly resembles
those that Sigfried and Roy play with, you would not normally name it
things like Killer, Rover, Fido or Brute. Most of the cats I’ve
known have prissy names, such as Princess, Pookie, Lady or Buttons. Our
cat Tiger is the exception, we named her because of the tiger stripe
markings she has across her back. I had an aunt who had a cat named Bucky
and Puke once, she was the creative type.
I’m slowly learning to be a cat person. It’s taken some time,
but my canine instincts are fading. Maybe it’s the way Tiger brushes
up against my leg as I write on the computer, maybe it’s the way
she purrs, I don’t know, but there is something peaceful about
owning a cat.
26, 2015 - "If you shamefully misuse a cat once she
will always maintain a dignified reserve toward you afterward.
You will never get her full confidence again." - Mark
Gratuitous Kittiness: Drink it in.
Mewvie: All in a day's work.
The Feline Arts: Hooray for holidays.
27, 2015 - "As anyone who has ever been around a cat
for any length of time well knows cats have enormous patience
with the limitations of the human kind." - Cleveland
Art: And thus Father Nature created cats.
the observation cat.
by Paula Tracy
MOUNT WASHINGTON, N.H. —It may be home to some of the world's worst
weather, but since the 1930s, when the Mount Washington Observatory was
created, it has also been a home to a cat.
And over the years, the Mount Washington Observatory has received a lot
of attention at 6,289 feet because of its felines.
When the weather observatory was founded, cats were brought to the summit
building to help with the mice population. But now, their existence is
more about companionship and tradition.
Because someone is always awake at the observatory, there is always some
attention for a kitty.
Marty the current Obs cat. has been there since 2008 when he won the
Mount Washington Mascot Primary.
He was selected from a field of shelter cats from the Mount Washington
Valley and has adapted well to life at the top of the rock pile.
He succeeded Nin, who lived more than 15 years on top of the mountain,
but retired to the valley to be closer to veterinary care.
Mike Carmon, co-director of summit operations, meteorologist and education
specialist, was asked what makes a good Obs cat.
" ...One that doesn’t mind being inside for most of the year," he
said. "Because of the nature of the weather on Mount Washington’s
summit, it’s difficult for any living being to go outside for a large majority
of the year.
" Winter for us lasts from October to April, so 90 percent of this time
Marty doesn’t mind at all, he said, because he has the entire State
Park Sherman Adams building to himself throughout the winter.
He has even received toys and furniture, like a Chihuahua dog bed, monogrammed
and given to him by L.L. Bean and a kitty tent, just in case he goes
"Also, the schedule of the summit observers, which is a week-on/week-off
schedule, means half of his owners are leaving every week, and not returning
until the following week. A good Obs cat is OK with this schedule, and Marty
has certainly become accustomed to the two rotating shifts of observers," Cannon
"Finally, a good Obs cat is one that doesn’t mind showing off and
'strutting their stuff' every so often. Marty is by far the most popular 'staff'
member of the Mount Washington Observatory, he’s consistently being photographed
and sought after by guests, tourists, staff and the media alike. Although he
enjoys his quiet time, Marty knows how to pick and choose when he’ll make
an appearance, and he certainly knows how to show off when he appears," Cannon